Essar Centre 2008 (LookBack Records LBR-027/028)
Essar Centre, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada November 9, 2008
Disc 1 [73:11]: 1. Intro 2. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat 3. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall 4. Rollin’ And Tumblin’ 5. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right 6. The Levee’s Gonna Break 7. Tryin’ To Get To Heaven 8. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again 9. Blind Willie McTell 10. Honest With Me 11. I Believe In You 12. Highway 61 Revisited
Disc 2 [42:16]: 1. When The Deal Goes Down 2. Thunder On The Mountain 3. Nettie Moore 4. Like A Rolling Stone 5. Crowd Applause 6. All Along The Watchtower 7. Band Intro 8. Blowin’ In The Wind
This professional CD-R live recording of Dylan’s Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario performance on November 9th 2008 represented his 9th out of 15 shows in Canada in the Fall of 2008. This is another excellent live audience feed.
Dylan and his band kick off jamming right from the get go with “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat”. A 6:29 minute reggae-tinged “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” follows. More reggae influenced material with effective harmonica interludes spring up on a 7:50 minute “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” that cooks with fire. Who’s that on guitar…Can we please have some more of that…Looks like Dylan & company came to jam and so they did on this the foot-stomping 7:28 minute “The Levee’s Gonna Break”. A cranked up and ratcheted brisk paced “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again” was quite a refresher. Another slow 6:19 minute scorcher, “Blind Willie McTell”, begged for some guitar especially from you know who. A hard driven “Highway 61 Revisited” with a “Canned Heat” style boogie flavor made its mark.
Dylan’s harmonica playing is a joy to behold on “When The Deal Goes Down”. A 7:52 minute “Nettie Moore” invoked a reggae-blues feel that was vintage Dylan. A soulful 6:40 “Like A Rolling Stone” was guitar lead and embraced wholeheartedly by the crowd. Two encores followed with the return of the “real” electric guitar on “All Along The Watchtower”. Dylan. always the man for mincing words. stated: “Thank you friends” as he embarked upon Band Introductions. The set closed with “Blowin’ In The Wind”.
I don’t believe that Dylan is capable of delivering the same show even with identical set lists no matter the stakes. This, I maintain, is the ultimate complement for one great musical icon and genius of our time, and for that matter, any time. He cannot help but naturally reinvent his ever growing catalogue on any given night and continues, remarkably, to tour consistently and to deliver surprise after surprise in these performances. Dylan surely does not disappoint at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Hopefully, we will see some silver label issue box set incorporating some of these tremendous Canadian shows in the future.