Time is short, the windows are filled with frost and the water is coming through the ceiling so there is only time to report on a few shows this time even though there are numerous reports stacked up high.
Lake Tahoe 13th October early show
A generally OK show with a spot-on version of Itís Alright Ma as the standout cut. Lawyers, Guns and Money is OK but maybe a little too rocky. The piano on Watching The River Flow sounds out of synch.
Lake Tahoe 13th October late show
A better show than its earlier brother, even if the sound on this recording is a little dull. No real standouts, just good all round.
Los Angeles 15th October
Great sound on this one. And a very good show too. Seeing The Real You At Last storms along as does Tombstone Blues. In between these two is an excellent version of Tell Me That It Isnít True. A real highspot is The End Of The Innocence , beautifully sung by Dylan and followed by a top-notch Things Have Changed. Plenty more goodies follow, the stand-put of which is Floater. But itís all pretty good stuff.
Los Angeles 16th October
Next night, same place and an equally good show. Uniformly good sets with the exception of another too-raucous Lawyers, Guns and Money and an excellent 4th Street spoiled near the end by some random guitar plucking. Otherwise A-OK.
Los Angeles 17th October
Third and final night in old LA and itís not quite up there with the best. However, we do get Bye and Bye for the first time but it is rather disappointing with its rough, uncertain vocal. Yet within two songs Dylan delivers an absolutely superb vocal on Accidentally Like A Martyr. There are also great versions of Itís Alright Ma, Old Man, High Water and Mutineer. The concert tends to fall away a bit after that with Floater doing just the opposite.
Restless Farewell for now.
Our Top Ten
As ever, there is no particular order to the items gathered below. A year of never-ending concerts, products and back pages. Curios, crackers and cringe-worthy confections Ė we had Ďem all. So here is our top ten for today, tomorrow it might be something different.
There has been a selection of soundboard CD-Rís this year and they have all been interesting in their own ways. Eugene, Oregon (14 June 1999) gave us a lively Dylan presenting a good mix of songs. Also we got Atlanta (9 February 2002), presenting six songs from "Love And Theft" as well as Things Have Changed thus highlighting some recent songs. However, the favourite is Sydney (24th February 1986). We had much of this show from broadcasts on Westwood One Radio Shows and the Hard To Handle video but to get the complete, unabridged show (apart from a fade in on Rock Ďní Roll Star) is excellent. It is easy to forget the interesting mix of songs and how chatty Dylan was.
The Bootleg Series Volume 5
Even though all of the tracks circulated previously this is excellent, notwithstanding a couple of minor gripes!! It would have been good to get Masterpiece and This Land for the sake of completeness! But being able to listen to some of the 1975 tour in excellent stereo is great. The 56-page booklet is a gem too with previously unpublished images by Ken Regan and a new essay by Larry 'Ratso' Sloman. The fact that there was only one track previously officially available is nothing short of amazing! This is It Ain't Me, Babe, recorded at Harvard Square Theatre, Cambridge, Ma; 20/11/75. It has been available in various ways from the Columbia promo 12-inch EP, 4 Songs From Renaldo & Clara, on the 1993 Japanese promo CD Mr. Dís Collection # 3, the European Dignity CD singles 1995, to the 2001 Japanese live compilation Bob Dylan Live 1961-2000: Thirty Nine Years Of Great Concert Performances as well as the Renaldo & Clara film!
On The Net
Once again the material made available on the Net has been very interesting even though the Dylan content this year has been limited to nine songs, all live from 2002! The recent highlights include: Something, New York City, 13/11/02, Yea! Heavy And A Bottle Of Bread, New York City, 11/11/02, The End of the Innocence, Los Angeles, California, 15/10/02 and Mutineer, Berkeley, California, 11/10/02
At Last the 1991 Shows!
We have a had a long time to wait for these tapes, in fact eleven years! Also no matter how incomplete the recording Wiggle Wiggle manages to feature! The most interesting song performed uniquely at Buenos Aires, 8 August, People Get Ready, is missing from these tapes, however. At the same time another tape from this show has been uncovered with the song included! We also get the premier of Ring Them Bells at Buenos Aires, 10 August. These shows include some interesting songs and therefore sneak into the Top Ten ahead of such gems as, the waltz time, Waiting For You!
Oh YES another Bob book!!!
It seems that every year we are overwhelmed with the new Dylan books for sale (but not always the ones we want, Lyrics and Chronicles ever delayed!!) and 2002 has been no different. We go from Desire, Lonesome Pilgrim, Do You Mr. Jones? to The Formative Dylan to mention but a few! Of these the latter is worth investigation, especially for those with an interest in Dylan's early days and roots. There are some very interesting and new facts included.
Bring Me My Supper for the Late Show
At last one of four soundboard recordings of these shows, played at this intimate venue, slipped the net during the year as and itís a great-sounding aural memento. In a word the sound is superb, in your ears and how even if the actual show itself is patchy. There are some tasty inclusions (Jack-A-Roe, Ring Them Bells) balanced by a few wayward vocal efforts or dodgy Dylan guitar work. But you really canít be without this one Ė roll on the other three.
Rundown Rehearsal Tapes 1978
Now this is what collecting is about. Itís an absolute treat. It features all of the previously circulating rehearsals from December 1977 and January 1978 now gathered together for the first time in largely excellent sound quality. But thereís more Ė in short an array of previously uncirculated material making this the most complete audio collection of this scrumptious practise for the world tour of 1978. Everything is given up: complete takes of songs which did or did not make the tour, examples of arrangements of songs being worked on, warm- ups, false starts and unreleased covers and originals. An absolutely essential addition to anyoneís collection.
The Rome Interview(s)
Dateline: 21 July 2001. Location: Rome, Italy. Event: A Bob Dylan interview where he actually reveals one or two things (eventually). Eleven journalists from all over Europe were invited for a comprehensive interview with Bob Dylan on his life and musical journey. Many periodicals carried full or abridged versions of the interview and now it is available on two CDs. It features Dylan personally revealing much of what you always wanted to know. The morning session offered reporters the opportunity of listening to the just completed "Love And Theft" CD. This was followed by an afternoon press conference. Broken into two sessions, Dylan was at his usual ďIíd rather not be hereĒ mode during the first session but after a break there was a distinct change of mood and a changed, more relaxed Dylan emerged answering frankly to a whole range of questions. Well worth searching out.
This could be the Last Waltz
At long last the complete unexpurgated Last Waltz show appeared on CD. Well at least the Dylan set is complete which is great news as it highlights Hazel, of course, which was not released originally. Now isnít it amazing that the DVD which was also released still omits Hazel. Now where is the logic here?
The Piano Tour 2002
Well these shows from the Fall US tour just had to be included. Listening to these shows alongside the South American shows (se above) makes you realize how good the y are (or how iffy the others were??). It seems like Dylan has become liberated and is trying new arrangements, debuting some of his own stuff and a lot of other peoplesí songs and generally making good music.
Whatís more, by moving to piano, he has liberated the band, and this is a good band, so that they can really put on a musical show. Hell, he even ditched Rainy Day Women! Now if he could only see the folly of Drifterís Escape/Wicked Messenger in their heavy rock incarnations. Truly a wonderful tour Ė collect them all.
Riders of the Two Variety
Mike and John
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