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110 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sowing the Seeds for Harvest
This is a tremendous CD which I whole-heartedly recommend. Neil Young announces before the fourth song that he will be playing "mostly new songs tonight." Five of the new songs would appear on the following year's "Harvest" album, which for my money, is Neil Young's finest. Did the audience realize just how extraordinary was this batch of new songs? Did Neil himself have...
Published on March 13, 2007 by Gibbous Maan

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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Neil - what's the deal?
Here's the skinny on the DVD: The extra features, such as a clip from Neil performing 2 songs on "the Johnny Cash show" and the footage of Neil on his ranch with the hired hand that inspired the song "Old Man", are pretty cool. But I began to notice subtle differnces in the audio and the video (very subtle - but they're there). Then it hit me: The video is NOT the same...
Published on June 23, 2007 by Bill


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110 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sowing the Seeds for Harvest, March 13, 2007
This review is from: Live at Massey Hall (CD/DVD) (Audio CD)
This is a tremendous CD which I whole-heartedly recommend. Neil Young announces before the fourth song that he will be playing "mostly new songs tonight." Five of the new songs would appear on the following year's "Harvest" album, which for my money, is Neil Young's finest. Did the audience realize just how extraordinary was this batch of new songs? Did Neil himself have any inkling of the phenomenal acclaim and acceptance "Harvest" would receive?

The songs are all performed solo by Neil, twelve on guitar, six (counting track 7 as two) on piano. (Unplugged, if you will, decades before that term was coined and turned into a marketing tool.)

One of the most interesting piano tracks is "A Man Needs a Maid/Heart of Gold." Neil introduces the song by saying "some people look at their life and say, well, my life is like a movie," then jokes that "this is like a showtune from my movie," perhaps foreshadowing the heavy production "A Man Needs a Maid" would receive on the studio album. However, the spare rendering here is superior, in my opinion. Then midway through the track, Neil segues into a stark version of "Heart of Gold," previewing what can arguably be called his definitive song.

Standout tracks with acoustic guitar include "Old Man," "Needle and the Damage Done," "Cowgirl In The Sand," and "Ohio." But one could as easily point out highlights by repeating the entire track list. Guitarists especially will appreciate how the songs are played in this solo acoustic format. The sound quality of the recording is superb.

There are several new (at the time) songs that didn't wind up on Harvest or any other album. Of particular note is "Dance, Dance, Dance." In the verse you will recognize the seeds of a later more well-known song.

That Neil has remained relevant all these years -- from CSN&Y to Harvest to Rust Never Sleeps to the Pearl Jam collaborations to last year's "Living With War" -- makes this CD much more than a nostalgic look at the past. I highly recommend it.
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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful., March 19, 2007
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This review is from: Live at Massey Hall (CD/DVD) (Audio CD)
Neil Young has been tantalizing his fans with the release of the Archives project for going on two decades now, starting with the concept of "Decade II" in the 80's. Here we are in 2007 and the time for this glorious unearthing of the treasures in Neil's catalog has finally arrived. Neil will be releasing various live shows under the Performance Series banner, as well as multiple CD/DVD box sets spanning his entire career, both studio and live.

Massey Hall is the second release in the Performance Series (despite its cryptic label of Disc 03). Neil reduces things to their absolute minimum at this gig. Neil's voice, his guitar, and his piano are the sole instruments for the seventeen tracks - his harmonica is nowhere to be found. There are no real guitar solos or significant instrumental breaks.

The effect this has is to bring to the forefront Neil's uniquely powerful voice and his emotion-laden lyrics. He sounds wonderful on this release, and the stripped-down presentation truly makes his songs shine. Like the CSNY live album "4-Way Street," we start off with a lilting version of the Buffalo Springfield song "On the Way Home." Neil intersperses a few other classics in the setlist, such as "Down by the River," "Don't Let It Bring You Down," and a powerfully emotional "Cowgirl in the Sand."

