San Antonio 1976 [no label 1CD torrent 128092]
Live at Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas, May 11, 1976.

Often regarded as one of the better shows on the 1976 leg of Rolling Thunder, and that despite the sound quality being only just this side of murky, San Antonio offers up a fairly representative sampling of the night's entertainment, without ever recapturing the full majesty of a full performance.

Opening with a rare acoustic version of "Spanish Is The loving Tongue," Dylan and co then kicked into the usual mash of Desire classics, mid-60s oldies (an electrifying "Maggie's Farm" is a highlight here), close to half of Blood on the Tracks and so on. The thirteen songs here capture just two-thirds of the show, but do include a superbly ragged "Mozambique," a spectral "Isis," a thumping "Shelter >From The Storm," and a positively epic "Idiot Wind." "Knocking on Heaven's Door" wraps things up.

There are so many better sounding recordings from this tour going around that this one would ordinarily be recommended to completists only - us poor souls who are trying to gather up every note from every show on the tour, if only to find that lone rendering of "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts." But there's an excited edge to this particular performance that rises way above the muddiness, and renders it one of the most thunderous Rolling Thunders of them all. At least so far as the 1976 shows go, anyway. - Dave Thompson

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May 11, 2007