Behind The Sun (Tambourine Man Records TMR 168/169)
Malmö Arena, Malmö, Sweden – March 28th, 2009
Disc 1 (55:56): Intro., Maggie’s Farm, The Man In Me, Watching The River Flow, When The Deal Goes Down, High Water (For Charley Patton), Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, Ballad Of Hollis Brown, Just Like A Woman, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, Beyond The Horizon
Disc 2 (47:18): Summer Days, The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, Highway 61 Revisited, Like A Rolling Stone, crowd applause, All Along The Watchtower, Spirit On The Water, Blowin’ In The Wind
Tambourine Man Records has released Dylan’s 5th live show from 2009 in excellent audience fidelity. One local concert attendee articulated the following in her review of the 3-28-09 performance: “The concert made a strong start with “Maggie’s Farm”, a start that showed us from the first minute a band and a singer in focused form. Very good sound. Everybody knew the song, there was no doubt this was going to be a good evening.
“The Man In Me” as number 2 was unexpected. I always enjoyed the song and this was no exception. The voice was loud and clear. Well, maybe not exactly clear, but somewhat hoarse and growling. Bob on a semi-acoustic guitar, I never understood if he played the riff himself though. “Watching The River Flow” is an ok-ish song, but not so much more, but a nice country rocker if you don’t scrutinize it too much. The harmonic changes were a bit diffuse though, especially on the bass side.
“When The Deal Goes Down” is also a beautiful song that deserves a sensitive treatment, but, done a bit too fast this time and Bob didn’t seem to be able to decide if he was going to go above or below the rooster inside his throat. So we had some muffled vocals there.
However, that was the calm before the storm and when “High Water” started rolling with Donnie Herron on banjo, we knew the waters of energy were rising again. An intense performance. From then on he definitely had brought it all back home. “Memphis Blues” got a new and fresh treatment with Bob indulging in a short little organ phrase he played throughout the song making it a pillar of the whole arrangement.
Then we were in for a real surprise when he started on a semi-acoustic version of the “Ballad Of Hollis Brown”, a strong and expressive version where the singing couldn’t have been better giving new maturity to the song.
“Just Like A Woman” was next. The lighting of the stage changed and the song came out perfectly with Bob changing and underlining the meaning in the lyrics by delaying the last words time and again. During the refrain the audience sang the chorus and Bob soloed on the words and this time it was really nice and emotional, yet not banal at all. (“Sing along with Bob Dylan”, I’d never thought I’d see the day!)
After a rolling walking bass that was grooving insanely for a swinging “Summer Days”, maybe the strongest performance of the evening for me was “The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll” done in a feather light 3/4 time with beautiful brush drumming by George Recile (who by the way played masterly throughout the set) and a vocal that certainly rearranged the melody and juxtaposed notes, but still kept its beauty alive and was sung with thoughtful and tender voice. Bob at his best.
Then the program draws toward its rather predictable close with “Like A Rolling Stone”, “All Along The Watchtower”, “Spirit On The Water” and “Blowin” In The Wind’. After all it was a great and, in many ways, satisfying concert and everybody seemed happy, although, as I hinted in the beginning, I couldn’t help feeling a tiny bit of emptiness somewhere inside.”
TMR 168/169 is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with the label using, for the 3rd time, an obi strip and, although only clocking in at a collective 103:18, is an enjoyable release from the ever steady Tambourine Man Records label.