Bob Dylan – Dust Upon The Hudson (Chrome Horse Records CHR-01/02 )

Dust Upon The Hudson (Chrome Horse Records CHR-01/02 )

The Beacon Theater, New York, NY – October 12th, 1989

Disc 1 (71:48):  Seeing The Real You At Last, What Good Am I?, Dead Man Dead Man, I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met), Man Of Peace, You’re A Big Girl Now, Boots Of Spanish Leather, Lakes Of Pontchartrain, Gates Of Eden, Mr. Tambourine Man, Queen Jane Approximately, Everything Is Broken, Masters Of War, Like A Rolling Stone

Disc 2 (78:02):  Most Of The Time, Maggie’s Farm.  Bonus, Mid-Hudson Arena, Poughkeepsie, NY – October 20th, 1989:  Absolutely Sweet Marie, Seeing The Real You At Last, What Good Am I?, Dead Man Dead Man, I’ll Remember You, Love Minus Zero / No Limit, Mr. Tambourine Man, One Too Many Mornings, Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, When You Gonna Wake Up, Ring Them Bells, Tears Of Rage (Dylan & Manuel)

Bob Dylan was occupied in the first half of 1989 with the recording and mixing of Oh Mercy! with producer Daniel Lanois.  After those sessions were wrapped up, he continued the Never Ending Tour with an amphitheater tour in the summer followed in October and November with a tour of smaller venues like theaters and auditoriums.  

The first four were at the 2,500 capacity Beacon Theater in New York between October 10th to October 13th.  The penultimate night of October 12th exists in an excellent stereo audience recording.  Five songs, “What Good Am I?,” “Man Of Peace,” “Queen Jane Approximately,” “Everything Is Broken” and “Masters Of War” appear on Beacon Blues Again (Wanted Man WMM 068) released in 1992 along with material from the other shows.  

Dust Upon The Hudson on Chrome Horse Records is the first time the entire show has been pressed onto silver.  Along with the Beacon show, Chrome Horse includes a generous portion of the October 20th show in Poughkeepsie the following week. 

The first three Beacon Theater shows start off with the same three songs.  “Seeing The Real You At Last” from the under appreciated Empire Burlesque, followed by the new song “What Good Am I?” and a country / western arrangement of “Dead Man Dead Man.”

In the previous two shows Dylan followed the three with “Ballad Of A Thin Man” and “My Back Pages,” but in the third he pulls out another mid sixties tune “I Don’t Believe You.” The Infidels track “Man Of Peace” is also played for the first time on the tour and would appear frequently during the rest of the trip.

The middle of the show is occupied with a four song acoustic interlude starting with an abridged “Boots Of Spanish Leather.”  The highlight of this section is “Gates Of Eden” where the stark arrangement displays the bizarre images of the lyrics.  A soothing “Mr. Tambourine Man” ends this part of the show.  

“Queen Jane Approximately” follows.  It made its NET debut in August and was performed several times, but this would be the last appearance of the year.   The set closes with “Like A Rolling Stone.”  G.E. Smith gets into some funky melodies during the instrumental interludes, battling with Dylan’s harp.

“Most Of The Time” from Oh Mercy! was played as first encore most of the time during this tour.  “All Along The Watchtower” is the most frequent second encore, but Dylan chooses “Maggie’s Farm” this night.  The arrangement sounds like an uneasy marriage between bluegrass and metal punctuated by  Dylan’s howling vocals.

The hour plus Poughkeepsie segment is the first time anything from this show has been released.  The sound quality is good to very good but a bit thin and distorted.  It’s not as good as the Beacon show, but is still perfectly listenable, especially for such a unique show.

The tape picks up with the second song of the night and follows, in sequence, the bulk of the show.  Chrome Horse wanted to preserve the rare numbers starting with the only “Absolutely Sweet Marie” from this little tour.

“Seeing The Real You At Last,” the set opener for the Beacon shows, was played third in Poughkeepsie.  “Dead Man, Dead Man,” in a similar arrangement as the October 12th show, is played for the final time on the NET.  

Later in the show, after the acoustic interlude, Dylan plays piano onstage for the first time on the NET.  “When You Gonna Wake Up,” benefiting from his bar room style playing, is played for the first and only time since the great gospel tours of the early eighties. 

Smith delivers a caustic guitar solo over Dylan’s aggressive piano in the middle of the piece.  Later in the song Dylan tries unsuccessfully to play a piano solo.  He bangs the notes with little imagination before Dylan segues into “Ring Them Bells.”  The Oh Mercy! track makes its live debut.  It is one of the more gospel oriented songs from the new album and a natural successor to the older song. 

Dust Upon The Hudson is packaged in a double slimline jewel case and features full comprehensive liner-notes in a beautiful eight page booklet with several rare photographs from the era.  It is a gorgeous production of very rare shows that are worth having for the sound quality and unique arrangements of well known songs.  

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  1. Thanks a lot for your review! The quality on the main tracks is really excellent! Listening to “Most of the time”, one would wish Bob would play this song again on stage these days. And as a bonus, we get among others another fine, rarely played song from his “Oh mercy” album: Ring them bells. What more could we ask for?


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