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Review by Ryan Staker
Bob was in rare form tonight! From the start he was in good spirits,
smiling almost constantly and really feeding off the audience. Bob Dylan
in Salina, Kansas...wild! We drove to the show from Wichita little over
an hour, it would have been worth it if we'd driven 10 hours! Asleep at
the Wheel did a nice job warming up the audience. The crowd was polite,
but obviously a "Dylan Crowd." When Ray said, "it's Bob's night" the
crowd responded with a long applause. One of the highlights was Bob
performing "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." He was really on with his vocals
and his musicianship was just amazing. There was no question for the
entire show as to who had the lead. Charlie did a nice job, but he was
obviously taking his queues from Dylan. Their rendition of "Not Fade
Away" was fantastic, the house lights came up and the crowd really jammed
on this one. Buddy Holly would have been proud! The crowd favorites were
"Like A Rolling Stone" and Rainy Day Women #12 & #35. Bob closed the show
with RDW and the crowd sang along. This was much more than a concert...it
was a mutual tribute, us honoring Dylan for a life time of outstanding
poetry and music, and Dylan thanking us by playing a small little venue in
the middle of Kansas.
Review by Brandon Case
Salina, KS, just an hour and a half from home, provided my first
opportunity to attend a Dylan concert. My wife and I joined the crowd of
earring-pierced punks, college students, married couples, latter-day
hippies, retirees, and other assorted characters for an enjoyable and
fairly intimate evening (the show wasn't sold out). It was truly an
intergenerational, eclectic audience.
I didn't know what to expect, having not kept up much with Bob over the
past few years.
Asleep at the Wheel played some old country and western favorites (and a
few new ones) to get the crowd moving, including a great rendition of
Cotton-eyed Joe (a personal favorite).
When Bob came on the stage, he appeared to be in good form physically,
sporting a bowtie and fancy cowboy boots (my wife says they were
snakeskin, as seen through binoculars).
Dylan began the evening a little slow, with the first three songs
sounding almost as if his voice were stuck in an old record track (I
thought of "Suze, the Cough, Cough Song" off of the Bootleg CD and hoped
that his voice wasn't shot).
However, by the fifth song, "Tangled up in Blue," Bob and his band were in
top form for this song, and it really seemed to energize the crowd (at
least it did me). I knew then we were all in for an excellent evening of
sound, light, and incense (which was lit just prior to the show up on
He slowed the tempo a bit with "This World Can't Stand Long," drawing us
in with his commentary about the sad state of this world, but leaving the
audience with a tinge of hope
After wrapping up this set with Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat, Bob and the band
exited, stage right.
But the roaring of the crowd eventually drew the musicians back on stage.
The personal highlight of the evening for me came during these last five
songs, when Bob brought out his electric mouth harp to perform "It Ain't
Me Babe." This extended version provided me with a deeper perspective of
the song than I had previously had. Dylan here really seemed to be talking
about his Higher Power (God, Jehovah, Jesus, whatever term you prefer).
This song re-connected me with my initial attraction to Bob and his music
--the quest for (and fear of) spirituality. Enough said.
Virtually everybody in the (relatively) small Bicentennial Center was on
their feet for the final song, "Rainy Day Woman #12 & #35," as the lights
came up. It was a dancing, clapping, raucous way to end the evening.
Throughout the concert, Bob drew upon his vast repertoire of songs, as if
painting for us an ongoing masterpiece, yet unfinished, of the many parts
of his life.
Review by Anne Marvin
First of all, Asleep at the Wheel was an absolute delight. This
western swing band is no slouch--they've been around for
thirty years or so, touring almost as ceaselessly as Dylan
himself, I think. I've seen them probably as many times as I've seen
Dylan (been to six of his concerts over the last 25 years), and they're
great every time--and a lot of fun. It's too bad there was no space for
dancing at the Salina venue--hard to sit still when this group gets going.
I was almost as excited to be hearing them again as I was to see Dylan.
It seemed to me that the audience was quite familiar with them, and very
appreciative, too, and I even heard a couple of Bob-Wills-style "ah-hah"
yells. Asleep at the Wheel has got to be a hard act to follow, even if
you're Bob Dylan. My husband and I had last attended a Dylan concert in
Minneapolis in October '98, and he was incredibly animated during that
show, dancing, posturing, and making funny faces at the audience. I
thought he seemed a little more subdued during the Salina show. Our
seats were quite close but over to the side, so we saw everybody in
profile, and that no doubt influenced the way we experienced this show.
But both my husband and I thought that at first Dylan and his band just
didn't seem particularly inspired. Dylan seemed to be having a little
trouble with his voice--seemed a little tired and strained, but with the
schedule he's been following, why not? It was awfully warm in the arena,
and probably pretty unbearable under the lights. Dylan kept having to mop
the sweat off his face, and it seemed as though things just weren't
clicking quite right. Then all of a sudden, with "Leopardskin Pillbox
Hat," magic happened. They really rocked out on that one, everything came
together, and the momentum kept building for the rest of the show. The
band and the audience really got into it. It seemed almost like they
played more songs as encores than in the regular set. It was great. The
audience was a real trip, too. There were all ages and looks, from little
kids to even a straight-arrow guy in a suit and tie (!) Down the row from
us were a couple of older guys who looked like retired farmers--jeans,
plaid shirts, seed caps, one of them quite obviously toothless with his
chin bumping the tip of his nose. They sure didn't look like Dylan types,
but seemed to be enjoying themselves, even breaking out in smiles now and
again. Three young guys a couple rows down from us were really getting
into the music, standing, swaying, clapping in time. In the middle of
"Like a Rolling Stone" I noticed that one of them was kind of hunched over
with his hands to his head, and I realized that--get this--he was TRYING
TO HEAR SOMEBODY ON HIS CELL PHONE! Get real, people! We're all victims
of multi-tasking run amuck! It's not like we Kansans get to hear Dylan in
person very often, and here's this guy, right in the middle of the most
Dylan song of all, talking on his stupid cell phone! I couldn't believe
it--and, to their credit, neither could his friends. They gave him grief
about it, as well they might. Please, people, if and when you get to hear
Dylan in person, be in the moment--leave your snacks, cell phones, and
conversations at the door, and let the music take you over. That's what a
live concert is for, especially if it's Dylan. And on that note, I'll
just say that it was great to have Dylan back in Kansas, and here's hoping
he travels this way again sometime soon.
