Bob Dylan and Tom Petty, ‘Minneapolis 1986’ (Crystal Cat CC 1116 / 17)

Bob Dylan and Tom Petty, ‘Minneapolis 1986’ (Crystal Cat CC 1116 / 17)

Disk 1: Intro / So Long, Good Luck and Goodbye / Positively 4th Street / Clean Cut Kid / I’ll Remember You / Shot Of Love / We Had It All / Masters Of War / Straight Into Darkness / Even The Losers / The Waiting / Breakdown / To Ramona / One Too Many Mornings / A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall / I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know / Just Like A Woman / When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky (79:45)

Disk 2: Intro / Lonesome Town / Ballad Of A Thin Man / So You Wanna Be A Rock n’ Roll Star / Spike / Bye Bye Johnny / Refugee / Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35 / Seeing The Real You At Last / Across The Borderline / I and I / band introduction/ Like A Rolling Stone / In The Garden / Blowin’ In The Wind / Let The Good Times Roll / Knockin’ On Heavens Door (79:29)

Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN. June 26th, 1986. 

Bob Dylan’s early to mid tour shows have been wonderfully represented in the recent few years – from a few drips and drops here and there, Rattlesnake’s release of the 1986 tours rehearsals fronted some great releases that were thrown out from around that era by Empress Valley, Tarantura and, by extension, the Crystal Cat label so far. As the 80’s are thankfully further away from release under the copyright collection umbrella, when do do get a release, it’s through the careful care of the bootleggers who ensure they present their tapes neatened as opposed to chopped and ‘enhanced’. 

This show was originally released on the Zion label in 2017 – Unfortunately, I don’t have that set to hand as, because we’re seen before, the CC label don’t just seem to have their own recordings to hand and have possibly swopped them around for other tapes that they’ve now given an exclusive release to (See, for instance, the previous ) – The sound for this release appears to be a good SBD / audience mix – you’ll notice the shift from the start as the audience gently fade in, the band chime up as they enter the stage and thrust themselves straight in to ‘So Long, Good Luck and Goodbye’, the matrix is slightly uneven for the first 30 seconds or so however as there appear to be a couple of issues with the soundboard – minor blemishes which spill unevenly between the channels, though this soon settles itself. The track itself is full on, speedy and ear catching, announcing itself sure-footedly. 

This is rapidly followed with a Petty’d ‘Positively 4th Street’ and straight in to ‘Clean Cut Kid’, without hesitation. The Queens of Rhythm in particular shine here as the chooglin’ and bumpin’ wiggle of the track beats seamlessly against their liquid harmonies – They keep their time like clockwork. 

The set begins to slow to allow the audience to breath, there’s no let up for Dylan however as ‘I’ll Remember You’ has him wringing his heart strings earnestly with a heavily impassioned rage of emotion. ‘Shot Of Love’ is as raising as it was in the early ‘80’s shows, greatly tended to as The Heartbreakers understand the power that Dylan was looking for – Even if Dylan had left it open for interpretation himself. 

‘Masters Of War’ tail ends the first part of the set, skinny and drawn, the song is Dylan spitting sparks, each word seems to congeal in to the next as if the nuance wasn’t important but the delivery almost certainly is. The short, spiky shards of guitar notes at the end flicker and burn quickly. 

For Dylan’s mid-set acoustic return, he steps forth with ‘To Ramona’, ‘One Too Many Mornings’ and ‘A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall’, the most prevalent of the tracks that would appear in this spot throughout the US tour (The Japanese leg was the basis for most of the changeable sets, tonight, Dylan sticks to form.) A folksinger platform, it’s a slighter sound that’s almost out-performed by the wind and clatter of instrumentation as Dylan whistles through these acoustic numbers. 
Dylan jokes with the crowd after the first two tracks, while tightening his strings, joshing that “Everybody said I can’t play an harmonica but what they didn’t say is I can’t tune a guitar”. 

