Bob Dylan: 6 Brilliant live performances from the year 1987





“He’s been great to play with. Great fun as well, mostly because you can never let your mind drift. He’ll give the most familiar song an odd twist – a change of rhythm or a peculiar delivery. Playing with Bob Dylan certainly gives you a good kick up the ass. One night he’ll do something like he’ll say – on Stage – ‘Right, we’ll begin with “Forever Young” and the Heartbreakers have maybe played the song once before. Then he’ll say. ‘And Benmont you start it off´
– Benmont Tench (member of The Heartbreakers, Dylan´s backing band in 1986/1987)

In 1987 Dylan first made a guest appearance @ a Taj Mahal concert in Los Angeles, February 19, then performed with the The Grateful Dead 6 times in July & finally the “Temples in Flames Tour”.

Tour by Bob Dylan & Grateful Dead

Start date July 4, 1987
End date July 26, 1987
Legs 1
No. of shows 6

Temples in Flames Tour

Start date September 5, 1987
End date October 17, 1987
Legs 1
No. of shows 30

The “Temples in Flames Tour” is one of my favourite legs from the 80´s. First reading about it in Paul Williams wonderful book – Bob Dylan: Performing Artist, Vol 2: The Middle Years & then listening to the tapes. Most of the tapes were low quality audience recordings, but many of the performances transcended these technicalities.

From Andrew Muir (One More Night):

The “Temples In Flames” tour also produced performances of beauty, often of songs that one had had no expectation of ever hearing in concert, let alone in such intensely felt, close-to-the-edge performances. The varied set-lists, the spontaneous recreations of songs, the surprising selections all pre-figured the N.E.T. And Tom Petty and his band, certainly found it startling innovative and a steep and highly beneficial learning curve:

“I learned so much from Bob Dylan,” says Tom Petty. The Heartbreakers toured as Dylan’s backing band from 1986 to 87.  “He gave us a kind of courage that we never had, to learn something quickly and go out on stage and play it. You had to be pretty versatile because arrangements could change, keys might change, there’s just no way of knowing exactly what he wants to do each night. You really learnt the value of spontaneity, of how a moment that is real in a concert is worth so much more than one you plan out.”

Please use the Comments section to  post your personal favourites from 2000.

Sultan’s Pool
Jerusalem, Israel
7 September 1987

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar) with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
  • Tom Petty (guitar)
  • Mike Campbell (guitar)
  • Benmont Tench (keyboards),
  • Howie Epstein (bass)
  • Stan Lynch (drums

The music [Ballad of a Thin Man] is wonderful, the band is at its best (not at all rehashing the 1986 version, but responding to the frontman’s leadership by creating something completely new and fresh and spontaneous). In particular, please notice Stan Lynch’s drumming after the words “Thanks for the loan” and during the “something is happening” chorus that follows. Drummer and singer are clearly getting energy from each other (and the other musicians and singers are responding to both of them). It’s like call-and-response between Bob and Stan. Wow. Please also notice the beauty and inventiveness of the guitar solos and other elements in the instrumental break before the last verse … one discovery after another, by singers and musicians who’d thought they were pretty familiar with this song and are now grateful that it’s making itself so new tonight, and taking them along for the ride.
-Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist Volume 3: Mind Out Of Time 1986 And Beyond)

Ballad of a Thin Man

You walk into the room
With your pencil in your hand
You see somebody naked
And you say, “Who is that man?”
You try so hard
But you don’t understand
Just what you’ll say
When you get home

Area Ex Autodromo
Modena, Italy
12 September 1987

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar) with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
  • Tom Petty (guitar)
  • Mike Campbell (guitar)
  • Benmont Tench (keyboards),
  • Howie Epstein (bass)
  • Stan Lynch (drums

..as strong as the song starts in Modena, it does get better -band and singer and song go on inspiring each other and sustain that Homeric fire right through to a very colorful and striking evocation of the “town of Brooklyn” in that last verse and chorus. In the hands (and vocal cords) of a great performing artist, songs do indeed have a life of their own. “Joey” at Modena, and the Modena concert as a whole, stand as excellent examples of this gratifying and intriguing phenomenon.
-Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist Volume 3: Mind Out Of Time 1986 And Beyond)

Joey

Born in Red Hook, Brooklyn, in the year of who knows when
Opened up his eyes to the tune of an accordion
Always on the outside of whatever side there was
When they asked him why it had to be that way, “Well,” he answered,
“just because”




Palasport
Turin, Italy
13 September 1987

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar) with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
  • Tom Petty (guitar)
  • Mike Campbell (guitar)
  • Benmont Tench (keyboards),
  • Howie Epstein (bass)
  • Stan Lynch (drums)

Lenny Bruce

Lenny Bruce is dead but his ghost lives on and on
Never did get any Golden Globe award, never made it to Synanon
He was an outlaw, that’s for sure
More of an outlaw than you ever were
Lenny Bruce is gone but his spirit’s livin’ on and on

Westfalenhalle 1
Dortmund, West Germany
15 September 1987

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar) with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
  • Tom Petty (guitar)
  • Mike Campbell (guitar)
  • Benmont Tench (keyboards),
  • Howie Epstein (bass)
  • Stan Lynch (drums)

..by listening to Dortmund´s “Shelter” and Dortmund´s “Highway 61” back to back with selections from Live 1966 and finding that they stand up well to both the beauty of ´66 acoustic set stuff and the excitement of ´66 electric set performances.
-Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist Volume 3: Mind Out Of Time 1986 And Beyond)

Shelter From the Storm

Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form
“Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm

Olympiahalle
Munich, West Germany
30 September 1987

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar) with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
  • Tom Petty (guitar)
  • Mike Campbell (guitar)
  • Benmont Tench (keyboards),
  • Howie Epstein (bass)
  • Stan Lynch (drums)

..the shock of recognition I feel when I hear the unique melody played and evoked by the opening piano notes of this Munich ´87 “Don´t Think Twice” and from every moment of Dylan´s singing here, and when I listen to the remarkable interplay of organ and melodic guitar and rhythm guitar in the between-verse breaks, is the shock of being deeply touched by a musical creation that seems to understand me and illuminate my inner life in ways I didn´t think were possible.
-Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist Volume 3: Mind Out Of Time 1986 And Beyond)

Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
It don’t matter, anyhow
An’ it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
If you don’t know by now
When your rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window and I’ll be gone
You’re the reason I’m trav’lin’ on
Don’t think twice, it’s all right

Wembley Arena
London, England
17 October 1987

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar) with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
  • Tom Petty (guitar)
  • Mike Campbell (guitar)
  • Benmont Tench (keyboards),
  • Howie Epstein (bass)
  • Stan Lynch (drums)

Go Down, Moses (trad.)

Go down, Moses,
Way down in Egypt’s land,
Tell old Pharaoh,
Let my people go.

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Some recommended shows:

  • Sept 5, Tel Aviv Israel
  • Sept 7, Jerusalem Israel
  • Sept 12, Modena Italy
  • Sept 13, Turin Italy
  • Sept 15, Dortmund West Germany
  • Sept 26, Stockholm Sweden
  • Sept 30, Munich West Germany
  • Oct 5, Locarno Switzerland
  • Oct 17, London England

Earlier posts




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-Egil

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