Balc. centre
3.0 (2 votes)
DVDylan ID: D503
Recording type: Audience
City/Venue: Hammersmith Apollo, London, England, UK
Date: Tuesday, 9th February 1993
Never-Ending Tour Concert #460
  1. Every Grain Of Sand [cut]
  2. All Along The Watchtower
  3. Tangled Up In Blue
  4. I Don't Believe You
  5. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
  6. She Belongs To Me
  7. Tomorrow Night
  8. Jim Jones
  9. Mr. Tambourine Man
  10. Don't Think Twice,It's All Right
  11. Cat's In The Well
  12. I and I
  13. The Times They Are A-Changin'
  14. Highway 61 Revisited
  15. Ballad Of A Thin Man
  16. Everything Is Broken
  17. It Ain't Me, Babe
» Toggle additional (technical) track info
Number of discs: 1
Running time: 01:59
Video standard: Both PAL and NTSC versions are available
Authoring: DVDs with menu and chapters are circulating
Standalone NTSC transfer

Very good (overdubbed/upgraded?) sound

Additional notes (March '08): Sound is probably not upgraded, although it is good for a videocam source.

The NTSC DVD was most likely transfered from a PAL tape rather than vice versa.

Camerawork: Very steady, with a good view of Bob. Occasionally, someone or something passes in front of the camera, but only briefly. For the most part, the view of our man is unobstructed and full on (giving us plenty of time to marvel at Bob's outrageous shirt). There is some panning out to reveal the band and stage from time to time.

Performance: It's now the third night of Bob's February 1993 Hammersmith residency (see also D501, D502, D504, D505, D506). He seems more engaged in this performance than in D501, but the show certainly has its good and bad moments. I was at this show – my first Dylan gig. My (now ex-) girlfriend said that the acoustic bits were great but that the band was terrible. In his book Razor's Edge, Andrew Muir wrote '...overall this was a boring week of shows; and "boring" is simply not a word I ever thought I'd have to use to sum up a set of Dylan performances.' I'm not sure I agree with Muir (or my ex-) – there were lots of great moments during this week – but it's fair to say that Bob was incredibly inconsistent at Hammersmith.

The DVD begins in the early moments of Every Grain Of Sand, and it's a good performance, with Bob singing well. I like the way it's described here : '...what a song, yeah? Bob sings straight upwards, like he's bounding up a few flights of stairs, and just when you're sure he's going to curl the last couple words in a line back down, he keeps going up.' Spot on. All Along The Watchtower begins dramatically and gets a great crowd response. Tangled Up In Blue is reasonable, and lacks the very long intro that characterized the previous night (D502). It features some crowd-pleasing harmonica playing but the band seem unsure how to end the song and it outstays its welcome at 10 minutes. If you find the long, drawn-out endings of 1993 gigs annoying, this may not be the DVD for you. The performance begins to drag rather with an uninspired seven or eight minutes of Stuck Inside Of Mobile, followed by a sluggish and overlong She Belongs To Me.

Thankfully, the end of She Belongs To Me brings us to the acoustic set that once again marks the highlight of the show. Tomorrow Night is sung very nicely and played with charm and passion. Jim Jones is even better. Bob almost always delivered this with great love and care in '93: it's intimate and special, and if you shut your eyes you can imagine yourself on that convict ship with him. Mr Tambourine Man follows. It's magical, pretty much; Bob seems carried along by the melody and rhythm he creates with his guitar. Even when he gets the words wrong, it remains hypnotic. Nice harmonica at the conclusion, too. Just as you think the song has ended, Bob steps back into the shadows and carries on playing. There's a very enjoyable Don't Think Twice, It's All Right, but the vocals seem lower in the mix than on previous songs. Again, the harmonica playing is joyous and very welcome.

Although Bob has cast his dancing spell our way, the return of the full band sound brings things back to a more erratic state. It is sung with conviction, but Cat's In The Well feels lumpen after the graceful acoustic songs. I & I is powerful, almost overwrought. I find the thudding drums intrusive, but there's no doubting the intensity here, especially in Bob's bluesy harmonica solo. Then we're into a very nice acoustic Times They Are A-Changin'.

Dave Stewart joins in to 'rock out' for Highway 61 Revisited. This seems to go on forever (although it may 'only' be about eight minutes) and does nothing for me, but it may well be exactly your cup of tea. Personal taste is odd like that. And it's certainly well filmed. Dave Stewart goes off and Bob's acoustic guitar comes back for a fairly solid Ballad Of A Thin Man. Everything Is Broken is nothing special and goes on too long.

Finally, an acoustic It Ain't Me, Babe provides a moving end to the show. Bob seems a lonely figure on the dark stage. He plays the guitar well and gives great attention to his singing. You marvel once again at Bob Dylan – how good he is, and how grateful you are for these documents of his talent. How must it feel to be him?

Sound: Fairly good and well balanced. The drums sound dull and lifeless but that may be the way they were played rather than how they were recorded.

Technical notes: Maggie's Farm, the opening song of the night, is not captured here. There's a slight cut at the end of She Belongs To Me, and at the start of Don't Think Twice, It's All Right and Cat's In The Well. But in all these cases, nothing of the songs is lost. The picture and sound quality go a little wobbly at the end of Everything Is Broken and in the opening moments of It Ain't Me Babe (but this sorts itself out before Bob starts singing).

The menu is helpful and easy to use, with moving images against each track selection to help you navigate easily to each of the 17 chapters.

Total time: 1:58:43

My rating: Three and a half stars.

Reviewed by Stephen66 on 20th January 2008