An exceedingly more focused and sober David Crosby (guitar/vocals) emerged from a year of incarceration with a renewed sense of purpose and musicality. Almost immediately, he ended his long creative draught with a string of concerts in support of Oh Yes I Can (1989), his second solo studio album and first in almost two decades. Déjà Vu (2001) is a great example of Crosby's rebirth and revitalization as a formidable live performer. The tracks featured on this disc were documented at the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia April 8, 1989, and highlight the artist backed by a powerhouse combo, including longtime CSN bandmate Michael Finnigan (keyboards), Dan Dugmore (guitar), Jody Cortez (drums), and Davey Faragher (bass/vocals). Neither time nor substances have been able to mute Crosby's commanding presence and hearty vocals. In fact, if anything, age has seasoned his timbre into a fuller and gutsier sound, as evidenced by a taut "Wooden Ships" or the ballsy "Almost Cut My Hair." He likewise has gained an almost haunting retrospection that presents itself on the concurrently new ballad "Tracks in the Dust" as well as on one of the most liberating and beautiful readings of "Guinnevere" to feature Crosby apart from longtime partner Graham Nash. There is also a driving rendition of the rarely performed "Night Time for the Generals," which alone is well worth the price of admission. Among the other standouts is the introspective and semi-autobiographical "Compass," the first song Crosby wrote after regaining sobriety. Lyrically, his inimitable metaphors remain ever poignant. Other new sides, including "Lady of the Harbor," the edgy rocker "Monkey and the Underdog," and the title track from Oh Yes I Can, are well executed. Caveat emptor, as the contents of Déjà Vu have also been issued under a number of alternate titles and reconfigured running orders. Among the most prominent are King Biscuit Flower Hour (1996), Greatest Hits Live (2003), and a surround sound DVD-A incarnation available on From the Front Row Live (2003).
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer