Neil Young in Massey Hall/Toronto
March 9, 2007 2 Comments
You probably already have noticed that I am a big fan of Neil Young. Yeah actually I am a complete addict 😉 Today I bought the fresh CD/DVD Live in Massey Hall 1971 (release data was march, 13th, are they releasing earlier in germany?). If you are interested, read on for a review…
It is really hard to put Neil Young in any category. On one album he’s the grunge rocker, then he makes the countryman, blues brother, or whatever he likes to do. Back in 1971 he has just become popuplar with rocking Crazy Horse (see the live CD from december last year), folk-rocky Crosby Stills Nash & Young and one of his most successful albums After The Goldrush. This live album shows yet another facette. It is a recording from a complete solo concert from the time between After the Goldrush and his upcoming album Harvest (which should become his most famous album ever, albeith not exactly his best one IMO). It features a couple of older songs as well as many (at this time) new and unknown songs. There are even 3 songs that have been completely unreleased until now. (He announces one song as: ”Every six months I hold a meeting with all my songs to see which ones will get recorded. This one wasn’t even invited to the meeting.”) The interesting thing about all of these titles is, that he plays them all alone. There are the well known rockers ‘Down By The River’ and ‘Cowgirl In The Sand’ played on acoustic guitar. Creepy. Two songs that I never really liked from the Harvest album, because recorded with orchestra (eww), really shine here, played only on piano (‘A Man Needs a Maid’ and ‘There’s a World’). Basically all the songs on this album are played entirely differently then on the respective album recordings. Much much more intimate. It’s almost frightening to feel the intensity and the emotions of Neil Young.
Interesting detail is that this is the first concert for about 5 years of Neil Young in his homeland Canada. And it really shows in the songs. Many of them are directly or indirectly about Canada, and the audience really seems to appreciate when he sings ‘Now I’m going back to Canada in a journey through the past’. Also, his high voice and spartanic playing seems to deliver a feeling of wide flat and often cold lands that Canada is. Or was. Dunno, I’ve never been there. But this album somehow makes me want to go there for a holiday..
Along with the CD comes a DVD (if you choose so, and I strongly recommend it), which features all the tracks in 96kHz Hifi, complete video footage, photos, press stuff, interviews (with Johnny Cash even, yay!) etc. I only hope that this album will be released on LP too, because in order to listen CD, I have to do some plugging around (my laptop to the Hifi).
Now, go and watch the trailers as well as the ‘Ohio’ and ‘Old Man’ outtakes, and then go and buy the CD :-). It is very well worth the 20€ or so, at least for anybody who likes good acoustic music and doesn’t hate Neil Young for some unknown reason ;-).
Oh, and included in the pack was a small flyer saying that the Neil Young Archives are finally going to be released in 2007. AFAIK, all those rusties have been waiting for this since the 80s or so. Uh, and I got to save some money for that, this is going to be 8 CDs and 2 DVDs, and this is only the first volume of a whole bunch.