Santa Cruz, California

March 16, 2000

Civic Auditorium

[Adrian Hayes], [Peter Costello], [J.C. Flyer], [Tom]

Review by Adrian Hayes

The Thursday show in Santa Cruz was easily the best concert 
of the shows I’ve seen on this tour (I’ve seen from San Luis 
Obispo), and perhaps the best show I’ve ever seen (I’ve seen
every Bay Area show from ’95 and a few from the El Reys in 
’97).  This night was a complete contrast to the first night were 
Dylan seemed a bit tired and a little bored (still a fine show 
though).   It seemed as if every other line he lifted his 
eyebrows to mid-forhead.  He was very pleased with himself 
tonight.  It made you feel as he was having just as much fun 
as you were.

Dylan opened the night with the Ralph Stanley, Larry Sparks 
number, “I Am The Man, Thomas.”  For an opening song Dylan 
was quite animated, but this was just a preview of what was to 
Next came “Song To Woody.”  You could really see Dylan 
trying his hardest to put this one across well.  I was a very 
heartfelt performance.

By the Time Dylan arrived at “It’s Alright Ma” something had 
clicked.  Maybe he had spent the beautiful Santa Cruz afternoon 
on the beach or in the mountains but It was very apparent that 
Dylan had enough energy to go for three hours, or more.  He was 
rested and ready to give us everything he had.  Most of the lines 
were followed with a look that conveyed the message: “Yea that 
was pretty good line wasn’t it.”  It was priceless and it only got 
more apparent as the concert progressed.

“One Too Many Mornings” is a song I would mind if Dylan played
every night.  This outling was pleasing as any other version I’ve 
heard, but then I never heard a tape of this song and said: “That 
was an average ‘One Too Many Mornings,'" they’re all great.
Every night you check the setlist you always glance over “Tangled 
Up In Blue” because he plays it 95% of the time.  But no matter 
what, it’s always a highlight.  It amazes me that someone can 
perform a song every show and still make it sound as if it was 
just written, its baffling!  The harmonica solo had Dylan gripping 
the mike stand with his right hand while leaning back on his right 
foot with his head tilted back. You had to be there to see how 
remarkable it was.

The next two songs were very enjoyable cover songs “ Rock of 
Ages” & Big River” It’s fun to not know the lyrics of a song once 
and a while.  Both songs were playful and done perfectly.
After a short conference Dylan pulled out “Highlands."  My 
brother and I had discussed this as a possibility since Neil 
Young is so popular in Santa Cruz.  We even thought Neil might 
show up on stage but fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on 
were you stand) he is on tour with CSNY.  
I’ve always liked this song but I didn’t consider it on par “NDY”
or “Standing in the Doorway."   This was definitely the song that 
put this concert over the top.  It was perhaps the most 
enjoyment I’ve derived from a single Dylan song in concert.   
Every line was delivered  with such smugness and conviction 
that it made my bust my gut laughing after every punch line.  
The personal looks were there too.  Interaction with the 
audience was at a paramount by this point of the show.  Dylan
teeth were visible thought his big smile at the completion of 
every stanza.  I really can’t describe how great this performance, 
maybe Paul Williams should hear a tape and comment, it's one 
of those kinda performances.   After  “Highlands” was over Dylan 
could have played “Blowin’ in the Wind” six times and I would 
not have cared.

A fine “Stuck Inside of Mobile” followed, but I was still reeling 
from “Highlands” to fully eat this one up.  I’ve heard lots of 
performances of this one and this one is at least as good as any.  
A funny thing happened right before “Mobile.”  There is a local 
restaurant on Front St. called “Positively Front Street”.  Just as
the Band started the intro to “Mobile” Dylan interrupted them to 
talk to the audience. It went something like:  “I ate (or saw?) at
a restaurant called “Positively Front Street”. We should franchise 
it, You can get full eating there!”   (I may have missed another 

Later in the concert he also said “I think I can speak for everyone 
when I say I wish we could play this place every night”  This 
comment was obviously followed by a minute of thunderous 

“Big Girl” was soft and done very tenderly to lull us into a false 
sense of quietness before the eruption of “Highway 61”  which 
was, as usual the song Dylan gives everyone in the front row 
stares and glances.  

The encores were similar to all the other versions I’ve heard of 
these songs except for “Maggies Farm."  The arrangement was 
the one Dylan used in ’97 to open shows.  By the end Dylan had 
worked his way into one of the best three note repetitive solos 
I’ve heard. Nothing to technically brilliant but when you got Dylan 
leaning over pushing his solo farther than anyone but him could 
get away with and smirking and shaking his head, and splitting 
his legs you just can’t help but throw your fist in the air and thank 
God you were so lucky to witness such a great, great concert!!!   

