Bob Dylan – Terminal 5, 2010 Pt. 3 (Highway HW-055/56)

Terminal 5, 2010 Pt. 3 (Highway HW-055/56)

Terminal 5, New York, NY – November 24th, 2010

Disc 1 (74:28):  Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking, The Man In Me, Beyond Here Lies Nothin’, Tangled Up In Blue, The Levee’s Gonna Break, Spirit On The Water, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, Can’t Wait, Summer Days, Forgetful Heart, Honest With Me, Nettie Moore

Disc 2 (32:37):  Thunder On The Mountain, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Jolene, Like A Rolling Stone, All Along The Watchtower

Terminal 5, 2010 Pt. 3 captures the third and final show from Bob Dylan’s visit to New York last November.  Pressed onto professional CDR, Highway use a good audience recording of the entire concert.  While it is clear, it also is flatter than the other nights and lacks some dynamics.  But it does capture the audience’s reaction to the action onstage very well, offering a very good live sound. 

Sean Wilentz, reflecting on the three shows in The Daily Beast, writes that:  “Bob Dylan and his band returned to New York this Thanksgiving week for three sold-out shows at the unfrilly, three-thousand capacity rock venue Terminal 5. Dylan has made a habit of closing his U.S. fall tours in New York in late November, which makes perfect sense: the holidays are beginning; Dylan and the musicians have been out on the road for weeks; and Manhattan, where Dylan’s career began 50 years ago, seems the natural place for a festive annual homecoming.

“Not for nothing did his opening night set list at Terminal 5 include ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,’ with its playing-to-the galleries final line: ‘I’m going back to New York City, I do believe I’ve had enough.’     

“Usually the big drawback to this timing, though, is that New Yorkers, who include some of Dylan’s most devoted and knowledgeable fans, have had to sit through tired, indifferent performances at the tour’s end. At last year’s November shows, held in the late Reverend Ike’s converted movie palace church on Washington Heights, the opening act, Dion-no slouch, to be sure, but no Bob Dylan-turned in a relaxed, full-throated opening set than outshone the star attraction.  [Spanish Harlem Nights (Tambourine Man Records TMR 176/177/178)].

“Advance reviews by fans from earlier stops on the road had heightened expectations, talking of ‘amazing’ shows, ‘a blast from the past,’ with Dylan ‘engaged, focused, having fun.’ Dylan freaks, who are usually more reliable than the local press, pass the advance word along on the Web knowing full well that all Dylan shows are not created equal.

“The New York concerts surpassed those descriptions. From the very first number on opening night, it was obvious that Dylan and his band (an ensemble he has worked with for a year, although he has worked with each individual member for a long time) had not only tightened up their sound, they had thoroughly rethought the arrangements of almost every number, introducing dynamics and revisions that made even familiar songs sparkle anew, with a light that was sometimes poignant and sometimes sinister.     

“Even at their most perfunctory, Dylan’s shows usually have something fine to offer-a single standout performance; or the realization that, at least as a writer, he was able to compose songs when young that resound just as powerfully (though in very different ways) now that he is older; or the equally rewarding realization that his singular combination of defiance and vulnerability comes across in his new songs as they did in his older ones.

“But attending a Dylan concert is also a wager at hearing unsurpassed songwriting performed at a fresh peak of musical power. That wager has paid off repeatedly over the years, notably in the Rolling Thunder Revue musicales of 1975, in the ‘gospel tour’ concerts of 1980, and in the shows in and around the release of Love and Theft in 2001. If not as spectacularly as on those earlier occasions, it paid off again this week.”

Such is the high caliber of the performance that it’s hard to choose which one is best.  All three New York concerts are worth having.  It would have been best to have Tambourine Man Records issue the three together on silver disc in a six-disc set.  Be that as it may, Terminal 5, 2010 Pt. 3 is a very good release worth having. 

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