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CD Review: Neil Young - Dreamin' Man Live 1992

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After twenty years of missing deadlines on the Warner Bros. release schedule, Neil Young finally issued his long-promised Archives Vol. 1 1963-1972 set earlier this year, a mammoth collection of studio recordings both familiar and previously-unheard, along with four live shows from his early years. Fans have been eagerly awaiting the next live set in the series, which if we’re working in chronological order, should obviously be from one of the tours Young did in 1973, two journeys across America and the UK which found him at his most completely unhinged. Instead of doing a simple victory lap for the massively popular Harvest, Young instead subjected his audience to unfamiliar and jarringly loud songs, some of the most unyielding he'd ever write, which would later form the basis of the albums Time Fades Away and Tonight’s The Night. Poorly received by audiences hoping to mellow out to the dulcet tones of “Heart Of Gold” and “After The Gold Rush”, the music performed in that period still endears him to a large number of freaks who pore over badly-recorded bootleg tapes to catch a whiff of the Youngian essence at its funkiest.

But once again, instead of giving us something that might reasonably be expected based on what you already know about him, Young’s taken a left turn at “Albuquerque” and skipped the needle ahead twenty years. Dreamin’ Man Live '92 (Reprise), is instead a collection of recordings from the 1992 solo tour that preceded the album Harvest Moon. Recreating the entire album in sequence, it’s an inviting alternative version that often outperforms the immaculate, elaborately arranged studio LP.