-Adrian Hayes


Review by Peter Costello

Thursday nights concert will go down as one of the most joyous, 
friendliest, most beautifully played ever! We were honored with "Song to
Wooody". He did "Highlands" like he was telling us a story in front of his
fireplace. The loud stuff wasn't as loud as the night before, so there was
an intimacy that was warm and mesmerizing. At one point the band had a
huddle in the back of the stage - I bet they were talking about how good
they were feeling! He thanked us a lot after each song and somewhere
between songs, Bob told the audience how much his group enjoyed a
hamburger place half a block away from his hotel that's called "Positively
Front Street". He joked that they ought to franchise the place and that
they serve a LOT of food. But the Santa Cruz community was bowled over
when, after introducing the band, he said (close, maybe exact) "I think I
can speak for the band when I say that if we could, we'd like to play here
EVERY night". Everyone was clapping just because Bob talked, but when it
sunk in what it was that he actually said, we all went nuts! I felt as
though he had each and every one of us in a cozy room, just the two
(thousand) of us, and he paid each of us that compliment personally. Talk
about community pride! Bob was smiling, the band was laughing, the
syncopation between the group was uncanny. My wife spent a little time
during the day talking to one of the roadies and he was really taken by
the town, the location, the vibe. It was an unreal concert. Thanks, Bob
and band, and all those who brought him to our town. 

Peter Costello


Review by J.C. Flyer

My Ride With Bob
By J.C. Flyer

(Santa Cruz, CA) After being on the bus for the East Coast leg of the Bob
Dylan/Phil Lesh tour last fall, the Santa Cruz show turned out to be
simply mellow to the max.  As we walked up to the Santa Cruz Civic this
past Thursday evening the only signs that there was a show happening were
the parked tour buses and large semi truck that were parked on the side
street adjacent to the auditorium.  Gone was the circus atmosphere; the
large mass of ticketless fans roaming the surrounding streets looking for
tickets or selling something.  What a welcome change for a long sold out
show; in Santa Cruz California, one of the last bastions of hippiedom on
the planet no less!

Another warm welcome was the pairing this time out with Asleep at The
Wheel.  AATW, led by Ray Benson, has to be the finest western swing and
boogie woogie bands playing today.  Their recent Grammy Award winning
album is titled "Ride With Bob" and it's their second recorded tribute to
Texas Swing King Bob Wills.  So it is so appropriate that the cowboy band
be actually be riding this time out, with Bob Dylan!  The connection
doesn't stop there buckaroos.  Bob Dylan bassist and band leader, Tony
Garnier was a member in good standing in Asleep at The Wheel for over ten
years before landing his dream job with Bob Dylan.  So it should come to
no surprise that Dylan's music has gotten a more defined country feel
during Garnier's tenure with Dylan either.

Asleep at The Wheel came out exactly at 8PM and had most of the crowd up
and swinging early with rousing versions of "Cherokee Maiden," and "Route
66."  Ray Benson can sure play the shit out of a Telecaster guitar and he
more than easily displayed his considerable picking skills on his custom
made instrument, complete with an outline of the state of Texas as his
pick guard. 
 The band is really solid, featuring some of the best players in the
business; Cindy Cashdollar on pedal steel, Jason Roberts on Fiddle, and
Michael Francis on sax.  The sound is that of an orchestra, large and lush
sounding, amazing for a six piece band.  And the band can jam too, at one
point during "Red River Valley," they thrilled the crowd by jamming into
the late Toy Caldwell's Marshall Tucker Band chestnut, "This Old Cowboy." 
After this song, Ray Benson was surprised as the Bob Dylan Band:Tony
Garnier, Larry Campbell, Charlie Sexton, and David Kemper, accompanied by
Stacy, the banjo man for the Oakland A's baseball team, came on stage and
presented Benson with a birthday cake in celebration of his 49th birthday,
as the band and crowd sang "Happy Birthday."  Benson, clearly touched, has
a lot of fans in this part of the world since he was a Berkley, CA
resident himself back in the early 70's and he reminisced that he had
performed at this very same auditorium back in 1975 on a bill with
Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen and Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks.
 So it was no coincidence that Benson closed his show with a couple of
nuggets from the Commander Cody songbook; "Hot Rod Lincoln ," and "The
House of Blue Lights."  You folks that will be Riding with Bob this spring
will be in for a fine treat indeed.

