Neil Young officially released his 1971 concert film Young Shakespeare on March 26, 50 years after the original performance was recorded live on 16 mm at The Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, Connecticut. A live performance video of the song “Helpless,” which was originally recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young for their 1970 album Déjà Vu, has also bee released.
Young Shakespeare featured some of Young’s earliest performances of “Old Man,” “The Needle and the Damage Done,” “A Man Needs a Maid” and “Heart Of Gold,” which would appear on Harvest, released the following year. This performance took place on January 22, two months following the release of After The Gold Rush.
Originally recorded for German TV, this concert took place during a pivotal moment during Young’s career, as it occurred between the releases of After the Gold Rush and Harvest, which are both considered classics in their own right. Unlike the more robust atmosphere of his live album Live At Massey Hall, recorded three days earlier, this performance sees Young stripped back, with only his acoustic guitar, piano and harmonica.
According to Young in a press release, Young Shakespeare was “a more calm performance, without the celebratory atmosphere of Massey Hall, captured live on 16mm. Young Shakespeare is a very special event. To my fans, I say this is the best ever…one of the most pure-sounding acoustic performances we have in the Archive.”
In February, Young announced the release of a companion album to his 1982 record Trans called Johnny’s Island, recorded in 1982, by the same band that made the former record. The record will be greeted by an animated film adaption of Trans.