Happy Birthday Neil Young: Performing Live On ‘Center Stage’ In 1992

Neil Young celebrates his 76th birthday today. The legendary singer-songwriter and guitarist was born on November 12, 1945 in Toronto but grew up in Winnipeg where he began forming his first musical groups. But while Neil has played in some of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time like Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, equally beloved is his live solo acoustic output, which began in earnest in the late 1960s and saw a golden age in the early 1970s.

Although some of Young’s most iconic solo acoustic performances came at that time, Neil has peppered in the format — which often sees him on guitar, harmonica, piano and more — throughout his illustrious and prolific six-decade career. A little over 20 years out from his landmark 1971 solo acoustic tour, Young dedicated the entirety of 1992 to acoustic concerts with four separate runs throughout the year turning on a whole new generation of fans to acoustic Neil and culminating in the release of his 1992 LP, Harvest Moon. The record was a call back of sorts to Young’s iconic 1972 album, Harvest, and featured a number of the same musicians.

Following Harvest Moon’s release on November 2, Young embarked on the fourth and final solo leg of 1992 with a two-night opening stand in Milwaukee just two days after his 47th birthday. Neil then came to WTTW Studios in Chicago to perform for the PBS live music program Center Stage on November 17. As he did on a number of shows from his ‘92 solo tours, Young opened with “Long May You Run,” which appeared on his 1976 collaborative album of the same name with his old friend Stephen Stills.

Neil then turned to material from Harvest Moon with “From Hank To Hendrix” and “Unknown Legend” (Young debuted the beloved song earlier in the tour) before heading back to ‘70s numbers “Love Is A Rose” — performed on gitjo and harmonica — “Pochahontas” and “Like A Hurricane,” the latter played on the pump organ. Next, Neil delivered another new song at the time, “War Of Man,” ahead of two classics “The Needle And The Damage Done” and a piano rendition of “Tonight’s The Night,” both songs tracing the tragic story of late co-founding Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten.

Neil then offered up Harvest Moon’s “Such A Woman” (piano), the title track, “Dreamin’ Man,” and “Natural Beauty” before closing out the set with a run of classics: “Don’t Let It Bring You Down,” Buffalo Springfield’s “Mr. Soul,” “Powderfinger” and “Sugar Mountian.” Young returned to the stage for a two-song encore beginning with Harvest Moon’s “You And Me” followed by the stellar “After The Gold Rush” on pump organ.

To celebrate Neil Young’s birthday, watch the celebrated singer-songwriter perform on Center Stage in 1992:

Setlist (via Sugar Mountain)

Set: Long May You Run, From Hank To Hendrix, Unknown Legend, Love Is A Rose, Pocahontas, Like A Hurricane, War Of Man, The Needle And The Damage Done, Tonight’s The Night, One Of These Days, Such A Woman, Harvest Moon, Dreamin’ Man, Natural Beauty, Don’t Let It Bring You Down, Mr. Soul, Powderfinger, Sugar Mountain

Encore: You And Me, After The Gold Rush