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Review by Donna B.
My husband and I arrived at Tweeter Center (formerly Great Woods) in plenty
of time, having been forewarned here that Bob would be on stage at 7:06 PM.
The party was in full swing in the parking lot, which is surrounded by woods.
We relaxed with a beer and watched the crowd. The sun was shining and a nice
breeze was blowing. The smell of charcoal and food cooking filled the air.
There was a strange mix of people and it was very entertaining, to say the
least. There was a young woman sitting on the ground near the entrance
with her finger pointing up towards the sky, trying to sell a little white
puppy. A big guy who looked like a Hell's Angel was walking around blowing
bubbles. There were lots of multicolored tie-dyed shirts, a few VW buses,
lawn chairs, coolers and barbecues.
As it got closer to show time, we decided to go into the amphitheater. The
parking lot was still full of people playing Dylan songs on their boom
boxes and cooking their burgers. I don't think they had any idea that Bob
was the opening act. A long line at the entrance was making me wish we had
come in sooner. Then a bunch of teenaged girls cut in front of us just as
we were showing our tickets. Another long line in the ladies room, so I
pulled the same trick the girls had done. I walked right past the line and
went into a stall just as someone was leaving it. Neat trick! Then we
bought a couple of beers at $5.50 each and headed for the pavilion.
People were drinking beers and smoking pot. I lit a cigarette and a young
punk in the lawn section went crazy, screaming at me and causing a huge
scene, telling me to put out the cigarette because there was no smoking
allowed! I just walked into the pavilion, with my cigarette, and left him
screaming there behind the metal bars and cement retaining wall dividing
the lawn section from the pavilion.
Bob appeared on stage and the applause was great, considering most people
were still outside in the parking lot. Duncan and Brady was the first song.
Bob wore his black and white cowboy boots with a black suit. The others
were in gray suits. The set seemed the same as last year (which was also
on July 22.) However, the band was better and the guitar work was really
awesome. Song to Woody and a great version of Desolation Row followed.
There were a couple of young teenaged boys behind us. I heard one of them
say, "Another over the hill rock group, just what the public needs." But
by the time the set was over, they were up clapping and cheering right
along with the rest of us. I spent most of the concert standing up. Almost
everyone was dancing, clapping and singing along. It was a great crowd,
and I could see Bob smiling and really getting into it (through my
The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest was well done. I forgot exactly
when it happened, but Bob knelt down on one knee and faced the audience
with head bowed, as if in prayer. Then he rose and turned towards his band
and did it again. After that they brought the house down, so I think his
prayer was answered. Tangled up in Blue was in it's customary fifth place
and the whole crowd sang along. Searching for a Soldier's Grave toned
things down a little and we got to sit for a while. Beautifully done.
Country Pie really rocked and had everyone back up dancing and clapping.
Ballad of a Thin Man had the crowd singing along. I picked up a change in
Down in the Flood. Not exactly sure, but instead of "sugar for sugar and
salt for salt" there was something about "cream and morphine." Tears of
Rage, Cold Irons Bound, and a real bluesy Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat ended
the set to a standing ovation.
For the encore, Things Have Changed started the set. The crowd seemed to
like it, even though they didn't know the words. Like a Rolling Stone got
everyone back up on their feet and singing along. Lots of clapping along
with the music and dancing. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right was a major
sing along. Bob was smiling a lot and really enjoying it.
Highway 61 Revisited and Blowin' in the Wind ended one of the best
performances I've seen Bob do in a number of years. I can only see him
once a year now when he comes to Tweeter Center, because I moved "way out
there" on Cape Cod. I was really disappointed when the show was cancelled
before being confirmed. But then it went back on the list, much to my
After the set, I was in the ladies room and heard one teenaged girl ask
another, "Did he sing the everybody must get stoned song?" The other girl
said, "Yeah, he sang it." The first girl said, "Yeah, I thought he did."
Made me feel better about my aging memory.
Then Phil Lesh came on with a way too long jam session. People started
leaving. My husband and I tried to stay past the third song. I was getting
a headache. The songs all sounded alike and dragged, repetitiously. I
found myself saying, "OK, enough already. Let's play something else, Phil."
More and more people were leaving. The momentum that Bob Dylan had going was
lost. Some people started sitting down and acting bored. The really
intoxicated people kept on dancing, but I wasn't drunk enough to be able to
get into it, so we left during the fourth song.
One item of note is that Bob didn't play his harp at all. That was very
unusual. It was especially missed during Tangled up in Blue. One final
thought: I wish that Phil Lesh had opened because so many people who had
come to see Bob missed the beginning of the set. Also wish Phil had
opened so I could have partied out in the parking lot while he was
Review by Alex Lehmann
The parking lot scene was more subdued than it had been at Canandaigua;
this probably had much to do with the police on bicycles patrolling the
lot. I saw several joints and other paraphernalia confiscated, though I
witnessed no arrests. They didn’t seem to mind if you appeared of age (my
wife and I are well beyond that) and kept your beverages in plastic cups
rather than the bottles from which they originated. Regardless, the
combination of Dead/Lesh fans and Dylan fans once again brought out the
unique pre-show fun.
The Tweeter Center was approximately three quarters filled by the end of
Dylan’s opening number and remained that way for the duration. The lawn
was packed and during the Dylan set a slow and appealing sunset occurred
behind us in perfect view of the musicians, which may have helped provide
the inspiration for the fine performance they once again delivered.
Saturday night’s show, particularly the electric set, was consistantly
excellent and at times stellar.
The energy level was up from Wednesday nights performance (of course
these types of observations are extremely subjective) and the performers
appeared to be enjoying themselves. Dylan was as active and energetic
throughout the show, strutting around, bending low, shaking his head and
striking dramatic postures as he slowly pointed his guitar across the
front rows in a rebellious arc. Notably, there was no harmonica playing
last night, although the harmonica rested on the amp behind him. During
“Don’t Think Twice” my wife (by now a Dylan show veteran by association)
and I both commented on how the guitar solo sounded very much like the
harp solo has in previous performances of the song (if you can imagine
what I mean).
The band opened with “Duncan and Brady,” which I have never seen or
heard. I enjoy these traditional covers (?) as openers, they have been
tight and energetic songs featuring the harmonizing at which this band is
marvelously adept. As was the case throughout last night’s show, Dylan’s
vocal delivery was clear and I was able to follow the lyrics to less
familiar songs with ease.
“Song to Woody” was terrific. I don’t know what else to say (we had a
looong drive home last night, but this gets us very close to Saratoga this
evening...). While I am familiar with the song and have heard its recent
incarnation on boot, I am not too familiar the lyrics. The clear delivery
drew me in and blew me away.
“Desolation Row” was once again outstanding. I only wish the fans had a
longer attention span and allowed themselves to contemplate the tremendous
lyrics of this song. The greatest work of poetry to ever appear in music.
In my Canandaigua review (which embarrassed me when I just read it) I
provided am unsolicited opinion of those who talk during the performance
(Be Quite!). Last night there was a distracting amount of the “Sit Down”
syndrome going on around us. Unsolicited Opinion 2) This is a Rock and
Roll show, not a living room. Relax in a recliner in front of your
television at home, loosen up at shows. Fine, if everyone is sitting, but
if rows of people are standing, then it becomes necessary to stand up in
order to see, and fun! A redundant question: Which would the performers
prefer, an enthusiastic crowd on their feet in appreciation of the
performance, or seated individuals shouting “Sit Down”?
“Frankie Lee and Judas Priest” was well performed once again and, as
opposed to Weds. night’s show, tonight I could really follow the lyrical
content. I had to stand up in order not to hear the sitting folks behind
me who would not stop talking (I’m really not as bitter as I sound
Other high points: The entire electric set, especially:
“Ballad of a Thin Man.” Hadn’t heard it live in a while. Once again, a
clear and wonderful delivery.
“Crash On the Levee (Down In the Flood)” was a surprise and an inspired,
hard rocking new arrangement.
“Tears of Rage” is one of my favorite Dylan songs. With the original
arrangement by Richard Manuel evolved but recognizably in tact it was a
tremendous performance. Terrific harmonizing during the chorus.
The new arrangement of “Cold Irons Bound” was impossible not to boogie to.
I’m no dancer, but who cares!
That’ll have to be it for now. No time to proof read, so this will have
to do. We’re off to Saratoga, the sight of my first Dylan show in the
summer of ‘86!
Review by John Morello
This was magic. I dont want to go into particulars about specific songs
(cold iron bound would take 3 pages). Bob Dylan and his band are true
magicians who lifted everyone to a higher plane. every song took on so
many new meanings. The songs were full of wisdom and experience and
delivered through vessels who are at the top of thier craft. If i was a
dead head I would say "the music played the band". The main reason I
wanted to write is because in all the reviews I read, no one really
expounded on the the end of the show. there was no bow, no wave, no thank
you...there was just them standing perfectly calm and still. Not a "pose."
no, no, no. That standing and staring at the audience. This was
incredible. It was not cocky. It was not meek. It was just this
incredible punctuation mark at the end of a set. It was this calm
accepting of all that had just happened tonight. It was as if a prophet
had just channeled the divine and said...."thus saith the lord.....I have
spoken". I am not a christian , but it was like christ saying "it is
finished" My work is done. It was walt whitman finishing leaves of
grass after 30 years. It was the period at the end of the last sentence
in the great american novel...and dammmmmm it was just CHILLING. It was
complete. We went intending to stay for Lesh....We were wide awake as
Dylan left the stage. But we could not stay for more music. we could not
let any other music invade the peace and feelings that were in our minds.
