Neil Young was in the middle of a major career transition when he played a six-show stand at the Cellar Door in Washington D.C. in late November and early December 1970. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young had quietly split up in July, less than a year after playing their first live gigs. The group made him a superstar, but he was ready to stand on his own two feet and the success of After the Goldrush that August proved that was not going to be a problem.
Drained from a busy two years of touring, Young took time off during the second half of 1970 and began writing songs at his new ranch in northern California. He booked two nights at New York’s prestigious Carnegie Hall in December of 1970, and opted to rehearse for the shows at the Cellar Door, playing two solo-acoustic shows a night. A tape recorder was running the whole time.
After 44 years in the vault, the recordings are finally coming out on December 10th on CD (available for pre-order here) and 180-gram vinyl. The set mixes Buffalo Springfield classics like “Flying on the Ground Is Wrong” and “I Am a Child” with new songs like “After the Goldrush” and “Tell My Why.” Young plays “Cinnamon Girl” on piano for one of the very few times in his long career. The shows also featured the live debuts of “Old Man” and “See the Sky About to Rain.”