Movin’ After Midnight (Tambourine Man Records TMR 199/200)
Nikon At Jones Beach Theater, Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh, NY – August 13th, 2011
Disc 1 (78:50): Intro, Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat, To Ramona, Things Have Changed, Tangled Up In Blue, Beyond Here Lies Nothin’, Mississippi, Ballad Of Hollis Brown, The Levee’s Gonna Break, The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, Highway 61 Revisited, Simple Twist Of Fate, Thunder On The Mountain, Ballad Of A Thin Man, encores
Disc 2 (78:37): Like A Rolling Stone, band intro., All Along The Watchtower. Bonus: It Ain’t Me Babe, Sugar Baby, Forgetful Heart (July 16th, 2011), Mississippi, Desolation Row, Cold Irons Bound, Blind Willie McTell (August 12th, 2011), Every Grain Of Sand, Boots Of Spanish Leather (June 27th, 2011), When I Paint My Masterpiece (June 22nd, 2011), I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine (June 16th, 2011), Blind Willie McTell (August 20th, 2011)
Movin’ After Midnight documents Bob Dylan’s set in Jones Beach in Wantagh on August 13th, 2011. He first played in Jones Beach in 1988, the fifteenth show of the Never Ending Tour. He’s played thirteen shows there since including two with Paul Simon in 1999 and with Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead in 2000.
TMR use an excellent stereo audience recording, perfect in detail, dynamics and balance between music and audience reaction. Part of this is probably due to the quiet audience. The NY Gets Live blog points out that “most of the crowd was stiff and horrible, and drained of energy. The most emotion that a large amount of them showed was viciously telling other people to sit down, while others applauded every time a stander gave in.”
After the introduction Dylan opens with “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat.” It is the same opener the previous night in Bethel, New York. And in fact the first six songs, up to “Mississippi,” are identical. Except for “To Ramona,” which was first played the previous week in Cleveland, these are the songs most frequently played.
“Things Have Changed,” again in the county arrangement, sounds very quick and busy as Dylan keeps up with the song’s narrative. Charlie Sexton on guitar gives “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” almost a rockabilly feel in the guitar solo by the end. “Ballad Of Hollis Brown” is also quite impressive with Donnie Herron punctuating the doom on banjo.
Two hard rockers, “The Levee’s Gonna Break” and “Highway 61 Revisited,” envelope the gentle “The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll” played as a lullaby.
“Simple Twist Of Fate” is played as an apocalyptic, introspective ballad. On this tour Dylan pushes the emotion in his vocals to extreme lengths, and none more so than on this song. He seems to be singing deep from his heart.
The show ends with a raucous versions of “Thunder On The Mountain” and “Ballad Of A Thinman.” In the latter, he sneers the lyrics, especially the line “You’ve been with the professors / And they’ve all liked your looks / With great lawyers you have / Discussed lepers and crooks / You’ve been through all of / F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books / You’re very well read / It’s well known” perhaps cogniscent that Jones Beach is in Nassau County, the setting of his most famous novel The Great Gatsby.
“Like A Rolling Stone” is the first encore and, after introducing the band, “All Along The Watchtower” played in the non-Hendrix arrangement with Sexton violently attacks the choppy rhythm of the piece.
The twelve bonus tracks are taken from various venues on the US and European tours in the summer of 2011 with only one song, “Mississippi” from the August 12th Bethel show, duplicated from Jones Beach.
The first three songs are taken from the third show of the summer tour, July 16th in Las Vegas. Both “It Ain’t Me, Babe” and “Sugar Baby” are great. But the absolute standout is “Forgetful Heart.” One of the more underrated songs from Together Through Life, Herron’s sonorous viola meshes nicely with Dylan’s harp in the song’s melody.
Four tracks come from the August 12th show at the Bethel Woods Center For The Arts in Bethel, New York. Ever since his first visit to the venue in 2007 (documented nicely on I Don’t Believe It (Tambourine Man Records TMR-134/135)), Dylan has made this an almost regular stop now on the NET.
The sound quality is excellent as are the performances. “Mississippi” is played the same as in the Jone Beach show and “Desolation Row” in the same fast paced, almost rap arrangement as in the past couple years. “Cold Irons Bound” sounds very dark and chaotic, and “Blind Willie McTell” is very upbeat and features Herron on mandolin.
Two songs, “Every Grain Of Sand” and “Boots Of Spanish Leather” are sourced from an excellent audience tape of the June 27th show in Odense, Denmark. And “When I Paint My Masterpiece” comes from the June 27th show at Alcatraz in Milan from a different, far inferior tape used on Alcatraz Club, Milan 2011 (Crystal Cat CC 981/982).
“I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine” was played in the June 16th show in Cork, Ireland, for the first time in six years (in Dublin).
The final bonus track is another version of “Blind Willie McTell.” Unlike the Bethel performance from August 13th, this performance from the August 20th show in Bangor, Maine, is slightly different. It is played in the same uptempo walking blues, but Herron plays banjo in the arrangement instead of mandolin.
Movin’ After Midnight is one of the strongest TMR releases of the 2011 with great sound quality and excellent show and song selection. The front cover photograph is also very dramatic, showing Dylan concentrating on guitar with Sexton in the background. This is another really nice release worth having.