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Review by Brent Warren
Arrived in plenty of time about 18:00, was informed Dylan would be on
first, which was dissapointing as I wanted a few beers then go in and
catch his set, not keen on Leshie. Anyway not long after 19:00 came the
announcment, Ladies and Gentlemen please welcome Columbia recording artist
Bob Dylan, Dylan and his merry men then ambled on stage and began a six
song acoustic set. As well as the obligatory Tangled up in blue in its
regular fifth spot, Dylan opened and closed the acoustic set with 2
traditional song he has been performing a lot lately, Oh Babe, It ain't no
lie and Searching For A Soilders Grave. We were also treated to a great
version of To Ramona which was an early highlight of the show, Desolation
Row and Frankie leaned made up the remainder of the acoustic set. After a
couple of minutes silence in which the band huddled together for a chat,
the familer plod of country pie began the electric set, not one of my
favorite tunes, but the band had a lot of fun playing it. Then came the
big surprise of the night, Queen Jane Approximately was given a rare
outing, the was the peak of the show and Dylan seemed to put a lot more
effort into this than he did for the remainder of the electric set. This
was followed by Tombstone Blues, (plodding version) and i Don't believe
you, both of which were not the best versions of the songs the great man
has performed. Next came the Wicked Messenger and the electric set
finished wish Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat. As the band waved and left the
stage, Dylan went to the front of the stage and said something to a woman
at the front and appeared to take a bit of paper from her. The band came
back on for the encores which began with a nice version of Things have
Changed followed by a controlled Like a Rolling Stone. Dylan then got the
old acoustic back out and performed a fantastic version of It Aint Me Babe
in which all the crowd seemed to participate in. Back to the electic's for
Highway 61, then back for a final encore an extended Blowin' in The Wind.
Above average concert, not one of his best, but definatly worth seeing,
only shame was the lack of songs from Trouble
Review by Victoria L.
i was waiting for the gates to open. i hear the sound check harmonies in
the distance. it's cool tonight. there are clouds. you know those
Michaelangelo clouds- majestic, buxomy, real clouds. i know this is the
only place i want to be.
i can see over to the vineyard hills, a finger lake glistens somewhere,
there are potters nearby. All kinds of people are here, deadheads in
migration. Someone brings fresh strawberries to the tour bus. There are
tents. Music plays. i like it here.
Michaelangelo was transcendent, his work passionate, mystical. I know, i
touched the foot of St. Peter in the Basilica. Everyone wants to touch him.
The show begins. Bob is shy and silky. He curls his hips around his
guitar. There is a girl in the background.
...i received your letter yesterday
about the time the doornob broke...
it's like looking into the eyes of Moses in that tiny chapel in Rome.
Who else could have carved them out of marble but Michaelangelo? Who else
could have etched this phrase but Bob Dylan?
The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
Tangled Up In Blue
Queen Jane Approximately
It Ain't Me Babe
i'm trying to pull this moment tighter to me. i peer thru the binoculars,
it's so seductive, just the two of us in there. i hear the harp. it's
stunning. some songs resonate so, i'm in tears.
i cried at the sight of Michaelangelo's Creation. that space between The
Almighty Father and Adam's hands: that's where Bob lives.
it's so exquisite, it's almost painful.
it's difficult to embrace it all in the Sistine Chapel, the beginning and
end of the world. it's hard to understand the stage, seeing those timidly
blue eyes that produced such volumes, that phrasing, those painterly
assemblages of lyrics.
it was hard for me to leave the Ufizi Gallery. The sculptor carved out
the story of humanity in granite. it's sad to hear the encore. so much
of my history is unraveling with each chord.
the drapes are changing colors. it's almost dark now. i don't know if
it's cold out. Everyone seems transfixed. They want to break from their
seats and touch the foot of Peter. i don't want to be anywhere else.
i never felt the same after seeing the Pieta, fragile violated. it was
too magnificent to gaze at. i wanted to protect it. That happened to me
again in a Philadelphia hall in 1974 and maybe again tonight.
Review by Alex Lehmann
Dylan came on soon after 7:00 pm to a full house at the moderately sized
Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center. There were more people in the arena
after Dylan’s first tune than after Phil and Friends first song (which
came into shape after a long, meandering jam...) which convinced me that
the majority of the audience in this case was primarily there for Dylan.
However, the scenes at the campground and in the parking lot might provide
a different impression...
