Thursday, March 02, 2006

Film: Neil Young - Heart of Gold


Image Hosted by

This is a concert film, with a brief opening chapter showing the band members driving to the concert hall and reminiscing about Neil Young.

The concert in Nashville is the world premiere of his new album, Prairie Wind. Some of the tracks are pretty good while others, like the title track, are instantly forgettable. The band plays mostly country-folk music and features Emmylou Harris, a huge star in her own right, on backing vocals.

Free Image Hosting at

Towards the end of the show, Young rattles off a few of his hits including "Old Man," "The Needle and the Damage Done," "Harvest Moon," and of course, "Heart of Gold." Young mentions Winnipeg and Falcon Lake and recalls plugging all his money into a jukebox in a restaurant there to hear Ian Tyson "Four Strong Winds," one of the most defining songs in Canadian popular music history, at Falcon Lake. Neil also spoke about his father, who passed away a few months before the show. He recalled the time he was being shown around the ranch property he bought when he was quite a bit younger by the caretaker and how it inspired him to write "Old Man." Young's guitar, formerly Hank William's even rated a story. You even get to see one of the band members sweep a mat with a straw broom, contributing to the shuffling sound of "Harvest Moon." Who knew?

Image Hosted by

If you're a fan, you're probably going to enjoy this film. The Ryman Auditorium's balcony is the first upper level I've seen that looks as good as the lower level. There's not a bad seat in this house, the former home of the Grand Old Opry. If you're not a fan, you would be hard pressed to dismiss the band's performance. Neil Young expresses emotion and beauty as honestly and intimately as the his legend would suggest. Curiously, Oscar winning director Jonathan Demme doesn't have shots showing the audience close up, which was a tad disappointing.

website page counter