Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 05/23/98


Anaheim, California

May 23, 1998

Pond of Anaheim

Thanks to Rush Boynton for the following review: 

Well My wife and I were late getting there, bummed Joni did not play
first. Van played about an hour and twenty minutes, we saw about 30
minutes and it was nice. Mellow stuff ya know, but good. However he did
have a total little weasel guy running around screaming , about every
five minutes, "Lets hear it for Mr. Van Morrison!". a total brown-noser.

Then Joni came out. Typical - just like reggae - all sounds the same.
Went to take a leak, came back and wondered if it was the same song.
She did do a rockin' version of that "put up a parking lot" song.

Then..................... Bob. Looking good, singing good, and rocking.
did a couple nice love songs (it was the first date in about a year my
wife and I ).  One big thing I missed, since he is my guitar idol, no
solo stuff and NO HARP.  Still Bob's funky leads sort of made up for it.

Oh Yeah if someone had a scotch and water spilt down there back, it was
me........sorry man.

Oh yeah again, check this out, I actually saw a desert cart (the things
with pastries and stuff) at a dylan show. The Times are a changin'


Thanks to Stephen Segall for the following review:

This review is from the perspective of a died-in-the-wool deadhead (aren't
they all?) who had never seen Bob live except in the summer of 1987 when
toured with the Dead. It was through the Dead that I first became acquainted
with songs such as Masterpiece, Stuck in Mobile, Tangled Up in Blue, Visions
of Johanna, Forever Young, Desolation Row and many others others.

My wife and I see any pre 1975 musical talent still standing. Inasmuch as we
had never seen Van (Morrison) or Joni (Mitchell) either, this concert was a
must for us. But it was Dylan we went to see. 

Van was exactly as he is on vinyl. He was good, but not better than or
different from his recordings save for a very little bit of vocal
improvisation. His sycophantic sidekick has already been severely (but not
excessively) chastised in other reviews, so I'll not embellish further save to
add that his voice and style were bubble gum and inappropriate for such an
otherwise earthy, bluesy, soulful act.  As for stage presence, picture Dan
Akroyd's Elwood (of the Blues Brothers) without the dancing or humor.

Although she was was impressive, Joni was also tiresome, and for the same
reason: an endless litany of angular and cerebral pieces which were each
interesting, but collectively, too much for the uninitiated. I must say that
she was by the far the best female guitarist I had ever seen; her voice was
also superb, but that was expected.

I was amazed to see her pick up an electric guitar. Furthermore,  it was run
through a guitar synthesizer which she utilized to great advantage.  Although
she was accompanied by only three other musicians, the fabric of her sound was
far richer and denser than that of the eight or nine man act that she
followed. And her solo rendition of ? ("..and put up a parking lot") was pure
ear candy played in a percussive/electric idiom. Unfortunately, it was her
only "groove" of the evening, the remainder of her set being a wafting, almost
formless wall of sound. If she had a beat or a melody, I could be a fan rather
than an admirer.

Joni was the most gregarious of the three talents that night. She explained
song selections with an anecdote about Mozart and his fears (like her own)
that if she didn't get this music played before live audiences, it could
become forgotten too soon and that we would not not know who she was. Also,
she announced in the middle of one song that she would honor Bob with a
caricature of his singing style which she performed with amply evident humor,
affection and respect. A great disappointment for me was his failure to
acknowledge her or to reciprocate in kind during his set.

Then came Bob.

To the neoBobite, his stage presence was surrealistic. Stiffly leaning forward
and to his right at all times except when he was "dancing" (reminiscent of a
Parkinsonian shuffle on broken legs), he resembled a cross between Andy Warhol
and any Tennessee Williams protagonist. Not nearly as eerie appearing as he
had been on the Grammy's this year, this Bob appeared freshly transfused and
ready to rock. And that he did. 

Thank God for the electric guitar, and thank Bob for relegating the acoustic
to second string. I know that this is a source of contention among Bobheads,
the most orthodox of which have still not accepted any electricity at all. At
the risk of fanning this fire further, I must add that I was pleased that he
played to a drummed beat all night, and never blew a harmonica. He jammed with
taste and style and gave us all a good show.

My chief criticism is about the song selection, and this is from the
perspective of one who bought Time Out of Mind the week before having heard
none of its content previously. The album was a knockout, at least the odd
numbered songs, two of which were performed that evening (Make You Feel My
Love and Love Sick) as well as one of the even numbered (ugh!) tunes, Cold
Irons Bound. So what's my complaint? He overlooked three dynamite tunes which
from my limited perspective had seemed to me like a great departure from the
stock and trade Dylan.

Not Dark Yet is a stunningly beautiful and plaintive ballad which evokes the
same hollowness of spirit as Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb or a variety of
Jerry tunes such as Stella Blue or So Many Roads. I could listen to that song
anytime, but it was overlooked most or all of the tour. Also hauntingly
beautiful is Standing in the Doorway which reminds me of some early Stones
ballads. Also overlooked was Tryin' To Get To Heaven, a beautiful ballad which
is done a la Mark Knopfler equally convincingly. Do we need another rendition
of Silvio or Rainy Day Women? Do Cold Irons Bound and Highway 61 belong in the
same set with them?

Conclusions? Overall a superlative experience. But I look forward to the next
album more than the next concert

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