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Sunday, April 04, 2021

Comment of the Moment: Neil Young's "The focus, a gift": Reflecting on Reflections


Neil Young


Neil Young recently wrote of how the events of 2020 have had a positive aspect: "The focus was the gift".
 
Which brings us to the Comment of the Moment on Neil Young's "The focus, a gift": Reflecting on Reflections by the "Inextinguishable Scotsman":  
 
A note to those of you understandably cautious about upgrading your NYA membership(or subscribing for the first time):

Via the new Concert Timeline feature, the NYA website brings Neil (and many of his bands) into your living room to perform a diverse and thrilling series of time-travelling gigs for you.

Here's the context:

Neil has literally thousands of hours' worth of live recordings in his personal archive — far more than he could ever release to a conventional schedule. But now he has started to regularly upload complete concerts (exclusively) to the NYA website.

This a very civilised way to enjoy some live music. There are no drunk jerks spilling their beer on you, or loud-mouths babbling in your ear. It's just you, the music, your imagination, and the conversation here (you can take that last bit or leave it — your choice).

Already, we've experienced an Alchemy gig from 2013. A classic Zuma show from 1976. And a barn-storming Crazy Horse performance from Sweden 2001 that sounds more impressive than several of Neil's mainstream live albums.

And it seems fair to assume all this is just the beginning.

And at 40 dollars a year, it is essentially a gift.

After all, isn't it true that we've all spent *far* more than that on box sets that started gathering dust just two weeks after we bought 'em?

But NYA is constantly being updated, reinvigorated. It has potential to be just as much fun (and just as fresh) in 6 months as it is today.

That's a bargain.

Now, I think there are things that NYA could be doing better. There are still many small improvements (with big impact) still to make. And the longevity of the project is still in question.

(...That last point is a significant one, and always has been. That's why I'm keen for NYA to make a profit and stand on its own two feet. Projects that make a profit tend to stick around.)

Overall, though, I'm impressed so far. And the NYA team are obviously putting some effort into improving the experience.

The bottom line:

Neil is an artist famous for coming alive on the live stage. That's where he unleashes his fullest, most soulful and most intense peformances.

And already NYA has shared a generous handful of concerts surely worth far more than the price of admission.

Yes, some fans will ignore these remarkable live shows because they aren't slickly-packaged (with accompanying deluxe box set and hefty price tag).

We, on the other hand, are more perceptive. We already understand that the most priceless gems aren't always clearly on display in a fancy jewellers — instead, they need to be dug for. We need to discover them.

And there are already plenty of gems wanting to be discovered on NYA.

My advice? Get subscribed and start discovering, by all means.

Scotsman. 

Scotsman, yet again you say what many feel but may not be able to express as clearly.

As we have noted here before, what we fans are experiencing is nearly unprecedented during an artists lifetime -- an "avalanche of an embarrassment of riches" cascading down the mountains. Or "priceless gems" --  as you suggest. Often such deluges occur long after the artist has passed into the Great Sky. So we are obviously quite lucky to be enjoying these rare releases while Neil is still here and productively creative.

We can only imagine what other treasures remain to be opened. In the meantime, we enjoy the moments of "Young Shakespeare", "Way Down in The Rust Bucket", "Return to Greendale" and the other sonic and visual multitudes.

More on Neil Young's "The focus, a gift": Reflecting on Reflections.


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19 Comments:

At 4/05/2021 03:07:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

I agree with Scotsman 100% and I intend to try to get some friends to buy in at Rust level to enjoy these live concerts and all the rest of the features of NYA. This page is far more viable than PONO. I am enjoying the sound resolution but the content is the real advantage. I have been a habitual purchaser of ALL the Neil Young releases for 32 years, until Return to Greendale came out. I was running low on cash and just wasn't going to buy that one. I have the CD/DVD from the initial release, and I have NYA, so I can listen to it any time I want to.

