DVDylan ID: D167
Recording type: Audience
City/Venue: Palacio Municipal Deportes Monjuic, Barcelona, Spain
Date: Friday, 16th June 1989

There is certainly no shortage of atmosphere on this one. We are set down near the front of the stage amidst a sea of apparantly exuberant Spaniards who are clearly vibing off an energetic Dylan and his band. Everyone seems to be having lots of fun. It's hard for the viewer of this DVD not to be sucked into it.

There is a price to be paid, however. While the taper does what they can within their limitations, there are some moderately severe visual shortcomings. The best we generally do is a smoky upper body Bobby framed below by a sea of heads. At times the heads take over. We do get glimpses of the rest of the band, but they are fleeting. We are never able to get a visual sense of the band's chemistry. Having said that, there is ample evidence of aural chemistry. The pre 90's G.E. Smith led band are in fine voice. Dylan himself is commanding, upright, full voiced, and focused. Temporally, this document is closer to the raging glory of Rolling Thunder than the current leg of the Never Ending Tour. Clearly his glass is half full, and then some.

The song selection is pleasing. Nice Barbara Allen. Strong versions of Just Like a Woman and I Shall be Released. Throughout, Dylan's guitar work, both acoustic and electric, and vocals are confident, clear, and convincing. This in distiction to relatively weak harmonica, which often sounds either slightly off key or out of tune. The exception to this is the work on Mr. Tambourine Man. This last track is perhaps the jewel of the set. D is beautifully framed by the splintered light of a lone spotlight that leaves him half shadowed, half brilliantly lit, teetering between the two where he presents a thoughtful, sensitive reading of this expressionist tour de force.

This DVD merits a strong four stars. It could easily garner a fifth if pure musicality was the only yardstick. There is, however, a certain lack of context that in my mind makes this document very much worth having, but not quite an absolute must have. Seek it out so you can make up your own mind.

Thanks again to silentype...

Reviewed by c6sailer on 03rd January 2006