Bob Dylan – Bumbershoot Festival 2010 (Highway HW-027/28)

Bumbershoot Festival 2010 (Highway HW-027/28)

Seattle Center, Seattle, WA – September 4th, 2010

Disc 1 (42:02):  Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, Just Like A Woman, Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Desolation Row

Disc 2 (51:23):  Cold Irons Bound, Tangled  Up In Blue, Highway 61 Revisited, Simple Twist Of Fate, Thunder On The Mountain, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Jolene, Like A Rolling Stone

Bob Dylan’s  month long summer NET tour ended with a performance at the first night of the 2010 Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle.  The CDR label Highway use an excellent stereo audience recording which is even better than their recent Casper, Wyoming release. 

Jonathan Zwickel, reviewing the festival in Spin magazine, noted that Dylan’s set had the “best song ever written” and:  “If it were anyone else butchering ‘Tangled Up in Blue’ during Saturday night’s headlining slot, the infidel would’ve been run off the mainstage by pitchfork-wielding fanatics. But it was Bob Dylan, and Bob Dylan gets to play whatever he wants, however he wants. And so he performed ‘Tangled’ in fast-rhyming couplets that accelerated the song and gave it an entirely different feel. By the end the crowd caught on and the song became even more powerful through Dylan’s altered take on it.

“The entire set went this way, Dylan tweaking the cadence to ‘Just Like a Woman’ or ‘Ballad of a Thin Man,’ turning songs everyone knows into tunes only he knows. His band, lead by Texas guitarist Charlie Sexton, was whip-tight, part roadhouse blues, part David Lynch-esque country-noir burlesque. Memorial Stadium was packed to the rafters but only those up front witnessed Dylan’s unwavering smile, as if the whole thing-the songs, the band, the crowd, the concert-was his own private joke.”

Dylan begins the show with “Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35.”  Although other songs such as “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” and “Watching The River Flow” made rare appearances as set openers during the month, the most popular is the Blonde On Blonde opener.  It is interesting that all three tracks are blues numbers.   

Zwickel is correct in singling out Charlie Sexton’s contribution to the set.  His creativity and inspiration prevents the predictable setlist from becoming to stale.  He adds very lyrical guitar fills in “Just Like A Woman” and a deft, heavy metal guitar sound in “Rollin’ And Tumblin’.”  Another interesting arrangement is “Cold Irons Bound,” where the tempo is slowed down and given a dramatic, movie-soundtrack sense of urgency.

Like other stops, the set ends with the double shot of “Thunder On The Mountain” and “Ballad Of A Thin Man.”  Two weeks earlier he shortened the encore set to two songs instead of three.  In Seattle he drops “All Along The Watchtower” and play only “Jolene” (the only song from Together Through Life played this night) and “Like A Rolling Stone.”

Bumbershoot Festival 2010 is pressed on professional grade CDR and packaged in a double slimline jewel case with photograph quality inserts for artwork.  The sound quality is excellent as is the actual concert.  And like the Casper release, this should have been pressed on silver. 

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