Blackbushe 1978 (Thinman-018/19)
Blackbushe Aerodrome, Camberley, Surrey, England – July 15th, 1978
Disc 1 (72:44): My Back Pages (inst), Love Her With A Feeling, Baby Stop Crying, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, Shelter From The Storm, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, Girl From The North Country, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Maggie’s Farm, Simple Twist Of Fate, Like A Rolling Stone, I Shall Be Released, Is Your Love In Vain?, Where Are You Tonight?, Gates Of Eden
Disc 2 (73:09): True Love Tends To Forget, One More Cup Of Coffee, Blowin’ In The Wind, I Want You, Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power), Masters Of War, Just Like A Woman, To Ramona, Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, All Along The Watchtower, All I Really Want To Do, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), Forever Young, Changing Of The Guards, Times They Are A-Changin’
Bob Dylan’s show at the Blackbushe Aerodrome was his final show of his European tour that summer. The organizers of the event billed this “The Picnic” and more than 200,000 people attended including such people as Ringo Star and Bianca Jagger (1970’s professional celebrity). Eric Clapton was also on the bill (his set was released by Beano) and he even joins Dylan onstage for “Forever Young”.
The liner notes from the Sunday Telegraph state that security was in the audience confiscating recording equipment, but thankfully at least one tape was able to survive and it is very good. It is a stereo recording that is for the most part very clear. The only drawback is the distortion in the higher frequencies and the bass that rumbles.
This show was also professionally recorded but that has yet to surface.The tape first surfaced on vinyl as By the Time We Got to Blackbushe (Blackbushe) and was copied as Zim’s Picnic. Wanted Man released this on CD in 1993 as Blackbushe (WMM 24/25/26) and Hollow Horn as Picnic At Blackbushe (HH15778).
Wanted Man released the entire show while Hollow Horn omits the solo numbers in the middle of the show between “Where Are You Tonight?” and “Gates Of Eden” (“Change Is Gonna Come”, “Mr. Tambourine Man”, “Long And Winding Road”, and “Laissez-Faire”). Thinman follows the Hollow Horn label in presenting only Dylan’s performance and ignoring the others. Some people like this while others prefer the complete performance.
Whether or not Dylan actually sings all of the songs isn’t the main attraction but rather hearing the entire show as it occurs is. This is a great show nevertheless. “Shelter From The Storm” is moving. “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” is played with a heavy rock beat which applies to many of the arrangements. He doesn’t rely as much upon the horn section as previous shows. He plays “Gates Of Eden” solo, and this is the live debut of “Where Are You Tonight?”.
Before “Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)” he says, “This is a recently written song. This song is inspired by a man named Harry Dean Stanton. Some of you may know him, some of you maybe not. He’s in the house tonight! Stand up and take a bow! Put the light on him! Yes, put the light on him! Yes put the light on this man! Anyway, this is called ‘Tales Of Yankee Power’.”
“Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” is introduced as “a reggae, our reggae version for you. Sort of reggae, not really reggae. What we call Southern Mountain Reggae. This is a particular sound you get in the States in the Southern Mountain”. Before “Forever Young” he says, “All right, we gotta go the stage manager just said it. They’re gonna send us home. Anyway Eric Clapton’s back. And he’s gonna stay with us and play. So we’ve ended the shows so far with this song and we’re gonna do it again. I hope we can meet again real soon. I want to come back.”
The show is excellent, on par with others from this tour and the sound quality makes it even more enjoyable. This is a pretty good release although with the solo sections missing is not definitive.