Santa Cruz, California

March 15, 2000

Civic Auditorium

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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