Release Date: Dec 8, 2009
Record label: Reprise
Genre(s): Rock, Pop, Live
In 1992, Neil Young’s Harvest Moon revisited the country-folk of his 1972 album Harvest. Dreamin’ Man Live ’92 resequences Harvest Moon and presents the songs in even starker form — in concert, with the singer accompanied only by acoustic guitar, banjo, piano, and harmonica. The lack of ornamentation suits the album’s themes, as the narrator wrestles with reconciling his youthful ambitions with middle-age reality.
Unlike previous entries in Neil Young's Archives series, Dreamin' Man Live '92 does not capture a specific gig. Instead, it's a compilation of highlights from the tour he took prior to recording Harvest Moon, as he aired the album's ten songs alone with his guitar (or on one occasion each, his piano and banjo). Although every one of the album's cuts is here, this isn't a strict re-creation of the album, since the songs are sequenced in non-LP order, but that's a minor detail: for most intents and purposes, this is an alternate version of Neil's well-loved but not epochal return to country-rock.
Neil Young fans waited decades for his fabled Decade II project, later renamed Archives and finally released this year as the start-- or, technically, the continuation-- of the singer's long-simmering and fitfully realized reissue program. Reasonable people can quibble over the set's presentation and the relative redundancy of much of its contents, but it's hard to imagine anyone having a problem with how the set positioned Young within a definitive chronological context. Archives may be too awkward to be definitive, but no question they worked well as a portrait of a quixotic artist as a young man.
Worshipping Neil Young can be exhausting. Trust me: I’d know. True, the singer’s notoriously impulsive nature has always been an endearing trait.