Bob Dylan – Warfield Witnesses (Thinman-129/130)

Warfield Witnesses (Thinman-129/130)

Fox Warfield, San Francisco, CA  – November 11th, 1979

Disc 1 (41:10):  Gotta Serve Somebody, I Believe In You, When You Gonna Wake Up, When He Returns, Man Gave Names To All The Animals, Precious Angel, Slow Train

Disc 2 (55:14):  Covenant Woman, Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking, Do Right To Me Baby, Solid Rock, Saving Grace, Saved, What Can I Do For You, In The Garden, Blessed Is The Name, Pressing On

Bob Dylan’s November 11th show at the Fox Warfield occurs right in the latter half of the series of shows at that venue.  Neither before has the entire show or even a part appeared on silver disc before.  Thinman are offering the show’s debut.  They use the common tape in circulation which is a good but distance audience recording.  There are occasional audience comments made around the recorder, the non-Dylan numbers are omitted and there are cuts before “Slow Train,” “Covenant Woman” omitting Regina McCreary singing “Put Your Hand In The Hand Of The Man,” and before “Saving Grace.” 

The Dylan songs are all complete and this is fortunate since this is one of the most slick and intense shows from the first gospel tour.  It is perhaps encouraged by the enthusiastic applause at the very beginning of the show by the audience and their woops and hollars through “Gotta Serve Somebody.”  However there are some nasty comments thrown at Dylan throughout the evening.  For example, after “When You Gonna Wake Up” someone shouts “false evangelist!!” 

“Precious Angel” begins a bit more slow than other performances and sounds as if Dylan was thinking about slowing down the tempo of the song.  It is however a glorious moment in the show despite the conversation happening through most of the song behind the taper.  (Their comments are too faint to hear but they are just about audible).  Tackett’s country guitar accompaniment sounds very strong in the middle of the song.

The latter half of the show increases in enthusiasm and Dylan speaks somewhat before “Solid Rock,” saying:  “Well, he works by faith not by sight, right? Is that right? You see, we’re living in the end of times now; are we living in the end of times? And the last days of perilous times shall be at hand and men will become lovers of their own selves, is that right? So we need something strong to hold on to. So we call this, ‘Hanging On To A Solid Rock, Made Before The Foundation Of The World.'”  Tackett has an incongruously heavy metal sounding solo in the middle of the piece, right before Dylan sings “it’s the ways of the spirit…”

“Saved” is played with a fury that is not apparent in the previous shows.  Before the encores Dylan introduces the band and announces “we’re doing the show tonight on the authority of Jesus Christ.”  The two encores, “Blessed Is The Name” and “Pressing On” are the same two at all of the shows on the first gospel tour.  Thinman utilize a double slimline jewel case with thick inserts.  Instead of placing a photo from the tour on the front, they place on the cover The Transfiguration, a painting by the Dutch painter Carl Heinrich Bloch.  Warfield Witnesses is another strong effort by Thinman worth having.   

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