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Review by Brad Shafran
Not being a huge Paul Simon fan, I found myself sitting on the edge of my
seat throughout his entire set. It was the anticipation of seeing Bob Dylan
for the first time since MSG on November 1, 1998, that landed me on the edge
of the seat. Simon's set was interesting but drew too heavily on material
that is simply uninteresting. "The Capeman" and "Rhythm of the Saints" are
not Simon's finest offerings and he should shelve those selections for
anything else in his repertoire.
As soon as Dylan walked out for the duet section of the show, Jones Beach
intensified. It took me a few minutes to adapt to their vocal differences
and the three song set never truly soared but it was certainly historically
important. Whenever two of the greatest singer-songwriters in the world
collaborate, you better pay attention.
Next it was time for Dylan's solo set. I don't claim to be an expert on Bob
and a few lyrical mishaps or musical mistakes might go over my head escaping
my notice. Still, I know enough to realize tonight's set was a special one.
Bob's vocals sounded crisp and clear, the music never overpowered the lyrics
and the band was in sync from the opening of "Oh, Babe It Ain't No Lie" right
up until the raucous ending of "Not Fade Away." In between, we were treated
to an hour and a half of pure enjoyment, taken on a ride all the way from
"Desolation Row" down to "Maggie's Farm."
The acoustic section was enjoyable highlighted by "Girl Of The North Country"
and "Tangled Up In Blue." "Tangled" started strong but Dylan lost his way
halfway through. He missed the "She was workin' in a topless place" verse
and seemed to go off-course there. His harp playing was pleasant even if it
couldn't get all the people out of their seats and dancing. Still, I would
pay any amount just to hear any version of "Tangled." "All Along The
Watchtower" was surprisingly immaculate. Dylan's voice was strong and, as
the video screens finally were turned on, I could see he was clearly enjoying
his time on stage. "Shelter From the Storm" came as a surprise as I haven't
seen it on many set-lists this tour while "Maggie's Farm" shocked me in the
next position. I certainly didn't see it coming. (I could be wrong on the
regularity of these songs but I don't think they have appeared that much this
"Highway 61" rambled down the road and "Like A Rolling Stone" found almost
everybody up and dancing. Surprisingly, the crowd was willing to stand and
dance to a few Paul Simon selections but they mostly remained in their seats
throughout Dylan's set. "It Ain't Me, Babe" was the acoustic encore
selection although I had quietly hoped for "Blowin'." "Not Fade Away" proved
one thing -- every concert should end with this song. It was downright
raucous inside Jones Beach with Bob singing a version much more reminiscent
of the Grateful Dead than Buddy Holly.
This Jones Beach show was certainly a keeper. With the tour ending tonight,
let's hope Bob has some tricks up his sleeves. I fear his energy might have
been spent on this show, but he is still the master and we are merely his
Review by John Sipowicz
Jones Beach..........nice place. for an outdoor event the sound was
actually great. I was lucky enough to attend both of the Jones Beach
shows this past weekend and the only two things to complain about were
the heat and the predictablity of Paul Simon's set. I do ( did )
respect Paul Simon has a writer but the same set over and over is just
Anyhow this was my third Dylan/Simon show of 99 and fifth of the year.
By far I enjoy the single bill than double. Not to say Senor Dylan did
not delight. Overall the Albany Show was better than both shows this
weekend. Albany seemed to have constant "juice" so to speak. Yet, the
two shows at Jones beach each have some excellent performances.
The first show on Friday:
Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie: quicker than any other version I've heard on
tape or in concert. nothing special. Larry/Charlie helping vocals.
Mr.Tambourine Man: actually the worst Mr.T I have heard. Much too
drum laiden. decent harp solo to close.
Desolation Row: Strange how you can go from hearing one of the worst
versions of a song to hearing the best. Desolation Row was the "SHIT".
Bobby really got into this one and threw in a nice little solo in the
middle. Thanks Bob
Girl From North Country: Bob broke out the soft '95 voice to touch the
hearts of his listeners. The only thing that kept this from being the
best version was lack of Harp. But " you can't have your cake and eat
Tangled: was better than previous '99 versions. Bob really played
with words on the second verse. Its amazing how many words he can spit
out in such little time. short harp to
All Along Watchtower: short, but rocked and the crew has added the
Watchtower light effect. which made the song spooky. nice
Shelter From Storm: perfect setting on the ocean to hear this
surprise. nice little beat with larry on steel. Bob with soft
Maggie's Farm: Glad to see Bob has rescued this song from 97/98
versions. good, but not as good as Albany.
Not Dark Yet: Sort of like Masters Of War from the beginning of the 99
tour. It just keeps getting better and better. Bob saves his best
vocals for this one.
