Reviews

Clarkston, Michigan

July 16, 2000

Pine Knob Music Theater


[Christine Cooper], [Jan McNally], [Cory Hawley], [Lynne], [John Haas], [Eric Shaver], [Brandon Zwagerman]

Review by Christine Cooper



Quick review: (I'm at work) : Bob played what amounted to be an intimate
concert to 10-12K people.  I had a great seat due to the priority ticket
sales- marred only by the number of times I had to hop up and down due to
late arrivals.  The freeway is under construction and we had three lanes
dropped down to one- good thing I knew that Dylan was opening- thanks
again to this page.  The band wandered onto the stage at 7:10pm- perfect
Michigan evening; cool and just before sunset with a Michigan blue sky
over the amphitheater.  The band slammed right into Duncan and Brady- real
good version.  Muddy Song to Woody, but then a kinda country-swing
Desolation Row.  Bob was real playful and the band kept their eyes pinned
on him through the whole concert.  Tony was in his plum Santana suit and
hat, Bob in his black number with the white piping down the seams, Charlie
in country-chic, Lary in some black suit, and as far as I could tell, Dave
was wearing only his c'boy hat.  The hightlights for me were One Too Many
Mornings, Things Have Changed, and Bob's harp solos.  I noticed that Larry
and Charlie are getting real good at trading riffs.  Tony has taken up the
mariachi bombe' in the acoustic sets (I love that Bob has the band expand
their instrumental horizons).  The funniest touch was the new (to me)
acknowledgment of applause- the guys just stand there- instruments in
front of them, Bob with one hand on his left hip- as if to say "whaadya
think a' THAT?"  The only other thing I have to say is that Bob's barber
has a weird sense of humor... ;->.  Shalom

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Review by Jan McNally



I went to the concert yesterday and was disappointed
and my review would not be glowing. Kmnow at the
get-go I'm not a big concert guy ... less than one a
year, and went to see Bob last November in E. Lansing,
Mich.

Bob seem bored to death ... I watched the whole thing
very carefully and I think he smiled a total of three
times the whole evening, and not once to the audience.

Additionally, I am not a big modern music fan, but
love Dylan and mainly listen to his CDS.

Problem is that what I heard last night has virtually
no resemblance to what I hear on the CDs.

His song, "one to many mornings" on the CD is a
wonderful, slow, melodic piece that you can actually
hear and understand.

Half of Bob's songs last night all sounded the same
... incredible, but my 16-year-old son who is not that
familiar with Bob's whole repertoire mentioned the
sameness of the songs.

So, I'd like to do the review mentioning some of these
things, and basically concluding with the sentiment
that:

1)  What is wrong with Bob doing a solo of some of
these songs, like they were recorded in the first
place, and for which he earned his justifed acclaim.

2) Why does he have to be so aloof, even to the point
of rudeness to his fans.... I paid $150 for three
tickets, for Pete's sake.

3) Bob certainly must have some insights of interest
to the world of today.  Why not some new songs.

4) Isn't it time for Bob to write an autobiography,
explaining some of his lyrics and satisfying the
curiously of his multitudes of fans.

Jay McNally

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Cory Hawley's response to Jay McNally



After reading Jay McNally's "review" I felt a little upset. I feel to 
complain about an artist like Bob Dylan is a bit much. I would like to 
see someone build a career like Bob has and still have the motivation to 
go out and tour year after year all around the world. Yes he doesn't 
sound the same as he did 30 years ago. Heck, he doesn't sound the same 
from 5 years ago. But isn't that what makes a performer such as himself 
interesting and exciting to see? Bob has been performing nearly 40 years. 
If he played every song the same, what would be the point of seeing one 
of his shows? Anybody can turn on the radio and hear the same Tangled Up 
in Blue or Like a Rolling Stone. But what you won't hear is the altered 
phrasing and annunciation, or even see the gestures or occasional grins 
from Bob. Supposedly, Bob does not feed of audience energy. Maybe 10 
years ago that would ring true. But, after going to 4 shows in the past 
year, I believe that is not true. I was front row for the Fargo, ND s
how this past spring and Bob was having a GREAT time with everybody. If 
a crowd was standing or even sitting in front of me with no emotion 
while I performed, I would feel "left-out." I understand people expect 
every show they see to be the best one they will ever see, but there 
is no way that is even close to being possible. 

If you want to hear One Too Many Mornings, a song that was written and 
recorded over 30 years ago, sung the same as it was then, than listen 
to the record/tape/CD. As far as putting out a new album, I though "Time 
Out of Mind" was fairly recent. Yeah, it's about 5 years old, but how 
can you be sick of it already? And, if that isn't good enough, what 
about "Things Have Changed?" People complain if Bob isn't touring. People 
complain about a new album. Please, give the guy some slack, and just be 
happy with what is put in front of you. Whether it be a concert or a new 
album (a bluegrass-oriented album wouldn't be badů.) 

Bob is definitely not RUDE to his fans. He may come off as grumpy or 
annoyed sometimes, but he really is not. And if and when he is not in 
the best of moods, I think a person is allowed to feel this way. I have 
personally never seen Bob give anybody the cold shoulder at any of the 
4 shows I've been to. He is a performer who wants to sound good and puts 
a lot of concentration into what he's doing. Everybody has a bad day at 
the job.

I am sorry that Jay had a not-so-good time at the show. I understand 
forking over $150.00 is a lot. Please don't let this show give you a 
bad impression of a man who has a heart bigger than you think.  

I am going to 3 shows; Camden, NJ, Scranton, PA, and Stanhope, NJ. Bob 
could play Tangled Up in Blue 17 times at each one and I'd be happy 
(but, please don't). I am hoping to hear something like Jack-a-Roe, 
Buckets of Rain, or even Johnny Cash's Train of Love (Bob did this at 
the Cash tribute & it sounded awesome), but I won't be the least bit 
upset if I don't. Keep it up Bob, hopefully you read these!

Cory Hawley
Chawley@longwoodgardens.org


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Lynne's response to Jay McNally



In response to the guy who complained about the ticket prices
and "boring Bob". Bob Dylan is an artist. He is not obligated
to perform a song the same way twice and nor is he obligated to
make nice to his audiences. The only thing Bob is obliged to do, is stay
true to his considerable gift. It's truly a miracle that this man - this
survivor of all he has witnessed - is still out there, more than half the
year, doing what he does best. Bob is 59 years old and at an age when most
men are considering retirement, but this old horse refuses to be put out
to pasture or pinned down. The show I saw in Albuquerque on July 3rd was
testimony to Bob Dylan's genius. When Bob is "on" nothing remains but the
song. We are so blessed to still have this man in our midst. This national
treasure really. Unlike Jay's offspring, my eighteen year old daughter was
blown away by Dylan's live renditions of songs she has loved for years.
She astutely commented on his "entertainer status" something I'm certain
he would hate to hear but continues (weeks later) to thank me for taking
her. Bob's pretty awesome right now, take it from someone who's seen a lot
of shows (good and bad) over the years, and if you have the opportunity to
see him anytime soon, GO.If Jay want's to see a performer that jumps
around and chitchats with the audience, maybe he should save his money for
Barry Manilow.

Lynne

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John Haas' response to Jay McNally



Jay McNally is not the first to complain that Bob in concert doesn't sound
like Bob on record.  Many answers have been offered, and I would like to
add another.

It is a fact that Bob could not ever duplicate the sounds on his records;
to set that as a goal means to fail every night, with every song.  And, as
has been pointed out, why should he try?  The records are out there.

But there's a more substantial point to be made on this issue.  And that
is this:  Bob wouldn't be the great--world-historical--artist that he is
if he were capable of settling for such an uninteresting standard!  Bob is
and always has been about pushing the boundaries of the possible, striving
for whatever he hear's in his head, whether it's the first time he plays a
song, or the thousandth performance.  He wouldn't have ever written or
recorded the songs that have made listeners like McNally fall in love with
him in the firstplace if he wasn't compelled to strive for something more.
He would have been a mediocrity, like most of his peers, and he would have
produced mediocre art that disappeared with its day, or reappeared on
oldies stations.  But that's not what happened:  Bob is not like other
writers, singers, or performers, and that's why his songs and performances
defy expectations, whether those are the expectations of a pop dj in 1965
or a casual fan in the year 2000. 

It is inconsistent to demand that Bob stop developing his songs--to ask
that he do this, to complain because he keeps moving--means you just
haven't grasped the essence of his gift--the very gift that gave us those
songs in the firstplace.

