Music » Music Stories

Neil Young

Live at Massey Hall 1971 (Reprise)

by

comment
This Toronto performance has been widely bootlegged over the years, but the official release is still essential because the sound is just impeccable, lending a cavernous depth to Young's singing and playing. This can be attributed to the late David Briggs, Young's long-time producer, who also did the sound for the show. Briggs tried to convince Young to release this set as the follow-up to 1970's After the Gold Rush. Although he failed, it's easy to understand Briggs' angle; these are dark, chilling numbers. Young's voice hits dramatic highs on "Tell Me Why" and "Cowgirl in the Sand," while "A Man Needs a Maid" — amplified by an interlude of "Heart of Gold," where he sounds adrift on a pitch-black sea — is Young at his most misanthropic. Thanks to the bonus DVD, we can witness the mood Young set for the shows. Lit only by a single spotlight and surrounded by his army of acoustics, he looks as if he's performing in the middle of his own abyss. It's exactly the kind of mood Briggs always tried to drag out of him.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.