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Rust Never Sleeps (1979)


While there's some sort of storyline going on here (something about ageing rockstars, and there are Jawa raiders from Star Wars acting as roadies) it is utterly unimportant, and in fact a little distracting. It's lucky, then, that the actual music is so electrifying.

Directed by Young himself (as Bernard Shakey) the concert, like the album of the same name, is half acoustic half electric. Crowd noise is kept to a minimum throughout, and the film quality has aged badly but there is something so raw about the performances that it's impossible not to be impressed. It remains the ONLY film which has truly captured the duality of a Neil Young concert - from heartbreaking beauty to ear splitting, feedback drenched fury over the space of minutes.

This was recorded a time when Young and his band of Crazy Horse were facing a fight to either stay relevant and important or disappear into the annuls of rock history as the dawn of the new decade brought with it the biggest cultural shift in music since the 60s.

The set is bookended by the two "new" (at the time) songs, My My Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue) and Hey Hey My My (Into The Black), with a bunch of classics in between. It's rough and it lacks any of the sheen you see on most modern concert films - Young even left several mistakes intact with no overdubs. But it's the staggeringly raw intensity of the film which will have you gaping open mouthed at what you're watching.




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