I flirted with the idea of halting all purchases of physical product but relented when stimulus came through. I like to rip CDs for my own enjoyment while driving and at home. Sometimes its the whole album, sometimes just songs from here and there. So I bought NYA 2, Rust Bucket, and Young Shakespeare. But with the huge number of releases headed our way, I will get more selective about which ones I really want to own.

I am cranking NY & Crazy Horse from 2001 Sweden. Oh my God! What power! You simply must hear this show. Smoking Hot! I don't usually love Piece of Crap but this version is quite good. Its changing my mind about that song. All in all just a killer show. I agree that everyone should join NYA at least at the Rust level to enjoy these live shows being added. Alan in Seattle

 
At 4/05/2021 05:07:00 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

The Sweden ‘01 concert is absolutely brilliant. Hunter Vally ‘13 and Boulder ‘76 are just as good as well

I Buy literally every physical release Neil puts out on vinyl and anything on DVD or blu-ray too but I must admit I’m happy to get some of these concerts as just digital releases - I’m running out of space in my house - it’s all about the music anyway isn’t it? - the fancy box set doesn’t make it a better performance
I’d probably be just as happy with the upcoming bootleg series just being available as a stream on NYA too

But in short: NYA is amazing value for money and the timeline concerts are my favourite feature

 
At 4/05/2021 06:38:00 AM, Blogger G-Man said...

It just a shame that the Greedy Hand UK store cannot get the goods to customers/fans when released. Their policy is seriously flawed. First taking the money at the time of the order, not when shipped, as the vast majority of online retailers do. Second, only shipping all items in the order, not sending items as they become available, again most online retailers I use send items as they become available. Old Greedy Hand seems to want to save on postage, in this case less than £2!!!!!
To prove my point this is the e-mail I received on Thursday after my "Young Shakespeare" cd and dvd failed to arrive a week after release (yes I did receive the hi-res download on the day of release, but hate listening on my computer when I have a very expensive hi-fi to listen on). Offering a 10% discount on future releases is hardly an offer when you have to wait months for the goods, I waited 6 weeks for Archives II after the failings there.
Hello John,
Thank you for your message. Due to recent global events, our supplier has informed us that they are experiencing a delay with the production of the Young Shakespeare (DVD).
Unfortunately, as a result we are going to receive this item on a later date. Sadly, we are currently unable to confirm the exact date this item will be available, but please bear with us. We appreciate this is frustrating and apologise for any inconvenience or disappointment caused.
Please note, we are only able to dispatch your order once all the items that you purchased are available, as we are not able to ship items separately. If you would like to wait for the your order, we will be able to notify you as soon as your order is ready.

 
At 4/05/2021 07:21:00 AM, Blogger Old Black said...

G-Man,
As a Brit I find it as ridiculous as you do. I ordered both the DVD's of Rust Bucket and Shakespeare on the same order from the U.S. Greedy Hand. They were both dispatched separately as one was released before the other, and they both arrived promptly and well packed. Given the bad experience I had with the U.K. Greedy Hand with the archives vol 2 box, and how well the roll out from the U.S. store seemed to go in comparison, if I were you I'd ditch the U.K. store and order from the U.S. one.

 
At 4/05/2021 08:47:00 AM, Blogger G-Man said...

Thanks for the advice Old Black, sadly the U.K. store is an utter shambles.

 
At 4/05/2021 12:00:00 PM, Blogger dpnyfan said...

I love the ability to watch the concerts with out some idiot calling out songs or yelling neil. I've list count the number of shows I've been too. I feel almost hypnotized watch him do is thing. My kids now adults have attended many with me. We've seen good and stunning shows and the occasional off night, but every show is real genuine passion without. I now can turn out the lights reflect in my memories and enjoy the music. I for one enjoy these new levels. Peace to all.

 
At 4/05/2021 12:10:00 PM, Blogger A Olsve said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4/05/2021 12:15:00 PM, Blogger A Olsve said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4/05/2021 01:02:00 PM, Blogger dpnyfan said...

