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Bob Dylan – Secrets Of The Breeze (Thinman-123/124)

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Secrets Of The Breeze (Thinman-123/124)

Yogi Berra Stadium, Montclair State University, Montclair, NY – June 24th, 2005

Disc 1 (78:20):  Intro., To Be Alone With You, Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, Just Like A Woman, Cold Irons Bound, Desolation Row, Highway 61 Revisited, Not Dark Yet, Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, Make You Feel My Love, New Morning

Disc 2 (75:57):  Summer Days, crowd applause, It Ain’t Me Babe, band intro., Like A Rolling Stone.  Bonus tracks, The Point Theater, Dublin, Ireland – November 27th, 2005:  Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power), Love Minus Zero / No Limit, Boots Of Spanish Leather, High Water (For Charley Patton), Every Grain Of Sand, ‘Till I Fell In Love With You, Visions Of Johanna

Secrets Of The Breeze comes from a thirty date tour in the summer of 2005 with Willie Nelson.  Playing at Yogi Berra Stadium is the first time he played in the northern New Jersey town.  Thinman use one of the best sounding audience recordings available.  The taper was obviously close to the stage and was able to point the microphone towards the PA.  The quality of the recording strongly suggests this being a soundboard recording it’s so good.  And again with a light touch Thinman maintain a natural sounding bias to the tape.  This is simply one of the best sounding audience recordings from this tour available. 

The concert itself is also excellent.  This tour is characterized by a strange contrast in arrangements probably prompted by the presence of country legend Nelson on the tour.  Dylan favors not only the more rocking numbers from this catalogue but gives rock arrangements to the others.  All this works with mixed results since this NET touring band with Donnie Herron in particular like to slant everything towards a slick Nashville sound.

Despite that the show opens with a pair of crooners from Nashville Skyline, “To Be Alone With You” and “Tonight I’ll Be Staying With You” paired together into an innocuous introduction.  The show picks up with a wild version of “Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum.”  There is so much energy in this version that this might be the definitive live recording and it’s apparent why Thinman titled this release after a line in this song.  

In the middle of the show he plays “Desolation Row.”  This is the upbeat, happy rocking version he’s been playing these days.  The arrangement clashes mightily with the images presented in the song and the mystery of the old versions is missed.  It sounds as if the song is played more for nostaligia than for any artistic effect.  After “Highway 61 Revisited,” one of the standards and perhaps the one in Dylan’s oeuvre which has been played the most, he plays “Not Dark Yet” for the second of only three times this year.  Brooding and introspective, the recording captures one of the greatest versions of his latter day classic.      

“New Morning,” the title track to one of Dylan’s more obscure albums, actually makes ten appearances this year and this arrangement retains the bouncy melody of the original.  The show ends with an epic “Summer Days,” the most popular closer in the middle of the decade and played with the dynamics that always make this a compelling song.  The bonus tracks come five months later from the November 27th show in Dublin.  Thinman picked all of the most interesting songs played that night including a mesmerizing version of “Every Grain Of Sand.”  This is another great production from the Thinman label worth having for the performance and especially the sound quality of the New Jersey show.  

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Bob Dylan - Secrets Of The Breeze (Thinman-123/124), 2.5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

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