Review: Toad's Place (01-12-90) back to Toad's Place 01-12-90 setlist

Toad's Place (01-12-90)


by Ed Ricardo

Toad's Place Vols 1 & 2 / Bob Dylan [12 January 1990]
4 CDs [Two volumes of two CDs each]
Spine, insert and CD titles: Toad's Place
Front cover titles: Toads Place
Wanted Man Music, WMM 027, WMM 028, WMM 029, WMM 030, 1993
Matrix: B23789, B23790, B23812, B23823

Toad's Place, New Haven, Connecticut, 12 January 1990.
[1102] [complete] Cf T-207, T-244.

Dylan's longest show ever! Also one of his most unusual. This show at Toad's Place, a relatively small nightclub in New Haven, was essentially an open rehearsal for the upcoming European and South American leg of the 1990 tour. A new bass player (Tony Garnier) was being broken in and a number of new songs were tried out and endings worked on. Many many unusual one shot songs, such as Walk a Mile In My Shoes (1), Trouble No More (4), Dancing In The Dark (30), and numerous others. Four sets - 50 songs - all electric, and all dynamite! Some rough spots, to be sure, but all very worthwhile! Talking, joking with the crowd and taking requests. Lots of crowd noise, but authentic rather than overly intrusive. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again (25) has more people singing along than on any other Dylan song at any other concert...

The sound is excellent, mastered from the "best-known" audience recording - much better than the old vinyl boot - but not as good as might be expected. Amazing that the audience tapers had enough tape and batteries on hand, a C-90 would have been too long for many of the concerts prior to this show! If you had been to a fifteen song concert in Boston, or in Ithaca, or at the University of Rhode Island a few months earlier you might have been taken by surprise by a 50 song concert with four hours of music! On the four CDs the four sets do not divide neatly into one set per CD. :-(

Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35 (3) finds some of the audience singing along, "Everybody must get stoned," Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again (25) finds the audience shouting along with the chorus, and Like A Rolling Stone (50) finds the audience singing along in parts, sometimes getting a little ahead of Dylan. At the end of I've Been All Around This World (5) Dylan says, "We're just working on the endings tonight. That's all we're doin'" and at the end of Tears of Rage (8), "Hope these endings are going to be all right. Are these endings okay? All right."

Everybody's Moving (11) ends the first set with, "We're going to be back in a little while." At the end of Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie (14) he says, "Lenny Bruce? Every once in a while I do requests" leading into Lenny Bruce (15). After I Believe In You (16) he says, "This is one of... People say this is a... one of my religious songs. Not really sure that's really what it is, though. It's called Sometimes Satan Comes as a Man of Peace." Just after Wiggle Wiggle (24) starts, a woman in the audience says, "Who wrote THAT?" and after the song Dylan says, "Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle. Don't forget the waitresses..." Help Me Make it Through the Night (27) closes with, "Thank you. A friend of mine wrote that song. Kris Kristofferson..."

A couple of lines into Bruce Springsteen's Dancing In The Dark (30) there are screeches of apparent disbelief and delight as the audience realizes what he is singing. "Allrighty, we're going to take another request now" leads into In The Garden (33). After Everything Is Broken (34) the penultimate set ends with, "Okay, Folks. See you in a while" and the announcer says, "Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. After a short intermission we'll be right back." The second Where Teardrops Fall (36) ends with, "Okay. We're working on our endings tonight. [laugh] So we're going to do this one again, just so we can end it right. We're living in a political world. Everybody knows that, huh?" leading into the second Political World (37).

After Key To The Highway (40) Dylan gets chatty, "What you want to hear? Sort of a ballad song... a ballad song? Uptempo, Uptempo? Ballad? Joey? Joey? [laugh] Joey? Joey? We can even play it for you if you'll sing it. All right, we'll try. Joey, okay, all right, Yeah. [laugh] This is a song about a... sort of a... kind of a... sort of hero of sorts. God knows there's so few heroes left. We'll give it our best and see what we can do." And he introduces Lay Lady Lay (42) with, "All right. This is one of my fave roMANtic songs. Romance doesn't really play that big a part of my life. But it used to." In the Pines (47) finds the audience hand clapping along and someone in the audience, bad voice, sings along loudly for the last refrain...

A highly recommended CD because of this unique show.

The attributions in the track listings on the inserts are not all accurate.

Now where have I seen that cover photograph before? It is on volume 1, and on volume 2, and -- wait for it -- on Madison '91 [T-229]! Wanted Man take such trouble over their packaging... ;-(

San Jose Mercury News -- Tuesday, January 9, 1990:

"LIKE A ROLLING STONE, DYLAN WILL PLAY CLUB -- Bob Dylan will open an international tour with a warmup concert Friday in New Haven, Conn. He will perform at Toad's Place, the nightclub that featured the Rolling Stones in August. To get Dylan to appear at the club, which can hold only 700 people, Toad's offered to let him keep all proceeds from ticket sales, said Mike Spoerndle, president of Toad's. Tickets are to cost $18.50. "We were not looking to make money. We were interested in having another legend," Spoerndle said."

What other Dylan album would give you covers by Joe South, McKinley Morganfield, Richard Manuel, Glen Trout, Elizabeth Cotten, Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, Jim Dickinson, Kris Kristofferson, Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams, Jimmie Davis, Dorinda Morgan, Weldon Rogers, Charles Segar, Big Bill Broonzy, Walter Bullock, Richard Whiting, J.B.F. Wright, and Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, plus a handful of traditional songs!

This is one of the "no collection is complete without"s, I am afraid...