Neil Young performs Rockin’ In the Free World on Saturday Night Live, September 30th, 1989.
One of the greatest moments in the history of rock and roll with a one-off band assembled just for this performance.
"I picked the biggest drums, the biggest cymbals I could find—I’d been workin’ TV long enough to know that if I didn’t have cymbals that big, nobody would hear ‘em." -Steve Jordan, drummer
"Frank ‘Poncho’ Sampedro (rhythm guitar) oozed a particularly menacing vibe, all pumped up and greased back, while Carley Drayton (bass), in flashy leathers and ripped jeans, tumbleweed hair obscuring his sullen face, slowly lumbered around like a prehistoric mutant marking territory. Steve Jordan pounded the drums with the desperation of a man about to be buried alive. Halfway through the performance, Young flashed a look at his little collection of creatures, and for a moment he seemed ready to burst out laughing. What a band. Two black guys, a Spaniard and a crazy Canuck. They looked like a bunch of car thieves." -Jimmy McDonough, Shakey
"I was trying to get to the place where I would be when I did Rockin’ in the Free World during my live show. To do that I had to ignore Saturday Night Live completely. I had to pretend I wasn’t there. I had my trainer, and we just lifted weights and I did calisthenics to get my blood to the level it would be at after performing for an hour and twenty-five minutes—which is usually how long I’d be onstage by the time I did that song. To perform that song the way it’s supposed to be performed, you have to be at peak blood level. Everything has to be up, your machine has to be stoked. You can’t walk on cold and do that or you’re gonna look like a fuckin’ idiot.” -Neil Young