Review provided by Tom. The first night of Santa Cruz, Wednesday, March 15 was an intense show, as if Bob was playing to some folks who hadn't seen him in quite some time, or who had never even seen him play live. This hunch was confirmed to a degree as the Sentinel published a bit about some fans who had been wanting to see Bob ever since Monterey Pop Festival. Ain't no Lie and Tambourine Man were solid and engaging, and moderately but not overly loud, Masters of War was extremely stinging, especially since there's a Lockheed missile plant up the hill from Santa Cruz. . .Bob was slinging his linguistic missiles at the peace and love crowd who had abandoned their principles and taken well-paying war-machine jobs. But Don't Think Twice, soothing is it can be for a bittersweet sentiment seemed to keep the concert flowing. Bob never introduced the band, or even spoke to the audience on Wednesday, although Thursday he was downright jocular. Tangled Up was it's ususal rockin' self, Bob drew the words out really long, in a different way than ever before, no doubt. He's got a seemingly infinite amount of creativity at drawing subtle meanings out of his multilayered lyrics. . . the way he changes up TUIB illustrates his genius at keeping fresh, reinventing his own work. Pass Me Not 'O' Gentle Savior was a very sweet spiritual, perhaps included to soothe the souls of those who he stung during the Masters of War or the Don't think Twice. I thought it was the most dramatic moment of the show, when Bob channeled the intensity of the Tangled into one more acoustic number, a thought-provoking reminder that Bob was saved, and some of his beliefs haven't faded away completely. What does Santa Cruz refer to in Spanish, huh? Let me take a stab- Sainted Cross, Holy Cross, or something like that??? Hmmm. . .Praises to Jah that I could be there with Bob at that time. >From the religious to Willie Dixon's voodoo blues masterwork- Hootchie Cootchie Man- a reminder for me that Phil Lesh was celebrating his actual 60th Birthday- That boy-child sure turned out to be a sonofoagun. Dylan played the song last November- was it on Kurt Vonnegut's Birthday? 11/11? Back into hardcore word-flinging with the Positively Fourth Street, that song makes me check myself, and make sure it's not too much of a drag to see myself- shoot, I hope it's not *me* he's so bummed about! After that came Drifter's escape, which I should haverecognized, since I have heard a live tape of it, but that tape was from a 1995 show, and Bob changes his arrangements up. . . furthermore, I could hardly understand a word of that one. Then came Things Have Changed, which I could understand the words to perfectly, and I enjoyed very much. That song is so good I think I am going to have to buy the Wonder Boys soundtrack just to have it. Nice going, Bob, I think TOOM is fantastic, and this new one is even cooler! Bob still has a lot of life left in him, if this new song is the tip of the creative iceberg he might be starting to draw from. I'm glad the lyrics and sound-sample are on the web, there's just enough of the song up there that you can get the tune in your head, and sing the lyrics off the page while you surf Idaho setlists &*} Not Dark Yet is a great song, and I don't get tired of hearing it (almost) every show. It continues to take on new meaning. Silvio seems to be played as the deliberate ass-mover for a motionless crowd. It makes the Deadheads dance, and that's at least some response. Highway 61 is still beyond me allegorically,sometimes I think I understand a shadow of it, but it proves to each audience how cookin' Bob and his band are. It was either here or in the Willie Dixon song (I didn't take notes at this show during Bob's set, I was enjoying it too much) that Charlie took a super-loud guitar solo, one that truly cranked. Did I mention that Tony Garnier is now playing a Five (5!) string bass- it has a lower string than a four-string, maybe a low B, that really vibrates the floor, and also my guts, in a good way. The encore was eerie. On a personal note, I used to go to school in Santa Cruz, and that's where I was living in 1984 when I first found out about AIDS. Santa Cruz has a large gay community so it always seemed like the area was well aware of issues surrounding HIV. Lovesick can be interpreted as referring to AIDS, and Wednesday night, it seemed like the mood of the song was very somber. The It Ain't me Babe was crisp and clear and lyrically on the mark. Bob paints a perfect picture of the ideal maintenance-free mate, practically hands the world to his lover, then *yanks* it away at the last line- It Ain't Me! Not Fade Away was an intense retro-love ending to a emotional rollercoaster of a show. The crowd ovated and was stomping and yelling, and Tony's guitar tech was met with Boos when he picked up Tony's bass to take it off the stage.
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