Bob Dylan – Live In ’88 (Raz 67)

 Live In ’88 (Raz 67)

Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre & Garden State Performing Arts Center 1988

DISC 1 [79:43]  Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre Denver, Colorado, June 15, 1988:  Subterranean Homesick Blues, One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below), It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, You’re A Big Girl Now, Ballad Of A Thinman, Mama You Been On My Mind, Eileen Aroon, Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, Just Like A Woman, Seeing The Real You At Last, Simple Twist Of Fate, Like A Rolling Stone, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Maggie’s Farm

“This is a perfect quality soundboard recording of a great show. This show boasts the first performance in over a decade of “Mama, You Been On My Mind” and “One More Cup Of Coffee” and the first ever performance of “Eileen Aroon”. Everyone knows of the Never Ending Tour…well, this is how it all got started. A week before, the show had premiered in California. This is the sixth performance of the new show with new songs and an all new band that includes SNL guitarist G.E. Smith.”

This is an original silver label issue copy of the first of two new Scorpio releases [Denver 1988: BD-08021] that was reviewed on CMR by gsparaco on 3-5-09: “Scorpio featured a clear and well-balanced document of the entire show. The audience cheering is buried very far away in the mix as is custom for many soundboard recordings, but the clarity of each instrument makes up for any lack of atmosphere in the overall. Scorpio split the 85:02 minute Denver tape across two discs to present the show in its entirety. (raz.records released this show on a single disc clocking in at 79:43 minutes) “Subterranean Homesick Blues” made it live debut on this tour after twenty years and starts the show off on a pure speed rush with “One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below)” played for the first time since 1978. Smith provides unexpected power chords in “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” in a schizophrenic arrangement and during “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again” Dylan seems to be playing with his public persona, singing in almost self-parody. “Everything’s OK? Yeah…I guess so” Dylan asks afterwards. He asks a variation of that in almost every show on the 1988 tour and it becomes his rallying cry.

A three song acoustic set is in the middle of the show where Dylan accompanies himself on guitar and is joined by Smith to augment the sound. “Mama You’ve Been On My Mind” is played in Denver for the first time since he sung it with Joan Baez in the 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue. He follows with the traditional Irish folk song “Eileen Aroon”. “Aroon” means something like “my secret love” or “the secret treasure of my heart” and dates back to the seventeenth century at least. He follows the arrangement of The Clancy Brothers. This is the first of eleven performances of the song played in 1988 and 1989. The short set ends with “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”.

“Seeing The Real You At Last” is the only acknowledgment of his eighties catalogue, something which will be common in the setlists chosen for these dates. The set closes with a raucous version of “Like A Rolling Stone”. the first encore is “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” with Dylan and Smith alone. The rest of the band come back for “Maggie’s Farm” as the second and final encore. For an early Never Ending Tour show, the performance is very slick and professional although, like most shows from this period, it doesn’t have much risk involved outside of the cover tune. Given the sound quality, this is a significant find and must have.”

DISC 2 [73:26] Garden State Performing Arts Center Holmdel, New Jersey, June 24, 1988:  Subterranean Homesick Blues, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, Masters Of War, Simple Twist Of Fate, Driftin’ Too Far From Shore, You’re A Big Girl Now, Lakes Of  Pontchartrain, Boots Of Spanish Leather, A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall, Silvio, I Shall Be Released, Like A Rolling Stone, The Times They Are A-Changin’, Maggie’s Farm

“Here is yet another powerhouse performance from the early stages of the Never Ending Tour. This performance was chosen not only for its fantastic sound quality, but also for the fact that there are seven songs on this show that weren’t performed the week before as documented on the sister disc release by Scorpio. Perhaps, best of all, the entire 75 minute concert is captured in its entirety on one disc!”

This is also an original silver label issue copy of the second of two new Scorpio releases [New Jersey 1988: BD-08022] that was reviewed on CMR by gsparaco on 3-13-09: “New Jersey 1988 presents an almost complete excellent sounding soundboard recording of the June 24th, 1988 show at the Garden State Performing Arts Center. Like its companion, Denver 1988, the balance among the instruments and vocals are close to perfect with the audience noise pushed far into the background. The clarity of the mix gives the performance a wonderful and lively atmosphere.

This is the first of two shows in Holmdel in the middle of the early NET dubbed the 1988 tour. A cursory listen to the set shows just how slick and polished the band became compared to the first shows in California earlier in the month. “Subterranean Homesick Blues” starts the show as it does for all of the dates. Dylan fights a faulty mic as his vocals cut in and out at the beginning but the problem is soon fixed. “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”, “Masters Of War” and “Simple Twist Of Fate” are delivered with speed and precision, almost as if they’re trying too hard to impress the New York crowd.

“Driftin’ Too Far From Shore” has G.E. Smith singing back-up vocals with Dylan and is the only real acknowledgment of 1986’s panned LP Knocked Out Loaded. A three song acoustic set is in the middle of the show with “Lakes Of Pontchartrain”, a gorgeous “Boots Of Spanish Leather” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”. Smith again fills out the sound on acoustic guitar backing up the artist.

“Silvio” from the latest album Down In The Groove makes an appearance again with Smith on backing vocals. The set ends with versions of “I Shall Be Released” and “Like A Rolling Stone”. When they come back on stage for the encores Dylan addresses the crowd saying: “Thank you! Everything’s OK? Everything’s OK?” which seems to be his rallying cry for this entire tour. “The Times They Are A-Changing” is played acoustically with Smith accompanying Dylan and the entire band return for a loud and wild version of “Maggie’s Farm” as the final encore of the night.”

raz.records #67 is packaged in an attractive glossy digipak with pictures of Dylan gracing all of the inner and outer covers and is a more affordable option for securing these collectible and recommended  soundboard recordings.

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  1. I revisited this release yesterday and once again enjoyed listening to both shows. I also prefer the digipack style packaging. I admit as a youngster when I first heard Bob’s voice in the early 80’s I never thought I would want any of his material in my collection. As a adult now I really appreciate his contribution to folk and some of his other styles.

  2. nice to get these 2 shows on a 2cd set.

  3. Thanks to Raz.Records for releasing these excellent shows since I had difficulty obtaining the Scorpio debut.


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