Friday, July 1, 2016
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: NEIL YOUNG and CRAZY HORSE - RUST NEVER SLEEPS (blu ray)
Remember when not all of Neil Young's big concert trips were wacky and incoherent? Okay, there's precious few of them actually, especially when there was a film involved. But he did manage one undeniable classic, where everything he planned came together, and everybody loved it. Of course, that would be Rust Never Sleeps, one of his very best albums, and certainly his best cinematic effort too. While most people know it by the album, or the concert version Live Rust, it's worthy on film as well, and Young's latest reissue is the long-awaited Blu-Ray version.
Sourced from the original film, this is easily the best version of the movie, although it does have lots of technical flaws. Young doesn't call his film company Shakey Pictures for nothing, but with this set, the point is the performance. It's stellar, certainly Young and Crazy Horse at their peak and most powerful. Young commands the stage, whether during the opinion solo set, or stomping around the band, ripping now-legendary fuzzy guitar solos. This was where he really started that whole insane, physically jerky lead playing, on numbers such as Sedan Delivery and Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black).
Even the show is kind of fun, with the famous road-eyes scurrying around in the opening (roadies dressed like Jawas from Star Wars), higher-up techs in lab coats, oversized equipment as stage props (we're supposed to think Young in the opening is a child), and the use of original stage announcements from the Woodstock movie. Don't work too hard trying to figure out exactly what he's saying, or not saying, it doesn't matter, it is entertaining at least.
I haven't compared an old version of this film, VHS or the earlier DVD, but I don't recall being able to hear all the road-eye shuffling and clanking so prominently before, and certainly the audio is best-ever, in 5.1. Mostly though, you'll stay glued to Young, clearly enjoying the acting role he's doing, and playing like he never had before.