michael gallucci


In Uncategorized on 05/27/2010 at 2:03 pm

Neil Young Trunk Show

In 2006, director Jonathan Demme’s Heart of Gold documented a reserved Neil Young in concert, performing songs from the previous year’s Prairie Wind. The album is one of Young’s most maudlin, inspired by the death of his father and an aneurysm Young himself was being treated for at the time. The work is pretty much a long rumination on mortality, and Demme’s film chronicled a laidback Young performing most of it. It’s an intimate portrait of the musician, but it doesn’t really cut to his often raging heart. Neil Young Trunk Show, the second in Demme’s proposed trilogy of Young concert films, does. It too starts with a slow, acoustic number, but it’s a familiar one: “Harvest.” It immediately kicks into an electric version of “Cinnamon Girl,” and it isn’t long before Young is in a customary pose, prowling and stomping the stage while wringing his guitar to unleash a torrent of distortion and feedback. Unlike the refined Heart of Gold, Trunk Show seems more like guerilla filmmaking. Cameras are at low angels, shooting band members’ feet, or they’re ten aisles deep in the audience, capturing the tops of fans’ heads. It isn’t as intimate as Heart of Gold, but it is more vibrant. The songs are certainly more exciting, a mix of a few classics and most of 2007’s Chrome Dreams II, which Young was touring at the time. There’s more happening onstage too, including a painter throwing together instant works of art. Like he did in Heart of Gold, Demme occasionally hauls his camera backstage. But the real action here takes place onstage, where Young plugs in and tears through “Like a Hurricane,” “Cowgirl in the Sand,” and the movie’s sprawling centerpiece “No Hidden Path.” It’s the storm after the calm.

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