Royce Hall 1971 – Neil Young

'Royce Hall 1971' shines a light on a fledgling Neil Young on the rise as he introduces songs that would become some of his most famous work.

Royce Hall 1971

Neil Young

  • Americana

  1. On the Way Home
  2. Tell Me Why
  3. Old Man
  4. Journey Through the Past
  5. Cowgirl in the Sand
  6. Heart of Gold
  7. A Man Needs a Maid
  8. See the Sky About to Rain
  9. Sugar Mountain
  10. Don't Let it Bring You Down
  11. Love in Mind
  12. The Needle and the Damage Done
  13. Ohio
  14. Down by the River
  15. Dance Dance Dance
  16. I Am a Child

If there was one positive to come out of the covid lockdowns then it was the time it gave Neil Young to continue working on his archives project. The latest release, one of three this month, ‘Royce Hall 1971’ is one the most entertaining and unique record of a solo Neil Young Concert ever released.

‘Royce Hall 1971’ has been around in bootleg format for a long time, but Young has lovingly remastered the original analogue tape and produced a sonic treat with the updated mix.  It’s fair to say that this era of Young’s career has been well documented so far on other live releases, but two things make ‘Royce Hall 1971’ stand out from the others.

Firstly, Young himself is in great form here.  Laughing and joking with his audience, his sense of humour and warmth really shine through and allow both the audience and the listener a rare insight into his often-misunderstood character. Secondly, the set list is unique in that most of the songs he played were from the ‘Harvest’ album, which wasn’t released until 1972.  Nowadays it is almost impossible to imagine hearing ‘Heart of Gold’  without the audience response taking the roof of the venue, but there’s something haunting about hearing a virgin audience experiencing it alongside another future classic ‘The Needle and The Damage Done’.

Other highlights include a nine-minute humour filled version of ‘Sugar Mountain’, and fan favourites, ‘Cowgirl in The Sand’ and ‘Ohio’.

Fifty years later we all have the benefit of hindsight when it comes to Young’s career and his music. His solo shows are remarkable at any time, but ‘Royce Hall 1971’ gives an insight into a singer-songwriter, who still early in his career was writing one legendary song after another with some of his best work still to come.