Neil Young Journeys

Neil Young's music was always a mystery to me. (Remember Buffalo Springfield? Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young? I don't.) After watching this documentary filmed by Jonathan Demme, I figured it out: He bores me! He plays the same five notes in various combinations, with clich├ęd lyrics, many of which are about drugs, wailed in a minor key to wildly appreciative audiences. This shows you how out of step I have been most of my life!

This highly acclaimed guy has been entertaining since 1960 and has influenced popular music ever since. I am willing to admit he is a skilled musician. I was fascinated by the technology brought into play for this concert. The guy in the control booth is as much an artist as Mr. Young; together they make this one-man band sound like an orchestra. For this project, Young is the only person on stage, surrounded by a pump organ, guitars, amplifiers, speakers, a statue, a harmonica, and a piano.

I found his studiously unkempt appearance to be off-putting. Doesn't anyone shave anymore? And that hat! It seems like a prop to show us he is a Man of the People. But the ultra-close close-ups using a tiny camera on his harmonica "stand" reveal every whisker, every tooth, every wrinkle and leave us with every illusion shattered.

This little personally guided tour of Omemee, his Canadian home town, complete with candid and entertaining memories from his childhood, ends at nearby Massey Hall in Toronto where he performs complete, uncut versions of (if I remember correctly):
  • Rock and Roll is Here to Stay
  • Helpless
  • Ohio
  • After the Gold Rush
  • My My, Hey Hey (I Believe in You)
  • Love and War
  • Down By the River
  • Hitchhiker
  • Leia
  • You Never Call
This is strictly for Neil Young fans. They will relish those full-length versions of his songs and the humorous anecdotes from his rascally boyhood. I appreciated his skill, even though his music left me cold.
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Here is a sample:
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