DVDylan ID: D446
Recording type: Audience
City/Venue: East Rutherford, Philadelphia and Mansfield, USA


Who said the 80's were all bad?
General Comments: This DVD consists of 3 1986 concerts, which occurred very close to each other but run in reverse chronological order on this disc. The first footage is from the July 21, 1986 concert Bob gave in East Rutherford and this is probably the best both in terms of audio and in terms of video quality. The second footage is from July 19, 1986 (two days before the East Rutherford one) in Philadelphia - this is also very good. The third footage is from Mansfield on July 8 - the audio and footage here is generally poor which is a pity because it looks like it was another ripper of a concert like the other two.
Audio Overall: Very good.
Video Overall: Bit shaky, few audience shoulders get in the way but considering the paucity of footage from this era, it's pretty valuable and interesting.
Performance: Dynamite. Dylan is on fire!
SPECIFICS:
EAST RUTHERFORD JULY 21
The Times they are 'a-changin': Apart from the fact that Bob forgets a few lines at the beginning of the song, this is a top-notch performance. Easily the best 80's version I've seen of this song to date (excluding the one to come later on this same disc). At the end of this song and a few songs the footage cuts out - I think this is the taper letting his hand have a rest (lol).
One too many mornings: This is a very interesting arrangement. The guitar part has become a lot more intricate and elaborate and Bob pulls off some lovely vocal gymnastics (i.e. experimentation) here in this song. Dylan laughs at one point (not sure why) but this indicates that he's in a good mood which is reflected by the fiery vocal throughout. Picture fades out - can hear surrounding audience nearby chatting.
Hard Rain: This concerts just gets better and better. Very unique arrangement (once again) of this beautiful 'tapestry' (as Pete Seeger describes this song) with another fiery vocal. It's a pity about the dark picture quality here (you can't make out Bob's face really just an outline).
I forgot more than you'll ever know: Introduced first with some Bobtalk
Bob, "Is there any people up there, who'll come down and sit in the front? Anyone who can?..You know there are four people right here......Alright, there we got four people right there. Put 'em right there! No seats? right there! Ain't nobody in those seats - put them in those seats!....that's right! That's what we do! In every place we play....sometimes all the rich people get all the front seats....and they don't care what they're seeing......Tom and I are going to sing and old song for you now. They don't write songs like this no more....I wish they did! (pause) I ain't gonna sing until there's some people in them seats right there" (points in the area of the first row).
Sheer magic. At first I thought this was the multitalented David Mansfield on mandolin but I believe it's the bass player - Barry Epstein (?)(whose birthday it is - sung and celebrated on the next track & song). Tom Petty supplies wonderful harmonies over Bob's vocal.
Happy Birthday song: for bass player. Bob has a smoke....
LARS: Sounding great with Al Kooper (the original organ player on the recording) on the keys......
In the Garden: More Bobtalk intro....
Bob, "Ok, we're going to play this next song for....I want to dedicate it to all people who ah....has been imprisoned injustly. Now, I'm not talking about somebody who committed the crime now. I'm talking about somebody who's done good things and gets punished for it. A lot of people lie and cheat and steal and hurt. It ain't a good thing to do that stuff. But if sometimes people feed the hungry, and they visit the sick and they do tell the truth, and for those reasons sometimes, people are put into prison, now those are the kinds of prisons I'm concerned of.....All of you should be too. Now, you got a lot of them here in this day" this is a sign of Dylan's early 80's sermonizing / preachy rap coming back - but more 'social' than 'religious' here.
A very powerful version of this song ensues with a nice groove - very similar to the version on the Hard to Handle vid.
Blowin' in the wind: Petty once again provides nice back-up vocals as do the four lovely ladies on stage (Bob's "the i-4's").
PHILADELPHIA 19 JULY, 1986
The Times they are 'a-changin': Very powerful version once again, receiving a thunderous applause.
One too many mornings: Only a fragment (cut)
It ain't me babe: A personal favorite of mine. Dylan performs this magnificently.
Band of the Hand: yeah, baby. "Do you know what time it is?" Dylan asks. The answer: time to rock.
Great, rocking version of this rarely-played song.
Ballad of a Thin Man: Pretty good version of this timeless song. If you haven't checked it out already, make sure you check out Kula Shaker's cover of this song - it rocks in its own way too!
Rainy Day Women: Quite a bit faster than the original but I like what the back-up singers bring to this song. I know many others don't.
I dreamed I saw St. Augustine: Breathtakingly beautiful. An oft-overlooked gem from JWH. Absolutely gorgeous arrangement. The back-up singers add a very 'holy' touch to it. Felt like I had just walked into a church. This is definitely one of the highlights of this DVD.
Seeing the Real You at Last: Only a fragment (clipped) - shame, probably my favorite song off Empire Burlesque.
Across the Borderline: Another rare gem offered up to us here. Does anyone know where an officially recorded version of this song can be found?
MANSFIELD JULY 8, 1986
This is the poorest of the three in terms of both sound and video quality by far. So if you're time to you is worth saving, then you better turn the DVD off here.
LARS: It's hard to make out the sound well - it sounds like what a band sounds like when you're standing just outside the door. (Clipped). Picture quality gets better in the second half but still muffled.
In the Garden: Audio quality even poorer here with shaky footage - pity looks like it was a pretty good performance.
Blowin' in the Wind: Very fast version of probably Bob's most famous song with Petty providing some nice harmonies - hard to hear though. Song turns into an up-beat gospel version when the back-up singers take over.
Shake a Hand: Song grooves along nicely but good luck understanding one (yes one) word they sing, apart from 'Shake a Hand' of course.
Knockin' on Heaven's Door: Nice harmonica intro. Segment near start clipped - otherwise pretty good - probably the best of the Manfield performances.
One too many mornings: This one has the best audio quality for this concert probably because it's only Dylan and his acoustic. There's a bunch of youtubers (not sure how qualified they are) who say that Bob didn't actually write this, but according to all other reports, biographies, bobdylan.com etc. - I believe he did.
Hard Rain: Only the first 10 seconds or so... (clipped)
VERDICT: I really enjoyed this DVD overall for a few reasons. First, there aren't many '86 performances in circulation. Second, Bob is pretty talkative throughout. Thirdly, the acoustic performances are sensational. A STRONG FOUR (despite the poor Mansfield quality)
THANKS: Baggy!

Reviewed by Blackburne on 28th January 2009