SHAKEY FEST: Rust Never Sleeps

“Instead of being a straight concert documentary, RUST NEVER SLEEPS calls itself a ‘concert fantasy.’ As he was during last fall’s tour at which this was filmed, Mr. Young is discovered ‘asleep’ on top of one of the loudspeaker banks, which has been disguised as an oversized pirate chest, and ‘wakes up’ to begin the concert.

“The ‘roadies’ who move equipment about have been dressed as ‘roadeyes,’ the little scavengers with brown robes and beady pinpoint eyes from Star Wars. The idea, reinforced by playing tapes of crowd-control announcements from the Woodstock Festival, is to comment on rock’s aging, on the discrepancies between veteran rock performers and their teenage audiences, and on rock’s allegiance to youthful rebellion and innocence…

“Mr. Young is, in the opinion of some of us, the leading creative figure in present-day rock-and-roll, and this film has stirring, even triumphant passages. He writes songs of unsurpassed metaphoric richness with deceptively simple, melodic tunes. He sings with haunting evocativeness and plays guitar with more personality and stark individuality than almost anyone else.

Rust Never Sleeps offers some of his strongest songs, both new and old, in performances as fine or finer than those on his recent, partly live record album of the same title. The effect here is rougher than the record, less polished with overdubbing; at one point, Mr. Young even mangles the words of one of his own best songs. But the intensity of the singing and the playing of Crazy Horse, Mr. Young’s longtime partners for electric-rock projects, is as moving as rock can offer.” – The New York Times

Dir. Bernard Shakey, 1979, 103 min.

Watch the Cinefamily Original trailer for Rust Never Sleeps!