Neil Young - Down By The River

First performance: 22/03/1985


Bruce played the song 3 times:
Always together with Neil Young
1995-10-28 Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA
The Bridge School Benefit. Solo acoustic performance, the last two tracks with Neil Young. Other artists on the bill include The Pretenders, Hootie & The Blowfish, Beck, and Emmylou Harris.
With Neil Young at the outdoor amphitheatre in Jones Beach State Park on Long Island. "Down By The River" was the show closer. 
Bruce joins Neil Young onstage during the final encore in Neil's final show in Sydney. Bruce and Neil trade vocals and blistering guitar solos on an extended version of Young's 1969 classic "Down By The River". Nils Lofgren also made a guest appearance earlier in this show, playing piano on "Tell Me Why" and accordion on "Comes A Time". Still rated by many as Bruce's most memorable walk-on guest appearance. First known Springsteen performance of the song. 


"Down by the River" is a song composed by Neil Young. It was first released on his 1969 album with Crazy Horse, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. Young explained the context of the story in the liner notes of his 1977 anthology album Decade, stating that he wrote "Down by the River," "Cinnamon Girl" and "Cowgirl in the Sand" while delirious in bed in Topanga Canyon with a 103 °F (39 °C) fever. The lyrics are apparently about someone who kills his lover by shooting her, as in a murder ballad." An author argues the killer's motive is that she takes him to emotional heights from which he cannot bear to go on. But Young himself has provided multiple explanations for the lyrics. In an interview with Robert Greenfield in 1970 Young claimed that "there's no real murder in it. It's about blowing your thing with a chick. It's a plea, a desperate cry." Introducing the song in New Orleans on September 27, 1984 Young claimed that it depicts a man "who had a lot of trouble controlling himself" who catches his woman cheating on him, then meets her down by the river and shoots her. According to Young, the local sheriff comes to the man's house and arrests him a few hours later. 

Bruce on the artist

Bruce and Neil Young played 8 times together
2013-02-08 Los Angeles Convention Center, LA
2004-10-05 Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN
1995-10-28 Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA
1994-10-20 Roseland Ballroom, New York City
1989-06-14 Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY
1988-01-20 Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York City
1986-10-13 Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA
1985-03-22 Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Australia

Neil Youg was also there at the MusiCares Person of the year 2013 when Bruce was honored. Bruce was tributed by Young and among others.


Be on my side, I'll be on your side, baby
There is no reason for you to hide
It's so hard for me staying here all alone
When you could be taking me for a ride
Yeah, she could drag me over the rainbow, send me away
Down by the river I shot my baby
Down by the river, dead, oh, shot her dead, oh

You take my hand, I'll take your hand
Together we may get away
This much madness is too much sorrow
It's impossible to make it today
Yeah, oh, yeah, she could drag me over the rainbow and send me away
Down by the river I shot my baby
Down by the river, dead, oh, shot her dead, oh