Live at the Fillmore East
Neil Young is one of very few artists whose work spans several decades and mingles several genres but always remains instantly recognizable and timelessly current. This set, recorded at the legendary Fillmore East on May 6 and 7 of 1970, presents Young in heavy psychedelic country-rocker mode, backed by his greatest band, Crazy Horse. The recording quality—with the exception of the nearly inaudible piano of Jack Nitzsche—is excellent, and the playing is of the peak-experience variety. Young and co-guitarist and vocalist Danny Whitten make the dirge-like 12 1/2-minute murder ballad “Down by the River” into an aural metaphor for surging undercurrents of twisted emotions and deep-running waters. The celebratory “Come on Baby Let’s Go Downtown” showcases Whitten’s songwriting and singing, which is reminiscent of the same era’s Grateful Dead. The 16-minute “Cowgirl in the Sand” is one of Young’s most classic fusions of pop melodicism, poignantly poetic lyrics and head-tripping guitar manipulation. Taken from Young’s private archive, this album is the first of what we hope is a long series of archival releases.