Bob Dylan – New Jersey 1988 (Scorpio BD-08022)

New Jersey 1988 (Scorpio BD-08022)

Garden State Performing Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ – June 24th, 1988

(73:26)  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

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 is 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 and wonderful and lively atmosphere.

This is the first of two shows in Holmdel in the middle of the early NET dubbed the I88 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 acknowledgement 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 the entire tour.  “The Times They Are A-Changin'” 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.  Like with Denver 1988, Scorpio use thick glossy paper inserts which many labels have been utlilizing to give it a more collectible feel. 

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