Ceremonies Of The Horsemen (Tambourine Man Records TMR 148/149)
Stadthalle, Halle Dm, Vienna, Austria – June 10th, 2008
Disc 1 (70:25): Introduction, Cat’s In The Well, Love Minus Love / No Limit, The Levee’s Gonna Break, John Brown, Sugar Baby, High Water (For Charley Patton), Workingman’s Blues #2, Tangled Up In Blue, Masters Of War, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), Beyond The Horizon
Disc 2 (45:23): Highway 61 Revisited, Nettie Moore, Summer Days, Ain’t Talkin’, audience applause, Thunder On The Mountain, band introduction, All Along The Watchtower
Bob Dylan played two concerts in Austria on the 2008 European tour with the first in the nation’s capital city Vienna. TMR use an excellent stereo audience recording which is the best available for this particular date. With the audience being very silent and attentive throughout most of the show as befitting the rock legend, there is no interference at all so the music is very clear. The only thing working against the tape, which is stated in the ORF review the following day, is the acoustics of the venue which aren’t conducive to rock concerts. Like the other three releases by the label this month, this contains only one show with no bonus material.
The tape picks up the an alarm clock sounding off and the orchestral introduction. “Cat’s In The Well,” the most popularly used opener in 2007, receives a rare appearance as opener in 2008. “Love Minus Zero / No Limit” makes an appearance after being mothballed for three years. Vienna is the second of four performances so far this year and is played in a honky tonk arrangement. “The Levee’s Gonna Break” raises the energy level again and is followed by four relatively mellow songs. Two of which, “John Brown” and “High Water (For Charley Patton),” are dominated by the banjo.
When he plays “Highway 61 Revisited” there is a mad rush to the stage according to a review written by Michael Höck for ORF. “Nettie Moore” is another highlight of the show but “Summer Days” lacks the swing in other versions, sounding rather flat. The set ends with “Ain’t Talking” and there are several minutes of the audience cheer before he comes back onstage again for the encores “Thunder On The Mountain” and “All Along The Watchtower.” Reviews of this show call it perfect and it does come close. This is an excellent release by TMR in their high class packaging and is worth having.