Bob Dylan – Tears Of Rage, Tears Of Grief (Tambourine Man Records TMR-120/121)


Tears Of Rage, Tears Of Grief  (Tambourine Man Records TMR-120/121)

Debaser-medis, Stockholm, Sweden – March 27th, 2007
Globe Arena, Stockholm, Sweden – March 28th, 2007

Disc 1: Into., Most Likely You Go Your Own Way, Not Dark Yet, I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, It’s Alright Ma, Tears Of Rage, Highway 61 Revisited, Lay Lady Lay, Rollin’ And Tumblin’, To Ramona, Country Pie

Disc 2: Tangled Up In Blue, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Summer Days, Like A Rolling Stone, Thunder On The Mountain, All Along The Watchtower. Bonus, Globe Arena, Stockholm, Sweden – March 28th, 2007: Watching The River Flow, When The Deal Goes Down, Honest With Me, Girl Of The North Country, Nettie Moore

Tears Of Rage, Tears Of Grief
is among three new releases on the Tambourine Man Records label covering the first week of shows on Bob Dylan’s European tour several months ago. Most of this release is an excellent sounding, complete recording of the small club gig at the 600 capacity Debaser-medis club in downtown Stockholm. This show marks the first time in many years that Dylan plays guitar on stage instead of playing the electric piano only. “Most Likely You Go Your Own Way” to “Lay Lady Lay” features Dylan on guitar and for the rest of the set, “Rollin’ And Tumblin'” to the final encore “All Along The Watchtower” he plays keyboards. The results are mixed. Dylan adds little augmentations to Freeman’s leads that work well. At times he sounds bad and clashes with the lead, the most egregious example being “Highway 61 Revisited” where he is out of tune and out of sync during the solo passages. In fact the first half of the show shows a sloppiness that is in direct contrast to the end of the U.S. tour in November, where the band were honed to a fine point and were tighter than a tourniquet. During the second half, when Dylan switches to electric piano, the band tighten up and the show improves dramatically. This is also the first European gig after the release of Modern Times and is their first exposure to that material live. Curiously, Dylan changes the set list around drastically and only “Rollin’ And Tumblin’ and “Thunder On The Mountain” are actually played from the new album.

Robert Nyman, the author of Robert’s Talk blog, writes: “Everyone’s expectations were so high, and as already stated in many magazines and forums, this was a legendary night even before it took place. As most people know, it’s always a gamble when you go to a concert with Bob Dylan. If he’s in the mood, it will no doubt be a memorable moment, but more often than not, there’s the risk that he’s in a gruff mood and will sing his songs in some weird, impulsive way, which will seldom be a pleasant evening. And, given that he’s almost 66 years old, I guess it’s ok to have an off night or two… So, with this in mind, the crowd expectantly saw the band come onto the stage a little after 20:00, with cheers to accompany them. And, lo and behold, Mr. Dylan was in a good mood! He actually smiled several times and sincerely seemed to enjoy himself. Against all odds, he played the guitar for the first half of the concert, something unheard of in a long time. For the latter half he played the synth, which was ok, but personally I would have preferred if he had just kept to the guitar all night through.” The opening song, “Most Likely You’ll Go Your Own Way” recalls the 1974 tour with The Band where it served as the most common opening (and closing) songs of the set. This is the first time it opens a show since May 5th, 2006 in Atlanta. “Not Dark Yet” makes an appearance as the second number and sounds very mellow in this gig. This version of “Lay Lady Lay” works very well, and the audience greet “Rollin’ And Tumblin'” with the loudest ovation of the evening.

One of the biggest surpises is the inclusion of “Country Pie” from Nashville Skyline. It recieves its first airing in almost three years since August 15th, 2004 in Richmond, Virginia. “Tangled Up In Blue” begins with Dylan accompanied with acoustic guitar until the first “tangled up in bluuuuee” when the band crashes in. “Summer Days,” as times sounding a bit tired by the end of the last tour, sounds very tight and hard as the band pound out the swing rhythm. The appreciative audience are rewarded with three encores: the expected “Like A Rolling Stone,” the Modern Times opener “Thunder On The Mountain,” and “All Along The Watchtower.” As a bonus TMR include five numbers from the following night’s show at the Globe Arena, also in Stockholm. The tape source is again has excellent sound with much more echo than the tape made in the club gig. Each of the five are relatively common numbers and the label includes two of the newer songs, “When The Deal Goes Down” and “Nettie Moore.” The latter has been singled out by reviewers as being one of the best renditions of the song so far with Dylan’s crystal clear voice giving much meaning to the phrases. “Girl From The North Country” sounds gorgeous on this recording with Freeman’s fluid solo in the middle and Dylan’s harp solo over Donnie Herron’s delicate pedal steel guitar. This title is package in a double slimline jewel case with glossy paper inserts, an upgrade to the thinner stock used for their previous releases. The photo on the front cover is the kind of intense, close-up shot favored by the artist and is entirely appropriate. (GS)

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