A recording of Neil Young’s surprise performance at New York’s Bottom Line on May 16th, 1974 has circulated in fan circles for decades, but it’s finally coming out officially in early 2021 as part of Young’s new official Bootleg Series. He’s calling it The Bottom Line – “Citizen Kane Jr. Blues.”
“In my mind it’s a hazy memory,” Young wrote on the Neil Young Archives, where he announced the release, “but this moment really captures the essence of where I was in 1974. Two months later, the album On the Beach was released, including songs I played that night — ‘Ambulance Blues,’ ‘Revolution Blues,’ ‘On the Beach’ and ‘Motion Blues.'”
Young stunned fans at the Bottom Line by taking the stage at 2:15 am following sets by Ry Cooder and Leon Redbone. “Folks at the Bottom Line heard seven new songs for the first time,” Young writes. “I just remember that I was 24 years old, bare, and letting it all out.” [He was actually 28.]
The set featured “Pushed It Over the End,” a song inspired by the Patti Hearst kidnapping that he was then calling “Citizen Kane Jr Blues,” along with the live premieres of “Long May You Run,” “On the Beach,” “Motion Pictures,” and “Pardon My Heart.” To this day, it remains the sole live performance of “Motion Pictures.”
“The Bottom Line – ‘Citizen Kane Jr. Blues’ is part of the official Bootleg Series now in production and is scheduled for release by Shakey Pictures Records in the first quarter 2021,” Young writes. “The first edition of the NYA Official Bootleg Series will contain at least six complete Bootleg Series offerings, the majority of which are from our own master recordings. Produced by the Volume Dealers, these six albums will provide the highest quality listening available.”
He recently announced that one of the shows will be a previously uncirculated tape of a Carnegie Hall 1970 solo acoustic gig. He has yet to announce details of the other four recordings he plans to release.
The Bottom Line show is part of an extremely ambitious slate of archival projects that Neil Young has in the works. Next month, he’s releasing Return to Greendale and the long-awaited second volume of his Archive Series box sets. He’s also plotting a 50th-anniversary edition of After the Gold Rush, the Crazy Horse 1990 live album Way Down in the Rust Bucket, a document of his 2019 European tour with Promise of the Real titled Noise and Flowers, and an Eighties odds and sods collection he’s calling Road of Plenty.