Balc. R50°
4.0 (13 votes)
DVDylan ID:
Recording type: Audience
City/Venue: Helsinki, Finland
Date: Tuesday, 30th May 1989
"A HW Sound Upgrade"
  1. Subterranean Homesick Blues
  2. Confidential To Me
  3. Hollis Brown
  4. Just Like A Woman
  5. Stuck Inside Of Mobile [spliced]
  6. All Along The Watchtower
  7. To Ramona
  8. Mr Tambourine Man
  9. Eileen Aroon
  10. Knockin' On Heaven's Door
  11. Silvio
  12. In The Garden [end cut]
  13. Like A Rolling Stone [start cut]
  14. The Times They Are A-Changin'
  15. Maggie's Farm
  16. BONUS: Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Joan Baez)
» Toggle additional (technical) track info
Number of discs: 1
Running time: 01:17:35
Video standard: PAL
Authoring: DVDs with menu and chapters are circulating
Much cleaner source than D071

It’s hard for me to write a negative review: I love Bob’s work, in almost all the variety and spectrum of his performances. And I’m thankful to have audience film to represent concerts from earlier eras. What’s more, I’m so glad that the tapers go to the effort it takes to record a whole concert, and then share it with the Dylan community.
But, this is my least favorite out of the 12 audience-shot concerts I’ve collected so far. The audio recording is fine, however the lighting is relatively dim, focus is fuzzy throughout, and Dylan’s face is mostly obscured by the hooded sweatshirt he wears. G.E. Smith and Bob get nearly all the camera time, with only occasional, brief glimpses of the rest of the band. The instrumental performances during the show are of high quality, but the vocal performances are mostly disappointingly off-target. Add all those together, and I’m left with little reason to recommend this concert.
Some specifics:
The first few songs are distinguished by raspy, inarticulate vocals, and when the harmonica is played, it’s shrill, rather than a melodic addition to the songs. Hollis Brown does have some nice electric guitar. Bob brings vocal intensity to Just Like a Woman and Memphis Blues, but without a clear emotional connection between the words and the intensity, they are far from moving or convincing. The instruments, though, are smoking, and Smith plays with great energy. After a slight improvement in Watchtower (with Dylan on acoustic, and harmonica added), Ramona is the first acoustic number, and things improve some more; the intensity of the vocal delivery seems to fit the words better. The best performance yet in the concert comes in Tambourine Man, which has the first decent harp of the night. I usually look forward to Heaven’s Door, but Dylan strangely switches from acoustic to electric guitar during the song, and Smith plays strong, but it just ends up being mostly loud. In the Garden has a wonderfully atmospheric, rather spooky beginning, but by the end, the whole thing just seems noisy. Like a Rolling Stone has some virtues; it is a raucus performance, and Smith’s scorching guitar is loud and brash. This version strikes me as reminiscent of the 1966 “in your face, like it or not” renditions. Times are Changin’ has good harp, and most of it than usual is sung more like the original recording in voice and delivery.
Maggie’s farm has screaming leads from Smith, but the vocal is faint compared to the guitar. It’s high-energy instrumentally, but not really a great close to the show. Bob and the band leave without a pause for acknowledging the applause, and there’s not even a “thanks, everybody” the whole night.
The bonus song by Joan Baez, pro-shot at an outdoor concert, probably during this decade, is nice, but the clarity of the professional filming is jarring after the unfocused, poorly-lit concert it follows. Joan has some fun by singing a few lines in her imitation of Bob’s voice.

All that said, I'm genuinely grateful to the taper, and to the author of the sound upgrade for their efforts. And thanks to jman for so generously sharing it with me.

Reviewed by davidigor on 26th July 2006