Watch Neil Young & Crazy Horse Premiere the Lost Verse from "Cortez the Killer"

Photo: Takahiro Kyono

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Apr 25, 2024

Last week, Neil Young teased how he'd bring a recently unearthed verse from "Cortez the Killer" on the road as part of his 2024 North American tour with Crazy Horse, and at last night's tour kickoff in San Diego, those lost lyrics were premiered.

Young and the Horse opened their set with "Cortez the Killer" Wednesday night at San Diego's Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre, setting the scene with a six-minute jam before the bandleader sang the opening lines.

The Canadian and longtime bandmates Ralph Molina (drums) and Billy Talbot (bass) were joined by Micah Nelson, who is playing guitar on the trek in place of Nils Lofgren, due to his commitments to Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band.

As seen a little after the 11-minute mark, Young adds a verse to "Cortez" that didn't make the final recording due to some technical difficulties in-studio, and proceeds to rip an emotive guitar solo to match the gravity of the moment.

"I floated on the water / I ate that ocean wave," Young sings, "Two weeks after the slaughter / I was living in a cave / They came too late to get me / But there's no one here to set me free / From this rocky grave / To that snowed-out ocean wave."

Ahead of the artist's Canadian tour dates, revisit Exclaim!'s list of Neil Young Albums Ranked from Worst to Best.

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