Live Recordings - Autumn 1992
Live Recordings - Autumn 1992
Can't Be Satisfied - Live - Cincinnati - November 3, 1992
Pretty Peggy-O - Live - Sarasota - November 9, 1992
All Along The Watchtower - Live - Cincinnati - November 3, 1992
Willing - Live - Sunrise - November 13, 1992
Silvio - Live - Sarasota - November 9, 1992
Boots of Spanish Leather - Live - Cincinnati - November 3, 1992
Mama, You Been On My Mind - Live - Wilkes-Barre - November 1, 1992
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue - Live - Cincinnati - November 3, 1992
Dear Landlord - Live - Providence - October 25, 1992
Unbelievable - Live - Youngstown - November 2, 1992
Simple Twist Of Fate - Live - Sarasota - November 9, 1992
Cat's In The Well - Live - Sarasota - November 9, 1992
Shooting Star - Live - Cincinnati - November 3, 1992
Welcome to the first post of Autumn, friends. And with that we'll delve back into Autumn of 1992.
Since 1991, Bob Dylan had made a significant alteration to his touring band - he added drummer Winston Watson and pedal steel player Bucky Baxter. This changed the sound rather significantly, though the change was not limited to these two instruments.
Along with the change in band members came a change in the group dynamic. For the most part, the ramshackle sound of 1991 was replaced with a more professional approach to making music. While this evolved over the course of 1992, and indeed would continue over the next few years, by 1992 the band had adopted a uniquely jazzy aesthetic. This consisted primarily of a loose approach to song arrangements with time for solos and the pursuit of ensemble riffs. While this stretched running times, they remained reasonably restrained; these would grow to be a bit outsized the following year, but Autumn of 1992 probably hit the ideal mixture of focus and room for improvisation.
The song selection did not change as significantly as the band, but some changes were still evident. On this tour, the opening track was generally a cover of Muddy Waters' "Can't Be Satisfied." This was performed excellently each night, and the version here from Cincinnati is a typically spirited rendition.
The opening electric set is well-represented on this compilation, as even the standard "All Along The Watchtower" and "Silvio" are exceptional performances. Dylan's harmonica on the former song really needs to be heard to be believed. Covers round out the opening gambit, with a rearranged "Pretty Peggy-O" and a cover of Lowell George's lovely "Willing." The latter is sung with the love of words that typifies Dylan's approach to singing.
The acoustic sets of this tour were remarkably beautiful as well, and are noteworthy for being some of the last times an audience could expect to see Bob Dylan almost alone on stage with an acoustic guitar. While he was backed by his guitarist for all songs, and a small combo for one or two songs each night, the audience could count on seeing him play a few tracks in a stripped down arrangement. Whether intentionally due to their impending removal, or unintentionally inspired by whatever it is that inspires him, Dylan provided some of the best acoustic renditions of his career. They were consistently excellent, and the three songs selected here are really quite beautiful. "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" is particularly moving.
The second electric set begins with "Dear Landlord," though this song was only performed in the first electric set during the actual shows. It's hard to deny its rambling intro being ideal for the transition from acoustic to electric, however. From there, the set heats up dramatically with a pounding Unbelievable," rhythmically dense "Simple Twist Of Fate," and fiery "Cat's In The Well." The last song features Dickie Betts on guitar, and he seems to inspire Dylan to offer a particularly strong performance of this occasionally rote song. Finally, the set closes with the marvelous "Shooting Star." It's really quite a pleasant end to the 'evening,' so to speak.
Concerning production stuff, I had to do a bit of tweaking. A digital flaw in "Can't Be Satisfied" had to be corrected, though I couldn't fully remove it. "Mama You Been On My Mind" featured an enthusiastic audience member asking if the taper was finished - unfortunately, the person asked while the music was still being played. This was covered over by duplicating the left channel, and it's not especially disruptive.
Some popular songs were not included. In particular, Youngstown's "Farewell To The Gold" seems to be a fan favorite. It didn't quite match the overall sound of the set, unfortunately, and was cut. I will try to find another place for it in the Thousand Highways Collection. Also, "I Dreamed I Saw Saint Augustine" was played quite well, but similarly didn't quite match the surrounding recordings.
As always, the most important thing is to listen with an open mind and enjoy!
I'm planning to publish a bonus record this month that focuses on the Minneapolis Orpheum residency from August and September. Look for it in the middle of October. This residency features an especially beloved performance of "Visions of Johanna," though an equally remarkable "Gates of Eden" was played. Will they both appear on the compilation? Check back to find out! Until then, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.