of the Week [Recordings
of Indeterminate Origin]
How do you like your cake? With the cream on top and oozing from the sides when you take a bite? Some of us like cake for cake’s sake. When Neil Young walked on stage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Feb 1, 1971 in Los Angeles, he was alone without his superstar bandmates Crosby, Stills and Nash. Just his trusty harmonica, guitar and a grand piano. This was to be the first of many solo tours. This one was called A Journey Through The Past.
As was his way in the early days, Young peppered his hour-long performances with only original songs and daringly so with new songs he’d yet to record. He brimmed with confidence that his songs were enough to keep people interested. Just a glance at the setlist for this evening - Old Man, Cowgirl In The Sand, Sugar Mountain, Don't Let It Bring You Down - showed songs that he continued to play up till the present. This evening he even included Ohio, about the four students shot dead on campus during a student demonstration against America’s war in Vietnam.
He also sang The Needle And The Damage Done, a painful reminder to himself of the dangers of drugs. And some say his simple-minded I Am A Child. Although how could anyone think of Young as simpleton when his other songs, Tell Me Why and See The Sky About To Rain, all showed he understood just how important love and compassion were. That sometimes these child-like qualities sure beat brainpower and intellectual smugness.
There he is, captured on someone’s portable reel-to-reel deck somewhere from the front rows, changing from guitar to piano, chatting with the audience and slowly singing his songs with quiet power. The kind of power that's found in truthfulness.
1971 was a long time ago. Who would have thought we would still care for Neil Young's music? The person who recorded this show loved the music enough to make the effort. These days you can buy an expensive hi-fi system for the price of a front-row seat to watch a show of dubious quality.
But crackles and all, this bootleg, taken from a Rubber Dubber original vinyl, is the real journey through the past. The cake, so to speak, not the cream that melts away anyway. - Michael Cheah
On The Way Home
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