Return to Current Tour Guide page
Review by Michael Carr
I was pleased to hear Bob’s version of Duncan And
Brady as I rushed to my seat (my group of friends were
running a bit late—a word to the wise…make sure you
know how to get to the venue before getting on the
road!). I know Bob has been doing this for awhile,
but I had never heard it on tape or in person so it
was indeed a treat. To Ramona followed. It was a
beautiful country-twinged version. The next song was
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) always liked the
live versions I heard, so I was glad to hear it in
I really liked Rank Strangers. It was the only song
to represent the 80's in the set. It was a great
performance and made good use of the band’s harmonies.
I nearly got the person I was there with to bet $20 on
the next song—unfortunately she didn’t bite. Rank
Strangers was, of course, followed by a strong version
of Tangled Up In Blue. Bob did a great harp solo to
finish off this song (pausing briefly I think to tell
the band he was going to play a longer solo). Love
Minus Zero/No Limit finished off the acoustic set
nicely (although I do see why some people think he
looses some momentum by throwing in a slow song like
this right after the energetic TUIB).
Who would have known Country Pie could taste so sweet?
I never thought much of this track on NS, but done
live, I thought it was one of the show highlights.
The band and Bob seemed to have a lot of fun playing
it. As the song drew to a close Bob dropped to his
knees and he and the band took turns doing short solos
to finish the song off—very fun indeed!
I was surprised to hear Positively 4th Street next.
It was a slower, almost a jaded sounding version in
comparison to the studio version… similar to other
recent arrangements I had heard on tape—happy to hear
it live! Bob’s calm disdain flared up into angry wrath
as Bob launched into a rocking Down In The Flood.
Bob then backed away from his angry songs with Tonight
I'll Be Staying Here With You – this was the only
performance of the night that did not do much for me…
it just didn’t seem as tight as the other
performances. It wasn’t unpleasant, just not as
exciting to me (which is sort of odd, because it is
one of my favorites off of NS)
Drifter's Escape gets my award for the most
transformed song of the evening. A very intense
performance with lightning bolt sound effects!
(provided by Larry?). The song was finished off with
a great harp solo. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat closed
the electric set and was great as usual… I think Bob
threw in an “Oh yeah!” in there after one of the
In the encore I was thrilled to hear Things Have
Changed, especially after the generally 60’s centered
set. He followed that with a solid version of Like A
Rolling Stone. Bob then moved into a sweet version of
Forever Young. Rainy Day Women #12 & #35 closed out
the set… Bob made up a few new verses I think—perhaps
on the fly? Then it was over. Bob bowed a couple of
times then strolled off stage (I think he put on a
black hat as he slipped out of sight)
My overall impression of the show is Bob was sounding
good—his voice was strong and the band worked their
usual magic. He was more animated than the first time
I saw him in ‘99—he danced around on stage quite a
bit, and often crouching or dropping to his knees
during solos, then sliding back to the mic to deliver
the next verse. The most notable aspect of the show
was the complete lack of TOOM material (I was hoping
to hear Highlands or Cold Irons Bound)—perhaps Bob is
cleansing our pallet for the new album?!
The Lesh set was good—I knew virtually nothing of his
music going into the show. I was never a Dead fan
(sort of avoided the Dead…because I knew if I got
hooked what can happen to you… it’s hard enough to be
a Dylan fan…you get hooked on the Dead, and boy, it’s
your life!) Of what I recognized, he did Friend of
the Devil (I was hoping Bob might come up and jam with
them on this), A Few of My Favorite Things (that left
me longing to hear some Coltrane), Viola Lee Blues and
Casey Jones as the encore. It was all pretty much
done as an extended jam…I thought it complimented
Dylan’s set nicely.
For when I'm dead, aye, they'll speak the truth:
"He was a wild and a wicked youth."
