Jonathan Demme finds gold in new Neil Young concert film

While there is no doubt that Neil Young is multifaceted, two distinct personas emerge when he performs live. During his acoustic ballads, there's a fragility and just a hint of crackle in his voice. And on the rockers, he is a performer of ferociousness and raw power.

Jonathan's Demme's concert film, Neil Young Trunk Show, which opens tomorrow at Chez Artiste Theatre, captures both sides of Young wonderfully. There song selections range from rarely played acoustic cuts like "Kansas" and "Ambulance Blues," to rockers like "Cinnamon Girl" and "Like a Hurricane," where Young masterfully travels into Thurston Moore country. During the twenty-minute "No Hidden Path," Young is fierce, hunched over his Gibson Les Paul and banging the shit out of the Bigsby vibrato bar. Sonically, it's gorgeous as hell.

The follow-up to Demme's previous Young concert film, 2006's Heart of Gold, Trunk Show was recorded during two shows at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania during Young's 2007 Chrome Dreams II tour. Demme, who's directed Silence of the Lambs, Rachel Getting Married and the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense, hopes to create a Neil Young trilogy. So far, he has no idea what form the third installment will take.

While Trunk Show might be aimed at Young believers, it could easily convert new fans. Demme's film, with its sometimes-shaky hand-held video, beautifully captures Young's complexities.

Neil Young Trunk Show opens Friday, March 19 at Chez Artiste Theatre (2800 South Colorado Boulevard) for a week-long run.

Check out the trailer below.

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon