Bob Dylan with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, ‘Anybody Out There Know What Time It Is?’ (Tarantura TCDBDTP-1-3)
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 (53:31)
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 (66:21)
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 (56:39)
With a flourishing regularity, there have been some nice Dylan soundboards that have appeared recently. From the 2000’s show from Saratoga that showed up almost everywhere to Empress Valley’s exclusive Wembley ‘84 show (Which didn’t take long to front elsewhere, either!), we now take receipt of a show from Portland, OR. The oft’ bootlegged ‘Temple Of Flames’ tour that Bob had Tom Petty share with him, this show, another from the soundboard tapes, is exclusive to luxury Japanese label, Tarantura – Themselves no stranger to Dylan but it has been a few years since they released their last product featuring the Bard and that was focussed around an altogether different period.
This show, much like EV’s Wembley release, is a cool, close soundboard – Very quiet at the very start (I questioned at one point whether I had a blank disk or not and I was wearing headphones!), though it all very quickly becomes apparent, once the band enter the stage, that it’s mainly the stage that’s miked. There’s a sound that’s in no doubt a raw soundboard as opposed to a ‘mixed’ official release but then that does seem to unfairly suggest that I might be damning the release with false praise, it does sound terrific, if I was really going to be picky, there’s a little air in the atmosphere and a little static at various points, but it’s barely noticeable, if at all. The label are clear about the inconsistencies of the source tape (I’ve listed these at the bottom of this review for easy scrollability) but they are mixed very well with no discernible blemishes.
The set itself, over 3 CDs!, Begins with ‘Shake A Hand’, Dylan’s trick of beginning the show with a non-Bob original, non-reverential but brilliantly tone-setting. Following this with a haunting ‘All Along The Watchtower’ sets Dylan on the forward foot. In this, he wrestles the track back from Hendrix, clicky, choppy rhythm guitar bustles amongst Stan Lynch’s boomy, slightly fussy drumming – I like his approach to the rest of the songs here but it feels like he’s trying too hard to get heard – gives way to the chooga-chatter clatter of ‘Clean Cut Kid’ where Dylan takes the top off of his lid and rattles out the lyrics while the Queens shuffle and shoop through their harmonies. ‘Trust Yourself’ takes the 6th song or ’Shot Of Love’ slot tonight. As Gsparaco noted in his review of Scorpio’s, ‘Live At Tacoma Dome 1986′ with regards the clutch of anti-war songs so easy in the set, this was possibly a retaliation to the bombing of Lybia earlier that year.
Taking a break from the stage, Bob introduces Tom Petty and his band with the laudatory words, “I wanna introduce you now to a real rock n’ roll band .. so much crap these days, d’you know passes for rock and roll, this is the real thing right here ..” – The band throw themselves through a fiery set – It’s easy to see why they would have been chosen to support Dylan as he leathered up against his mid life crisis – The Heart Breakers sound so much more urgent, and powered than Dylan is trying to achieve and span the line between Dylan’s fevour, mixing younger elements of Costello / Dylan / Presley and thrilling a charged up crowd. Tom thanks the audience after ’Think About Me’, he also thanks the local council for allowing them to play the stadium. “It’s funny, it’s 1986 and some people think this music’s dangerous, y’know .. I hope they always do .. ‘cos it is” before a Byrdsian ‘The Waiting’.
Returning to the stage, Dylan is solo for three tracks, there’s something satisfying about hearing a brief acoustic set for a change of pace. Certainly Dylan as a middle aged man as he was then, spinning out these songs that he had written as mearly a slip, that still resinate after all those years is magical. A bolder Dylan as opposed to the reticent and quieter youth.
The rest of the band return to back Dylan up for a few more tracks from here on in, gradually upping the feel, they begin with a sparse, ‘I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know’, where as ‘Band Of The Hand’, replete with the queens, moves the post a little further.
The band look back with a piano lead cover of ‘Lonesome Town’, it sits a little uneasily in the middle of the set and comes as a bit of a bump in the road, no matter how much it must mean to Bob, it’s nice enough, don’t get me wrong but it’s placement would better be suited towards the end of the show, maybe. After this, Dylan sounds almost purely rabid on an en visceral version of ‘Ballad Of A Thin-Man’ – Though the musicianship is on par too!
A raucous version of ‘Rainy Day Women #12 and 35’ leads the last duo portion of the night before a mean take on ‘Seeing The Real You At Last’ which has a thrilling, driving vibe as does the rolling piano underbelly of ‘I And I’.
After a rambling band introduction (Dylan sounds giddy with delight and is very, very giggly), the band slip seamlessly in to the grandiose ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ – It’s only fitting that it’s obviously replicated with a Heartbreakers vibe and the grinding chords have a sunny power pop vibe. It concludes to a very strange stop-start coda — Evidently a good idea at the time.
The encore begins with a charging ‘In The Garden’ that’s very close to the renditions that Bob gave in the early 80’s with a great gospel based coda that repeats itself endlessly. ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ get’s an alternate skiffly, rinky-dink make-over while the set ends with a glorious ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’. Retaining all the best elements of the song while polishing it with a buff of 80’s gloss sensibility.
An even set it may be, it’s a strange concept to think of someone with Dylan’s stature weaving their magic with another band who were big enough to hold their own over their own audiences but Bob was obviously happy enough to hand them co-ownership of the jukebox in the corner while tending bar.
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, the label have done a nice, simplish job with the artwork but have added a nice multicoloured obi. Limited to an initial edition of only 100 with a handful of promo copies in circulation, I wouldn’t be surprised if they considered a second pressing as Dylan collectors all around are going to want a copy of this show in their hands.
(Total playing time of the 3 CDs is: 2 hours, 56 minutes, 31 seconds as 10 seconds of crowd noise from the end of CD1 is repeated at the start of CD2 and 8 seconds of crowd noise from the end of CD2 is repeated at the start of CD3.
Note: some minor distortion during parts of two Tom Petty tracks – Tonight Might Be My Night and Refugee. This is present on the source tape.