It would be like reading the last page in "catcher in the rye" and then
immediately grabbing a mad magazine. They just stared and stood. they
were not "soaking it in".....because they had just poured it all out.
This was a holy moment. We drove home with no music playing, wide awake,
and the windows wide open through the star-lit back roads of New England.
Review by Mary Ellen Schumann
Ahh. It's with a bittersweet regret and longing that I write this review.
I have looked forward to Bob Dylan's concert since the last one (about 8
months ago). My excitement caused me to leave the tickets at home! Luckily
my husband asked if I had the tickets. (God love him, one of the many
pluses of marriage.) I DID NOT! Backtracked a half an hour. That along
with the "Big Dig" traffic in Boston, AND an incredible traffic jam for
the (F.%$??&^#N) "In Sync" concert in Foxboro caused us to be so late for
Bob was playing "Ballad of a Thin Man" when we entered "Because
somethin' is happening and you now what it is , Do you Mister Jones?"
The band was really rockin'!
"Down in the Flood" and "Tears of Rage" - hard, loud, luscious rock n'roll.
No country lilt, just kick ass rock and roll. "Cold Iron Bound" was a treat!
Had a reggae feel to it. "Leopard-Sin Pill-Box Hat" wasr a real Chuck Berry
Rock n' roll delight.
For the encore "Things Have Changed" This was a tad disappointing. I love
this song and hoped Bob would sing it. He did, but snarled it. It lacked
the tongue in cheek humour that made it so appealing in the original song.
"Like a Rolling Stone" - man it's beautiful and Bob made me feel it. "Don't
Think Twice, It's All Right:" This was my favorite of the evening. Bob and
the band really delivered it. The lyrics were so crystal clear and so snide
" You just kinda wasted my precious time. But don't think twice it's alright!"
He sang it with such intensity and clarity and sarcasm. I didn't get the
sarcasm in this before.
Highway 61 was rocking and Blowin in the Wind was beautiful. What a
Observations: Bob was loving it! It's always struck me. What causes
someone to tour over and over again when they could just rest on their
laurels? Yet seeing Bob, loose, happy, rockin, cabitzing with the crowd.
Being provocative with his looks, and leers, and down on his knees jammin!
He was lovin' it. The crowd was lovin' it! I felt his love and need to
Bob looked spiffy in his suit but is really lean and wirey. With the
weird purple lightning as his back drop, he reminded me of Mr Burns.
( Homer Simpson's Boss) with hair. And what's up with his hair - it
Final Observations- Wow. Taking a short cut through the " Dead Head" zone
was scary. It was crowded with people, (kids) , high, dirty, crowded,
sitting in the mud, patchoulli and pot, and 60's and selling stuff -- non
threatening but real because of their numbers.
Bob and his band were HOT! There was little country and western lilt to
their performance. It as rockin! The band was so tight. Formerly I could
hear the guitars as different levels or patterns - beautiful but distinct.
Last night, they were so solid, and tight!! Sounded like one sound.
My husband said at the end of the night " I wish he would play the songs
the way he recorded them." And I have thought this from time to time.
Yet, it is his inventiveness and playfulness, that makes him the only artist
that I long to see again and again and again. And this is why I am so sad
that I missed his acoustic performance last night. But I just have to wait
a bit and…………..he'll come around again.
Review by David Godlis
Last thoughts on Mansfield MA 7/2:
This is the first show I've seen in 2000. Bob sounded great in this
outdoor setting. Weather was perfect (last nite was a downpour). I was
near the soundboard and sound & sightlines were very good all around. This
band just keeps getting better.
The first five songs were a spectacular sweep - D&B, Song to Woody,
Frankie Lee, Tangled. Bob right into it from the get go. Desolation Row
was "dead on", not surprisingly as it had been in the setlists all week
and obviously well practiced. Remembered: "DesolatioNNNNNROWWWWW."
"...you better hurry up and leave..."
