Tuesday, March 1, 2016

After Hours: Unreleased Live Recordings, 1998

After Hours
Live 1998

Gotta Serve Somebody - Live - College Park - November 5, 1998
Tears Of Rage - Live - New London - January 13, 1998
Million Miles - Live - New York - January 17, 1998
To Be Alone With You - Live - Goteborg - June 10, 1998
Across The Borderline - Live - Rochester - November 3, 1998
'Til I Fell In Love With You - Live - Springfield - February 2, 1998
Rank Strangers To Me - Live - Rome - July 5, 1998
Desolation Row - Live - Stockholm - June 9, 1998
One Too Many Mornings - Live - Miami - March 31, 1998
This Wheel's On Fire - Live - New London - January 14, 1998
Make You Feel My Love - Live - Puyallup - September 22, 1998
All Along The Watchtower - Live - Copenhagen - June 11, 1998
Love Sick - Live - Stockholm - June 9, 1998
I'm Not Supposed To Care - Live - Anaheim - May 23, 1998
Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat - Live - New York - January 17, 1998

As with the preceding ten years, Bob Dylan set out on tour again early in 1998. Despite early concerns, the year turned out much better than folks had expected. Dylan and his management had set up several high-profile tours with other big names in the music business, including The Rolling Stones, Joni Morrison, and Van Morrison. While this could have led to a paint-by-numbers, phoned in series of concerts designed to check a box for disinterested concertgoers, the singer instead rose to the occasion of giving everyone quite the bang for their buck, so to speak.

The compilation kicks off with a raucous, call-and-response rendition of "Gotta Serve Somebody," always one of my favorites. A menacing, guitar-heavy "Tears Of Rage" follows. David Kemper's drums are brought to the forefront of the following two songs, as he and the guitarists first lay down an off-kilter jazz backing to "Million Miles" and then a thumping, high-energy arrangement of Nashville Skyline's "To Be Alone With You." This last is a song that often falls short of its potential, but on this Scandinavian summer night, it comes alive as it did back in 1969. A rare late 1990s outing of "Across The Borderline" follows, with Dylan pouring his heart and soul into the borderlands tale, and then the first electric set draws to a close with a characteristically groovy "'Til I Fell In Love With You."

"Rank Strangers To Me" showcases the bluegrass-flecked harmonies of Larry Campbell and Bucky Baxter before Bob Dylan and the band move into an epic arrangement of "Desolation Row." The acoustic set is finished with an appropriately laid back, bass heavy ballad, "One Too Many Mornings."

The second electric set opens with the second Basement Tapes song of the collection, "This Wheel's On Fire." The song had just debuted in concert a couple years before, and Dylan's playing it for all it's worth by 1998, utilizing his backing band's vocals to great effect. Next is a much more recent hit, "Make You Feel My Love." This song would go on to be something of a disappointment in later years, as the dreaded upsinging often destroyed the song's natural charms, but here it is an unblemished beauty, superior even to the lovely album recording. Surprisingly, Dylan played organ on the song sometimes in 1998, but none of those recordings compared to this one. A very unique cascading arrangement of "All Along The Watchtower" follows; as far as I know, it was only played this way on the Summer 1998 tour. "Love Sick" is the next song, and it's clear that the song has already evolved from its 1997 incarnation - the band members are tight, sharp, and allow Dylan to showcase some snarling vocals. A tender performance of Gordon Lightfoot's "I'm Not Supposed To Care" is the penultimate track, followed by some straightforward bluesy fun in "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat."

Concerning the recordings, 1998 is a really great year. Perhaps moreso than any other year from the 1990s, the recordings from these tours are spellbinding and beautifully mixed. I had to do very little production work for the compilation. The band was tight, and unlike preceding years, no meandering instrumental sections robbed the songs of their power. The result is a distinctly unified, strong collection of tracks.

Next month will bring 2001, which I haven't yet got finalized. The tracks are still pretty up in the air! Excitingly, 2001 brought the release of my favorite Bob Dylan record, Love & Theft. So expect a few live renditions of those songs, if nothing else. I'll try to get up another DIY Playlist this month too, so be sure to check in around March 15th.

Until next time, keep yourself healthy and listen to some good tunes.


Note: This description was edited to reflect that it is actually Bucky Baxter, not Charlie Sexton, who is singing backup with Larry Campbell on "Rank Strangers To Me." A kind listener alerted me to this fact.


  1. Always looking forward to your posts. Wonderful compilation again. Much appreciated, thanks.

  2. Thank you kindly, as always!

  3. Great notes CS as ever and fascinating listing but you sneaked a doozie of statement in there! 'Love and Theft' is described as your favourite Bobbie record!? Wow!
    Anybody care to haul in with their favourite or is that for somewhere else?
    I can't do it BTW . . . it depends on the day of the week and whether it's raining
    Today it is 'Oh Mercy'!

    P.S SO appreciate the compilations you do for your fans CS this is a doozie Thank You again!

    1. Oh Mercy is top-notch. As for my doozie of a statement, I stand by it, haha. My top ten, in no order except the first, are:

      TIER ONE
      Love & Theft
      Time Out Of Mind
      John Wesley Harding
      Blood On The Tracks

      TIER TWO
      Highway 61 Revisited
      Planet Waves
      Shot Of Love
      Oh Mercy
      World Gone Wrong

    2. I like the 2-tier idea. I dont entirely agree with yours (where's BoB?) but I'm glad to see Tempest get a vote.

  4. Thank you so much for not only this compilation, but for all of your work so far! It's such a great archive and you're providing some of the best curated compilations I've ever came across. 1998 was the first time I saw Dylan (Hamburg). I was 15 years old and since I was interested in the classics I was always a bit of a fan, but Time Out of Mind blew me away, and to this day it's the beginning of my favorite Dylan years. I enjoyed the concert a lot (he started late and afterwards we heard rumours he almost cancelled being sick). Though probably no comparison to the Docks club gigs (2002 I believe...still my favorite concert ever).

    Again, thank you so much!

  5. Thanks for another great "project".
    Always look out for your post

  6. This is, again and as always, a tremendous piece of art you have gathered for us to share. I am absolutely thrilled with these recordings, what a year for Mr. Dylan!!
    God bless you, C.S., for making this available!!!

  7. Thank you, once again! Looking forward to this one. H61R remains my favourite album, of all time, by anyone!
    I just never 'got' L&T, always preferring TOOM; maybe your 2001 collection next month will help me!

  8. Awesome stuff! That Gotta Serve Somebody is from my first Dylan show ever. Any chance you know where I can get the full show?

  9. The usual high quality stuff. You are a treasure!

  10. You have an unfailing ear -- great stuff, as usual!