Bob Dylan – West Coast Mountain (Mainstream MAST-121)

West Coast Mountain (Mainstream MAST-121)

Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA – September 26th, 1998
Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat, License To Kill, Can’t Wait, Simple Twist Of Fate, It Takes A Lot To Laugh It Takes A Train To Cry, Silvio, I’m A Roving Gambler (trad.), It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, Tangled Up In Blue, Make You Feel My Love, ‘Till I Fell In Love With You, Love Sick, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, Blowin’ In The Wind

West Coast Mountain documents the 1,026th concert of the Never-Ending Tour and the penultimate gig from the week where he was co-billed with Van Morrison, who joined the tour on September 23rd in Portland. This single disc release thus contains the entire set of fourteen numbers down from the more usual seventeen. The source tape is an excellent audience DAT recording with maybe too much percussion in the lower frequencies but captures the event perfectly. Mainstream edited about five minutes to make the tape fit onto one disc, but thankfully no music is lost. Dylan performs four songs, “Can’t Wait”, “Make You Feel My Love”, “‘Till I Fell In Love With You” and “Love Sick” from the latest album Time Out Of Mind”. “I’m A Roving Gambler”, “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue”, “Tangled Up In Blue”, and the final encore “Blowin’ In The Wind” are played acoustically and the rest are electric.

“Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” is the opener as it was for seven dates on this leg. “License To Kill” from Infidels makes its only appearance on this tour. “Simple Twist Of Fate” is played in a mellow country-western arrangement that has none of the vocal acrobatics of the original melody. “I’m A Rover Gambler” receives a big ovation, as does “Tangled Up In Blue”, which was played at every stop in September. Two of the eyewitnesses write:

“I thought that Dylan was awesome. When my wife said that she picked up tickets for the show, I was not that excited, since I am really burned out on the classic rock scene, but I thought what the heck, he is a legend and I have not seen him. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised and thought the Dylan put on one the best performances that I have seen. He was loose, dancing and I even thought I saw a few smiles.” (David Cochran)

“The guitars, the new arrangements, the really cohesive band sound, wow, just really great. Fun, thrilling, inspiring. And shitty crowd, I thought. At least where I was sitting. Couple beside me were really into it ‘oh yeah!’ when a song would start, and then they’d talk. Group in front of me was bored, and talking through the entire set. The woman in front of me tapped me when I was really really really into ‘Silvio’ (I can’t believe the rocking version of a song I really don’t enjoy the recorded version of) so she could ask me to ask my neighbour to borrow his binoculars. I told her ‘in a minute’ but my ‘moment’ was just ruined. Damn. The couple on the other side of us were REALLY into it. REALLY. Like too much.

Like forget anyone else’s space or ability to hear what was going on. They got very excited and danced and sang during ‘Blowing in the Wind’, with Dylan’s really great vocal, which I couldn’t hear because screamed ‘wind’ into my ear. Damn. They kind of reminded me of Will Ferrell and Cheri o’Teri as the Spartan Cheerleaders on SNL – both in appearance and attitude… Anyway, though it detracted, it couldn’t take it all away – the show really was something else…Grovel time: I would *LOVE* to get ahold of this show. I know people were there taping it.” (Steve Portigal) West Coast Mountain is another release by the Mainstream label who consistently produce excellent product. The front photo is not too flattering. But overall this is worth having.

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