Omaha, Nebraska

April 4, 2000

Omaha Civic Arena

Review provided by Chad Schuldt.

To understand this review of the Omaha Bob show last night, you have to
understand the Sioux Falls show only three nights previous.  There are a
couple of review here of that show (from Bob Keyes and Corey Hawley) that
gives you the feel of that concert, but I feel the need to expand on it. 
I've attended ten Dylan concerts in the last four years, all around the
country, and the Sioux Falls show had the least engaging crowd by far. 
Bob and band did their best to keep a smile on their face, and their
performance was definintely worthy of a more enthusiastic response.  First
and foremost the problem at the Sioux Falls show was the overzealous
security.  It began during Asleep At The Wheel's set -- a couple was in
the aisle swing dancing (very well, I might add) and security came over to
sit them down.  After seeing that, I had a very bad feeling about how they
would handle people who came to see Bob.  I had attended several concerts
at the Sioux Falls Arena over the years, and I had never encountered such
strict rule enforcement.  I understand the need to enforce rules like
cigarette smoking, but the security at the Arena had a far too much "in
your face" attitude about them.  I felt like they were agitating the crowd
more than doing their job.  Anyway, that said (I needed to get it out) I
did enjoy Bob, but I felt like the whole lack of crowd enthusiasm coupled
with the bozos in charge of security had an effect on his and the band's
interaction with the audience.  I want people to behave how they see fit
(to a limit, of course) at a Bob show, but I genuinely believe that Bob
and his band feed off a high energy level from the crowd.

Moving on to Omaha ...
Talk about a change of pace!!!  I was a little disturbed by the lack of
initial response at the beginning of the acoustic set, but things quickly
changed ....

Roving Gambler was the standard arrangement from the last couple of years,
with the harmony vocals and all.  When Bob came out for the opener, he
kind of swayed his way to the mic, and I knew he was in exceptionally good
spirits.  I kind of grew tired of this song after the 97 and 98 shows, but
I have come to appreciate it again.

The Times They Are A-Changin' received a warm response from the audience,
and was pretty straight-forward, similar to Unplugged.  The vocals were
crystal clear, and Bob sang the hook "the times they aaaaarrrrrreeeee

Desolation Row was a very nice surprise.  I have to admit I've been
waiting to hear It's All Right Ma in this slot (at both Sioux Falls and
Omaha) after hearing the November version on  Desolation was
very nicely played, same arrangement as the November version, kind of
bordering on 12-bar blues, but not as bluesy as the version I heard on the
Paul Simon tour last summer in Shakopee.

The Lonsesome Death of Hattie Carroll was the highlight of the night for
me.  Bob and band hit everything nearly perfectly on this one.  I had
never heard this one live, and that only adds to the joy in my reflection
of this concert.  The lyrics were sung very deliberately and concisely. 
From what I heard, Bob's only focus was on singing this song correctly and
giving it a just treatment.  On the ride home from the concert, this
performance gave way to an interesting discussion about the poetry of the
lyrics as my friend and I slipped The Times They Are A-Changin' into the
CD player.  As I'm coming down off the high of the concert, I have to say
this performance stands as one of my favorites of all the songs I've heard
Bob perform live.

Tangled Up In Blue ... not much to say here.  Played fast like most
performances of this song the last few years.  The crowd was really into
(as usual).  My only comment (a personal criticism) is that I don't really
care for the emphasis on "taaaaangggllleed", but that seems petty.

Rock of Ages.  I don't know a lot about this song, and the two times I've
heard it, I don't really care for it.  It is nice to have Charlie and
Larry step up to the mic for harmony vocals though.  I have to plead
ignorance here.

Country Pie was fast and furious.  Charlie plays a great solo during this
song (as many others).  The arrangement of the song is very true to the
Nashville Skyline version, except louder and faster!!  It really got the
crowd into the concert experience, and it was evident that Bob and band
(Charlie especially) were having a good time playing it.  I just wish this
song was a little longer (like most of the Nashville Skyline songs).

