Summer Nights Are Gone (no label)
Disc 1 (75:35): Mama You Been On My Mind (Ferrara, Italy July 5), Mr. Tambourine Man (Liverpool, England June 27), Ballad Of Hollis Brown (Magdeburg, Germany July 12), A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (Pistoia, Italy July 7), Love Minus Zero / No Limit (Pori, Finland July 21), Blowin’ In The Wind (Cottbus, Germany July 14), The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Brussels, Belgium June 22), Boots Of Spanish Leather (Copehenhagen, Denmark July 23), Friend Of The Devil (Berlin, Germany June 17)
Disc 2 (74:14): Visions Of Johanna (Differdange, Luxembourg June 24), Desolation Row (Tambach, Germany July 10), To Ramona (Manneheim, Germany July 2), The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll (Salzburg, Austria July 9), John Brown (Munster, Germany July 1), Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right (Passariano, Italy July 8), It Ain’t Me Babe (Molde, Norway July 19), Gates Of Eden (Magdeburg, Germany July 12), My Back Pages (Liverpool, England June 26)
It is one of the high-points of any Bob Dylan concert when he steps forward from the rest of the band and perform some numbers alone accompanied by the acoustic guitar. Part of the appeal of these arrangements is a nostalgic look at the early days of his career when he was rooted firmly in folk music. But even moreso is the stark emotion and expressiveness of his voice. What he lacks in vocal talent and beauty he makes up with conviction and sincerity. To hear the profundity of his words matched in that voice is to experience an almost archetypal paradigm of the spiritual life. His voice has become more hoarse as the years wear on only lending him more authority.
Summer Nights Are Goneis a collection of acoustic songs from his summer tour of Europe in 1996. The sound quality of the tapes used vary in quality but are all very good to excellent sound quality. “It Ain’t Me Babe” from the Molde, Norway show is perhaps the lowest in sound quality with noticable hiss but it is still very good. Twenty-four different songs were played during the acoustic sets during the tour. The collection has a version of them all except for “Girl From The North Country,” “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” “Masters Of War,” “One Too Many Mornings,” and “Tangled Up In Blue.”
The highlights on the first disc include the oldest tunes played on the tour. “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” “Blowin’ In The Wind” and “The Times They Are A-Changin'” are excuses for large scale sing-a-longs on the chorus by the audience. The tapes are detailed enough to capture the excitement the audience experiences in participating in these classic songs. “Friend Of The Devil” is one of the Grateful Dead songs added to the set list after the death of Jerry Garcia and Dylan delivers a brilliant version in Berlin. The final track of the collection “My Back Pages” from Liverpool is preceded by a bit of “Yesterday” by The Beatles in acknowledgement of playing in their city. Overall this is a very nicely thought out collection of great material worth having.