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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Trunk Show's Mission: "To blow your eardrums out"


After Greg Kot's rave review of 'Neil Young Trunk Show: Scenes from a Concert', we thought we'd be hard pressed to find a critic who could top describing the indescribable.

But here's another review to whet your appetite over next 24 hours.

From Reverse Shot by Andrew Chan:
Trunk Show allows us an intense focus on an aging man throwing his entire body into the music, at times seemingly surprised by the passion and sheer sadness of the sound he’s making.

There are, indeed, few sounds in popular music more heartbreaking than a Neil Young vocal.

Sometimes a sharp and atonal bleat, sometimes hanging nervously in the back of his mouth, Young’s voice is so instantly memorable it needs no words and no narrative to flesh it out. Demme trusts in this and is clearly, appropriately, in awe of it, but he also isn’t interested in presenting us the same permanently plaintive Young. In an interview, he has even advised: “If you’re not a Neil Young fan, don’t waste your time . . . if you don’t love electric guitar, don’t go.”

Accentuating the murkiness and loudness of the rocker’s new material is a stage lit by dim, sickly yellow and purple spotlights, substituting for the comfort of Heart of Gold’s ochre and umber. Gone are the backdrops depicting hearth and home; here, a few grotesque props remind us of the set design for the grungy Young-directed concert film Rust Never Sleeps. As if standing in defiance of those who accused Heart of Gold of pimping Young as some Starbucks-friendly folkster (or those who remain suspicious of an artist who briefly cultivated a soft-rock following in the Seventies), Trunk Show eventually announces its mission to blow your eardrums out.


The meat of the film is not the bravely shy singer but the merciless guitarist, and “No Hidden Path,” a monstrous 20-minute jam that brings the first half to its climax, serves as a kind of litmus test. Taken from his latest studio album, Chrome Dreams II, the song starts out with images of moon and mist that would have fit in the lyrics of “Harvest Moon,” before launching into the type of vague spiritual pronouncements that have recently muddied Young’s once-vivid songwriting.

Once the guitar takes over, though, there’s no turning back. A cacophony of escalating moans, yelps, and screeches, the performance is likely to try the patience of all but the truest devotees. But by the end, the uninitiated may feel they’ve undergone something like a religious conversion—especially when Young lets our bleeding ears rest once again on some of those impossibly delicate ballads. Even the most brutal of art-house provocateurs would have a hard time cinematically sustaining such an outburst of anguish and foreboding, while steering us so swiftly back to safety and solace.


What emerges is the most coherent and generous portrait of this artist yet captured on film, and probably the most remarkable melding of his soft and hard sides since the 1979 album Rust Never Sleeps.
When he’s stalking across the stage in a rocked-out stupor, wisps of hair dangling in his face, it’s the force of his commitment that moves you. Where Heart of Gold showed us a man ready to make peace with the dying of the light, Trunk Show gives us all the rage Young has left in him.

Awesome Andrew. Thanks!


More reviews of 'Neil Young Trunk Show: Scenes from a Concert'.


At 3/18/2010 06:21:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

These reviews are so tantalising to the Neil devotee...A DVD/movie
that will add to a library of raw Neil in a light that that has never shone so deep, never revealed soo much...C'mon....

Bring it down under!
With all its thunder
We wait in wonder
For Neil to plunder
With axe and voice
And untold noise

Bring on 'the show'
We wanna know
The 'Wizard' in Oz?
I wanna go!!

Thrash please keep us in the loop when its comin down under! thanks

excited doc

At 3/18/2010 07:02:00 PM, Anonymous Thos said...

And the UK, we want it too!

excited Thos.

At 3/18/2010 07:07:00 PM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

Great review. I'm reading all kinds of great reviews on this. I haven't read a single one that doesn't say great things about it.

Unlike when FITR came out and all the reviewers were arrogantly whining about it.

Can't wait to see it.

At 3/18/2010 10:28:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

don't worry Wheaties...I think there's still plenty in the trunk to come!....

'Crazy Horse'reunion tour late 2010

oops, did I say that?

At 3/18/2010 11:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

please stop reviews like that before we got some europe screening dates. it´s allready so hard to wait for maybe end of the year but nice to see, that folks begin to recognize no hidden path. the days of grunge are over (just listen to the latest pj album..), but what a great obituary. saw 3 shows of the 2008 chrome dreams tour, and nhp was always "the" highlight of the gig.
the shows in 2009 were good anyway, but i´ve been a bit sad that he kicked it out.

i feel thel light, comin´ down on me.....

At 3/19/2010 08:02:00 AM, Anonymous MARIAN M. said...

