Neil Young unveils another chapter in his series of archival releases with Live at Massey Hall 1971. Before a receptive crowd at the Toronto venue, Young perfects the acoustic solo performance which he would return to throughout his career when not backed by Crazy Horse or harmonizing with Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Starting with Buffalo Springfield’s “On the Way Home,” Young sets a pace that is both intimate and riveting. He dives into a large batch of “new” material that will soon transform culture. The audience becomes unknowing guinea pig to a swelling take on “Old Man” and a skeletally spare “A Man Needs a Maid/Heart of Gold Suite.”
By the time he reaches the cautionary “The Needle and the Damage Done,” Young has transfixed the listener with inward dynamics that rival the outward explosiveness of Crazy Horse’s echo and reverb. Live at Massey Hall 1971 presents the icon beginning his self-reflective journey toward critical mass appeal.