Bob Dylan – Visions From Mountain View (Chrome Horse Records CHR-03/04)

 Visions From Mountain View (Chrome Horse Records CHR-03/04)

Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA – June 11th, 1988

Disc 1 (79:28):  Subterranean Homesick Blues, My Back Pages, I’ll Remember You, Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, Simple Twist Of Fate, Driftin’ Too Far From Shore, Man Of Constant Sorrow, The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, Blowin’ In The Wind, I Want You, I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine, Shelter From The Storm, Maggie’s Farm, It Ain’t Me Babe, Like A Rolling Stone

Disc 2 (77:33):  In The Garden.  Bonus tracks, 1988 June – September tour:  Absolutely Sweet Marie, San Francisco Bay Blues, Boots Of Spanish Leather, Lakes Of Pontchartrain, The Times They Are A-Changin’ It Take A Lot To Laugh It Takes A Train To Cry, Gates Of Eden, Rank Strangers To Me, Everybody’s Movin’, Baby Let Me Follow You Down, Eileen Aroon, The Two Soldiers, Love Minus Zero / No Limit, Hallelujah, Visions Of Johanna

The beginning of Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Tour offered a stripped down, aggressive and highly creative outfit.  The aesthetic touched closer to the raw garage band idea of his appearance on “Letterman” in March 1984 than professional approach with his tours with Tom Petty &  The Heartbreakers and The Grateful Dead the preceding two years.

The first four shows were in northern California starting on June 7th, 1988 in Concord, California (and is available on The Lakes Of Pontchartrain (Thinman-001)).  The second night in Sacramento was a rushed, hurried affair which left the audience booing for more.  But the next two nights, in Berkeley and Mountain View, were much better.  

Visions From Mountain View contains the June 11th show from a very good to excellent audience tape.  Golden Vanity (Wanted Man  WMM002) was released in 1992 with “Man Of Constant Sorrow” from this concert and the following year Wanted Man released Driftin’ Too Far From Shore (WMM 013) with the entire show except for “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again” and “It Ain’t Me, Babe” in order to fit the entire show onto one disc.

A third Wanted Man release titled Critic’s Choice Vol. 3 (WMM 054) has three songs from this show, “My Back Pages,” “Man Of Constant Sorrow” and “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine” alone with tracks from other shows from June, 1988.  

Chrome Horse Records is the first to release the entire concert on silver disc along with a generous selection of bonus tracks from other shows from the early Never Ending Tour.

Like all the shows from this period, Mountain View starts off with an adrenaline filled “Subterranean Homesick Blues” followed by “My Back Pages.”  

“Everything’s all right?” Dylan asks before they play the Empire Burlesque track “I’ll Remember You.”  This was featured in almost every “True Confessions” and “Temples In Flames” setlists and would be played almost regularly for the next couple of years.  It is one of the more enduring songs from the album.

“I don’t think that’s an obscure song, do you?” he asks afterwards.  “Is that an obscure song?? I don’t think so!” he defiantly states.  People by the taper respond with a loud “NO” when he asks.  It’s one of this better songs from the mid eighties.

G.E. Smith plays in a style reminiscent of Robbie Robertson of The Band in “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again.” 

After “Driftin’ Too Far From Shore,” the lone song from Knocked Out Loaded, Dylan plays a solo interlude with “Man Of Constant Sorrow,” “The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll” and an orthodox arrangement of “Blowin’ In The Wind.”

“Everything’s all right? Everything’s OK?” Dylan asks again when the rests of the band returns to the stage.  Joining them is Neil Young, guesting in his third Dylan show that week (after June 7th in Concord and June 10th in Berkeley).  He adds his own style of abstract guitar feedback which add to the arrangements even though he’s lower in the mix than both Dylan and Smith.

“I Want You” has a strong western arrangement, and “Shelter From The Storm” sounds very light and delicate compared to the aggressive versions of other years.  The set ends with “Maggie’s Farm” with Young playing a “Like A Hurricane” style solo in the middle.  

The encores start with Dylan alone singing “It Ain’t Me Babe.”  The rest of the band return for a long “Like A Rolling Stone.”  Young tries to get the band to play “Twist & Shout” in the middle, but the rest do not budge.  It’s funny to hear him try though.  A tape flip cuts off the opening notes of the final encore “In The Garden.” 

The popular set closer for the gospel tours would be played several more times but would become quite scare.

The rest of disc two is filled with a generous selection from other shows.  Nine tracks, from “Absolutely Sweet Marie” to “Everybody’s Movin'” are taken from the previous show in Berkeley.  It contains the live debuts of “Rank Strangers To Me” from Down In The Groove and the “Everybody’s Movin.'”  And like in Mountain View, Neil Young joins Dylan for the second half of the show and the encores (“It Take A Lot To Laugh It Takes A Train To Cry,” “Gates Of Eden” and “Everybody’s Movin’.”)

The rest of the disc has individual rarities from various other shows including a rare “Baby Let Me Follow You Down” from Sacramento, the live debut of “Eileen Aroon” from Denver and the Leonard Cohen cover “Hallelujah” from August 4th show in Los Angeles all in very good to excellent sound quality.  

Silver releases from such an early period of Dylan’s NET are very hard to find.  Having the Mountain View show complete is good enough, but the generous bonus tracks make this an essential title to have.  Chrome Horse includes a nicely printed booklet with various photographs from the era and generous liner notes.  

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  1. Thanks a lot for this review! Because I have already the Wanted Man releases from the 90’s, I was hesitating buying this. But the generous selection of interesting bonus tracks makes this one an album you want in your collection. And the package with the nice booklet is also better than we know it from the WM discs.


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