Recorded on January 19, 1971 during the Journey Through the Past Solo Tour, Live At Massey Hall 1971 features solo, acoustic performances of Neil Young from Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada.
Not released until 2007 as part of the second release in Young’s Archives Performance Series, the CD release was paired with a DVD featuring footage of the show. Why such obviously fantastic recordings spent more than 30 years unreleased only Young himself can answer.
The release of a live album was scheduled March 1971. It may have featured material from just this show, or from several shows, including the one featured on the first Archives release, Live at the Fillmore East. According to Young, “This is the album that should have come out between After the Gold Rush and Harvest…David Briggs, my producer, was adamant that this should be the record, but I was very excited about the takes we got on Harvest, and wanted Harvest out. David disagreed. As I listen to this today, I can see why.”. Atlantic Records ultimately released a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young live album, Four Way Street on April 7, 1971.
I scooped up my own copy within days of it’s release which helped it reach #1 in Canada in its first week. In my opinion, it’s far superior to Four Way Street. As an acoustic live album, it’s level of intimacy is unmatched, even by CSN&Y. Check out “Heart Of Gold“, “Old Man“, and “Helpless” as well as the two clips above: “Live at Massey Hall 1971 Trailer” and “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” and you’ll understand why.
This one’s for Barry and Sharleena.