Bob Dylan “Willie Shall be Released” [Stringman Records SR 053 – 054 ] CDR
Fifth Third Ballpark, Comstock Park, MI, USA. Tuesday August 24th 2004
Disk 1 : Intro / Down In The Cove / I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight / Cold Irons Bound / I Shall Be Released [ 25:45 ] Disk 2 : Highway 61 Revisited / Mr. Tambourine Man / Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum / Girl of The North Country / This Wheels On Fire / Honest With Me / Masters Of War / Summer Days – Encore / “Applause” / Like A Rolling Stone / “Applause” / All Along The Watchtower [ 65:37 ]
Ever been to a party where the night was spectacular, the music was some of the best you’d heard, a friend turned up who you hadn’t seen for years, the drinks were flowing but after that night you pulled out the photos to reminisce but they were blurred, out of sync and peoples heads had been chopped out? Sure, you got the gist of what you remember but because of the equipment that satisfying glow that said “Man, you had to be there” had turned in to your thought of “If only you had”. That’s the experience you’ll have with this recording.
Dylan and his band are on fire – everything screams, rocks, rolls and cascades with the fury of a wrecking ball hitting a glass house. The guest appearances tonight, while they’re sometimes slightly hidden by the recording, still bring things to the songs that we never generally hear due to the restrictions of Dylan’s usual core band sticking to what they have to.
Elana Fremerman’s (The Hot Club Of Cowtown ) violin adds that dash of speed to the two songs that she appears on ( “Down In The Cove” and “I’ll Be Your Baby, Tonight” ) and it’s a shame that she doesn’t stick around for a little longer today to do what she did in 2005 and add a tiny bit more flavor elsewhere.
Dylan invites his other touring partner on stage for “I Shall Be Released”. Willy Nelson’s duetting is dryer than Bob’s phrasing and the results are oddly stilted although, with the presence of Willie’s sons Lucas and Michael Nelson it’s the music itself that is buoyed.
“Summer Days” features Tommy Morrongiello, Dylan’s quiet guitar roadie who would make the shade of an appearance on and off through 2003 – 2004 while Bob switched to playing the piano. 10 years of standing behind the curtains wouldn’t do any harm but Tommy is quite the accomplished player anyway and holds chops within the rest of the band – especially as the extended rock’n’ roll soloing moves around.
It’s a worthy release just because Bob is “on” tonight and if Bob’s on the wand work like whip shot to make sure thats things are exemplified but the fidelity, if stood against some of the other releases from the Stringman, pales a little in comparison so leaving this to CDR stock was possibly the best choice to make.