Be On My Side, I'll Be On Your Side - Neil Young: Live @ Massey Hall

Posted by Miss Ess, April 3, 2007 10:35pm | Post a Comment

You might as well know this early on my postings: there is no music I like better than Neil Young's music.

Like any good Rustie, I already had some of the bootlegs from his solo acoustic 1971 tour, and have practically worn out the tapes and vinyl over the years.  This tour in 1971 came at a particularly prolific moment in Young's life. He had released After the Goldrush, one of his very best, and was done writing Harvest, widely regarded as his career best. (Although to me that's a debatable call.) Since at the time it had not been released, the songs from Harvest were completely new to the audience during the performance. As someone who has been listening to Harvest for 27 years, this is both difficult and also very exciting to imagine.

So, a few weeks ago on March 13, again like any good Rustie, I got ahold of the official release of Live at Massey Hall (the special version of course, including the dvd) as quickly as I could.

It rules.

The dvd is mostly footage from the show at Massey Hall, but it also includes vintage super 8 footage of Neil on his then newly-purchased ranch in Woodside with his dogs, fences and dappled light. The images only enhance the warm quality the music already exudes.

I'm not really one to use the word peaceful. I don't
own a yoga mat. But this footage, this voice,
these songs, made me feel just that-- peacefully at home. I guess that's in large part because I grew up with Neil Young's music, was taught to sing harmony by my mom to his songs, was quizzed while a child as to who was guesting on his albums and where they were recorded. I remember our green station wagon and those long family drives to Yosemite, rocking the Neil all the way, dad drumming along on the steering wheel.

So the other night, sitting for just over an hour, watching one dude onstage with a guitar, piano, mic and his songs...I was left thinking: does anyone else do this anymore to such an effect? Or maybe these songs can reach me this way, tap into something so deep, because of the length of time I have been listening to them, the memories and nostalgia attached to them? 

The (perhaps oversimplified) conclusion I have come to is that whether you are listening for the first time of the billionth, the songs stand up. Although I am sure I will bring his music up again sometime here, I don't know really what's left to say about Neil that hasn't already been said at this point. 

The songs stand up.

Relevant Tags

Yoga Mats (3), Live At Massey Hall (2), After The Goldrush (1), Neil Young (36), Harvest (2)