Invisible Prayer (Tambourine Man Records TMR-122/123)
Spektrum, Oslo, Norway – March 30th, 2007
Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark – April 2nd, 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, When The Deal Goes Down, Higway 61 Revisited, Spirit On The Water, Things Have Changed, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Rollin’ And Tumblin’
Disc 2: Tangled Up In Blue, Nettie Moore, Summer Days, Like A Rolling Stone, Thunder On The Mountain, All Along The Watchtower. Bonus tracks, Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark – April 2nd, 2007: Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, Man In The Long Black Coat, Visions Of Johanna, Desolation Row
Invisible Prayer contains the complete tape of the third show in Europe on the last tour, from The Spektrum in Oslo. The recording is very clear, detailed and powerful with the only drawback being slight traces of distortion during very loud passages. The taper positioned his DAT close to the stage. The show is a marked improvement over the club gig in Stockholm three nights before although many of the reviews felt it had a slow start. The first five songs are identical to the preceding evening in Stockholm and Dylan plays guitar on only the first four songs “Cat’s In The Well,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” “Watching The River Flow,” and “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding).” The opener is a good rhythmic piece and Dylan plays a pretty solo in the middle, but Herron’s violin is drowned out. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” is a more mellow. Dylan’s voice is very clear and each word is clearly audible throughout the entire song and the band is much tighter than the earlier shows. “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” lasts for more than seven minutes and is even better with the audience participating loudly. After a tender version of “When The Deal Goes Down” they follow with a loud version of “Highway 61 Revisited.” Without Dylan trying to play duel lead with Freeman the song works much better.
“Things Have Changed,” which only received five outings last year, makes a welcome appearance in the set. It is good to hear this song, which was included on the 2000 compilation The Essential Bob Dylan, played live in a new hard rock arrangement with Donnie on violin. “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” is mesmerizing in this show. It is easy to get wrapped up in the words as Dylan is singing them, following all of the twists in intonation. “Tangled Up In Blue” was played on the first four dates and just under half total from the European dates. It is the same arrangement as played in Stockholm although the crashing chord in the beginning isn’t as loud. “Nettie Moore” follows and this is one of the best songs from the new album. Donnie Herron plays a melancholy violin throughout that is thankfully audible. The band play the standard beginning with “Like A Rolling Stone” and “Thunder On The Mountain.” Before the third encore Dylan finally speaks to the audience by introducing the band. “Denny Freeman…drives a limo in his spare time. Donnie Herron…is from east Tennessee. They do things different there” are among the quips before they launch into another great version of “All Along The Watchtower.”
The four bonus tracks come from the fifth show of the tour in Copenhagen, Denmark. The sound quality is very good, but nowhere near the quality of the Oslo tape. The Forum is a bigger venue than the Spektrum and there is a deep echo surrounding the music. What it lacks in clarity is made up in a good, powerful live sound. “Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum” was the opener and the audience follow the tale of the two as Dylan adds his comments on the guitar. “Man In The Long Black Coat” receives its only airing in Europe at this show and TMR are good in including it. “Visions Of Johanna” was played only three times. This version, as well as the other two performances in Amsterdam and Zurich, feature Dylan on the electric piano, Freeman on acoustic and have the harp solo by the end. “Desolation Row” is eleven minutes in duration with a lengthy harp lead introduction. Garnier plays stand up bass and Herron plays electric mandolin, which is almost drowned out in this recording. Invisible Prayer is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with color glossy paper inserts. The discs themselves are silk screened with recent portraits of the poet. (GS)If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)