Bob Dylan – Fleadh Festival London 2004 (Mainstream MAST-86/87)


Fleadh Festival London 2004 (Mainstream MAST-86/87)

Finsbury Park, London, England – June 20th, 2004

Disc 1:  Introduction, Down Along The Cove, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, Lonesome Day Blues, Maggie’s Farm, Desolation Row, Seeing The Real You At Last, Positively Fourth Street, Tweedle Dee And Tweedle Dum, High Water, Highway 61 Revisited

Disc 2:  Not Dark Yet, Honest With Me, Boots Of Spanish Leather, Summer Days, Like A Rolling Stone

Bob Dylan’s set at the Fleadh Festival is notable for the participation of Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones.  When one legend meets another on stage the results are always interesting.  I’ve always believed that if there is going to be a jam session it should last for a song or two. 

This performance has Ron Wood playing with Dylan for the entire set with very questionable results.  Reviews of this gig felt that his presence limited the selection of songs to play (and the set list is very different than the rest of the tour), and at some points there is some confusion and chaos on stage. The tape is good enough to easily be a nine. 

It’s very powerful, warm and dynamic.  What is disturbing is the constant audience noise all throughout the set.  Near the beginning of “Down Along The Cove” a British mother tells her child to wave its flag so daddy can see. 

Cell phones go off during “Desolation Row” and other songs (and a gentleman by the tape realizes what song it is by the end), and “Like A Rolling Stone” contains a chorus of thousands.  It’s great to hear people having such a good time but the interference is so extensive that it becomes a distraction. The performance is not as bad as some might claim. 

“Maggie’s Farm” is very loose as is “Highway 61 Revisited”, but the ensemble hit their stride by the end of the show.  “Summer Days” with is 1940’s big-band swing beat rocks the house down with Wood jamming all over the place, and the set ends very appropriately with “Like A Rolling Stone” with again very mixed yet interesting results. 

Overall this is a unique tape in the Dylan archives and makes me wish a better tape existed.  Mainstream packaged this release in the standard double slimline jewel case with a very blurry picture on the cover.  Perhaps in the future a better release of this show will surface because Fleadh Festival London 2004 is one to approach with caution.

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