5 DECEMBER 1979
KIVA AUDITORIUM @ CONVENTION CENTER - ALBUQUERQUE, NM
MONOLOGUE/IF I GOT MY TICKET, LORD/IT’S GONNA RAIN/DO LORD, REMEMBER ME/LOOK UP AND LIVE/OH FREEDOM/THIS TRAIN/SERVE SOMEBODY/I BELIEVE IN YOU/WHEN YOU GONNA WAKE UP?/WHEN HE RETURNS/MAN GAVE NAMES TO ALL THE ANIMALS/PRECIOUS ANGEL/SLOW TRAIN COMING/COVENANT WOMAN/GOD USES ORDINARY PEOPLE (Mona Lisa Young, vocals)/GONNA CHANGE MY WAY OF THINKING/DO RIGHT TO ME BABY/SOLID ROCK/SAVING GRACE/ SAVED/WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU/ IN THE GARDEN
Dylan's performance this evening begins sedately, then warms considerably with a number of wonderful loose performances, particularly during the second half of the concert. Beginning with “Man Gave Names,” Dylan loosens his arrangements, roaming within the melodies and among the usual phrasings. His explorations lead to a number of lyric miscues, however, these are a small price for hearing many of these songs come home to roost, for example, the three song series beginning with “Man Gave Names” and culminating in a lovely, easy-going “Covenant Woman.”
Nevertheless, these performances are overshadwed by a number of comments Dylan directs to the audience. It is difficult to discuss these comments without becoming entangled in matters of faith, which, every good host knows, are seldom appropriate matters for polite conversation. At the risk of being a poor host, I'll offer a few observations:
Dylan's comments this evening all have a conciliatory, humble tone. Often, during this leg of the tour, Dylan will state matters of faith, such as impending Armageddon, as thought they were self-evident and widely-held. On certain nights, antagonistic fan comments prompt Dylan to take a more aggressive approach, warning the audience of impending doom, asking the audience whether know what he's talking about, and, sometimes commenting that he's glad to see he and the band are not alone in their faith.
This evening, Dylan begins by stating, "I don't know what god you believe in." Later, he'll note, "I don't think there's anybody here who doesn't feel that in their heart." And "I don't know who you're gonna vote for." While these may simply be rhetorical tics, I believe Dylan is acknowledging how far his faith has brought him from some in his audience. Where at earlier concerts, Dylan suggested that Armageddon was obvious to all, here he suggests that we all know it in our hearts, whether or not we consciously acknowledge that fact. He then proceeds to cite "The Times They Are A-Changin" and "Blowing In The Wind", his most anthemic songs, asking, in essence, "You trusted and believed me then, why not now?" Dylan then proceeds to answer his own question, suggesting that his audience may be distracted from what Dylan sees to be the fundamental truth by all the gurus and alternative spiritual paths offered in New Mexico. Dylan sums this up by stating, "There's only one way to believe. There's only one way, the truth and the light. It took me a long time to figure that out before it did come to me. I hope it doesn’t take you that long." If nothing else, this highlights how deeply Dylan seeks to reconnect with his audience, not on their terms, but together in what he sees to be the only true faith.
Dylan's last ruminations this evening are also quite interesting. Introducing Mona Lisa Young's performance of "God Uses Ordinary People," Dylan begins what on other nights will be a sermonette on how Moses was an ordinary man raised up by God to do extraordinary things. This evening the sermonette gets away from Dylan as you can hear him think out loud about a troubling aspect to the Exodus story. In Exodus, when God sends Moses to confront Pharoah, God also stiffens Pharoah's resistance to Moses, causing Pharoah to reject Moses' demand. Dylan is clearly troubled by this and stumbles in his tale, first commenting on Pharoah's "rebellious" spirit, then on how "you know (Pharoah) wasn't going to believe (Moses), " then trying to explain why Pharoah wouldn't want to let the Hebrews go, finally stating, "God does that, you know, God will just use his judgment . . . however he sees fit."
