THE FULL 1986 SYDNEY BROADCAST ACROSS 2 x CDS Bob Dylan and Tom Petty were just three weeks into their 1986 True Confessions world tour when they brought in a professional camera crew to film a two-night stand at Sydney, Australia's Entertainment Centre. Dylan had made the mistake of chronicling a tour too early in the past (1978's Live at Budokan springs to mind), but this time around, they captured a pretty great night for an HBO concert special. Dylan first played with Petty and the Heartbreakers at the first Farm Aid in 1985.
The chemistry was apparent and a tour was soon booked. I've heard people say that you can't play with Bob because he's too erratic, Tom Petty said in the 2005 Paul Zollo book Conversations with Tom Petty. But he wasn't. He was professional...There was never a night when the audiences weren't incredibly ecstatic about the whole thing. In his 2004 memoir Chronicles, Dylan however points to the tour as a low point of his career. Tom was at the top of his game and I was at the bottom of mine he stated.
One more, big payday with Petty and that would be it for me. I was what they called over the hill. Most people at the Sydney Entertainment Center were probably unaware of Dylan's true feelings. Bob carried on regardless sometimes equally weary, more often on top of his own game, and Tom continued to excel.
The audience saw a pretty great show featuring classics like Ballad of a Thin Man and Like a Rolling Stone mixed in with newer songs such as When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky and covers including That Lucky Old Sun, Hank Snow's I'm Moving On and the sublime John Hiatt, Ry Cooder, Jim Dickinson number Across The Borderline, which gives this CD it s title. The show ended with Knockin' on Heaven's Door. Now available for the first time on this double CD, featuring the entire program across almost three hours, a present day re-acquaintance with this majestic performance does make one wonder what the hell Bob was on about!