The wonderful photo of Neil Young (by Richard McCaffrey) that adorns the current (October) cover of Acoustic Guitar is from a series of historic solo acoustic shows he performed at the long-defunct Boarding House club in San Francisco in May of 1978. I was lucky enough to go to two of those concerts and was completely blown away: It was where I first heard many of the songs that would appear on Comes a Time (released in November ’78) and Rust Never Sleeps (released in July 1979, it includes three songs recorded at that Boarding House run)—both in my pantheon of great Neil albums. Then, when Neil and Crazy Horse went on an arena tour in the fall of ’78, dubbed “Rust Never Sleeps,” he included a few solo acoustic numbers there, too.
That tour was captured on film in a fantastic documentary (also called Rust Never Sleeps), shot at the Cow Palace outside of San Francisco (still the best Crazy Horse show I ever saw), and on a live double-LP (Live Rust). My “Throwback” choice is the wonderful 12-string number called “Thrasher,” which was hands-down my favorite of the new songs introduced at the Boarding House (and on the Rust Never Sleeps album). I find it very hypnotic musically and the lyrics so evocative; I’ve always loved it. This is the Cow Palace version from the film, so it doesn’t have quite the intimacy of the club rendition a few months earlier (and it even contains a vocal flub), but it still has that core mystery and majesty that make it one of Neil Young’s best tunes. —Blair Jackson