ATLANTIC CITY – The big question of the evening was: Would they go there? Would Neil Young & Crazy Horse perform "Like a Hurricane" at a Hurricane Sandy benefit concert Thursday night at the Borgata.
The answer came after a 12-song set – played the good old-fashioned, rock-and-roll way with giant Fender Deluxe amps and Young on Fender Stratocaster guitars. After classics and new tracks from their latest album "Psychedelic Pill" came the lithe strains of the 1977 masterpiece that Young wrote not about an intense storm, but about his intense desire for a girl.
And the crowd went wild.
"If you get a chance go down to the beach and take a look so you remember," Young said, encouraging the audience of more than 2,000 to see firsthand the storm's impact on beaches, homes and businesses along New Jersey's 127-mile coastline.
The crowd paid $75 to $150 to stand inside the Borgata's Event Center for the four-hour fundraiser. It opened with the alternative country band Everest and included a set from Phish frontman Trey Anastasio, a native of Princeton.
With the performers and crews giving their time and and Borgata donating the production costs, more than $250,000 was raised for the American Red Cross Sandy Relief Fund.
"I've been coming through here a long time … you've always supported me. That's why I'm here for you now," the quintessentially cool Young told the audience between songs, with a playlist that included "Walk Like A Giant," "Cinnamon Girl," and "Rockin' in the Free World."