4.0 (2 votes)
DVDylan ID: D204
Recording type: Audience
City/Venue: Champlain Valley Fairgrounds, Essex Junction, Vermont, US
Date: Wednesday, 7th September 1988
Never-Ending Tour Concert #52
  1. Subterranean Homesick Blues
  2. Ballad Of A Thin Man
  3. I Don't Believe You
  4. Shelter From The Storm
  5. You're A Big Girl Now
  6. Highway 61 Revisited
  7. To Ramona
  8. One Too Many Mornings
  9. Don't Think Twice It's All Right
  10. Knockin' On Heaven's Door
  11. Silvio
  12. I Shall Be Released
  13. Like A Rolling Stone
  14. It Ain't Me Babe
  15. All Along The Watchtower
Number of discs: 1
Running time: 01:10
Video standard: NTSC
Authoring: DVDs with menu and chapters are circulating
Low stage lighting makes for quite a dark picture. A version with a few extra 1988 tracks (titles unknown) is available.

To set the stage this is a show from the later part Dylan’s Interstate 88 tour of The US and Canada. In 1988 Dylan changed the format & the concept for his live act considerably. It was the smallest backup band Dylan ever played with featuring G. E. Smith on acoustic and electric guitar, backup vocal, Kenny Aaronson on bass guitar, and Christopher Parker on drums. There were no backing singers. It had short shows (60-90 minutes) with a short acoustic set half-way through with 3-5 songs, backed by G. E. Smith only. Tight rock arrangements of all non-acoustic songs with no harmonica.
The first song gives the impression of yet another horror show, but on song two things look way up. This show is very well filmed, minimum shaking and good pans between Dylan and G.E. Smith; also very good zooming.The resolution is amazingly clear for its age. The sound on this one is quite good, I have yet to see but this is good enough to sit through. It is a bit dark at times, but to good effect, especially during the acoustic set with the light giving the classic Greatest Hits Part 2 look. The most annoying part is the heads here and there. At the start it’s just one head and I kept having the urge to slap the TV set as to make that person move. The taper has a straight on shot, close up at a general admission venue. As the concert goes on it becomes more obscured and one can see where people must be running into the taper, but the taper always recovers. Over all quite palatable. Over all a B- performance. The high point is two Blood On The Tracks songs back to back.
The best part of this is the historical aspect. Dylan is well into a long tour and really looks like he just wants to go home, almost too comic effect. 1988 saw the release of Down In The Groove, perhaps his worst received record since Self Portrait. Silvio was on the radio, but only because of The Deads involvement. Dylan was quickly going from Rock and Roll Legend into the abyss of obscurity that he talks about on D731, quickly becoming (in his words)a rock n roll relic. So in some ways this has the effect of rubber necking at a car crash, morbid curiosity. But as only Dylan can do, he pulls it off with style. At the very end as the crown realizes there will be no encore you can hear the taper say “I think I got away with it!!!” Dylan must have had the same thoughts that night.

Reviewed by mickym67 on 14th January 2009