Hey Alan we gotta meet up sometime I'm in puyallup. Not sure this is appropriate I'm old! Haha but I figure talking all things neil is great thing

 
At 4/05/2021 01:23:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I guess it all comes down to priorities for each individual.

Before we moved to a different state in 2019, we decided to make a few changes to our lifestyle, including letting go of some expensive luxury items like satellite television which was costing us $110.00 per month. Our move included several other lifestyle choices that limited our spending as well as letting go of anything we own that is non essential, allowing us to live with less. We’re still in the process of downsizing, and making those difficult choices.

My wife and I are both really passionate about music and over time we have assembled a huge collection of vinyl, CDs, Blu Rays and DVDs. I’m talking in the thousands!!! Over the past year we have been letting go of anything in that collection that we feel is not essential for our souls. It has been a difficult task, but necessary as the time we have left in our lives is much smaller than the time we have left behind us.

We chose to go with the Patron tier because we feel we are supporting a worthy individual who has brought us so much joy throughout the decades, and we want Neil to have the freedom to create his vision so everyone who enjoys his work will have access to all of it. NYA is a wonderful gift not only for his current fans, but for those who have yet to discover him. NYA is setting a precedent for other musicians to follow.

Technology will always be a double edged sword, both good or evil depending on how it’s used. NYA is a remarkable example of that good side of the sword, bringing so much joy to so many different kinds of people from all over the world. Offering not only Neil’s remarkable music, but historical information that offers fans a deeper experience into the man and his gift. This is something worth investing in, and its value goes far beyond money. It feeds the soul of fans who are genuinely passionate about Neil’s music, and you just can’t put a price on that.

The Timeline concerts are just the beginning of what is possible for Neil and his team, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to do my small part in facilitating Neil’s vision. NYA is more than just groundbreaking, it’s revolutionary. And for $8.33 a month, I call that a bargain. If you go with the Rust tier, it’s half that. Where else can you get so much for so little?


Peace 🙏

 
At 4/05/2021 01:54:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

@DanSwan I have a pretty large music collection myself but I am tempted to say, "Hey, I would pay shipping for various items if you are getting rid of them." I would. Downsizing is a huge challenge for my wife and I. Kudos to you for making headway.

@dpnyfan So you are another local hardcore Neil Young fan. Cool. That would be fun to meet up sometime when "the world stops ending" from Covid, etc. I have gotten the vaccine but I work in health care. Hey I thought of a cool place to meet up: Jimi Hendrix's resting place and memorial, at Greenwood Cematary in Renton. I have been there 4 or 5 times over the last 3 decades. It is not to be missed.The memorial is very impressive. There is an indoor counterpart as well: Gold records, photos, etc. The marble work is very tastefully done. It turns out that nobody stepped up to pay when his body was returned to the US from England; none other than Bob Dylan paid to have his body placed in burial. I am big fans of both of those Artists too. I would be a bigger Dylan fan if he was not a cigarette smoker probably. He has ravaged his voice with cigarettes. Only on Nashville Skyline was he a non smoker. I wish we had more from Jimi, but honestly, we have a LOT. He made a huge number of recordings, thankfully.

I am here at TW more than any other page on the internet (maybe that is obvious!). We can meet up when the time is right. Peace be upon you. Alan in Seattle

I digress. Were you at the 1999 Paramount show? There was a high pitch sound present during the first set which was annoying. I got my hands on a great recording of it which erases the problem. I can rip you a few discs.

 
At 4/05/2021 02:07:00 PM, Blogger dpnyfan said...

