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Bob Dylan – Complete Hard Rain (Seymour SR-010/011)

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Complete Hard Rain (Seymour SR-010/011) 

Hughes Stadium, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO – May 23rd, 1976

Disc 1: Mr. Tambourine Man, It Ain’t Me Babe, Vincent Van Gogh, Maggie’s Farm, One Too Many Mornings, Mozambique, Isis, Blowin’ In The Wind, Railroad Boy, Deportees, I Pity The Poor Immigrant, Shelter From The Storm, Oh Sister, I Want YouDisc 2: Tangled Up In Blue, You’re A Big Girl Now, You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go, Lay Lady Lay, Silver Mantis, Going Going Gone, Idiot Wind, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Gotta Travel On, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

Bonus DVDr: “Hard Rain” US TV version: A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall, Blowin’ In The Wind, Railroad Boy, Deportees, I Pity The Poor Immigrant, Shelter From The Storm, Maggie’s Farm, One Too Many Mornings, Mozambique, Idiot Wind, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door. Japanese TV version: A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall Blowin’ In The Wind, Deportees, I Pity The Poor Immigrant, Shelter From The Storm, Maggie’s Farm, One Too Many Mornings, Mozambique, Idiot Wind, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

One of Seymour Records first silver releases was Complete Before The Flood which came out last summer, where they revisited an official live Dylan release and present the show in its entirety by editing together the best of all available sources to give a complete document of the event. Complete Hard Rain, one of their new releases, follows the same pattern. This time they work with the penultimate show on his Rolling Thunder Revue tour and the basis for Dylan’s one and only network television special at Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins on May 23rd, 1976. Most of this release is a good mono audience recording that sounds like the equipment was right in front of a speaker. Instead of keeping with the audience source for whole two hour set Seymour edit the television soundtrack – on occasion. The first edit occurs for after “One Too Many Mornings” for “Mozambique”.

After that track the audience source comes back for “Isis”. The video soundtrack is again used for “Blowin’ In The Wind”, “Railroad Boy”, “Deportees”, and “I Pity The Poor Immigrant” (with some digital interference and channel problems). The audience source picks up again with “Shelter From The Storm”. The audience source also becomes a bit distorted in the middle of “Tangled Up In Blue”. There is a tape flip before “You’re A Big Girl Now” and this source is used up to the first encore “Gotta Travel On”. The video soundtrack is used for the final song “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”. The edits themselves are handled well but Seymour’s decisions are an inconsistent. Why, for example, didn’t they also use the video soundtrack for “Maggie’s Farm” and “Shelter From The Storm”?“A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” from the video soundtrack appears on Blood And Thunder on Junk (003) and Hold The Fort For What It’s Worth (Wild Wolf) and Like A Rolling Stone: The Hidden TV Shows (Angry Dino 1014) contains “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”, “Blowin’ In The Wind”, “Railroad Boy”, Deportees”, “I Pity The Poor Immigrant”, and “Mozambique”.

This title is good because this is the first release of the complete show utilizing the audience source and has a complete “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” which is used for the closing credits on the television broadcast. Official releases of this material include Joan Baez: Rare, Live & Classic on Vanguard (VCD3-125/27) with “Blowing In The Wind”, Hard Rain released in 1976 with “Maggie’s Farm”, “One Too Many Mornings”, “Shelter From The Storm”, “You’re A Big Girl Now”, and “Idiot Wind”. “Idiot Wind” appears on Masterpieces, CBS/SONY 57 AP875-7, released in March 1978 in Japan, and later in Australia and New Zealand. The bonus dvdr is limited to only one hundred copies and contains two versions of the “Hard Rain” network special.

The first is the American version broadcast by NBC on September 14th, 1976. The second is version shown on Japanese television that is missing “Railroad Boy”. The picture quality of the Japan version is a bit sharper with deeper colors and higher contrast. Each song has the title in Japanese splashed across the screen with the lyrics in Japanese subtitles. The songs are presented in broadcast order which is of course not the concert sequence. It’s really a pity this video has never been officially released. It shows that even on a misty Sunday afternoon in front of a three quarters full stadium Dylan is a devastating presence. This is a mesmerising performance all around. The differences between this and the first half of the RTR in 1975 are very dramatic.

Whereas the Montreal and New York shows were fun, this is serious business. It’s been noted that Dylan became more bitter and it showed, and that’s best illustrated by the hard rock arrangements. “Maggie’s Farm” has the hard start-stop melody with Dylan shouting the words across the melody line. “Tangled Up In Blue” in particular sounds quite long and bombastic, a far cry from the acoustic version heard in Boston at the beginning of the tour. Complete Hard Rain is a good title. I’d definitely recommend picking up with the bonus dvdr included since the visuals add a lot to the music. The packaging isn’t very attractive and the artwork could have been better but there is more positive about this release than not, and is a great concert overall. (GS)

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Bob Dylan - Complete Hard Rain (Seymour SR-010/011), 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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