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PostPosted: Wed May 31st, 2017, 01:28 GMT 

Joined: Wed May 31st, 2017, 00:56 GMT
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Hey Everybody!

As a user, I'm new to Expecting Rain but I've been a fan of the site for a long time. There's a ton of different opinions of Dylan's work that is really worth reading on the site. That being said, I was hoping I could hear some opinions on the 1981 concert in Houston Texas. I know the New Orleans concert of that year has been discussed here, and I'm a fan of that show too. But I was wondering if anyone really enjoys the Houston show too, or if there's any highlights from that show.

Also, has anyone seen the "In the Garden" bootleg of that show? I think the packaging looks fantastic and I've heard good things about the overall sound of the recording. "Knockin on Heavens Door" was excluded from the package it seems, which is a shame because the version from that year in my opinion is odd but very catchy, but it looks like the rest of the show is on there.

Thanks for your time, I hope to hear feedback in the near future!


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PostPosted: Wed May 31st, 2017, 11:05 GMT 
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Overall, the Houston show is not as good as the New Orleans one. Bob sounds a little "relaxed" and nowhere near as focussed. However, the rendition of A Simple Twist of Fate is simply amazing, one of the best I've heard, even if he pulls out the wrong harmonica at the end. He also makes a wonderful recovery after flubbing the beginning of the bridge of Just Like a Woman, improvising a very different route back to the final verse.


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PostPosted: Wed May 31st, 2017, 13:52 GMT 
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I love the Houston show, in no small measure because the sound is as good or better than the circulating New Orleans. Simple Twist is indeed the "keeper", though.


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PostPosted: Wed May 31st, 2017, 14:34 GMT 

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I agree, that version of "Simple Twist of Fate" is great. The harmonica at the end to my ears sounds more hollow (for lack of a better word) but sounds really good to me. It kind of reminds me of the sound on the studio version of "What Can I Do For You" or "Spirit on the Water"
. Also I see what you mean with his vocals being a bit "relaxed" in Houston. There's certain points in the New Orleans show where he sounds a little more energized. I think when it comes to songs like Ballad of a Thin Man the Summit show has an edge in regards to nailing the lyrics , but the New Orleans version roars a little more, in my opinion.
The accompaniment of the band on "Girl From North Country" I think is nice, I hadn't heard of any version that wasn't just a solo acoustic performance prior to getting into the '81 shows a while back. That combined with his vocals from either show are enjoyable to me.
Every so often I also read about how some people don't really find live versions of "It Ain't Me Babe" that do the song justice. For some reason the Orleans version , though quirky, is a great version to me. Same goes for Houston, though I would probably take the former over this performance.


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PostPosted: Wed May 31st, 2017, 16:48 GMT 
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Love both shows, although in general, I prefer the European leg of '81.
I probably prefer Houston to New Orleans on most days because I find the latter just a little too slick.


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PostPosted: Wed May 31st, 2017, 19:15 GMT 

Joined: Wed May 31st, 2017, 00:56 GMT
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The Bard wrote:
Love both shows, although in general, I prefer the European leg of '81.
I probably prefer Houston to New Orleans on most days because I find the latter just a little too slick.


I see what you mean, while the recording of the Houston show is clear the sound of the concert itself is a little more raw. That's what I hear in some of the European shows as well. There's probably a ton of material that will take precedence over the '81 tour, but I'm hoping that parts of these shows get an official release. "Heart of Mine" off of Biograph is a great version of that song, and "The Grooms Still Waiting at the Altar" sounds like a chaotic but awesome performance off of that one Michael Bloomfield compilation (even though it sounds less polished then the Biograph release, and it was from '80 instead of '81). Much like the '75 Bootleg Series set, I think an '80-'81/'81 box set would be a great release.


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PostPosted: Thu June 1st, 2017, 00:18 GMT 
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It's not a particularly popular opinion, but the Houston show is my favorite of the tour, and indeed one of my favorite overall Dylan shows. New Orleans is great, as is Avignon and really any one of the London shows, but Houston is my favorite. To be fair, some of that is down to the recording - the lossy cassette tape that circulates as the standard version of the show nowadays is absolutely gorgeous.


