From: xyx
Date: Sat, 8 Nov 1997 19:30:40 -0500 (EST)

    It's the best kind of dilemma, realizing that whatever choice you
make will be a win-win result. The dilemma? Opting for your 242nd
spin of TOOM, or..........

EYES OF THE IDOL  2CD (QR 13/14)  Magdeburg, GE  12 Jul 96 + filler
  from Konstanz, GE 3 Jul 96 (4) & Louisville, KY 7 May 96 (1)
Tracks: 19   Times: 76/72   Source: Audience  Quality: Outstanding
That sound you hear is the shuffling of the rankings of finest Dylan
CD's of 1996. For the time being, there's 3 kings of the hill now,
with this set, perhaps, nestled a bit above the acclaimed SOUL &
CHRISTIANIA.........for the time being. Only time will tell but I'll tell
you why I think so:

1)  The sound quality is astonishing. The full force of Dylan's vocals
come through loud and clear, upfront and strong, every nuance and
inflection fully intact and true. The balance is perfect - Dylan's
vocals ride above the equally forceful instrumentation in perfect
sync. Every instrument is clearly defined, from Tony's robust bass
lines to Bucky's "are those keyboards?" steel guitar. 

2) The setlist is a doozy. More varied than most, the Magdeburg set
included LayLadyLay/HollisBrown/GatesOfEden/Jokerman/Sweet
Marie&Times as those rarely played in '96. The trump card, though,
would be the killer filler. Finally, we get the tracks from Konstanz
w/Boyd Tinsley of the Dave Matthews Band on violin, accompanying
Bob on wonderful renditions of MAGGIE'S FARM/EVERYTHING IS
BROKEN & TIMES!! Maggie's & Broken really cook, high energy versions
given a harder edge with Tinsley's energetic backing. Dave Matthews
lends a sizzling guitar to Broken, to boot. The acoustic Times w/
Tinsley is a joy to behold!! I'll Remember You is slotted in between
Maggie's & Broken, plus a gorgeous Never Gonna Be The Same
from Louisville in May just adds additional lustre to the whole 
shebang.  Very well though out, this set. Remaining tracks:
Watchtower/Silvio/Jokerman/Sweet Marie/LARS/RDW, plus the below.

3)  The performance is special. As a witness to the event states in
the liner notes, this was not just another "good" performance. No
warming up on the first few songs that night. Not a millisecond
passes after the intro that the first ass-kicking notes of ToBeAlone
WithYou hit home, as if Bob and the band were champing at the bit to
cut loose. The throttle was opened up from the get-go and stayed
on throughout. You gotta hear the country stomp and roll of ToBeAlone
to believe it, and Bob's wild harmonica is out of this world. 4th Street
is sung with a passion and intensity and feeling of regret and pity that
is awe-inspiring, and rivals the SOUL (Berlin) version (IMO) as THE one
for the ages.  The band is so tight with Bob that the bluesy excursions
on ItTakesALotToLaugh are quite extraordinary. More even than usual,
Bob's vocals are playful and crisp and alive with adrenaline.  He
really MEANS it at this show!!  Hollis Brown has never sounded so
full of dread and GATES is, well, always a joy. The acoustic tracks
just leap out of the speakers and sound so alive. The harmonica
playing is particularly soulful on MR TMan. Transcendence, more than
a few times!!

4)  The original artwork. A very interesting and, IMO, deceptively 
simple, pastel portrait of Bob from the neck up, amidst a wonderful 
design of pastel squares and blocks, graces the front cover.  The "feel"
of the portrait captures the feeling of the show - timeless and
enigmatic. Eyes of the idol, indeed. The  colorful pastel "scheme" is
echoed throughout the package, and the back cover art captures Bob 
from the neck to the waist, cradling a guitar, with the loosely-
arranged pastel squares again prominent. A nice mesh of autumn-
flavored watercolors border the rear insert. The original art is a 
classy touch to an all-around class package. 
Look here!

5) The entirety of the package. Arguably (and many have said it is) 
the best show of '96, and with the filler added it can't be beat!

1995 1996 1997 1998 T-list CDs