It is one of the best shows of the tour.
~Clinton Heylin (A Life In Stolen Moments)
..finds him again in very expansive “conquering hero” mood. It’s a terrific concert. I loved watching it.. and I love it now, listening to the superb circulating tape. .. it’s the second set where the magic really starts to happen.
~Paul Williams (BD Performing artist 1974-86)
Madison Square Garden New York City, New York 17 July 1986
Setlist (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers songs excluded)
So Long, Good Luck And Goodbye (Weldon Rogers)
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Positively 4th Street
We Three (My Echo, My Shadow And Me) (Dick Robertson/Nick Cogane/Sammy Myalls)
Shot Of Love
We Had It All (Donny Fritts-Troy Seals)
Union Sundown — Heartbreakers 4 songs
Mr. Tambourine Man
One Too Many Mornings
I Want You ..one unique to the entire tour: “I Want You” as an acoustic duet. .. and Dylan launches into a sheer masterpiece of a vocal performance.. He’s performing like it’s a matter of life and death. He’s inspired. He’s alive. ~Paul Williams (BD Performing Artist 1974-86)
Band Of The Hand
When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky
Lonesome Town (Baker Knight) I wanna play a real special song here in this special place. This is the very stage where Ricky Nelson got booed off for singing Garden Party, this is the one, the very one. Anyway, it gives me a real great pleasure to sing one of Ricky’s songs in this place. This is one that when I was growing up, called Lonesome Town. ~Bob Dylan
Ballad Of A Thin Man
— Heartbreakers 4 songs
Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Seeing The Real You At Last
Across The Borderline (Ry Cooder/John Hiatt/Jim Dickinson) ..a high point in a great evening. Anyway, you might think you know the music of bob dylan, but if you haven’t heard “Across the Borderline” from the 1986 tour (and this July 17 version is as good as it gets), you may be missing the heart of the man. For sure you’re missing a truly rewarding performance. ~Paul Williams (BD Performing Artist 1974-86)
Before diving into the music of the “US Summer Tour – 86”, let’s look at some videos leading up to the tour.
Let’s kick off with the Tokyo (backstage Budokan) interview. (It should probably have been included in part 2 of this series, but I didn’t find it till now).
10 March 1986 MTV Interview, Backstage, Budokan Hall, Tokyo
…probably I’d do ANY song that I’d ever written, but to put them in a show is a different thing, because it takes time, and there’s not a lotta time when you play for a few hours.
~Bob Dylan (1986-03-10)
..and same place.. with Tom Petty (talking about touring with Dylan):
Well, I usually… I usually try to put in songs which are different in their own context, either structurally or melodically or uh lyrically, that uh, don’t… so it’s not all the same type of material, I try to fill in a larger picture. I don’t know what the total effect of it is. Umm… How do I go about selecting the material? Well, there’s material that I WANT to play, there’s material that I feel I HAVE to play, and, uh, I try to get the material that I feel I have to play into the frame of mind where I want to play the material that I have to play. The rest of it is just stuff I want to play.
~Bob Dylan (Melbourne – 21 Feb 1986)
True Confession Tour:
February 5, 1986
August 6, 1986
15 in Oceania
4 in Asia
41 in North America
60 in Total
The tour started with two concerts in New Zealand and thirteen concerts in Australia before four concerts in Japan. Both Dylan and Petty took a break after this tour before returning to the road in June to perform a forty-one date tour of the United States and Canada. During the tour the pair performed two concerts at the RFK Stadium in Washington, DC, three concerts at the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York City and two concerts at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. The tour came to a close on August 6 in Paso Robles, California. The pair would tour together the following year on the Temples in Flames Tour.
Rehearsals (w/Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) took place in December 1985.
Before they flew over to New Zealand.. Dylan gave a couple of interviews.. Here is one:
George Negus interview for “60 Minutes”, Malibu, California:
Oh no, no, I can’t do that, because my songs speak for that. I usually say everything I have to say through the songs. I mean it would be pointless for me to go out and say how I feel about this and how I feel about that. I could never articulate this well.
~Bob Dylan (to George Negus – Jan 1986)
“Still, Live Aid and Farm Aid are fantastic things, but then musicians have always done things like that. When people want a benefit, you don’t see them calling dancers or architects or lawyers or even politicians – the power of music is that it has always drawn people together”
~Bob Dylan (to Mikal Gilmore – Sept 1985)
To kick-off this series of posts about the “True Confessions Tour”, I need to start the year before.. in 1985.
Dylan (together with Keith Richards & Ronnie Wood) did one of his worst live performances ever at the “Live Aid” concert @ the JFK stadium in Philadelphia on 13 July 1985. All three were drunk & they couldn’t hear themselves because the stage monitors had been switched off.
The Ballad of Hollis Brown – Live Aid 1985:
We were sabotaged, in some kind of way. There was no way we could really perform there. It’s difficult to play if you can’t hear.
~Bob Dylan (to Bob Brown – about the performance)