Live At Massey Hall 1971 - Rolling Stone
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Live At Massey Hall 1971

In 1966, Canadian-born Neil Young decided his rock & roll future was in America. He split Toronto’s folk scene and, with his friend bassist Bruce Palmer, drove to L.A., where the two were soon founding members of Buffalo Springfield. On January 19th, 1971, Young returned to Toronto a star, showing off his rapidly matured songwriting in two solo concerts at Massey Hall. This album is the full second show, in such pin-drop fidelity that the noise of him adjusting his mike sounds like Crazy Horse-gig distortion. The set list reflects the pace of Young’s ambition: Nine of the seventeen songs were as yet unreleased, including the theatrical Harvest ballads “There’s a World” and “A Man Needs a Maid” (the latter with a turn into “Heart of Gold”). Young’s obsession, at twenty-five, with the hard-won lessons of age and experience comes up repeatedly, in songs like “Old Man” and “Bad Fog of Loneliness.” But there is a striking vigor to Young’s high, eccentric singing — and a surprising nostalgia in the fond references to his homeland in “Helpless” and “Journey Through the Past.” Young never moved back to Canada. Yet he never left it behind.

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