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(updated Friday, 19-Jun-2009 07:19:00 EDT)

HORDE at Coral Sky
West Palm Beach, FLA, Aug 24, 1997

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The set list

    Early Solo Accoustic Set
    no set
      :(

    Late Crazy Horse Set

  1. Hey Hey My My
  2. Crime In The City
  3. Hippie Dream
  4. Big Time
  5. From Hank to Hendrix
  6. The Needle and the Damage Done
  7. Heart of Gold
  8. Throw Your Hatred Down
  9. Rockin' In The Free World
  10. Sedan Delivery
  11. Mansion On The Hill     [encore]
  12. Powderfinger     [encore - shortened in middle]
  13. Roll Another Number     [encore]


Last Stop for the HORDE Train
West Palm Beach, FLA, Aug 24, 1997

review by RE*AC*TOR

Thunderheads loom in the coral sky over the Ordinary People banner as it hangs between a pair of palms. A cooler full of sandwiches and drinks sits nearby. A few Rusties watch the ominous sky as curious gawkers eye the signatures. A horde gathers at the nearby gate. Will the Rusties make it inside to the waiting HORDE'o'Culture tent before getting a dousing?

Ten minutes later: Ordinary People banner is safely packed away from the pouring rain and there's a knot of Rusties under the big umbrella that was meant to block a hot sun. Other Rusties experience the weather first-hand, ready for anything the day can throw their way. The horde at the nearby gate grows larger and wetter.

As precisely as Mussolini's trains, the gate opens at 3pm -- and the horde surges forward. Some of the Rusties hang back for a bit, waiting for a break in the rain. When it comes, the pre-show gathering "stuff" is trundled away and the Rusties follow the horde into the HORDE. But not so fast -- when the pack holding the banner reaches the security check, the guy thinks he's hit the jackpot. "What's that hard thing in there?" he asks as he feels the bundle of wires and sissors and stuff used for hanging the banner.

"It's just a blanket -- you're feeling the folded edge. Do you want me to pull it out?"

Magically, Mother Nature lends a helping hand -- the rain starts coming down again, and the security guy decides that pulling out the banner and unfolding it would needlessly delay clearing the rest of the folks in the now-dimished mostly-dry queue. Ordinary People enters the station, awaiting the final HORDE train.

HORDE'o'Culture

The traditional first Rustie stop does double duty as a place to stay dry. No sign of Neil's gear... but the security-types are huddled discussing how much extra manpower they'll need if/when Neil arrives to play. Though security feels sure he'll be there, the Rusties find out that their confidence comes from media reports that Neil always plays an early set. Uh-huh.

Those who hang around are rewarded with an outstanding set by Colonel Bruce Hampton playing with the Fiji Mariners. It's Frank Zappa meets The Grateful Dead as much of the small throng gets into the groove. Some of the best music of the day.

Writing Home

Afterward, a quick check of the MSN tent finds people playing a bunch of video games on one side, and several dead terminals on the other. No "reports from HORDE" will be made today...   :-(

The tour merchandise tent isn't very crowded. As expected, shirts are running out and first choices turn into second or third choices. It's good to get that part of the ritual over with, and proceed onward through the Coral Sky station.

The Train Keep A Movin'

Next stop is the Lionel tent -- and just in time as the rain picks up again. No sign of Zeke or anyone well known, but it's fun playing with the train controllers or getting faces onto the video monitors as the train's "eye" passes by. Examining the tiny world around the tracks is even more fun. Hmmm, did Neil put that there? What about THAT?

The first few bands end up being background music as Coral Sky is explored. It doesn't take long to take it all in, though, even while dodging rain showers. But soon the music beacons.

Soul Coughing

Kicking back for a bit in the right-side Rustrow (which is split in two at this stop) to taste some Soul Coughing proves to be a good choice. It's Primus rib covered with Red Hot Chili Peppers. Definitely can't sit still, but at this point it's hard to get motivated to jump up and dance. The naked guitar-tech adds a little spice to the stew, but this act proves to be just an appetizer. Maybe try them as a main course another day.

It's decided to forgo The Fool to hunt for more Rusties. Find some back at the Lionel tent -- scoping out Zeke and Elliot and hoping Neil will show. (It's found out later that Neil's bus hasn't even arrived yet, though, since it was delayed by a blown tire on the way down from Live Oak.) It's interesting to finally shake hands with Elliot. No chit-chat, though -- have to buy one of those $5 Engineer's hats (Correct, Conductor? :-) Sympathies to those who paid "full price" for them at earlier HORDE stops...

Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Back to the pavillion for SoFLA's favorite visitors (third appearance this summer). The sound sucks, though. Ska is great, but it's gotta be clear. This set has so much separation, that those of us on the left side can only hear half of the music. Bummer.

But it's still impossible to sit still, and it's hard to resist bushwacking the over-zealous security-types pushing people who protrude about 8" into the aisle back those 8". The folks down front get carried away and get rid of the pit seats and have themselves a grand old time. Dickie dives off the stage when a fan gets immobilized by security, and a good-old fashioned stand-off (Let him go or we walk!) briefly ensues. Before the final song ends there are 20 or so fans on the stage, having hopped over the barrier in waves.

It ain't a rock concert without a bit of attitude, right?

Choices, choices

Heard lots of good things about Leftover Salmon but the crowd at the second stage is packed. The band's name reminds us of the state of our stomachs, so we listen from afar while having something to eat. Somewhere in there Poncho crosses our path and The Banner comes out to accept his Smell The Horse sig. Only the Rider of the Horse's signature remains missing at this point of the evening...

Toad the Wet Sprocket gives everyone a little breather. Eagles of the 90s? Nothing BAD about them, but you never feel uncomfortable sitting down during their set. At any other gig they'd probably excel, but there's just too much good music on the bill today to get into their set.

Bail out early to get a spot for Squirrel Nut Zippers at the second stage, but too late -- it's already packed. So a final walkabout ensues, a few other Rusties are encountered, a quick snack -- all to a big-band sound. Hope to see them in the future.

The HORDE train has taken a long time to make it into the station. But the head of the train is about to make it to the trestle...

How Ya Doin'?

With a crackle and then a roar, Neil and the Horse rev up the HORDE train, to the tune of Hey Hey My My. No matter how many times that opening riff explodes from the relative silence, it always gets the fluids pumping -- and tonight is no exception. Despite being at the end of the HORDE train line, they gotta rev those engines up to blow out the carbon.

Crime In The City brings back memories of Neil's last trip down to Florida, the '91 Smell The Horse tour. The complex rhythm and lyrics of the song meld into a steady idle. It's easy to find yourself in a zone where the individual notes float away and leave you coasting down the rails. But the rhythm change-ups remind you that you're still at the station, looking back down the track.

Hippie Dream is the conductor calling you back from that reminiscence. Then Big Time gives the motor a regimented workout, idling, reving, idling, reving, and eventually winding it up to a ferocious peak. The engine that has been pulling the HORDE train is in perfect tune.

So it's time to idle down to check-out the low-end. Hank To Hendrix purrs forth -- with a bit of a sputter when "Madonna" becomes "Courtney". Next cruise-control is tested, with a perfunctory Needle. Then the Engineer takes a minute to talk about the ride (best tour he's ever been on, he says) and the station (nice to be back in Florida, he says) and to thank the crew. Then another low-end test with Heart of Gold and the engine is declared fit.

Suddenly it's obvious that the train isn't JUST a train at all, it's also a Horse. THE Horse, in fact. The Horse who can take Throw Your Hatred Down and deliver it no less satisfyingly than the boys from Pearl Jam did. This Horse-Train-Beast wants to stretch its legs again before going to the garage. It just has to keep on Rockin' In The Free World.

The Horse-Train-Beast insists on including all the Free-Worlders by lighting up the station. As it does so, it's faced with Ordinary People, just like at most all the stations along the track. One last time it greets the beast as it chugs along.

The beast then breaks into a gallop with Sedan Delivery and we all gallop along-side. Eventually it outruns us and the train goes off to the garage. We call and call, and what returns is no longer the Horse-Train-Beast -- it's just The Horse. The Horse takes a bow and invites us to run with it again, to the Mansion On The Hill.

The Horse fumbles a bit with Powderfinger and its rider can be seen shouting "I fucked THAT up!" afterward. Ain't that what makes Neil so cool? He can fuck up a song and it's fun! (At least I think so, and Poncho does, because he was laughing his ass off -- how about you?)

This horse is finally beat... It's just got to go home. Not on the rails now, because this HORDE train has reached the end of the line. Disembarkation time. But first we gotta Roll Another Number For The Road.

Post Script

Not long afterward Ordinary People joined the Rider of the Horse for a little bit, as he and The Horse cooled down from the run -- and the horse/rider/engineer tagged it with his name. Ordinary People and Horse-Train-Beast thus reached a state of symmetry for another year. May it always remain so...
. . . RE*AC*TOR


HORDE at Coral Sky
West Palm Beach, FLA, Aug 24, 1997

review by ??? ??? ????


(more to be added when I can... --RE*AC*TOR)