Bob Dylan – Seek Your Maker (Tambourine Man Records TMR 150/151)

Seek Your Maker
(Tambourine Man Records TMR 150/151)

Salzburg Arena, Salzburg, Austria – June 11th, 2008

Disc 1 (64:56):  Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, It Ain’t Me Babe, ‘Til I Fell In Love With You, Positively 4th Street,  Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Moonlight, High Water (For Charley Patton), Honest With Me, Sugar Baby, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

Disc 2 (50:15):  Spirit On The Water, Highway 61 Revisited, Nettie Moore, Summer Days, All Along The Watchtower, Thunder On The Mountain, Blowin’ In The Wind

Seek Your Maker is a tape of Bob Dylan’s second of two shows in Austria.  The first was in the capital Vienna (also released by TMR on Ceremonies Of The Horsemen), but this is in Mozart’s home town Salzburg.  And just as Wolfgang has the ability to use the common musical idiom of the day to create pure heavenly magic, so to is Dylan able use common words and phrases and somehow transcend the normal meaning into sublimity.  

TMR use an excellent sounding and powerful audience recording that is the best to surface from Salzburg whose only imperfection is a slight drop out in “Positively 4th Street” (which sounds like a problem with the PA)

The tape picks up with the orchestral prelude before the mc’s introduction.  “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again” starts off the show.  A good live number which has seen more frequent inclusions in the set list the past couple years followed by “It Ain’t Me Babe.” 

Reviews of the show state that forty members of the audience rushed the stage during the opening two songs.  Dylan is very adamant about people remaining in their seats during the performance and security tried to restore order, but eventually gave up and let the crowd stay there.

The next two songs are slower in pace but don’t help in calming the audience.  “Rollin’ And Tumblin'” is the first Modern Times song played in the set and Dylan entertains himself with goofy sounding circus figures on the organ in the middle, dueling with Freeman and Kimball.  On this tour he is playing the organ exclusively and is inventing melodies to keep up in the instrumental passages.  Four songs from “Love And Theft” follow. 

It is unusual to see that many songs from one album grouped together like that in the set list, especially from one so recent.  But it’s great to hear the scarcely played, semi-acoustic “Sugar Baby.”  “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),” which one reviewer said was “a song everyone was waiting for,” is very laid back with Herron’s banjo taking a more active part in the melody and Dylan recites the lyrics with a hint of irony in his voice. 

“Highway 61 Revisited” rocks the hall and is the heaviest song of the set and the show ends with a soft version of “Blowin’ In The Wind” with delicate guitar work by Freeman contrasting with Herron’s viola over the do-wop rhythm.  Reviews of this show emphasize the sincerity of the delivery of the classics Dylan’s strong voice, all of which is true. 

At one point in the show Dylan walked out from behind the keyboards and gave a little dance with his hand over his heart and is a striking visual symbol of the musical content on this disc.  TMR continue their strong artwork and visual production with the glossy paper inserts and a very kinetic design on the front cover.  If not for the digital ticks at the end of disc one, this would be close to being a perfect release.  TMR have corrected these errors in the past and hopefully they will take the time for Salzburg.           

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