Highway 61: With the departure of Bucky I figured oh well, highway is
going to weaken. Nope......Charlie is starting to fill right in, still
I'd rather hear larry solo alot more frequently. Band rocked, Though
heard better vocals from Bob.
Like A Rolling Stone: Nothing like the Albany LARS. seemed too layed
back, with less than convincing vocals from Bob. The Pepsi was like he
was yelling vocals from 66 all over again.
It Ain't Me Babe: sweet. long with a really good harp solo. nice
Not Fade Away: typical....
Keep On Keepin On........
Review by Carsten Wohlfeld
Jones Beach is a great spot to see a show. You’re either very close to
the stage and you’ll have excellent sound there or you’re way up in the
Mezzanine, which will allow you to the your favourite artist AND the
ocean in the background. Isn’t that special? After spending the day on
the beach I wanted all but having to sit through the horrid opening set
by Simon again, which only improved slightly by the time Bob shuffled on
stage to do:
Sound Of Silence
Bob looked great, a lot like Elvis actually, no tie, his shirt
unbuttoned. He seemed to have more fun than ever doing the duets. His
singing wasn’t too strong on this one, but he managed to come up with his
best harp solo yet.
I Walk The Line
was "I Walk The Line“
Had a funny moment close to the end, when Simon made Bob smile bigtime by
changing the phrasing - probably for the first time on this looooong
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Again, the strongest version I’ve seen them do, at least with Simon’s
band backing. The improvised ending with the „I heard you knockin’ but
you can’t come in“ line was pretty good. A 45 minute break followed and
Bob returned at around 10.25 pm with:
Babe It Ain’t No Lie (acoustic)
which showed that he was really ‘on’ tonight. Strong singing, nice guitar
playing - the song sounded much better than usual.
Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic)
Yet again a pretty good version that I probably would have enjoyed more
if I hadn’t heard the song a gazillion times already. Harp at the end.
Desolation Row (acoustic)
A killer version!!! Pretty fast, included more verses than usual (I
think) and some very, very cool unsual phrasings. I only wish he’d do it
more often. Probably THE highlight of the night, if not of all the shows
I’ve seen this week.
Girl Of The North Country (acoustic)
Another grrrrrreat version, sung as gently and precisely as "Boots“ at
Tramps. Nice guitar solo by Larry and Bob, too.
Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)
Started out (and ended) pretty much as it always does, but in the middle
Bob completely changed the melody and came up with some very interesting
variations. He obviously enjoyed himself on this one and so I was happy
for him. (And yes, I liked the changes, too)
All Along The Watchtower
Fortunately, it gets faster and louder every night. It is still too short
and they end it right when Larry warms up and his solo starts to built
up. Too bad.
Shelter From The Storm
Great version with Larry on pedal steel. Pretty slow, sung very gentle it
was pretty much the definitive version. Bob even sang the "flugelhorn“
verse, which he usually skips, right?
Thanks to Larry and Charlie it almost sounds like "Highway 61“, um,
revisited. He was defginitely bringing it all back home with this one and
even though I’m usually not very imprssed when an artis tries to recreate
the original arrangement of a song, I have to say that it works quite
well for Bob and "Maggie“or "Memphis“
Not Dark Yet
The intro was - finally - not too loud and this turned out to be one of
the best versions I’ve ever heard. Band intros followed. As did
Highway 61 Revisited
Bob couldn’t remember the first two lines of this one, I guess just
because he doesn’t do this song that often :-) Charlie took a solo, as
did Larry and then it was all over now Baby Blue. Well not quiet.
Like A Rolling Stone
after having it played quite fast a number of time, they returned to the
deadly slowpace that I’d hoped they had left behind forever. But as long
as it suits Bob singing better, they will probably stick it it.
It Ain’t Me Babe (acoustic)
well, things got a little bit predictable and the harp solo at the end
came as not surprise either.
Not Fade Away
gave you three minutes to place your bets: Would he return to do
"Blowin’“ tonight? The answer is: No, he didn’t.
The encores left a lot to be desired cause it’s the same stuff every
single night anways, but up to "Not Dark Yet“ it was a great show, with
good songs played almost to perfection. I just have the feeling that he
pulled out all the semi-surprising songs out tonight and we’ll get the
"regular" set ("Cocaine"- "Masters" - "Baby Blue" - "Just Like A Woman" -
Silvio“) tomorrow. Let’s wait and see, Bob managed to surprise us a
couple of times already this week, maybe he can do it again for the last
show of this leg of the tour. I certainly hope so.
"i don’t sleep cuz sleep is the cousin of death. least that’s what nas
sa" (the afghan whigs)
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