- An excellent sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound throughout
- Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- “… if it doesn’t capture a historically significant tour, as Hard Rain did with the Rolling Thunder Revue, this is a better record all the same… it’s a good, solid live album, his best live album since Before the Flood…”
This vintage Columbia pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What outstanding sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes even as late as 1984
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What We Listen For on Real Live
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Highway 61 Revisited
I And I
License To Kill
It Ain’t Me, Babe
Tangled Up In Blue
Masters Of War
Ballad Of A Thin Man
Girl From The North Country
… if it doesn’t capture a historically significant tour, as Hard Rain did with the Rolling Thunder Revue, this is a better record all the same, capturing a working band — a working band featuring ex-Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, no less — on a pretty good night. That means there are few revelations — though diehards will certainly revel in “Tangled Up in Blue,” which has several brand-new (not necessarily better) verses — but it’s still pretty good all the same, providing lean, relatively muscular renditions of Dylan’s great songs. This isn’t an important, necessary Dylan record, but it’s a good, solid live album, his best live album since Before the Flood, even if it’s hardly as monumental as that.