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Neil Young at the Forum

Neil Young at the Forum

Oct. 23, 1978: Two photo combo of Neil Young in concert at the Forum in Inglewood.

Times Pop Music Critic Robert Hilburn reported in the Oct. 25, 1978 Los Angeles Times:

What was that Monday night at the Inglewood Forum?

A road version of “Star Wars”?

Another of Alice Cooper’s nightmares?

Actually, it was the return of Neil Young.

Young is one of the most respected, but also erratic, figures in rock, and his first concert here in two years did little to threaten either aspect of his reputation–especially the erratic part. The two-hour show was a daring, sometimes rousing but misshapen affair….

The show’s dominant theme was the triumph of the individual. It’s better to take chances than to slip safely into a rock ‘n’ roll old age, the music suggested. In a new tip of the hat to the Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten, Young even summarized the idea: “It’s better to burn out/Then fade away.” To make sure no one missed the point, he repeated the song during the encore…

In the parade of special effects and teasing concept threads, the music, however, seemed lost at times. The opening, acoustic 35 minutes, however, worked well. Young’s distinctive mix of gentle and intense elements remain one of the most enticing in rock. He has a narrow, delicate vocal range but the limitations help convey the search and independence of his music…

A similar photo to the one below, by staff photographer Dave Gatley, was published in the Oct. 25, 1978 Los Angeles Times.

Oct. 23, 1978: Neil Young in concert at the Forum. Credit: Dave Gatley/Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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