Bob Dylan – Amsterdam Second Evening (Crystal Cat CC 924-925)

Amsterdam Second Evening (Crystal Cat CC 924-925)

Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – April 11th, 2009

Disc 1 (67:38):  Intro., Maggie’s Farm, Mr. Tambourine Man, Man In The Long Black Coat, The Levee’s Gonna Break, When The Deal Goes Down, Things Have Changed, Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, Tough Mama, Workingman’s Blues #2, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), Just Like A Woman

Disc 2 (79:27):  Highway 61 Revisited, Nettie Moore, Thunder On The Mountain, Like A  Rolling Stone, All Along The Watchtower, Spirit On The Water, band introduction, Blowin’ In The Wind.  Bonus tracks:  Dignity (3/31), Can’t Wait (4/2), Simple Twist Of Fate (3/29), The Wicked Messenger (4/1), My Back Pages (4/1), Return To Me (4/18)

Bob Dylan’s Holy Saturday show at the Heineken Music Hall was another sold out affair before a quiet and attentive audience.  Amsterdam Second Evening on Crystal Cat utilizes another excellent quality recording.  Like the first evening, it is very loud and clear but it picks up a bit more of the atmosphere in the venue than the first evening’s tape.

The first song after the introduction is a very sloppy “Maggie’s Farm” in a very strange arrangement which teeters towards collapse.  It seems that most of the songs have a strong country & western tinge which doesn’t always work.  But “Mr. Tambourine Man” is much better, played with a strong emphasis upon the dactyl meter and waltz time signature lead by Dylan’s keyboard.  It is a pretty sounding arrangements.  

“Man In The Long Black Coat” makes a surprise appearance in the set, being played for the second time on the European tour.  As he has in the past couple years, he plays the song in a quick tempo which clashes with the stark narrative.  The long and drawn out versions from the mid nineties are much more effective than the 21st century arrangement.  Dylan follows with two consecutive songs from Modern Times, a rolling “The Levee’s Gonna Break” and a somber reading of “When The Deal Goes Down.”

The surprise rarity in the set is the first performance of “Tough Mama” from Planet Waves since April 28th, 2005 at the Beacon Theater in New York.  Its appearance in the set and placed with “Workingman’s Blues #2″ right in the middle of the show suggests a thematic link between the two.  The ending of the show is dedicated to the louder numbers such as “Thunder On The Mountain” and “Like A Rolling Stone.”  The encores are the same as in the other setlists.

The bonus tracks presents rarities from the tour.  One of the more interesting arrangements is the performance of “Simple Twist Of Fate.”  This is the only performance so far this year and was taped in Copenhagen.  Tony Garnier plays a very loud and funky bass underneath the well known introspective melody of the piece.  The sound quality of all the bonus tracks is excellent except for “The Wicked Messenger” from the April 1st Berlin tape, which is merely fair.  Crystal Cat include a thick booklet with more of the interview begun in the first evening.  Amsterdam Second Evening is available either individually or as part of the box. 

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