This is, of course, not a new thing. It is, however, a moderately recent(ish) release on Blu-ray, which is my excuse for wittering about it now. This is a concert movie made in 1978 before the release of the album of the same name. Like the album, it’s a mixture of Neil doing his tender solo singer-songwriter thing and the glorious noise of Crazy Horse, his long-time collaborators for his louder work.
More about the music in a moment, after we get to the utterly bonkers staging. On a dark stage, with Jim Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner and the Beatles’ A Day in the Life playing, we see a bunch of robed figures with glowing eyes, who bear no resemblance whatsoever to Jawas from Star Wars (it says here), set up outsized gear, notably a huge microphone stand. They make a lot of appearances throughout the show and add a certain delightful silliness to proceedings.
The silliness carries on when a cover is lifted off an oversized amp to reveal Neil, apparently just waking up in a sleeping bag. He then plays a selection of acoustic numbers, including the classic After the Gold Rush and the then shiny and new Thrasher and My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue). All beautifully done, and with superb sound quality on this release.
Then the fun really begins, with a full-on electric set with Crazy Horse being Very Loud Indeed. Seriously – this disc has the sound level waaaaaay up, so watch out for your eardrums, neighbours, people in nearby towns, etc.
They blast through a selection of some of Neil’s finest material up to then, including Cinnamon Girl, Cortez the Killer, the ever-wonderful Like a Hurricane (complete with large fan blowing Neil’s hair all over place) and the shiny and new at the time Powderfinger, with an encore of Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black). Then the credits roll to Chuck Berry’s School Days. But that’s not all! After the credits, Neil and the band return for Tonight’s the Night.
Total running time is a little under two hours, no special features, but those aren’t really an issue when the music is as good as this. Most of the tracks are included on the Live Rust album if you’d prefer to listen than watch, and the newer songs, plus a few more can be found on the Rust Never Sleeps album. Both recommended, as is the movie.