Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 04/27/97

Boalsburg, Pennsylvania

April 27, 1997

Tussey Mountain Amphitheatre

Review provided by Peter Stone Brown:

Bob Dylan
Tussy Mt. Amphitheatre
April 27, 1997

First off, it wasn't an amphitheatre, but a ski mountain with a stage at the bottom.  
Second, if you have another chance to see a show there, don't take it unless you really 
like sitting in your car in the parking lot in the rain.  It took two hours just to get 
out of the parking lot which was longer than Dylan played.  That said, there weren't any 
metal detectors as reported though they were confiscating food so they could sell their 
own, and it rained starting right before Bob who pulled up right at showtime took the 
stage, though it wasn't a hard rain (that was saved for the ride home) merely an 
annoying rain.

Dylan and band came on laughing, Dylan dressed in black pants with white stripe down 
sides, wearing a white cowboy hat, a truly ugly charcoal grey/black jacket and a 
ridiculous old-style western tie, black with white polka dots.  He looked fairly healthy 
for his almost 56 years.  Both Dylan and Larry Campbell were playing through tiny red 
Matchless Lightning 40 amplifiers, Dylan his usual strat and Campbell a telecaster.  For 
the electric portion Garnier was playing a rickenbacker bass.

Dylan took off his hat put it on the drum riser, revealing an incredible case of hat 
hair and they were of into a fairly jaunty Absolutely Sweet Marie with Bob pretty much 
mangling the lyrics, doing the wrong bridge verse first and pretty much forgetting where 
he was after that, but it didn't matter, it was cool and his singing was fairly strong. 
 This was followed by a careful Pretty Peggy O with Campbell providing subtle and 
tasteful Steve Cropper type licks.

AATW (of course) followed--as many times as I've seen Dylan do this--he usually manages 
to make it exciting.  Not this time though.  A pretty routine run-through.  By the way, 
it was Campbell, not Dylan playing the leads with Dylan underneath doing his usual 
search and destroy (just kidding folks I LIKE THE WAY BOB PLAYS) guitar underneath.  You 
Ain't Goin' Nowhere followed.  Campbell again provided the main country lick while Dylan 
did something on guitar--I'm still not sure what--between the verses.  Campbell and 
Bucky who pretty much stayed in the background the whole show (it could been the mix, 
but I was very close to the stage) sang harmony. The acapella chorus ending was a nice, 
friendly touch.  It was nice to see him do it, but it wasn't Basement Tapes mystical or 

Watching The River Flow Followed, pretty much the way he's been doing it the past few 
years, but as Bill Parr mentioned with more of a Sun Records rockabilly feel to it with 
Campbell playing cool fingerpicking lead and Kemper providing a solid train beat.

Sylvio was short and sweet compared to the versions I heard last year at Madison and at 
the Electric Factory shows, with none of the almost psychedelic guitar explorations or 
the impact.  I personally could care less whether he does this or not, but at the last 
shows I saw (with Jackson) it had become something of a showpiece.  Wasn't that way this 

The acoustic set was okay, but nothing special.  By the acoustic set, it was apparent 
that Dylan's voice was pretty well shot, but he gave it a good go anyway.  But it was 
here that Bob as lead guitarist started showing up.  He opened with slow, steady Friend 
of the Devil, and followed with fairly routine versions of Tangled and Don't Think 
Twice, providing some nice runs on the latter and his usual funky four note exploration 
on the former.  He does have a way of playing the same notes over and over until they 
start to mean something, but I'd still prefer to hear him play the harp instead.  
"Don't" ended with a slowed-down blues jam that all band members, Bob included, 
grinning.  Dylan seemed to be trying to stop himself from smiling all night, but ended 
up letting quite a few slip out anyway.

Next came a fairly funky and rocking Real You At Last with Bob letting loose on 
electric, which was followed by a close to magnificent Wheels On Fire.  It was slow and 
almost spooky.  Dylan played his best solo of the night--it was obvious the band had 
worked on this song.  A romping Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat closed the show with three 
encores, a why bother Alambama Getaway, a very nice, acoustic Forever Young, and of 
course RDW.

It was a good, but not great show.  A show of special moments rather than one long 
conintuous high.  Dylan appears to be enjoying himself, the music and his band, and 
generally having a good time, occasionally dancing around.  

As for the band, the recent changes are definitely for the better.  Kemper is a much 
more sympathetic drummer.  Gone is the thunderous bombast of Winston Watson's often 
over-powering drumming.  Kemper has a much better clue to the roots of Dylan's music, 
following his quirky changes closely and playing what's necessary and rarely what isn't.
In Larry Campbell, Dylan easily has his best on-stage guitar player since 1974.  GE 
Smith could play, but he was a hack and a ham, and rarely played what was right for a 
song, preferring to show off speed and dexterity over taste.  Jackson on the other hand 
had a contagious enthusiasm and was a risk-taker, but ultimately he came off as 
second-best.  In Campbell, Dylan finally has a professional guitarist who knows what to 
leave out and who has that all-important understanding of the roots of the music, 
whether country, rock or blues and what the appropriate guitar lick and/or style is to 
play to accompany that song and do it in a way that puts taste and the song first.  It's 
about time.
"I was just too stubborn to ever be governed 
by enforced insanity."  --Bob Dylan
Peter Stone Brown 


Review provided by  Michael Zambotti:

	Show was great 'cept for some rain through most of the performance. 
Opening act was a local bar band who played for about a half hour. 
They were pretty decent, much better than Kenny Wayne Shephard
from the last tour.
	Bobby came on at about 4:15 and played for about
an hour and 45 min.  Overall, I thought that the show was better than
the 5/18/96 show in the 'burgh, but both shows rocked.  However, something has
to be done about Larry Campbell.  He is in awe of Bobby and just watches him
the whole show.  He never plays lead either.  He played a good violin, though.
Tony was laughing and joking all day.  Besides Bobby, he's the glue.  Bob stared
at me a few times, I think, as I was about 6 rows back.  I love watching his expressions!
He'll stare someone down and then give 'em a quick wink.  He is the ultimate showman.
I was hoping for "Hard Rain's gonna Fall" given the weather, but the setlist was still solid.
The crowd was mostly Deadheads and college students from nearby PSU, though there
were many from the middle age crowd.  
My personal favorites were Sweet Marie, and Peggy O.  This Wheel's on Fire
was great, and so was Tangled Up In Blue.  I'm not sure if I like the new arrangement
of Seeing the real you...  It seems to fast for me.  
Well, that's all I can think of to write.  It was a great show, and I can't wait for Bobby
to come back to Happy Valley...


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