‘Neil Young Journeys’ Worth Watching
Neil Young Journeys is a new film that showcases the folk singer’s Canadian hometown of Omemee with director Jonathan Demme, recalling tales of his youth and other memories, including classic songs like “Hey Hey, My My” and “Ohio.”
Rolling Stone reports that in the film, Demme’s third about Young:
“Demme journeys with the Canadian icon back to his hometown, Omemee, where Young drives through the old neighborhood recalling tales of his youth. Then he moves on to Toronto’s Massey Hall, where those tales and snatches of memory are burnished into lasting songs of love and loss.”
USA Today reports that the 66-year-old rocker drives a 1956 Crown Victoria through his hometown, pointing out the sites and memories that go along with them, like a kid who once convinced him to eat tar. Traveling ahead of him is Neil Young’s older brother Rob, who drives exactly the speed limit, according to the singer. USA Today notes:
“The folk-rocker’s modest storytelling style never gets lost in minutiae or sentimental reveries — like his songwriting, it’s succinct and poignant.”
After Young’s cruise through town, the two arrive at Toronto’s Massey Hall, the site of his Le Noise concert tour stop in May 2011. It is essentially a concert film, paying tribute to Neil Young on his last concert tour, and Massey Hall as his final stop on the solo tour.
The L.A. Times notes that the May night is nearly silent, with the stage stripped to the bare minimum. the folk singer has little conversation with the crowd, and quietly moves between songs. His set list is a mix of old and new songs, a collection that reflects Young’s eclectic style through the years. The L.A. Times writes that:
“Young is always a singular force onstage, where he is a master of so much — a harmonica that weeps, an electric guitar that wails, an acoustic that whispers, an organ that grinds and soars — and that strength provides the spine of the film.”
According to USA Today, the Neil Young movie shows a wistful aspect to the concert and the artist’s hometown tour, showcasing a down-to-earth and affable person, who remembers key moments in his youth, without mourning the loss.