Friday, July 24, 2009

I'm Sorry Neil But You Ripped Me Off

As far as I'm concerned the most anticipated release in virtually all of rock and roll history is a bust. Neil Young's Archives Volume One certainly busted me, and for what?

Oh I thought I was so smart. I convinced my wife to get me a Blu-Ray player for Father's Day in anticipation of the second-coming of box sets. And then, instead of paying $399 Cdn. at the CD store I saved myself $85 by ordering through And then I watched it.

I use the word "watched" advisedly because what I watched, save for one darkly lit "performance disc" (the previously released Massey Hall concert) and his drug-induced 70s film Journey Through The Past, was 7 Blu-Ray discs of turntables turning and reel-to-reel tape machines reeling. And so was I when all was done.

Now don't get me wrong. I love Neil Young. The ex-pat Canadian is right up there with the rest of my holy trinity of rock: Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan. And the music on the discs is fascinating, both in terms of audio quality and, as a Neil Young completist, historically, taking us back to his boyhood group The Squires in Winnipeg in the early 60s.

The packaging is great too, as are the so-called hidden features on the discs such as biographical notes, photos and newspaper clippings.

Unfortunately, there's next to no video of performances of Neil. When I heard he was capitalizing on Blu-Ray technology I thought he had some great performance footage to share with fans. Half of the anticipation of this long-awaited collection had to do with seeing how he took advantage of the latest technology available to him. But I was sorely mistaken as is anyone else who bought the over-priced and equally over-hyped DVD or Blu-Ray versions of this box set.

I hope this changes for subsequent volumes. Otherwise, the cheaper CD version of the box set will suffice.

Neil, I saw you perform twice in the last year, and the year before with Crosby, Stills and Nash. I was hoping for more. I'm really disappointed.

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