The DVD is out now. I'm watching it as I type. It's kind of fitting that the DVD came out the Tuesday after Prairie Home Companion opened in theaters. You kind of get the same vibe from both of them - the "down home" feel, Midwestern/Central Candadian "values," etc. The stories Neil tells between songs aren't quite as off-the-wall or funny as the ones told on Prairie Home Companion, but that's not really the point. You still get that "folksy" feel.
Plus both films were primarily recorded in historic/older auditoriums. The music is also very similar. (Country/Folk/Gospel - even a lot of Neil's songs have a gospel feel. I love the black gospel choir)
I think this kind of music is fitting for Neil at this point in his career. He looks more natural playing this kind of music at this age. The last really good Crazy Horse album he recorded, IMHO, is Sleeps With Angels, and I think that's kind of appropriate considering it was kind of a coda to the grunge era. (Since so many of the songs were about or at least seemed they were about Kurt Cobain's suicide) It was also one of the most mellow albums recorded by Crazy Horse.
I wasn't a big fan of Broken Arrow or the live album that followed the tour, Year of the Horse.
I did like Silver and Gold, and it was more in the Prairie Wind/Harvest/Harvest Moon mold.
As for Living With War, I don't think it will be remembered too many years from now. The sound is kind of unique with the horns and the choir, but the songs just seemed kind of forgettable. (Although they make a strong immediate statement) There's no "Ohio" that sticks out in my mind.
Although the music in Heart of Gold could easily be labeled "Country Rock," I like the variety of musicians he has in the band. They add more dimensions - from the soul of half of the Memphis Horns (Wayne Jackson) to the aforementioned gospel choir to the string section.
It's kind of cool to see all of the different angles of the Ryman auditorium. I've only been there once, but it's bringing back lots of memories.
Also the special features are great - show rehersals, an long interview with Neil, etc.
My favorite quote by Neil:
"We're not playing in LA, we're not playing in Madison Square Garden, we're coming home..." Having grown up in "fly-over" country, not far from Memphis, New Orleans, and Nashville, it's really cool to see an artist like Neil Young record a film there to pay his respects. Another great DVD to watch just for the documentary of the surrounding area is Elvis Costello's Club Date - Live in Memphis. He tours Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississppi.
It's also really cool that they added Neil's performance of "The Needle and the Damage Done" from the Johnny Cash show on the second disc.
Note to Macca: This is how a concert film should be done!!!
And in the end...