Paradise Lost Tour (SC-BD-95-12)
Stabler Arena, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA – December 13th, 1995
Disc 1: Crash On The Levee (Down In The Flood), Lay Lady Lay, All Along The Watchtower, You’re A Big Girl Now, I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, Silvio, Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic w band), Desolation Row (acoustic w band), Mama You Been On My Mind (acoustic w band), Dark Eyes (duet with Patti Smith)
Disc 2: Seeing The Real You At Last, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Alabama Getaway, The Times They Are A-Changin’ (acoustic w band), Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35. Bonus tracks, Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA – December 16th, 1995: I Want You, Shelter From The Storm, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, Love Minus Zero/No Limit
Three weeks after the Fall Classics tour Bob Dylan scheduled this short, ten date tour along the east coast. Dubbed the “Paradise Lost” tour, he was supported by Patti Smith who also joined Dylan stage each night to duet on “Dark Eyes” and sometimes on some of the encore numbers. The show at Lehigh University occurred right in the middle of the trek and is sourced from an excellent stereo audience recording. It was previously released on the CDR title Falling Gods (Peace Frog PF-332-D) released in 2006. Paradise Lost Tour is the first silver release of the show and has excellent sound and balance.
The Patti Smith set exists on tape (by the same taper) but wasn’t included on this release. In Bethlehem that night she played: “Wicked Messenger,” “Dancing Barefoot,” “Ghost Dance,” “Walking Blind,” “Southern Cross,” “Rock and Roll Nigger,” and “Not Fade Away.” Dylan’s set begins in a similar way as on the Fall Classics tour with “Crash On The Levee (Down In The Flood)” as the opener and “All Along The Watchtower” third. “Watchtower” is particularly caustic this night with searing interchanges between Johnson and Dylan on dual leads. These late 1995 shows are very good in displaying whatever talent Dylan has on guitar.
“I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” sounds like a booze soaked honky tonk and Down In The Groove’s “Silvio” has a blatant Jerry Garcia solo in the middle. A gorgeous version of “Mr. Tambourine Man” is the first song in the acoustic set. “Desolation Row” contains the rarely sung second to last verse (“Praise be to Nero’s Neptune”, etc). After “Mama You Been On My Mind” Patti Smith comes on stage to sing “Dark Eyes” from Empire Burlesque. Smith sings the verses and Dylan joins in on the chorus and she does a commendable job on this difficult song. This is one of Dylan’s more underrated songs but one of this most glorious creations and the audience give applause after each verse in appreciation. The above link shows footage from one of the shows after this at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia.
This is followed by the second Empire Burlesque number of the set “Seeing The Real You At Last” sounding very heavy and “Ballad Of A Thinman” finishes the set. The encore section is similar to the previous tour with the Grateful Dead tribute “Alabama Getaway” as the first encore. A ten minute version of “The Times They Are A-Changin” is played on acoustic guitar accompanied by the band and is given a gently lullaby arrangement and the show ends with a raucous version of “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.”
The four bonus tracks are four scarcely played songs from the Paradise Lost tour. Coming three nights later at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, this is the penultimate show. The sound quality is on par with Bethlehem sounding excellent. “I Want You” was played only twice, also appearing in the second show in Worcester, Massachusetts. “Shelter From The Storm” was only played in this show and is given an interesting arrangement dominated by the pedal steel guitar. “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” was played at the Beacon Theater in New York and in this show, and finally “Love Minus Zero / No Limit” was played also in Worcester and Philadelphia. This is played acoustically with the band and is given a dramatic arrangement to which the audience responds accordingly!
This is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with glossy inserts and is another high quality production from the same people who produced the 1995 Tour Anthology and the Supper Club soundboard releases. Between this label and Thinman there have been five separate releases from Dylan’s tours in 1995. This sudden fascination is interesting and it does cause collectors to reassess this legendary year. it seems during this time, after two albums of cover tunes and before his big late nineties comeback Time Out Of Mind, he was exploring the inner reaches of the back catalogue and found some inspiration for the latter day classics. Regardless this is another quality release worth having.