Buffalo Springfield were always a house of cards caught in a hurricane.
Neil Young was – and still is – famous for going wherever his muse takes him, others be damned. From the band’s earliest days Young had issues to deal with, including the onset of epilepsy, constant drug use, and apprehension about the band management and the music business in general.
Perhaps inevitably, Buffalo Springfield gave their final performance as a group on May 5, 1968.
Young had previously bailed on the band for its stop at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June 1967. Stephen Stills brought in Byrds guitarist David Crosby for the gig, which also caused tension within the Byrds camp.
“Actually, the reason I initially left the group was because I didn’t want to do the Johnny Carson Tonight Show,” Young told Mojo in 1995. “I thought it was belittling what the Buffalo Springfield was doing. That audience wouldn’t have understood us. We’d have been just a fuckin’ curiosity to them.”
He left the band for the final time after a show at the Long Beach Arena in California. “I just couldn’t handle it towards the end,” Young later explained. “It wasn’t me scheming on a solo career, it wasn’t anything but my nerves. Everything started to go to fucking fast. It was going crazy, joining and quitting, joining and quitting again. I began to feel like I didn’t have to answer or obey anyone. I’d quit, then I’d come back ‘cos it sounded so good. I just wasn’t mature enough to deal with it.”
Stills added, “We fell prey to the whole entourage system. Everybody had to have his own entourage and it got stupid. We forgot the initial brotherhood.” It wouldn’t be until a 2010 appearance at Neil Young’s annual Bridge School Benefit, and a brief reunion tour in 2011, that the legendary band would again grace a live stage.
Buffalo Springfield’s Set List From May, 5, 1968
“Rock ‘n Roll Woman”
“A Child’s Claim to Fame”
“Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing”
“Good Time Boy”
“For What It’s Worth”