This Wheel's On Fire.  I wasn't expecting this one!!   Anything of the
basement tapes is a welcome addition to any set, and this certainly filled
the bill.  The arrangement is identical the the one used since 1997,
though it seemed a little faster.  One comment on the harmony vocals --
since Bucky left the band, they seem to play a more prominent role, and
Charlie is very enthusiastic to step up to the mic, and it seemed
especially clear on this song.  

Watching The River Flow.  A highlight of the electric set.  Bob played
quick and ferocious blues, and it brought the house down.  I haven't heard
any version of this song since the 1994 version, so comment would be that
it has slowed down since then, but still very fast.  There were several
extended solos, and Bob moved around quite a bit, moving his guitar up and

Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again.  This was another
electric highlight.  The crowd loved it, and the band played off the
energy.  Several more extended jams between Bob and Charlie excited
everyone even more.  The arrangment (I hadn't heard it since 96) is true
to the Blonde on Blonde version.

Not Dark Yet.  The focus for Bob was on the lyrics, and getting it just
right.  Pretty much the same as the Time Out of Mind version, but the live
performance lets Bob emphasize the words he want to on any given night. 
The crowd recognized the song from the beginning, giving me faith that
many of them owned that great album (or they had seen the video on MTV!)

Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat.  A nice surprise for the regular set closer.  I
was not expecting anything other than Highway 61 revisited here.  My wife
wanted to hear this song so badly in Sioux Falls, and couldn't make it to
Omaha ... she was disappointed she missed it, but was happy I had the
opportunity.  This song worked the crowd into a frenzy.  By this time,
they were letting everyone to the front of the stage, and I secured a
place on the railing.  I think the band really enjoyed this one (again a
testament to the crowd's energy!)  There a couple of points where I
thought Bob was going to direct Kemper to bring the song to an end, but
instead, they just borught it up a notch each time.  

Lovesick.  Three observations here.  One, I always thought the peda steel
was used on this song (at least in Bucky's days), and it wasn't last
night.  Two, the lyrics were delivered with extreme deliberation.  After
playing this song how many times the last two and a half years, you would
think this song has run its course.  After hearing it twice in the last
week, I would contend it is just getting better, and probably will evolve
even further.  Three, I noticed a slight lyric change -- "I feel plowed
under" instead of "take to the road and plunder".  Great performance on
this one Bob!!!!!

Like A Rolling Stone.  Not much to say here.  I love this song live, and I
don't think there's any real reason to comment here ... the crowd loves it
and Bob does a great job of performing it.  Nuff said.

Don't Think Twice, It's All Right.  A little slower than I remember it
from previous years.  It still has that country-feel established in 93-94.
 Bob played the harp (the only time) on this one, and it drove the crowd
wild.  As he held it to his lips with his left hand, he stuck his right
arm out and did a little jig, which the crowd obviously loved.  

Not Fade Away.  Great Song.  Great Perfomance.  Loud with a
three-guitar-attack on this classic.  Bob and Charlie were the focus here,
going back and forth.  Bob would play a (very) short solo, then move
toward Charlie and point to him with the handle of his guitar, passing the
lead to him.  

Blowin' In The Wind.  Same arrangement as the last two years.  Once again,
the harmony vocals sound very nice, and Charlie enjoyed singing on this

Rainy Day Women #12 and 35.  I'll be upfront and say, like many who have
seen Bob live multiple times, that I do not under normal circumstances
like this song.  Last night was not normal circumstances.  Bob and band
attacked this song like I've never seen them before.  Bob sang the first
two verses (usually only two in concert) and the boys began playing around
with this one.  Tony (he seems like such a nice guy!) even got in on the
action, moving around stage a lot.  At one point, I thought the song was
going to end, and Bob stepped up to the mic and made up a verse (something
about taking a bath) and the frenzy of music began again.  I was very
pleased (for once) with this song.  

All in all, one of best performances I've seen by Bob and band.  I'm
looking forward to seeing them again, should they pass through the midwest
late summer or fall.  Best of luck to everyone who is seeing Bob in Denver
or Salina or onto Europe.


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