1995 European Tour Anthology (SC-BD-95-15)
Disc 1: Intro, Crash On The Levee, If Not For You, All Along The Watchtower, Just Like A Woman, Tangled Up In Blue, Watching The River Flow, Mr Tambourine Man, Boots Of Spanish Leather, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, Man In The Long Black Coat, God Knows, Maggie’s Farm
Disc 2: Shelter From The Storm, It Ain’t Me Babe, The Times (Prague 13/3/95), Mama You Been On My Mind (Brighton 26/3/95), Masters Of War (Paris 24/3/95), Desolation Row (Cardiff 27/3/95), Death Of Hattie Carroll (London 31/3/95), To Ramona (Birmingham 2/4/95), Gates Of Eden (Manchester 3/4/95), One Too Many Mornings (Manchester 4/4/95), A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall (Manchester 5/5/95), My Back Pages (Manchester 5/5/95)
Disc 3: Mr Tambourine Man (Manchester 4/4/95), Love Minus Zero (Edinburgh 7/4/95), I Don’t Believe You (Prague 12/3/95), License To Kill (Prague 13/3/95), Positively 4th Street (Bielefeld 16/3/95), Dignity (Bielefeld 16/3/95), You’re A Big Girl Now (Paris 24/3/95), I Want You (Brighton 26/3/95), Simple Twist Of Fate (Brighton 26/3/95), Born In Time (Cardiff 27/3/95), It Takes A Lot To Laugh (London 29/3/95), She Belongs To Me (London 29/3/95)
Disc 4: If You See Her Say Hello (London 30/3/95), Jokerman (London 30/3/95), Every Grain Of Sand (London 30/3/95), I Believe In You (London 30/3/95), Señor (London 31/3/95), Tombstone Blues (London 31/3/95), In The Garden (London 31/3/95), Joey (London 31/3/95), I Shall Be Released (London 31/3/95), Where Teardrops Fall (Manchester 3/4/95), What Good Am I (Manchester 3/4/95)
Disc 5: Under The Red Sky (Manchester 3/4/95), Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat (Manchester 3/4/95), Shooting Star (Manchester 4/4/95), Most Likely You Go Your Way (Manchester 4/4/95), I And I (Manchester 4/4/95), I’ll Remember You (Manchester 4/4/95), Queen Jane Approximately (Manchester 5/4/95), Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Manchester 5/5/95), Tears Of Rage (Glasgow 9/4/95), Ring Them Bells (Dublin 11/4/95), Real Real Gone (Dublin 11/4/95)
1995 European Tour Anthology is a new release by the same people behind the Supper Club three disc set and More From The Vaults. Being a straight copy of the 2001 Doberman 5 CDR release 1995 European Tour (Doberman DBM269-273) “with thanks to Doberman Records…” printed on the booklet, it makes available one of the most fabled Dylan collections ever assembled on silver discs. It presents the opening show on March 11th in Prague in its entirety and a copy of most of the different songs played over the month long tour (they should have included “Unbelievable” from the March 14th Fuerth show). Disc two, track three “The Times They Are A-Changin'” from the March 13th Prague show through disc three, track two “Love Minus Zero / No Limit” from the April 7th Edinburgh show are all the various acoustic numbers. “I Don’t Believe You” on disc three from the March 12th Prague show to the final “Real Real Gone” from April 11th in Dublin are all the electric, full band numbers played. The sound quality varies depending upon the source, but they are all generally very good to excellent audience DAT recordings capturing all of the highlights of the tour.
The opening show in Prague has already ascended into Bob Dylan legend both for the performance and circumstances under which it occurred. In Behind The Shades, Heylin discusses this show at some length when he says: “Scheduled to begin another European tour in Prague, on March 10, 1995 , he found Lufthansa had given him a first-class case of the flu. The show was put back twenty-four hours, giving the man some necessary pause. When he took to the stage the following night, still sick, he had no guitar strap across his chest, just a harmonica in his hand. The band, just as nonplussed as the punters, played on, Watson pounding out only the second-ever ‘Down In The Flood,’ introducing the year’s opening statement: ‘crash on the levee / water gonna overflow.’ If the electric guitar had never suited Dylan’s of-the-moment approach to improvisation, his harmonica refrains had always acted as extensions from his vocal gymnastics, able to express something through breath and tone that turned words into worthless foam. When he forsook the guitar entirely, performing an entire hundred-minute set in Prague with just his voice and harmonica, not only was the consummate performer unleashed, but so was the band.
“The acoustic set of ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’ ‘Boots Of Spanish Leather,’ and ‘It’s All Over Now Baby Blue’ wouldn’t have shamed any 1966 stage, as Dylan slipped in an oft-forgotten verse, segueing harmonica breaks into verses and, on ‘Baby Blue’ in particular, expressing a sorrow for the human condition in a simple harmonica figure that even its finely wrought lines could not match. Through his strange shadow-boxer moves and an odd interlude on the drum rise, scrunched up in pain, suggested just how much Dylan was forcing himself to the brink, once he had gotten there he seemed content to stay for the remainder of the European leg.” (pages 687-688). Dylan himself makes two references to his condition in the show. Before “Watching The River Flow” he says, “I was sitting here last night, got the flu. Listen, you got a good place to recover from the flu!” After someone shouts words that are inaudible on the tape, he replies, “Oh, could you say that again. OK, this is an old one, my apology song here.” While singing “It Ain’t Me Babe” a women, in the middle of the song, attempts to grab his guitar off the stage and without missing a beat Dylan quips, “You can play that! I’m not playing it anyway. Go ahead!” The audience roars with approval.
The rest of the discs have all the highlights from the month. Of particular note are the guest appearances on discs four and five. “I Shall Be Released” from the March 31st show in London features Elvis Costello sharing lead vocals with Dylan, singing each alternating lyric, and Chrissy Hynde and Carol King on backing vocals. This was the second and final encore of the evening and the comments by the tape recorder are revealing as they recognize the new faces on stage. The final track of the anthology is the second encore from the final night of the tour on April 11th in Dublin, Ireland. Van Morrison joins Dylan onstage to sing “Real Real Gone” from The Philosopher’s Stone. This title comes packaged in a five way jewel case with gorgeous glossy paper inserts with the relevant information printed. The only small criticism is that I wish the label could have expanded the set with a sixth disc with more songs from the tour. But as it is this is a great set to have worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)