Bob Dylan & Tom Petty – Portland 1986 (Crystal Cat 1118-20)

Bob Dylan and Tom Petty, ‘Portland 1986’ (Crystal Cat CC 1118-20)

Disk 1 – Intro / Shake A Hand / All Along The Watchtower / Clean Cut Kid / I’ll Remember You / Trust Yourself / We Had It All / Masters Of War – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – Straight In To Darkness / Think About Me / The Waiting / Breakdown (52:45)

Disk 2 – To Ramona / One Too Many Warnings / A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall – Bob Dylan with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know / Band Of The Hand / Lonesome Town / Ballad Of A Thin Man – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Even The Losers / Spike / Tonight Might Be My Night / Refugee (66:26)

Disk 3 – Bob Dylan with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35 / Seeing The Real You At Last / Across The Borderline / I And I / band introductions / Like A Rolling Stone – Encore – In The Garden / Blowin’ In The Wind / Uranium Rock / Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (56:55)

I first wrote about this set for the Tarantura labels, ‘Anybody Out There Know what Time It Is?’ – There I bemoaned the fact that there were only a hundred copies made available alongside a handful of promo copies – An interesting soundboard from a curious period in Dylan’s career seemed to have been buried to all but the staunchest, ardent and wealthy Dylan fans.  

Where the Tarantura label limited themselves, the Crystal Cat label have picked up and produced their own version of the results. Though I did also point out at the end of my review, “Being the kind of fussy collector I am, I would have liked this premier release to have been packaged in a glossy box as opposed to the trifold look of a Crystal Cat or Golden Eggs but that’s just being overly picky maybe.”, so mea-culpa somewhat there as the Japanese label are certainly more known for producing a bigger, bolder, boxed set that Crystal Cat, however, the effort our European friend has put in tips the scales in their favour on this occasion and the whole sets looks as good as sounds with a thick card trifold digipack housing the 3 CDs, there’s also a glossy booklet running 20 pages featuring a mixture of colour and black and white shots, a Dylan interview from Rolling Stone magazine, issue 394 and a list of the complete Confessions tour with Tom Petty in 1986. 

The sound itself isn’t too distant from the Tarantura release though I would suggest that it’s a little brighter – Certainly I heard a little more dazzle from Stan Lynch’s cymbals. CC has trimmed a little from the intro that means a few less seconds of crowd noise at the start of disk one but that doesn’t mean much realistically.But this is a point of note – at least one of the omissions that were noted on the Tarantura set have been reinstated – Most specifically, Benmont Tench’s introduction by Bob, missing his full introduction from the first release is in full here – Neither the volume or tone drop however.

The same can be said of the Tom Petty tracks (11 and 12 of CD 2), they lack the crackly distortion found on the Tarantura so if CC HAVE used the same source, it’s a mystery where they’ve picked up the missing soundboard introductions from and how they smoothed out the interference on the Petty tracks. 

If you missed out on getting the Tarantura  set, you’ll be more than pleased to get a second chance to pick up this show. And if  you were considering it a while after it had already sold, you certainly should. 

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