However, this was not a nostalgia show. Ten of the songs were brand-new at the time and had not yet been recorded. To their credit, Neil's audience rolls right along with the unfamiliar new material, granting it a respectful silence and enthusiastic applause at the end of each new number (with the exception of the Canada name-check in "Journey through the Past," which of course gets a response, seeing as how Massey Hall is a Canadian venue). At this point, the famed "Heart of Gold" was almost a throwaway middle section in "A Man Needs A Maid." It's cool to hear Neil start his most famous/notorious song so casually, and the absolute lack of audience response is fun.

The DVD that comes with this version of Massey Hall is terrific. The video footage is dated, but it is undeniably powerful seeing the youthful Neil overcoming the back brace he was forced to wear on this tour and delivering such an incredible set. The disc also contains a wealth of historical information and supplemental video content.

I am thrilled to see Neil's Archives finally unfolding and believe this disc is a sure-fire hit for his current fans as well as being a great blind buy if you're new to Neil and want to give his music a shot.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another piece of the Neil puzzle., March 15, 2007
By 
Jobiwan (Wisconsin, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Live at Massey Hall (CD/DVD) (Audio CD)
I've been totally immersed in Neil for a few months now. Mainly "On The Beach" and "Tonight's The Night". So when I read this was coming out I was more than excited, I actually tried to take the day off of work to run out, buy it, and listen to it. What's amazing is that Neil already has such history, we all have our favorite albums, we all have our opinions on "Harvest", and now "Massey Hall" changes everything. It should immediately jump into the pantheon of his best albums, no matter which ones are your favorites. Also, no matter what you think of "Harvest", love it or hate it this gives a new perspective on the album. If you've read "Shakey" like I am now you already know a lot of the details of his recording process during this time. But the songs here and the things Neil says between songs give us greater insight into "Harvest" and what he was thinking at the time. You realize that the songs would have been just as good as they're presented here. You realize that the songs only sound the way they do on "Harvest" basically just by happenstance. He happened to be going to Nashville to do the 'Johnny Cash Show" so he hooked up with some musicians there, and we was going to England to do a BBC show and added the London Symphony Orchestra. The sound quality is of course incredible. You can hear the echo in the Hall, Neil's voice reverberating beautifully throughout the place, you can feel Neil hitting those steel strings of his acoustic guitar with all his might on the rising chorus of "Old Man". The DVD is wonderful too. If you're a huge Neil fan like me any footage audio or visual from this era is incredible. Some have complained the concert footage is grainy and that the camera work is shaky, to me it's basically a documentary of the concert. It's interesting too to see the actual old man from "Old Man" as well. Any fan of good music should buy this immediately.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Live at Massey Hall, April 2, 2007
By 
Walton Rollins (Milford, Connecticut United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Live at Massey Hall (CD/DVD) (Audio CD)
First, let me say the CD/audio of this Neil Young concert from 1971 is fantastic. The songs he performs in this show are the ones that originally turned me into a big Neil Young fan back in my high school days. There are the Neil Yong acoustic guitar classics such as "Old Man", "Don't Let It Bring You Down", "Cowgirl In The Sand", "Ohio", "Helpless", "On The Way Home" and "Tell Me Why" among others which sound outstanding. There is also that rare gem of a previously unreleased song "Bad Fog Of Loneliness" which I find to be the most interesting song on the CD. His piano songs also fit very nicely into the mix of songs presented in this show. Neil's banter between songs demonstrates his humor and helps to put you in the audience. I can't express how good the CD version of this concert is.

The DVD is another story. Those who are diehard Neil Young fans have probably seen the film footage used to represent this concert in the DVD as being taken from a Dutch documentary of Neil performing in Stratford Conn. about a week after the Massey Hall show in Toronto. The DVD footage is identical to clips that have appeared on the bootleg market of the Stratford show. Interesting enough, the songs without a film performance on the DVD (Helpless, Bad Fog Of Loneliness, I Am A Child) were songs not played in Stratford and therefore no film version exists that would enable those performances to appear on the DVD. Also none of the banter between songs is shown in visual form on the DVD either. There are several other inconsistencies with the DVD that lend credence to the fact that the footage is not from the actual Massey Hall show. One instance is when Neil is speaking to the crowd in the middle of his performance of "Dance,Dance,Dance". About half way through the song he tells the crowd to "make some noise" while the camera shows his face while strumming the chords but yet he cannot be seen speaking/mouthing the words on the film. There are other similar instances throughout the DVD.