Thanks, Thrasher, for posting this review. I think this is the best one so far that really captures the essence of what Neil Young Trunk Show is all about.

I loved being described as a "truest devotee." Yep, that's me all right! I just couldn't get enough of "No Hidden Path."

Having been at one of the NYC shows in December 2007, and having seen this film this past January at Lincoln Center, I've been "chomping at the bit" to see it again. The snowstorm cancelled the event in Pleasantville in February.

I have this Saturday booked for the showings at the Sunshine Cinema in NYC. I'm planning on seeing it as many times as I physically can endure!

I'm also praying Neil Young Trunk Show will also be out on DVD SOON so that everyone around the world can enjoy! Elliot Roberts said, "April 19," but we all know that can always change!

Keep on rocking....

Marian M.

At 3/19/2010 08:45:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ 3/18/2010 11:39:00 PM

Sorry about the reviews. As Petty would say, the waiting is the hardest part.

@ Marian - Enjoy Trunk Show for 2nd time. But we know live music is still better.

At 3/19/2010 09:04:00 AM, Anonymous MARIAN M. said...


I sure agree with you that live music IS better!!!

I didn't think the volume of the music in NYTS was nearly as LOUD as we had it live! I've never had an experience like that before or since!

Sure hope you get to see it, too, Thrasher!

Keep on Rockin....
Marian M.

At 3/19/2010 09:18:00 AM, Blogger zylusloosebottom said...

I think the pictures pretty much sum up what it is about Neil Young I can't seem to get enough of.

At 3/19/2010 10:37:00 AM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

Here's a sort of blah review from sfgate:

The review is kind of 'eh', but I love the advisory at the end:

Advisory: Shelter me from some language nuns might find offensive. Cover me from a minor backstage medical procedure.

At 3/19/2010 10:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

for affects similar to attending the movie, place butter knife or tongue in electrical outlet.

- Not Rotten Johnny

At 3/19/2010 03:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope to see this on Blu-ray.AG?If you're still out there.?When and will we see this on Blu-ray?PLEASE PLEASE PLEEEEASE!!

Rancho Relaxo

At 3/19/2010 04:38:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Hmmmm, interesting Matt on the 'advisory'

Those nuns will just have to get in the 'habit' to see it !!

and that medical procedure?...I've got that covered....could be just some power in Neil's finger...but it is hard to remove!!!


At 3/19/2010 05:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There will be a 7" single by Neil Young for Record Store Day this year...

I wonder if it will just be 2 songs from Dreamin' Man????

REALLY want to get me one of these, but I'd say chances are slim that any of the stores I can get to will actually have it...


Davie from Scotland

At 3/19/2010 07:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Landmark Theatres and Gibson will be giving away a Gibson USA Les Paul Jr guitar signed by legend, Neil Young. This special L.A.-only giveaway to an audience member will happen on opening night of NEIL YOUNG TRUNK SHOW at the Nuart, Friday, March 19 during the 7:30pm show! For tickets visit:

At 3/19/2010 10:50:00 PM, Blogger Archives Guy said...

Neil Young Trunk Show fans-

If you are hungry for Trunk Show, I suggest that you go see this in the theater because it won't be released on DVD or BD until much later in the year.

-Archives Guy

ps It looks and sounds GREAT on the big screen.

At 3/20/2010 06:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Archives Guy,

Any news on a Europe release of Trunk Show in theaters?

Also, can you shed any light on the Record Store Day exclusive 7"?


Davie from Scotland

At 3/20/2010 07:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh NYTS, I`ve waited for you Winterlong and now I`ve got to wait till "much later in the year"??!

With every review this is sounding better and more lucky people who can see it in the theatre!

Jill, feeling Alone and Forsaken in the UK

At 3/20/2010 09:23:00 AM, Blogger The Loner said...

Bad news we have to wait for so long. I hope it get released in Blu Ray at the same time as DVD or else I am afraid I will not be able to wait for the BluRay. Yes, I know this is kind of a luxury problem. 'Though my problems are meaningless that won't make them go away'...

The Loner, Norway, Europe

At 3/20/2010 12:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear archives Guy,
Any news of the Horse ?
Please, I miss the guys.


At 3/20/2010 01:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the NYC 730 Sunshine showing last night with a J Demme Q+A, and when asked about whether the "Door was open for a Crazy Horse 3rd installment to the trilogy" J Demme answered an emphatic "Yes, Definately"...for what it's worth...also J Demme was quite adept as 'talking down' a rather violatile 'fan' at the Q+A...

