Behind the Infamous Neil Young Carnegie Hall Concert Taping

Categories: Interview

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When Tom Adams brought his camera to Neil Young's performance at Carnegie Hall earlier this month, he didn't capture it on an iPhone or a piece of machinery that's worth more than three months' rent. He grabbed a camera before he left the house, double-checked to make sure the batteries were charged, and brought it along with him knowing full well that he might not be able to bring it into the venue. He did, and he didn't spend the show--Young's first at the storied concert hall in 41 years--becoming the flash-popping enemy of the people sitting next to him. He put the camera on the floor, trained its lens to shoot in between the bannisters in the railing before him, and hit record. And he wasn't alone.

[UPDATE: Warner Bros has now taken Tom Adam's Neil Young concert video removed from Youtube.] Adams' statement:

"While Warner Brothers certainly has the legal right to remove the video I produced, I am frustrated that no one from the company contacted me directly. Sure, I'm just a small fish in a gigantic pond, but I obviously touched on a nerve here. I simply received a standard email from YouTube noting the copyright infringement. I see the viral nature of this video as an opportunity for Warner Brothers to make a progressive move towards a more modern way of dealing with fan-produced media. I wish they would have seen this as a chance to taking a leading role in the rapidly changing world of online distribution ... especially when dealing with one of the world's most respected and prolific entertainers who, after 40+ years of performing, still has an amazingly solid connection with his fans. I wish they would have considered an alternative way to preserve and present this magical event to his fans instead of just removing it. So if anyone out there in Warner Brothers-land is reading this, I'm all ears and just a click away."

See also: Tickets to Tonight's Neil Young Show at Carnegie Hall Are Selling For $3,000

Adams, who runs a documentary and promotional film production company in Western Massachusetts, made waves last week when he uploaded a nearly two-hour tape of Young's Carnegie Hall performance to YouTube. The tape is unusual in that it isn't just a solitary cut from Adams' camera: it also incorporates footage uploaded by other concert attendees, who shot from their own cameras or cell phones, as well as audio provided by an anonymous taper going by Mr Railing. (The Wall Street Journal reported that this kind of activity and taping isn't encouraged by Young and his management, and that they find it "rude toward both the audience and the artist.")

Considering his decades-long hiatus from the venue and the fact that some were willing to fork over $3,000 to see him there, Young's Carnegie Hall performances were historical events that justified the breach in concert etiquette, as far as Adams and his serendipitous collaborators are concerned. Though it wasn't intentional, the multi-camera approach to documenting Young at Carnegie Hall was one that worked for Adams, and one that could signal the dawn of a new time in taping. We spoke to Adams about just that.

This Neil Young concert tape is a serious endeavor!
Yeah, well, it's my profession. I do this stuff for a living, but I've always been a huge Neil fan, so I thought I'd put my skills to good use here. [Documentary filmmaking] is what I went to school for. Most of what I do is informational and educational videos for clients, so a lot of it ends up being quasi-promotional type stuff. It depends. When the right thing comes along and there's funding for it, that's what I do.

This Neil Young concert tape was a labor of love, then.
Oh yeah. The whole point of this was just to share the experience and get the good word out about Neil.

We're looking at two hours of tape here, at a very intimate show, and it seems like you've compiled a ton of footage posted to YouTube that people captured on their iPhones at Carnegie Hall. That's nuts.
I think there was only one cell phone that was used; the others were more camera-type devices, I guess. It's amazing how much controversy comes up because of it. It's certainly not the first time it's been done. I kind of find myself defending the fact that I'm not the typical person that sticks the iPhone up in the air with the glow annoying everyone around them and all that stuff.

What compelled you to put together this concert video in the first place? You've already mentioned that you're a fan, but this isn't a typical approach and one that appears to have taken quite a bit of time, especially when it involves splicing in additional footage.
This show was such a historic event at Carnegie Hall. The place has got so much history to it and everything. I was going to it regardless as to whether I had my camera or not. I made sure I was going to go, and I wound up going by myself. It was important for me to be there. Whether or not I could get in with the camera was almost secondary. I've been to shows before where I didn't shoot, but I felt like this was a historic occasion. He hadn't been there since 1973, so I thought of it almost as a bookend to his career. He was in his early twenties when he [played Carnegie] the first time and he hadn't been back since then. Not to say he's nearing the end of his career, but he's no spring chicken, you know?

