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Review by Andrew Neuendorf
When we pulled into Duluth Saturday afternoon, several of the local businesses were sporting
"Welcome Home Bob" signs. While I knew that he grew up in nearby Hibbing, I wasn't aware
that he was born in Duluth. Nevertheless, I knew that we were in store for a great concert
considering Dylan was back in his old stomping grounds. I was almost sure that we'd hear
"Girl From the North Country." That didn't happen, (although during the show, Bob mentioned
that his first girlfriend came from Duluth, which could have been a reference to the song)
but that didn't bother me in the least because tonight's show was killer. Last night in
Shakopee was outstanding, but Bob topped himself once again.
Duluth had gotten some rain earlier in the day, so the park was a little muddy. Luckily the
grounds crew spread wood chips on most of the muddy areas. My dad and I found a good seat on
a pile of woods chips about 30 yards from the stage. It was great because anytime we wanted
to elevate ourselves above the stage rushers ahead of us, we just scraped our wood chips
into a taller pile, and Presto! We were suddenly inches taller. The crowed was 20,000 plus.
One lady in front of us had a year book from her days in high school with Bob. I caught a
glimpse of it, and sure enough, it was autographed by the man himself!
Simon opened again and played the same setlist that he'd been playing the entire tour. It
was good, "Me and Julio," "Mrs. Robinson," and "You Can Call Me Al" are great concert
songs. It was great during the DiMaggio lines in "Mrs. Robinson" because the crowd sung
along. Those lines have really taken on a completely different meaning since Joltin Joe's
death and the song has almost become a tribute to him. But, just as last night, I found
myself wishing Paul would hurry up and bring out Bob. When he did, the crowd lost it. The
nut job sitting next to us finally made it back to his seat during the duet. (He left before
the opening act, The BoDeans, and claimed that he had waited in line for a pizza for three
hours.) He started waving his little American flag and yelling out "Welcome Home, Bob."
The duet portion was nice, the same songs as the night before. Bob was really having a good
time. After concentrating really hard during "Sound of Silence" to harmonize, he loosened up
for "I walk the Line" and "Knockin on Heaven's Door," which was done reggae style with some
additional lyrics, such as, "I hear you knockin' but you can't come in." I heard that was
from a famous pop song, but I don't know it. Paul sang the "guns in the ground verse" and
also added some lyrics from one of his old songs. I didn't know which one.
Bob and his band came on the stage around ten o clock and did not disappoint. They opened
with "O Babe it Ain't No Lie" I had never heard this song before, but was able to make out
the lyrics. That was a good sign for Bob's pronunciation. This song really rocked and I knew
we were in for another great show. Bob was playing lead again and his picking was
exceptional all night. Next came "Don't Think Twice" and it blew last night's version out of
the water. I loved the way that he stretched out "aaaaaaaaall right." The harp solo at the
end was great. I don't think he took his guitar off all the way; he kind of let it hang off
the side. But he was still dancing up a storm with those strange leg kicks and shoulder
Next came a song that both my dad and I were hoping to hear: "Masters of War." And he nailed
it! The lyrics of this song aren't nearly as complicated as his some of his other work, but
"Masters" may never lose its significance. His vocals were really clear on this song and the
intensity was unparalleled; The best live version of I've ever heard.
"It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" sound really different, but I loved it. It was much slower
and sweeter. Larry was on the pedal steel. "Tangled Up in Blue" came next and they really
rocked on this one. Bob's singing was better than last night's version and the harp solo was
amazing. He took off the guitar and did the full body dance. He even did a hip thrust once.
This really pumped up the crowd and the applause afterward was deafening.
Bob wasted no time heading into the electric set, and once again, he topped himself.
"Watchtower" really rocked and the guitar work from Larry and Bob after each verse had that
great Hendrix sound. However, during "Tryin to Get to Heaven" and "Stuck Inside of Mobile"
my unprofessional ear determined that Bob's guitar was out of tune somewhat. It didn't
matter much because Bob was really getting into "Mobile" he was turning his head from side
to side and smiling during the verses and stretching out "again" at the end of the chorus.
Tuning aside, this song topped last night's version. After a sweet "Make You Feel My Love"
(I'm really starting to respect this song a whole lot more. Bob can still deliver with
simple lyrics. This song always sounds like it's coming right from his heart) and a raucous
"Highway 61," they left the stage.