At 3/20/2010 05:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AG: oh man!
if only it were playing closer

i've been waiting/hoping, since seeing the Dec 2007 Wallingford, CT show (my first, not my last)

watched him play 'n-h-path' through a nice monocular and it was amazing to watch this master play the entire guitar, strings, pickups, pickguard, fretboards and of course that whammy . . . looking forward to this . . .

at least we finally picked up the bd player for nya1 (awesome!) and the dvd of chromedreamsII is terrific

you guys are right and the sound Does matter

old sound man

At 3/21/2010 12:49:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

Just 'off topic' for a sec.

Isn't it amazing. I was just perusing past topics and comments
and came across the recent thread..The so called "Neil/Ronnie feud" and the myth of Sweet home alabamie...Whoa 106 posts!!...106 passionate, divided posts of opinions and sides taken.

Here we are, brought together by the "wheat" with one common love..Neil and his music..and yet from one song...things got real bitter and quite "off the richter".

It just shows the strength of politics in song and how it can open up many wounds.

I hope we are mature enough to go forward from those things in history which have left many indelible scars.

Some things in life will happen and others will never understand the rhyme or reason.

"find the cost of Freedom buried in the ground..
Mother earth will swallow you..
lay your body down"...



At 3/21/2010 01:18:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

woah! what happened at the screening? any comments from Demme on the delay of the home video release?

At 3/21/2010 12:12:00 PM, Anonymous Portage and Main said...

Question for AG:
Will any NYAS have Northern California Bar Tours on them? (hope so)...Also, there was a little bar just north of Santa Cruz, up Bonny Doon Rd. called "The Lost Weekend". I used to frequent it (early '70s') and always thought it could have been the bar where Neil ran the table for 11 games then was beat by a woman with vericose veins. Do any of you remember it or been there back in the day? It is has long been razed and is now a chi-chi wine bar.
Going to see "Trunk Show" this Friday, opening day! Leaving my ear plugs at home and entering the theater very,very small.

At 3/21/2010 12:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder since the DVD/Blu-Ray won't be out till later this year will it be released in any other theatres[the south]?

At 3/21/2010 01:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NYC Sunshine 730 J Demme Q+A pt 2...
No hard questions at the Q+A re the DVD/BR release, although I'm personally convinced we should see it around Christmas '10...

The editing questions he fielded (with the editor) were telling though - a paraphrased summary:

-this final version is 80min and is shorter than any previous longer version

-conscience to 'cut out' audience shots - felt most concert movies dwell on audience too much when cameras should center on performers

- alternates between acoustic and electric songs throughout

- built edit around No Hidden path (centerpiece)

- Neil wanted no direct involve with Trunk as a movie, unlike his direct hands on with Heart of Gold

-Trunk used 8+/- camera people who were tasked to complete for the best shots, not as orchestrated as HOG fro shots

The cuts actions mentioned during questions made me think that some other gems with make the extras - ie Winterlong...

Pretty engaging for a direct song-per-song movie...80 min felt just right and it looks really great...

Some of the handheld stuff from HOG makes more sense to me know...

Have to believe Neil-Demme have to same love of raw/refined when it comes to music and film

Go buy a ticket!

At 3/21/2010 01:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Q%A Pt2??

Where's part#1?

At 3/21/2010 01:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

could somebody post the songlist from the film

At 3/21/2010 03:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well AG if Trunk gets shown around D.C. or Northern VA area I'll try my best to go see it.Till then still hopein' it'll come out on BD sooner than later.Thanks for response though.

Rancho Relaxo

At 3/21/2010 03:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trunk is playing in DC @ E St Cinema.

At 3/21/2010 04:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man... I can't wait to see this. I went to 3 shows in March 2008 at the Hammersmith Apollo, I loved the feel of it, I had an amazing seat on the 2nd show I had booked and nothing really could beat that day... easily the best night of my life. Bring it to the UK again!

At 3/21/2010 04:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man... this is great stuff... thinking about the tour, the fantastic shows and reading all this stuff I just wanted to write something about it. But, unfortunately I'm a little bit too dunk. so forget it. The writing would end with something like a message to NY that says: "I miss you Neil, get on fire, back on the road and play that funky emotions"

At 3/21/2010 07:27:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Insidetherain,Thos Jilly,

I'll be in London in late April..I'd love to front up and find it's playing there on arrival..would be good to catch up with some British wheaties!...especially at Trunk Show, it would make the trip!

Show me the way and I follow you today!

Here's hoping

doc down under

At 3/22/2010 09:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw something verrrry innaresting today...

SO this time last year, a lot of presale links etc appeared for Neil's UK shows, through Seetickets etc...

