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Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Comment of the Moment: Neil Young Archives Timeline Concert Highlights

"Timeline Concert of the Week" | NYA


Last week, we featured a post on Timeline Concert Highlights on Neil Young Archives .
All three sets of the Canterbury House show in Ann Arbor, Michigan from October 16th, 1969 is my favorite Timeline Concert so far. 
 That is such a unique one-off evening (i.e. 8, 10 & midnight shows) that were just months after Woodstock which was also a time period in the midst of recording Deja Vu and just after the summer when "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" was all over FM radio. As usual, so many new songs and each show ended with a solo acoustic version of "Country Girl" which wouldn't be recorded for a few weeks.

In fact, the "Country Girl" recorded at the Canterbury House had extra lyrics that didn't make the cut for Deja Vu.

Rather brilliant move by the Canterbury House to book two shows at once for both November 10, 1968, when Neil Young was relatively unknown after the break-up of the Springfield, and also for October 16th, 1969. Elliott Roberts was very familiar with the Canterbury House booking team from the shows done (and recently released) by Joni Mitchell in 1967. The venue held less than 200 people and was often SRO for acts like Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Lowell George/Little Feat, Captain Beefheart, Dave Van Ronk, Odetta, Doc Watson, Len Chandler, the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, the New Lost City Ramblers, David Ackles and Steve Noonan. Plus, Ann Arbor (known as A2 locally) is such a cool place to hang out anyway. Pretty sure every act that played the Canterbury House was recorded at the soundboard on reel to reel tape that was state of the art at the time. A few months after the 1969 Canterbury House show Neil Young returned to the Detroit area with CSNY for a show at the Masonic Auditorium.

Here is part of a summary of what happened at the Canterbury House in Ann Arbor that was written for the University of Michigan paper, Michigan Daily:

“It was wonderful in so many ways,” Rubin said. “It was a religious organization first and foremost … but a lot of the ministers were very progressive so it became a place where people who were part of ‘the Movement’ gathered and went for meetings, to hang out, to go to services on Sunday. I am not religious, and I didn’t grow up Christian but even I went to services. They were just really profoundly pleasant and inspiring services to go to. Also, one of Ann Arbor’s first health food restaurants was located as a little kind of salad bar in the front of Canterbury House.”

Although Rubin currently still DJs from time to time, she finds the differences between recorded and live music to be crucial to an audiophile. As you can tell from recordings such as Neil Young’s Sugar Mountain – Live at Canterbury House 1968, shows at Canterbury were nothing like the recorded material from the same artist. They told stories, they had extended asides, or “raps” as the Young reissue calls them, and they could converse with the intimate crowds. Rubin said this is where the beauty of live music rings true.

“Recorded music always sounds the same, because once it’s recorded, it’s like publishing a book. It’s codified. It’s there on a page,” Rubin said. “Live music is more spontaneous. It can vary quite a bit more … And the way sound works live is very different than the way it works coming off of a stereo or coming out of speakers … You can feel the air move and you certainly could at Canterbury House.”

When asked elsewhere by another reporter why he played the Canterbury House Neil Young with Elliott Roberts sitting next to him he responded,

“Well, cause this is a groovy place. It’s got a good reputation and it’s crowded, really good crowds, and it’s the best place to start, because the crowd is receptive."

When the single, “Heart of Gold,” was released the flip side was “Sugar Mountain” that was recorded live at the 1968 show for the Canterbury House. Must say, in Michigan both sides of the single were often played because of the local venue. Those Canterbury House recordings then became almost mythological as Neil Young’s fame grew over the years. 
Thanks Jim for the CotM! So glad Canterbury House made it out of the vaults.

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At 3/26/2024 12:57:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

An excellent comment of the moment, and some real insight into the importance of small venues. Most of my favorite memories of live music while growing up, were located within small venues with 300 or less capacities. These intimate settings are often more energized because of the closeness. I was fortunate enough to witness several bands in these smaller environments, and for the most part they were some of most intense shows I ever attended. Stray Cats, Oingo Boingo, Pat Metheny, Living Color, Robin Trower, Big Country, Ziggy Marley, are just a handful of bands that took advantage of the smaller spaces to really deliver their best.

I’m so grateful that small venues can still be found virtually anywhere in the world. These are where artists have the best opportunities to grow, and where music lovers can experience the unique benefits of a smaller space.

Thanks for posting this one Thrasher!!

Peace 🙏

At 3/26/2024 04:59:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Country Girl is a song no one else could write. It also foreshadows Rust. "While stars sit in bars " etc. The end is always near.

At 3/27/2024 06:20:00 AM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

"They drop by to die because it's faster than sinking"

At 3/27/2024 06:22:00 AM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Dan, I saw Big Country in Boston, at the Paradise (200?). Later that year I saw Leo Kottke and I will never forget the intimacy of the place. I could see Leo working his magic.

At 3/27/2024 12:36:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3/27/2024 12:38:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3/27/2024 12:39:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

@Abner: My very first concert was Leo Kottke and Procol Harum. Leo stole the show even though he was the opening act. What an amazing guitarist. This was the first tour for Procol Harum after Robin Trower left the band. They were great, but Leo had two encore's, and two standing ovations. Amazing.

Peace 🙏

At 3/27/2024 02:47:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

I was always amazed by the fact that Leo Kottke was able to get that much sound of just one guitar. To me Vaseline Machine Gun was the outstanding track. His singing, well...

At 3/28/2024 08:46:00 AM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

At the Leo concert I kept yelling for the song "Tiny Island" and finally Leo said, "I am going to play Tiny Island just to shut that guy up"

To be fair, I was only 21.

Dionys, check out Leo's version of "Cool Water"- his voice is perfect for that hell-scape.

At 3/28/2024 09:06:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Thanks Thrasher for the comment of the moment and all the responses. I like the line, "Find out that now was the answer to answers that you gave later."

At 4/05/2024 11:30:00 PM, Blogger Jim said...

There is a discussion over on Reddit (writer beware there) about the new CSNY live recording mentioned on NYA. Here is my two cents...

If you are thinking, Four Way Street from 1970, think again because this is the earlier 1969 run at the Fillmore East when Neil had just joined them! It was a month after Woodstock during their first tour. This series of shows for fans of Neil Young had Mr. Soul, Broken Arrow, Sea Of Madness and I've Loved Her So Long plus Stills' Bluebird Revisited from the Springfield days and they also did Wooden Ships and Get Together.

Wonder if this is like the difference between the 1968 and 1969 appearances by Neil Young at the 200 seat Canterbury House in Ann Arbor, Michigan? The energy/set list/vibe from 1969 was very different from the 1968 shows. Both have their unique charms but only the three sets from 1969 have Country Girl!

CSNY set lists from the Fillmore in 1969:

Six shows at the Canterbury House 1968 and 1969:

At 4/07/2024 11:34:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Jim - thanks for update.

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