Reviews of Live At The Fillmore East
Neil Young - Fillmore East, 3-6-70
photo by Joel Bernstein
From Ultimate Guitar :
Live At The Fillmore East has been the subject of devotion among Neil Young followers since the shows themselves in 1970, when Young and Whitten’s dueling guitars were credited as one of the best match-ups in rock history. As heard on these six songs from those concerts, they perfectly illustrate exactly why. Joined by producer-arranger legend Jack Nitzsche on electric piano, a sometimes member of Crazy Horse, the Fillmore East shows are a landmark in Young’s unequaled musical career.
From The Independent:
The two keystones, accordingly, are versions of "Down by the River" and "Cowgirl in the Sand" stretching to 12 and 16 minutes respectively, characteristically questing bouts of tectonic guitar extemporisation hewn into jagged emotional blocks by Young's tense, stabbing lead lines. The show offers a thrilling affirmation of the synergy between band and leader: rarely before have the contradictions of the Crazy Horse style - the tight but loose playing, and the tough fragility of the sound - been captured with such freshness.
From San Jose MetroActive by David Sason:
"His best live release yet boasts a blistering 16-minute rendition of 'Cowgirl in the Sand,' featuring the dueling guitars of Danny Whitten and Young, whose corrosive, freeform soloing was decades ahead of its time."
From LA Daily News by Fred Shuster:
"Whitten, the best guitarist Young ever played with, almost steals the show again on an epic 16-minute 'Cowgirl in the Sand,' where his concise guitar lines in tandem with Young's, urged along by fellow Horsemen (pianist Jack Nitzsche, bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina), reveal a great, loose band at the peak of its powers."
BostonHerald.com by Jed Gottlieb:
"His two separate three-minute solos on ”Down by the River” are striking, but the knotted, unyielding guitar blasts that dominate ”Cowgirl in the Sand” reconfirm that everyone from Pearl Jam to Sonic Youth to Dinosaur Jr. discovered discord through Young."
From Bradenton Herald by WADE TATANGELO:
"The opening chords of 'Down By the River' immediately warrant a round of applause as Young and company ease their way into one of his greatest musical statements. 'Down By the River' opens like a pop song: 'She could drag me over the rainbow,' Young sings, his voice slipping tenderly while his bandmates harmonize with him. Then, suddenly, we get a line that sounds borrowed from a Delta blues ballad: 'Down by the river, I shot my baby.' And with that confession comes one blood-and-tear stained solo after another with Young and Whitten bobbing and weaving like men possessed."
From The World Wide Glen: Welcome to My Thoughtmare:
"For it's own part, 'Cowgirl' goes nearly fifteen minutes, building the tension steadily throughout before climaxing in crescendo upon crescendo of cacophonous sound. Towards the end there is so much going on, Neil's screaming guitar occasionally gets lost in the mix. As Whitten and Jack Nitzsche admirably try to keep pace throughout on guitar and electric piano respectively, Neil goes off into one of those trance places near the end. The end result is just nothing short of magnificent noise."
From the unbiased haahnster's hallucinations: Just Buy The Damned Thing!!!:
"This EASILY is some of the most blistering electric guitar work in the history of recorded music!!!"
From Amazon.com by Mike McGonigal:
"Here are scorching, extended takes of 'Down by the River,' 'Winterlong,' and 'Cowgirl in the Sand,' each propelled by guitar interplay so delightful you have to keep rewinding to hear it again. In fact, bits of it seem to prefigure the ways that Richard Lloyd and Tom Verlaine would feed off each other in the band Television, only with less of a sweet edge. But the world doesn't need any more arguments that Young was a proto-punk; what the world does need is at least a dozen more releases from Neil's archives! And hopefully, with this awesome live album, the floodgates have truly been opened and there are many more to come, in the vein of Dylan's Bootleg series. This disc is worth it alone for the version of 'Wondering,' a tune not officially recorded until many years later in Neil's weird '80s rockabilly phase."
From The New York Times :
It is blaring, primitive and in parts very, very good. Despite the slobby phrasing, the obdurate needling quality of Mr. Young’s straight eighth notes and the weird effect of a casual delivery at high volume, this music has a serene and direct purpose. The real action is in the long songs — a 12-minute “Down By the River,” in particular, and a 14-minute “Cowgirl in the Sand” — in which the band works within the dimensions of its gigantic, rolling, spacious sound. The record is a blast, but it’s also possibly the first stage in an entirely new way of understanding what Neil Young has done with his life.
Now in the Top 10 on Amazon Best Sellers Listing last we checked.
More on The Archives: Live at the Fillmore East and a history of the long awaited Archives Project [search].