In Another Lifetime (Thinman-104/105)
Century Hall, Nagoya, Japan – February 16th, 1997
Disc 1 (54:45): Crash On The Levee, Man In The Long Black Coat, All Along The Watchtower, Shelter From The Storm, Watching The River Flow, Silvio, Friend Of The Devil, Mr. Tambourine Man
Disc 2 (58:07): Boots Of Spanish Leather, Seeing The Real You At Last, Simple Twist Of Fate, Maggie’s Farm, Like A Rolling Stone, Times They Are A-Changin’, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
After the final Time Out Of Mind sessions in Miami in January, Bob Dylan began the year’s worth of touring with an eleven date tour of Japan, his first visit since 1994. Nagoya is the sixth show of the set and exists in an excellent stereo audience recording of the complete show. Although several of these shows have been pressed on silver and released, In Another Lifetimeis the first time this show has appeared in this format. Thinman package the discs in a double slimline jewel case with aesthetically pleasing inserts and silk screened discs keeping this label at the forefront of cutting edge Bob Dylan unofficial releases.
The NET band with Bucky Baxter and John Jackson tend to emphasize very subtle country and western themes in the arrangements which pushes the setlist into an energetic hoedown. “Crash On The Levee” is the set opener for all but the final two shows of the tour where “Absolutely Sweet Marie” is employed in the opening position. “Man In The Long Black Coat” is dark, cold, and melodramatic with the pedal steel guitar underlying the insidiousness of the piece. Dylan’s voice emphasizes an atmosphere of dread and paranoia inherent in the narrative which isn’t easy to capture.
“Watching The River Flow,” which is normally given a heavy blues emphasis, is played in a strong country and western flavored arrangement. A cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Friend Of The Devil,” Dylan’s two year long tribute to the late Jerry Garcia, is played on acoustic guitar with the band offering a soft arrangement underneath. The two oldies “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Boots Of Spanish Leather” complete the mid-set semi-acoustic set.
“Seeing The Real You At Last,” along with “Silvio” are the only songs played that date past his seventies output. The last two studio albums will all original material, Oh Mercy and Under The Red Skyalong with the two albums of covers are completely ignored in Nagoya. It is further notable that, even though he finished recording his first album with all new material the previous month, none of those songs would be played live in Japan. The set ends with arena rock arrangements of “Maggie’s Farm” and “Like A Rolling Stone.” “The Times They Are A-Changin'” is played acoustically with the band and the show ends with the final encore, a long and raucous version of “Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35” the both the band and audience providing assistance on the chorus and long instrumental jamming throughout. Overall the performance is good but, since it seems Dylan is playing it safe, lack any significant surprises. It is however an excellent recording from the tour and is worth having.