Nice! I'm in health care also, I was there! Never heard recording of it. I have so many great memories going too shows. Sneaking my dtr on the floor in Everett to be up front, she still talks about it. Another great one was at gorge with my wife. Beautiful eve acoustic solo. I was amazed at how ny filled the place with music with a great crowd without idiots! Haha I'm a fan as the shirt says when neil plays shut the fuck up

 
At 4/05/2021 02:09:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Hey y'all. Its too bad Neil doesn't sell more stickers (or does he license them out?) I just bought a bunch of stickers off of RedBubble that I am going to plaster on my car. For my car, they are like band aids! My Bernie Sanders sticker has grown algae during covid. I haven't washed my care much in the last year. With the Neil Young T-shirts, Organic cotton is far less ecologicallly harmful. But the official shirts are expensive. I have 4 official Neil Young shirts that I almost never wear, made of organic cotton. I bought a "Neil Young & Crazy Horse Ragged Glory Tour 1991" T-shirt with Horse and rider on Amazon a few years back. Could not resist since I caught that tour. Neil's merchandise choices are sometimes confounding. Can anyone relate? If memory serves, the "Hitchhiker" merch was the strangest of all, with almost no appeal to anyone to actually buy it. Its almost like he is NOT into self-promotion! A strange quality in a famous musician. Maybe if he was Hot Doggin' it all these years he would be huge. And we probably wouldn't be here enjoying the feeding frenzy of NYA and new releases on the way. He has dismissed being cool and therefore.... he is so cool! When Bono of U2 tried to explain to Neil how to right a Hit song, he should have instead shut his mouth and taken lessons from Neil instead! Now U2 is totally irrellevant yet trying to stay cool with duets or whatever. I was a huge U2 fan for many years also, but now I could not care less, pretty much. Like Neil said when asked about Bono, "Who?" That really gave me a chuckle. Alan in Seattle

 
At 4/05/2021 02:38:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

@ Alan :
I'm selling much of my catalog to my local record store (The Record Exchange) for trade. I know I could make more money selling on EBay, but I'm not interested in that nightmare, and this way I have trade for all the Neil Young releases coming, and the store makes a profit on my stuff. Its a win win for them and us.

I too am a huge Hendrix fan, so when the time is right, I would enjoy meeting up with you at his resting place. My wife has never been to Seattle and this would be a good excuse (when the world stops ending).

We are both in agreement with you on U2. We were both huge fans up until the last four albums when they became a parody of themselves. For some reason they started over thinking everything, and lost everything that made them special.

Peace🙏

 
At 4/05/2021 02:45:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Cool Dan. Good plan with the trade ins! Ya, it will be fun to cross paths with fellow NY fans sometime. It would be pretty to to have a TW world meetup, or a US TW meetup of some sort! Of course I favor Seattle for my own selfish reasons! Alan

 
At 4/05/2021 03:30:00 PM, Blogger Rabbi Randy said...

Hey man, to each their own. I love Neil AND U2 and put them both in the exalted category of artists with unique, passionate and authentic voices and visions who care about their fans and care about care community, values, transcendence and in general just care about more than their profits (which they deserve),

 
At 4/05/2021 05:54:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

@Rabbi Randy I still have a huge U2 collection. I have not found their last few releases interesting.I would say I am still a fan but they should never have shoved that album onto everyone's hard drive like that. Somehow that was the moment when they lost my interest and a large part of society did as well. I haven' t given up all the way on them.

@dpnyfan and @Dan Swan : I am at alangrose1@gmail.com I am bad with email but I will look out for contact from you and get you my cell #. In a "perfect world" we could meet up and go see Neil Young live one night with Thrasher and a slew of NY fans. It could happen!

Alan in Seattle

 
At 4/07/2021 06:03:00 PM, Blogger Thos said...

I made a huge error! To get the free shipping from the uk store I ordered a number of items all at once, including the upcoming ‘the Times’ DVD. This won’t be released until June apparently, so I cannot experience Young Shakespeare or rustbucket until then as they will all be shipped together! Oh well, if less money goes to Amazon and more goes directly to Neil Young then I can cope with waiting.

 
At 4/15/2021 12:25:00 AM, Blogger forest rph said...

I love the ability to listen to all of Neil's concerts from past years.
Any thoughts or knowledge of if, & when Neil will again hit the Peace Trail with actual
concerts?
Age is creeping up on Neil & his cohorts, but would love to experience a live concert when the pandemic subsides!

 

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