24th February 1986
It is a great pleasure to hear this sonically perfect recording.
A good deal of this show has surfaced in broadcast quality via
the Hard To Handle and
Westwood One Radio Show but here we have the complete, unabridged
show. It is easy to forget
how these shows were Ė a pretty interesting mix of old, new, borrowed
and blue with a never less-than-perfect Tom Petty & The
Heartbreakers doing the backing band duties.
This is an early show before Dylan hit America and cloned himself
as the RockíníRoll hero, not quite burnt out Hearts of Fire but at
times not far off. No, this show is vibrant and energetic, powerful,
sometimes raw and rarely subtle. Dylan is extremely chatty throughout occasionally giving a
bit of background information about the songs.
It is a genuine thrill to hear again gems like
Lucky Old Sun, Across the Borderline and
I & I to mention a few. OK
so there is often what amounts to a caterwauling female chorus line but
it does not always detract. Strange
how most versions are short and sharp.
Very little gets drawn out beyond a reasonable length and thus
the listener gets a feeling of constant forward movement If there is one aspect of the last couple of yearsí shows
that would benefit from change it is the extreme length of some songs. Not everything has to be short but most songs have a
ďnaturalĒ length beyond which the band is simply repeating itself.
Anyway listen out for a nicely controlled
Street, a truly cacaphonic
Cut Kid (awful) and a very assured, fast
Alright, Ma. There
is a shouted
Just Like A Woman
followed by a raucous
On and a great
Lenny Bruce. Also impressive is a very high energy
When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky.
All but a couple of shows are now in from 2001 so letís get started:
Anzio: 24th July
At last, the complete show is now here but donít get too excited. Often Dylanís vocals are little more than spoken (Tell Me That It Isnít True, Love Minus Zero/No Limit) and the
concert is a little lacklustre. Worth
Absolutely Sweet Marie and
a new driving, dirty, bluesy arrangement of
Unfortunately, there is nothing to write home about here either.
This is compounded by some overrecording on a couple of songs.
Perhaps the standout cut is
Be Alone With You.
Spoilt somewhat by being recorded at very low volume this show has a
solid heart of very good performances. You Ainít Goiní
Nowhere, High Water and
Ainít Me, Babe occupy the podium and are joined later by a great
Sugar Baby. Shooting Star
a welcome return but, in truth, it is poorly sung and laboured.
Nice show this one. Watch
out for a spot-on Itís Alright,
Ma and a great Cry Awhile.
This time out Moonlight
is simply OK. Listen to
a superb backing for 4th
Time Around, even if the vocal is uncertain.
Finally If Dogs Run Free
just sits so well amongst the Love
& Theft songs and
itís getting better and better.
A generally worthwhile show, more highs than lows.
There is a powerful Hard Rain followed immediately by an excellent
This World Canít Stand Long.
A dull Just Like A Woman
lowers the levels (why canít he do this song justice anymore?) before
things rev up again with a funky
Hollis Brown is very
dramatic and there is an absolutely on-the-button go at
Visions Of Johanna. Sandwiched
in between these two is a delicate
Too Many Mornings which a far too long at nearly 8 minutes. Also of note is
Honest With Me. Unfortunately
Dylan spends a full 8 minutes (count Ďem) on the awful
Rainy Day Women.
This show is a bit of a mixed bag. It is great to hear Rank
Strangers in a new arrangement to accommodate a call-and-response
Floater is pretty good and
Of Rage is very stately. Dylan
adds a harp solo to Tangled Up In
Blue but it wers thin its welcome after running for 11 minutes.
Another pretty good show from the start. Nice to hear one of the
Love & Theft highlights,
Boy done wonderful justice and even
Brown is less dull than many other attempts.
Unfortunately the potential highlight
Every Grain Of Sand has a tuneless vocal Ė the song is simply
Fairly ordinary show with a noisy audience. The undoubted high spot is, aptly,
Water, all brooding and doom-laden.
Just Like A Woman
a lengthy harp solo but one is completely distracted by some guy in the
audience bellowing out the words all the way through the song!
Another show with a great central heart.
guitar work) we are treated to a good
Grain Of Sand, a well-sung
and an excellent
High Water once
more. Later on,
Summer Days works well and
Irons Bound features some blistering guitar work.
Next night, same again.
menacing Itís Alright Ma ups the ante and then we get a great quartet of
Dee, 4th Street, Floater
is spoilt a bit by Dylanís very rough voice and the final sections of
the show follow through their predictable patterns.
This is a great show.
almost the entire main show, it is excellent all the way. There is a very evident care about the vocal efforts tonight Ė
just listen to
Visions of Johanna for proof.
Alright, Ma is truly gripping. The only distraction comes in the form of some woeful guitar
picking by Dylan.
Not the best of recordings so judgements on this concert may be
prejudiced on that account. Itís
a pity that the rare
Teardrops Fall is not better performed (but itís not). At least
Boots Of Spanish
Leather is very tender.
A semi roller-coaster of a show, a few highs and a few lows. Amongst the better performances are
Rain (lengthy but powerful),
and Tangled Up In Blue. John Brown
definite dip, it is so dreary.
Not bad, not bad at all.
on we are treated to a very long version of
Ainít Me, Babe which features a decent harp solo.
Tonight Iíll Be Staying
Here With You is somewhat ragged but
Day Blues is pretty solid stuff.
Listen out for some guy screaming out ďHurricane!
Ya never play HurricaneĒ as Dylan ploughs on at that point with
New York City:
Strangely enough for a show in his spiritual home city Dylan appears
not to be up for this concert.
Words like flat, dull and
ponderous cross my mind even though he does redeem things with some
good harp work and a trilogy of good efforts from his most recent album
(Lonesome Day Blues, Sugar baby,
Honest With Me).
Was looking forward to
Threw It All Away but Dylan manages to ruin it with unsympathetic
phrasing and a raggy voice.
is once again excellent, very slow, very deliberate, 10 minutes and
With Me is coruscating.
Not much to say about this one. A pot-pourri of the ordinary and the better-than-ordinary.
Very disappointing to hear a flat and ordinary
although things immediately pick up after that with the lively
Watch out for a most splendid
Dark Yet, the point at which the concert takes off. Lonesome Day Blues
niceínísleazy whilst the audience make whooping dog noises as Dylan
plays If Dogs Run Free. Humour is not dead (it just left the building).
Last show of the year but not very spectacular or distinctive.
Donít look for highlights here but you will get a competent
So, as we said earlier, only a couple of shows to go to round off
quite an eventful touring year.
Restless Farewell for now.
Mike and John