Rust Never Sleeps (1979)

Rust Never Sleeps (1979)

“About 9 or 10 years ago Neil raised the question: has your band begun to rust? Well, after 9 years of research and rust development, we — Dr. Decibel and his grandfather here — we’ve discovered that ALL bands rust!”

Neil Young performs with the band Crazy Horse at the Cow Palace in 1978.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Concert Films
  • Rock ‘n Roll

Neil Young — using his usual pseudonym “Bernard Shakey” — helmed this documentary of his own concept album tour in the late 1970s, featuring Jawa-esque stage hands called Road Eyes who (along with scientists in lab coats and cone-headed religious figures) run around behind and on stage for no apparent reason other than sheer quirkiness, and presumably to bank on the success and popularity of Star Wars (1977) (?).

The musical set is structured to start with Young playing some of his earlier acoustical songs, accompanying himself on harmonica:

… and then gradually shifts towards a much stronger electrical sound with his bandmates; indeed, the film opens and closes on similar tunes — “My, My, Hey, Hey (Out of the Blue)” and “Hey, Hey, My, My (Into the Black)” — played in radically different styles.

We don’t see much (anything, really) of the audience, so this really is a straight-up, relatively non-experimentally-filmed rendering of a concert rather than any type of insightful documentary. To that end, your enjoyment of it will rest exclusively on how much you enjoy Young’s music.

NB: The weirdest song here has got to be “Welfare Mothers” (?!).

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Several enjoyable musical acts

Must See?
No, unless you’re a diehard Neil Young fan. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.


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