My favourite Bob Dylan bootleg 1995: Prague 3 nights in March
“Anyone who has watched a sunrise over the ancient city of Prague will feel they have visited a city of magic & wonder. Anyone who has heard Dylan’s performance on the 11th will have felt a similar sense of awe”
~Andrew Muir (One More Night: Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Tour)
The first leg of the Europe 1995 tour picks up the NET after the MTV Unplugged sessions in November, 1994 and a three-month break from performing live. Dylan played two months in Europe in 95. He began with three shows in Prague and ended on April 11 in Dublin. Dylan returned for a second leg with a month in Europe in the summer of 1995.
Right before the Prague dates Dylan came down with the flu, this meant that all three to be pushed back one night. Dylan did these shows without playing guitar but focusing on singing and on the harp.
Usually the show at the 11th gets picked as the best of the three Prague shows, I don’t think it’s that simple. There are lots of bootlegs that has songs from these three incredible nights. Many collectors place these Prague shows among the very best Dylan ever performed. All three are legendary performances. I’m hard pressed to pick one so I’ll recommend a few boots.
Bob Dylan sang in a style that reminds me of crooning these nights and maybe this gave him the idea of making an album with Frank Sinatra songs.
Other entries in this series:
My Favourite Bob Dylan bootleg from 1962: The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan Outtakes
My Favourite Bob Dylan bootleg from 1969: The Dylan / Cash Sessions
My favourite Bob Dylan bootleg from 1983: Infidels outtakes (Rough cuts)
My favourite Bob Dylan bootleg from 2011: Funen Village Denmark June 27
My Favourite Bob Dylan bootleg from 2012: The Day of Wine and Roses, Barolo, Italy July 16
My Favourite Bob Dylan bootleg from 2014: Gothenburg Sweden July 15
Recommended bootlegs from Prague 1995:
1995 European Tour (TMOQ, 2008) and (Doberman, 2001) – March 11 concert and much more (great 5cd package) one song from the 12th and one from the 13th.
Licence To Sing (Thinman, 2007) – March 13 concert, audience taped but with very good sound
I also found a compilation of files from the three shows online called: Bob Dylan In Prague. It’s very good (also see this post’s main picture).
“Dylan opens the year with one of the most remarkable performances of the “Never Ending tour,” despite still visible suffering the after effects of the bug (at several points he sits on the drum rise, scrunched up in some discomfort)… the shock of the evening is not in his song selection.. but the fact that he performs almost the entire show without a guitar.. harmonica in hand, making strange shadow-boxing movements, cupping the harmonica to his mouth on nearly every song, blowing his sweetest harp breaks in years.”
~Clinton Heylin (Bob Dylan: A Life in Stolen Moments Day by Day 1941-1995)
Bob Dylan – vocal, guitar, harp
Bucky Baxter – pedal steel guitar, electric slide guitar John Jackson – lead guitar
Tony Garnier – bass
Winston Watson – drums
Highlights: Shelter from the storm (11th), It’s all over now, Baby Blue (11th), All along the watchtower (11th), Tangled Up in Blue (12th), Desolation Row (12th), I don’t believe in you (12th), Licence To Kill (13th), Mr. Tambourine Man (13th), Boots of Spanish Leather (13th), The Man in The Long Black Coat (13th)
The March 11 concert (the songs in bold typeface are on the videos):
- Crash On The Levee (Down In The Flood)
- If Not For You
- All Along The Watchtower
- Just Like A Woman
- Tangled Up In Blue
- Watching The River Flow
- Mr. Tambourine Man (at the end of the last video)
- Boots Of Spanish Leather
- It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
- Man In The Long Black Coat
- God Knows
- Maggie’s Farm
- Shelter From The Storm
- It Ain’t Me, Babe
Linernotes from the Doberman release:
“Bob seemed in a good mood despite explaining that he was recovering from ‘flu. Throughout the show he retired to the rear of the stage between numbers and sat bent double seeming to gather his strength but then launched into each new number with even more feeling. During the encore a young woman got on stage and sat cradling Bob’s guitar – when a security man went to remove her Bob said ‘no, she can play it’ and the girl remained to the end.”
Mike Clendining (show report, Mar 11, Expecting Rain)