The film footage is interesting and a must see for any Neil fan but it is not the actual concert film. I liken it to a hypothetical purchasing of a similar CD/DVD collection of, lets say for example, "The Beatles At Candlestick Park 1966" with the audio of the Candlestick Park show used over film footage of the Beatles performing in Cincinnati on the DVD. All Beatle fans know that would not be acceptable. I write this to make people aware that you are not getting the actual footage of Massey Hall and there is no mention that the film is from the Stratford concert. While this takes nothing away from the actual CD performance it does bother me a bit to get something like this from Neil who is pretty honest and upfront about things. It is a bit misleding IMO.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as it gets, March 15, 2007
This review is from: Live at Massey Hall (CD/DVD) (Audio CD)
I spent most of the 70's listening to Neil Young, and I'm pretty sure that if I had been able to listen to this record, it would have been one of my favorites.

Neil's voice has never sounded better -- it's very strong and clear -- and the simple solo arrangements are very strong. And there are several songs on this CD that I like better than the canonical versions on the studio records.

The experience of listening to this has been really odd for me. There are songs on here that have been part of my life for 30 years, and I think that some of these versions are better. And it's not that there's a new or different take on them -- it's that same original vision, the thing that grabbed me at first, coming through stronger.

Basically, this is one of the best records of the 70's, inexplicably released in 2007. Go figure.
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars aka The Essential Acoustic Neil Young, March 14, 2007
By 
Robert P. Inverarity (Silicon Valley, California, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Live at Massey Hall (CD/DVD) (Audio CD)
This a really outstanding performance, especially if you like the "sensitive" Neil of the early 70s. Three songs are previously unreleased by Neil Young: "On the Way Home," "Bad Fog of Loneliness," and "Dance Dance Dance." Two songs are from the great never-issued-on-CD _Time Fades Away_: "Love in Mind" and "Journey Through the Past."

The set starts off light, with the tossed-off "On the Way Home." I'm not surprised that this wasn't released; it's not bad, but it's not very good either. Then follow "Tell Me Why," "Old Man," "Journey Through the Past"... and a knockout solo version of "Helpless." Emotionally, it's just downhill from there: every song gets a little darker and more helpless than the last. You can really feel the Doom Trilogy years stretching out before him. It's compelling listening!

The "suite" is interesting - it seems as if "Heart of Gold" started out as the middle-eight of "A Man Needs a Maid." If he'd kept it that way, he'd never have had his only #1 hit. "Maid" and "There's a World" both fare much better for the lack of orchestral overdub bombast that sunk the album versions.

"Bad Fog of Loneliness" starts off a little perfunctory, but veers darker and better. It's nice to have it out. The acoustic versions of "Down by the River," "Cowgirl in the Sand," and "Ohio" are really amazing, as good as the full-band versions in their way. "Dance Dance Dance" lightens the mood at the end of the encore. It's slight, but very effective in context.

My only complaint is that tracks begin with the stage banter relating to them, so you have to sit through two minutes of chatter before he starts singing. I'm glad it's there, but I'm going to have to make a music-only edit for normal listening. I like having the stage banter, but it would be best to have it on a separate track from the song, I think. A very minor complaint in any case.