To complain that Bob rearranges his songs in concert is to mis-read his
intentions, and his character.  Bob is not a nostalgia act.  He is not
there to help us re-live our youth.  He's told us a long time ago that his
songs are sung for him and his "friends" (ie, those who "get it"), and
others are welcome to listen in, but they aren't going to set the agenda.
Artistically, it is not he or she or them or it that he belongs to!  He
has not and is not going to be hemmed in--not by other's expectations of
what a song should be, what a good voice should be, what are appropriate
topics for a song, etc., nor even by his own past achievements.  This is
just part of who Bob is, and in large part it is why he is worthy of our
respect.

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Review by Eric Shaver



Just wanted to write a few lines about Bob's set.  First of all as a die
hard Dylan fan I thought it was an excellent show.  Bob played for almost
two hours and certainly gave the crowd it's moneys worth.  And it really
makes me feel good to see the response he's been getting at his shows. 
The people are really into it as they should be.  The band is to be
commended too,  they are just awesome players.  The set started out with
Duncan and Brady which I hadn't heard before, but turned out to be a
terrific opener.  I really dig it when the fellas harmonize with Bob, it
really seems to kick him into another gear.  Song to Woody was superb,
this wasn't one I was hoping for but by the time it was done I just wanted
him to keep on playing it.  When Bob sings about doing some hard traveling
too,  he's certainly speaking from experience.  After this a nice version
of Desolation Row was played followed by a very touching and delicate
version of Girl of the North Country.  Tangled up in Blue had it's usual
affect bringing the already standing crowd into a dancing mode.  One thing
I must mention at this point is that I would love to go see Bob and
actually be able to sit and comfortably enjoy the show.  But the younger
crowd loves to stand so what can you do?  Just stand I guess.  Searching
for a Soldier's Grave was another new one for me and I thought it was
performed very well.  Bob might actually turn me on to bluegrass music if
he keeps this up.  To be honest I could've done without Country Pie but
Bob seemed to enjoy it.  Positively Fourth Street has got a different
arrangement and you can actually see Bob playing with the words.  I'll be
your baby tonight is always one of my favorites.  What a good song. 
Tonight I'll be Staying Here With You was a pleasant surprise and was
quite similar to the original version on Nashville Skyline.  Bob really
seemed to be in country mode at this point and at any moment I was
expecting him to fire into Lay Lady Lay, but unfortunately that didn't
happen.  I must say I wasn't prepared for Drifter's Escape even though I
knew it was coming.  This version was absolutely mind blowing.  The band
tore into it and in spite of myself I was almost dancing.  And when the
band backed off for Bob's harp solo I thought I'd gone to heaven.  Oh it
was worth every penny to see this song performed.  Leopard skin Pillbox
Hat kept the joint jumping with excellent guitar work.  For the encore
Things Have Changed was surprisingly subdued.  Perhaps because of the two
rockers before it.  But I think this song definately holds its own.  Man I
hope Bob comes out with another album soon, because listening to this one
it's evident to me that Bob is still very much on top of his game
lyrically and musically.  Like a Rolling Stone always satisfies and this
time was no exception.  Everyone in the crowd was singing the chorus and
it felt so good.  One Too Many Mornings was a good song to help us catch
our breath for a blazing Highway 61.  Vocally and musically superb this
version highlights Bob's brilliant band and his scorching vocal.  After it
was over all I could say was wow!  I wanted it and I got it.  Blowin' in
the Wind with the harmonies was just brilliant.  Overall it was a
tremendously enjoyable show.  Just a few suggestions for next time,
Dignity, Ring Them Bells, All Along the Watchtower,  or how about
Congratulations?  Well maybe that's pushing it.  Anyway everybody enjoy
the show when it gets to your town.  Sorry I didn't mean to exclude Phil
Lesh his band was good but no match for Mr. Dylan. Peace.

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Review by Brandon Zwagerman



Well, I haven't been reading newsgroups for the past month (I know, you
surely all missed me dearly :-) because I got tired of using my slow modem
while home from college for the summer, but I thought I would just drop by
and pop out a late review of sunday's show, taken from memory, as I didn't
take notes.

I was running on 4 hours of sleep after a night of wine and 2-hour
backrubs (don't ask) as I drove with a Chevy Lumina full of 17-19 year
olds from Holland to Clarkston, with another group of my friends in
another car also. Most are just varying degrees of casual fans,but my good
friend Pete is a definite Dylanoholic like myself. 3 hours of listening to
Bringing it All Back Home, Blood on the Tracks, and a Wilco album, with a
Wendy's/Arby's stop along the way.

