Live In Japan Vol. 2 (Tarantura TCDBD-2A 2B BOX)
Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 21st, 1978
Disc 1 (TCDBD-2A-1): Opening / SE, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (Instrumental), Lonesome In My Bedroom, Mr. Tambourine Man, I Threw It All Away, Love Minus Zero/No Limit, Shelter From The Storm, If You See Her Say Hello, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Maggie’s Farm, I Want You, Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, To Ramona, Like A Rolling Stone, I Shall Be Released, Going Going Gone, Announcement for 20 minutes break
Disc 2 (TCDBD-2A-2): One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later), Blowin’ In The Wind, Just Like A Woman, Oh Sister, You’re A Big Girl Now, All Along The Watchtower, Simple Twist Of Fate, All I Really Want To Do, The Man In Me, Tomorrow Is A Long Time, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Band Introduction, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), Forever Young, The Times They Are A-Changin’, Announcement, SE / Tape music
Disc 1 (TCDBD-2B-1): Opening / SE, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (Instrumental), Lonesome In My Bedroom, Mr. Tambourine Man, I Threw It All Away, Love Minus Zero/No Limit, Shelter From The Storm, If You See Her Say Hello, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Maggie’s Farm, I Want You, Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, To Ramona, Like A Rolling Stone, I Shall Be Released, Going Going Gone
Disc 2 (TCDBD-2B-2): One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later), Blowin’ In The Wind, Just Like A Woman, Oh Sister, You’re A Big Girl Now, All Along The Watchtower, Simple Twist Of Fate, All I Really Want To Do, The Man In Me, Tomorrow Is A Long Time, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Band Introduction, It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), Forever Young, The Times They Are A-Changin’
“Edition release full second day Budokan · February 21, 1978, marked the long-awaited instrument peach!
On this day, the two recorders with religious care boss Peach turn recorded in full board! No cut at all! High quality of genius that even official yet hazy! ! !
Fully enclosed 4-Disc BOX both its historical instruments! ! ! Experienced by those involved in music most of the time,
Historic concert revives the 21st century! ! ! Must-have item to give to the whole world, I am finally released! ! ! 200 sets of fully qualified, with booklet. With serial number.”
Bob Dylan’s ‘world tour’ in 1978 featured a punishing schedule of 115 dates in ten months. It had been around 12 years since he had set himself about the task of such a punishing schedule and within that time so much had changed as he weathered the storm of motorcycle crashes, adulthood, fatherhood, marriage, divorce, etc. The only thing that seemed to have come full circle was the fact that those shows in 1966 were solid affairs, Dylan backed by a crack set of musicians, a pure agenda on the minds of all and these shows in 1978 were pretty much just the same in concept, it was the sound that was different. The rugged rock and roll, folk beat or even the everything goes feel of the revue has been replaced with a slickly rehearsed, mature sounding piece.
Tarantura along with the seemingly ever present Mr. Peach have captured the second night of the first leg of this tour beautifully. A splendid show is recorded extremely well by our taper with small cuts to the tapes between the music but all we lose is tuning up or crowd noise but, in a twist on Peach’s usual recordings covering everything through the night, we are presented here with two different recordings, both attributed to the same man. I won’t question the where and withnals of this occurrence within the review ( It might be worth noting though that source B is missing some of the extraneous announcements from the concert which could point to the possibility that Mr. P’s friend was being a little cautious with tape length but he was also using a shorter recording time too. ) but it seems that the taper(s) certainly chose two great places in which to sit in the audience to capture the effect. I might boldly claim that, while the “Live at the Budokan” album seems to represent a tired, shy, sleepwalking Dylan then none of this seems to show on the recordings here. Most of the songs seem to come from a strong group who, after a month and a half of rehearsals, were well honed and directive. In hindsight, hearing the wind change in the songs that were originally played as recorded or there abouts, with the ‘there it is, take it or leave it’ attitude engrained within but now with that sheen of, gasp, polish and work would have come about as welcome as Dylan’s electrical surge back in the day but nowadays we wouldn’t give it a second breath. Sure, there is entertainment value in “What song is this?” but now we think we know Dylan better than that. At the point of this late 1970’s tour we were still scratching the surface.
Songs such as “Mr Tambourine Man” had been given a thunderous beat, wistful harmonies and a different kind of jangle. A slightly constrained rock lick that beneath has energy but reigns itself in admirably. “Love Minus Zero / No Limit” the same kind of momentum with a peppy flute that underscores the choruses and an augmented violin part that smoothes off any of Dylan’s rougher edges.