The Santa Cruz Civic has to be the smallest venue that Bob Dylan has
performed in these parts in many years. Think a small high school sized
auditorium and you will get a clear picture.  The crowd was decidedly
older, made of primarily 40 and 50 somethings in the stands and dyed in
the wool deadheads on the floor.  While it was easy to move around,
especially on the outer reaches of the hall, negotiating through the crowd
proved sometimes tricky as the large piles of stuff; backpacks and clothes
were piled up as if these folks were creating dams and walls to control
the space around them.  I ran into a lot of familiar faces throughout the
night including the legendary Dave Sheridan.

Bob Dylan hit the stage at precisely 9:10 and to be honest, I haven't
heard him sound any better.  The stage set up was exactly the same as in
previous tours, but in a small, intimate hall, the sound was incredible. 
Opening with "I Am The Man Thomas," you could hear all the voices crisp
and clear.  During "Song for Woody, " and "Its All Right Ma," you could
hear a pin drop.  This Santa Cruz audience was downright reverent and hung
on Dylan's every word, in stark contrast to the talkative and noisy arena
crowds that is sadly the reality at many shows.  Dylan himself seemed to
feed off of this energy too, as we were rewarded with a wonderful
arrangement of "One Too Many Mornings," which featured Larry Campbell on
pedal steel.  Campbell has certainly come into his own in recent tours,
and his pedal steel playing was sweeping and solid.  During "Tangled Up In
Blue," Dylan's guitar playing was sensational as he added some Bo Diddley
styled guitar riffs during his solo, as the shadows of the entire band
danced on the stage backdrop providing an incredible visual effect.  I
don't think I've heard Dylan perform "Rock of Ages," before and this
acoustic, gospel tinged song benefited by some high lonesome vocals by
Dylan, Campbell, and Sexton.  Dylan and his band huddled between several
songs and after one such conference, delivered country music legend Johnny
Cash's "Big River."  The song sounded fat and sweet and I was fortunate to
hear Dylan perform Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" a couple of times last
fall.  The link between Dylan the folk and rock artist and Cash the
rockabilly and country music star is huge.  Dylan's electric guitar
playing was ferocious and loose all evening as he would signal the end to
a song by flashing back over his shoulder towards drummer David Kemper. 
Dylan was clearly in good spirits all evening and it was evident that he
had taken in the City of Santa Cruz during his recent visit even going as
far to mention the local Front Street restaurant that takes it's name
after one of Dylan's songs.  Dylan remarked; "I really liked Positively
Front Street", he laughed, "They should franchise that," finally adding,
"they've got good food, you'll get full eating in there."  The great show
continued with a rare version of "Highlands" that featured Larry Campbell
on mandolin.  Dylan was right on for the song's many lyrics, however, if
memory recalls, I don't think that he sang the "Neil Young" verse.  What a
shame he didn't as Young lives in this neck of the woods.  Despite that,
the song was delivered magnificently, thanks to the quite crowd which did
there part allowing the listener to become party of the lyrical story. 
"You're a Big Girl Now, " was also a highpoint of a show that reached new
highs with each song performed.  In what brought the biggest audience
response occurred right before Dylan introduced the band.  "I think that I
can say on behalf of each member of the band that we wish that we could
play here every night."  The collective whoop that went up through the
packed house confirmed that the feeling in Santa Cruz is a mutual one. 
The set closing "Highway 61 Revisited" owed much to the Clarksville,
Mississippi, born boogie of John Lee Hooker than the original recorded
version of the classic.  Charlie Sexton tore it up with his only big
guitar solo of the night as Larry Campbell rocked out on a pedestal lap
steel.  The encores of "Love Sick," "Blowing In the Wind," and "Not Fade
Away," sent everyone home happy just to bask in the light for ninty
minutes of one of the last century's greatest artists who is clearly
performing at the top of his game as we enter a new millennium. 

Now you'll have to excuse me as it's time to get back on the bus.

J.C. Flyer

(c)  2000 J.C. Flyer


Review by Tom

Bob's set on Thursday was very different in emotional tone than the one
the previous evening.  On Wednesday, although Bob had delivered a stirring
performance, he seemed somewhat rigid and maybe nervous. Thursday he was
totally relaxed, the day on the beach must have treated him right. (Just a
guess. . . the Santa Cruz Sentinel was speculating on where he would be
hanging out. . .)

