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- Posted on Sep 13th 2011 12:30PM by Sarah Kurchak
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette
The film, which features footage from Neil Young's performance at Massey Hall this past May in support of his latest album, 'Le Noise,' packed such a sonically rich punch at the Sept. 12 screening that the crowd, which included Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder (until he had to leave to play at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, where "Uncle Neil" had joined Pearl Jam on stage the night before), started to feel more like they were at an actual concert than a concert film.
And there was a very good reason why it felt that way.
In a discussion with Young and Demme that happened after the premiere, the pair discussed the amount of music-geek tinkering that went into presenting 'Neil Young Journeys' in its full, thundering glory.
"One of the questions we asked when we were making the film is: Will we be able to deliver the visceral element of the sound?" Demme said.
To help deliver that impact, Young insisted on presenting the doc with a level of sound quality never before seen in the film world. While sound for movies is usually 48 kHz, Young insisted on 96 kHz. With the help of TIFF and his friends at Meyers speakers, the notoriously meticulous singer was able to install a soundsystem at the Princess of Wales Theatre that would support his vision.
"This is the first time a movie has ever been seen with that sound system," Demme announced.
Young wasn't the only one who had innovations in mind when it came time to make 'Journeys,' the third concert film that he's done with the Hollywood heavyweight. To add a different perspective, Demme decided to attach a camera to the microphone stand.
"That microphone scared the hell out of me," Young said with a laugh.
The singer did his best to ignore the contraption until something magical happened: He accidentally threw some saliva on it. The slightly blurry effect that his spittle had on the footage impressed him.
"When I spit on it, then it started getting funky," said Young. "We knew we had genius."