This was my 4th Dylan show, and my second at Pine Knob, where I saw him
with Paul Simon last summer. We arrived around 5:30, and the doors weren't
yet open, so we wandered around the Shakedown Street of the parking lot,
where one could pruchase various goo balls, "tobacco-only" smoking
implements, peasantwear, jewelry, and and edibles, though the sherriff was
sure cracking down on vendors. The scene at this show was such a contrast
to last summer-- Deadheads and Simonites are quite different crowds.
    Well, we went in around 6, staking out a prime locale in the center of
the economical lawn. My old high school math teacher happened to be
there-- I guess he used to follow the Dead back in the day. The vendors
were hawking the usual almonds, snow cones, bottled waters, and beers as
the band walked out and the ladies and gentlemen pleasingly welcomed
Columbia recoring artist Bob Dylan. I was amazed at how many empty seats
there were in the pavillion-- it looked only half full, and the lawn maybe
2/3 full. I guess everyone was still having too much fun at the
parking-lot fair.
    Anyway, it was right into "Duncan and Brady," which was quite a
departure from Leadbelly's version. For one, Leadbelly doesn't have the
nice "He'd been on the job too long" chorus, which was a fine touch of
harmonization. Next, "Song to Woody"-- it was Guthrie's birthday a few
days previous, and this song had as much feeling as if he was still with
us, if it was still 1962 and a young Bob was playing next to his hospital
bed. "Deesssolayshun Roww" came next... the arrangement with the sparse
beat of the verses, and then more complex guitar work in between really
works well. "Girl of the North Country" blew me away... such a sad song of
times past... I bet he still think of the one who "once was a true love
of" his as he sings those words. "Tangled Up in Blue," though it is the
one song I have heard at every single show I have gone too, but I am not
tiring of it in any way-- who needs electric guitars? This song rocks
acoustically just fine, and the crowd sure agrees. I couldn't concentrate
on "Searching for a Soldier's Grave" all that well, as I was paying too
much attention to the change in the crowd-- they seemed suddenly
disinterested, as if they just wanted this unfamiliar song to be over with
so they can hear something they know. I heard "Country Pie" in Denver in
April, and it was good to hear again-- it has made a fine fixture in the
electric set-- it is so funny to hear him sing "Saddle me up my big white
goose-- try picturing it... "I didn't in any way recognize "Positively 4th
Street" until the the lyrics began-- what a massive change in sound and
mood from the album. The biting words have lost their anger, and now have
only a an air of bitter sadness about them. The next two songs, "I'll Be
Your Baby Tonight" and "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You" seem to
indicate that Bob was in the mood for some lovin'. Heh, I don't know if he
got any after the show, but maybe next time he should throw in "Lay Lady
Lay" too, just to be safe. Holy Drifter's escape-- amazingly hard rocking
stuff-- certainly not the usual John Wesley Harding sound-- but that's not
a bad thing in any way. "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" isn't one of my
favorites, and I was wishing he'd do something else instead. But he didn't
and it  was, like the Denver show, very barn-burningesqe. Then, the band
got into formation, which is the wackiest thing I have seen yet at a Bob
show, basking in the glow of applause so stoically-- accepting it, but at
the same time indifferent.
    "Things Have Changed" kicked off the encore, very cool, wheelbarrow
    and
the whole deal. "Like a Rolling Stone" is always a highlight for me-- I am
always transported to some black and white world of 1965, when Dylan was
on top of the world... it looks like he is ready to stand there again. For
the first time this tour, he whipped out "One Too Many Mornings" which I
completely did not expect, then on to the usual driving "Highway 61
Revisited." I am glad he didn't end with that one-- the ethereal "Blowin'
in the Wind" worked better-- the band and the crownd joining in on the
refrain, leaving everyone in a communal spirit for Lesh and Friends.

Lesh was better than I thought he'd be, though not exactly my cup of tea.
The first half of his set was aimless fusion-jazz sounding jams. Once he
got to "Friend of the Devil" it was uphill from there, and they really
started rocking out. I didn't know any of the other songs, but it was fun
to join in with the whole hippie vibe for a while. Dylan still shouldn't
open for the guy-- but I have nothing against him.

Well a 3 hour drive home to Holland, 4 hours of sleep, and a 9.5 hour day
of work monday was killing me, but all was worthwhile, and I can't wait
for the next show.

Until then,
Brandon Zwagerman

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