Border Beneath The Sun Vol. 2 (Thinman-044/45)
Pavillon de Paris, Paris, France – July 3rd, 1978
Disc 1: She’s Love Crazy, Baby Stop Crying, Mr. Tambourine Man, Shelter From The Storm, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, Tangled Up In Blue, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Maggie’s Farm, I Don’t Believe You, Like A Rolling Stone, I Shall Be Released, Going Going Gone, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, True Love Tends To Forget, It Ain’t Me Babe
Disc 2: The Man In Me, One More Cup Of Coffee, Blowin’ In The Wind, I Want You, Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power), Masters Of War, Oh Sister, Just Like A Woman, All Along The Watchtower, All I Really Want To Do, It’s Alright Ma, Forever Young, I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, The Times They Are A-Changin’
Border Beneath The Sun Vol. 2 serves as a sequel to Thinman’s excellent release Border Beneath The Sun: Definitive Version released last year. Just as the earlier release, this one uses a detailed, three-dimensional stereo audience recording which sounds like it was produced by the same taper in a similar location. It may even be slightly cleaner than the July 6th tape. It is also complete with no cuts in the music and only a slight cut between the first and second sets. The audience noise close to the recorder is kept to a minimum and except for the few rowdies in the audience with their Indian war call, is in general very well behaved letting the taper make a fantastic document. July 3rd is the twelfth show of Bob Dylan’s first European tour in twelve years and the first of five show at the Pavillon de Paris in France’s capital city. Dylan is known for cultivating spontaneity with his live bands most in evidence during the Rolling Thunder Revue. But these shows, with tightly rehearsed arrangements are a stunning contrast confronting Dylan with some of the most bitter criticisms in his career. The new songs were played faithful to the recorded versions and it is a fair observation to say that Dylan reinterpreted the classics to sound as if they belong on Street Legal. The sets lists were very similar from concert to concert with minor variations.
The show begins with the Tampa Red cover “She’s Love Crazy” followed by “Baby Stop Crying,” a hit in Europe that summer. The rest of the first set is a greatest hits repackaged in some interesting arrangements. This version of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” is an improvement over the sparse original with a beautiful flute hovering over the melody. “Tangled Up In Blue” is a slow ballad with a melancholy saxophone commenting on Dylan’s lyric. “Ballad Of A Thin Man” emphasizes the disorientation of the subject, and “Maggie’s Farm” sounds interesting with the violin doubling the saxophone in an ascending and descending scale between the stanzas making it sound very dramatic. “We’re gonna take a break after this, just for a short time, just for a few minutes. We’ve got equipment problems…” is Dylan’s introduction to the final song of the first set “Going Going Gone” from Planet Waves. The second set begins with a short instrumental version of “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” before the live debut of the Street Legal track “True Love Tends To Forget.” The following song, “It Ain’t Me, Babe” is performed solo on acoustic guitar to the delight of the audience.
The band comes back for the rest of the show and perform the reggae version of “One More Cup Of Coffee.” The vocal melody still has the “Hebraic cantillations” mentioned in the liner notes of Desire and only Dylan could pull off a mixture of two distinct musical styles and make it work. “Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)” is the third new performed and is followed by the famous heavy metal version of “Masters Of War.” Guitarist Billy Cross spits out angry riffs over the lugubrious sax-lead rhythm. “Oh Sister” is played in the slow arrangement with the Hammond organ taking a solo in the middle. This is the final time this version was played live since it was dropped from the set list for the rest of this tour and not played in North America in the autumn. “All Along The Watchtower”, with Mansfield playing an amazing violin solo, again steals the show as Dylan sings the violinists praises at the song’s conclusion. After a bouncy version of “All I Really Wanna Do”, Dylan introduces the ensemble by saying:
“Thank you! It’s now time to introduce the band. I know you know a lot…. wanna know who they are, what you’ve been listening to. On the drums tonight, Ian Wallace. Give him a warm hand. On the bass guitar, a very fine bass guitar player, Jerry Scheff. Thank you. On the keyboards, from Philadelphia, Alan Pasqua. From Mobile, Alabama, on lead guitar, Billy Cross. On the conga drums, from Detroit, Bobby Hall. All right, on the rhythm guitar, a young man with a great future, for sure, Steve Soles. And on the mandolin and the guitar a young man you met earlier, David Mansfield. On the tenor saxophone, a young man who gave up a career as an airline scientist to play in this band, Steve Douglas. On the background vocals tonight, on the left, my fiancée Carolyn Douglas. All right! Carolyn Dennis! On the right, I also forget my fiancée’s name! On the right, Jo Ann Harris. And in the middle, another woman, a young lady actually, has a great future and a wonderful behind, Helena Springs. All right this is called, it’s a song I wrote and recorded in New York City not too long ago. ‘It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding.'”
The show coasts to its inevitable conclusion with “Forever Young”, introduced as a song recorded “with The Band on Planet Waves,” as the set closer. “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” and “The Times They Are A-Changin'” are the two encore numbers. These two are weaker than other shows from this tour and this concert would have benefited from “Changing Of The Guards” as did the July 6h show. Nevertheless this is great concert worthy of silver release. Along with Earl’s Court, Nuremberg and Blackbushe, the Paris dates have ascended into legendary status as some of the very best live performances from 1978. Thinman use a stylized portrait of Dylan for the front cover and the same sound check photo on the back as was used for Border Beneath The Sun: Definitive Version. With this, and the other three new releases in this batch, Thinman are now utilizing thick glossy paper inserts which places them on a level with the premium labels coming out of Japan. Overall this is a wonderful sounding document of a great Street Legal concert and is definitely worth having. (GS)If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)