Above The Mighty Beast (Thinman-086/87)
Gorge Amphitheater, George, WA – May 16th, 1998
Disc 1 (75:41): Absolutely Sweet Marie, If You See Her Say Hello, Cold Irons Bound, Simple Twist Of Fate, Silvio, Cocaine Blues, The Times They Are A-Changin’, Tangled Up In Blue, ‘Till I Fell In Love With You, I Shall Be Released, Highway 61 Revisited, It Ain’t Me Babe
Disc 2 (65:03): Love Sick, Rainy Day Women #12&35. Gorge Amphitheater, George, WA – May 17th, 1998: Maggie’s Farm, Lay Lady Lay, Cold Irons Bound, Just Like A Woman, Tangled Up In Blue, This Wheel’s On Fire, Highway 61 Revisited, It Ain’t Me Babe, Rainy Day Women #12&35
Bob Dylan played on a short, nine date tour at the end of May sharing the bill with Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison. He played the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington for two nights right in the middle. Thinman use an excellent, clear, three dimensional stereo audience recording with spectacular dynamics. The bonus tracks from the following night are in the same sound quality. The production is also flawless with no clicks or gaps between the tracks. It has to be said that this is another exemplary release and one of Thinman’s best productions from Dylan’s 1998 tours.
After years of endless touring with a lack of strong original material, Dylan released Time Out Of Mind in late 1997, his first album of original material in eight years which ranks among his greatest ever. On February 25th he received Grammy awards for Album Of The Year, Best Contemporary Folk Album and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “Love Sick.” (It was while performing this song the infamous Soy Bomb incident occurred). Receiving accolades and awards such as these informed his appearances with noticeable confidence and ingenuity in the arrangements and individual performances. It isn’t important that only three new songs are played on May 16th and only one on May 17th. The classics are given refreshing facelift that sounds very appealing.
A highlight of the first show is “I Shall Be Released” where Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell join Dylan on stage. They sing together on the choruses and take turns with the verses. May 17th is the shortest show of the tour with only eleven songs played and the bonus tracks present the entire show except for “Just Like A Woman” and “I’m A Roving Gambler.” Above The Mighty Beast could have been improved if these two songs, which weren’t played the previous night, were included in lieu of songs that were. However this title is great as it is and continues the strong aesthetics with the packaging. Several photos from the tour are used for the artwork and are all printed on thick glossy paper giving it a very classy appearance. The latest three Thinman’s have all been excellent release with all these shows making their silver pressed disc debut.