Review by David Davis
Like always, I am not a music critic or anykind of expert, I will try to
describe the general scene, everyone reading this knows what the music is
and is not.
Nice Venue in Columbus, Bob was here a year or so ago, the place is a
theater/auditorium place with a balcony, fairly small, and looked mostly
full. We had the best seats ever in row B, that I got from a broker. It was
painful, but a nice change to be in the second row, try it sometime. The
bathroom situation is a big fat mess, with horrible long lines, I do want to
comment on the guy in the waiting room in the upstairs mens, he was the
whitest man in the USA, tripping and sweating and looking like he was going
to die in a minute. I was concerned enough to check his pulse and ask him if
he wanted some help.
Brian Setzer opened and was it was just amazing to contemplate how they get
this 17 piece band around the country. It is like a baseball team on an
endless roadtrip. I can't quess how they feed this lot and move them from
place to place. I am saying they were real good, and if you knew how to do
some crazy jitterbug dance deal, you could have had a regular swing. The
band did some crazy stuff, they were way over the top, and it was fun to
watch and good to hear.
At 9pm the house lights went down, there were some blinking spots mounted
the PAs, and we heard, "Please welcome Columbia ..............
Opened with Gotta Serve, I don't know this song real well, and if people are
saying the words are changed, they may be right. Bob was dressed in a black
suit with a white herringbone stripe down the sides of the legs. Black
skinny tie, white shirt with silver collar tabs, and some black boots with
white flames, no hat. Larry had on that black frock coat he wears that
looks like it was stolen from Johnny Cash. Buckey and Tony had on hats that
no one who was not in a band would dare to wear in public. David, as ever,
looked like he was ready to go golfing.
Not to much out of the ordinary in the first electric set, we got Silvio in
the 5, and like always I will say, I like it, it is a good song, and if you
don't think so, then this is where you should go get a beer.
The acoustic set was very mellow and subdued, The Girl From The North
Country was extra good, and really flowed. It has never been a special song,
until now, it had a Celtic thing especially with the drums, and was just the
kind of thing that catches you off guard and grabs you. It is a whole new
song to me now.
Got the power acoustic TUIB, with harp, when Larry lets loose with some big
barre chords on that fat Martin, it is a powerful thing to hear. The harp
thing is kinda lost on me and it seems like Bob could blow it with his ass
and people would scream for more, but it sounded good in TUIB and great in
My Back Pages later.
In My Back Pages, Larry played something that was like a giant mandolin, or
lute, you could look it up.
In the 16 hole was Not Fade Away. The house lights stayed down, some people
threw roses, and a black bra, some teeny bopper/deadhead type jumped on the
stage and was lead off and put back on the front row nicely. They are not
allowing cameras in now, I walked in to my seat with a big old Nikon hanging
around my neck and nobody said shit, then a nice lady told me it had to go,
she let me take my camera back to my car, and stood by the door to let me
back in. She said this was band policy, and that security would take it away
during the show, it would have been easy to tape, and if the camera had been
in my pocket, I am sure nobody would have bothered me during the show.
All told, nice show, this band is really together, try to go.
Review by Dale Klanchnik
The Columbus show was in a sold out venue of just under 4000 seats. The
place was made for music shows and had excellent acoustics- and Bob and the
band made optimum use of it. This auditorium was quite a welcome switch
from the last Dylan concert I attended in Cinncinnati almost exactly a year ago;
that was an old hockey rink.
Upon entering the auditorium 45 minutes before the Brian Setzer set it was
pretty empty. By about the middle of Brian's set it was full. I was struck by
the age range of attendees- from preteens to septuagenarians- and at least
half teens and twenties. The ushers were pleasant old ladies as you entered;
they were replaced with straight-looking young guys avidly enforcing the
rules once the shows began. During the Setzer set. Iwas approached by one
who insisted I had a camera (which is not allowed.) I thought he was
referring to my binoculars and told him they were not a camera. He said the
camera was in my pocket so I showed him nothing was in there. He kept
standing there and didn't leave until I told him flatly that I did not have a
camera. Later, the guy next to me was taping during the Dylan set
(not allowed.) A different guy walked up briskly, snatched the tape recorder
from him and took off. The taper was dumbfounded. Then between songs
the guard came back and said he removed the tape and batteries and the
taper could pick up his recorder on the way out. I have to say he was polite
about it. The stage front and aisles were kept clear at all times.
Brian Setzer Orchestra is Brian fronting a total of 15 horns a bass and a drum
set. At 7:40 they came on with a big bang full of energy and animation.
Brian looked very flashy in what looked like a blousy black suit with bright
blue stars all over it. The flash continued in the form of extensive tatooing
when he removed the jacket later. The band looked constantly spiffy doing
coordinated hand and/or horn movements when they weren't playing and
sometimes when they were. It looked like pictures of big bands from the
thirties and forties ( a la the Dorseys and many others I've seen.) They
produced a wide variety of sounds- everything from Stray Cats to Chicago
blues to early 60's guitar instrumental to of course swing. A handful of
girls were up and dancing late in the set and by the final number, Jump Jive,
the whole crowd on the main floor was on their feet bebopin'. It was all
very entertaining and by 8:30 it was over.
At 9:00 Bob and the band came on with Bob looking a bit unkempt- hair all
over the place and his jacket a bit too big, but I guess that's the style now.
The whole main floor audience was immediately on their feet and that
familiar aroma began and lasted throughout the show. Most of the
balcony remained seated throughout. I found the tunes of this
performance to be either really rocking or very tenderly delivered- playing
on widely divergent if not opposite emotions for me.
1) "Gotta Serve Somebody"- opened the show as is the custom for this tour.
It had a particularly strong driving beat that carried the song throughout.
Bob's vocals sure didn't at first. He kind of ran words together and was
pretty off beat, but soon fell into it. No smiles on the stage yet.
2) "Million Miles"- the vocals had a strong sense of urgency in them while
the beat rocked. "It was a good thing" to borrow a phrase.
3) "Stuck Inside of Mobile"- these vocals had a matter-of-fact and/or
offhanded quality to them and it really worked. We got a little head shake
and leg wiggle (where he plants the ball of his foot and moves his heel
around) during the instrumental part of this song. They were loosening
up now and showing some smiles.
4) "Simple Twist of Fate"- this was one of those very tenderly done
numbers. The guitar of (Larry?) really augmented the vocal. Boy, that
guy can play guitar.
5) "Silvio"- seems to be a big favorite of Bob's but most people tell me
they're not too crazy about it. Tonight's version was very hard rocking
with two harmonies right in the appropriate places.
6) "Mister Tambourine Man"- another very tenderly done song. The
vocal had a pained, suffering quality to it. What a great version.
7) "Friend of the Devil"- Popular with the crowd. I think Columbus has
a large contingent of Dead style hippies.
8) "Girl from the North Country"- another slow tender song enhanced
by the beautiful full sound of the 12 string guitar Bob was playing.
I was moved.
9) "Tangled Up in Blue"- I've been sort of tired of this song, but tonight
it was magnificently done and a high point of the evening. The guitar
player (is it Larry?) broke into it with full rich chording and the crowd
immediatley recognized it and went wild. Bob boogied and mugged
extensively. Some of the guitar work had a disonant quality that was
attention grabbing. Bob looked to be having a lot of fun on this tune
and seemed to not want to quit. He grabbed the harmonica and did
some licks to the delight of the crowd before the song finally wound
Back to electric
10) "Honky Tonk Blues" the Hank Williams tune Bob's been doing.
Many seemed to not know it. It settled down the crowd after Tangled.
11) "Can't Wait"- leaned to a funk sound in this performance.
Gave it a crispness that I liked.
12) "Highway 61 Revisited"- The crowd was roused again. It was
LOUD, I could feel the music throughout my body. Great guitar work.
Bob was happy, smiling, mugging, dancing. Another high point of the
13) "Love Sick" - There was a consensus around me that Bob nailed this
one. Every sound and movement was in sync. Beautifully done.
14) "Maggie's Farm" was another really rockin' number and a welcome
change from "Rainy..."
15) "My Back Pages" (acoustic) done slowly, sung tenderly, emotionally
moving in a big way. Again harmonica work on the end starting very
sparingly and beautifully building.
16) "Not Fade Away" If there was one song I came for, this was it. And
it far exceeded my expectations. I think it's the syncopated beat that
really holds me. The Stones and Buddy's versions have a very thin
sound compared with the full, deep, body vibrating sound Bob and
company produced at this show. The crowd went nuts. One young
girl got up on the stage to dance and was immediately and politely
hussled off back to the crowd in no time flat.
That was it. I think everybody went home happy. I know I did.
Review by Carsten Molt
Let me start of by saying that the Veterans Memorial Auditorium is a
nice looking venue with good acoustics. As we attempted to enter our
seats in row OO, we noticed that they had taken those seats out for the
huge soundboard. Luckily, the ushers gave us seats in row O which was
closer and we were about 25 feet from the stage front.
One of the first thing that i noticed was the large amount of high
school age audience at the show. I figured that they were mostly were
there for the Brian Setzer Orchestra. At 7:38, Brian Setzer and his
Orchestra came out and gave an entertaining if over the top set of their
trademark rocking swing. About 8:50, Dylan and Co. came on stage to
Dylan was dressed in his black suit with his tuxedo pants that had a
white stripe down the sides.
He was wearing black boots with white designs on the toe and heel. He
was wearing his skinny tie and his white shirt had silver collar tabs.
He wore no hat during the show.
1. Gotta Serve Somebody- A nice solid opener that had Bucky and Larry
singing along on the chorus. It was very nicely performed as Dylan ‘s
vocals were clear and warm from the start.
2. Million Miles- Although, I am a big fan of this song, this rendition
seemed a little flat and
it was probably the low-point of the show.
3. Stuck inside of Mobile(With the Memphis Blues again) - This was a
very strong version with Dylan singing loud and hard without shouting.
Dylan was already sweating by this point and was wiping the sweat from
his face between tunes throughout the show.
4. Simple Twist of Fate- I was hoping for "Blind Willie Mctell" and was
somewhat disappointed by the selection as this song sometimes drags but
on this night, it did anything but. Dylan delivered a spine-tingling
rendition and he and Larry laid down a nice mid-tempo jam that put a
nice exclamation point on the end of the tune.
5. Silvio- I know it has been played to death but the entire band seemed
to be into it as Dylan did a lot of shuffling and grinning during the
jam. It was not one of the longer versions that I have heard.
6. Mr. Tambourine Man(acoustic)- Dylan began the acoustic set with a
beautiful rendition of "Mr. Tambourine Man". He flubbed the beginning of
the second verse but recovered quickly and
breathed new life into one of his older songs.
7.Friend of the Devil(acoustic)- The Grateful Dead classic brought one
of the largest cheers of the night from the audience. Larry stayed on
guitar instead of switching to violin like he had the last time I saw
Dylan perform the tune. Larry joined Dylan on the chorus to good effect.
After the song, Dylan ran his hands through his hair and fluffed it for
a minute or so. This also brought cheers from the audience for some
8.Girl of the North Country(acoustic)- Probably the most intimate song I
have Dylan ever sing live. The band hung in the shadows playing softly
while Dylan stood in the lone spotlight and delivered a "Girl of the
North Country" to die for.
9.Tangled Up In Blue(acoustic)(with harp)- Although, Dylan started the
last verse a verse early and had to recover, he was really into the
song. There was a nice jam with Dylan making eye contact with all
members of the band at one point or another. Bucky Baxter was strumming
away on the mandolin like crazy on the tune. As the song seemed to near
its conclusion, Dylan took off his guitar and played a good harmonica
solo while he strolled around the stage to the delight of the audience.
10. Honky Tonk Blues- The Hank Williams tune began the second electric
set and it was
well played although Larry's guitar was turned up way too loud which got
Dylan to give him a few glares during the song.
11.Can't Wait- Dylan was crooning the lyrics in a slower arrangement
than the last time I saw him perform this. Dylan was having an obviously
great time as he did some of his deep knee bends and a little of his
Band Intros-Dylan announced "This is one of the tightest bands I've ever
had and I'd like to introduce them..." and he proceeded to do so.
12. Highway 61- This rocked and raged on and on. Dylan doing a lot of
smiling and dancing adding some of his duck walk moves and three note
solos. According to my watch, the song went on for just under 10
minutes. At this point, Dylan and the band left the stage.
13.Lovesick- A good rendition of the tune. It sounded more like the
album version than the version that he played at the Grammies last
spring. Dylan was on top of the song from the beginning and seemed very
pleased with himself after the song and began fussing with his hair
again. Through my binoculars, I noticed that Dylan's hair had acquired
more than a touch of grey
since I last saw him last year.
14. Maggies Farm- After a brief discussion, the band launched into a
"Maggies" that while
well played didn't amount to much. Dylan stopped playing the guitar a
couple times during the tune to wipe the sweat from his face.
15. My Back Pages(acoustic)(with harp)- I was totally surprised as I was
expecting "Blowing in the Wind". Dylan's voice was very strong and clear
on the song and was full of vocal nuances and Dylan gave a blistering
harmonica solo at the end of the tune. He held the microphone and
harmonica in his left hand and held the mic cord in his right hand.
16. Not Fade Away- The Buddy Holly tune was played very well and Dylan
ripped off several two note solos in the ensuing jam. A couple of quick
bows and he was gone.
A couple of other notes: The young crowd which I thought was at the show
for Brian Setzer
seemed to be there for Dylan after all. I highly recommend this tour to
everyone. Sorry for the length of the review and of course, it is only
Review by Matt Fulco
So it's the first time I've seen Dylan since last Valentine's day in
Cleveland. My friend DJ had never seen him before, never even been to a
concert for that matter, but I somehow convinced him to go. Well neither of
us was disappointed and let me go out on a limb here and say that probably
goes for most of the other 3,900 folks who packed Veteran's Memorial Coliseum
to the gills last night in Columbus, Ohio.
Brian Setzer Orchestra did a nice job of setting the tone for a truly high
energy evening. The fact that there were always a few guys not playing their
instruments and just waving them in unison with the music was a nice touch.
So were their teal jackets. Kudos to the bass player for some incredible work
and Mr. Setzer, who actually can pull off this bizarre musical hybrid that
combines elements of modern rock, fifties rock, and of course, swing-era jazz.
After the usual marketing scam intro-"Ladies and Gentlemen please welcome
COLUMBIA RECORDING ARTIST Bob Dylan, Zimmy and the boys launched into a rock
solid version of "Gotta Serve Somebody." From the very outset of this show
one could tell that Dylan meant business. His voice was strong, and the band
was extremely focused. Almost immediately, Larry Campbell stepped up with
several strong solos, which Dylan appropriately stayed in the background for.
The dark, brooding notes of "Million Miles" hit my ears next. Dylan sneered
his way through this, scowling as he spit out the words "You told yourself a
lie, well pretty mama, I told myself one toooooo." Outstanding. Again,
Campbell's guitar work was a highlight.
"Memphis Blues" followed, an extremely pleasant first for yours truly. Zimmy
swayed and swaggered his way through this one, playfully jerking his head as
he sang the hilarious lyrics that have become engrained in the head of many a
Dylan fan. Bucky Baxter's steel guitar work was nothing less than phenomenal
on this tune, lending the song a loose, countryish feel that suits it
perfectly, and it showed how Dylan is a master of constantly reinterpreting
his own work.
An eloquent "Simple Twist of Fate" was greeted with tremendous applause from
the audience. Soft lighting suited Dylan's gentle phrasing perfectly, in this
sad tale of lost love. The steel guitar changed the song from good to
Then Dylan tore into Silvio like a condemned man presented with his last
meal. The band fed off Dylan's energy, and Dylan fed off the band,
culminating in a superb mid-song jam which demonstrated Campbell's absolute
mastery of his instrument.
Ah, the familiar notes of "Mr. Tambourine Man" followed. Dylan flubbed a few
of the lyrics but nevertheless this was really beautiful. His phrasing was so
impassioned, and the surreal poetry of this tune will never cease to amaze me.
Some of Dylan's finest.
Next came a noble tribute to a fallen friend-"Friend of the Devil." A really
nice gesture by Bob to Jerry and one of the real highlights of the evening.
Baxter's pedal steel shone especially bright, but Dylan's engaging, truly
inspired phrasing was what made the song a keeper for me.
So what next? How 'bout "Girl From the North Country?" All I can say is this
was one of the best things I've heard Zimmy do in the 7 shows I've seen. So
gentle, so delicate was his phrasing; the passion and caring he conveyed for
this girl from the north country astounded me. Particularly moving were the
lines "Please see for me she's wearing a coat so warm, to keep her from the
howwwwwwling wind." Absolutely euphoric. Thank you Bob.
The question was at that point, how to follow up such a compelling
performance? Well, the most inspired "Tangled Up" I've been a witness to
wasn't a bad choice. Dylan shocked me with how inspired he was on this song.
He and the band played the living hell out of it, climaxing when he grabbed
the harp. The audience response was something akin to what might you hear
after an OSU victory over Michigan. Feeding off the audience response, Dylan
went nuts, dancing around and blowin' on that harmonica for all he was worth.
This was something to behold; I couldn't believe this was the same Dylan who
slurred his way through "Masters of War" on national television in 1991.
The rest of the show was really solid, if not quite as riveting as the
acoustic set. I especially enjoyed the bar room saunter of "Honky Tonk
Blues," proving that Mr. Dylan can and will pull off genuine country tunes
impeccably. "Can't Wait" was also great. I cannot think of song that has
evolved more in live work over the past couple of years. In the encores,
"Love Sick" and "Maggie's Farm" were enjoyable, although they tend to be
somewhat overplayed. But, "My Back Pages" was astonishing in its beauty,
another acoustic nugget from the 1960's that Dylan dusted off and polished,
resulting in a distinctly new shine. And in another nod to Mr. Garcia, as
well as rockabilly legend Buddy Holly, Zimmy charged into Not Fade Away to
round out the proceedings. He seemed positively ecstatic to be playing this
song, maybe even more so than when he played it on Buddy Holly's birthday back
on the 19 of April, 1997 in Hartford. He could not have picked a better way
to end an evening of truly inspiring music. Like the blues singers of legend,
at this point Dylan seems to be getting better with age, and his energy level
is truly shocking at times. The man is 56 years old. Ah, but he was so much
older then, he's younger than that now.
-Matt Fulco 2-11-98
Review by Jeff Knorek
February Dylan concerts in the Great Lakes seem to be a new slot on his
recent rotation of appearances. Because the weather can be so squirrely
here this time of year, we made plans to go to Columbus but didn't buy
advance tickets in case the weather turned foul.
We'll come back to this point soon.
NOAA had been saying since Monday that the expected temperatures for mid
Ohio on day of the show would be in the mid fifties, and then started
ratcheting up the pleasant factor in the forecast to include sunshine
and a southern breeze. A February thaw in Michigan and Ohio is truly
something to behold. Kish and I became very excited to shake off the
stiffness of cold, gray, snotty Ann Arbor and drive back country roads
through the thawing, joyous earth to a distant Bob Dylan concert.
For us, the journey is every bit as important as the show itself.
We kitty-cornered the old Chesapeake and Ohio railroad line that runs
south out of Toledo toward Columbus (and thence onward to the coal
fields of Kentucky and West Virginia). It more-or-less parallels US-23
from Michigan all the way down to Pikeville KY, near the Virginia
border. During the War, tens of thousands of workers traveled this
corridor from desperate Appalachian poverty to work the armament
production plants in southeast Michigan.
These folks stayed on after the war to work in the booming post war
automotive economy. Whole generations of them traveled home to visit
kin over Christmas or during summer retooling, or to care for ill
parents and bury those who had passed on.
This was the route they took back to the backwoods and hollers, so you
can feel a lot of ghosts along this road.
But only the happy ones were with this day; the sun shone bright, hawks
wheeled in the sky, and the songbirds sang. I peeled off my overshirt
at noon as we posted a letter in tiny little Rising Sun OH. It was 60
Degrees F. The sky was a soft blue up high, and yellow-white on the
southern horizon, backlighting distant tree lines with the smoky haze of
a vernal afternoon.
Deep in my soul I felt and quiet and contented sense of release.
Shortly we were in Fostoria having sandwiches at Dell's Diner, and then
shopping at the Saint Vincent DePaul store across the street. Kishie
found a hooded flannel shirt for me, which I would not wear until much
later in the evening, for the air was so warm and luscious that it could
have passed for an afternoon in the month of May.
We had two of our four cats with us, Sparks! and Petite Le Mew. They
traveled with us to the last two sets of Ohio Dylan shows, and spent
this trip hiding under the driver seat or napping in Kishie's lap. They
are great company. On this trip they saw their very first train. Boy,
did their eyes get big!
While we had plenty of time to get to the motel and then to the venue, I
was still half-focused on our goal of the day. Remember, we still did
not have tickets. So we blew off the back roads and drove on US-23
south out of Carey, making a beeline for the motel room. Settled in by
4:30, I started dialing to find out about ticket availability.
Ticket Bastard had put me on hold for 10 minutes when I called to
inquire about tix earlier in the morning. Now they did it again, only
to tell me (once I got through), that they cannot even reveal if shows
are sold out on the day of the show.
Now that's what I call SERVICE.
So I called the venue itself, and their ticket office's phone tree
defaulted to, guess who, Ticket Bastard. Finally, I spoke to some
manager at the venue who told me the show had in fact *just* sold out.
And we were juuust starting to relax and unwind after an afternoon on
the road. Now we had to quickly call a cab and get on down to the venue
to find us a spare pair of tickets.
The Cabbie was the first of three Guardian Angels we met, and needed,
that night. Under a dazzling sunset we made it to the venue on a six
dollar fare. Along the way, we chatted with the cabbie about our
dilemma, and she with us about her lousy day. Upon arrival out front of
Vets on Broad Street, with traffic whizzing by, she called over one of
the scalpers to the cab (have you ever noticed that the only black guys
at Dylan shows are scalpers?), whereupon we haggled over some pricey
seats ($75ea) that he claimed were 7th row.
Foolishly, I was leaning on getting them and getting it over with when
the Cabbie stepped in: "Lemmie look at them tickets" she says.
After a cursory perusal, she quips "These say limited view, you don't
"Limited view" in the 7th row means waaaay over on the side in the 7th
row of the second section from the stage, right where the sound will
suck good and hard. "No thank you" I tell him.
We give her a 100% tip and she set us off at the north gate after
threading our way past all of the parking staff.
We hurry over to the box office and discover that they sold their last
ticket ten minutes ago (I didn't tell Kish this until the next day).
Still, we kept out composure. Everything so far this day worked out
just dandy. It was not hard to imagine why this show sold out at the
last minute; here it was the most beautiful day in any February to date.
A good day to blow off work or classes or whatever, play around in a
park and get all good and happy, and say to a friend "let's go on down
to the Bob Dylan Concert tonight". Who could blame them? I was
convinced that everything would work out just fine.
We wandered around looking for that friendly face, and found one.
Our second Guardian Angel.
Once inside the hall itself, we went to the way-back of the balcony and
parked it right in the middle, all the way back, where we can dance
without blocking anybody's view. Brian Setzer came on and did his
thang. And I have to say, he has some great guitar licks. I still have
to get past his dopy rooster-boy trip, but his set was fun. Toward the
end he really started to let it hang out. The swing band was good
enough, and I bet this show would be a whole lot of big fun in an
outdoor setting with a beer tent and grass to dance on. As far as swing
bands go, though, Doc Severson's band would blow these guys out of the
water. But as far as opening acts go, this package was just what Dylan
needs to kick his ass into bringing home the goods. Natalie Merchant
will have a hard time doing as well, IMHO.
Some folks came up to our spot and, lo, I was in one of their seats (did
I mention we got in without tickets?). They were VERY cool about it, and
after hearing our story they accommodated us by letting Kishie remain
seated next to them while I stood behind her (in the seat on the isle
that remained unclaimed by it's rightful owner for the rest of the
One of these fellows said this was his first Dylan show, and man, was he
ever STOKED. As it turned out, they would join me to dance on the
platform behind us while Kish stayed in her seat for 2/3 the show.
Everybody around us turned out to be really nice and friendly, even the
tobacco smokers who respected our request to exhale in a direction away
After a remarkably speedy stage change, Bob came on and opened with:
Gotta Serve Somebody:
I notice right away that there is something different about his
presentation. I can't put my finger on it at the moment, but later on
it occurs to me: he is delivering this song with a sense of CONFIDENCE,
or at least, this is my perception. The whole show will be this way.
The band seems every bit as confident, and subtle changes in the
arrangement of songs so familiar now explain how they spent the four
days of pre-tour rehearsal. Workin' it out. And the sound is crisp,
like they are hitting every note just where they want to.
Tonight's show would be like of the good ol' Dead shows of yore, when
the band could take you to new places as they take the songs to new
I read a review of this one where the author says it sounded flat. I
respectfully disagree. To my ears it was smoky and warm, with a full,
rich sense of being in some downtown dive with the amps turned up. The
Detroit '98 version of this was weak, and this one set it to right.
We now had high hopes for the rest of the show.
Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again:
When he came around to the end of the first chorus, the crowd responded
with their first big hurrah of the evening. It is then that I notice
just how many Deadheads are here. The isles up our way were writhing
with gaggles of them.
Simple Twist Of Fate:
Without question one of the most beautifully rendered songs I have ever
heard performed live by anybody. Having seen something like 1000 rock
and jazz concerts since 1976, that's quite a statement. It sounded a
lot like the _Love Sick Vol 1_ version of _Born In Time_. Bob's few
guitar leads were not only accomplished, they were GOOD, although he
smudged the outro jam a bit. This is when I notice that he is actually
letting Larry Campbell take most of the leads this evening. That
rehearsal is bearing handsome and rich fruit! We have to wonder when
the lightning bolt hit him..."let the pros play lead, you just stand
there and be Bob Dylan".
The crowd was very polite and attentive, no drunk asshole Frat Boys
yelling "Baw-Beee!" like the GR show a few nights later. There is a mix
of ages here, but we are up in the cheap seats with all the college
kids. Big fun!
The reason that Kish is not up dancing yet is because she has a sore
back and shoulder. All evening I have been giving her a pounding
message with the heels of my palms in sync with Kemper's drum track.
We do this for very nearly the whole show. Silvio is a great song for
this (normally we use rubber mallets on spring steel stems with wooden
handles, they are called bongers, but we forgot them in our rush out the
door of the motel).
People kinda stare, but don't say nothin'.
It is about now that I realize that every song we've heard so far
tonight is the best version I've heard Dylan perform with Larry
Campbell. The rest of the show will be this way, even the acoustic set.
Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic)
Friend Of The Devil (acoustic)
Girl Of The North Country (acoustic)
Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) (with harp):
Easily the best acoustic set we've ever heard. Dylan does take the leads
here, and they are muuuuuuch better than I could have dreamed. Kishie
remarked how good Tambourine Man sounded for a song that she did not
want to hear. FOTD really appealed to the Deadheads, who went ape shit.
As a matter of fact, 7 songs that Dylan played this night had been
covered by the Dead or Jerry Band, or, >gasp<, written by Garcia/Hunter.
North Country was sweet and heartfelt, and sounded like it could have
just as easily been _Boots of Spanish Leather_. Dylan ends TUIB with a
showy harp outro, which the crowd just eats right up. I need to point
out that I miss the days when his harp solos were more substance than
show. Spring '96 was the last time you could rely upon getting at least
two of them. *sigh*
Anyways, he has the audience in the palm of his hand and can take us
anywhere he chooses. Everybody up where we are is having a GREAT time.
The sweet, skunky aroma of good, fine weed is everywhere, shamelessly.
Honky Tonk Blues (Hank Williams):
Oh, pissy, pissy me...if he is going to cover Hank, I would prefer to
hear _Your Cheatin' Heart_. It is better suited to his vocal range, and
keeps the cheerful _Love Sick_ theme, IMHO...but I am psyched that he is
covering Hank at all. A good but not stellar performance.
Let's see it this one remains in the rotation. I bet not.
For those who wish they had seen the Grateful Dead I say: Find a tape of
this show and listen to this song. It has a funky-kinda-shuffle-groove
to it, I mean, FUNKY. On really good nights the Dead give the same
treatment to _Feel Like A Stanger_ and _Althea_. This is Kemper and
Garnier hard at work here...Gosh, what a band. THESE GUYS ROCK!!!!!
Highway 61 Revisited:
Bob tells us that this is the best band he's ever worked with. Another
writer says Bob said "tightest band", but I think the interpretation is
identical. He is real happy to be with them. By now the whole room is
on their feet and just SHAKIN'...how lucky we are to be here together,
oh, how truly blessed. They fucking CRUSH this Highway 61.
The versions on the Live European import EP's already sound dated. How
does he do that? He has the whole crowd on the edge of their seat, er,
try to imagine that standing up...real tense. Man, this show just won't
JJ was able to do his country licks seemingly without effort. It
appears to have taken Larry Campbell longer to get them down, but
finally he has. This version was so Country-Roots sounding that I
reckon' country radio DJ's wouldn't recognize it...Country Music has
gotten THAT shallow. Funny how it takes someone like Dylan to get it
My Back Pages (acoustic) (with harp):
Another nod to Vegas give-em-what-they-want style harp outro...this time
the crowd was so excited that it was hard to hear, and Kish had to cup
her ears to block all that white noise. I know what the last song is
going to be, and have kept it a secret from everybody just 'cause I want
to see their reaction....
Not Fade Away:
The crowd just EXPLODES with joy! Bob borrows from the Dead's
arrangement, which is decidedly different than the Buddy Holly
arrangement. We are all just happier than little ducks in water.
This is the tightest, most energized Dylan show I have ever seen with
Larry Campbell. The GR show a few days later will be very nearly so,
but this one was exceptional in that it happened without Brian Setzer
joining Bob onstage like he would in Normal and GR. Larry Campbell's
leads are great and full of spirit.
Our THIRD Guardian Angel of the evening turned out to be the cab driver
who picked us up after the show...he called us over from the opposite
side of Broad St. at a time when the wait for a cab call would be an
hour or so. We shared the fare with a couple of very friendly college
gals whom we promised to see somewhere on down the road some fine day.
The ride home was every bit a gracious as the trip to the show, with the
temperature hitting 70 degrees F. Kish blew off work and we spent the
day walking in the woods. This was the start our midwinter vacation, to
follow would be a performance of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (the
digital music was just mind blowing) and two more Dylan shows; one each
in South Bend and Grand Rapids. And the weather was as close to perfect
as could be expected for those two as well.
Details at eleven....
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