The band rejoin Dylan on the stage to a cover of ‘I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know’, Dylan neatly screwing up his well rehearsed intro. At least he gets on OK with ‘Just Like A Woman’, the Heartbreakers twist of brilliance adding a bolder bit of stadium heft to the track, adding a few extra, appreciated, moments to the track this is followed by a stunning ‘When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky’ – it starts a little shakily but the intro soon ramps up in to a powerhouse electricity that overloads the mics from time to time. 

Disk two begins with a salute to Ricky Nelson and the bands take on ‘Lonesome Town’, dreamily romantic, it rings with a hopeful saturation (Aside; Maybe something like this might be a good fit for Dylan’s voice now) as Dylan pours hisself in to pondering the time alone – It’s flipped by an quietly exhilarating ‘Ballad Of A Thin Man’, as muscular and as confident as Dylan looked on this tour, it’s Heartbreakers polish lifting it in to thrilling. 

Dylan exits the stage to leave the band to pick up again – Obviously feeling that they needed the cover in their set and, possibly because of Tom’s ‘McGuinnian’ delivery, their heavy metal delivery of ‘So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star’ ushers in a neat little line of nostalgia baked with suntan. ‘Spike’, a merry little theatrical ditty about a new comer to town. 
The band come alive a little more for me however on their second cover, ‘Bye Bye, Johnny’ – Riveting rock with extra chops, it’s capitalisation on Chuck’s riffing with additional thunder means business and marks the Heartbreakers out as the US’s heirs to good time boogie with a highlight of unapologetic new-wave. 

Returning to the stage for the final bout, Dylan leads the band through his mix of handpicked covers, a recent track and, almost as a sop to being announced as “The Hottest Ticket In Town”, album classics – the first is a grooved up and gospelled, ‘Rainy Day Women’ before the more recent, ‘Seeing The Real You At Last’, but not before he says hello to his mom whos in the audience. 

Back to the covers, ‘Across The Borderline’ is a placid ballad from the ever revolving cache of Dylan’s faves. This is followed by a lengthy (For Bob) introduction to ‘I and I’, which is followed by the usual band introductions and an almost sadly prothetic few words for Tom. 

‘In The Garden’ tails a colourful ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ – a perfunctory version that takes it’s phrasing from “Jokerman”, of all things, the former cuts a longer shadow as the end of the main set – An interesting set closer as Dylan’s religious conversion was a while ago and, as Paul Williams recounts in his fantastic series of books, “Performing Artist”, the tour this time around had shed a lot of it’s Christianity, that Dylan still brought this track to the set we assume that he was much more at ease with his conversion or at the very least had found his answers. 

The standard encores tonight after a break from the stage – ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ is upbeat and seeped in much more of a Hank Williams kind of style – Does this diminish it’s message? Arguably, yes, it’s a nod to style over substance for me – Maybe had it have been covered by someone else, this may more acceptable, that Dylan chose to render it this way, dampens the effort. A song that Dylan took to his house parties follows – As Louis Kemp suggests in his biography – This is a rocker of the sort that might have got Dylan thrown out of an summer soire when he was younger – I appreciate that he might have also been a little more raucous in his teens than the song appears here too as it’s a shade less rocker than it requires. 

The set ends on the traditional closer, ‘Knocking On Heavens Door’, Bob reaches for his harmonica once again and turns his spiritual chant in to a form more swooning. It’s perfect for sending out the audience with and lends itself perfectly to so many facets of the bands own sound. From the way the set is mixed, it’s beautiful to hear the crowd chant back the chorus to Dylan too.

The packaging for this set is the atypical Crystal Cat presentation – A chunky little trifold digipack with a plethora of coloured and black and white band shots. A beautiful booklet that contains a lengthy article from Rolling Stone (July 17th, 1986), a wiki entry for the venue too alongside many more memorabilia shots.   

Maybe it’s not the best show of the tour, it may not be the best sound either but as a marker for an interesting collaborative tour and the presentation of this luxury label, it’s certainly a solid consideration for your own collection. 

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