Dylan also directly addresses his critics this evening, stating:
I hear that some, somebody says, "I like, I like the music, but I don't, I can't, I can't get the message. I like the music, but it's the message I can't get." That's like saying, "I like the high, but the lows, I just don't quite, I can't quite place." "The eyes, uh, the ears are ok, but the neck just don't work." You know some of you people, you know, you've got to be responsible for what you say.
There are a number of possible interpretations of this statement, but, at very least, Dylan is expressing exasperation at those who think you can have the music without the message. Dylan clearly thinks the two exist together and directly support one another. The implications of this view are interesting: Dylan could not make a gospel album without believing. Dylan could not make any other kind of album once he believed. One cannot embrace the pre-"Slow Train" Dylan without also accepting the post-"Slow Train" Dylan. But at its core, I read this statement to say: "Here I am. Accept me or reject me, but don't think you can dissect me and pick and choose among the parts." This seems to me to be a mark of Dylan's artistic sensibility, that he sees no delineation between himself and his work, and is horrified by those who don't recognize his artistic integrity, but rather seek to segregate their Dylan from him as a living artist.
MONOLOGUE (Regina Havis McReary)
· “Good evening. I’m gonna tell you a story.”
· Skips part about injury, straight to “shipped me to this hospital”
· Someone in crowd mock weeps
· “please, some kind of way, let me get to my child”
· “and she got her a real good seat on the train”
· “jesus told me to get on this train, please don’t put me off”
· “and he grabbed her by the side—by her arm and set her by the side of the track”
IF I'VE GOT MY TICKET, LORD
IT'S GONNA RAIN
· excellent performance -- very, very spirited
DO LORD, REMEMBER ME
· Regina: “clap your hands for jesus!”
LOOK UP AND LIVE BY FAITH
· very nice rendition
· mona lisa hits a sweet note in intro
I BELIEVE IN YOU
Dylan: "Alright. Thank you. I don't know what god you believe in. I believe in a god that can raise the dead. Unless your god can do that, he ain't no god.”
WHEN YOU GONNA WAKE UP?
WHEN HE RETURNS
CROWD: "(?) stop raining on sick fools!" (aka “Subterranean Homesick Blues!”) "Like A Rolling Stone!"
MAN GAVE NAMES TO ALL THE ANIMALS
CROWD: "Praise the lord!"
Dylan: "Well, you know we're living now in the end times. I don't think there's anybody here who doesn't feel that in their heart. Scripture says, "in the last days, perilous times shall be at hand. Men shall become lovers of their own selves." Blasphemous, heavy, and high-minded.
Now, I don't know who you're gonna vote for, but none of those people is gonna straighten out what's happening in the world now. You know what's happening right now, when you look at the Middle East? They're headed for a war. That's right, they're headed for war. There's gonna be war over there. I'd say maybe five years, maybe ten years, could fifteeen years, I don't know, but remember I told you right here.
I told you "The Times They Are A-Changing" and they did. I said the answer was "Blowing In The Wind" and it was. And I'm saying to you now, Jesus is coming back, and he is. There is no other way to salvation. I know around here you've got a lot of different spiritual things. You've got a lot of gurus, I know you do. You've got a lot of people just putting a mess on you in all kinds of ways. You don't even know which way to believe. There's only one way to believe. There's only one way, the truth and the light. It took me a long time to figure that out before it did come to me. I hope it doesn’t take you that long. But Jesus is coming back to set up his kingdom in Jerusalem for a thousand years. I don't know if that's news to you, but I know you don't read it in the newspapers. But it's the truth. Alright. So don't you be worried now. Don't you be bothered by the events to come, because, if you're saved, you're saved. And if you're lost, you're lost."
SLOW TRAIN COMING
Dylan: "Thank you. Mona Lisa's gonna come and sing a song called, "God Uses Ordinary People." You know he does use ordinary people. He doesn't use no , uh, superheros or these strange mystical people. He uses ordinary people. That's right. And Moses was even an ordinary . . . person. Did you know Moses didn't even want to go down to Egypt-land and tell them to get those people out. But God said, Moses, you go down there and you get those people out" Now Moses couldn't talk very well though. Anyway, he went down there and he told Pharoah to let the people go. But Pharoah did not want to do that. He did not want to let those people go. Pharoah was what you could call, "rebellious." He had a rebellious spirit.