--From The Roving Blade (traditional)
Review by Mark Purdy
Saturday night in Mountain View was sunny and breezy, as it usually is
by the Bay in the summer. The parking lot was full of the tie-dyed tribes,
gathering for Phil. In Northern Califronia, that's something you have to
expect and respect. Though not a huge fan of the Dead, I have to admire the
culture they invented. But with no slam intended to the tribes, Bob changed
the entire American music culture in ways that still resonate. And as he was
about to prove, he can still kick butt. What was it he said on the Grammys a
couple of years ago? "The stuff we got's gonna bust your brains out." They
should put that on the radio ads and posters for this tour.
I know there's speculation about why Bob is apparently opening every
show on the Lesh sojourn, so let me add my own. I actually think it's pretty
simple: Since most of these shows are taking place outdoors, the sun is up
for almost the entire first set. And the Lesh set includes a typical trippy
light show that must have cost a few bucks. In the sunshine, it doesn't work
at all. And without the light show, well . . . let's just say Phil needs it
to complete the experience for his fans. Or he must think he does. Besides
which, Bob probably figures he can do his deal, get out of there and eat
dinner at a reasonably early hour. As far as I know, Bob and Phil haven't
played together in the second set yet, so I assume Bob is long gone by then.
Anyway, to the show: Those who say it's weird to have Bob open up to
a half-filled theatre are correct. But my hunch is, Bob enjoys the
challenge. Saturday was hardly a sellout, with the Shoreline lawn maybe
one-fourth full and the lower two seating sections maybe 90% sold. This was
my eighth Dylan show, dating back to the first show he played with The Band
at Chicago Stadium on the comeback tour of 1974. I've also seen him five
times in the last four years, including the great and much-maligned Applied
Materials show at San Jose Arena with the Wallflowers in 1997 and the first
Santa Cruz show earlier this year. For pure showmanship and audience
engagement, Saturday night's show ranked right at the top. If you don't mind
paying part of the ticket price for Phil Lesh and then leaving early in his
set (as I did), you should definitely catch this adventure.
You've seen the set list, so I won't be redundant. But with four of
the first seven songs featuring the country/bluegrass side of Bob -- Duncan
and Brady, To Ramona (the best Dylan song the Flying Burrito Brothers ever
recorded), Rank Strangers and Country Pie -- it feeds into another completely
hypothetical notion I have about the Bob of the Year 2000. Namely, that
every night he is trying to recreate a Hank WIlliams or Grand Ole Opry tour
atmosphere -- or that he is paying tribute to it, or that he actually
believes he's Hank Williams. Think about it. He begins the year riding the
bus to all those little towns in the west with Asleep At The Wheel as the
opener. Then he goes to Europe to spread the gospel there. Then he is playing
the big venues in the summer and letting it all about. He is wearing the cool
black outfit with the striped pants and string tie, or the white one, just
like Hank wore. And he's now even agreed to play in the sunshine so that he
gets more of a county fair atmosphere for his set instead of the nighttime
hip scene. Like I said, just a guess. But it works for me.
I'm 11 years younger than Bob, which makes me 48, but I was proud at
this show to sit next to my 18-year-old daughter and three of her friends
who, quite independently, have gotten into Dylan themselves. (All right, so
I'm sure my kid heard me playing his music. But her favorite Dylan songs are
totally different than mine.) It was really fun to watch their reactions and
see their jaws practically drop as they watched Bob unfurl a set that showed
a professional's way of pacing a series of songs and bringing a crowd --
which wasn't all there at the start -- to a near-frenzy.
The acoustic set was better than the Santa Cruz show. From my middle
section seat in the fifth row of the 200 level -- maybe 40 rows up overall --
you could hear Bob enunciate every word. And he was working at it. At about
7:05 came "Ladies and gentlemen, Columbia recording artist . . . " and we
were off. "Duncan" and "Ramona" brought the stragglers into the bowl, and by
"It's All Right Ma," people were finally listening. He is low-keying this
arrangement compared to 20 or 30 years ago, which makes so much sense. I see
him singing it to his dying mother now rather than being a punk kid trying to
break away. An aside: I was sitting near the volunteers who were doing the
sign language for hearing-impaired fans and happened to glance over just as
the "guillotine" line was sung. The guy's eyes opened wide and his hand came
down like a knife. I didn't know whether to giggle or wince. But later,
when a woman was signing during "Things Have Changed" and Bob came to the
"head in a noose" line and she drew a circle around her neck and yanked the
imaginary rope upward, I'm sorry, I lost it and laughed for about five
seconds. Unless you find it offensive to chuckle at this stuff -- and none of
the hearing-impaired folks seemed to get upset about it -- I recommend you
check it out for at least part of a few songs.
Now, back to the stage: "Rank Strangers" was the Opry Bob
personified and pure Americana. We've all heard "Tangled" a lot over the last
five years, I guess, both good and bad versions. But it was apparent on this
night that Bob really wanted to grab the crowd with it. I'm sure he totally
understands that it's a song even the most casual fans know. And I've been
remiss here in not mentioning that the band was really tight and together
from the start. Charlie was finally a full-frontal part of the group after
kind of hovering on the edges the first couple of times I saw him. I miss
Bucky like so many others -- especially his mandolin on "Tangled" -- but
Charlie obviously has the skills. And unlike the friction mentioned between
Larry and Bob in Sacramento, they really seemed to be working well Saturday.
Larry was wearing shades, though, so if he had a black eye, who'd notice?
Tony was the rock, as always. Anyhow, on "Tangled," they were all playing
in third gear as opposed to first or second. At the end, Bob grabbed the harp
and did his right-hand-waving, knee-dipping conclusion that, just as you'd
expect, had people hooting and in the palm of his hand.
Some more Nashville/county fair vibes followed ("Positively Fourth
Street" is now practically a country arrangement) with the shift to the
electric accomplished smoothly with "Country Pie." Then the hammer came down
with "Crash On The Levee," a breather on "Tonight, I'll Be Staying" and then
the solid "Drifter's" (with more harp, then intros) followed by a giddy
"Pillbox." Bob was more into his knee bends and dancing than I've ever seen
(second only to a Ft. Lauderdale show in Jan. 1999) and needless to say, the
house was no longer disinterested. Indeed, as happens on the best nights,
the crowd was elevating Bob's game. The seating sections were jammed and
moving. I've come to like "Pillbox" as a closer better than "Highway 61,"
which I used to think was perfect. As has been discussed, the band and Bob
both now wait and soak in the applause for a while before leaving, which I
think gives the audience more satisfaction (did someone advise him about this
or did he figure it out on his own?)
The wait for the encore seemed longer than usual but maybe the band was
hydrating itself from such a hot set. "Things Have Changed" has been playing
a lot on a local radio station so that was a good choice. The "Like A
Rolling Stone" arrangement is now a pure, loud, straight-up crowd-pleaser,
which makes Bob's understated singing of the tune more effective somehow. He
was shimmying like a madman through this one -- doing the full dip until his
right knee touched the ground at one point -- and after the song's conclusion
did something I've never seen. If anyone else was there, correct me, but it
seemed after he took off his electric guitar with the crowd still going nuts,
he did a quick squat and threw his arms out straight with his hands
fluttering a bit toward the crowd at stage right as if he were casting a
spell on them or as if he were Spiderman getting ready to spin a web. It
caused me to laugh out loud again. As Jack Nicholson once said at another
Grammy show: "This guy is a real riot."
"Forever Young" was then the penultimate song (my daughter, who'd
gone with me to the Santa Cruz show, was disappointed he didn't sing it that
night and a broad smile broke out on her face -- my go-ahead for giving her a
hug). The band's harmonies have really meshed on this one now. And then the
usual "Rainy Day" mayhem, with billows (and I mean billows) of pot smoke
emerging from the seats between myself and the stage at several locations.
