Shifts And Changes (Be Twisted! BTCD-011/012)
Sydney Stadium, Sydney, Australia – April 13th 1966
Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia – April 20th, 1966
Disc 1, Sydney Stadium, Sydney, Australia – April 13th 1966: She Belongs To Me, Fourth Time Around, Visions Of Johanna, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, Desolation Row, Just Like A Woman, Mr. Tambourine Man, tuning, Tell Me Momma, I Don’t Believe You, Baby Let Me Follow You Down, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat
Disc 2: One Too Many Mornings, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Positively Fourth Street. Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia – April 20th, 1966: She Belongs To Me, Fourth Time Around, Visions Of Johanna, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, Desolation Row, Just Like A Woman, Mr. Tambourine Man (fragment), Tell Me Momma, Baby Let Me Follow You Down, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
Shifts And Changes collects two documents from Dylan’s tour of Australia in April 1966. Scorpio’s Genuine Live 1966 box set released five years ago really is the final word for this era since the source tapes were the best available and are the definitive release. (Some say even Scorpio’s version of the May 17th Free Trade Hall concert Guitars Kissing & The Contemporary Fix is better than the official Columbia version Live 1966). The Sydney soundboard, the longer and better sounding of the two was released on A Phoenix In April and the Melbourne soundboard was released on The Children’s Crusade in the Scorpio set. These come from a professional line source used by the film crew and are very clear and enjoyable. The only flaw in these recordings is the tendency for there to be distortion in Dylan’s high notes as if the mic couldn’t handle the stress which is especially noticeable during the electric set where it sounds like Dylan is going to blow out his diaphragm.
The Sydney tape, which makes up the bulk of this release, probably surfaced in 1998 during production of the official Columbia release and first surfaced commercially on Happy Dylennium on Rattlesnake (009/10) subsequently on Live Sydney 66 on Orange (005/006), the cdr title Tales Of A Mexican Painter, First Time Around (Vigitone VT-187/8) and the Scorpio set. The tape starts in the middle of “She Belongs To Me” and contains the rest of the performance with only a cut for the intermission. The second set is very loud and Dylan seems very loose, telling a story before “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”: “This is, this is called ‘Tom Thumb’. This story takes place outside of Mexico City. It begins in Mexico City and it ends really in Des Moines, Iowa, but it’s all about this painter, he’s a quite older fellow, he comes from Juarez, Juarez is down cross of Texas border, some few feets, and he’s a painter. He’s very very well-known painter in the area there and we all call him Tom Thumb and when Tom Thumb was going through his blue period, this is one of the most important times of his whole life and he’s going to sell many many paintings now taken from his blue period and this is all about Tom Thumb and his early days and so we name this ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues'”.
The Melbourne show first appeared on vinyl as Stars Of ’66 Vol. 3 on the German GWW label in 1988. This was copied (along with the clicks and pops) on Bob Dylan’s Dream Vol. 1 (LLR CD 005) on the Living Legend label (and has been called the worst ever sound on a Dylan cd), and the cdr release Oh You Know Tom Thumb. There is some debate about the actual date of this tape. Be Twisted! list it as April 20th but some sources claim this is from the April 19th show in Melbourne. Without other sources to corroborate this will remain in doubt. “Just Like A Woman”, “Tell Me, Momma”, “Baby Let Me Follow You Down”, and “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” were broadcast on Bandstand in January 1967, and “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” and “Just Like A Woman” were broadcast by 28M Radio on April 2nd, 1978. The fifteen-minute television broadcast exists as a separate source as was released on TV Guide (Head Records). The sound quality on this release is a bit below the Sydney tape with more noticeable hiss.
The show is much more interesting in trying to follow the very stoned Dylan through both sets. It is believed he was on heroin for the acoustic and speed for the second. Be Twisted! released this with a very pleasing looking cover with a photo from the Forest Hills gig but didn’t do much with the tapes except perhaps boosting the volume letting them shine through. Since the Scorpio Genuine 1966 box set is out of the reach and unavailable to most collectors The Shifts And Changes, despite not presenting any new material or bring a drastic improvement to the tapes, is a good way to obtain the Australian boards if they’re absent from your collection. This are historically very important tapes which deserve attention. Despite all that these are very powerful shows which are very recommended. (GS)If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)