Starting with a number from the Stanley Brothers, his Bobosity launched
the Thursday show into high gear from the git-go with I Am The Man,
Thomas.  Pablo Wheeler's audio mix was somewhat more forceful than for the
acoustic portion of Wednesday's concert, it's helpful to have a show in
the same location as the previous night.  Sound was good, Bob was in a
good mood, audience ecstatic.

That's not Times are a changin, that's Song to Woody!  Audience now
hushed and attentive, soaking up old folk vibrations from another era- it
was clear where Bob's heart was, this tribute to Guthrie humanized Dylan,
and reminded us to be thankful to be in attendance.

It's Alright Ma(I'm Only Bleeding) was very well sung, with wit and
sparkle, and some of the folks around me seemed very surprised and
impressed that Dylan would pull out such a wordy song.  Most of the
folks who hadn't seem him in a long time, or who were expecting an
incomprehensible Dylan were pleasantly blown away by his vocal clarity and
mastery of the contents of his own voluminous catalog.

During the One Too Many Mornings, the years melted off of Bob until he was
the 24-year-old who toured England in 1966 with the former Hawks- he
seemed revitalized, charged up, and young like a kid again.  The vintage
material allowed time to dissolve, and it was back to the past for a
moment. . . I like the way the band takes their time exposing the theme to
this song in the current arrangement.  It makes for a nice moment between
when the lyrics begin, and the tension is released when the title line is
finally reached.

Tangled Up in Blue was vastly different from the night before, Bob took a
harmonica solo with a fat, resonant, reedy sound.  Footlights cast shadows
on the curtain behind Bob, Larry, Tony and Charlie making them appear
huge- the musical giants that they are.  Tony's five-string bass is going
to blow people's minds who've never experienced the soothing low-frequency
wonders of (for instance) Phil Lesh or Mike Gordon doing what they do
best.  Bob held his guitar behind his back for a one-handed harp solo,
then kept his acoustic strapped on for. . .

Rock of Ages- yet again, Dylan lengthens the acoustic portion of the set
beyond Tangled by a song.  His acoustic sets have grown stronger and
stronger, especially since Charlie has joined the band.  Nothing against
Bucky Baxter, but the instrumentation just seems, if not more varied,
perhaps more controlled.  Bucky played pedal steel guitar and the mandolin
if I recall, but not the 6-string acoustic.  Now that Charlie plays the
acoustic (ES-335, big red Gibson, I do believe) Larry can play 6-string
acoustic (looks like it might be a Martin?) or he can fill in on mandolin,
bouzouki, Pedal Steel, Lap Steel, or the electric. . .  I think it adds
focus and power to Dylan's acoustic portion of the show to have some of
the songs played only on guitars.  Also, it's the cowboy thing to do, and
if you look at the current merchandise catalog, His Bobness distinctly
resembles the Marleyburrow Man.  Collect the Highway 61 miles and win
prizes, like Zippo lighters, Coffee mugs, and postage stamps from Gambia! 
But I digress.

For Big River, a 4/4 boogie tempo was observed, and an observer
mentioned to me that it was similar to Johnny Cash's Sun Studios version
of the tune.  Larry played on his cream-colored Fender Telecaster, Bob had
a Fender Stratocaster, the Sunburst-stained one, and Charlie had the black
Strat cranking out the twangy distortion.  This was a rare treat, and it
was followed by the perhaps slightly less rare, but even more treat-like.
. .

Highlands!!!  When Larry started picking the familiar melodic line on the
mandolin, along with Bob and Charlie (still playing the ES-335), I knew
what I was hearing, but was knocked silly, and unable to do anything
except jump up and down quietly for a moment.  Bob launched into the
lyrics, and I felt like I was one of the few folks around me who had a
clue what we were all hearing.  Highlands is the final song on Time Out Of
Mind, the Grammy-winning 1997 studio release, and its placement on the
album and its length combine to make it a somewhat under-appreciated song.
 Like Desolation Row, it has no chorus or repeating lyrical structure,
except its repeated references to the Highlands. . .His heart's there, His
mind's there, and that's good enough for now.  If it's good enough for him
it's good enough for me. Lyrical changes were handled with grace- In the
Boston-town restaurant, instead of asking his waitress to "Tell me what I
want,"  he asks "I said 'What's good today?'"  and she continues feeding
him punchlines for his straight lines and vicey-versa. Various people in
the audience laughed as each line of the song was delivered.   He changed
a few other lines as well- "Trying to repair the wrongs. . .of the day
before" and "Trade places with any of them in a minute if I *only* could."
 He didn't stumble, and I don't think he forgot a line to the song.  It
was amazing, uplifting, and serenely beautiful.  I could only feel
exhilerated to be a part of the event.  This clinched the worthiness of my
California journey, as if it was in question!?!

At this point, Bob had the crowd in the palm of his hand, this didn't
really even resemble the atmosphere from the previous night, when all the
pointedly insulting songs were played- Bob and the band were basking in
the glow of a lovingly appreciative audience, and he made his wry joke of
the evening-  regarding a local restaurant which is located on Santa
Cruz's Front Street- something like-"there's this great restaurant in town
here called Positively Front Street.  We're gonna franchise it! Fill you
up, cheap!"  I walked by the restaurant the following day, and
half-expected to see a cardboard Dylan cutout in the window saying "Fill
you up- Cheap!"

Memphis Blues followed, and I generally love the tune and associate it
with the Dead.  But after Highlands, they could have played Row Row Row
Your Boat on nose-flutes and kazoos six times in a row and I would have
been happy.  Memphis Blues was ok, and rocked out and all that, and
everyone who had no idea what that long slow comedy number was about
probably got off on it.  For me, it was more of a back-to-earth
experience. Larry played acoustic, Charlie and Bob on Sunburst Fender

Back to the good old stuff with Your a Big Grrrl Now- Larry on steel,
Charlie and Bob sticking with the Sunbursts- Sweet, sweet song- a treat
because it's rare, it would still be a treat if it was played more! Bob
paused before introducing the band to say ". . .I know I speak for them
all when I say we'd love to play here *every* night!"  which was naturally
greeted with substantial applause and revelry.  Larry stayed at the steel
, Charlie strapped on the blue Telecaster, and we took a spin down Highway
61.  Charlie didn't play as loudly as he had the night before, but he
still did some damage. . .he just pointed off with his gun. . .  and left
us looking for a righteous encore.

Lovesick seemed much different in mood than the previous night, although I
can't tell you exactly what could have been the difference.  Somehow it
seemed that Bob was not very comfortable during Wednesday's show, but he
was all grinning and grooving on Thursday.  Even the normally somber
Lovesick seemed almost light.  Larry went to the Sunburst Strat, Bob kept
his on, and Charlie switched to a pearl-fingerboard white Strat. (I think
that's a strat, anyhow, but I welcome corrections!)

Maggies Farm was up next, as if to point out to the old hippies who may be
in attendance that Bob still had his anti-establishment streak, he still
wasn't working for Maggie's Farm, or her Ma, Pa, Brother, or any of that! 
And he rocks out too!!!  Tony souning huge on the low strings of his new
bass, Bob sticking to the sunburst, Charlie hanging with the white/ pearl
axe, and Larry switching back to his cream Telecaster.

>From the exciting to the serious, this show ran the gamut of emotional
tones.  Blowing in the Wind saw Tony Garnier take up his four-string
acoustic hollow-bodied bass, Bob on a sunburst acoustic guitar, Charlie
playing the Gibson ES-335, and Larry on his acoustic (I still think it's a
Martin)  Bob also played a very sweet harmonica solo, his second of the
night, and it was eerily appropriate.  Bob was blowing the harp, the wind
carried the sound from his breath to our ears, it was a scene I'll always
remember fondly. . .Bob blowing in the wind. . .sweeping us all into the
next song together- you know our love will NOT FADE AWAY!!! The Wednesday
show ended with the same song, but it sure wasn't played the same. On
Wednesday, Bob played like he had something to prove to a hostile
audience.  Thursday's Not Fade Away was musically much looser, the notes
were played with less tightness and accuracy, but far more feeling.  The
Wednesday NFA rocked hard, but the Thursday one just had loads more
emotional energy- whaddaya call it- soul?  Yep.

I'd call the Thursday show a gutbucket of a good time, and judging from
the late night crowd at Santa Cruz's Saturn Cafe, the show woke up a lot
of folks to the high quality of Dylan's current work.  All in all, Santa
Cruz was one of the very best Bob experiences I've had.  I'm looking
forward to Rochester, Cedar Rapids, and the summer tour with Phil Lesh and
friends- who incidentally were quite excellent at the Kaiser in Oakland on
March 10 for a celebration of Lesh's 60th Birthday.  Robben Ford has taken
over on guitar for Steve Kimock, and the group seems much more solid and
somewhat more versatile than they did while opening for Bob on the Fall
1999 tour.  Here's hoping that everything works out so we can all get
rocked comfortably together this summer!!!

thanks, and I'll see you down front!


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