Another Side Of Modern Times (Tambourine Man Records TMR-130/131)
SAP Arena, Mannheim, Germany – April 30th, 2007
Disc 1: Introduction, Cat’s In The Well, It Ain’t Me Babe, Watching The River Flow, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), To Ramona, Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Spirit On The Water, Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, When The Deal Goes Down, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
Disc 2: My Back Pages, Tangled Up In Blue, Nettie Moore, Highway 61 Revisited, Blowin’ In The Wind, Thunder On The Mountain, band introduction, Like A Rolling Stone. Bonus tracks, Forum di Assagio, Milan, Italy – April 27th, 2007: Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, Desolation Row
TMR favor tapes that are good at capturing the atmosphere of the event instead of the more intense and in-your-face quality favored by other labels. Because of this we are transported to the SAP Arena and are able to pick up on qualities of the performance that are perhaps lost if the tape were any louder. Another Side Of Modern Times is very clear and overall excellent sounding with fantastic ambience very similar to the Paris tape. It contains Dylan’s complete gig on April 30th in Mannheim, Germany, one of the final shows in Europe with two bonus tracks from the appearance in Milan several night before. By this time the band worked out the arrangements and any kinks and they deliver a flawless performance before an appreciative crowd.
The audience is very quiet during the performance with occasional cheering, but no conversations by the recording to interfere with the music. The band are so loose and are enjoying themselves so much that, as one review points out, “At one point Dylan had to stop singing because he was laughing so hard; he was having a good time, so did we and the rest of the audience.” The label title this release Another Side Of Modern Times because three songs from the 1964 album Another Side Of Bob Dylan are played including two rare tracks for this tour “To Ramona” and “My Back Pages.”
The beginning is standard with “Cat’s In The Well,” the most frequent set opener followed by “It Ain’t Me Babe,” a song that is played in about half of the gigs. After “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” (a song played at every concert), the band go into “To Ramona.” They play it with a lot of sincerity and it simply beautiful. Dylan then switches to the electric keyboard for the rest of the performance beginning with “Rollin’ And Tumblin'” (featuring an excellent slide guitar by Freeman) followed by another Modern Times track “Spirit On The Water.” “My Back Pages” is the other surprise in the set list. This is the third of four overall performances. “Summer Days” is dropped as the set closer and the band play “Blowin’ In The Wind” as they did the previous night in Zürich as well as in Leipzig, Berlin, and Herning, Denmark.
This is the unique rocking “doo-wop” version of the piece that catches everyone off guard. Only two encores are played, “Thunder On The Mountain” and “Like A Rolling Stone” with “All Along The Watchtower” dropped. The audience claps for a third encore but don’t get it. For the bonus tracks from Milan a very good to excellent audience recording is used. This one is more “fat” than Mannheim and just as enjoyable. TMR include the two rarities in the show, “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” played nine times, and “Desolation Row,” making only six appearances. The packaging again, like the other titles in this series, is very professionally done and beautiful in appearance. (GS)If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)