Sunday, November 29, 2009

Well, that high tide's risin'. Mama, don't you make a sound. (or, Break-dancing in Brixton, Crooning in Prague, and Dark Eyes in Philly)

While some might look to Dylan's appearance at Woodstock '94 as the critical juncture where he started to really care about being a performance artist again after phoning it in for some years, I would point to the Spring '95 European tour as the real beginning of the solid multi-year run of high-quality Dylan tours that continued on into early 2002. Of course, Dylan has been on the Never-Ending Tour (NET) from 1988 until now (through 2009). Here is Bob out front struttin', crooner-style, for "Crash on the Levee (Down in the Flood)", the song that opened the show a majority of nights in 1995 and was played live in concert for the first time ever by Dylan only a few weeks before this performance on the last day of March of 1995 at the Brixton Academy.

That's Winston Watson bashing the skins, Bucky Baxter adding some high, lonesome sound on the pedal steel, Tony Garnier on bass, and J.J. Jackson on lead guitar. Later in this show, during the encores, Elvis Costello came out and played guitar and sang on "I Shall Be Released" and "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35", while Chrissie Hynde and Carole King provided backup vocals on those two songs as well.

Here is some Engelbert Humperdinck-level crooning, this time from Prague in mid-March of 1995 on "License to Kill":

Bobby D. kicking out the vocal jams, mofo!

Of course, 1995 ends with some fabulous duets with Patti Smith during the "Paradise Lost" mini-tour in December. Here they are in Philly:

1995. A very good year for Dylan concerts and bootlegs.
2010. Would be a very good year for another Dylan/Patti Smith tour!

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