Neil Young, Dreamin’ Man Live ’92

Published on February 18th, 2010 in: Canadian Content, Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By J Howell

Find out how to win a copy of Dreamin’ Man Live ’92 at the end of this article! The contest has now ended.

In short: this record is achingly beautiful. Buy it.

It’s beyond the scope of this review to really go into why Neil Young is, well, Neil Young, and I’m not going to indulge in a long string of superlatives here.

Dreamin’ Man Live ’92 presents the songs from Young’s Harvest Moon, maybe his best rock record (or at least his best non-experimental, non-gloriously ragged rock record) in a solo acoustic setting and out of the original sequence. Given the more intimate nature of Harvest Moon, to some that may seem a little unnecessary as there’s not exactly lots to strip down from the original album.

neil young dreamin man

Yet there’s a chillingly beautiful quality to hearing Young perform unaccompanied: no Stray Gators, no Crazy Horse. Just Neil’s heart on his sleeve, a guitar in his hand, and occasionally a banjo, harmonica, or piano. The sound quality is stellar and remarkably consistent, especially given that these songs were culled from multiple performances in different cities on different dates.

As for the songs themselves, if you loved Harvest Moon, you’ll love Dreamin’ Man as well, and probably transport which songs were your particular favorites over to it. All ten songs are brilliant (though as with the original, “Hank To Hendrix” doesn’t do much for me personally). That’s more than OK though, as there are so many stark, gorgeous performances elsewhere here.

From the beginning of the disc—”Dreamin’ Man,” one of my favorite songs by Young—through “War of Man,” the tenth and final track here, Neil is captivating. (And if you haven’t checked out Neko Case’s cover of “Dreamin’ Man” on the also-brilliant Canadian Amp, you owe it to yourself to do so.)

“Such A Woman”, with Young on piano, is lovely in a way that, presented in this context, makes one wonder if Thom Yorke isn’t a Young fan himself. “One Of These Days” seems even more bittersweet and wistful performed solo, and “Harvest Moon” is just plain beautiful, maybe one of the best love songs ever written. An added bonus for musicians listening is that the stripped versions here are great for listening along with guitar in hand, learning these classic but timeless songs as you go.

And of course, there’s plenty of amazing Neil Young guitar here. The solo banjo version of “Old King” stomps with an ominous badassedness that many alt-country artists would love to possess. It’s hard to point to any one song as a high point—they’re all amazing—but the version of “Natural Beauty” here is not to be missed. When Neil Young sings “I heard a perfect echo die/into an anonymous wall of digital sound/somewhere deep inside/of my soul” the air in the room seems to change and the hairs on the back of the neck stand on end.

There are many hair-raising moments throughout Dreamin’ Man Live ’92, and while Harvest Moon is a classic for good reason, the way songs are presented so directly here makes for more than a mere companion piece or posterity recording. More than anything, it feels as though Young absolutely means every word, every note, and every gulf of silence between.

For a batch of songs nearly 20 years old now, this record is remarkably timeless, vital, and beautiful. Whether you are a longtime fan of Young or this is your first encounter with his music, I couldn’t recommend Dreamin’ Man Live ’92 more highly.

You may also purchase the album from the Warner Bros. record store.

To win a copy of Dreamin’ Man Live ’92, please comment with the correct answer to the following question below:

What was the percussion instrument used on the ORIGINAL version of “Harvest Moon”?

Contest Rules:

    Popshifter writers are not eligible.
    —The contest is open until someone answers correctly OR Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. EST (whichever comes first).
    —The first person to provide the correct answer will win (EST).
    —Only residents of the United States are eligible.
    —You must not have won anything from a Popshifter contest within the last six months.
    —You must email us at editor@popshifter.com and provide a valid name and mailing address within seven days of us notifying you that you have won.

5 Responses to “Neil Young, Dreamin’ Man Live ’92


  1. Jason Loftin:
    February 18th, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    A broom.

  2. Jerry Peragine:
    February 18th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    A broom.

  3. Daniel Plainview:
    February 18th, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    A broom. Please send vinyl.

  4. Tom Coyle:
    February 18th, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Is it a broom?

  5. Music - Music Review: Trans - Kittysneezes:
    May 4th, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    […] Neil Young, Dreamin’ Man Live ’92 (popshifter.com) […]

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