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Documentary | Music



Release Date:

3 March 1993 (USA)  »

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Good, but could have been better...
4 July 2007 | by (Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Neil should've never allowed MTV to release this... Neil has always had a weird relationship with MTV. It all began with the video for 'This Note's For You'... Neil criticized artists like Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton and Whitney Houston for selling out and appearing in commercials, something Neil never did. The video was subsequently banned from MTV because of the so called reference that were made to certain brand names... Of course that's a big lie. The truth is those were MTV's big stars and the companies were there sponsors and Neil got to their wallet and MTV didn't like that. Neil was quoted as saying "does the M in MTV stand for music or for money?" and "MTV should be called television Music rather than Music Television". Amazingly MTV named the video 'best video of the year' after it became very popular on other TV channels. When Neil gave his acceptance speech however there were problems with his microphone...

This didn't stop him from going on MTV's Unplugged show though... as a matter of fact he did it twice! But Neil was so unpleased with the recording of the first show (from which he almost backed out of, because he really didn't want to do it) that he made a second attempt. He did the show with the Stray Gators, the band he did Harvest and the Time Fades Away tour with. At that time he said that 'that band wasn't right in the first place" so he should've known it was going to be a disaster. The band had no idea what they were playing even though they rehearsed the day before. The only one that was good was Nils Lofgren, then again he also played with Neil on Tonight's the Night for which they didn't rehearse AT ALL... To add to that Tim Drummond asked Neil's manager (who talked Neil into doing this, to increase his popularity with the mainstream public...) for more money. The tension reflected on the show, which was bad and there was a foul mood.

Critics hailed the 'new' arrangements for the slower Mr. Soul, which in fact were the original arrangements before he changed them to what they were on the Buffalo Springfield version. The solo Pump Organ version of Like a Hurricane was hailed too, but it was not even half as good as when he did it on his regular solo tour. Stringman, the only unreleased song at the time can be heard in a much better version during the show Neil gave with Crazy Horse at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1976. The list of mishaps is seemingly endless. The only interesting song is Transformer Man, which has always been played with the synthesizers. Outtakes from the show also include an unplugged version from another Trans song, Sample and Hold, which is pretty cool to be quite honest. The problem with this show is Neil has been unplugged for most of his life, like Bob Dylan, who did even worse during his Unplugged set, two years later, and he didn't really need this. What stung most though was that MTV logo on the back...

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