I, too, had grown sick of this number but the band (these boys must have been
practicing hard) has found a way to reinvigorate it with Larry's pedal steel
and Bob was dancing with his guitar across the stage at the end, neck high,
giving the folks his copyrighted Bob facial massages. Remarkable. I look
back at the set list and it doesn't seem too special in print, but trust me,
the man knew exactly what he was doing given the venue he was playing,
because the Deadheads, my daughter and her friends, and longtime semi-cynical
Dylan watchers like myself were all spent and satisfied at the end. My line
to friends who ask if they should fork over the dough to see Dylan these last
few years is always the same: "Some nights he's good, some nights he's great,
but he's always, always interesting." This was one of the great nights, in
my opinion. At age 59 he continues to be an inspiration to me. If Bob -- who
clearly doesn't need the money -- can keep cranking it out and making it work
night after night across the entire planet, how can I whine about my job,
ever? When I start feeling that way, I check out this web site, check in
where Bob is playing and read about what he's doing, then mentally flog
myself for thinking I'm on the downside of my career or life or whatever.
When you stop to think about it, there's no 20th century musical figure who's
been as fascinating or as hard-working or as -- that's right --
brain-busting. In fact, no one is even close.
Oh, yes. After two songs of Phil and Friends' noodling, my wife and I
decided to leave. My daughter said his set grew a little more cohesive and
was enjoyable by the final half an hour, but no dishonor intended, it's just
my cup of herbal tea.
So. Have a good summer and see Bob when he rolls the Opry through your
town, if possible. Unless the band gets weary, or Bob gets sick, it will be
the most value-added experience of your year. Onward to 2001. Who does he
tour with next, Englebert Humperdinck?
Review by Jim Morrison
Duncan and Brady is just a great opener, while I am not familiar
with the tune it has the "seen it all go down" mentality that remains
nothing but badass.
The last time I saw To Ramona was with my mother in New Jersey, now
on the other coast in the other beautiful breezy summer night I saw
another. The hustling and unsettled crowd paints itself to the lines of
the tunes, who is being shot back to some memory or completely
fascinated by the present.
It's Alright Ma.... I waited years for. He delievered the lines. I
wonder how that song falls onto people's ears. Not much is really
sacred in Silicon Valley, but maybe that is the point.
Rank Strangeers...well sung all around...around what I don't know.
The song evokes detachment for me which fit well. Excellent stuff.
Tangled Up was normal, people were movin', that really doesn't mena
Love Minus Zero/No Limit was graceful and sweeping, left me nearly
weeping. The sungoing down in the back added to the tenderness of the
Somewhre in here the black backround was tranformed into the white
magic drop from an idealized dream of american performance.
Country Pie was exciting for me not really knowing what to expect.
Tons of gestures and rock star bends were the order, no hard boiled
Positivity 4th Street was great as usuall a lot of the crowd loving
the song from Jerry Garcia Band sets. Worked well I would imagine.
Crash on the Levee was a full on rock spectacle much like Drifter's
Escape the nights "barn burner" (what does that mena really?) Betwen
the two was the sweet Tonight I be staying here with you, the only
problem being the set would be over long before the evening got rolling.
Leopard Skin PIll Box, was great its normal bluesy self. The line
about it really being the expensive kind rang really well.
For the encore The Things have Changes was great to hear, with the
sunset being obscured by either heat of methane, the line about the "lot
of water under the bridge" was perfect and was the mood one would be in
when there's no one to fall in love with.
The Rolling stine was delivered well, people wantto scream and bob
makes them listen.
FOrever young was nice suprise but made the wish for the night to
grow dark with bob still singing intensify. Say what you will
californai breeds beatuifl people and children dancing aroundand smiling
to a tune tlevision can not destroy was nice, in the annie hall sense of
Rainy Day Women closed it with Bob being an outrageous rock star
putting a smile on everyones face, down to his knees roclin' it with
stripes on his pants and curls in his hair.
Return to Bob Links
Go to the Set Lists (by city) page
Go to the Set Lists (by date) page 1999 Tour, 1998 Tour, 1997 Tour, 1996 Tour , 1995 Tour, Pre 1995 Tours
Go to the Cue Sheet page
Return to Current Tour Guide page