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Concert Review: Austin City Limits Festival by Houston Press

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Bud Light Stage
Austin City Limits Music Festival, Zilker Park
October 13, 2012

With all the members knocking on the door of 70, it would be easy for the youngsters at ACL to call Neil Young and his band Crazy Horse decrepit and foggy. But their blistering set was a brute-force display of proto-grunge and Bernard Shakey hymns to the hard land and the harder life.

Simply put, the band was louder and tighter than most anything else one would see in Zilker Park thus far. Keep in mind that the Iggy & the Stooges’ Sunday-evening set tonight could tie up that score.

Saturday night, festival-goers had two options for evening entertainment: the aggressive history lesson on the Bud Light stage with Young and company, or Jack White’s formidable solo display on the AMD outpost hundreds of yards away. It wasn’t possible to see both, plus I was entrenched in the front of the Crazy Horse crowd early on.

Opening with “Love And Only Love” from 1990’s Ragged Glory, the band raged with Young’s signature stomping and wrenching for ten minutes, before pulling things back for a towering recitation of “Powderfinger,” complete with crazy interplay and feedback.

The thought of the band rehearsing these songs in some rustic barn at full bloody volume makes me giddy. The band is no frills, and compared to the rest of the dress of the festival’s flashy lineup, they looked like roadies or stoner grandpas in comparison. Young threw off his Willie Nelson camp into the photo pit early on, with a fan just losing it from his hands.

Young took on the mournful “The Needle and the Damage Done” alone with an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, thrilling the old stalwart fans in the crowd. With each strum of his guitar, there was history dripping onto the stage.

“Cinnamon Girl” would have been the most immediately recognized song for the wet-behind-the-ears set at the show, Young dedicating it to his wife somewhere backstage.

Seeing Young sans Crazy Horse is only seeing a third of his spirit. The last time I saw Young was at Houston’s Jones Hall on his “Le Noise” tour, a jaunt that saw him alone with just pedals, his prized guitars, and some snarl. Saturday night’s headlining set was the same, just done widescreen and with a lot more smiles.

Young is an act that we have all long waited to make his ACL debut. He was the only glaring hole left in the festival’s 11-year history, and thankfully he filled it and overflowed the empty space that was there.

SET LIST (Courtesy of Sugar Mountain)
 Love And Only Love
 Born In Ontario
 Walk Like a Giant
 The Needle And The Damage Done
 Twisted Road
 Ramada Inn
 Cinnamon Girl
 F*!#in' Up
 Psychedelic Pill
 Down By The River
 Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)

Appropriately so, the band launched into “Down By The River”, just paces from the Colorado which cuts through Austin. The crowd was raging for it.

Houston Press.

Austin, Texas


full show (1:21:37h) on Youtube, for those who missed it:


Austin City Limits 2012 Webcast Schedule

October 12-14, 2012 | Zilker Park | * 12-14. Oktober City Limits Music Festival, Austin, Texas |


While it’s hard to top experiencing the festival alongside 75,000 fans, you don’t have to completely miss out on the action!

The Official 2012 Webcast will make you feel like you’re right in the heart of Austin, singing and dancing along to sets from from Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, The Avett Brothers, The War On Drugs, Alabama Shakes and many more!

Tune in LIVE on YouTube October 12-14! Click below to see the full list of artists.
Save the Dates: ACL 2013
After many consecutive years of sell-out crowds, the festival is expanding to accommodate more fans next October!

That’s right, ACL Festival will be rocking Zilker Park for two weekends in 2013! Mark your calendars for October 4-6 and October 11-13, then stay tuned to our e-mails, Facebook and Twitter for news on the Lineup, Tickets and more!

See What’s New in 2012
Whether it’s the wider selection of brews at the Zilker Drafthouse or the slew of new Austin Eats options for the foodies among you, this year’s Festival promises to deliver plenty of new and entertaining elements to help you make the most of your ACL experience! Check out what’s happening in Zilker Park!

Late Nite Shows Extend Your ACL

If you haven’t secured your spot at one of the awesome Official ACL Festival Late Night Shows, you still have time – but not much. Several are already sold out, but we still have a limited number of tickets remaining to see Bassnectar, The Weeknd, Big K.R.I.T, Delta Spirit and more at legendary Austin venues.

You better move fast if you want to move your 2012 ACL Festival experience into Downtown Austin each night!

Personalize Your Wristband
Your ACL wristband allows you in and out privileges. Register it now to make sure that it remains yours and allow for easy replacement if lost, damaged or stolen. Connect using Facebook and you can also check-in at special #ACLfest check-in boxes throughout Zilker Park.

If you register and connect by Thursday, October 11 @ 11:59PM CT, then you will be eligible for 3-Day VIP upgrades for you and a friend! That is not all – if you Check-In at 5 or more #ACLfest locations, then you will be entered to win a VIP Flyaway to the 2013 ACL Festival!

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PO Box 684674 Austin, Texas 78768

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It\'s a wonder tall trees ain\'t layin\' down.
by -- Neil Young

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