Well, I have now have the Cellar Door in my ears and I must admit I am a little bit disappointed. I understand that it is two completely different venues or live performance places, one being a small intimate place and the other more of a concert hall? Right? I haven't been to either one so I don't have a clue!
Anyhow, the sound quality of the Cellar Door recording is as Mike wrote, very upfront and right in your face. Neil's acoustic guitar playing/chords/tempo/decay are very distinct but at the same time kind sound kind of muffled or darker compared to what an acoustic guitar should or could sound like when recorded upfront, although much more present than the piano tracks. There's also a lot of tape hiss going on, no surprise...:-)
The Massey Hall recordings are much more more clearer, larger sound stage, of a course bigger venue but overall also a much better imaging, certainly not as upfront as with the mics of the Cellar Doors recording.
I hear a much more correct tonality of both Neil's acoustic guitar and his voice on the Massey Hall recording. Less hiss as well.. All IMO
Emotional wise, Neil is more in my face on the Cellar Door recording and he sounds much more comfortable playing this gig..
On the Massey Hall he sounds much more fragile, during songs and intro's between songs and I personally believe that this suited his performance better at this early stage in his life..even later on, so overall I consider the Massey Hall is a better fidelity recording/experience than the Live Cellars....
Although I will say that..
Neil Young always believed, at least in the old days, that in his world the most off sounding key/dischord or tonality placed in any traditional way of musical correct context could be the most important because it changes everything that we really expect to hear and NY probably exploits this terrain better on a few tracks of the Cellar Doors.
If you can play/master any given instrument near perfectly, why not explore the opposite (not quite, a small deviation) and see what comes out..
Edited by Jupiterknight - 12/12/13 at 10:09pm