See also: Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Barclays Center - 12/3/12

Location Info

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Carnegie Hall

W. 57th & Seventh Ave., New York, NY

Category: General


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30 comments
sixty_2_zero
sixty_2_zero

Generally, concert videos of individual songs are tolerated by Neil Young and his management, as are bootleg records of entire concerts which have been traded freely, frequently and for many years. Neil Young himself  has acknowledged this practice and has even remarked that he see the trading and downloading of "inferior" recordings as similar to radio airplay promotion "back in the day." 


That said, it seems our good friend Adam crossed a line or two over the "fair use doctrine" by posting entire shows, promoting those recordings far and wide (Wall Street Journal, The Voice, for just two examples) AND he just happens to be a commercial videographer, that is, his posting of these videos can be seen as having a commercial purpose.  The promotion of his own business. 


As a fellow Neil Young fanatic I am very grateful for Adam for all the work he did in compiling the Carnegie Hall show(s) and sharing the wonder of what happened in that place (i attended the Friday & Saturday shows).  But as much as I enjoyed watching the concert at home, and as much as I think that Adam did this as a labor of love and not for commercial advantage, i think that in this case Warner Reprise was justified in removing this from YouTube.  It was just too good and too much.  

Copperpot5
Copperpot5

@Reelife_Tom Curious. Did they give you a (c) strike (time limiting your acct) or just remove the video?

tedcantu
tedcantu

Typical arrogant New Yorker.... I hope Warner Bros. crucifies this guy. You got no rights. Sit down and watch the show like everyone else.

Colin Connolly
Colin Connolly

I wouldn't pay $3,000.00 to see this old burned out hippie! If that isn't a "capitalist" move, I don't know what is.

Mike Vela
Mike Vela

wb didnt want people to hear how crappy neils voice has gotten with age. thus losing money..

jonathan.nyc
jonathan.nyc topcommenter

How many venue/artist rules and actual laws did this guy break?


He's so full of rationalizations, he's angry at Warner Brothers for the way they handled it.  


Dude, if you put yourself on the wrong side of the law, be prepared for a little grief.  


I know it's common for people unfamiliar with intellectual property laws to think this way.  But, he's got a documentary company.  He shouldn't complain if someone finds his own work torrent-worthy. 

johnoddophotography
johnoddophotography

That was an awesome show! Glad to have seen it! And Thank you Neil! You Rock!

rayfp
rayfp

@hilmonstah Nice! Bootlegging/taping culture is fascinating with not enough coverage given (I used to be in pretty deep w/ Dylan boots)

Binkconn
Binkconn

Next time do it for someone who's little more than an overrated subway musician.

Reelife_Tom
Reelife_Tom

@sixty_2_zero  I hear you and I can see how someone might think this was self-promotional... but it's a catch-22...there's no way I could have produced this without it seeming that way... I promise though, I did this for the love of Neil and to share the magic of this performance and the beautiful/historic nature of the show. 


I'm currently on a 'campaign' to have the concert film made available as a benefit for The Bridge School ...  trying to get a response from Elliot Roberts / Lookout Mgt & the Man himself... just would like to have a discussion about it. Already been in touch with the school but they can't act without any input from Neil...


Regarding the "fair use doctrine": The nature of live concert digital recordings is changing dramatically and I see this as a perfect way to integrate "a new of doing business" that allows for audience input and interaction etc. Of course, if Neil doesn't wan any of this to happen, then that's the way it is...but I am just looking to have a conversation about it...  



here are some related links:

http://reelifeproductions.blogspot.com/2014/05/im-editing-trailer-of-neil-young.html


http://reelifeproductions.blogspot.com/2014/02/help-make-neil-young-carnegie-hall.html


http://reelifeproductions.blogspot.com/2014/02/hey-hey-my-my-how-can-i-convince-neil.html



Reelife_Tom
Reelife_Tom

@jonathan.nyc  I'm not "angry" at anyone. I was prepared for the video to be removed. I'm not unfamiliar with copyright laws at all. I went to school for this stuff and have been in the business for 20+ years. I'm not complaining about anything.