The DVD has great bonus material - song lyric manuscripts, Johnny Cash Show videos, etc. - but the concert video itself isn't very good. You see much more footage of a running reel-to-reel tape recorder than of Young. The cameraman obviously has no idea what he's doing. When you do see Young, he looks freakish. (Partly due to his posture - he had a crushed vertebra during the tour and was wearing a back brace.) It's a standard Shakey lo-fi job.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neil Young's best live album, March 21, 2007
This review is from: Live at Massey Hall (CD/DVD) (Audio CD)
I've been listening to most of these songs for almost thirty years, but they virtually sparkle on this incredible CD, sounding fresh as a new coat of paint. Sometimes it's just a slight change in phrasing or different instrumentation, sometimes it's the incredible warmth of the sound, making you feel like you're right there in Massey Hall. Whatever it is, the entire album demands to be played repeatedly no matter how many times you've heard Neil Young do these songs before. It's a beautiful recording and managed to surpass the high expectations I had of it.

The DVD provides visual accompaniment to the entire album. There's lots of grainy footage of Young performing at the show but also lots of shots of a reel to reel player recording the music. Intercut with all the performance footage are what look like home videos on his ranch but are probably from the Dutch documentary that is excerpted in the bonus material. The extras also include a couple of performances recorded for the Johnny Cash show and some video footage from 1997 of Young looking through archival photos of the Massey Hall performance. You might not watch the DVD many times but it's definitely worth having.

If the rest of the stuff from the archives ends up being this good, it'll be like Christmas all year long. Check out the link repriserecords.com/neilarchives for a taste of what else is to come.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Actually, six stars may not be enough, March 14, 2007
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This review is from: Live at Massey Hall (CD/DVD) (Audio CD)
This may be more convincing proof of his genius than any other single album in his career (and it's been quite a career). Simply stunning. This is why I listen to music.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hometown Hero, March 13, 2007
This review is from: Live at Massey Hall (CD/DVD) (Audio CD)
Neil Young's Live at Massey Hall is an instant classic, and the best live album of his long career-easily surpassing 1979's Live Rust. With the entire place at his command-early on he informs what is essentially a hometown crowd that he will be playing mostly new music(to applause!)-Young runs through some the most affecting songs he'd written to that point; indeed , several from Harvest wouldn't be released for over a year, including an embryonic piano version of Heart of Gold as part of a medley with A Man Needs a Maid. Looking at it from our vantage point 36(!) years on, Live at Massey Hall seems like a "greatest hits live" collection, putting us in the position of observing the 1971 crowd hearing music for the very first time that we already know is classic Neil Young. What I'm trying to say is that not only does the audience appreciate the new songs, they enthusiastically applaud songs-such as Cowgirl in the Sand, Helpless, and the songs from the (then current) After the Goldrush that were relatively new at that time as though they were already part of the classic rock canon. Which, I suppose they were. Live at Massey Hall, 1971 can be enjoyed on so many levels. Long time die hard fans, Harvest-era casual fans, and younger fans seeking a quick introduction to the genius of Neil Young can all benefit from this excellent collection.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Briggs was right!, March 16, 2007
By 
R. A. Kett (Ann Arbor, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Live at Massey Hall (CD/DVD) (Audio CD)
Now, I love "Harvest", I do. However, the tracks with the London Symphony Orchestra always seemed a bit overblown. Not on this release, nice and sparse here, with Young inserting verses from "Heart of Gold" during "A Man Needs A Maid" to create a wonderful medley. While "Old Man" was always a favorite on "Harvest" thanks to James Taylor's guitjo picking and harmony vocals, it's just as good here. And "Bad Fog of Loneliness", that's probably the best song here. Its non-inclusion on "Harvest", or any other album until this one, is inexplicable.

David Briggs has got to be smiling up in Heaven and thanking Neil Young for finally coming to his senses and putting this out. It was supposed to be Neil's fourth solo album, not his forty-second. But it's a moot point now, it's out, it's great, go buy it.

May Archival Young recordings keep on coming! I'm not sure if they'll be better, but they've got to be as good. Up next, how about something from the "Time Fades Away" tour, if possible?
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Live at Massey Hall (CD/DVD)
Live at Massey Hall (CD/DVD) by Neil Young (Audio CD - 2007)
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