Bob Dylan – House Of Gold (Thinman-107/108)

House Of Gold (Thinman-107/108)

Panathanaikos Stadio, Athens, Greece – June 28th, 1989

Disc 1 (56:51):  Most Likely You Go Your Way, You’re A Big Girl Now, Ballad Of Hollis Brown, Shelter From The Storm, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Highway 61 Revisited, Don’t Think Twice, Every Grain Of Sand, Mr. Tambourine Man, Blowin’ In The Wind

Disc 2 (39:08):  Silvio, I Shall Be Released, House Of Gold, Like A Rolling Stone, Lakes Of Pontchartrain, Times They Are A-Changin’, Crazy Love, And It Stoned Me, Maggie’s Farm

House Of Gold contains the complete concert from the Panathanaikos Stadio in Athens, Greece.  This was the final date of the first European tour of the NET.  Previous releases with parts of this show include All The Way Down To Italy (Templar TCD20) with “House Of Gold” and Acetates On The Tracks 4 (Habeamus Papam) with “Crazy Love” and “And It Stoned Me.”  Thinman is the first time the entire concerts has been made available on silver pressed disc and they use the same excellent quality DAT recording.  There is a small cut in the tape after “Every Grain Of Sand” but no music or talking is lost.

Although “Subterranean Homesick Blues” started off most of the sets, a drum-heavy arrangement of “Most Likely You Go Your Own Way” began to be introduced as the set starter and does so on this evening.  The slick arrangements lead by G.E. Smith work very well in general, but the up beat style of “Ballad Of Hollis Brown” sounds very strange given the starkness of the words.  The following track “Shelter From The Storm” likewise has a joyful arrangement that works somewhat better.  As an ode to masculine vulnerability and the healing power of the feminine, this version stands in contrast to the first live versions in 1976 when Dylan snarls out the words in resentment.  In 1989 it sounds very much like a celebration that such a phenomena exists.  “Highway 61 Revisited” ends the first third of the show and is notable for Smith playing electric slide guitar. 

“Don’t Think Twice” begins a four song acoustic set where Dylan is accompanied by Smith.  “Every Grain Of Sand” is given its only performance as a solo acoustic piece and some of its profundity is lost in translation.  It is followed by an energetic rendition of “Mr. Tambourine Man” and the expected “Blowin’ In The Wind.” 

“Silvo” from Down In The Groove has shared vocals by Smith and, along with “Every Grain Of Sand,” the only other song from Dylan’s 80s output.  “I Shall Be Released” is followed by a cover of Hank Williams’ “House Of Gold.”  The first performance was the previous week on June 15th in Barcelona making this the second and final time it was performed on the Never Ending Tour.  It is a particularly clever move to include these well known covers in the set.  The chorus of the song (I’d rather be in a deep, dark grave / And know that my poor soul was saved / Than live in this world in a house of gold / And deny my God and doom my soul) seems to be proclaimation on Dylan’s part in lieu of performing his own gospel material from earlier in the decade.  Whatever his motivation, the performance is sincere and one of the highlights from this show.  

“Lakes Of Pontchartrain” and “Times They Are A-Changin” are again performed acoustically as the first two encores.  At this point Van Morrison steps on the stage unannounced and they perform two of his songs, “Crazy Love” and “And It Stoned Me.”  These are the first time Dylan performed these two on stage and this stems from the previous day (or earlier on this day) when he joined Morrison for the filming of the BBC program “Van Morrison Arena Special,” taped in Athens and aired several years later.  Dylan plays on three songs in the telecast (“Crazy Love,” “Foreign Window” and “One Irish Rover”) but they also rehearsed “And It Stoned Me” which was never aired.  The revue arrangement of “Maggie’s Farm” closes the show and the European tour.  Thinman should be given credit for finally pressing this fascinating show in its entirety.  The packaging and inserts are excellent as usual.   

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