Arc Weld

Neil Young / Neil Young & Crazy Horse

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Arc Weld Review

by William Ruhlmann

Arc Weld was a three-disc set containing Weld and Arc, also available separately. Weld, Neil Young's two-hour-plus double-CD chronicle of his 1991 tour with Crazy Horse, was received with only mild enthusiasm, perhaps because it seemed redundant. Such warhorses as "Like a Hurricane" and "Cortez the Killer" were making their fourth appearances on a Young album, and the five songs from the recent Ragged Glory album were basically unchanged from their studio versions. Where Young's previous double live album, Live Rust, was a career retrospective including some acoustic numbers, Weld was all electric rock with Crazy Horse; the one previously unreleased song was a Gulf War-era cover of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind," complete with gunshots and exploding bombs. In retrospect, Weld seems like an excellent expression of one part of Young's musical persona, putting some of his best hard rock material onto one album. Arc was a 35-minute "compilation compositor" consisting of a series of excerpts from the 1991 concerts strung together: Young took the tune-ups and outros, the guitar feedback, and random playing and singing from various songs and shows and constructed a nearly atonal sound collage. Now and then, he could be heard singing a verse or two from "Like a Hurricane" or another song, but for the most part Arc sounded like a band preparing to play a song that never actually began or trying to end one that had not been heard.

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