Bob Dylan – Lake Tahoe 2009 (Tambourine Man Records TMR 172/173)

Lake Tahoe 2009 (Tambourine Man Records TMR 172/173)

Harveys Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena, Stateline, NV – August 16th, 2009

Disc 1 (71:32):  Intro., Ballad Of A Thinman, Lay Lady Lay, Beyond Here Lies Nothin’, I Don’t Believe You, The Levee’s Gonna Break, Visions Of Johanna, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, When The Deal Goes Down, Highway 61 Revisited, Not Dark Yet, Summer Days

Disc 2 (76:17):  Like A Rolling Stone, Heartbreak Hotel, band intro., All Along The Watchtower.  Bonus, Banner Island Park, Stockton, CA – August 15th, 2009:  Forever Young, Beyond Here Lies Nothin’, To Ramona, Beyond The Horizon, Honest With Me, Ballad Of Hollis Brown, Workingman Blues #2, Thunder On The Mountain, Jolene, All Along The Watchtower

Lake Tahoe is the final date of Bob Dylan’s summer before a two month break from touring.  Tambourine Man use a tape with excellent sound quality that not only has clarity of music but also records the audience’s response and interaction with the music beautifully.  The comments are never intrusive or annoying and some of them are quite funny (for example, one person calling out “we love you uncle Bobby” after “Visions Of Johanna” and who shouts “come on let’s rock and roll” before “Highway 61 Revisited.”)

This show also occurs on the thirty-second anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death and Dylan acknowledges it with “Hearbreak Hotel” in the encores and one of the most dynamic and hard rocking set lists.  It doesn’t take long to conclude that this is one of the best Bob Dylan shows of the summer.  “Ballad Of A Thinman,” rather surprisingly, start it off.  This song has been a frequent inclusion in the setlist this year but only a handful of time is it first.  Dylan switches to guitar for the next three songs.  “Lay Lady Lay” is played up-tempo and the band have fun in the transition to the bridge. 

“Beyond Here Lies Nothing” is the only song from Together Through Life played in Lake Tahoe.  Donnie Herron is audible tuning the trumpet before the song starts and it’s obvious, when compared to the other songs in the night, that this song has yet to find a definitive shape on stage.  It sounds close to being right but is ragged at the edges. 

The show doesn’t really calm down until a gentle version of “Visions Of Johanna” with in a mesmerizing arrangement emphasizing the psychedelic imagery.  “Not Dark Yet” is played in a faster, almost happy sounding arrangement which serves as a commentary upon the words sung.  It sounds like a statement that true happiness is found when the will is in alignment with what life imposes upon you as a necessity.  Instead of dwelling upon that which you cannot change, you rather want for the end to come and recalls  Wotan’s monologue in Richard Wagner’s opera Die Walküre where he finally accepts the Götterdammerung as his chosen fate.

Nevertheless “Summer Days” follows and closes the show.  TMR include several minutes of audience cheering at the end of disc two.  The encore set starts on disc two.  “Heartbreak Hotel,” which someone shouts “do it for Woody” is a nice surprise for the audience as Dylan gives a rather straightforward interpretation of the song with Freeman doing his best Scotty Moore imitation.

The bonus tracks present ten songs, about half of the show, from the previous evening in Stockton California.  The only duplication with Lake Tahoe is the new track “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’.”  The sound quality is again excellent quality with excellent performances of the listed tracks.  A rocking version of “Ballad Of Hollis Brown” is a highlight as is “Jolene,” another new song, in the encores.  

TMR use thick, high quality paper for their inserts.  The artwork is a basic design with photos from the tour.  Nothing flashy but it is effective for presenting good releases of current shows on the NET.       

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