Bob Dylan “Ain’t Talkin’ In Boston” [ Stringman Records SR-107-108 ] CDR.
Wang Theatre, Boston, MA. November 14, 2009
Disk 1 : Cat’s In The Well / Lay, Lady, Lay / Most Likely You Go Your Way ( And I’ll Go Mine ) / My Wife’s Home Town / The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll / Cold Irons Bound / Every Grain Of Sand / Spirit On The Water / Ballad Of Hollis Brown / When The Deal Goes Down / Highway 61 Revisited [ 69:12 ]
Disk 2 : Ain’t Talkin’ / Thunder On The Mountain / Ballad Of A Thin Man / Like A Rolling Stone / Band Intros / Jolene / All Along the Watchtower [ 40:43 ]
Concert 2199 of Dylan’s never ending tour took place at the Wang Theatre, Boston, MA. The 2nd of a short residency of 3 nights. The Stringman Records have once again done their duty and found the best tape available to present to us over 2 pro – CDRs.
Once again it’s a great show that, if the makers were confident enough, would have made a brilliant silver disk CD set but as Dylan descends in to his loop of the never-changing-set-list then some of these pre 2010 shows should really get the solid treatment they deserve.
The show begins with the usual opening introduction by Dylan’s road manager that melds with the equipment test for the warm up song “Cats In The Well”. A great rendition that has the band on their uppers from the start. It’s from here on in that we know we’re getting an enthusiastic show. Maybe it’s reflected from the audience or the recording has an ambience that fizzes but something is going down tonight and it’s a great strength that is missing from the reservation of some quieter Dylan recordings.
“Lay, Lady Lay” isn’t the roll-over, smooth, drift but an upbeat prowl as Dylan sings to his intended in a fashion that implies that tenderness is not so much in mind than a good, old-fashioned pillow fight.
On to “Most Likely You go your Way .. ” and it buzzes with enthusiasm. Dylan howls, drawls and unleashes his words across the clatter. It’s mesmerizing to hear how he would shoot out the lyrics to this song but now involves himself much more throughly.
The first track from ‘Together Through Life’ plays true to itself o “My Wife’s Home Town” when Bob sounds given to his fate. The song slides, slouches and grumps through – that might sound like a sleight but it isn’t – it fits the mood like a glove.
Bearing in mind the way things have been going tonight then “Cold Irons Bound”, a regular ten ton truck through paper walls should hit the spot perfectly and it’s a relief to find out that that it does. Deep, breathy, and with the impact of a grand piano on a pavement the drum crashes ball their way through to the middle of your mind. Things shift on a gear once Dylan grabs his harp and wheezily pours notes among the melee to grand appreciation.
“Every Grain Of Sand” and “Spirit on The Water” slow the program right down in preparation of “The Ballad Of Hollis Brown”. Another slower number but rather than perky slow, it’s pindrop deathlessness quietens the crowd and holds them rapt in attention.
“Highway 61 Revisited” wordlessly storms on to set and it sounds like it also surprises Dylan who spits out the words a measure early but then makes it seem like a constructed mistake by delivering his words piecemeal around the song. Stopping and starting where he chooses to play around, flinging lyrics about like confetti. A play off between organ and guitar spreads the instrumental break beyond it’s natural timing but it’s fun to hear the band mess about for nothing more than satisfaction leaving us with a monolithic 7 minute version of the 60’s hit.
“Love Sick” isn’t played tonight but it’s nearest relative is and “Ain’t Talkin'” serves very well as a suitable, second suggestion.
A brutal “Ballad Of A Thin Man” is positively perfect – The band go for it when required and add little details to keep interest. The second pass at an harmonica solo is a little less ruthless than the first but makes for a brilliantly subtle ending.
To send the show on it’s way we’re treated to a popular present and past double up – “Jolene” and “All Along The Watchtower”. The former gets a chuckle out of Dylan as if he’s just found amusement in his own lyrics and, maybe because the tour is about to wrap up for the year, the latter reminds you that you’ve just seen one of the better Dylan shows of the past few years as “Watchtower” storms off of the stage, punches you in the chest, grabs your beer and then steals your girlfriend. It’s just one of those performances.
It has been said often and most times it’s true but this show deserves a solid listening to. Just a shame it’s on CDR.