Finally managed to see Neil Young: Heart Of Gold last night, the new Jonathan Demme film that captures Neil’s performance at the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

It’s beautifully shot. Right in there onstage with the performers, no crowd shots. No fat of any sort really. In the movie, Young and his band (including trumpets and backing singers) perform all but one song from his Prairie Wind album, followed by an encore of classics like Old Man, Comes A Time, Harvest Moon and, of course, Heart Of Gold.

It’s spectacularly personal. Like the Prairie Wind album, Neil has really opened up in his acoustic songs. But his onstage banter about his father, about Nashville, about Hank Williams and more…is never short of touching and memorable. And the new songs never sounded so great. It’s the same problem with Greendale, which sounded flat of record, but live, you WANT to let the songs drift on a bit, you WANT that chorus to come back in one more time.

The band are great throughout, very relaxed, and you feel you’re sitting in amongst a jam. By the time the extended encore (which runs around the same length of the main concert) is is a jam. Everyone’s holding a guitar. Only gripe here is the predictability of the encore. Maybe because they knew it was going to be a film, but every Young Encore usually comes with a hidden gem or two. Also, Young sells short his acoustic work from later albums (no Silver & Gold material at all), and his gentler songs from his weirder albums (Looking For A Lover, The Losing End etc).

SITE: Neil Young News
SITE: Neil Young Official Site

HBIS: Heart Of Gold/Living With War – April 06

MP3: Neil Young – Fallin’ Off the Face Of the Earth
– From the album Prarie Wind (Reprise, 2005)

MP3: Neil Young – Four Strong Winds
– From the album Comes A Time (Reprise, 1978)

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