Reviews of the video...|
Red Rocks Live
Finally got to watch my VHS screener of the upcoming Neil video/DVD.
It appears to be mostly the first night, with a couple of clips of the third night interspersed (though God knows entire songs could have come from other nights). But it is primarily the first night, including the rainstorm versions of Cowgirl in the Sand and Mellow My Mind (and including the stuff I'd written about at the time -- Neil coming out into the storm and saying "Hey, it stopped raining! It's a miracle!")
Classic shots of Astrid and Pegi getting soaked to the bone and instruments being ruined by the rain. Duck Dunn looks very unhappy at being forced to go back out for Mellow My Mind. It's funny -- in the middle of the stage Neil gets the least rain, but Keltner, Dunn, Pegi, etc, are just getting soaked.
It's pretty much straight performance footage all the way through. The only behind the scenes stuff is the opening scene of Elliot Roberts backstage at Red Rocks, talking with police and fire officials about whether it's safe to go on with the weather conditions. They show snow clips after that (from the third night), then go straight into the performance.
I have yet to listen to the audio on great equipment, just my stereo TV. But to my ears, it is a better mix with less crowd noise than the Road Rock album. I'll be giving it a closer inspection tonight.
The (limited) stage patter, the taking down of the rear panels when the wind got too strong, the final rainstorm, etc, all match night 1. I'm sure somewhere down the line someone will compare it all to booted video/audio and find some minor variations. But I'd say it's clearly not a case of taking the best cuts from the three nights and threading them together into one "concert."
And I'd still say the sound is better than Road Rock; less audience noise. Of course, I'm still looking at a VHS screener, not the DVD, and until I have a chance to burn some of it to disc, I won't be able to do a good comparison. But the sound is very clean and natural, with the howling wind clearly audible on I Believe In You and other songs.
I was sixth row for this show, and this is so well done it's just like being there again.
One good reason to support your local retailer -- be nice to the guy & he'll let you have new releases on Monday when the shipment arrives.
I'm still watching the show but by now I get the idea...
What you think of this release will of course depend on what you thought of the Music In Head Tour itself. I loved it, personally. Probably the best Neil shows, besides Crazy Horse, I've ever seen.
As an "official bootleg" of the tour, this tape does the job. As a work of film, it's no Year Of The Horse or even Muddy Track. And I still have no idea what Ben Keith looks like -- the man appears to be a hat with arms. It's about what I'd have expected for a webcast or HBO special type thing. Not as much audience sing-along shots as on Weld, which is nice.
The sound mix appears to be adequate, although I sometimes find Neil's guitar undermixed. And a strange thing for me (a drummer) to say: the drums appear to be too loud in spots.
Nice that we get a complete show. Alas, no Dance Dance Dance, but I did get my long sought-after perfect version of Bad Fog Of Loneliness.
Tonight's The Night is excellent... This version takes the original in the opposite direction that Crazy Horse usually does -- instead of getting louder in the intense parts, it gets even sparser and spookier.
Think I'll make a tape of the audio portion to play in the car. I have so little time to watch TV nowadays...
I did notice some weirdness in the audo track, especially on the first few songs. But I'm not sure if that was my own machine doing auto-tracking... it sounded like certain intruments were being noticeably pushed up & down in the mix. Anyone else notice this?
The intro footage of Elliot asking the cops to shut them down if it becomes unsafe is a strange addition; they should have done a "Neil Young Parking Lot" segment, interviewing people in line, blabbering about favorite Neil moments and how they're freezing their asses off. This type of edited fan interaction was a highlight of Steely Dan's PBS special and might have worked here.
Anyway, end quote: well worth your twenty bucks.
sleepin till the afternoon,