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Bob Dylan with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Live At Tacoma Dome 1986 (Scorpio BD-08016)

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Live At Tacoma Dome 1986 (Scorpio BD-08016)

Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, WA – July 31st, 1986

Disc 1 (48:17):  Intro., So Long Good Luck And Goodbye, All Along The Watchtower, Clean-Cut Kid, I’ll Remember You, Shot Of Love, We Had It All, Masters Of War, Straight Into Darkness, Think About Me, Breakdown

Disc 2 (60:44):  It Ain’t Me Babe, One Too Many Mornings, Mr. Tambourine Man, I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know, Band Of The Hand, When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky, Lonesome Town, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Listen To Her Heart, Spike, Tonight Will Be My Night, Refugee  

Disc 3 (47:45):  Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, Seeing The Real You At Last, Across The Borderline, Like A Rolling Stone, In The Garden, Blowin’ In The Wind, Bye Bye Johnny, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Scorpio have released the incomplete soundboard recording for the July 31st, 1986 Tacoma gig on the True Confessions tour.  Recorded for the Westwood One radio syndication, “All Along The Watchtower” was released on Superstar Concert Series (Westwood One SS86-21) on August 30th, 1986 and “All Along The Watchtower” and “It Ain’t Me Babe” and a fragment of ”So Long Good Luck And Goodbye” can be found on Superstar Concert Series released in February 1987 outside of North America.  Part of “Clean-Cut Kid” was broadcast by Channel 4, Seattle, Washington, the day after the show on August 1st, 1986.  On unofficial releases, “All Along The Watchtower” and “Gotta Serve Somebody” from the excellent audience recording can be found on the German produced LP Take A Train (Archive Series AS 11).  The only compact disc with material from this show is “So Long, Good Luck, And Goodbye” on Covering Them (Postscript PSCD 1160) released in 1992.  

The recording is excellent and clear but also very dry.  This tape must originate before the audience levels could be adjusted to produce a radio friendly live sound.  It is unsuitable for radio braodcast in this state.  The tape is also missing two Bob Dylan songs, “Gotta Serve Somebody” and “I And I” which were played after “Across The Borderline.”  Scorpio could have improved this release and made it definitive if they edited in the two songs from the audience tape to produce a complete show, but they chose to feature the soundboard recording only.  There are cuts before “Breakdown,” at the end of “Ballad Of A Thinman,” and the final encore fades out.   

Bob Dylan toured the US with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for two months from June 9th to August 6th.  This was his first tour of America in five years and falls after the sessions for Knocked Out Loaded in April and May.  With the negative reviews of the new album, released on July 14th, and the drubbing received by 1988′s Down In The Groove, many authorities claim this to be the nadir of Dylan’s career.  It is interesting that the set list he chooses is comprised of songs from Empire Burlesque, older classics and many very obscure cover tunes.   Only two songs from the new album, “Got My Mind Made Up” in the opening show and “Brownsville Girl” in the last show, make an appearance

Dylan begins the show with a cover of the late Weldon Rogers song “So Long, Good Luck And Goodbye.”  Although Rogers was a country singer, this was one foray into rockabilly and one of his best songs and is a rather strange song to be played as a show opener.  “All Along The Watchtower” is toned down mellow by comparison.  Two songs from Empire Burlesque, the anti-war ”Clean-Cut Kid” and “I’ll Remember You,” follow.  The Waylon Jennings cover “We Had It All” and “Masters Of War” close out Dylan’s opening set.  The choice of several anti-war songs so early in the show might have been played in response to the US’s bombing of targets in Lybia in April, a topic of much discussion throughout the summer.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers play a three song set including the new song “Think About Me,” whose reception pleases Petty.  The audience sing along to “Breakdown.”  “I’ll take this verse” Petty quips in the middle.  Dylan follows with a three song solo acoustic set, a reminder of his roots as a folk singer.  “Mr. Tambourine Man” has a strange variation on the melody with Dylan’s voice ascending at the end of the verses.  The intention of the song, the protagonist’s protest to the hero to ”not pay him any mind” is turned on its head and now sonds like a plea for more attention from the muse.  ”All right, Tom and I are gonna sing an old song for you now. The kind they don’t write anymore. You know they don’t write these kind of songs no more. Get a petition to somebody. Anybody out there running for office? Oh yeah. We got somebody out there running for office. Good luck!” Dylan says before “I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know.”

“Band Of The Hand” is Dylan’s song from the soundtrack of the film by the same name.  Released in April, it actually released twenty-eight on Billboard but has yet to be re-released.  “When The Night Comes Falling” is one of the better songs from Empire Burlesque, full of energy and it wakes up the audience.  Tom Petty’s second set begins with a great version of “Listen To Her Heart.”  ”Boy howdy!  We didn’t forget one chord in that song” he says afterwards.

A piano driven arrangement of “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35″ begins the last portion of the show.  “Well everybody must get stoned” Dylan says afterwards.  “That can be taken a couple of ways, I know.  Here’s a song that can be taken only but one way.  I gotta play one of these, one direct way” as they start into “Seeing The Real You At Last.”  

There is a long band introduction before a fluid version of “Like A Rolling Stone.”  The final song of the set is “In The Garden” which Dylan dedicates ”to all the people in prison for doing good things. Lot’s of people are in prison for doing bad things. Robbing from the poor, stealing from the sick and murdering the lame. It’s a lot of people in prison for those things. But there’s also people are in prison for doing good things like feeding the hungry and taking care of the sick.”  It makes on question what exactly was on his mind?  Nevertheless this is one of his more dramatic set closer and is played the same way from this previous gospel tours.

The encores begin with a country and western tinged arrangement of “Blowin’ In The Wind.”  The guitar is slightly out of tune but the song works out well and is followed by Chuck Berry’s “Bye Bye Johnny,” the first time Dylan played it live.  “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” closes the show.  In 1986 the song features Dylan and Petty singing the verses in union and the musical arrangement is closer to an eighties power ballad without the heavy reggae beat from the versions in the late seventies.  Scorpio’s packaging for this release is very clean and simple with several era photos in the inlay and the photo of Dylan with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on the front cover.  The sound quality  is great but a bit dry, but this is a bit of a let down for those who are looking for the complete show. 

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Bob Dylan with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Live At Tacoma Dome 1986 (Scorpio BD-08016), 2.4 out of 5 based on 4 ratings

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