Review by Jared
If anyone out there went through the trouble of getting to the Dylan concert
tonight (a storm followed Dylan in his trek up to Maine) they were sure
treated to an unbelievable show. Not only was the setlist filled with
surprises and delights, but the man himself was far more outgoing and full of
expression compared to the night before.
In comparison, I’ve seen seven shows over the last four years, but this would
prove to be head and shoulders above the rest. The crowd was fantastic, band
extremely tight, and Dylan was on top of his game, with a few tricks lurking
in the corner.
Quick highlight of opener- Larry joined Natalie Merchant on fiddle for a slow
song which I didn’t recognize but never the less, it was nicely done. But the
real show was obviously Bob, and he opened with two average performances of
“Serve Somebody” and “I’ll Remember You.” “Can’t Wait” had its usual funk
aspect to it, and at this point Dylan began to get more animated with the
crowd (I was in row four, and witnessed numerous facial expressions throughout
the night). “Positively 4th Street” was one of the many highlights, well
performed, effective guitar, and convincing on the line: “you would know what
a drag it is to see you.” Everyone began to dance on “Silvio,” which was
pretty straight forward but a crowd pleaser, and nice contrast to the softness
of the acoustic set.
“Masters of War” was nearly identical to the night before, but what came next
was like a dream come true. “Visions of Johanna,” a long time favorite of mine
and nearly everyone else on RMD, was completely unexpected, and because of
this single fact I’m sure my opinion is very biased, but to me it was the high
point of the night. Not exceptionally sung or played, but its presence alone
was enough to make my night. “Tangled Up In Blue” was the best I’ve ever seen
it, with a brilliant guitar solo by Dylan, and lots of great “looks” to match.
Next was “Friend of the Devil,” another favorite, and it became a crowd sing-
along towards the end, at least among those up front, slowly fading with a
nice light strumming of the guitar by Bob and Larry. Overall, the acoustic set
was the best one I have ever experienced, and it alone would have made the
“Pledging My Time” and “Blind Willie,” along with “61” were all very well
done, but the fact is that the guitar work of “Leopard Skin” and overall
emotion of the song overshadowed the former three (along with a version of
“Love Sick” that wasn’t up to the standards set the night before). “Leopard
Skin” was definitely another highlight of the night, and the solos seemed to
last forever, yet still not long enough. “Blowin in the Wind” took a long time
to develop, with multiple guitar loops before Dylan launched into “How many
roads...” Finally, “Not Fade Away” was very short but a fitting end to the
There’s nothing more to say except this was an incredible show, and now I
can’t sleep, because just thinking about it raises my heart beat. Hopefully
this won’t be the last time I get to see my idol, but if it is, he left me
with memories from tonight that I will not soon forget. “Ain’t it just like
the night to play tricks when you are trying to be so quiet?” :) please
email me if you were lucky enough to attend, or can get ahold of a tape of the
show, or just have any questions goodnight everyone, email@example.com
as I sit here stranded doing my best to deny it
Review by Victor Vaughan
Bob seemed in great spirits. Very active. Up on his toes, sliding his back foot,
the deep knee bends, shaking his head, anything to squeeze the sounds he
wanted from his guitar. The band has really jelled.Larry seems comfortable,
and not as awe struck as he seemed up in the maritimes when he first arrived.
Although I must say it's great to see Bob playin' so much guitar. He seems to
be getting better and better, especially during the last five years. The backing
vocals were also much improved. Gotta Serve opener, a new tune for me,
enjoyable but too short. I'll remember you, the band still seemed a little rushed,
but settled down and did a great version of Can't Wait. This is where they
really found their groove and held it for the rest of the night. I thought there
was a real blues feel to this number. Also, the eleven slot was now wide open.
Positively 4th st. next, sung with the emotion this song deserves. Silvio, the
first Hunter tune of the night, fun to dance to, very upbeat. The acoustic set
alone was worth the drive. A very tasteful Masters of War and an absolutely
sweet Visions, Bucky adds a lot to this song with that pedal steel, then
Tangled up and Friend of the Devil. I couldn't help but think of the fat guy
during FOTD and I'm sure Bob does too. Pledgin' My Time, a welcome blues
number and a fantastic Blind Willie McTell, in the eleven slot. For me the
highlight of the night. I know the other review claims the audience was good,
but he was up front. I was up on the side, the sound was good, but the
audience around was quite subdued. Highway 61 closed the set, with Bob
finding the spotlight and playfully puffing up his hairdo before making his
exit. I think he really had a good time tonite. The Lovesick in the encore is
really developing into a strong tune. Leopard Skin, I could take every night
and for me a wonderful Blowin in the wind. I loved the vocals and the
arrangement, and hadn't seen it since 1989. To top it all off, Not Fade Away.
Fresh, energetic, as always he leaves us wanting more.
Victor Vaughan, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Review by John Wood
To those fellow New Englanders who sat
through last night's snowstorm, ok, call me nuts
for driving to Portland! While the weather
conditions weren't the Blizzard of '93 drive to
Richfield for the good old Grateful Dead, t
here was enough snow and wind gusts
to make the drive rather interesting. I left
work in Acton by 5:15 pm, and made it to the Center
just in time for Natalie's opening set. Also nice
was that Manny spotted me upon entering, so I joined
him for the show instead of being solo.
Natalie's set started slow in terms of her
connecting with the audience, but midway through,
she gamely broke the ice with some humorous,
self-effacing comments, then shined on the rest
of the set. One note: There was an additional
folk-based ballad where Larry Campbell came out
and played some pretty violin (Bob, let Larry
play that again in some of the acoustic tunes!).
As for Natalie, from now on, whenever she is in
the Boston area, I'll be there.
While Natalie shined, last night belonged to Uncle
Bob, folks! While I have enjoyed every show the
past week, last night was *why* I go! After the usual
rocking Gotta Serve Somebody, Uncle Bob dished up a
nice curve ball, I'll Remember You in a new
slow country four-step arrangement: Uncel Bob
dipped into each verse with verve and vigor, enough
for me to know that something was happening.
Next up was a steam-chugging Can't Wait where Uncle
Bob and Larry started the first of several inspired
Next up was a way cool Positively 4th Street, with
some subtle dynamics utilized that allowed
the ensemble & Bob to build up steam with
every verse. By the final verse, Uncle Bob was
roaring: "I wish that for just one THY-ime, you
could step inside my shoes/You know what
a drag it is, what a drag it is to see
yooooooooou...". Another house-rocking Silvio
capped the "pre-acoustic" segment just right:
Lots of energy, plenty of cool interplay and
rock & roll spirit.
By now, I should be tired of Masters Of War,
but once again, Uncle Bob is just giving
this warhorse such powerful readings that the
instrumental intricacies and sheer subtleties
stick out even more. I honestly hope these shows
are being professionally recorded: This Masters
deserves to be on the next live Dylan album!
At this point, we had an already-fine night,
but it's amazing how one song can turn the tides
and take you to the next spiritual level. Its
intro started softly -- almost similar to
the previous night's Pass Me Not -- but then Uncle
Bob whispered into his mike, "Ain't it just
like the night, when you're playing tricks and
trying to be so quiet..." I was listening so
intently that it took me that point to realize:
"HOLY SH*T!!! VISIONS!!!!" Keep in mind this
classic has been played a handful of times this
decade, the last oddly enough being almost three
years ago at the State Theatre in Portland (and
the only Portland show I missed since I moved
to New England).
Uncle Bob carefully took his time with each line -- I
believe he omitted one verse, but otherwise, he was
*nailing* it: "And Mona Lisa must have had the
highway blues, you can tell by the way she smiles..."
There were a pair of intricate guitar breaks, with
Uncle Bob combining his 4-5 note solos with Larry &
Bucky's tasteful layers. At its conclusion, my veins
were bleeding sheer bliss -- Thank You, Uncle Bob!:-)
Tangled benefitted from Visions, as the crowd
devoured every verse, and Uncle Bob was now
just kicking ass! In the past few shows, he's
been twisting a few verses with some new lines,
but this time, it was the original lyrics:
He was on that fishing boat right outside
Delacroix. FOTD beautifully wound up the
stellar acoustic segment, with Bucky's pedal
steel adding the perfect atmosphere for Uncle
Bob's "I-Wanna-Be-Jerry" leads.
Back to electric, the band starts up a slow
blues in C; the type of smoky barrelhouse blues
you'd find at a blues club in Chicago. Uncle Bob
busts out the now-rare "Pledging My Time",
again using a subtle lyric approach that grew
stronger with each verse. At this point, I was on
Cloud Nine. Next, I believe Uncle Bob wanted to
start Love Sick but the band started up THE right
choice instead -- a grim, reflectively biting Blind
Willie McTell. Larry played a different acoustic
instrument (a lute?) that added a new, soft & sikly
texture. At this point, Uncle Bob could have played
the Spice Girls and I'd find a way to enjoy it!;-)
Once again, Highway 61 Revisited capped the set in
scorching fashion, where after the band left the stage,
the cheers grew louder and louder. Love Sick was
cool as always, and Leopard-Skin was the last great
blues-boogie blast of the night, with Uncle Bob & Larry
playing and grinning during their duet. Blowin' was
a blast, and its ending had that slight sloppy touch
that said "Yeah, this is live!" Finally, Uncle Bob told
us how it was gonna beeeeeeeeeeeeee and told us our
love would not fade away.
So, I'm on about 8 hours of sleep the past two nights.
Would I have done this again? Hell Yes! While there
were the obvious repeats, they were more than offset
by so many solid, concerted & consistent performances
night after night that it's just damn thrilling to
see a 57-year old geezer cranking it up onstage. But
he has that special ability to surprise you -- and
THAT is why I go see Uncle Bob! He did that to me
at some point every night, and adding Natalie made
for a high quality double bill.
My lone disappointment was that there wasn't any
duets with Bob & Natalie: While Bob has shared his
stage with numerous openers in the past, this one
feels like a wasted opporunity. Of course, there
wasn't a harmonica to be found either, but I guess
he's in one of those modes. Still, that's being
picky -- Since Every Pleasure Is Filled With Pain,
Pay For Your Ticket And Don't Complain!
I'm sure as hell not! Once again...
THANK YOU, UNCLE BOB!!!:-)
Review by Tim Lewis
Last night Bob played his first BIG show in Maine in quite some time,
there was a pretty big storm but that didn't keep anyone from
coming,obviously, you just don't stay home no matter what if Bob is
in town. It looked like a sellout crowd by the time Natalie Merchant
was half through with her set. She seemed into it, but I don't know too
much about her, so I won't go on about it................. Ladies and
gentleman please welcome columbia recording artist ...Bob Dylan!!
Let's get to the setlist ....
Gotta Serve Somebody opened and was a good performance at best, but
he was just getting warmed up. I'll Remember You was next. This was a
surprise, not exactly a crowd favorite, but myself and other Dylan freaks
were loving it. At this point I pretty much knew that we were in for some
surprises as he didn't play million miles in this slot. Can't Wait followed,
I was hoping for Maggies Farm, but this one is always good live. Much
better than the album version in my opinion. Positively 4th Street was
next. Wow, that's all there really is to say, a bit of a surprise in the 4 slot
and just about perfect phrasing by Bob. This is where he started to get
animated, with the facial expressions and lifting his leg up slowly and
putting it down, just great stuff. Silvio came next. Typical version, but
that's a good thing. Always great to see this one live, crowd was loving
it and so was I. Masters Of War was easily recognizable to everyone I
think. Pretty quick reaction from the crowd. He is singing it like he
means it these days, just a beautiful version that i was hoping would
never end. Visions Of Johanna followed. I could not believe it . What a
sweet choice for a change in his set.I had not seen him do this one since
April of 1997 in Portland and was thinking I may not see it again.
Tangled Up In Blue was next. Another song that I will never et sick of.
Apparently Bob won't either, he was having a great time playing this
one. Crowd of course went nuts. You gotta love it. Friend Of The Devil
fit in nicely here. The audience jumped in on this one and sang the
chorus. Bob seemed to get a kick out of that, big applause at the
conclusion of this one. Pledging My Time came next. I don't know
when the last time he played this one was, but it's been a while, I was
shocked, what a great surprise (again). Blind Willie Mctell followed.
This is a great song that not too many seemed to appreciate, it was
hard to make out some of the words because the band drowned him
out a little. But Bob was delicate with the words anyhow. Just beauitiful.
Highway 61 as expected came next. This one rocked as usual and went
on for quite a while, good version.
Lovesick was the first encore. I was kind of expecting Like a Rolling
Stone after the previous two shows, but we got a somber version of this
emotional song, which was nice. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat rocked
harder than anything all night. I wanted Everything is Broken here but
this one got evry'body movin'. Blowin' In The Wind was the acoustic
encore. This one was perfect, he is putting it all into this song these
days, he sounded great. Not Fade Away was next, Bob has fun playing
this song, you should have seen his face. It is fast and energetic and
everything that I have read in the reviews. A perfect closer , you gotta
Overall, a really good show once again. He never ceases to amaze, no
matter how many times I see him. My seats were perfect too. I was in
the second row, dead center stage, and was able to see every move he
made, and every look into the crowd. What a night, hopefully he'll be
back soon, I'm sure he will. Thanks for reading this review,
Review by Carsten Wohlfeld
Wanna know why I like America so much? It's just for the little oddities
you wouldn't anywhere else. Like a Dunkin Donuts that's situated virtually
*inside* the men's restroom at the Boston's South Station.
Anways, thursday brought us *alot* of snow in Massachusetts and Maine,
more than a foot actually. I can't remember the last time I've seen that
much snow. Must've been ages ago. I quite liked it, but at the same time I
was happy that it wasn't like that all week. Didn't get to see too much of
Portland due to the weather conditions, gotta do that next time.
I found a pretty nice hotel not too far away from the venue so I walked
over to arrive just in time at 7.30 to see Natalie start was was to be her
last show with Bob. And it wasn't only her last, but also by far her best.
After she had played almost the same set for the whole week, today she
proved that she can do the 'Bob thing' as well and just make up a whole
new set on the spot. After starting with the familiar "Ophelia" and "san
Andreas Fault" we got the first real treat of the night: A rocking, note-
perfect rendition of the late Jeff Buckley's "Last Goodbye". You might
have seen her do this song on the ecent VH-1 live gig, but this version
was better. A lot better in fact. I was very impressed indeed. She also
did another a-capella 70s cover and made a comment about doing a whole
weeks worth of Bowie covers before launching into "Space Oddity". She also
won the price for the funniest conversation with the audience during a
song. She had stopped singing halfway through songs before, but tonight,
two thirds into the lovely (and very catchy) "Life Is Sweet" she just had
enough to look at the stone-faced people in the front, who didn't move an
inch. "Does anybody know this song" she asked. "Somebody must know it.
It's my new single" she added before bursting into laughter.
"Stockton Gala Days" rawked and Natalie did her best and wildest pixie
dance to go with it.
"Wonder" turned up late in the set tonight and was unfortunately missing
the awesome solo intro (beacuse Natalie was out of breath after her dance,
I assume), but it still was the best version of the song that I've heard!
Just amazing! Please get me a tape of this show :-) The second to last
song was a one-off as well, a rendition of the traditional "When They Ring
The Golden Bells". Natalie brought out a very special guest for this tune
- non-other than Larry Campbell who played his violin! "You'll see larry
later playing guitar for Bob, but he's also and accomplished fiddle
player" said Natalie to introduce him. Larry even got to play a solo and
did a very good job. He also made quite a few men in the audience jealius
when he was payed for his work with a kiss.
"Kind And Generous" closed proceedings and somebody in Natalie's crew
brought out a big balloon and Natalie actually paid more attention to
catching it than to the lyrics. Halfway through the song she said: "Did I
mention I love Portland. I wanna move up here sometime... I wanna move up
here in June!". An announcement that - needless to say - was very well
received by the crow. She encored with "These Are The Days" and took the
baloon with her after the show, cause "I don't know if Bob would like
So there is was, the last out of seven Natalie shows I'd seen on this
trip. I don't think I ever had so much fun watching a support/co-
headlining act before. Even Patti Smith had some weaker songs, but for one
reason or another I just loved every single tune Natalie played. Thanks
for being so kind and generous to us, Natalie!
I remember seeing Patti Smith in Townsville, Australia and after her
support set, which was every bit as exciting as tonight's performance by
Natalie I thought: "If Bob wants to top this, he has got to play
'Visions'". He didn't and, quite frankly, his show sucked that night. So
tonight I had the same thought on my mind while I was grabbing a coke
during the intermission. If he wants to do better than Natalie, he's got
to do "Visions Of Johanna". And he did. More of that later.
Shortly after nine pm the familiar introduction was followed with yet
Gotta Serve Somebody
this first song already indicated that Bob was 'on' tonight. You always
know it'll be a good show if she sings "you gotta serve somebody [very
loud] YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHH you gotta serrrrrve somebodyyyyy"...
I'll Remember You
was a nice change. Maybe it only sounded so good to me because it wasn't
"illion Miles", but I really enjoyed it. They killed the song every time
they played it up until last summer, but now that they do it more often
they actually do it quite well. It had a new ending which I thought was
very good indeed.
Slow and subdued, not sure if I liked it all that much, but at least it
sounded a bit different than usual. And you're bound to appreciate that if
you see many shows.
Positively Fourth Street
This song already made the night for me. I couldn't imagine it would get
any better. Spoken/sung beautifully, very much like the awesome summer '96
versions. Very slow with great guitar work courtesy of Larry. This one
made me very, very happy already. The last verse was a real killer!
As I mentioned before, it now has the stop/start parts again, which
improve the performance, well not a great deal but slightly. Also they cut
short the noodleing part at the end and just finish the song after the
last chorus. Now that's what I call a welcome change.
Masters Of War (acoustic)
Again with the spotlight on Bob which makes him look like a 60s flashback.
Tonight he sung the song very much differently, he sounded like a wise old
man, telling a tale. Very impressive. What totally made the night though
was the song that followed. I wanted to hear that song more than anything
and it took me 68 shows and eight years to finally get to hear it. 68
shows, that makes it roughly 1100 songs that I've heard Bob play live, and
every single time (well, almost) I hoped it would be this one. I spend a
lot of time - while sitting on the train for 17 hours en route to Bob's
Stockholm show, on the 24 hours planeride to his Oz tour - thinking about
what would be on my mind the second he starts the song. Would I holler,
would I start to cry - I didn't know. It would be something along those
lines though, I was sure of that. Of course, none of that was true when
the big moment finally came... As soon as they started the song I noticed
that this was a tune I hadn't heard before. For a splitsecond I thought it
would be "Rock Of Ages", another song I would've loved to hear and which
was on the cuesheet a few times. Then I thought: "oh well, it's gonna be
'Desolation Row', they just messed up the intro." But then Bob stepped up
to the microphone and sang "Ain't it just like the night..." At that point
I was rattling my brain... "which song does start with that line again???"
It was all very weird. I know some other people had the same experience.
Then it finally dawned on me: F*cking hell, it's
Visions Of Johanna (acoustic)
and what a beautiful performance it was. Probably the nicest band-version
of the song I've heard, on tape that is. (well, I thought so anyways, but
then again I'm very biased, see above). It really sounded a lot like
"Desolation" and Bob mixed up the "ghost of electricity" verse but did I
care? No, I didn't. Not sure if he sang three, four or five verses, but i
seemed to be pretty long, especially the guitar solo by Bob at the end.
Bucky added some very nice melodies on pedal-steel. It was the first time
in almost three years that he did this song in the US and again it was in
Portland. Wonder what the connection is?
Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)
oh my god, he just did "Visions Of Johanna"!!!!!
Friend Of The Devil (acoustic)
Another great choice. Not as amazing as "Fourth Street" or "Visions" but
still pretty good. Had a new ending, a slow fade out, which was a cool way
to end a pretty perfect rendition of this great song.
Pledging My Time
Another long-lost song! The intro sounded a lot like "Train To Cry" badly
done, but the rest was actually pretty good. A raw, heavy, powerful blues.
After that Larry was to change his guitar. Tommy handed him another
electric but Larry shook his head and I knew what was next... would Bob
ever stop pulling out my alltime favourites tonight? Larry reached for the
bouzouki and it was time for:
Blind Willie McTell
The first verse wasn't too hot due to some technical difficulties, but the
rest was as gorgeous as ever. Bob always sends shivers down my spine when
we reaches the "St. James hotel" line. Band intros followed
Highway 61 Revisited
After a show like that even "Highway" sounded terrefic, though I'm not
sure if it actually was better than usual.
Well, he would've needed to pull out something very special again to make
the encores anything but an anit-climax. He didn't so it was merely four
more songs done nicely.
Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat
Bob enjoyed singing it and everybody was happy for him. After all he had
given us "Visions". Now it was time for him to play whatever he liked. He
knew that and messed up the solos badly.
Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)
You wouldn't believe me anyways if I'd say that this was a pretty good
version, so I won't say it! :-)
Not Fade Away
The usual end of show madness. Great fun. 100 minutes after it had
started, the show was over. With the possible expection of Dortmund '95
and the first Miami Beach show last year it was the best Dylan show I've
ever seen. And I don't only say that because it had "Visions". The "Fourth
Street" was pretty amazing too and I very much liked the rest of the song
selection as well. I for one went home to my cozy hotel room very happy.
Thanks for reading this long rant. After a days rest in New York City it
was time for me to travel on to Atlantic City. reviews from those shows
will be on a newsgroup near you soon. Goodnight!
"i go to the bakery all day long cause there's a lack of sweetness in my
life" (jonathan richman)
Review by Terry Martin
" It ain't no use to sit and wonder why, Babe
It don't matter any how....."
Dylan revisited. In a blinding snowstorm, I braved the weather to accomplish
another of my " over 50 " dreams----to sing to my hearts content with Dylan----
one more time. For anyone who hasn't yet turned 50, let me tell you that it is
somewhat of a religious experience. Everything takes on new meaning. Perhaps it is life's
cycle giving you one last powerful surge before beginning the inevitable and gradual decline
into the senior years. It peaks your senses. The sun seems a bit brighter and warmer.
Food tastes better. Coffee smells stronger. Mozart sounds sweeter and yes! Bob Dylan
sounds even more soulful. That Irish most Irish of hearts, that has propelled many hearts
through years of poetic verse and powerful lyrics, arrived in Portland to perform to a crowd
of sell out proportions.
We had great seats. The stage was set. I was primed to hear that bard of olde croon
some of the wonderful songs that had defined an entire generation of fans into loyal
followers. His audience was a surprise to me. There were young admirers, middle aged
fans and lots of over 50 grey heads, just like me. There were pot heads, covered heads
that displayed berets, knitted caps of every color and design, all true worshipers. And
when he arrived on stage, his reception was as powerful as you would expect gathering
that number of fans under one roof. He looked small to me, and started the first set
with an electric guitar. I would be patient. I had waited a long time for this. I was
sure that at some point that sweet and soulful passion that I remembered would be
forthcoming. I could wait in anticipation for that wonderful acoustic delivery of his
early songs. It never came. In exchange for that, he played marvelously on electric
instruments that blasted thru the mega ton sound systems. Along with that powerful
sound , I was privileged to sit in front of a woman who took it upon herself to
represent the loud whistlers of the universe. She did herself proud at that
performance. She never missed an opportunity to blow her approving whistle to the
entire audience. She successfully competed with the sound system and I think she had
the upper hand. Not that I think that what he is doing is easy. Traveling by tour bus
from city to city, arriving in time for sound check, perhaps a radio or television
interview, inspecting stage and troubleshooting for anticipated glitches. Warm up..
Grab a bite. Dress for stage. Muster the energy and excitement needed to perform
before a hungry and demanding audience. The much awaited Performance! Back on the bus,
travel all night to another city, check into a hotel, shower, sleep, sound check at 4pm.
ad infinitum. Despite my appreciation for those efforts,I was disappointed, never with
his lyrics, only in what I didn't get out of the concert. My own expectations demanded
a more intimate look at his work. I wondered as I waited, which part of the brain do
these lyrics come from? What part of the soul delivers such melancholy moods from the
rollar coaster of life's emotional up's and down's? A few simple words thrown together
in a rhythmical pattern that touch the very essence of your being. This powerful
vehicle of ideas that can affect your very core? Looking back, perhaps my expectations
were a bit too high. After all,
when life looks shorter, there is an underlying sense of urgency to taste everything. To
want things as they were. I wanted what I remembered. It didn't arrive, but, after all,
Dylan is over 50, too.
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