Bob Dylan – Spare The Defeated (Thinman-100/101)

Spare The Defeated (Thinman-100/101)

Fleet Center, Boston, MA – November 24th, 2001

Disc 1 (77:52):  Wait For The Light To Shine, It Ain’t Me Babe, Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Searching For A Soldier’s Grave, Tweedle Dee And Tweedle Dum, Just Like A Woman, Lonesome Day Blues, High Water, Don’t Think Twice, John Brown, Tangled Up In Blue, Summer Days

Disc 2 (79:02):  Sugar Baby, Wicked Messenger, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, Things Have Changed, Like A Rolling Stone, Forever Young, Honest With Me, Blowin’ In The Wind, All Along The Watchtower, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Bob Dylan’s November 24th show in Boston was the one hundred and sixth and final show in 2001.  He performed an extremely long show by his standard, clocking in at almost two and a half hours, with most of the songs reaching seven minutes in length with “Tangled Up In Blues,” at nine minutes, being the longest.  The tape is an excellent sounding stereo audience recording with fantastic depth and atmosphere.  The title comes from a line in “Lonesome Day Blues” and is entirely appropriate given the context of Dylan’s first tour after the terrorist attack on 9/11.  After the short introduction he opens with the bluegrass song “Wait For The Light To Shine.” 

About the performance of this song one commentator writes:  “On October 5th 2001 Bob Dylan opened his first show after the tragic events of September 11th with this hopeful and energetic song. The next fifteen audiences were encouraged as well with this song to look away from dark circumstances, and to ‘wait for the light to shine.’ Several other songs Bob Dylan performs occasionally these days should leave little doubt where the singer expects this light to come from.  Some of the shows after the first sixteen started with other cover songs (including two performances of ‘Somebody Touched Me’ and two of ‘Hallelujah I’m ready To Go’), but Bob also opened seven more shows on that fall tour with ‘Wait For The Light To Shine.”  Also the last show of 2001 in Boston started with this gospel cover.”

“A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall” is another seeming direct commentary of the event so still so fresh in everyone’s mind and features Larry Campbell playing the bouzouki.  He follows with another cover tune, “Searching For A Soldier’s Grave.”  Written by Jim Anglin and recorded by The Blue Sky Boys, Hank Williams, among others, although Dylan’s arrangement relies heavily upon that of Ralph Stanley on Pray For The Boys.  He first performed the song on June 15th, 2000 in Portland Oregon, but it is a fitting number given the context with its refrain “Somewhere among the many dozens / of all the Americans who died true and brave / That’s where I know I’ll find him resting / so I’m here searching for his grave.”

The inclusion of several bluegrass style covers is significant since many of the songs performed are given a bluegrass arrangement.  Campbell and Sexton sing back up vocals on the two plus on “Forever Young,” “Blowin’ In The Wind” and “All Along The Watchtower.”  

“John Brown” features Campbell playing bouzouki again giving it a different feel than the arrangements with banjo popular on other tours.  “Summer Days” is also much more guitar heavy and swings much more lightly.  “Sugar Baby” sounds majestic and stately, and the first set ends with “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” where Dylan introduces the band.  The next five songs, “Things Have Changed,” “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Forever Young,” “Honest With Me,” and “Blowin’ In The Wind” form a second set and the final two songs, “All Along The Watchtower” (with Dylan’s vocals heavily treated with echo) and “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” forming the final encore set.  Overall Spare The Defeated is a fantastic document of the final show in 2001 worth having.

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