1982 NR 60 minutes
Neil Young rocks Berlin with the help of an all-star band in this 1983 concert following the release of his "Trans" album. Selected songs include "Cinnamon Girl," "Computer Age," "Little Thing Called Love," "Like a Hurricane," "Hey, Hey, My, My," "Old Man," "After the Goldrush," "Transformer Man," "Sample and Hold," "The Needle and the Damage Done" and the one-time-only performance of "After Berlin."
The 73rd Virgin sez...Great sound and camera work and a band in good shape with several thrilling guitar solos and fine acoustic songs as well (with shockingly good harmonies on "Little Thing Called Love"). It's only an hour long, but that's how HBO did it back then.
How a clumsy, skinny 37-year old in sagging sweat pants, lime green jacket and a necktie, with a (post-polio) body apparently devoid of rhythm or funkiness - and a very curious voice - could enthrall a crowd of stone-faced krauts is one of life's great mysteries. But he's been getting it done for 44 years and counting.
This is at about year 15 of his public career, and when it first showed in 1983 it felt like a summation of a long career that was in trouble because of the relative failure of a few very odd albums, including Trans featured here. Fans who were pining for folk or Rust Never Sleeps were baffled to say the least. I saw him live soon after this in Wichita where he did 1/3 Trans, harmonizing with a video of himself, 1/3 unknown material, and 1/3 rockabilly in a pink sport coat with greased back hair. We were a long way from "Rockin the Free World". If you can catch the Austin City Limits show from 1984, you will find him doing straight country.
Anyway, if you are even remotely a fan, and are innurred to Neil's restless muse, this is very satisfying. And, unlike most reviewers, I think the Trans stuff is actually pretty good, especially the longish crunch-fest "Sample and Hold". 5 out of 5 stars.