Bob Dylan & His Band – A Different Set Of Rules (Godfather Records GR 610/611)

A Different Set Of Rules (Godfather Records GR 610/611)

MGM Grand Theater At Foxwoods, Mashantucket, CT – November 27th, 2010

Disc 1 (77:32):  Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking, Lay Lady Lay, I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, Tangled Up In Blue, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, High Water (for Charlie Patton), Visions Of Johanna, Summer Days, Love Sick, Highway 61 Revisited, Workingman’s Blues #2

Disc 2 (76:49):  Thunder On The Mountain, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Jolene, Like A Rolling Stone.  Bonus tracks, Event Center, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City, NJ – November 26th, 2010:  Beyond Here Lies Nothin’, Just Like A Woman, The Levee’s Gonna Break, Most Likely You Go Your Own Way (And I Go Mine), My Wife’s Home Town, Desolation Row, Nettie Moore

The final Bob Dylan show in 2010 was at the MGM Grand Theater in Mashantucket, Connecticut.  A Different Set Of Rules on Godfather utilizes an excellent stereo audience recording of the complete show.  Unlike many Dylan tapes being pressed lately, this one is NOT bass heavy, but tends to favor the middle frequencies with uncanny detail in instruments.  It is close to perfection as possible and is extremely enjoyable.

Dylan’s set list in Mashantucket relies heavily upon the older classics played in very mellow, laid back arrangements.  “Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking,” the one gospel tune to receive heavy rotation in the past year, opens the show.  Tony Garnier’s bass and Dylan’s organ are emphasized.  A light, airy version of “Lay, Lady, Lay” follows with Dylan at the front of the stage with harp.

He again switches instrument for “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight,” playing guitar.  His lead is a bit out of tune in the middle, but it sounds as if the band are having fun.  He fares much better on the instrument on “Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum,” played much faster than normal.

“The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll” sounds very sweet in this recording.  The gentle arrangement places much emphasis upon the song’s waltz meter suggesting a lullaby for the unfortunate maid.  The band play the melody repeatedly at the end before fading.

“Visions Of Johanna” from Blonde On Blonde is a nice surprise in the set.  It is played at a faster tempo than usual, with Dylan on organ and Charlie on guitar dueling in the long instrumental section.  “Summer Days,” much more mellow than the Love & Theft recording, follows.  They emphasis the swing rhythm of the tune without the Bill Haley rockabilly adornments of past performances.

“Love Sick” is one of the highlights of the night with the organ again taking the lead, contributing to an air of despair and resignation.

“Highway 61 Revisited” at its best can rumble the venue with aggression, but it sounds very limp and quiet in this show.  Sexton doesn’t bother to solo, but rather Dylan on organ fills in the instrumental passages.  “Ballad Of A Thin Man” closes the set with only “Jolene” and “Like A Rolling Stones” serving as encores. 

The bonus contains seven tracks, about half the show, from the previous concert at the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  There is much more intensity in this than the Connecticut show.  It also have more songs from Together Through Live, “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” and “My Wife’s Home Town.”

Of interest also is “Most Likely You Go Your Own Way (And I Go Mine).”  Like “Ballad Of A Thin Man,” it has seen renewed interested by Dylan this year with many versions appearing during the tour.  A Different Set Of Rules is packaged in a trifold gatefold sleeve with various photos from the tour.  Given the sound quality, it’s one of the better silver pressings from the tour and worth having.            

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