The encore really made the show. It was great to hear a 20,000 people scream "How does it
feel?" during "Rolling Stone," and now I'm pretty sure that the Napoleon in rags line is
referring to himself. You can just tell by the way his entire face lights up during those
lines. Of course, the real highlight of the encore, and probably the entire show, was
"Blowin in the Wind." This is the second time I've heard this live and it was amazing both
times. This song still has so much power, even after all of the cheesy cover versions.
Tonight it was really soft during the verses and then BAM! Larry and Charlie step up to
harmonize during the chorus and the lights come on and the crowd sings along and it just
about knocks you out. They stretch out "wind" at the end of the chorus. The closed with a
rocking "Not Fade Away" and then disappeared into the night. The nut job next to us tried to
lead the crowd in a "One more song" chant, but nobody helped him out. I thought maybe we'd
hear one more, but it was not to be. Of course, after "Blowin in the Wind," I could have
left and been happy forever. It's still an amazing song!
One note: At some point during the electric set, Bob gave a little talk. It was rather
humorous. I had been reading that he was telling corny jokes during this tour, but didn't
hear any at Shakopee the night before. But lo and behold, here's what he had to say tonight:
"You know, I was born up on the hill over there. (applause) I was glad to see that it's
still there. (Laughter). You know, my first girlfriend came from here. She was so conceited
that I used to call her "Mimi."" Bob then threw his head back in fake laughter and Tony did
a little rim shot. It was a pretty lame joke, but I think that was the point. Bob is a
pretty nutty guy and sometimes I wonder if he isn't the strangest person in rock and roll
history. Of course, if he is, that makes him all the more appealing.
Review by Anne Karakatsoulis
Bob's big tour blew into Minnesota on Friday at Canterbury Downs in Minneapolis
and Saturday at Bayfront Park in Duluth, and gave us a lot for our money.
The Bodeans are a really good group and got the crowd going, Paul Simon the
performer gave a very good show with fine musicians and much enthusiam from
the audiences, and then Bob the prophet came on and blew them all away.
I wonder what it feels like for Bob's co-headliners to hear the reaction that
Bob gets from the crowd. One of my daughter's friends emphasized that she was
there because of Paul and enjoyed his set very much, but when Bob came on she
said "I'm going to cry" and proceeded to try to edge me out of my space during
the entire set. I understood. I gave her as much room as I could.
I always come away from Bob's concerts with a renewed affection for the
human race, because he sings directly about our real struggles and somehow
dignifies them and makes one feel empathy for the human condition in general.
I especially appreciated "Not Dark Yet". It seemed that no one in the audience
moved a muscle when he sang it the first night. Bob's vocals were so clear that
I'm sure anyone who didn't already know the lyrics could hear every word.
What an incredible existential statement it is of someone older, no illusions
left, facing his mortality, without grace. If that doesn't make you think,
The second night he sang "Masters of War". I always see the last verse
of that song as a good old-fashioned curse, which he seems to renew every time
he sings it. I noticed that the audience sang parts of the song here and
there, but sang the whole last verse with him - the curse magnified. Hope it
I love the way they do "Blowing in the Wind" - when all three step up to
the mikes to sing the refrain. It gives the song intensity and makes "the
answer is blowing in the wind" sound like a statement, rather than a dismissive
"Highway 61" rocked and rolled, and I always like to hear "LARS" - it
reminds me of the bad old days. They did a great job with "Not Fade Away",
a song Bob certainly heard Buddy Holly do that night at the Armory, which Bob
possibly could have seen last night from where he stood on stage if 1) it were
still there, and 2) fog hadn't socked in Duluth.
Dealing with the weather took a lot of thinking in Duluth because we were at
the Bayfront from 11am until 11:30pm. Duluth oscillated constantly between
sunny and 80 and foggy and cool and some rain and a cold wind off the lake, all
day long. It occurred to me that I would never normally be outside in such
weather, so even tho I live in Duluth, I'm not used to it. But it was worth it.
I wondered if maybe we keep things under too much control normally. Bob rattles
your cage. I like that about him. Some people get tired of "AATW", which he
sang, but I never do, because it never fails to move me.
