Neil Young Friends & Relatives: Neil Young (vocals, guitar, piano); Ben Keith (acoustic, electric, lap slide & pedal steel guitars; background vocals); Spooner Oldham (piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, Hammond B3 organ); Donald "Duck" Dunn (bass); Jim Keltner (drums, percussion); Astrid Young, Pegi Young (background vocals).
Personnel: Neil Young (vocals, guitar, piano); Ben Keith (vocals, guitar, slide guitar, lap steel guitar); Chrissie Hynde (vocals, guitar); Pegi Young (vocals); Spooner Oldham (piano, electric piano, Wurlitzer organ); Peter Maher (keyboards).
Photographers: Damon Hennessey; Danny Clinch.
For his 2000 Silver & Gold Tour, Neil Young assembled an outfit called Friends & Relatives, whose ranks featured long-time collaborator Ben Keith, MG Duck Dunn, Muscle Shoals session god Spooner Oldham, and peripatetic drummer Jim Keltner, with sister Astrid and wife Pegi on harmonies. Young avoids making the album either a live reprisal of his most recent studio album or a de facto greatest-hits package by tossing in a number of obscure songs from his set list.
Among the chestnuts featured are the jaunty "Walk On" (from the long-unavailable ON THE BEACH), and the introspective "Peace of Mind" (originally released on the often overlooked COMES A TIME). For those entranced by Young's grinding improvisation, there is a nearly 20-minute version of the gloriously swirling "Cowgirl in the Sand" and an epic "Words (Between the Lines of Age)" given a ghostly edge by Keith's ethereal-sounding pedal steel. The jamming slows down just enough for Young to shift into lovelorn gear on the previously unreleased lament "Fool For Your Love." Wrapping things up is an ominously chugging "Tonight's the Night," and an incendiary reading of "All Along the Watchtower," featuring opening act and long-time fan Chrissie Hynde.
Rolling Stone (12/21/00, p.170) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...Young kicks the dump in the rump....as Neil Young keeps proving, goofing around helps an old rock & roller stay young at heart."
Melody Maker (12/5/00, p.57) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Yes, he's still got it. 'It', of course, being the ability to play 18-minute songs that don't lull you into a coma."
NME (Magazine) (11/18/00, p.42) - 7 out of 10 - "...There's a restlessness here, within a sound that initially seems slapdash and reckless, that amounts to a sort of musical scorched-earth policy - dust down old memories and burn them until they crackle..."