I Left The Road And Landed In…Amsterdam (Rattle Snake RS 229/230)
Easter Trilogy slipcover
Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – April 10th, 2009
Disc 1 (54:50): Intro., Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Watching The River Flow, Boots Of Spanish Leather, Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Po’ Boy, Honest With Me, Workingman’s Blues #2, High Water (For Charley Patton)
Disc 2 (56:31): Love Sick, Highway 61 Revisited, Nettie Moore, Summer Days, Like A Rolling Stone, All Along The Watchtower, Spirit On The Water, band introduction, Blowin’ In The Wind
Bob Dylan’s affection for the city of Amsterdam was apparent on his last tour of Europe when he booked three nights the Heineken Music Hall. The Rattle Snake label released the Easter Trilogy boxset, with three two disc sets documenting the three shows. The Black Box, the main hall in the Heineken Music Hall, was specifically designed for amplified music and is among the venues with the best acoustics ensuring excellent recordings.
I Left The Road And Landed In…Amsterdam is the first title in the set containing the entire April 10th performance including the audience cheering between “Like A Rolling Stone” and the first encore “All Along The Watchtower.” Rattle Snake use an excellent, very clear and natural sounding recording whose only minor flaw is someone saying a few words very close to the microphone at the beginning of “Boots Of Spanish Leather.” Heineken’s acoustics helped obviously, but this is a tremendous recording nevertheless.
Peter Van Brummelen, in reviewing this concert, pointed out that: “The thunderclap just before the start of the concert was so intense that it seemed as if there was a terrorist attack. The storm was really appropriate for the music that Bob Dylan played in the Heineken Music Hall. Dylan, who never plays the same songs on consecutive evenings, sang, in the first of three concerts in Amsterdam, songs mainly in the category of dark and threatening. So heavy was the atmosphere that sometimes it seemed as if there were a ‘fire and brimstone’ preacher.”
Although I can’t think of a Dylan show that isn’t “dark,” “threatening” and having a “heavy atmosphere,” there is a strong emphasis in the Good Friday show of songs that speak about human frailty, especially in the first half of the show beginning with “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat.” It is good to hear him play “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” his Europe travelogue which had made more frequent appearances on this tour. The only song of the night where he play guitar instead of keyboard is “Watching The River Flow.”
Donnie Herron plays either a tune-up or a unique violin introduction to “Boots Of Spanish Leather,” but it sounds gorgeous regardless. “Po’ Boy” makes a very rare appearance in the set, being played for the third out of fifteen times in Europe and serves as a counterpoint to “Workingman’s Blues #2,” which has more meaning attached in the past year in the current economic environment.
“Nettie Moore” is the first song off of Modern Times to achieve a high level of sublimity in performance which has been lacking the past couple of years. The Good Friday performance captures some of the sensibilty of the older renditions. “Summer Days” breaks the tension nicely, being one of the more fun number played in the set. Denny Freeman does his best Bill Haley interpretation and there is a great instrumental passage in the middle where the rhythm section of Garnier and Recile play off of one another.
“Like A Rolling Stone” is the final song played in the set before the encore section, which begins with the expected “All Along The Watchtower.” “Spirit On The Water” is a new addition to this part of the show and serves as an introduction to the gentle “lullaby” arrangement of “Blowin’ In The Wind.” Rattle Snake make I Left The Road And Landed In…Amsterdam available either alone or in the Easter Trilogy boxset. It is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with their standard high quality inserts with an informative essay by The Gentlemen’s Club Of Spaulding. Overall this is an impressive release of the the first Amsterdam concert worth having.