The sounds of the ’70s (and ’60s) will echo on La Crosse’s North Side this weekend, with tribute shows Saturday and Sunday featuring Neil Young and Otis Redding, respectively.
The Saturday Neil Young show is the latest production by Gregg “Cheech” Hall, and it’s the third time he’s tapped Young as the recipient of a tribute. Previous shows featured Young’s work from “Rust Never Sleeps,” “Harvest” and “Zuma,” while this weekend’s show at The Muse Theatre will pull it’s first set from Young’s third solo album, “After the Gold Rush.”
Billy Hembd stood in for Young in the two previous shows, but he was unavailable this time around so Hall is taking on the lead vocal chores as well as playing guitar. “I hope people aren’t going to be too disappointed,” Hall said.
Hall will be backed by bassist Tim Powers and keyboardist Eddie “Hondo” Juntunen from the White Iron Band, which Hall also plays in. In addition, former White Iron Band guitarist Javier Trejo and drummer Eric Gerke will round out the band.
“We’re going to have a killer band,” Hall said. “It’s going to be a good show.”
“After the Gold Rush” was released in August 1970 on the heels of the huge success of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s “Déjà Vu.” Most of “After the Gold Rush” mines the country-folk vein so prevalent on Young’s huge 1972 hit, “Harvest.”
The album does, however, feature “Southern Man,” a rocker that inspired Lynyrd Skynrd to dedicate a verse of “Sweet Home Alabama” to taking a poke at Young.
“After the Gold Rush” had two singles, “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” and “When You Dance I Can Really Love,” the former a top 40 hit. But the songs that have endured in the classic rock play list are “Southern Man” and the title song.
The album was recorded with Crazy Horse and Stephen Stills, and was noteworthy as the introduction to the big time for an 18-year-old Nils Lofgren, now a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
Lofgren played piano on the album, something he had little experience with, being much more adept at guitar. Hall also will try his hand at piano during the Muse Theatre show, the second half of which will feature a galaxy of Young’s many other greats.