Bob Dylan – Escaping On The Run Vol. 1 (Moonlight ML 9638/39)


Escaping On The Run Vol. 1 (Moonlight ML 9638/39)

Muziekcentrum, Utrecht, The Netherlands – June 20th, 1996

Disc 1 (56:51):  Difter’s Escape, Shake Sugaree, All Along The Watchtower, Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You, Watching The River Flow, Silvio, Mr. Tambourine Man, John Brown

Disc 2 (53:48):  Mama You Been On My Mind, Maggie’s Farm, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Seven Days, Alabama Getaway, Girl From The North Country, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

Escaping On The Run Vol. 1 documents the fourth show in Europe in the summer tour and the first of two at the Muziekcentrum in Utrecht.  The manufacturer’s use a very good and listenable tape whose only negatives are being a bit distant and slight distortion in the upper frequencies during louder parts.  Bob Dylan toured Europe for the eighth straight year and these eighty-six shows were all similar to those from 1993-1995 in song selection, band and format.  The NET band in this show is John Jackson (guitar), Bucky Baxter (steel guitar), Tony Garnier (bass) and Winston Watson on drums.  Watson would leave at the end of August to be replaced by David Kemper.   

“Drifter’s Escape” is the most common opener in the first half of the tour.  “Shake Sugaree” is Dylan’s arrangement of the Elizabeth Cotton tune.  This was played six times on the tour (and once the following year).  Play only three verses of the original and repeat the first verse at the end.  He favors a haunting, bittersweet melody.  “Watching The River Flow” is commonly given a strong blues melody, but on this tour is played in a fact-paced country and western arrangement and is followed by “Silvio,” perhaps the only redeeming feature of Down In The Groove

A three song acoustic set is played in the middle of the set with variations on the tunes selected each night.  In the first Utrecht show Dylan chooses “Mr. Tambourine Man,” a very sad “John Brown,” and “Mama You’ve Been On My Mind.”  When the band come back they start with a pop sounding “Maggie’s Farm” with several instrumental passages thrown in to keep things interesting.  “When I Paint My Masterpiece” is performed as a very light and airy ballad.  “Seven Days” closes the set and is actually played very close to the original arrangement from 1976 and released in the first bootleg box set from 1991.  It is notable that the show closes with a song about expectation and waiting, as if Dylan were telling the audience that he’ll return yet again next year.  

The Grateful Dead cover “Alabama Getaway” is the most common first encore of the tour, played as a tribute to the passing of Jerry Garcia the previous year.  “Girl Of The North Country” is performed acoustically and “Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35” is a loud final song and is the most popular final encore for this part of the tour.  Escaping On The Run Vol. 1 is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with a simple yet attractive design on the inserts and a discography printed on the inside.  Its companion title, Escaping On The Run Vol. 2 (Moonlight 9640/41) was released at the same time and documents the following night in Utrecht.  Since it is the only silver pressed release of the show it is recommended for completists.

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