Herning 2007 (Crystal Cat CC 832-833)
Messecenter Hal M, Herning, Denmark – May 5th, 2007
Disc 1: Intro., Cat’s In The Well, It Ain’t Me Babe, Watching The River Flow, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), To Ramona, Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Just Like A Woman, Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, When The Deal Goes Down, Tangled Up In Blue, Spirit On The Water
Disc 2: Highway 61 Revisited, Ain’t Talkin’, Summer Days, Blowin’ In The Wind, Thunder On The Mountain, All Along The Watchtower. Bonus tracks: Make You Feel My Love (First Energy Stadium, Reading, PA – August 23rd, 2006), Ballad Of A Thin Man (Pershing Auditorium, Lincoln, NE – October 25th, 2006), Positively 4 Street, Every Grain Of Sand (Agganis Arena, Boston, MA – November 12th, 2006), Lenny Bruce (Mullin Center, University Of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA – November 15th, 2006)
Herning 2007 contains a tape of the complete, final show from Bob Dylan’s European tour. This was played in the eight thousand seat capacity Messecenter Hal M. This venue is usually used for exhibitions and rarely holds concerts, and some have complained about the acoustics of the venue especially during the hard rock numbers. However, the sound quality of the tape is uniformly excellent. The balance is very good with a clear high end and good separation between the voice and the instruments and has minimal intrusive audience comments.
On the first five tracks, up to and including “To Ramona,” Dylan plays guitar before switching to keyboard. “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” is played in the new arrangement, but the version in Denmark is much more subdued than on other stops on the tour. “To Ramona” is played early in the set and appears in only eleven set lists (so far). The arrangement is based around a slow country waltz (“Your cracked country lips / I still wish to kiss / As to be under the strength of your skin. / Your magnetic movements”). This is followed by one of the few versions of “Just Like A Woman” from this tour.
The audience sings “just like a woman” during the chorus in competition with Dylan himself, and it sounds like he takes up the challenge! It’s a nice moment. “Tangled Up In Blue” Dylan changes lines three and four in the first verse from, “She was workin’ in a topless place, And I stopped in for a beer/ I just kept looking at the side of her face/ In the spotlight so clear” to “She was workin’ in a topless place, And I stopped in for a beer,/ She said do you wanna go to Atlantic City? I said I wanna stay here,” referring to the first show on the next tour starting in six weeks. “Spirit On The Water” sounds slightly more up-tempo and happier than other renditions.
There is a cheerful buoyancy in Dylan’s vocals that are a joy to hear. “Highway 61 Revisited” is the heavy rocker in the set which is conspicuously placed after “Spirit On The Water” and the song following “Ain’t Talkin’.” Even after its debut in New York last year, it is still scarcely played, appearing in only a fraction of the shows this year and just as it was performed in the final show of the tour in New York, it is also played in the final show in Europe. “Blowin’ In The Wind” is the final song of the set and the encores contain only two songs, “Thunder On The Mountain” and “All Along The Watchtower.”
The five bonus tracks all come from the tours from the previous year. “Make You Feel My Love” from the August 23rd Reading show, was performed only eight times. Although some claim it as fluff, has emotional resonance. “Ballad Of A Thin Man” from Lincoln contains an excellent guitar solo by Freeman before Dylan ends the song with the harp. It is a great performance from a very good show. The next two songs come from the November 12 show at the Agganis Arena in Boston. The full shows were released on the three disc set Sing A Bit Of These Workingman’s Blues (TMR-115/116/117) but is much worse sound quality.
The sound on these two tracks is excellent and makes on wish TMR used these tapes for their release. Boston is the eleventh and final time “Every Grain Of Sand” was performed last year and in this excellent recording is very moving. The final bonus track is “Lenny Bruce” from Amherst. It is only the third performance of that song in 2006. It surprised the audience since this was the first encore of the set that evening and replaced the more common “All Along The Watchtower.” Herning 2007 is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with a thick booklet with many photos of the arena, the crowd outside and of course Dylan and the band on stage. (GS)