One of the great moments in Neil Young’s long, illustrious career of great moments is his extended display of power in “Like a Hurricane.” Not only does the aptly named song exhibit his usual lyrical songwriting but it also lets the horses loose (no pun intended) on his band’s musical skills, not to mention Young’s stormin’ guitar playing (again, no pun intended.) Young exploited such power continuously in his live presence (listen to Weld and you hear what I’m talking about.)
Bill Graham’s penchant for rock was capitalistic at best. He knew that this music was an increasingly progressive phenomenon at the time and he, looking forward, much like a sage, put himself into place to present it to a hungry audience. Thus, the Fillmore theatres were born as well as his other widely used venues, to a world of legend.
Blend the two legends together and you have an extraordinary document.
Like most of the rock performers in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Neil Young performed at those venues, creating legendary live recordings and magic as they did so. With the beginning releases of the Neil Young Archives/Performance Series, tapes that were long rumoured to exist now have an outlet for the fans of Neil Young to enjoy.
The concert selections found on this album are from shows performed at New York’s Fillmore East on March 6 and 7 in the tender year of 1970, when rock was really powering up. These performances featured the original lineup of Crazy Horse including Jack Nitzsche (electric piano) as well as Talbot, Molina, and Whitten (before his death from a heroin overdose in 1972 – Danny Whitten was the subject of Young’s “The Needle and The Damage Done” from his exemplary Harvest album).
Neil Young had just assembled and released an album (Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere) with Crazy Horse before he assembled the band for this set of shows. On this album are only six songs but they sound great. It opens with “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” from the second Young album (first w/Crazy Horse), goes into a great version of “Winterlong,” and ends with “Cowgirl in the Sand.”
Besides an excellent sounding mix, this album represents the first salvo in the Archives series that everyone has been clamoring for. Why wait to purchase it...you've been waiting for this.
The complaint that I have is somewhat minimal and is fast becoming a moot point with discs being crammed into carriers and stored in other than the traditional slotting processes, and that is the flimsy digipak that the album is stored in. When opened, there is little closure between the spines and the disc finds a way to slip further into the packaging, requiring two fingers to dig for. There is a paper insert that is found in the same cavity, which further complicates the retrieval process especially when you need to put the slip of paper back in.
Otherwise, Neil Young continues to supply us with great music. This unearthed live album is excellent music. For those that need a complete set, and who wouldn’t, there is a CD/DVD combo with an added hi-resolution Stereo mix on the DVD as well as rare photos from the concert that this disc documents. Also found on the DVD are song lyrics, archival press articles, as well as other goodies from the concert.