Review by Tony Princ
The show was fierce. Dylan rocked hard. He played with great enthusiasm
and sang each song with much verve and ferocity. The band sound was tight
and blistering. "Roving Gambler" proved to be a great opening song. I
knew right away the rest of the night would go very well. Dylan gyrated
and grooved in a manner all his own. Many times he would seductively get
into the groove and held the audience in his palms. It was one of my
truly great concert experiences. Dylan's voice howled and scraped
through the songs, sometimes soft and lonely, other times ripping through
the audience like a wailing hyena. The band & Bob tore through
"Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" like they were commissioned to tear it to
shreds. It was awesome. At the end of "Blowin in the Wind", Dylan laid
down the guitar and strode to backstage like a man possessed by a Rock
devil, his legs were weaving, he was bowing and weaving. He reappeared
with his harmonica and played like a man possessed. He weaved and grooved
with his harp ending the song with subtle dignity. Dylan's playing was
mesmerizing, he was the master of his domain.
This was my 2nd time to see Bob Dylan and I am not sure he could ever top
the performance he gave in Salina, Ks.
Review by George Dugger
Asleep at the Wheel started the Salina show exactly at 7:30 PM and
finished their apparently scheduled 45 minute set a couple of minutes
early. The crowd of 5000 ranged from (teeny) boppers to bikers to
boomers along with cowboys, quads and quad cane users and the occasional
suit and slightly seedy flower child. My favorite was the psychedelic
tighted male in the front row. AATW's performance was very workmanlike
though we really did not need to be reminded three times of the name of
their band. Their leader seemed a bit full of himself which maybe explains
Dylan's alleged refusal to shake hands with him in Denver although maybe
Dylan just doesn't like to shake hands. (see Omaha article:
d58779 Hopefully Bob doesn't have a Howard Hughes germ phobia.
The highlight of the 30 minute wait while the stage was being set for
Dylan was watching a stage hand use a propane torch to light a massive
amount of incense sticks which were placed in three buckets at the back of
the stage. Is this aroma therapy thing a regular part of this tour? As has
been previously reported on this tour, Dylan and band were quite tight.
Dylan himself appeared to be a little uptight through about the first half
of the show when he finally started to crack a few smiles and look like
maybe he was enjoying himself a little. Dylan wore his apparent regular
uniform for this tour - black on black jacket with black piped black pants
and black Western tie on a white shirt. He had some kind of periodic hair
problem and he ran his fingers through his hair several times after
numbers as if trying to remove cobwebs.
Our vantage point of 8 rows back from the extreme left side of the stage
on the first level of a riser was excellent for both watching Bob and the
folks from Midwest Security who were a little heavy handed in doing their
job. As there was an aisle directly in front of us, we had a first hand
view of the ebb and flow of stage crashers and photo takers as the
security personnel occasionally aided by the local cops repeatedly pushed
them back. Interestingly security was often talking on their cell phones
while making the fan tide roll away. The most distracting incident was
when it took 3 rent a cops several minutes to wrestle a slight female 20
something to the ground and then away. Maybe it was the same security
company that caused problems earlier on the tour. I managed to take about
20 photos without being detected but the chances that they turned out are
probably about the same as Dylan appearing again in Salina, Kansas.
Dylan's lyrics were consistently intelligible throughout the evening
though his joke about the drummer during the band introductions was not.
The sound level was high but not painful like the 1994 performance I saw
in Lawrence, Kansas and did not even require earplugs. Mr. Tambourine Man
was surprisingly enjoyable though for me it is Dylan's most over exposed
song. Hard Rain was a highlight as it was apparently performed for the
first time on this tour. The other song debuting on this tour, When I
Paint My Masterpiece, was an inferior rendition compared to the
commercially released version.
Baby and Tangled Up in Blue were great as always and were followed with a
great change of pace - This World Can't Stand Long. For my $35, County Pie
could have been left uneaten (and unplayed) on the shelf. The sustained
highlight of the evening for me was the triple play of Stuck Inside Of
Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, Not Dark Yet and Leopard-Skin
Pill-Box Hat. It was during this part that Dylan starting to loosen up and
during an extended jam smiled at his own missed cue on a vocal. Love Sick,
the first encore number was very strong and the audience participation
numbers (Like a Rolling Stone and Rainy Day Women) were great as always. I
was glad that Bob put away the guitar once and got out his harp on It
Ain't Me Babe though I thought his vamping during the harp section was a
All in all, it was the best Dylan show I have seen. Thanks Bob for
playing small venues with reasonable ticket prices
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