Sunday, January 13, 2013

Neil Young in concert, 1971

The era of my young youth was the era of long hair, until by the mid-70s a cultural exhaustion  descended upon upheaval.  The nation's 1976 bicentennial, which paradoxically commemorated the beginning of a revolution, closed out the era of revolution.  After all, Gerald Ford was president and New York City was basically bankrupt.  Welcome disco.

Once though, long-hair life defined popular culture with Neil Young very much a part of that group.

To see him today, he's round in belly, gray on head, and slightly daffy in his prescriptions to end our dependence on foreign oil.

But in 1971 he was the youthful troubadour that we know from photos.  In February of that year, he traveled to the U.K. to play small gigs, one of them for a BBC audience in Shepherd's Bush and that concert has been uploaded to YouTube.

The patina of time dulls an artist's shine as they move from the forefront of the culture to becoming simply pleasant and familiar background sights and sounds.

But a unique mind retains its uniqueness through time and Neil Young had a unique mind, and voice.  Haunting, somewhat depressed in tone.  And honest.

Music that would be replayed millions of times on turntables around the globe in the subsequent 40 years was once a collection of new songs.  And this audience is hearing them then. They sit in the round listening to the singer-songwriter, but they are really sharing the bounty of the protective enclaves of the garden of youth.

Youth, whence the spark of life springs, creates. 

Age repeats.

Here is the concert: