Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 01/23/98


Boston, Massachusetts

January 23, 1998

Fleet Center

Review provided

It's the day after the first of two Dylan/Morrison shows in Boston, and all I
can say is last night was an amazing performance by both, and if I wasn't15
(and under limited money resources), I'd be right back at the Fleet Center
Tonight to see them again. 	This was my fifth Dylan show, but the first time I
had seen him in a big venue, so I was a little worried about how he would
sound, but needless to say he didn't disappoint! It was pretty evident that
Dylan would be opening the show after seeing the simple stage setup that has
become so familiar. The crowd was a definitely a late-arriving one as a result
of the storm (much older than regular Dylan shows, probably because of
Morrison), so the show didn't get started until 7:25. Customary "Ladies and
Gentleman, please welcome Columbia Recording artist, Bob Dylan!". Dylan came
out wearing the standard "kernel outfit" and black pants with what looked like
buttons running down the sides. He immediately broke into "Absolutely Sweet
Marie", a average version in my opinion and one I've heard all too often. What
followed was the soft chords to "Lay, Lady, Lay",and it was the first hint
that this was going to be a great night.

Then Dylan moved into his Grammy nominated- doesn't that sound great- song:
"Cold Irons Bound".  This was the first time I had heard the song live before,
and it started out very funky by Dylan standards, and just kept pounding
throughout. By this point I had gotten used to average sound that I had
expected from the Fleet Center, but Dylan's vocals sounded as clear as I can
remember. Next came one of my favorite songs, "Simple Twist of Fate".  I wish
he had played this acoustic, but beggars can't be choosers. He sung the first
three verses the way only a great storyteller can, and then skipped to the
last one- alternate lyrics for much of this (ex. 'Instead of he woke up, the
room was bare..." it went something like "He got and found the letter she had
left behind...") Still, I loved every minute of it, and so did the crowd.

"Silvio" was the best version of the song (out of three) that I had ever
heard the band play. The guitar solos were FABULOUS, and it is amazing how
much Dylan has improved his skills on the electric from 1995. But the high
point of the night followed, the acoustic set and spell-bounding "Desolation
Row".  I had been hoping for this song ever since I saw it on the setlist
earlier in the month, and the die-hard fans recognized the beginning of the
classic and they cheered like crazy. Bob sung this like he really meant it,
and left everyone gasping for air. "Everyone is either making love..." just
got me laughing, and the RMD crowd front and center was going crazing by the
time he slowly let the song go with his solo guitar efforts. I couldn't
believe how amazing this song sounded, and it made "One Too Many Mornings"
seem like nothing, although not a bad performance on this one either. Acoustic
set ended with a long jamming version of "Tangled Up in Blue", a crowd pleaser
that brought everyone to their feet.

After Bob shook up his wavy hair, and slid on the electric, he started into a
very good version of "Million Miles", and moved into "Stuck Inside of
Mobile..." where he performed his best dance steps of the night on the
solos. "Ballad of a Thin Man" closed out the regular set, with the incredibly
powerful guitar chords of this song ripping through the venue. The crowd went
ballistic, Dylan came back out, and to my disappointment, played "Highway 61
Revisited" and "Forever Young", both average but the second a crowd pleaser
that brought everyone to their feet. "Love Sick" was great, fun to hear the
memorable opening lines from TOOM live, and familiar "Rainy Day..." had
everyone, baby boomers and young alike on their feet dancing. 

No duet with Morrison, who put on a great show himself (although second to
Bob), performing classics like Cleaning Windows, Moondance, Gloria, Have I
Told..., Jackie Wilson, and Days Like These, my highlight of his set. All in
all it was a incredible night, and if anyone else was also there and wants to
talk about it, or has comments, please feel free to email me. And if anyone
was lucky enough to get a tape, I'll DO ANYTHING for a copy. Go see Bob NOW
before its too late, and pray that he plays Desolation Row.

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