Bob Dylan – 1990 London / Paris Anthology (SC-BD-90-15)

1990 London / Paris Anthology (SC-BD-90-15)

Disc 1 (74:01) Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – February 8th, 1990:  Absolutely Sweet Marie, Man In The Long Black Coat, Positively Fourth Street, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Pledging My Time, I Want You, Political World, You Angel You, All Along The Watchtower, Boots Of Spanish Leather, To Ramona, She Belongs To Me, Mr Tambourine Man, Disease of Conceit, I’ll Remember You, Where Teardrops Fall, Seeing The Real You At Last

Disc 2 (73:20):  Every Grain of Sand, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, Like A Rolling Stone, It Ain’t Me Babe, Hang Me Oh Hang Me, Highway 61 Revisited.  Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – February 7th, 1990:  To Be Alone With You, Most Of The Time, I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, John Brown, Times They Are A-Changin’, Mama You Been On My Mind, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), Girl From The North Country, Forever Young

Disc 3 (73:49):  Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You, Just Like A Woman.  Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – February 6th, 1990:  Most Likely You Go Your Way, I Don’t Believe You, Ballad Of Hollis Brown, Masters Of War, Memphis Blues Again, What Was It You Wanted, Blowin’ In The Wind, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Song To Woody, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Everything Is Broken, Dark As A Dungeon.  Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – February 5th, 1990:  Watching The River Flow

Disc 4 (72:05):   Tight Connection To My Heart, Don’t Think Twice, One Too Many Mornings, Lay Lady Lay.  Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – February 4th, 1990:  One More Cup of Coffee, My Back Pages, I Shall Be Released, Man Of Constant Sorrow, What Good Am I, Simple Twist Of Fate, Maggie’s Farm.  Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – February 3th, 1990:  Pretty Peggy-O, You’re A Big Girl Now, Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat, Love Minus Zero

Disc 5 (69:08)  Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, Gates Of Eden, Queen Jane Approximately, It Takes A Lot To Laugh, In The Garden.  Rex Theater, Paris, France – January 29th, 1990:  Subterranean Homesick Blues, Man Gave Names To All The Animals.  Rex Theater, Paris, France – January 30th, 1990:  I Believe in You.  Rex Theater, Paris, France – January 31st, 1990:  Shelter From the Storm.  Rex Theater, Paris, France – February 1st, 1990:  Tears Of Rage, Visions Of Johanna, Lenny Bruce, Man Of Peace, Barbara Allen

Sandwiched between sessions for Under The Red Skyin early 1990 Bob Dylan played a warm up club gig at Toad’s Place in New Haven, Connecticut, several concerts in Brazil, and ten shows in London and Paris.  The 1990 London / Paris Anthology is a silver pressed edition of a CDR title appearing on the Doberman label.  This presents all of the seventy-eight songs performed in the ten London and Paris gigs.  These shows were recorded with the second NET band with the great G.E. Smith on guitar, Chris Parker on drums and Tony Garnier on the bass guitar.  Only the best sounding audience tapes are used in this anthology and are uniformly excellent quality.  Older titles with material from these shows include Deadpan Twist (MRBC 026) in 1990 with limited release in Europe containing eleven songs from the six London shows, focusing upon the Oh Mercy material played plus “All Around The World,” “Forever Young” and “Tight Connection To My Heart.”  This title was quickly pressed on CD Political World (Westwood 61). 

Staying Here With You (Wanted Man WMM 018/019) was released in 1993 with the complete February 8th tape with bonus tracks from the other London shows.  Wanted Man also released Critic’s Choice Vol. 1&2 (WMM 052/053) focusing upon highlights of the London dates.  Night Of The Grand Rex (Mainstream MAST-109/110) contains the whole show from January 30 and again Wanted Man produced Infinity On Trial (Wanted Man WMM 62/63) with the February 1st show in Paris.  This anthology, first issued on Doberman and now pressed on silver discs, is the most comprehensive summary of this short yet excellent tour.  He was playing with what some say is the best of the NET bands and was touring after the release of his strongest studio album in years, Oh Mercy.  During these gigs he plays the songs from the album except for the two best songs, “Shooting Star” and “Ring Them Bells.” 

The February 8th show has small cuts after “I Want You” and “I’ll Remember You” and is otherwise complete.  The songs emphasize a quick, rock arrangement with Smith’s overdose of slick guitar riffs emphasizing the words of the song with the perfect example being the opening track “Absolutely Sweet Marie.”  Smith’s contributions are too apparent on one of the strongest recorded examples of “Ballad Of A Thin Man.”  “Political World” is played at such a breakneck pace that Dylan drops three verses and “You Angel You” from Planet Waves is also taken at a quicker pace and has almost completely new lyrics (“You angel you / you got me under your spell / I can try and abide / only time will tell.”) 

“Boots Of Spanish Leather,” “To Ramona,” “She Belongs To Me,” and “Mr. Tambourine Man” form a long acoustic set and “It Ain’t Me, Babe” in the encores also is played acoustically.  Dylan plays piano on “Disease Of Conceit” and they start to play “You’re A Big Girl Now” before stopping and starting again with “I’ll Remember You.”  The highlight (as far as the audience is concerned) is a rare performance of “Every Grain Of Sand.”  In the long encore section, they play the traditional “Hang Me Oh Hang Me,” a song they played at Toad’s Place, before Smith takes to the slide for a rousing “Highway 61 Revisited.”

The other discs are all filled with highlights from the shows.  The February 3rd London tape has someone thanking Dylan constantly while “It Takes A Lot To Laugh” is wild with slide guitars and the audience cheering every nuance.  The fifth disc, with songs from the Paris gigs, are of particular interest.  The arrangement of “Shelter From The Storm” is interesting for the two a capella interludes emphasize the most poignant lines in the song.  Three of the gospel songs are highlighted too including “In The Garden,” “Man Gave Names To All The Animals” and “I Believe In You.”  The title is packaged in a fatboy jewel case with thick glossy artwork and an insert with relevant track information.  This is another in a series of strong anthologies produced by these people and is an excellent summary of an important time in Dylan’s career.   

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  1. Most of the Time should be mentioned as it truly is the best song on Oh Mercy and was only played in 1990 and 1992 I believe. The Political World Boot was the first one I ever had, so this set is great and nostalgic for me as well!


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