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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Bob Dylan & Neil Young - Concord, CA, Pavilion (7th June 1988)

Here is a rather historic recording of a widely circulated bootleg of Bob Dylan and Neil Young in 1988.

This was the first concert on what became known as The Never Ending Tour (NET) and Bob invited Neil to help him out at this critical time.

Neil Young plays guitar on tracks #1-6 and #10-13.

Concord, CA, Pavilion (7th June 1988) setlist

1. Subterranean Homesick Blues 00:00
2. Absolutely Sweet Marie 03:59
3. Masters Of War 09:21
4. You're A Big Girl Now 14:31
5. Gotta Serve Somebody 20:19
6. In The Garden 26:16
7. Man Of Constant Sorrow 32:07
8. Lakes Of Pontchartrain (trad.) 36:51
9. Boots Of Spanish Leather 41:34
10. Driftin' Too Far From Shore 45:41
11. Gates Of Eden 50:37
12. Like A Rolling Stone 55:53
13. Maggie's Farm 1:05:05

At one time, there was some dispute as to whether Neil Young actually appeared on the recording, as he only plays guitar. But listen closely @ ~20:05 where Bob introduces Neil.

From Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands:
This is the very first concert of the Never Ending Tour and of the Interstate 88 Tour (Part 1, Summer Tour Of America). The tape comes from LB-252. It was first thought to be a complete stereo soundboard but in fact is a complete audience stereo recording.

1988 marked the beginning of a new era for Bob.

For those who don't know, after a long period of creative disarray, Bob Dylan went back on the road in June 1988 with a completely new band, with unknown players. It began with G. E. Smith on guitar (known for leading the band on SNL), Kenny Aaronson on bass and Christopher Parker on drums. For Bob, it was his last chance on the road... If it didn't work, he'll stop writing music and playing all together.

Bob and his Band started in state fairs and small clubs, long gone from the stadiums and arena rock that plagued Bob's talent and reputation, mostly unannounced. Bob didn't play the hits, changing the setlist as it goes, sometimes in the middle of the song, singing deep-cuts, covers, and old folk tunes. Every song was different one night from another.

After more than 30 years, the Never Ending Tour didn't stop and Bob is still on a creative high. All the stories began in Concord at the Pavilion. Bob launched his first tour, the Interstate 88 Tour, from the Never Ending Tour. Bob started with the very first live Subterranean Homesick Blues, sounding like a punk band. Bob goes on with many other firsts like Absolutely Sweet Mary, Lakes Of Pontchartrain, and Driftin' Too Far From Shore. Bob and his Band create a blistering experience thanks to G.E Smith and the talent of the amazing Neil Young, who helped Bob to regain his confidence during his first shows. It worked with wonders. This show is a milestone that everyone needs to hear at least once to understand how Bob came back after a decade in the desert.

I'm sure you will love it.
Thanks so much SELOTL! Great info.

Bob Dylan and Neil Young Interview: 1986

More on that tangled up in blue musical relationship of Bob Dylan and Neil Young.

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At 10/11/2018 08:50:00 PM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

Sounds like Neil singing on a couple lines on Subterranean Homesick Blues.

At 10/11/2018 09:06:00 PM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

i used to go to this venue allot. Saw the NY and Booker T warm up show. Many SRV shows. Clapton, Bruce Hornsby, Little Feat. unless you live in the upper east bay its sort of remote.

At 10/11/2018 09:51:00 PM, Blogger Babbo B. said...

Neil was in Bob's band for the next two shows as well, June 10 at the Greek in Berkeley and June 11 at Shoreline.

At 10/11/2018 10:52:00 PM, Blogger Babbo B. said...

Some further discussion in "Shakey":

Videos from Berkeley:,

At 10/12/2018 02:36:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

Amazing stuff! So nice to hear this! -Alan in Seattle

At 10/12/2018 11:35:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Two of the greats

At 10/12/2018 05:07:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

The seeds of Dylan's Never-ending tour were planted in 1987 when he toured with the Grateful Dead. The rehearsals for that tour took place at the Deads Front St studio in San Rafael. The early rehearsals weren't going that well, so Bob took a walk down the street to a small workingmans bar where a tiny blues band was playing. Supposedly, Dylan was so struck by these guys playing in a tiny bar, that it inspired him to find his true live concert self. Plus, he was also inspired enough by the way the Dead did their shows, that he decided to change his setlists show by show, and also start playing a much wider range of material.

A couple of years ago, a friend and I went to the Front st studio and took that walk to that bar, which I believe is called the Four Aces, or something like that. It was late, so the place was unfortunately closed. Apparently there are pictures of Bob hanging out there when you go into the place. If you ever saw the place, it's pretty amazing that a small dive bar could so inspire the great Dylan.

I used to have a tape of the Greek Theater show that Neil played with Dylan. Neil is noticeable, but by no means overwhelming, no singing, just playing Ol'Black. Fascinating stuff, though.

At 10/13/2018 01:13:00 AM, Blogger anon said...

In 1987, Bob Dylan agreed to do some shows with the Grateful Dead, and so in June he journeyed to San Rafael, California, to rehearse with the Dead at their rehearsal studio, Club Front.

