Bob Dylan – False Idols Fall (Godfather Records GR358/359)

False Idols Fall (Godfather Records GR358/359)

Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL – October 18th, 1978

Disc 1:  My Back Pages, I’m Ready, Mr. Tambourine Man, Shelter From The Storm, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, Tangled Up In Blue, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Maggie’s Farm, I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Live We Never Have Met), Like A Rolling Stone, I Shall Be Released, Going Going Gone

Disc 2:  The Times They Are A-Changin’, It Ain’t Me Babe, One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below), Blowin’ In The Wind, Girl From The North Country, Where Are You Tonight? (Journey Through Dark Heat), Masters Of War, Just Like A Woman, To Ramona, All Along The Watchtower, All I Really Want To Do, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), Forever Young, Changing Of The Guards

False Idols Fall contains the second of two shows at the Stadium in Chicago during the 1978 world tour.  The tape comes from the same prolific Chicago area taper who is responsible for the excellent Queen tapes used on The Ultimate Entertainer (Wardour-012) and The Ultimate Entertainer II (Wardour-014).  The Dylan was pressed on silver several years ago on Changing of a Religious Seeker (Vague Records 028/029) but Godfather use a first generation upgrade. 

The sound is slightly distant but is fantastic in picking up the atmosphere and intensity of the event.  The first fifteen seconds of “My Back Pages” is very muffled before the sounds clears up, there is a small cut in “Maggie’s Farm” at 3:20 and the taper is slightly audible throughout the show making comments about his microphones and the inability to recognize the numbers.  However this is one of the more vivid documents from this tour.

According to the liner notes on this release:  “Before Bob Dylan rock was, with few exceptions, a triumph of form over substance where the biggest acts were performers of others songs aimed at the hit parade. 

Dylan revolutionized the form by asserting the voice of the artist and helping to transform pop music into an legitimate art form.  What Dylan determined of himself and the musicians is to listen to the higher power of the muse and channel the music regardless of image or public reaction.  Living in this realm is risky but ultimately produces moments of pure sublimity. 

“It came as a surprise then when, in 1978, Dylan rethought his strategy.  Co-opting the musical idiom of the late seventies, he was routinely criticized for the ‘Vegas’ and ‘disco’ arrangements of his classic songs.  Some speculate the death of Elvis the previous year affected him (so much so that Dylan wore a white sequined jumpsuit on stage, a photo of which is found on the back of Street Legal), but in essence this a reversal of Dylan’s ethic of the preceding sixteen years. 

The public expects Bob Dylan the artist, but he gave them Bob Dylan the performer.  Consistent with this attitude, 1978 represented the greatest amount of touring in his career to date.  He played Japan for the first time, Europe for the first time in twelve years, and the US for the longest tour to date with sixty-five shows over four months.” 

The set list for the second Chicago is the same as the first except “Mr. Tambourine Man” is played instead of “Is Your Love In Vain?” and “The Times They Are A-Changing” instead of “One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)” and features the new arrangements in a very tight performances.  

The audience are very demonstrative and show now signs of derision, cheering loud for Douglas when he plays his sax solo in “Ballad Of A Thin Man” and Cross for his enormous guitar solo in “Masters Of War.”  Dylan seems a bit self conscious in some of the song introductions, introducing one as “an old song I wrote and it hasn’t changed much no matter what you heard, the words are the same and so are the chords.” 

False Idols Fall is gorgeously packaged with  many photos from the tour and is a sterling release of the period when Dylan was about to have his born again experience. 

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