The bands were facing a NE wind off Lake Superior when they played, which can't
be good for you. If we're going to get quality bands here, the Bayfront folks
have to plan events there better and not crowd the place with piles of dirt and
carnivals, and they must never face the stage towards the lake. Hello!!
I'll have to toss off a letter to the DECC about that. We're not used to people of
Bob's caliber coming here, so maybe Bob could just come to Duluth to perform
more often, and we can learn to get it right.
The other two songs from Time that Bob sang were "Tryin To Get to Heaven", which
was more spoken than sung, and "To Make You Feel My Love", which he sings very
gently. I like it that the album's getting so many performances. I think in
concert I've heard every song except "Highlands" and "Standing in the Doorway".
People loved Bob's comments in Mpls and Duluth. In Mpls he said, "I have to
get a hammer and hit the sack". Here is the quote from the Duluth Tribune of
his comments here. "I was born on the hill over there. Glad to see it's still
there. My first girlfriend came from here. She was so conceited, I used to
call her Mimi." I think he also said "She still lives in those hills", but we
were laughing over Mimi, so I'm not sure.
Thanks, Bob, for two great concerts. Please come back real soon. We'll
miss you until then.
Review by Matt Stroshane
The first sight I had of Dylan after the Shakopee show was a big black
tour bus that flew past us on I-35 at 2:30 AM. We followed until it
pulled off to a Conoco station and didn't see it again until the next
morning when it was parked behind the stage at Bayfront Park.
Simon opened for the second night in a row, probably because 90% of the
fans were there to see Duluth's finest son. He again brought Dylan out
for Sounds of Silence, I Walk the Line/Blue Moon of Kentucky, and the
reggae Knockin' on Heaven's Door. Bob had on what looked to be the same
suit last time he was in town but was without the tie, leaving the
collar of his blue shirt blowin' in the wind. He played great harp on
the first and the last and was smiling and sticking out his tongue
throughout. The two really seem to have balanced their chemistry and
play together fantastic.
It took a long while for the crew to dismantle Simon's giant arrangement
and disappointingly, the crew put Dylan's mikes about 15 feet further
back than they were when Simon was on stage. But the wait and the extra
distance was a small price to pay for the stellar performance Dylan and
the band provided. Larry Campbell led the band into Baby It Ain't No
Lie, again placing the acoustic songs at the front of the set, which
gives the set a different, but welcome feel. Don't Think Twice, It's All
Right followed and Larry played a great solo before Dylan picked up the
harp and played a long solo while hopping around the stage. Masters of
War was next with Dylan sneering the lyrics out and grinning at the
audience between them. Larry took most of the solos with Bob playing
fills but Dylan managed to steal the last solo for himself. He mumbled a
quick thank you and Larry moved to pedal steel for It's All Over Now,
Baby Blue. Charlie Sexton made his presence felt for the first time,
playing some great fills throughout the tune. The phrasing was quite
different than I expected it would be but the hometown crowd just rolled
with it. Tangled Up in Blue ended the acoustic portion of the set with a
blast. Last night it sounded dead, as if the sound guys had just put on
BOTT and the band took a break but tonight the sound was full of life,
with different phrasing and it felt that Dylan was really trying to make
it a special performance. It took several seconds for Charlie to get his
new guitar hooked up but after he did, Larry led the way but Dylan
played most of the solos until picking up the harmonica. He almost
couldn't play it because he was grinning so big that you could see his
smile around the harp. But play it he did and wowed the crowd who were
all singing and bobbing along in rhythm. The phrasing and emphasis used
tonight just go to show how Dylan can turn a great song that was played
mediocre the night before and transform it into a masterpiece. The
crowd's enthusiasm was infectious and soon Tony and Charlie were
swinging their acoustics together and smiling at each other.
All Along the Watchtower opened the electric portion of the set with
Larry again playing a good deal of the solos. Kemper's drums at the end
were great and something I had noticed before. Between tracks someone
yelled out Red Sky and I turned behind me to see a bright red sky
hovering over the lake and the lift bridge which Dylan could obviously
see from the stage. He then gave a few directions to each of the band
members before Tony led the way into Tryin' to Get to Heaven. Larry
played lead and Charlie had some great fills from his huge Gibson
electric and Tony's bass gave the tune a great funky-reggae feel I
hadn't heard or picked up on before. Toward the end, Bob was trying to
play a solo and somebody was playing way out of tune but nobody seemed
to notice and Dylan was in such a good mood in front of his home crowd
that he did something totally unexpected, started talking to the fans
and cracking jokes. After thanking the ladies and gentlemen, he gestured
with his guitar toward St. Mary's hospital and said "I was born in
Duluth right over there." He then mumbled something to the
early-to-bed-early-to-rise Minnesotans like "happy to see you are still
up" and then started talking about some woman (maybe one he used to date
but don't quote me) "that was so conceited I used to call her Mimi."
While everyone was laughing at and generally surprised Dylan was
acknowledging his hometown (he played Duluth in October 98 and didn't
say anything save for thank yous and band introduction), he launched
into Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again. Larry took
lead and Charlie also played well. Dylan took a solo and held his Fender
high from his shoulder and later duck-walked a few steps. The band again
got into the groove and were swaying together as the crowd clapped
along. Mobile ended slow and Dylan moved into Make You Feel My Love,
raising his eyebrows and pursing his lips. They finished and Bob said
the thank yous and introduced the band, telling the crowd that they were
some of the best players in the country. It was a nice change to see
Dylan let the band play more freely and develop aspects of the songs not
played before and the band certainly validated Dylan's statement with
their superb performances tonight. They then blasted off down Highway 61
Revisited, letting the flood lights shine across the crowd. Larry played
a fantastic lead with the bottleneck while Dylan crouched low and curled
around the mike stand like a cat howling into the night. All of the band
were smiling and playing off one another stretching the great guitar
work out until Dylan pulled the Fender over his head and the band
followed him off stage.
Like A Rolling Stone led the encores and Charlie finally getting to play
some well-deserved lead guitar. Dylan was clearly enjoying himself
making eye contact all around and grinning throughout. An acoustic
Blowin' in the Wind followed with Larry and Charlie singing harmony on
the choruses. This is probably the only song that seemed out of place
tonight. Usually the song has a lonely feel, of one man trying to get
out a message but tonight it didn't work. The band and Dylan were having
too much fun and the audience was in too good a mood for it to be
successful. They had much better luck with the next tune, Not Fade Away.
If someone hasn't seen Dylan play this live yet, buy your ticket now
because it alone is worth the price of admission. Larry took the lead
going into the first verse and he and Charlie sang harmony until Dylan
wrestled it back away from him. Larry and Bob continued to out-do each
with spectacular playing which elated the crowd. The entire band was
again smiling at the end of the song. Bob took his Fender off and held
up while he took a big bow for the crowd before standing up and snapping
his head in a gesture that said "I got 'em" because he knew he just
nailed that concert. He grabbed his white cowboy hat and disappeared
offstage so all that was left were two burnt-out, smoldering gas heaters
on either side of the stage. He certainly did not Fade Away.
Review by Luke Heidt
This was my first time seeing Dylan live, and I would have to say I
can't wait until I go again. I got to the concert early and waited in line
for a few hours. After I got into the concert and sat my chair down in the
mud (it had rained a lot the night before), I heard people talking about how
long the line was to get in. The people agreed it was between a half mile
and a mile. The opening act, The Bodeans, played a lot good songs and got a
lot of the younger people moving. When Simon got on the stage everyone was
excited. He opened with his 12 piece band and "Bridge Over Troubled
Waters." I really liked the sound of his band as compared to just Simon &
Garfunkel sound. His set was long and very good except for two songs. The
only thing I didn't like was how much he moved his hands when he wasen't
playing his guitar, and that really wasen't a big deal.
When Dylan finally came out all the 20,000+ people just started going
crazy. His duets were good, but Simon's band was a little bit to much of a
distraction. The songs would have been a lot better with Dylan's band.
After the duets, Dylan opened with his "O Babe, It Ain't Not Lie"
which was poor. Thankfully, "Don't Think Twice" was awesome. When "Masters
of War" started people stoped moving, and started listening. The crowd was
very quiet while Dylan played this song. The rest of the set was just great,
but also just a blur. I can only remember how good it felt to hear and see
Bob Dylan live.
Between songs, Dylan only talked to the audience once. He said, "Ya
know, I was born on that hill over there. Its nice to see its still there.
My first girl friend was from here. She was so consieted, I called her
After Dylan left the stage the first time, I got ready for the encore.
Dylan came back out, and really made the show memorable.
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