Journey Through The Last
Fox Theater, Atlanta, GA – November 24th, 1976 (early show)
Disc 1 (76:01): The Old Laughing Lady / Guilty Train, Human Highway, Journey Through The Past, The Needle And The Damage Done, Sugar Mountain, Country Home, Don’t Cry No Tears, Drive Back, Down By The River, Lotta Love, Like A Hurricane, After The Gold Rush, Are You Ready For The Country?, Cinnamon Girl, Cortez The Killer
Disc 2 (42:23): Audience/Seagulls, The Old Laughing Lady / Guilty Train, Human Highway, Journey Through The Past, The Needle And The Damage Done, Give Me Strength, Pocahontas, A Man Needs A Maid, Sugar Mountain
Disc 3 (61:03): Country Home, Don’t Cry No Tears, Drive Back, Down By The River, Lotta Love, Like A Hurricane, After The Gold Rush, Are You Ready For The Country?, Cinnamon Girl, Cortez The Killer
Journey Through The Last documents the afternoon show at the Fox Theater in Atlanta Georgia presenting two separate tape sources. The first disc contains and excellent stereo audience recording which is on par with the tapes from Boston and New York. However it is cut between all of the songs and contains only seventy-five minutes of the show. The second source is on discs two and three. It is a good but distant recording and contains the entire show. A soundboard recording also exists for this show since “Old Laughing Lady” and “The Needle And The Damage Done” appear on the Bernstein tapes. But Journey Through The Last is the first time the entire early show appears on silver.
November 24th was the final day of the month long tour and after the show Young flew to San Francisco to take part in The Band’s final show at Winterland Ballroom as documented in The Last Waltzon November 25th. This is a very good concert which Young plans to release officially (“He plans to release a 1976 concert from the Fox Theater in Atlanta, where, for some reason, he imagined himself talking to the ghost of Judy Garland.”)
The acoustic first half is notable for Young stopping in the middle of “Human Highway” which is introduced as “an old song … but I never got a chance to record it … whenever I would try to record it, someone stepped in and stopped it.” He stops the song in the middle to get the audience to clap in time “Will you just get a beat behind me with that clap. Oh my God where do I start? I’ll sing the last verse, definitely. I hear one person clapping and I’m trying to play rhythm and he’s a beat behind. And usually I don’t mention it but since this is the last night of the tour I thought I’d bring it up.”
He delivers a poignant “The Needle And The Damage Done,” which is why it was included on the Bernstein tapes. “Pocahontas” is also very intense and afterwards he cryptically says: “I thought I saw Judy Garland down there.” He follows with “A Man Needs A Maid” and, after the evening performance, the song would be retired from the set list for the next thirty years. It wouldn’t be played again until the show in Idaho in October, 2007.
The second half of the show, where Crazy Horse comes on stage, is dominated by several very long jams. “Country Home” is close to seven minutes long. Young introduces the band afterwards and introduces “Don’t Cry No Tears” as one of the first songs he wrote and recorded. “Down By The River” contains a very long and intense feedback laden jam in the middle and, after “Lotta Love,” continues in an epic “Like A Hurricane.”
Young sits at the piano for the more calm “After The Goldrush.” On the Japan and European tours earlier in the year this song was played in the first set. But by the final week of the November tour it was reserved for the latter half of the second set probably as a respite for the band after such intense songs like “Down By The River” and “Like A Hurricane.” Young stays at the piano for “Are You Ready For The Country?” The set ends with “Cinnamon Girl” and the only encore is the controversial “Cortez The Killer.” Journey Through The Last is another product of the no-label people with great artwork and overall presentation. This is certainly one of the most enjoyable Neil Young release in a while.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)