Bob Dylan – The Air Burns (Thinman-088/89)

The Air Burns (Thinman-088/89)

Tilles Center, C.W. Post College, Brookville, NY – January 30th, 1998

Disc 1 (45:30):  Absolutely Sweet Marie, Pretty Peggy-O, Can’t Wait, Under The Red Sky, Silvio, Cocaine Blues, Masters Of War, Tangled Up In Blue

Disc 2 (49:15):  Million Miles, Queen Jane Approximately, ‘Till I Fell In Love With You, Highway 61 Revisited, It Ain’t Me Babe, Love Sick, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

Bob Dylan engaged in seven unique tours (or legs of the Never Ending Tour) in 1998 including four of the US.  The first was a twenty-one date trek on the east coast beginning in New London, Connecticut on January 13th and ending on February 22nd in Fairfax Virginia.  All of the shows on this tour exist on audience recordings, and the one Thinman uses for the January 30th show at C.W. Post is an excellent, three dimensional stereo audience recording that is perfect in balance and atmosphere.  The label did a flawless job in bringing this tape onto a silver pressed title for the first time with little or no tweaking of the tape and, unlike some of their recent releases, has no clicks or gaps between any of the tracks.  Packaged in a double slimline jewel case, they again use thick color glossy inserts for the artwork impressive in quality, and the photo on the front cover has a unique and dramatic photo of Dylan on stage rocking with the band.  

The Tilles Center is a 2,242 seat venue located on the campus of C.W. Post college on the northern shore of Nassau county on Long Island.  Dylan starts this show with “Absolutely Sweet Marie” as he does for every stop on this tour followed by “Pretty Peggy-O” for the only time on this tour.  The audience don’t recognize the tune at first, probably anticipating “Ring Them Bells” because of the similarity in the melody.  “Can’t Wait” is the first new song from Time Out Of Mind played.  “Under The Red Sky” is played for first of two times and is simply gorgeous.  Dylan’s voice and intonation are extremely clear and powerful in the entire show but none so more than on this tune.  Although this song was much maligned upon its release the way he sings it brings out much deeper connotations of the tale of the littly boy, little girl and old man.  

This rarity is followed by “Silvio,” played in every show and is a good, faced paced rocker to raise the energy level in the auditorium.  The three song acoustic set begins with the traditional “Cocaine Blues,” sounding much like a depression era, dust hued bluegrass with backing vocals by the band and serves as a perfect foil for “Tangled Up In Blue.”  

“Million Miles” is the second Time Out Of Mind song played.  While he sings the audience audibly react to his sarcastic asides like “Did so many things I never did intend to do…well, maybe just a few” and “I know plenty of people who would put me up for a day or two…at least I think I do.”  The walking bass-line, passionate delivery and gutsy guitar solo in the middle raises this as one of the best live renditions of the song and is another highlight of the set.  Dylan introduces the band before the final song of the set “‘Till I Fell In Love With You.”  The long encore set begins with a light and airy version of “Highway 61 Revisited” followed by an acoustic version of “It Ain’t Me, Babe.”  The show ends with “Rainy Day Women #12&35” another song played at every stop on this tour (and is played in a majority of the shows all year).  The slide is deemphasized in favor of the country pedal steel and military marching beats on drums in the bridge.  The Air Burns is a sterling release by Thinman with great sound quality, a flawless production and is an excellent document from this early tour.  

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