The day before the show the KOA tenting area was quickly filling with the
tents and the vehicles of Deadheads and Dylanheads, ourselves included.
By the afternoon of the show most tent sites were filled with concert
goers ... with one unhappy exception. An unknowing family set up camp
next to a black VW bus with an indeterminable number of Heads occupying
the site, the long hairs clearly following Phil in search of a dead Dead
scene. While the Heads were nice people and a pleasure to talk with, the
unsuspecting family of campers were less than enthusiastic about the music
loudly emanating from the festive stoner site next door. In response to
the many strains of Dead and Dylan coming from various tent areas, the
non-concert goer turned his car radio loudly onto a local station
specializing in the worst of seventies/eighties rock fodder and ignorant
radio speak. The Heads turned their music down temporarily. At around
one in the morning, however, when the Heads had long ago begun their tapes
a-rolling again, the man had had enough. After aggressively asking the
Heads to turn down their tunes (I can understand asking for quiet, but he
clearly could have used more tact), one particularly drunk West Coast Dead
Head became offended by the neighbor’s manner and drunkenly told him so.
I was sure a fist fight would ensue, but instead, the single non-concert
goer of the tenting area jumped in his car and drove away. A half hour
later the police arrived. Three heads and a car from Oregon were taken
away and not seen again... Moral of the story? Don’t be rudely loud at
family campgrounds after around 10:00 PM, and don’t be an asshole when you
ask people to cool out! The cops were a regular presence from that point
The parking lot of the Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center was easy to
access (if not easy to find due to a lack of sings pointing the way). We
arrived early for some tailgating and watched the lot as it filled with
the usual assortment of freaks and misfits in search of a lost community.
The weather was warm and the fading blue sky sparsely clouded. I must
admit that this is much closer to the scene before/after dead shows than
that which occurred during the fall tour and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
A festive gathering in which fun (and lots of other stuff) were in the
air. A lot of Dylan fans intermingled with one another and took in the
scene. I definitely recommend arriving early, as we plan to do for the
remaining shows, if you’re into weirdness and a good time...
My impression is that there was a predominant, if not overly so, number of
concert goers there for Dylan. He did not disappoint. As mentioned,
FLPAC, a very nice open air venue, was, if not entirely sold out,
seemingly filled by the time Dylan had completed his first number.
“Oh Babe it Ain’t No Lie” was a great opener last summer and I was glad to
hear it again. Very similar to last summer’s version, with excellent
harmonizing and guitar playing, the crowd was into it; a fine, upbeat
Things slowed down a bit with “To Ramona.” This version seems a bit
more subdued than previous incarnations, if not necessarily reworked. By
the end of this one, I was ready for...
“Desolation Row” raised the energy level again. Dylan’s vocal delivery
was very clear, he really seems to be enjoying the lyrics to certain
tunes, playing with his phrasing in ways that add new depth to the
familiar lines. (The reference to Dylan’s “phrasing” seems tired as I
write it here, but how else to describe the way he infuses his songs with
such versatile meaning?). Side note: I was somewhat disappointed at the
crowd chatter that began during some of the longer songs. When
overwhelmed with witticisms, insights, observations, etc. regarding the
music (as so many seem to have), the main thing to do when the man is
playing is SHUT THE FUCK UP. It is rude to the performers and those there
to hear them if people talk during the songs. Nobody cares what audience
members think during the middle of a song. I don’t pay fifty bucks for
seats to talk about Dylan, I pay to hear him. If you want to talk during
the show, please go out on the lawn, or better yet into the parking lot
... Anyway, “Desolation Row” was astonishing (once I was able to ignore
the chatter) with David Kemper’s rolling tempo keeping the song ironically
“The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest” was recognizable from the
opening notes and was a pleasure to hear live (and acoustic!). While the
familiar melody was well conveyed throughout, the words were not as
clearly enunciated as they had been during “Desolation Row” and were at
times hard to follow. Regardless, a rare and musically fine rendition
that had many of us in the seats (Dylan fans, as we all seemed to have
gotten Priority tickets at the same time from the same place) thrilled.
