It’s hard to express how satisfying the experience of witnessing a “whole show” can be, in reference to said show being on a recorded medium. Really, how many pieces are necessary? Well, in the case of the Deluxe Edition 4LP/2CD/1DVD box set which chronicles the show that Neil Young performed with Crazy Horse in Santa Cruz. CA in 1990, there are a few proverbial angles from which fans can observe it, and using some of all of them is the ideal way to recapture the experience.
Now, yes, some naysayers could easily argue that some of this box set is redundant; the track list and sequencing spread across the four LPs in this set is identical to the track list and sequencing on the CDs which are also included in the box. Conversely, “Cowgirl In The Sand” is the only song which appears on the DVD, and nowhere else in this set. Why? Call it an Easter egg. Should it make a spectacular difference? Maybe not, but the little things do make a difference in a set like this. Those little differences can be the reason why some fans prefer the CDs over the vinyl (or vice versa) or cause them to prefer the DVD above all – while others cannot understand the appeal of a very dimly lit and largely blue-hued video performance (although, granted, the sound quality on the DVD is excellent and the video itself makes the most of great cameras and superb angling). Such is the beauty and the peril of choice, but those who are aware that they have a wealth of content with which to enjoy this experience can focus on certain aspects of this performance and find the greatest experience using a selection from all of the media that this mammoth of a set has to offer. They’ll be able to discover, for example, that the analogue warmth of the vinyl is a particular boon on cuts like the gentle “Country Home,” “”Cinnamon Girl,” “Love and Only Love” and “Mansion on The Hill,” while the EQ of a CD (or maybe it was the equalization on my CD player) was ideal for harder rockers like “Cortez The Killer,” “Like A Hurricane” and “T-Bone.” Further still, the only way to enjoy “Cowgirl in The Sand,” in this context, is on the DVD. Without meaning to overstate the point, each of the formats included in this box set feature a benefit about their inclusion, and those who take the time to run-front-to-back with the whole lot will find there are elements without which it would be difficult to deeply and truly enjoy the whole thing.
With all that said, is what fans stand to gain from picking up the Deluxe Edition, 4LP/2CD/1DVD version of Way Down In The Rust Bucket really worth the asking price? Having experienced it myself, I’d say it absolutely is worth it – those with the financial means to make such a purchase will find themselves well-rewarded by this monster, absolutely. The show is excellent and every format included reveals another angle to the show which is easy to enjoy. [Bill Adams]
The Way Down In The Rust Bucket (Deluxe Edition 4LP/2CD/DVD) is out now. Buy it here on Amazon.