Neil Young Live Rust 1978

Live Rust is a live album by Neil Young recorded in 1978 and some of the songs were used in the film Rust Never Sleeps.

I get confused with how Live Rust fits in with the Rust Never Sleeps album which was also partially recorded live at San Francisco’s Cow’s Palace and later had the audience noise removed.

Live Rust starts with an acoustic set and climaxes with an all-out electric rave. That worked particularly well on a double LP where you could choose which version of Neil Young you wanted.

Controversially the album was squeezed on to a single CD by editing out about 90 seconds of guitar from Cortez The Killer. This horrifies purists but I don’t think it is noticeable when you listen to it.

Neil Young Live Rust

Neil Young Live Rust

My rating – 28 out of 30 (9 +10 +9)

Average Amazon Customer Rating – %%AVERAGERATING%% Stars From %%REVIEWCOUNT%% Reviews

Set List Rating 9/10

  1. Sugar Mountain – 5:02 (originally the B side of The Loner and first released on an album on the compilation Decade)
  2. I Am a Child – 3:01 (on the Buffalo Springfield album last Time Around)
  3. Comes a Time – 3:15 (Comes a Time)
  4. After the Gold Rush – 3:49 (After the Gold Rush)
  5. My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue) – 4:12 (Rust Never Sleeps)
  6. When You Dance I Can Really Love – 3:42 (After the Gold Rush)
  7. The Loner – 4:53 (from the album Neil Young)
  8. The Needle and the Damage Done – 3:06 (Harvest)
  9. Lotta Love – 2:51 (Comes a Time)
  10. Sedan Delivery – 4:50 (Rust Never Sleeps)
  11. Powderfinger – 5:43 (Rust Never Sleeps)
  12. Cortez the Killer – 6:19 (Zuma)
  13. Cinnamon Girl – 3:22 (Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere)
  14. Like a Hurricane – 8:03 (American Stars’n’Bars)
  15. Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black) – 4:37 (Rust Never Sleeps)
  16. Tonight’s the Night – 7:12 (Tonight’s the Night)

Four of the nine tracks from Rust Never Sleeps are repeated here. Rather confusingly, that album was recorded live in concert and then Young tinkered with it in the studio to make it sound like a studio album.

This is an excellent selection of Neil Young songs to represent his career up to the end of the seventies. My only possible complaint is that it could be longer. Young has written so many great songs that it’s easy to think of extra songs you’d love to have included. The CD and mp3 download clocks in at just under 74 minutes and that’s too short.

Performance Rating

The performance is excellent and I’m giving it the full 10 out of 10.

Here are a few videos I found on YouTube of Neil Young performing live in concert in or around 1978.

Like A Hurricane – fantastic – possibly my favourite Neil Young song of all time.

Hey Hey My My Into The Black

Atmosphere & Authenticity Rating – 9/10

I hadn’t spotted this myself when I moved from vinyl to CD but it seems that Cortez The Killer has lost some of its guitar solo. The album was just too long to fit on one CD so a choice had to be made – make it a double CD with extra cost, lose a track of edit one of the existing long tracks.

I know there are songs that were performed live that haven’t been released so I’m hopeful that Live Rust will get the deluxe treatment and be extended at some time. This is important musical history. Young has done an excellent job of making his live archives available but this album has never been improved.

I dock a point for the editing. While I hadn’t noticed the missing minutes, now I know, I want them back.

Overall Rating For Live Rust by Neil Young

This is my personal favourite of Neil Young live albums, beating Massey Hill 1971, Unplugged and Weld because it’s got both the soft and the hard sides of his work.

I can’t give it any less than 28/30 because I think it is a truly great album but, looking at my individual marks, they appear kind individually.

What Others Say About Live Rust

Live Rust is one of the most critically acclaimed live albums and regularly appears on the greatest live albums ever lists.

  • NME – 2nd
  • Q – 2006 – 3rd
  • IGN – 4th
  • Slate Readers Poll – 6th
  • – 11th
  • Stylus – 18th
  • – 21st
  • Rolling Stone – included in the Top 25

Reviewers at Amazon are also enthusiastic.


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