Bob Dylan – Damn Amsterdam, The Levee’s Gonna Break! (Rattle Snake RS 231/232)

Damn Amsterdam, The Levee’s Gonna Break!  (Rattle Snake RS 231/232)

Easter Trilogy boxset

Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – April 11th, 2009

Disc 1 (61:20):  Intro., Maggie’s Farm, Mr. Tambourine Man, Man In The Long Black Coat, The Levee’s Gonna Break, When The Deal Goes Down, Things Have Changed, Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, Tough Mama, Workingman’s Blues #2, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

Disc 2 (56:53):  Just Like A Woman, Highway 61 Revisited, Nettie Moore, Thunder On The Mountain, Like A  Rolling Stone, All Along The Watchtower, Spirit On The Water, band introduction, Blowin’ In The Wind

Bob Dylan’s Holy Saturday show at the Heineken Music Hall was another sold out affair before a quiet and attentive audience.  The quality of the recording used on Damn Amsterdam, The Levee’s Gonna Break! is the same as the Good Friday show.  It’s very clear and enjoyable, picking up the subtleties in a performance which truly benefits from such record.  The previous evening was very focused but this show stumbles around a bit before Dylan and the band find themselves.

The first song after the introduction is a very sloppy “Maggie’s Farm” in a very strange arrangement which teeters towards collapse.  It seems that most of the songs have a strong country & western tinge which doesn’t always work.  But “Mr. Tambourine Man” is much better, played with a strong emphasis upon the dactyl meter and waltz time signature lead by Dylan’s keyboard.  It is a pretty sounding arrangements.  

“Man In The Long Black Coat” makes a surprise appearance in the set, being played for the second time on the European tour.  As he has in the past couple years, he plays the song in a quick tempo which clashes with the stark narrative.  The long and drawn out versions from the mid nineties are much more effective than the 21st century arrangement.  Dylan follows with two consecutive songs from Modern Times, a rolling “The Levee’s Gonna Break” and a somber reading of “When The Deal Goes Down.”

The surprise rarity in the set is the first performance of “Tough Mama” from Planet Waves since April 28th, 2005 at the Beacon Theater in New York.  Its appearance in the set and placed with “Workingman’s Blues #2” right in the middle of the show suggests a thematic link between the two.  The ending of the show is dedicated to the louder numbers such as “Thunder On The Mountain” and “Like A Rolling Stone.”  The encores are the same as in the other setlists.

Damn Amsterdam, The Levee’s Gonna Break! exists both individually or as part of the Easter Trilogy boxset.  Having the box is preferable since all three shows are unique with rarely played songs in acknowledgement of the holiday.  Rattle Snake didn’t attempt to master this tape too much so it sounds very nice and natural in the acoustically solid Heineken Music Hall.       

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