Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Throw My Ticket in the Wind

At the very outset of Live 1975: The Rolling Thunder Revue, Bob charges into a driving version of "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You," with the lyrics slightly modified for the occasion. Whereas the song used to go:

Is it really any wonder
The love that a stranger might receive
You cast your spell and I went under
I find it so difficult to leave

Dylan now sings

Is it really any wonder
The changes that we put on each other's heads
You came down on me like ROLLING THUNDER
I left my dreams on the river bed

You gotta push the product! And of course, the crowd loves it.

That's not even the best part of the record; the version of "Hurricane" is simply blazing, with Scarlet Rivera's fiddle weaving through it like a lit fuse and the drummer sounding like he too is on the run from the law. They manage to shave significant running time off the Desire version, despite the fact that Bob adds a little spoken intro to the song.

That whole Rolling Thunder Revue must have been something to see, drifting into town, staying for a couple of shows, picking up and dropping musicians here and there (Joni Mitchell showed up one night and ended up hanging around for three shows). At the end of the Rolling Thunder album, Bob says, "We'll be in the area for a few days, maybe we'll see you tomorrow night," and who wouldn't go back? I've heard it was a financial disaster, which I can't really understand. I bet Bill Graham figured out a way to turn a buck on it.

Here's Bob from a Rolling Thunder show in Fort Collins, Colorado, home of Colorado State University, the next-to-last show from the spring of 1976. This is apparently at the height of Yasir Arafat chic, plus you get to see Dylan play some slide guitar; his technique consists of acting like the fretboard is too hot to touch. I don't think he plays much slide any more. This is the version of "Shelter From the Storm" that would eventually show up on Hard Rain, I believe, although my vinyl copy of Hard Rain is too tossed-off for such niceties as liner notes.

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