25 July 2007, gsparaco @ 2:26 am
Globen 2007 (Crystal Cat CC 818-819)
Globen, Stockholm, Sweden – March 28th, 2007
Disc 1: Intro., Cat’s In The Well, Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right, Watching The River Flow, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), When The Deal Goes Down, Honest With Me, Girl Of The North Country, Tangled Up In Blue, Country Pie, Nettie Moore, Rollin’ And Tumblin’, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
Disc 2: Summer Days, Like A Rolling Stone, Thunder On The Mountain, All Along The Watchtower. Bonus tracks: You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (First Energy Stadium, Reading, PA – August 23rd, 2006), Love Sick (Patriot Center, Fairfax, VA – November 17th, 2006), High Water (For Charlie Patton), Never Gonna Be The Same Again (Reno Events Center, Reno, NV – April 1st, 2006), Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, Million Miles (Wahconah Park, Pittsfield, MA – August 26th, 2006), Blind Willie McTell, New Morning (Cooper Stadium, Columbus, OH – August 13th, 2006)
Globen Stockholm 2007 contains a tape of the second show of the tour and the first arena date after the club date the previous evening in Debaser. It also returns to a more standard set list as opposed to the off the wall choices for the other show. The tape used is very loud and clear with remarkable clarity in the instruments. Five songs from this concert were included as bonus tracks on Tears Of Rage, Tears Of Grief (Tambourine Man Records TMR-120/121) from another tape source. An echo surrounds the vocals that are pushed slightly back behind the instruments in the mix. The rust on the band is still obvious since the opening song, a blistering “Cat’s In The Well,” also contains some real clunkers too. Although this song was performed over twenty times the previous year and is the most common opener on this year’s tours, this is the first performance of the song in several months and it sounds like the band are getting used to playing it again. Things don’t improve for the next song “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” either.
The mistakes are a distraction because the instruments are the center of attraction overshadowing the vocals. “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” is sounds very tired and doesn’t have its expected bite. “When The Deal Goes Down” is an improvement although the emphasis on the instruments means Freeman’s four note riff throughout the song get repetitive very fast. After this song the band begin to hit a nice stride with “Honest With Me.” This is the first of three performances of the song on the European tour but sounds very well rehearsed. The following song “Girl Of The North Country” also was played only three times on this part of the tour and sounds gorgeous. Perhaps it is the low-key nature of the arrangement, but the music and vocals achieve the perfect balance, and the band continues in this vein with the following “Tangled Up In Blue.” It is played in a bombastic arrangement with Bob firing off the words in almost rap, machine gun style that increases in intensity as the song goes on. Dylan follows this with “Country Pie,” a carry over from the Debaser set list the previous evening.
“Nettie Moore” is again a highlight with Dylan and the band giving a flawless performance. With almost all the reviews where this song is performed it is singled out. Despite the coarseness of his voice, he is able to convey a unique combination of tenderness and strength which is why this song has become an instant classic. “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” is played as a gentle lullaby and is a startling contrast to the preceding “Rollin’ And Tumblin’.” “Summer Days,” a song that is normally loud and aggressive, sounds very laid back and quiet in this show. Maybe they were conserving their energy or being careful not to make too many mistakes, but this sounds very light and airy. “Like A Rolling Stone” is the set closer and like everything else in this show tends to plod across the stage.
“Thunder On The Mountain” is the first encore and it hits a really nice groove. There is no band introduction and they go right into the final song of the show, “All Alone The Watchtower” played by rote. Crystal Cat includes eight bonus tracks from various venues scattered throughout 2006. “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” is from the Reading, Pennsylvania show in August and comes from an excellent sounding tape. This song was played only eight times. Two songs come from the April 1st Reno tape: “High Water” and “Never Gonna Be The Same Again.” The tape again is excellent as are the performances. The latter especially is welcome since it is rare to hear songs from Empire Burlesque, and Dylan chose to play this song twice. He transformed the gospel tinged eighties power ballad into a laid-back country number revealing a profundity of which the original only hinted. Two songs are included from Pittsfield, Massachusetts including the only performance of “Million Miles” of the year. The final two songs in this collection come from the August 13th, 2006 show in Columbus, Ohio.
“Blind Willie McTell” was played only thirteen times on all of the tours combined last year and is a welcome inclusion. “New Morning” received only fourteen performances in the past three years from the criminally underrated New Morning LP. Even in this arrangement the song retains its bouncy melody and is a very happy and upbeat way to end this collection. Globen 2007 is packaged in a double slimline jewel case and comes with a thick booklet with several photos from the tour and one of the venue on the back insert. The picture discs are as usual very pretty to look at. The quality of the performance is uneven and would appeal to the completists, but the bonus tracks make this worth having. (GS)If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)