Glasgow 2007 (Crystal Cat CC 820-821)
SECC Hall, Glasgow, Scotland – April 11th, 2007
Disc 1: Intro., Cat’s In The Well, It Ain’t Me Babe, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), The Levee’s Gonna Break, When The Deal Goes Down, Most Likely You Go Your Own Way (And I’ll Go Mine), John Brown, Rollin’ And Tumblin’, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
Disc 2: Spirit On The Water, Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, Ain’t Talkin’, Summer Days, Like A Rolling Stone, Thunder On The Mountain, All Along The Watchtower. Bonus tracks: Man In The Long Black Coat, Visions Of Johanna (Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark – April 2nd, 2007), This Wheel’s On Fire, Boots Of Spanish Leather (Forest National, Brussels, Belgium – April 6nd, 2007)
The tape Crystal Cat use for Glasgow 2007 is another excellent, clear and well balanced stereo audience recording of the complete show. After beginning the tour in Scandinavia and some dates in Germany and The Netherlands, this is the first concert in the United Kingdom and the first in Glasgow since November 11th, 2005. The concert itself has some good moments and Dylan is in very good voice, but there are some tough spots and some reviews of the show are highly critical of the band in general and on guitarist Denny Freeman in particular.
In fairness to them they are much better in Glasgow than they were in the first two concerts in Sweden, but there are cringe worthy moments. Dylan plays the first four songs on guitar and they are all very common for this tour with “Cat’s In The Well” being the most popular opener and is very effective. “It Ain’t Me, Babe” on the other hand sounds a bit limp and it sounds as if Freeman’s guitar is out of tune. Likewise with the second song “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” a song that on good nights hits a good chugging groove but seems to crawl across the stage. “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” is much better and Donnie Herron’s violin is high in the mix giving the song another texture.
Dylan switches to organ for the first Modern Times track of the set “The Levee’s Gonna Break.” Dylan’s delivery of the words “I pick you out of the gutter, and this is the thanks I get” is drenched with heavy sarcasm mixed with hurt and is utterly brilliant. Freeman redeems himself too with a biting guitar break halfway through. This is followed by another new song “When The Deal Goes Down” and it is obvious on these tapes that on some nights, including Glasgow, the band place their concentration and energy on the new material. “Most Likely You Go Your Own Way (And I’ll Go Mine)” played for one of seven times in Europe, but the following song, “John Brown,” is singled out by several reviewers as being the highlight of the show.
The band, especially Herron on banjo, give an effective and subtle performance of the piece and Bob articulates the words very carefully. His concentration is such that he almost misses a guitar break and begins to sing, “Oh tell me, my darling son,” before stopping. “Rollin’ And Tumblin'” is a good song to break the tension created and this recording is interesting for how loud Tony Garnier’s bass is in the mix. it isn’t clear if the taper moved close to his speaker or if the sound mixer chose to emphasize him in this song, but he almost overshadows Freeman’s excellent slide work.
“A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” is played for the fifth of six total performances and is followed by “Spirit On The Water,” another strong Modern Times track. “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again” is a fairly common song, appearing in thirteen European dates. “Ain’t Talkin'” is played for the third time in Europe and the fourth overall. The audience are quiet as Dylan delivers one of his most profound and optimistic tracks. “Nettie Moore” and “When The Deal Goes Down” receives most praise of the songs on Modern Times, but “Ain’t Talkin'” is probably the best of the three with its meditation not upon aging and death, but upon life and the resurrection.
The final lines where he speak about the “heart burnin'” and missing the gardener are inspired by the Gospel Of St. John 20 and the Gospel of St. Luke 24 and the way he delivers the lines sends chills down the spine. The final two songs, “Summer Days” and “Like A Rolling Stone” sound banal by comparison. The bonus tracks are very well chosen for this release. The four songs come two shows earlier on the same tour and are very scarce. From Copenhagen comes the only European performance of “Man In The Long Black Coat,” and “Visions Of Johanna” which had only three performances in Europe. And from Brussels comes the only “This Wheel’s On Fire” on the tour and “Boots Of Spanish Leather,” only at this show and in Turin, Italy. (GS)If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)