Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Live At The Fillmore
It's taken some time but Neil Young has finally cracked open the doors on his archives and released some of the material aching to be heard. Whilst this does seem like an odd place to start, this show at the Fillmore was put together from two nights, March 6th & 7th 1970, but is whittled down to a rather meagre 6 tracks. Whilst this is priced as a normal album, it does feel, initially at least, that you've been short changed - why not release the full concert and why not include some tracks that Young often used to play acoustically as a warm up act before the full on Crazy Horse experience?
However, once you've pressed the play button, everything makes sense and you'll forgive Young everything and just thank him for letting these performances see the light of day. This disc has captured the original Crazy Horse line-up at the peak of it's powers. Each of the tracks sound effortless, the extended jams that form the center piece of both Down By The River and Cowgirl In The Sand are amazing pieces of music created by a band who knew each other inside out, each member knows how to follow the other, how to embellish the original, simple riff and contort and extend it into something different and yet still able to echo the original music. The later is extended over 15 minutes whilst the former clocks in around the 12 minute mark and yet both never outstay their welcome. The sound is fantastic for a live recording from 30 years ago - the guitars are clear and crisp, flitting between your left and right ears, stereo has never sounded so good. Of course, this remastering has left one thing wide open; Young's voice. It's not at his best here and does sound a little harsh and brittle in places, but it's only on a few occasions so I'll let him off.
This is a great live album, a piece of history and a snapshot of a band that were at the height of their artistic powers and personal understanding with one another. There's nothing better than hearing talented individuals play fantastic music together effortlessly. Rumour is that this is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of material sitting in Young's basement... If it's all like this, bring it on.