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PostPosted: Thu June 1st, 2017, 00:48 GMT 
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ShotofMercy wrote:
I agree, that version of "Simple Twist of Fate" is great. The harmonica at the end to my ears sounds more hollow (for lack of a better word) but sounds really good to me. It kind of reminds me of the sound on the studio version of "What Can I Do For You" or "Spirit on the Water"
. Also I see what you mean with his vocals being a bit "relaxed" in Houston. There's certain points in the New Orleans show where he sounds a little more energized. I think when it comes to songs like Ballad of a Thin Man the Summit show has an edge in regards to nailing the lyrics , but the New Orleans version roars a little more, in my opinion.
The accompaniment of the band on "Girl From North Country" I think is nice, I hadn't heard of any version that wasn't just a solo acoustic performance prior to getting into the '81 shows a while back. That combined with his vocals from either show are enjoyable to me.
Every so often I also read about how some people don't really find live versions of "It Ain't Me Babe" that do the song justice. For some reason the Orleans version , though quirky, is a great version to me. Same goes for Houston, though I would probably take the former over this performance.


The 1978 tour version of GFTNC incorporates other musicians. Pretty nice it is too.


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PostPosted: Thu June 1st, 2017, 01:19 GMT 

Joined: Wed May 31st, 2017, 00:56 GMT
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fatherofnight wrote:
ShotofMercy wrote:
I agree, that version of "Simple Twist of Fate" is great. The harmonica at the end to my ears sounds more hollow (for lack of a better word) but sounds really good to me. It kind of reminds me of the sound on the studio version of "What Can I Do For You" or "Spirit on the Water"
. Also I see what you mean with his vocals being a bit "relaxed" in Houston. There's certain points in the New Orleans show where he sounds a little more energized. I think when it comes to songs like Ballad of a Thin Man the Summit show has an edge in regards to nailing the lyrics , but the New Orleans version roars a little more, in my opinion.
The accompaniment of the band on "Girl From North Country" I think is nice, I hadn't heard of any version that wasn't just a solo acoustic performance prior to getting into the '81 shows a while back. That combined with his vocals from either show are enjoyable to me.
Every so often I also read about how some people don't really find live versions of "It Ain't Me Babe" that do the song justice. For some reason the Orleans version , though quirky, is a great version to me. Same goes for Houston, though I would probably take the former over this performance.


The 1978 tour version of GFTNC incorporates other musicians. Pretty nice it is too.


I should check that out, thank you. I haven't listened to much of the '78 tour in a while, though I do like the Budokan album and some of the other live recordings


belleseb32 wrote:
It's not a particularly popular opinion, but the Houston show is my favorite of the tour, and indeed one of my favorite overall Dylan shows. New Orleans is great, as is Avignon and really any one of the London shows, but Houston is my favorite. To be fair, some of that is down to the recording - the lossy cassette tape that circulates as the standard version of the show nowadays is absolutely gorgeous.


That's awesome to hear, I was waiting for someone who really liked the Houston show to comment actually! I agree that the recording is a big reason for why that concert is so enjoyable. As for it not being a popular opinion, that's fine! I actually saw him live last year and though the audience did not seem too energetic, I thought the show was terrific. I know I'm going off on a completely different topic with that but I did find that night to be particularly good, Mr. Dylan and his band were in top form and I swear he did a version of High Water that I've yet to find from last year. Some have come close but his voice was clear and booming on that song that night.


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PostPosted: Thu June 1st, 2017, 06:04 GMT 
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Is this the show where he talks about the air traffic controllers being replaced by computers?

Something about this show I've been wondering about for quite some time:
The introduction by the announcer at the beginning is in french (Bonsoir mesdames et messieurs...) . Why is that? Did this happen only at this particular show or was this common practise at this tour?


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PostPosted: Thu June 1st, 2017, 11:14 GMT 

Joined: Wed May 31st, 2017, 00:56 GMT
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Yep, that's the show. It's right before the final song (Knockin on Heavens Door), and following that comment he mentions something like a man with a big computer watching everyone.

Also, there's some sources that say the show was introduced by a man called Hugues Aufray, a French songwriter who covered some of Dylan's work. I haven't found an image of the two of them around that year but there are photographs of them together in the sixties and three years later on the 1984 tour I believe. I don't believe that Aufray introduced further concerts in '81 but I may be wrong.


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PostPosted: Fri June 2nd, 2017, 05:58 GMT 
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Thanks for this information. Bob and Hugues go back a long way. I think they both met when Bob visited Paris in 1964. Hugues also recorded a lot of Bobs songs in french.


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