Live At Massey Hall 1971 Review

artist: Neil Young date: 12/15/2008 category: compact discs
Neil Young: Live At Massey Hall 1971
Release Date: Mar 13, 2007
Label: Reprise / Wea
Genres: Singer/Songwriter, Folk-Rock
Number Of Tracks: 17
There are no impressive guitar solos or strong falsetto singing to impress you. The album is as simple and true as stripped-down emotions could be.
 Sound: 9
 Lyrics: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (2) 14 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.3
Live At Massey Hall 1971 Reviewed by: UG Team, on april 02, 2007
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: Being a young and promising musician, it's a good idea to record everything you do, especially concerts. Later on, being very famous and successful, you'll be able to add to your bank account and make happy some hundred thousand fans by releasing those old records. I think Neil Young knew this, coming to his home country Canada in 1971, already a star in America, and recording his concert in Toronto. In 2007 he remembered about it, found the tape in the basement and took it to the record label. In March 2007 Live at Massey Hall finally got to the store shells. This is the second album of Neil Young Archives series, following last year's Live at Fillmore East. Apart from the previous distorted and epic release, this one shows a different side of the artist -- more sentimental and unadorned. This is a one-man performance with Young singing mostly new songs (as they were at that time) and accompanying himself on guitar and piano. The album starts with enthusiastic applause and instead of boring silence between the tracks, you hear thankful audience clapping Young at the beginning and the end of almost every song. The songs we know and love sound different and often very unexpected with finger-picked guitar instead of an electric version. Like classic rock staple Old Man that amazes you with a pain and great sorrow instead of comfort James Taylor plinking banjo and Linda Ronstadt backing vocal provide in the original version. Acoustic tracks make you appreciate the vocals, the guitar and piano by Neil Young, showing you one of the most underrated sides of Young's talent -- playing the piano. The stand-out piano track is A Man Needs A Maid/heart Of Gold, introduced as a soundtrack to his life. With all the passion a man can get out of piano, Young plays delicate verses, along the choruses on the contrary loud and thunderous. High emotion level the artist performs with can easily be explained -- ten out of seventeen tracks were unreleased then and the concert at Massey Hall was one of the first times he performed them. The artist was probably still living though the experience that influenced him to write the songs. // 8

Lyrics: That sonic vibe of the record makes Young's lyrics sound even more personal and his distinctive all nose vocal more soulful. While the usual record presents you more a progress of newest record equipment, Live At Massey Hall lets you peep at what Neil Young's bare vocal is -- always soaring, trembling at softer tunes and roaring in culminations. Being 25 at that time, Young sings about maturing, relationships as well as some philosophical subjects. It also includes a regretful speech about a necessary attribute of any '70s rockstar -- heroin. Singing Journey Through The Past Young highlights the patriotic words I'm going back to Canada, which gets greetings from his compatriots. // 9

Overall Impression: The CD features a quiet cracking tape sound, giving you a warm nostalgia feel of an old vinyl. There are no impressive guitar solos or strong falsetto singing to impress you. The album is as simple and true as stripped-down emotions could be. The atmosphere of the CD is very intimate. Apart from tuning his guitar, Young often talks in between the songs, describing them and joking with the audience. When he's performing, it almost feels like he's singing and playing in your hall. If only not that sick annoying person that kills romance coughing all through the record... // 8

- Kosh (c) 2007

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overall: 10
Live At Massey Hall 1971 Reviewed by: westozrocker, on december 15, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: This Neil Young Archives Performance Series release, Live at Massey Hall 1971 finds Neil Young, solo, singing some yet to be released songs that were soon to become timeless classics to his native Canadian audience playing acoustic guitar and sometimes the piano. His strong, clear and beautiful voice and distinctive acoustic guitar playing and the overall sound quality of this recording are most impressive. // 10

Lyrics: By 1970 Neil had become so prolific as a songwriter, the songs were flowing out at a hundred miles an hour giving him an abundance of material to perform live. His lyrics were honest and direct dealing with subjects of love and lonliness, longing and searching for that something, a maid, a heart of gold perhaps? In this intimate acoustic setting, Neil delivers these songs in their truest form. Neil's vocal style has had it's fair share of detractors over the years. His singing is an acquired taste but one that I really enjoy. If his vocals aren't your cup of tea, give this release a chance because his singing is beautiful and high, emotive and very strong despite his shyness as a performer at this early stage of his career. // 10

Overall Impression: Neil has release many fine recordings and as far as live acoustic fare goes, this one is very hard to top. Every song stands out. The Harvest tracks, performed before the release of the Harvest album are particularly stunning. Listen to Heart Of Gold, in it's infant stages - before being crafted into his only #1 single of his career - here, played on piano in the middle of A Man Needs A Maid. Some of his electric songs are given acoustic treatment such as Ohio, Down By The River and Cowgirl In The Sand. You can here these sung more emotively, without the Crazy Horse treatment, right here. Journey Through The Past and Bad Fog Of Lonliness are other notable performances here, I have never heard better takes on these songs. I treasure Live At Massey Hall in my Neil Young collection, it definately sits near the top of that and a joy to play and share with almost anyone who appreciates great songs sung beautifully. // 10

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