Complete Before The Flood (Seymour Records SR-003/4/5/6)
The Forum, Los Angeles, CA – February 14th, 1974 (afternoon & evening shows)
Disc 1: Afternoon show, Dylan & The Band: Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way, Lay Lady Lay, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, Rainy Day Woman, It Ain’t Me Babe, Ballad Of A Thinman. The Band: Stage Fright, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, King Harvest, When You Awake, I Shall Be Released, Up On Cripple Creek. Dylan & The Band: All Along The Watchtower, Ballad Of Hollis Brown, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Disc 2: Dylan solo: She Belongs To Me, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, The Times They Are A-Changin’, Just Like A Woman, It’s Alright Ma. The Band: Rag Mama Rag, This Wheel’s On Fire, The Shape I’m In, The Weight. Dylan & The Band: Forever Young, Highway 61, Like A Rolling Stone, Blowin’ In The Wind
Disc 3: Evening show, Dylan & The Band: Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way, Lay Lady Lay, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, Rainy Day Woman, It Ain’t Me Babe, Ballad Of A Thinman. The Band: Stage Fright, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, King Harvest, When You Awake, Up On Cripple Creek. Dylan & The Band: All Along The Watchtower, Ballad Of Hollis Brown, Mr. Tambourine Man, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Disc 4: Dylan solo: She Belongs To Me, Times They Are Changin’, Just Like A Woman, Gates Of Eden, Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right, It’s Alright Ma. The Band: Rag Mama Rag, Endless Highway, The Shape I’m In, The Weight. Dylan & The Band: Forever Young, Highway 61, Like A Rolling Stone, Maggie’s Farm, Blowin’ In The Wind
Complete Before The Flood is on the new label Seymour label and presents the two shows on at the LA Forum on St. Valentine’s Day, 1974 which were used for a majority of Before The Flood, Bob Dylan’s first live LP. Big sections of a PA recording, as well as complete audience sources exist for these historic shows. Seymour basically redacted all of the sources to give the most complete and best sounding title available. A similar redaction exists on the trading circuit, but the label mixes the tapes to be more sonically appealing. There are some unfortunate swooshes in the mix that is common on many releases, but doesn’t compromise the integrity of the material. This was Dylan’s first tour since the infamous 1966 Blonde On Blonde tour and his first live gig since he made a guest appearance with The Band at the Academy Of Music in New York on New Year’s Day, 1972.
The tour in 74 was off of his recently released Planet Waves LP which marked his reunion with The Band. It’s obvious from hearing these tapes that nobody was there to hear the new tunes. The biggest reactions are reserved for the older tunes, especially when played in their original formats like “She Belongs To Me”. Also by this time The Band developed from being his backing band to being a full-fledged band. The structure of the show thus show cases both their work together and solo. Dylan would use this format a decade later on the True Confessions tour with Tom Petty.
The afternoon show is on the first two discs of this four disc set and is mostly from a very good soundboard recording. The opening track, “Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way” is from the audience. The soundboard tape cuts in right when Bob greets the audience “Happy Valentine’s Day!” The Band’s song “The Shape I’m In” is also missing from this tape. Seymour edited it from another soundboard tape that sounds duller than the other. It sounds very similar to the version of Before The Flood with the audience noise at the beginning edited out. “Ballad Of A Thin Man”, “All Along The Watchtower”, and a part of “Blowin’ In The Wind” were used for the official live album. “I Shall Be Released” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” are two of The Band’s songs that were used on the official LP.
The evening show is much longer and is a far better performance. It was the final concert of the tour and all of the musicians played with much more passion than the afternoon gig. Discs three and four are a mix of a soundboard and audience source. The beginning “Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way” is soundboard. The audience recording picks up with the second track “Lay Lady Lay” and goes through “Rainy Day Woman”. “It Ain’t Me Babe” is from the soundboard. The audience picks up again with the next track “Ballad Of A Thinman”. The entire first set by The Band is from the soundboard. Most of Dylan’s solo set is from the audience source with the exception of “Just Like A Woman”, “Don’t Think Twice”, and “It’s Alright Ma”, which are from the soundboard source. The rest of the show from “Rag Mama Rag” to the end is also from the soundboard source.
For Dylan the evening show gave “Most Likely You Go Your Way”, “It Ain’t Me Babe”, “Just Like A Woman”, “Don’t Think Twice”, “It’s Alright Ma”, and “Highway 61 Revisited” to the official live LP. Most of The Band’s tunes come from the evening show, specifically “Up On Cripple Creek”, “Stage Fright”, “The Shape I’m In” (the evening performance has a count in which is audible on Before The Flood which the afternoon performance doesn’t have) “When You Awake” and “The Weight”.
Also present are all of the songs that were left off of Before The Flood: “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”, “King Harvest”, “Ballad Of Hollis Brown”, “She Belongs To Me” (sung as it was in 1966), “It’s All Over Now”, “The Times They Are A-Changin'”, “Rag Mama Rag”, “This Wheel’s On Fire”, “Forever Young”, “Maggie’s Farm”, and “Gates Of Eden”. “Mr. Tambourine Man” is also unfortunately omitted as this was the only the second performance on the tour. (The official LP used material from the February 13th show, namely “Lay Lady Lay”, “Rainy Day Women”, “Like A Rolling Stone”, and part of “Blowin’ In The Wind”. Finally, “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” comes from the January 30th MSG, New York concert).
Previous releases of this material include Paint The Daytime Black on Q Records (QR 23/24). This release contains the afternoon show except for the opening “Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way” and The Band’s “The Shape I’m In”. It also contains five tracks from the evening show. This title was re-released three years later as Saint Valentine’s Day on the “TMOQ Japan” label. Special Night-Special Guest on American Concert Series (ACS 018) contains the complete Live Aid appearance plus selections from these two concerts. Complete Before The Flood is the only release to contain both shows in their entirety and is a good debut for this new label. (GS)If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)