Bob Dylan – Gonna Go Up North (Look Back Records LBR-023/024)

Gonna Go Up North (Look Back Records LBR-023/024)

Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada – October 29th, 2008

Disc 1 [69:20]:  1. Intro 2. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 3. It’s All Over Now,  Baby Blue 4. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With  The Memphis Blues Again 5. Spirit On The Water 6. High Water (For Charlie Patton) 7. The Levee’s Gonna Break 8. Tangled Up In Blue 9. Honest With Me 10. Just Like A Woman 11. Things Have Changed

Disc 2 [53:03]:  1. When The Deal Goes Down 2. Desolation Row 3. Highway 61 Revisited 4. Ain’t Talkin’ 5. Thunder On The Mountain 6. Like A Rolling Stone 7. All Along The Watchtower

LookBack Records has issued this professional CD-R Dylan concert release representing his 5th show in October 2008 out of 15 total performances in Canada in the Fall of 2008. This Edmonton, Alberta concert is an excellent audience feed with intermittent pulsating bass to boot.

Dylan’s raspy but aggressive lead vocals with his signature harmonica playing contributed to an otherwise gentle 6:06 minute rendering of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”. Leave it to Dylan to reinvent his vast catalogue as he does so effortlessly, for example, on “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again” in this sparse but intoxicating 8:02 minute arrangement to enthusiastic crowd applause. We hear a few female concert goers having a conversation in the background of “Spirit On The Water”.

Dylan exhibits a nice touch on harmonica lending a sea of calm to this 6:27 minute gem. The audience really got into this one.  The recording is clear offering distinct separation and instrument definition. Dylan sounds in great form with an abundance of energy on “High Water” (For Charlie Patton) with this crowd pleaser. The band seem to be gradually increasing the intensity level of their performance as they delve into a 9:00 + minute solid version of “The Levee’s Gonna Break” as they opened up a bit more. What a cool intro to “Tangled Up In Blue’ that was unrecognizable at first until the crowd let out a roar upon hearing the familiar lyrics refrain. Dylan. once again, was in fine form for this 6:48 minute track which simply cooked. His harmonica playing elevated the track even further. He sang “Just Like A Woman” with conviction.

Dylan exhibited punchy and spirited vocals that easily carry an 8:36 minute “Desolation Row”. The bass notes are throbbing and so clearly defined on “Highway 61 Revisited’. A 7:44 minute reading of “Ain’t Talkin'” takes on an infectious reggae influenced beat. The band played 2 encores. It was nice to hear the melodic guitar lead for “Like A Rolling Stone”. Dylan’s only articulated remarks followed: “Thank you friends” as he proceeded to break into quick Band Introductions. “All Along The Watchtower” featured a rich organ lead with thunderous instrumentation and more aggressive guitars akin to the Hendrix version clocking in at a short but powerful 4:43 minutes.

This Edmonton, Alberta show was a delight to review. Dylan and his band were dead on. Dylan, however, deserves kudos for delivering a first rate spirited and original lyrical performance that far exceeded my expectations. The recording quality is top notch and the tremendous performance from start to finish render this release a must have for Dylan aficionados. 

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