DVDylan ID: D701.mx1
Recording type: Audience
City/Venue: Congress Hall, Palace of Culture, Prague, Czech Republic
Date: Saturday, 11th March 1995

As I sit down to enjoy this special show it becomes immeadiately apparent that this one is different. It's the fact that he is doing vocals only. Stripped of any other instrument all of Dylan's music is channeled through his voice and body. We can only speculate if he has entered into some sublime trancelike feverish dream state but he is clearly on the ledge and quite near the edge. He is a marionette in a play that he wrote but can't direct. This is a very visual spectacle - great to listen to but fascinating to watch. If someone can tell me the key of the harp in relation to the key that all along the watchtower is played in I'd really like to know. It initially sounds way off key but Dylan wrestles and reigns it in and makes it work. he gets it right on just like a woman and oh does he soar! watching him stretch inside the music while the band lays down a velvet carpet of sound is revelatory. Dylan appears far more naked, more sensitive, more feminine than when in his customary stance, strapped behind a guitar. Just like a woman indeed. He is drunk with exhaustion, he is majestically, helplessly married to the music and the moment. The harp solo at the end of JLAW is worth the price of admission alone!
Listen to the phrasing on Tangled - he is really exploring, pushing the limits of playful rapture. the band picks up on it and tries to join him on this merry majestic ride. they do a hell of a job of it. In a sense this show provides a key to what Dylan does night in and night out, sometimes less comprehensibly, less connected than other times. here the process of naked, vulnerable creativity is pared down to the bare bones, the skeleton keys, as it were. It is easy to see that this is the same guy who stood on a stage alone in 1964 strumming an struggling till someone in the audience could remind him of how the first line of his own tune went. It doesn't take much to imagine him asking if anyone has an e harmonica here - except for now, 30 years on, at this show, you are halfway convinced that he could make it sing no matter what tune/ key the band was in.
Check out the electric solo on watching the river flow - tasty!
He can barely stand at the outset of Mr. Tambourine Man. Indeed, his weariness amazes me. It is the expressive weariness of a soldier who has spent 30 years on the front line, one who has no joy left other than to feel a cool breeze at his back, to listen to the song of a far off bird that sings for no other reason than that is what it does, to look at the grey clouds rolling 'cross the blue sky, to taste the dregs from the bottom of the deep dark well that is existence. The entire acoustic portion of the show is a public viewing of an intensely private moment - music that rises to the level of the 66 acoustic stuff. The harp solo at the close of baby blue is breathtaking - for both him and us - heady stuff for sure!

It can't go without saying that the sound, video, and editing are superb. Indeed, the presentation of the show is as unobtrusive to the performance as the performance is to the inner muse that lives inside Dylan The band deserves high praise, they meld the music to the man like a tailer fits a fine suit - moody and precise.
Dylan's electric solo at the end of God Knows is another juggernaut - sparing, accurate, on point. tonight he doesn't have to find the groove - he appears incapable of getting out of it - he is the groove.
Shelter from the Storm is yet another incredible showcase here. If I close my eyes the music almost sounds like the single bodied, many headed hydra that is the grateful dead. Dylan rides in the heart of the beast - triumphant, exultant, victorious, and now, finally free. And what is his reply to that war cry? why, of course, - 'it ain't me babe'. But by this time we aren't fooled - we've been along for the ride and know better - but are content to tap our feet, smile a bit, clap our hands, and shake our heads. It's been a hell of a night. Five star all the way.

Thanks to pswets for sharing

Reviewed by c6sailer on 08th April 2009


What can I say that Jim hasn't already said? I will say one thing... I think you'd have to be heartless to rate this less than 5 stars, and I don't make those kinds of statements very often. Even the video quality is more than good enough, with one video being somewhat closer but both having fantastic angles and funky light balances, so I can't see the image being an argument against this disc.

And that's not even scraping the important part of this video - the show itself. I've never seen a Bob show like this before. He's visibly sick, but in some strange way the delirium brings out his warmth and soul. He sings like he means it and with an obvious love for his audience, made even more obvious when the crowd rushes the stage and he connects directly with them. It's truly a sight to see, as song after song... after song... after song... is taken to its furthest reaches. Every single track is either 'just' a highlight, or among the very best performances ever of that song (i.e. the Boots --> Long Black Coat sequence).

I'm not exaggerating... you simply must see this classic show. Even if you already have one of the previous versions of it, I would advise going out of your way for the new D701.mx1/mx2 two-cam mix. Besides having a great mix of the two videos, it utilizes LTJ's superior master audio which I don't think circulated when the other sound-upgrades of this show were made.

Prepare to be blown away. Many thanks to Yassou for the production, Jim for suggesting this project, and of course all the tapers... and Bob too, I guess he's kinda important. :P

Reviewed by iRua on 28th March 2009