I took delivery of this CD/DVD package this morning and it has blown me away. The quality of the production is immense so you really get a feel for the intimate atmosphere inside the venue. Neil is absolutely on it, his arrangements are so delicate in this setting and the power of his voice at times is spellbinding (especially 'A Man Needs A Maid') The setlist itself is a storybook, the foundations of Harvest a wonder to see for example as you spot tiny changes in lyrics.
When I heard the first recognisable notes of 'Helpless', I began to cry. On the DVD, the footage that has been edited in as an accompaniment is beautiful, poignant, nostalgic - but most of all, it's insightful and gives us a real sense of where Neil was at the time. I'm a big Young fan and I have been eagerly awaiting Massey Hall but I'd say that anyone who appreciates a talented artist in a live setting would get a lot out of this - I have a feeling that this could draw in a whole new load of fans who would never have heard Neil otherwise. The recording has that power within it.
I'd recommend the CD/DVD to get the most out of it, having seen the footage I can't imagine only having the CD. It's worth the extra money in my opinion. I did have the bootleg of this particular recording, minus two tracks. It's one that has been kicking around for a long time. I knew it was a very good gig. But this is truly exceptional. I mean really, it takes things to another level. Young steps up his game live, he's getting it all out in this one. There's passion and a very real depth of feeling which I haven't experienced to such a degree before. It's almost tangible. I'm just amazed at what they've done with this, you feel included.
The extras on the DVD contain critical reviews of the gig which you can read, radio spots on which Neil discusses 'A Man Needs A Maid' and 'Old Man', lyrics for every song he plays, a biography, discography, timeline and some fantastic high resolution photographs. The thing that impressed me most though were the copies of the original hand-written manuscripts for many of the songs.
Much thought has gone into this release, and it does feel very personal. I can only imagine what Archives VOL.1 will hold in store but if we're to go on the merits of this then I'm very, very excited.