New Pony Records
Title for dec0380
cd pic for dec0380
  • November 16, 1979 Warfield Theater San Francisco, CA
  • December 3, 1980 Paramount Theater Portland, OR
  • July 25, 1981 Earls Court London, England
  • October 17, 1987 Wembley Arena London, England
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Liner Notes

Come Autumn 1980, with sales of Saved flagging, but the seeds of a new album already budding, Dylan embarked on a nineteen-concert mini-tour of the West Coast, including a twelve concert sojourn at San Francisco’s Warfield Theater. Retaining most of his "Gospel Tour" band, Dylan presented a mix of old and new and the tour was soon dubbed Dylan’s "Musical Retrospective Tour."

On December 3rd, as this audience recording attests, Dylan and his band ranged widely including a number of unexpected covers, some unreleased Dylan compositions, and confident reworkings of several classics. Dylan’s set opens with Gotta Serve Somebody and I Believe In You — the opening duo for the entire "Gospel Tour" of the prior year — sounding devout and committed. A full band treatment of Hard Rain follows, set to a loose waltz beat, his superb backing singers echoing each phrase of the refrain like a baleful Greek chorus. Dylan and his backing singers deliver another gem in a tight, brooding arrangement of Jim Krueger’s We Just Disagree. There follows a remarkable interpretation of To Ramona, with Little Feat’s Fred Tackett on mandolin, as a loping country ballad. Next comes a stinging, full-throttle Slow Train Coming which renders the original album version almost prim by comparison.

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Dylan follows Slow Train, with four remarkable performances which alone justify the price of admission. Dylan and backing singer Clydie King duet on Richard Hollar’s mournful Abraham, Martin and John, and Dallas Holm’s defiant Rise Again. Dylan then launches into a charmingly awkward introduction of a new composition, Let’s Keep It Between Us, a swampy come-on which inexplicably remains unreleased. Dylan introduces the next song — another duet with Clydie King of the traditional Mary From The Wild Moor — with a tart reference to critics and fans who had spent the previous year urging Dylan to sing his old songs. Together these four performances capture the tremendous range of influences which utterly defy categorization and illuminate the multiple dimensions of Dylan’s own work.

Other highlights include a crystalline version of Senor, a charming cover of Shel Silverstein’s A Couple More Years, and, as an encore, a spine-chilling, totally anachronistic Blowing In The Wind, with Dylan howling the words against an anthemic beat and majestic three-part harmony from his backing singers. Dylan extends the encore with another unreleased composition, City of Gold. Dylan, alone with an acoustic guitar, returns for a second encore, playing It’s All Over Now Baby Blue. Not taking the hint, the audience demands and receives a third encore, It’s Alright Ma, again played alone with his acoustic guitar.

Considering the size of the venues and the brevity of this tour, fewer than 40,000 souls in total heard these concerts. Thanks to a brave and enterprising taper, risking both equipment and a hard-won ticket, this performance has been preserved for posterity and your enjoyment. Carpe Diem.

Disc One
gotta serve somebody
i believe in you
a hard rain’s gonna fall
man gave names to all the animals
simple twist of fate
we just disagree
all along the watchtower
ain’t gonna go to hell
girl from the north country
to ramona
slow train
abraham, martin, and john
rise again
let’s keep it between us
Disc Two
mary from the wild moor
solid rock
just like a woman
senor (tales of yankee power)
couple more years
what can i do for you
when you gonna wake up
in the garden
blowin in the wind
city of gold
it’s all over now, baby blue
it’s alright ma (i’m only bleeding)

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Buy These Official Releases Now
Slow Train Coming
Slow Train Coming — August 20, 1979
Saved
Saved — June 20, 1980
Shot of Love
Slow Train Coming — August 20, 1979