I was really hoping for "Frankie Lee & Judas Priest" (always a big
favorite) and got all that and more. Hearing this alone was worth the
price of admission. Remembered: "....SAIIIIID eternity", "have it any way
you want, I'll see you after a while", "It's not a house at all, it's a
home". When he sang "nothing is revealed", there was an inverted phrasing
which ran down-up-down-up. This inverse lilting continued on through the
It really was a great move for Bob to open these shows. The last time I
saw Dylan at this venue was in '93, Laura Nyro opened and the crowd was
less attentive/more subdued. The deadhead audience really were a good
"Searching for a Soldier's Grave" was exactly as described in
earlier reviews. Then came "Country Pie" which made the Nashville
sound unplugged. Fast guitars! Imagine hearing the song as played on NS
without the fade out during the guitar picking at the end. What a great
Then Bob talks. Just for the record, he introduced Thin Man" with
"here's a song I wrote
a while ago about some over the hill rock critic."
Then the Basement Tapes segment. Down in the Flood and Tears of Rage. The
surprise was "Flood", but the backup vocals by Larry & Charlie on Tears of
Rage was mesmerizing. As described on these pages, it was a slightly ahead
and behind echo effect. Bob choosing to sing before, after and/or with
"Cold Irons Bound" was a very new very fun very LOUD version.
Remembered: "cold irons BOUNNNNND"
Then Leopard Skin, which is a great closer, with lots of guitar. The
sunglasses to deal with the bright lights coming 90 miles per hour down a
dead end street at em though.
The encore's choices were as expected, starting with Things Have
The surprise was Rolling Stone which started off kind of listless. But at
the instrumental break after the second verse, Bob started to play guitar
and enter the song. The break continued right on through the chorus w/o
vocals, at which point Bob returned for a perfect last verse his vocals
remarkably strong and dead on every syllable. I don't know if he takes
that long break every night, but it sure worked here - especially on a
night with no harmonica, it really energized him.
"Don't Think Twice" was done more spoken word than sung.
"Hiway 61" (like Cold Irons) was LOUD and GREAT! Bright lights onstage
again. The last time I'd seen this was an aborted version in Atlantic
City, so it was great to hear it all the way through. Go Charlie.
Finally a very good "Blowin" with those beautiful backing vocals on the
chorus. And then the Formation. I was expecting it, but was really
impressed with it's effect on the crowd. The applause jumped another
notch. Kind of an everyman's Mt.Rushmore effect.
Didn't stay for Lesh, but this was a very fine evening indeed. Wow!
Review by Russ Kelly
Just a few observations: As Dylan walked on stage to start the show,I
noticed that a woman on the stage crew was wearing a black cowboy hat and
talking with him briefly. They both smiled and she withdrew as he started
the show. At the end of the show, somebody handed Bob a black cowboy hat
as he walked off stage. He had obviously been in a playful mood before
the show and put it on the woman's head. He's always charming the ladies.
Whether it's putting his hat on their head or throwing goofy looks at
them during the show. He's a crack up.
I noticed that nobody mentioned the intro to "Ballad of a Thin Man."
Bob stepped to the mic and said, "This is a song I wrote a long time ago
about an over-the-hill rock critic." I had never read or heard of him
saying that about that song. It seemed to go pretty much unnoticed by the
crowd. It would be the only dialogue with the audience (excepting the
band intros) on this night. No new jokes. I just found it really
interesting that he introduced it at all (he doesn't often intro songs).
I would love to know if he's ever intro'd it in that way before. I felt
lucky to hear it.
The show itself was great. He was in good voice. The band is tight and
I absolutely love it when they harmonize. I could listen to a entire
night of Bob and band covering gospel and bluegrass tunes. I wish people
would lighten up at his concerts and just appreciate the fact that he's
paying tribute to great music.
I read the review from the Boston Globe this morning (see Expecting
Rain). He thought Dylan was ho-hum and he loved Lesh. Please! Are we on
the same planet. I think a lot of people will be happy if Dylan ends his
connection to Lesh after this tour.
As Dylan and Band wrapped up the show, Bob took off his guitar and posed
in a way that was sort of directing attention to Larry. It was goofy and
very Dylan. He then passed his guitar off and, while the boys struck
their final pose, he turned around and did some kind of dance move that
was very humorous. He then took his place in the line-up, hiked up his
britches and put on his best stone face. Larry, Bob, Tony and Charlie
stood side by side and stared-down the audience. The place was erupting
before them and they remained stoic. I for one, really get a kick out of
this new tradition. I liken it to an old western pose. I like to call it
the "gunfighter's pose."
It's dramatic and fits in with Dylan's fascination with the Wild West. A
great ending to a great show!
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