The Austin Chronicle

Live Shots

SXSW panels

Reviewed by Michael Bertin, March 27, 2009, Music

Neil Young Archives

Austin Convention Center, March 21

Ten minutes into his panel, Elliot Roberts' phone started ringing. It was his most famous client, Neil Young. Roberts declined to answer the call as he was busy with something more important. He was unveiling Young's oft-delayed Archives box set. Volume 1 (of perhaps up to five) covers 1963-1972 and now has a firm release date (June 2). The panel even had copies people could touch. The bits demoed show how ridiculously complete the set is, which shouldn't be surprising since Roberts and Young have had some kind of a collection in mind almost since they met back at Woodstock. The real "wow" factor here is the interactivity of the Blu-ray set (CD and DVD versions of the Archives will also be available). Not only can one peruse several layers of associated artwork while listening, when new material becomes available (e.g., Motown's Mynah Birds tracks just received clearance), the Blu-ray set will "phone home" and get them for you. Young better hope fans still have their jobs come this summer, because at $399 ($99 for the CD, $199 for the DVD), this kind of cool doesn't come cheap.

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