“Shelter From The Storm” back fires for it’s incessant repeated backing vocals. Dylan has enough interest in his voice to make the ears prick up but as they he’s parroted by his backing singers it’s an unsteady fusion.
“If You See Her, Say Hello” harnesses it’s reinvention spectacularly well, a scattering melody shunts back and forth, peaking and slipping away again. Dylan’s voice hits a great register and gives his singing much more space to rise. Focus too much on the melody, and you might find yourself hating or loving it but focus on the words it’s much less of a shock.
The same with “Ballad of a Thin Man”. Given a noir-ish sheen it isn’t unrecognisable but stuns the listener on it’s first appearance. Much as “Maggie’s Farm” – A great, stompin’, pace, full with the anger of the original but laced throughout with horns – ‘Bringing it all Back Home’ this ain’t.
Another pleasingly different take on a classic is “To Ramona”. Beginning as a soft lament, intimate and lilting it soon bursts in to a swooning swagger and while it’s far less the sum of it’s parts time wise, it’s brevity doesn’t stop is being as effective.
“Going Going Gone” Brings the first half of the set to a brusque full stop as it grows in to a pulsing monster that almost shudders the room. It has a brilliant force that takes the first disk to a fantastic conclusion.
A driven and rasping “One of Us Must Know ( Sooner or Later)” begins the second set. And sounds as grandiose as the earlier “Going .. “, a fleshy, disco influence rendering any feelings of sadness Dylan may have had as more of a shrug of indifference, more of a story than an admittance of regret.
“Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Just Like A Woman” slow things down but only ” .. Woman” actually works as expected, “Blowin’ in the Wind” is a sad shadow of itself, rendered flat.
“Oh Sister” on the other hand has a touch of the Lennons – a ponderous jam feel with a smoky sax backing, I’m sure I even hear the influence of Yoko’s voice in the backing harmonies at one point. Following on with the same kind of theme “You’re a Big Girl Now” has formed in to a lounge-bar-style, jazz swing where Dylan opens up entirely, his voice almost soaring as he reaches the end of the lines.
“All I Really Want To Do” is unfortunately a miscalculated step, stomping like a glam-rock bounce, Dylan’s cries of “I Don’t Care If You Analyze Me” seem quite apt if he choses to turn his song in to this painfully overwrought dirge.
Much less pained is the grand take on “The Man In Me”, a lot easier on the ears, a much more comfortable listen. It feels right in these surroundings as does “Tomorrow is a Long Time” although this does really flow without consequence and generally flows unnoticed.
After the band introductions ( This being only the second night, Dylan’s introductions are still rather humorous but it latter appeared that it was a game that he tired of ) a haunting and rambunctious “It’s Alright, Ma .. ” is wrung out to a wonderful an hypnotizing effect.
An almost standard rendition of a warm “Forever Young” and heartfelt “The Times .. ” bring the concert to a neat close, Dylan once again really pushing his voice to make his point clear but the night ends on a quiet rather than crashing note as Dylan mutters his thanks before exiting stage left and the Japanese M.C. comes to thank the audience and to wish them a good night before the modern jazz outro music.
The difference between the two sources is evident but close. Some of Dylan’s speech is clearer on the secondary source although the music played isn’t quite as sharp and obviousley As noted, Mr. P takes care of the flotsam recording the opening to the concert, the intermezzo breaks and the jazz track that is played to lead the crowds out of the venue. His partners tape, although abreviated, is slightly more distant, a little muffled and uncentered at the beginning but what price musical history?
The whole set is presented in the labels usual clamshell case but, as with their recent Rainbow release “Rogers Birthday Party” a full length picture is used as a wrap around presentation on the clamshell and this in turn is also rubber stamped with the edition number of a possible pressing of 200. The attention to detail doesn’t end there, the set also features a 4 page fold-out pamphlet featuring photos of Dylan on stage, the original concert tickets and photos of the original TDK tapes used. The ( picture ) CDs are colour coded in sequence and kept in laminated paper sleeves. You might be paying a little more of a premium for your product but Tarantura ensures you’re looked after.
In this case here, I’m actually considering shelling out for the Tarantura….but I really think it’s very likely that other bootleg-labels release this; since it seems to be a milestone, based on the (great) review. So; I’ll wait, unless the Tarantura is cheaper than I expect.
I’m just hoping it will be a label like good old Rattlesnake who will do it; and not Godfather with their bad compressing and bad EQing.
Tarantura produced one of the best Dylan titles to come out this year. Not only is the show very rare, but the sound quality is great as is the packaging. I hope a more affordable two disc set would come out in the future.