Neil Young and Jonathan Demme both hit benchmark levels of brilliance in the documentary Neil Young Journeys. In fact, Demme has recently made two other musical journeys with Young: Neil Young Trunk Show (2009) and Neil Young: Heart of Gold (2006). Their newest collaboration concentrates on new material mixed with a handful of classic Young tunes, all performed solo at Massey Hall in Toronto.
In between songs we cruise around with Young in his tricked-out classic 56 Ford Crown Victoria while he recollects growing up in Canada. There’s plenty of wit and wisdom to hear Young tell it, along with a few bits of too much information. Young relating how he destroyed a frog in his youth is balanced by his drive-by of a school named after his father Scott Young.
Classics include “Ohio,” “Down By the River,” “My My, Hey Hey,” “After the Gold Rush,” “I Believe in You,” as well as a solo version of “Helpless” heard over the closing credits.
Instrumentation includes Young on acoustic guitar as well as at the piano and a church organ. Young brings out his vintage Gretsch hollow body and Les Paul from time to time.
— Michael Bergeron