SEPTEMBER 11 CAN BE a quiet night in American towns these days, and a glance at the video below suggests that the crowd who came out to see Pegi Young & the Survivors at Johnny D's Uptown Restaurant And Music Club in Somerville, Massachusetts on Wednesday evening was far from capacity. Who knew Peggy's husband was planning on showing up? Well, the clues were certainly out there, if you were looking for them. Prior to the performance, Johnny D’s owners posted a message on their Facebook page, announcing that "Because we have such a heart of gold, we’re telling you that you don’t want to miss tonight’s Pegi Young & The Survivors show at Johnny D’s Uptown Restaurant & Music Club which will feature a very very special guest. Know what we’re sayin’??" and the enormo tour van outside the venue possibly tipped off some of the locals.
Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein from The Boston Globe were there, and they quickly realised that "one of the guys on electric guitar, the one in the black T-shirt, jeans, and wide-brimmed hat concealing a mane of graying hair, looked familiar". And wasn't that Spooner Oldham on electric piano?
Introduced by Pegi with the words "Neil's going to play a new one", Drive My Car, proves to be a deceptively simple little beast. A possible thematic cast-off from Fork In The Road, Young's 2009's album about the eco re-tool of his 1959 Lincoln Continental, the song chugs with a scrappy 55mph-on-Route-66 steadiness, occasionally veering off into a spot of dorian mode McCartney soloing (a possible nod to this, although it's more reminiscent of this). Along the road there are also some possible allusions to notions of American freedom, global warming, career resilience and the denial of death ("I'm not going home to momma"). Or maybe it's just a big dumb-ass song about driving your car. Can it be both? There's Neil Young for you. Hopefully, we'll be able to check it out for ourselves when Crazy Horse's Frank Poncho Sampedro's hand is mended and Young comes back to play those cancelled UK dates.