I have been to very few shows in which “Tangled Up In Blue” was not
played and of course was not surprised when the familiar chords began the
song for the fifth spot. Definitely a crowd pleaser. This version was
very strong, particularly in regard to Dylan’s guitar playing. One thing
I have noticed in the course of many Dylan shows is that on some nights
his jams begin to wander in an uninspired way over three or four repeated
notes. Not tonight! Definitely some of the finest guitar work I’ve heard
from Dylan, varied in texture and rhythm and all over the neck of his
guitar. He followed his exceptional guitar solo with a great harmonica
solo which began quietly and grew into the celebration that defined
“Tangled” on this night. The crowd went crazy, a very supportive
audience. Dylan and the band were smiling and Bob was quite active during
I had not heard “Searching for the Soldier’s Grave” before this night
although I’ve seen it on the set lists of past nights during the summer
tour. Like the other traditional tunes that Dylan has shared with us in
the past few years, this song was a pleasure to listen to and (apparently,
judging from the smiles shared among band members) a pleasure to perform.
The electric instruments came out at this point and the celebratory
sounds of “Country Pie” began. I’ve heard it on tapes of the Spring
tour and was looking forward to the live version. When close enough, one
can truly see the intensely intricate, subtle guitar work that Larry and
Charlie are capable of. There are precious few bands that could pull this
tune off the way it has sounded lately in concert. Excellent stuff!
“Queen Jane” was played very slowly with Dylan providing clear
enunciation of the words and humorous, thoughtful twists through his
phrasing. I didn’t bring a notebook or anything, so it is hard to
recollect the exact moments when these great line deliveries occurred.
Regardless, as an enthusiastic Dylan fan, I’m always amazed at the
subtlety with which he can add meaning to his work.
When the first notes of “Tombstone Blues” began my wife turned to me and
asked, “Maggie’s Farm?”, which is just what I had been thinking. However,
as Dylan began to sing, the song took on shape and form and all around me
people were mouthing the words to themselves. Outstanding guitar
interchanges. Hot blues, a great number.
“I Don’t Believe You” was well performed in its familiar arrangement. Once
again, I was impressed and entertained by the humor and irony with which
Dylan delivered his lyrics.
“Wicked Messenger” was stunning, a high point of the show and entirely
unrecognizable from its original incarnation. If only Phil were capable
of such evolution and adaptability. Dylan sang the verses over a raging
drum beat to little or no musical accompaniment, the guitars exploding
during the refrain. Towards the end of the song the harmonica came out
again, Bob stooping low and blowing a great solo over the same driving
beat that supported the verses. Outstanding! I’m not sure I’ve ever
heard Bob rock harder!
“Leopard Skin” continued the high energy level with more of the great
blues playing that shows why this is one of Dylan’s finest touring bands,
ever. As the final song of the main set ended, the band took the stoic
pose in front of the drum kit that I have read so much about. I got a
great kick as they stood there, statuesque, and listened as the applause
poured over them. The longer they stood there, the more enthusiastic the
roar of the crowd...
“Things Have Changed” did not seem to receive a lot a recognition from the
audience who enjoyed it none the less. This version was a bit more slowed
down from the versions I have heard from the Spring tour. Great to hear
for the first time live.
“Like A Rolling Stone” was another crowd pleaser, well performed in its
The acoustic guitars came out again for a very low key rendition of “It
Ain't Me, Babe”. The harmonizing of past tours was gone with Dylan
practically whispering the familiar lyrics. A moving performance.
Highway ‘61 rocked the house. A musician/neighbor at the campsite with
whom I had made friends the previous day was particularly impressed with
this number when discussing the show the next morning. As I have seen and
heard the song a number of times over the years, I enjoyed taking the
opportunity to turn around and watch the inspired audience react to Dylan
and his band’s energetic delivery.
The band looked as if they would leave the stage at this point, but Bob
gave the signal and they turned around, took up their instruments, and
gave us a beautiful “Blowin’ In the Wind.” The harmonizing during the
chorus has infused this song new vitality for me as a listener. A great
way to finish another outstanding show. Once again, a very thankful
audience provided the applause and hoots and hollers as the band froze in
their positions again and lapped it up. As a side note, Larry looked the
least comfortable with this new arrangement, appearing very much as if
he’d like to return the thanks to the audience with a wave or a bow; but
people seemed to enjoy the pose, lots of us were really cracked up by it
for some reason.
After a half hour or so, Phil and Friends took the stage and launched into
a meandering jam. I’m an appreciator of the Grateful Dead, but these
shows really haven’t cut it for me. Very clearly, Jerry was the backbone
that gave the Dead’s musical meanderings meaning. No matter how fine the
players, I can’t help but feel the meaning is gone. Following the third
song we joined a steady stream out of the amphitheater and into the
traffic that was leaving the show, the high point long past...
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