Bob Dylan with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – 4th Of July, Orchard Park (Apocalypse Sound AS-151)

4th Of July, Orchard Park (Apocalypse Sound AS-151)

Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, NY – July 4th, 1986

So Long Good Luck And Goodbye, Positively Fourth Street, Clean Cut Kid, Emotionally Yours, Trust Yourself, We Had It All, Masters Of War, Straight Into Darkness, Think About Me, The Waiting, Breakdown, To Ramona, One Too Many Mornings, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know, Band Of The Hand, When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky, Lonesome Town, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Bye Bye Johnny, Spike, Refugee, Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35, Seeing The Real You At Last, Across The Borderline

The second Farm Aid event was scheduled on the 4th of July holiday at Manor Downs Racetrack in Manor, Texas.  Since Bob Dylan and Tom Petty, the stars of the first event, were on tour at the time, their contribution was beamed in via satellite from their show at Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, just outside of Buffalo New York.  Apocalypse Sound use the circulating footage from the show in very good quality with an improved soundtrack.  It is pressed in NTSC region 0 for compatibility with all DVD players and has a simple to navigate menu.  The video tape contains most of the show but is missing the final three songs, I And I,” “Like A Rolling Stone” and “In The Garden” and the three encore numbers, “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “Uranium Rock,” and “Knocking On Heaven’s Door.”  These six songs have never surfaced and there is some doubt if they were even filmed.  (Maybe the VH1 crew packed up their equipment after they were done with their job?)  

The show starts as the sun is setting and the opening songs are very bright.  There are at least four cameras in use:  two in front, one to stage right focused on the lead microphone, and one from behind capturing very wide shots of the stadium.  The front camera focuses on the empty seats behind the stage for part of “The Waiting” and “Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.”  The feed is picked up and broadcast over VH1 right before “Spike” and runs to “Across The Borderline.”  The camera job, which had been quite pedestrian, becomes much more professional with more dramatic close ups and shots of the stadium from behind the drum riser and the front of the stage.  Also since the sun has set by the point it is darker bringing out the colors more.  There is a bit of interference and a small edit it in “Across The Borderline.”  

Overall this is one of the better performances from the True Confessions tour.  Bob seems happy and they deliver great versions of their newer material.  “Clean Cut Kid” rocks on the stage and a difficult but sentimental version of “Emotionally Yours.”  Dylan’s short acoustic set is very good too.  “One Too Many Mornings” became somewhat of an anthem for him that summer and he delivers one of the best versions captured on tape.  But that is followed by an intense rendition of “Hard Rain” that has the entire football stadium mesmerized.  It’s a shame the camera focuses on the seats behind him during the most intense part.

“I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know” is played with both Dylan and Petty on acoustic guitar with the Heartbreakers offering accompaniment.  “Band Of The Hand” is the newest song played in the set.  It was recorded for film of the same name released that summer and was only ever released on the film’s soundtrack.  Luckily there are many good soundboard recordings from the tour.  The Heartbreakers deliver two energetic sets and when Dylan comes back out for his final Petty plays bass and Howie Epstein plays slide guitar.  The final song on the tape, “Across The Borderline” is the perfect musical summary of Dylan’s music in the show with quotes from the Ricky Nelson song played earlier in the set.  Apocalypse Sound package this in a cardboard sleeve with various shots from the tape on the front cover.  This is a great document to watch and, despite being incomplete, is an improvement in sound over other copies circulating. 

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