Bob Dylan – Shoreline Amphitheater (Thinman-131/132)

Shoreline Amphitheater (Thinman-131/132)

Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA – October 9th, 1993

Disc 1 (65:07):  You’re Gonna Quit Me, Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, All Along The Watchtower, Just Like A Woman, Tangled Up In Blue, You’re A Big Girl Now, Blackjack Davey, To Ramona

Disc 2 (36:12):  Boots of Spanish Leather, God Knows, Maggie’s Farm, crowd applause, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat

Shoreline Amphitheater documents Bob Dylan’s show at the Shoreline Amphitheater in the final on the fall tour in 1993.  He played a total of thirty-three shows on the Fall tour and was co-billed with Santanta, each alternating as the opening act.  On this night he the opening act, but he plays his full set of eleven songs in the set plus two encores.  Thinman use a superlative sounding stereo audience recording, something that is to be expected of Dylan live tapes from the late eighties on.  The taper starts a little bit late at the beginning, cutting off the opening notes but capturing the introduction.  He also presses the off button on the very last note of the show too, as well as checking the tape after the acoustic set.  However this are really minor observations and the show is virtually complete. 

One of the characteristics of the 1993 NET are the very long arrangements of the songs.  Dylan seemed to want to showcase his band and their virtuosity by including instrumental passages within the numbers.  The opening song (4:13) and the final encore (5:59) are the shortest songs in the set.  All the others reach a minium of six and a half minutes, but most hover between eight and ten minutes long.

Another characteristic is reflected in his early nineties interest in obscure folk, country and blues songs.  Such songs comprised his two most recent albums Good As I Been To You and World Gone Wrong although none were played in this show.  The first two shows on this tour opened with “Hard Times” but the rest opened with “You’re Gonna Quit Me” performed acoustic with the band.  This is a cover of a tune by the obscure Mance Lipscomb, who was “a Texas sharecropper for most of his life, was born in 1895. When not farming in his hometown of Navasota, he assumed the role of local entertainer and songstera versatile singer/musician who could handle a hardened blues just as easily as a soft children’s song. Although Lipscomb didn’t begin recording until he was nearly 65, he left behind a remarkably rich catalog of Texas blues before he died in 1976.  Country blues, that sparse, mostly raw and rootsy form directly linked to slave worksongs and field hollerswas his specialty…. Lipscomb never quite achieved the popularity in mainstream blues circles as another Texas bluesman, Sam ‘Lightning’ Hopkins.”

The long arrangements have mixed results.  “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again” and “All Along The Watchtower” rock.  But the long arrangement of “Just Like A Woman” forces one to ask if all these long John Johnson guitar passages are really necessary?  He simply repeats in the main melody repeatedly with little variation.  “Tangled Up In Blue,” however, works very well.  Dylan comes close to rapping out the words over over the southern style rock arrangement. 

“Blackjack Davy,” which replaced “Little Moses” in the set earlier in the tour, begins the three song acoustic set.  It is a traditional tune played with Johnson accompanying, filling in the harmony.  “To Ramona” and “Boots Of Spanish Leather,” with an incongruously happy solo, fill out the rest of the acoustic set.

“God Knows” follows and is one of only two songs (“You’re A Big Girl Now” is the other) that are not from his sixties output and is the only song from his most recent album of original material.  Speculation aside, it is reveling how much emphasis he puts on the older songs.  “Maggie’s Farm,” with the band introduction, is the set closer.  “My brother” Neil Young joins the band onstage for “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box” to show “show me how to play guitar.”  Young doesn’t sing at all, but adds his fuzz to the song as they pound out the blues chords.  Young was a guest at the very first NET show in 1988This would be Dylan’s final live show of the year.  His next activity would be the four Supper Club shows and his appearance of David Letterman in November.  Shoreline Amphitheater is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with thick, high quality insert and again Thinman are to be commended to pressing to silver a relatively obscure but ultimately enjoyable show. 

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