And, ah, God told Moses, "Well, Moses, you go tell Pharoah, uh he's gonna, hail's gonna strike." So Moses went and he told Pharoah that the hail was gonna come. And Pharoah didn't believe him. You know that he wasn't gonna believe him. But the hail came anyway and the rivers dried up and all kinds of plagues came. You can read about it yourself, if you want to. Anyway, Pharoah probably still did not want to let those people go. He would not let them go because they were working for him. There what you call slaves. They were working for him, and, uh, he did not want to let them go at all. Anyway, the last time, God told Moses, he said, "Moses, you go tell Pharoah that all the first-born sons in Egypt are going to die tonight. That he gonna - God does that, you know, God will just use his judgment to see, however he sees fit.
Anyway, Moses said to God, "Well how will all the Hebrew children, how will he know them, how will this destroying angel know the Hebrew children?" And he said, "Well, if you go kill a lamb and you put the sign of the blood on every door" And that's what Moses did. And the blood was on every door. And you know you need that blood on your door. Of course you do.
Mona Lisa's gonna sing a song called, "God Uses Ordinary People" and show you, that he really truly does. Mona? Mona Lisa."
GOD USES ORDINARY PEOPLE (Mona Lisa Young, vocals)
EDIT# - During Applause
GONNA CHANGE MY WAY OF THINKING
DO RIGHT TO ME BABY
(Dylan strumming and hear Drummond count in)
Dylan: "Thank you. I hear that some, somebody says, "I like, I like the music, but I don't, I can't, I can't get the message. I like the music, but it's the message I can't get." That's like saying, "I like the high, but the lows, I just don't quite, I can't quite place." "The eyes, uh, the ears are ok, but the neck just don't work." You know some of you people, you know, you've got to be responsible for what you say.
Now here's a song about being delivered from the devil, who is the god of this world. Prince of the power of the air. Mister Devil. He's infiltered, uh, infiltrated into ev-er-y-thing. Medicine, science, you name it, he's there."
WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU
Dylan: "Alright, we have time for one more."
IN THE GARDEN
EDIT# - During applause
Dylan: "On keyboards tonight, give him a hand, Spooner Oldham. On the other set of keyboards, Terry Young. Playing lead guitar tonight, Fred Tackett. On drums is Jim Keltner. Playing electric bass guitar, Tim . . . Drummond. Singing on the bottom is Helena Springs. Signing in the middle is Regina McCreary. Singing on top is Mona Lisa Young.
I'm glad you all got to come. I don't know if we'll ever be back, but remember, Jesus is lord. And nothing else (indecipherable)."
BLESSED IS THE NAME
Audience conversation with taper:
Taper: “There’s one more song – there’s one more”
“Will they be back?”
“How long is the film (?) gonna be?”
Taper: “About a half hour.”
Taper: “About a half hour.”
“Did you tape the first half yesterday and the second half today?”
“Did you do the first half yesterday and the second half today?”
Taper: “I didn’t do any yesterday.”
Two known reference tapes circulating:
The first (051279TET) is a mono audience recording which lacks the seven opening songs performed by the band, and the eighth song, "Put Your Hand in the Hand" by the band and sung by Regina McCreary Havis following "Covenant Woman." This recording circulates as a fan-based production entitled, "The End Times."
This recording has considerable hiss throughout. It is further marred by a destructive edit clipping all of "God Uses Ordinary People," and the first line of "Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking." There is a conversation between the taper and another audience member about tape length and timing during the applause before "Pressing On."
The second (051279AJMD) is a dual mono audience recording which includes the seven opening songs performed by the band, and the eighth song, "God Uses Ordinary People" by the band and sung by Mona Lisa Young following "Covenant Woman." This recording will soon circulate as a fan-based production entitled, "Hanging On."
This recording is quite good considering the vintage. There is a very brief drop-out which clips the first beat of “When You Gonna Wake Up;” a strum of “When He Returns;” a strum of “Covenant Woman;” and the first beat of “Change My Way Of Thinking,” otherwise a superlative record of a 1979 show.