Down Every Street (Godfather Records GR 693/694)
International Centre, Bournemouth, England – October 14th, 2011
Disc 1 (72:50): Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat, This Wheel’s On Fire, I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, Tangled Up In Blue, Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ (Mark Knopfler on guitar), Make You Feel My Love, Honest With Me, Desolation Row, Highway 61 Revisited, Blind Willie McTell, Thunder On The Mountain
Disc 2 (70:45): Ballad Of A Thin Man, All Along The Watchtower, band introduction, Like A Rolling Stone. Bonus tracks, Capital FM Arena, Nottingham, England – October 11th, 2011: Love Sick, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, Can’t Wait, Watching The River Flow, Not Dark Yet, High Water (For Charley Patton), Visions Of Johanna, Nettie Moore
Normally Bob Dylan would tour Europe once a year, but in 2011 he made two visits. The first was during the final week of June, and a longer tour in the autumn taking in thirty-three shows over two months. The October 14th show at the International Centre in the southern port town of Bournemouth took place about a week in.
Down Every Street presents the complete show from an excellent stereo audience DAT recording. It probably sounds more clear on disc than it did live, according to reviews of the night’s show.
The liner notes state that, “You have only to glance at the reviews peppered among the internet to see that one man’s grand night out is another man’s wasted journey. The general thoughts from Dylan’s latest tour of the U.K. though were almost generally well received. … Dylan’s movements have been more animated, his stance, while awkward if stood behind the microphone with no instrument but his wasted & wounded voice, was magic to watch when he put his power behind it. … The British visit did seem to have a stilted beginning – The set lists were derided for being more or less the same each night. … Come Bournemouth, Dylan had evidently set himself up for an upheaval & decided on a change again. Even if he didn’t pull out some of the biggest shocks of his career then the decisions that he did make were welcome.”
After Al Santo’s introduction and “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat,” one of the standard opening numbers, Dylan surprises with “This Wheel’s On Fire.” The start is a bit ragged, as if the rest of the band were caught off guard. Bob sings the song from center stage and, according to the notes, “the harp was brought out to cover the now familiar organ solos.”
They play an emotional rendition of “Tangled Up In Blue,” and afterwards Mark Knopfler, who opened for Dylan on all these dates, joins the band onstage for “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’.” This is the first show in which he guests with Dylan. Outside of a few fills in the melody, his presence isn’t readily noticeable and he leaves the stage as soon as the song is over. As the tour progresses, however, he will guest more often.
“Make You Feel My Love” from Time Out Of Mind follows, played for the first time on this tour. “Highway 61 Revisited” is much heavier than the versions played in the US during the summer and is followed by a playful and up-tempo arrangement of “Blind Willie McTell.”
The show ends with “Ballad Of A Thinman” and with two encores, “All Along The Watchtower” and “Like A Rolling Stone.”
Godfather include bonus tracks from the show in Nottingham three nights before. This show is, according to the liner notes, when “the feeling had shifted” on the tour, when “the more exciting tracks from his setlists of the past few years began to appear.”
Sourced from another excellent stereo audience DAT recording, the song selection favors Dylan’s songs from the change of millennium. Three songs, “Love Sick,” “Can’t Wait” and a gloomy version of “Not Dark Yet” are played from Time Out Of Mind, “High Water (For Charley Patton)” from “Love And Theft,” and “Nettie Moore” from Modern Times.
This represents a bulk of the show and definitely the more interesting songs from the evening.
Down Every Street is packaged in a tri-fold gatefold cardboard sleeve with photos from the tour on the artwork and extensive liner notes (from two sources) on the inside. Given the excellent sound quality and fascinating performances from early on the European tour, it’s a great release worth having.