Rock icon Neil Young’s ‘Live at Massey Hall’ is now set for a March 13th release and is the second album in the singer/songwriter’s planned “performance series” of releases.
On January 19, 1971, Neil Young performed at Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada. In many ways, this was a major homecoming event. He had left Canada in 1966, soon becoming a member of Buffalo Springfield in Los Angeles, then recording his self-titled debut solo album in 1968.
That was followed by “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” with Crazy Horse, then Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Déjà vu” in 1970 and his best-selling album “After The Gold Rush.” By the time Young came back to Canada for the Massey Hall concert, he had become one of the most exciting and successful singer-songwriters in rock.
Neil Young was performing solo that evening in Toronto, playing many of his well-known songs like “Down by the River,” “Ohio” and “I Am a Child.” But he also included several new originals that would be featured on his next new album, “Harvest,” which had not been released yet, like “Old Man,” “The Needle and the Damage Done” and “Heart of Gold.” The audience had not heard any of these before, and the night was an historic and moving performance for all.
“This is the album that should have come out between ‘After The Gold Rush’ and ‘Harvest,'” Young says now. “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.”
‘Live At Massey Hall,’ produced by Young and the late David Briggs, is the second Reprise Records release in the Neil Young Archives Performance Series, following last year’s ‘Live At The Fillmore East’ album. Both are in anticipation of the ‘Archives Volume I’ collection, due this fall. That 8-CD, 2-DVD audiobiography will include Young’s music from 1963 to 1972, and feature a treasure trove of previously unreleased recordings, both studio and live, along with concert footage and rare memorabilia from the first decade of Neil Young’s long and unequaled career.