The Lakes Of Pontchartrain (Thinman-001)
Concord Pavilion, Concord, CA – June 7, 1988
Subterranean Homesick Blues, Absolutely Sweet Marie, Masters Of War, You’re A Big Girl Now, Gotta Serve Somebody, In The Garden, Man Of Constant Sorrow, The Lakes Of Pontchartrain, Boots Of Spanish Leather, Driftin’ Too Far From Shore, Gates Of Eden, Like A Rolling Stone, Maggie’s Farm
Lakes Of Pontchartrain is the first release on the new Bob Dylan devoted label Thinman, an offshoot of Tambourine Man Records. Their inaugural release comes from the first concert of the “Neverending Tour”, the June 7th, 1988 concert in Concord, California.
Since the show was in Neil Young’s backyard, he graciously joins the band onstage for a majority of the show. Interestingly his presence isn’t too noticeable. He delivers a “Like A Hurricane” style solo in “Masters Of War” and plays great lead guitar in “Like A Rolling Stone”.
Dylan is known for arrangements and re-arrangements and this show is no exception. What is immediately apparent that the real anchor of the band is guitarist G.E. Smith. He brings a lot of professionalism and the whole set comes across as very slick and polished with the addition of Chris Parker on drums and Kenny Arronson on bass.
They begin with an almost hard rock rendition of “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. Also included are very interesting disco arrangements of “Gotta Serve Somebody” and “Maggie’s Farm” as the encore. Highlights of the show include a scorching version of “Masters of War” and an emotional “Driftin’ Too Far From Shore”.
The tape used is an excellent, clear and dynamic audience recording very close to the stage. It has lots of detail and is very enjoyable. Some collectors have claimed this is a soundboard. It could pass as one, but is definitely an audience recording. The mix at the venue is the only flaw in the sound quality with the lead guitar being buried in the opening numbers.
After “Absolutely Sweet Marie” you can hear several people complaining. This doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the show.
All this in very tasteful packaging with several photos from the tour make this an essential release and a very auspicious beginning for the Thinman label.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)