I wanted to share this historic performance and event ... sure I was pushing the boundaries of current digital sharing levels. but I am definitely not the first person to have done this. In fact, the first crowd sourced movie goes back a good 5 years... and that's a LONG time in the digital world.


It's about opening your mind and forward thinking...  


I'm currently on a 'campaign' to have the concert film made available as a benefit for The Bridge School ...  trying to get a response from Elliot Roberts / Lookout Mgt & the Man himself... just would like to have a discussion about it. Already been in touch with the school but they can't act without any input from Neil...


Regarding the "fair use doctrine": The nature of live concert digital recordings is changing dramatically and I see this as a perfect way to integrate "a new of doing business" that allows for audience input and interaction etc. Of course, if Neil doesn't wan any of this to happen, then that's the way it is...but I am just looking to have a conversation about it...  



here are some related links:

http://reelifeproductions.blogspot.com/2014/05/im-editing-trailer-of-neil-young.html


http://reelifeproductions.blogspot.com/2014/02/help-make-neil-young-carnegie-hall.html


http://reelifeproductions.blogspot.com/2014/02/hey-hey-my-my-how-can-i-convince-neil.html


Reelife_Tom
Reelife_Tom

@rayfp @hilmonstah  


help spread the word: 'm currently on a 'campaign' to have the concert film made available as a benefit for The Bridge School ...  trying to get a response from Elliot Roberts / Lookout Mgt & the Man himself... just would like to have a discussion about it. Already been in touch with the school but they can't act without any input from Neil...


Regarding the "fair use doctrine": The nature of live concert digital recordings is changing dramatically and I see this as a perfect way to integrate "a new of doing business" that allows for audience input and interaction etc. Of course, if Neil doesn't want any of this to happen, then that's the way it is...but I am just looking to have a conversation about it...  



here are some related links:

http://reelifeproductions.blogspot.com/2014/05/im-editing-trailer-of-neil-young.html


http://reelifeproductions.blogspot.com/2014/02/help-make-neil-young-carnegie-hall.html


http://reelifeproductions.blogspot.com/2014/02/hey-hey-my-my-how-can-i-convince-neil.html


tommyboy
tommyboy

@Binkconn that's nice. glad you felt compelled to share that thought with us here...

sixty_2_zero
sixty_2_zero

@Reelife_Tom @sixty_2_zero  I know that you did made this great effort for the love of the music and in the spirit of sharing.  And it is a bit of a "catch 22," who else but a professional videographer could put together something as well produced as the video.  Having said that, If I were you i would not waste my time with trying to convince Lookout & Co. to allow distribution as a charitable endeavor.  So you might as well strip the arguably commercial elements out of the video and post both of the concert videos to diameadozen.org  It will be forever released into the wild and will be forever shared .    

Copperpot5
Copperpot5

@Reelife_Tom Eh...rough....was hoping it was just a worldwide block or something. He's never embraced live taping/tradingg ...got me once..

jonathan.nyc
jonathan.nyc topcommenter

@Reelife_Tom I see your point.  Everyone's been doing it, for years, so inconvenient laws don't apply to an open-minded forward-thinker like you.  


Congratulations with wrapping yourself with your charitable intentions and your belief that you're entitled to some discussion.  



Reelife_Tom
Reelife_Tom

@Copperpot5 the td garden was going strong w 160,000 views until carnegie stole the thunder.

jonathan.nyc
jonathan.nyc topcommenter

@Reelife_Tom If a troll is someone who posts something that you don't like, I guess that makes me a troll.  

jonathan.nyc
jonathan.nyc topcommenter

@Reelife_Tom I paraphrased your comment and you inferred that I'm angry.  


I can get that way around people who use electronics to amplify their egos. 

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