Neil Young has suffered more than his share of death and disease in recent years, the mild stroke which forced Crazy Horse bassist Billy Talbot off this European tour just the latest blow to his inner circle.
The warm glow of battling optimism with which Young bathes Hyde Park only seems stronger for it.
“People say don’t rock the boat/ Let things go their own way,” sneers a man who would rather sink the boat than compromise his course, in “Days That Used To Be”.
Songs such as “Love to Burn” start like the tide coming in, on waves of electric guitar. A taste of the solo acoustic sets he’s playing in the US includes his only UK hit, “Heart of Gold”, which people wander past me absent-mindedly singing.
There’s internal rhyme and reason to the set, as “Psychedelic Pill”’s low bar-room thump surges into “Cinnamon Girl”’s Californian grunge. Both love dancing girls.
Social justice is repeatedly demanded, the hippie dream still fiercely alive in Young’s ruddy face.
But the slow, sparking blues of “Down By The River” is the majestic gift he leaves us with.