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1988-04-30, New Haven CT, Brick'n'Wood Cafe
GimmeMT.com Review by GimmeMTguy
This show starts off with a soundcheck in the form of a sublime introduction to Soliloquy, with Max Middleton laying down the melodic changes and MT warming up with some beautiful runs.
MT then announces that the band was delayed in arriving in New Haven (presumably from New York) due to "circumstances WAY beyond our control" and he gives direction to the monitor man on the mix for his stage monitor.
Mick seems ready right out of the gate, his playing is inspired and he manages to give further instructions to the sound man while ripping off tasty leads.
I Wonder Why
This fast shuffle takes off at a frantic pace and never wanes for a breathless seven minutes. It might be partly due to the legendary Bernard Purdie being behind the drum kit. Pretty Purdie and Wilbur Bascomb have their acts together as a rhythm section.
There is a noticably funky beat to this Giddy Up, no surprise there, and the early half contains some of the most aggressive, driving lead playing of any performance of this tune. The middle section goes the opposite direction, and is ethereal and gentle, with atmospheric guitar playing by Shane Fontayne that almost sounds like a synth.
Mick works the lyrics of Goin' Down Slow ("I have had my fun, if I don't get well no more") into this Red House, something he will do with frequency. He recently did Goin' Down Slow as a guest of Long John Baldry in New York.
Mick has a true foil in Fontayne, who is getting bolder with his lead opportunities and increasingly giving the MTB more performance dimensions.
Can't You Hear Me Knocking
The muscularity of the Purdie/Bascomb rhythm section leads off a 15-minute Goin' South. Then the band plays a 20-minute CYHMK. These songs, back-to-back, and pretty good examples of how a drummer helps shape the sound. Purdie is less subtle than Mike Cullen was and more willing to be up front in the soundscape. He also gives the impression from time to time that he does not require a lot of familiarity with the song or its changes. He just learns on the fly as he goes, as a longtime studio drummer, transitions be damned.
Bascomb's bass solo is worth seeking out as well, relatively early in the song, as it's a clear harbinger of the funkiness to come in his future long association with MT.
Blind Willie McTell
This BWMcT starts out at a tentative, creeping pace, perhaps due to the drummer taking the pace from MT's solo intro and not being aware of the immediate speed-up that commonly occurs afterwards. The band goes with the flow and Max steps up to provide Mick with a basis for some slower soloing and more exploring of the melody line. The dirge-like pace doesn't detract from the song, as Dylan's lyrics allow for many different approaches. This one ends up highlighting the mournful, dark history recounted in between the lines.