Saturday, March 10, 2007

Neil Young "Live at Massey Hall 1971" (2007)

"I'm gonna sing mostly new songs tonight," Neil Young tells the rapt Massey Hall audience, "...I've written so many new ones that I can't think of anything else to do with them other than sing 'em." He steps to the mic unadorned, distant from CSNY's rippled harmonies or Crazy Horse's yowl, hypnotically nailing 17 tracks on this unreleased 1971 solo set [iTunes here]. You hear him tower at vocal heights on the chorus for "Old Man" (then a debuted, brand-new song) and name-check Canada on "Journey to the Past" and North Ontario on "Helpless," much to the Toronto crowd's delight. The sound is impeccable, and the closeness to Young in this spare setting exhilarates--especially his vocal quavering in the high registers, his intricate guitar work, and an overall vibe that exceeds description. And the DVD: Here you catch Young in tightly framed, starkly-lit shots, flourishing in the early years of an unparalleled rock career. Not only that, you get commentary from 1997, a rare window on how Young thinks, how he speaks, his humor.

One of the greatest singer-songwriters of the rock era. Solo. Acoustic. January 19, 1971. Live At Massey Hall, the legendary concert from Neil Young, is finally officially released, and in highresolution stereo, in this CD+DVD package (also as a solo CD). The acclaimed Toronto performance features classics "Old Man" and, in a suite, "A Man Needs A Maid" and "Heart Of Gold" (before they were recorded for Harvest) along with some of his most popular songs ("Cowgirl In The Sand," "Ohio") as well as the most obscure ("Bad Fog Of Loneliness"). Live At Massey Hall is a newly mined rock gem. [MicroPlayer here]. [Rolling Stone review here].

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