Lincoln, New Hampshire

August 3, 1997

Loon Mountain

The following review was posted to on August 4, 1997:

Okay, it's 2:30 am, and I'm bug-eyed from my 175 mile trip home from the
White what the hell am I doing still up writing this?  God

First up, Absolutely Sweet Marie.  Good choice, since this song had somehow
come up in the conversation during the drive north.  We were talking about
the god-awful version of this song a band called The Texas Shooters played
when they opened for Bob at The Opera House in Boston a while back ('89?
'90?).  Bob, dressed in black, with a torpedo heater on stage aimed at
him--for those from more temperate climes, torpedo heaters aren't some kind
of Al Capone-era machine gun, they are small, torpedo-shaped, portable
blast heaters.  You see them often during winter NFL games, near the
benches, aimed at the shivering players.  For the record, it was about 60
degrees (F).

Up next, I Want You, the slowed down version, which brought back memories
of the "lounge singer" shows, where Bob would play a tune or two walking
around the stage crooning into his handheld mic.  Vocals strong, no signs
of any lingering effects from the illness.

In the 3 slot...Tough Mama.  I said sarcastically just before this one
started, "Wonder what this one is gonna be?"  Guess what?  It wasn't.  I
was so surprised that I wasn't hearing Watchtower, that it overshadowed how
surprised I was to hear Tough Mama at all.  A great, neglected song.  Also
talked about this one on the drive up, while listening to the new Garcia
Band CD.  Shit, maybe I should have brought up "Desire" :-)

#4 Watchtower.  It would have been too much to knew it had to be
there somewhere.  A much more concise version than we used to get from JJ
and Winston.  More controlled.  Not as full-blown and over the top. 
Whether that is better or worse, is up to you.

Next,  You Ain't Goin' Nowhere, foreshadowing the post-show parking lot
situation.  On tunes like this, Kemper's swing fits better than Winston's
high power attack.  The vocals only ending was excellent and showed what
rehearsal can do--a neat little arranging touch.

Silvio.  Good, not great.  Perhaps the clearest vocals I've heard on this
one, maybe more a mix factor than a performance one.  I could clearly make
out each word, not a given.  Speaking of mix, what was Bob using for a
vocal monitor?  I wasn't close enough to investigate fully, but from up on
the hill I couldn't see any on-stage monitors.

Tambourine Man.  Great vocal performance here, no doubt about it.  I love
how Bob varies his delivery--keeping the lyrics to songs alive by keeping
them out of the "sing by heart" rote memory abyss.  (There's a 3 am
sentence if I ever wrote one)

Tangled Up In Blue.  Good performance, always a welcome song.  Don't know
how I feel about the drums during the acoustic songs.  Maybe a little
lighter drum work would be in order.  Melodic lead guitar from Bob.

Cocaine (NOT the Eric Clapton tune, the old blues tune--Rev. Gary Davis,
someone said?).  No pro-drug song here.  

"Oh baby, come here quick,
this old cocaine's about to make me sick,
running all around my brain"

Great choice, great version.  Any one who claims Dylan is not a great
singer is insane.  You could FEEL this tune.

Maggie's Farm.  So much for the rehearsal comment.  Might be an interesting
arrangement, when they pull it together.  It reminded my friend of the Go
Gos' "We Got the Beat".

Wheel's on Fire -- to round out what was a truly inspired set list.  Again,
stong vocal performance.  Again, a great tune.

No slight on the rest of the show, but I'm beat, I'm going to bed ;-)

remainder of the set list:
Highway 61

Like a Rolling Stone
Forever Young (a)
#12 & 35

on to Tanglewood


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