This is what Dylan wrote about those rehearsals in his memoir, “Chronicles”:

I needed to go rehearse with the band for these shows, so I went to San Rafael to meet with The Dead. I thought it would be as easy as jumping rope. After an hour or so, it became clear to me that the band wanted to rehearse more and different songs than I had been used to doing with [Tom] Petty. They wanted to run over all the songs, the ones they liked, the seldom seen ones. I found myself in a peculiar position and I could hear the brakes screeching. If I had known this to begin with, I might not have taken the dates. I had no feelings for any of those songs and didn’t know how I could sing them with any intent. A lot of them might have been only sung once anyway, the time that they’d been recorded. There were so many that I couldn’t tell which was which — I might even get the words to some mixed up with others. I needed sets of lyrics to understand what they were talking about, and when I saw the lyrics, especially to the older, more obscure songs, I couldn’t see how I could get this stuff off emotionally.

I felt like a goon and didn’t want to stick around. The whole thing might have been a mistake. I’d have to go someplace for the mentally ill and think about it.After saying that I’d left something at the hotel, I stepped back outside onto Front Street and started walking, put my head down against the drizzling rain. I wasn’t planning on going back. If you have to lie, you should do it quickly and as well as you can. I started up the street — maybe four or five or six blocks went by and then I heard the sounds of a jazz combo playing up ahead. Walking past the door of a tiny bar, I looked in and saw that the musicians were playing at the opposite end of the room. It was raining and there were few people inside. One of them was laughing at something. It looked like the last stop on the train to nowhere and the air was filled with cigarette smoke. Something was calling to me to come in and I entered, walked along the long, narrow bar to where the jazz cats were playing in the back on a raised platform in front of a brick wall.

I got within four feet of the stage and just stood there against the bar, ordered a gin and tonic and faced the singer. An older man, he wore a mohair suit, flat cap with a little brim and shiny necktie. The dummer had a rancher’s Stetson on and the bassist and pianist were neatly dressed. They played jazz ballads, stuff like “Time on My Hands” and and “Gloomy Sunday.” The singer reminded me of Billy Eckstine. He wasn’t very forceful, but he didn’t have to be; he was relaxed, but sang with natural power. Suddenly and without warning, it was like the guy had an open window to my soul. It was like he was saying, “You should do it this way.” All of a sudden, I understood something faster than I ever did before. I could feel how he worked at getting his power, what he was doing to get at it. I knew where the power was coming from and it wasn’t his voice, though the voice brought me sharply back to myself. I used to do this thing, I’m thinking. It was a long time ago and it had been automatic. No one had ever taught me. This technique was so elemental, so simple and I’d forgotten it. It was like I’d forgotten how to button my own pants. I wondered if I could still do it. I wanted at least a chance to try. If I could in any way get close to handling this technique, I could get off this marathon stunt ride.

At 10/13/2018 01:15:00 AM, Blogger anon said...

Returning to The Dead’s rehearsal hall as if nothing had happened, I picked it up where we had left off, couldn’t wait to get started — taking one of the songs that they wanted to do, seeing if I could sing it using the same method that the old singer used. I had a premonition something would happen. At first it was hard going, like drilling through a brick wall. All I did was taste the dust. But then miraculously something internal came unhinged. In the beginning all I could get out was a blood-choked coughing grunt and it blasted up from the bottom of my lower self, but it bypassed my brain. That had never happened before. It burned, but I was awake. The scheme wasn’t sewed up too tight, would need a lot of stitches, but I grasped the idea. I had to concentrate like mad because I was having to maneuver more than one stratagem at the same time, but now I knew I could perform any of these songs without them having to be restricted to the world of words. This was revelatory. I played these shows with The Dead and never had to think twice about it. Maybe they just dropped something in my drink, I can’t say, but anything they wanted to do was fine with me. I had that old jazz singer to thank.

At 10/13/2018 01:54:00 AM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

Thanks, anon. Cool to hear more detailed info about Dylan and that bar. I never knew Dylan himself had wrote about it, pretty cool to hear the story with his own words.

Btw, check out the cover to the Grateful Dead album Shakedown St. It's a drawing of Front St, and the view is EXACTLY what you see when you're standing in the parking lot of that bar. Pretty cool....

At 10/13/2018 11:41:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Syscrusher - yep, good catch on SHB.

@ wsanjose01 - some good shows there.

@ Babbo B. - thanks for links! definitely vintage wheat there.

@ Richard - definitely fascinating stuff and cool the places still exist to soak in the vibes.

@ anon - thanks for the clips. nice context. A remarkable tale... the Dead bring Bob back to life w/ a little help from Mr Shakey?! who knew???

At 10/14/2018 02:28:00 PM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

I saw Dead/Dylan at Oakland Coliseum Stadium. Epic night. Jerry was playing around during tuning w Funiculi Funicula. Trying to make Phil keep up . Phil even makes the Thats Over my Head jesture lol. Then they open w my fav GD tune, Jack Straw. Its on the One from the Vault DVD. Im glad they pushed Bob in song selection. Theres some thing to getting out of that comfort zone every once in a while.


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