Neil Young

Rust Never Sleeps (Directed by Bernard Shakey)

BY James KeastPublished Nov 1, 2002

Neil Young is a little behind in the technology revolution, because this 1979 concert film (directed by Young under a pseudonym) finds its way onto DVD before some of the albums it draws from are even available on CD. Rust Never Sleeps is a fairly straightforward concert film that already yielded the career-defining album Live Rust. The film does contribute to the legend, but only in incremental ways. The set-up — Neil progresses from youth into adulthood as he moves from acoustic guitar and harmonica to full-on Crazy Horse performance — pays off with delightful results. Adding to the fun for those intimately familiar with the album are the giant prop microphone and amps, all maintained by the Roadeyes — who are the members of Devo dressed up as stagehand Jawas. Left seemingly intact, the film is paced more like a concert (not edited for time) and even the waits seem appropriate. Almost like being there. Two things make it not like being there: the sound quality is remarkable and the visuals are not. Even on DVD, the film is dark, grainy and sometimes strangely shot. Nevertheless, the spectacular performance and inclusion in the film of two songs not on the album, "Welfare Mothers" and a version of "Thrasher" in which he forgets the words, might tip the scales for fans who've been waiting out this revolution. (Sanctuary)

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