If I remember right, the page I visited last year had "Neil Young & His Electric Band Presales!" written on it...

So today, I'm clearing out my bookmarked pages on the old Firefox browser, and I click on the link, just with a cheeky smidgen of hope...

Nope. No links.

But... this time, it says "Neil Young & Crazy Horse presale!" on it.

Now I'm almost 100% positive it didn't say that last year... It couldn't have, right??? If it did, I mean there would have been mass panic amongst us Wheaties on TW right??

So... y'know, make of this what you will. I don't want to rumour-monger, but that sure as hell wasn't there before.

At 3/22/2010 11:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really hope that CRAZY FUCKIN HORSE is back because I miss the guys, I miss the sound and I miss the feeling ! Pancho, Billy, Ralph, these are the true dudes.

At 3/22/2010 06:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Twisted Road" Tour 2010?


At 3/22/2010 07:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How amazing would that be - the return of the Horse!! Sometimes it feels as though they were just a figment of our collective insane imaginations!

And hey Doc - cool that you`ll be visiting London, April is a good month. We could get together for some scenes!


At 3/22/2010 09:56:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

What, was my question about the horse to you and AG a bit too cryptic Thrash? lol

What part of the 'comments policy' did I contravene this time?

I was only asking if ya had any "inside" info to quash all the equine rumours.....GEEEEZ!


At 3/22/2010 10:06:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

'Scenes' Jill?

Like, are we gunna make our own Neil movie about excited very patient fans!? lol

We could call it "helplessly hoping"

Seeya in the Mother country! lol

At 3/23/2010 05:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha Doc!

Well, as I live by the coast we could meet `on the beach` but being England it would be too cold and we would probably look up and `see the sky about to rain`, and I wouldn`t want you to collapse with hypothermia and get the old `ambulance blues` now, lol! Bring your brolly!

Helplessly hoping to see Neil this year!


At 3/24/2010 04:28:00 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Saw it yesterday in Washington, DC.

It was:
1) beautiful
2) very rockin'
3) had very good song selection.

At 3/24/2010 09:11:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Go on Michael, tease us a bit more...What were the songs?(I know what they are,but tell me again anyway)..go on go on go on!!tellme tellme tellme!!

(very) excited doc

P.S.Geez, lucky I had a bed pan!!

At 3/25/2010 12:35:00 PM, Anonymous Martin Lav said...

Saw the film at the NUART Theater in WLA on Sunday.....Brilliant Cinematography and of course easily equaled by Neil's performance.
I'm sure the acoustic performance of Ambulance Blues has inspired these recent tour decision with Bert.
Great song.
Great movie!

Was like being there......

At 3/26/2010 11:38:00 AM, Blogger Sal C said...

I had the chance to see the film and review it for a magazine here in the city of brotherly love. You can read my thoughts here, if so inclined:
Much obliged-

At 3/26/2010 02:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Canadian film showing dates now up at the movie's website:

At 3/26/2010 02:57:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Sal, very interesting and objective review.
One thing about reviewers/music critics/movie critics is that it IS their own personal perception.

Yeah, so the show will only appeal to the "die hard" Neil fan and he probably would not induct any new disciples into the "Neil Hall of Fame".Well that's fine by me.

I'd probably go to a Dylan or Springstein concert/movie or whoever and come away with the same attitude about those musicians as I went in.

The beauty of musical taste and appreciation is that fortunately everybody is different...

just imagine if everyone in the music world only liked Neil.

Just imagine the "disgusting" ticket prices on this little music monopoly then hey!! lol

Imagine all the people
living like they're fools

Imagine everyone standing
Coz Neil would have no stools

Imagine there's no turnstiles
Everyone pays the same

Imagine there's no scalpers
now, wouldn't this be a shame

boo hooo whoooo

Oops sorry John

At 4/04/2010 11:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

can we trust this release date???

At 10/07/2010 01:23:00 AM, Blogger John Stephen Dwyer said...

I was lucky to talk to Jonathan Demme at the premier of this film in Greater Boston. Like him, I am a Neil Young fan and wasn't frightened away by lengthy guitar noise. This is a great concert movie. Young doe not look frail, and he exhibits more energy than plenty of guys half his age. But the bittersweetness of memory, long a subject of his music, is now etched in his face. His wrinkles are deep and his long hippie hair has thinned into a sort of wispy mullet. When his rheumy eyes meet the gaze of the camera, it's chilling.

At 3/20/2012 05:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

is this ever going to be released to DVD/Blu Ray? I was at the shows and would LOVE to see this finally


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