Lenox, Massachusetts

August 4, 1997

The Shed

The following reviews were posted to on August 4-5, 1997:

Mon, 4 Aug 1997 

A great show with a few surprises, the big one of course being NO
AAWatchtower at all. Can someone please tell me when was the last show
Dylan did without playing Watchtower at all?

First of all, bob seemed hardly affected at all by his "brush with death."
Hmm, could this have been another "motorcycle accident"? Maybe he just
didn't wanna go to Europe. "Oh, Jeff, do we HAVE to go to FRANCE again?
Can't we just tell them I've got, what , histoplasmosis or something?"

seriously, he looked like the rest did him good and like he ate Burger
King, he looked well fed.

great suit. red lame. blue bowtie, or as some wag next to me put it,
"tangled up in blue at tanglewood"

stage was rushed from the very beginning.

some songs were darker than before. I got the feeling the whole night was
sort of more of an exploration into mortality. I'm sure I'm just reading
into it -- but that's what we do here, right? -- but so many lyrics
resonated about death and defying death and staying alive. Second song up,
a dark gloomy version of "Senor." Dylan doing a lot of storytelling, as he
will throughout the evening.

Tough Mama: taken a bit slower than on record, funky.

You Ain'tt Goin Nowhere: jaunty crowd pleaser. lightens mood.

Silvio: dangerous rock 'n' roll. Dylan animated, ducking, veering the
microphone like a boxer. lots of eye contact with audience, here and
throughout the show. they had the lights set up so the front six or so
rows were lit thorughout the show, so Dylan could see the audience.

Acoustic set: rich storytelling. Roving Gambler. Tangled. I've heard it
enough, but he made it transcendent, storytelling, "all weknew how to do
was to keep on keepin on" that's all he knows how to do. string band
arrangements chimes. lots of jamming.
Cocaine: he really sings this one, channeling Robert Johnson or some other
real bluesman. "Hey baby come here quick" pure pathos, this isn't a fun
song celebrating drugs, not the way he sang it, it's a song about the
terrors of addiction and illness and mortality. pure soul singing.

Seeing Real You: galloping rock and roll arrangement, totally diff from
original recording.

Wheel's On Fire: much darker and bluesier than in more recent versions.
full of tension, singing about himself i had the feeling, this wheel shall
EXPLODE! he sang.  Great song to end show with.

Encores: LRS began with awesome thunderclap of drum. audience goes nuts.
he really put work into lines like "You're inVISible, you got no SEcrets,"
but he didn't drop down a whole note on that last syllable, just a half
note, so it's even more teasing and sneering.

Crowd cheers chorus of My Back Pages, likes thinking of Dylan as younger
than that now.
RDW: funkier, more bluesy than recent versions.

this was supposed to be my short review.

Seth Rogovoy               
music news, interviews, reviews, et al.


Tue, 05 Aug 1997

More words of (ahem) wisdom from your highway-eyed correspondent. 

Tonight's review:  short and bitter

Ani DiFranco, whom I have never seen before, provided most of the evening's
entertainment.  Dylan's set seemed uninspired, except for the first guitar
break in Tangled Up In Blue and the vocals on LARS.

Nothing personal, but I am decidedly unimpressed by Larry, the new guitar
player.  Where's the beauty?  Where's the soul?  I'd like to see JJ return,
but since that's not going to happen I'd settle for any guitarist who can
add something interesting to the (musical) conversation.  To me music is
about emotion, musical talent has next to nothing to do with the ability to
hit certain notes or play the right chords.  When I watch this band, I see
four guys making music and one guy with a job playing guitar.  I've never
met the guy, maybe I'm reading him all wrong, but it doesn't sound it to
these ears.  Bob made more music with a three-note lead than this guy did
all night.  The band is weaker than it was a year ago.  It has lost a key
melodic voice. 



Tuesday 5 Aug 1997

Just back from Tanglewood, okay show but bad sound (at least where I was
sitting but confirmed by others) and Bob's set was fairly short.
Here it is:
1.Absolutely Sweet Marie 2.Senor 3.Tough Mama 4.You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
5.Silvio 6.(Folk song? I didn't recognize) (acoustic) 7.Tangled Up In Blue
(acoustic) 8.Cocaine (acoustic) 9.Seeing the Real You at Last 10.This
Wheel's On Fire

(encores) 11.Like A Rolling Stone 12.My Back Pages (acoustic) 13.Rainy Day
Women #12 & 35

So Bob cut out Watchtower and one other electric number, perhaps due to
BR5-49 (who were good but only played 1/2 hour) and Ani DiFranco being on
the bill.  Ani's set was good, but after everyone rushed the stage (she
elicits Beatlemania-like histerics) a lady who was sitting in the second
row sent her husband to complain and thus what seemed like the entire Lenox
Police force intervened and affected the mood considerably.
The highlight of Bob's set was probably Back Pages, although I thought
aside from the sound everything was really good (I just can't understand
why he keeps doing Silvio, but maybe that's just me.



The following was posted on on August 6, 1997:

Just some random thoughts, IMHO, for those of you who like endless

Thought TUIB was absolutely wonderful, one of those times where Bob's
voice soared above the music and you could imagine someone who didn't know
the lyrics following every word he said.  He definitely was into it, too,
enunciating each line with feeling, not just mouthing the words.  The
first time I've heard the song live in many, many shows.  Sung in the
third person (does he ever do it in the first person these days?)   On
Real Live here's kind of a buzz when folks realize what song he's singing,
and I kind of felt it last night, too.  Am I wrong that this is a perenial
favorite?  If it weren't for the surprise of "My Back Pages" I'd say
Tangled belongs in the encore, but that's just me...

Tough Mama brought the house down, at least where I was standing, on my
chair, towards the back of the orchestra.  Folks around me went wild, I
like to think with the joy of hearing such a rarity at a Bob concert... 
(no replies necessary). 

Someone mentioned the "purple" verse in Cocaine.  Yes, he cut it.  In
fact, each chorus was the same, something like: "Oh baby, come here quick
/ this cocaine is making me sick / cocaine, running around my brain." 
Reminded me of how he simplified John Brown on Unplugged as compared tol
the versions on early boots).  Cocaine, incidently, became quite a sing
along, and not because lots of folks know the song, methinks.  Had a
bittesweet taste to it, kind of a "why did I do this again" feeling.

RDW (with the house lights up) was a sing along.  He only sang the first
few verses, then there was a prolonged jam, and then a rock and roll

On each exit after the encores, Bob bowed profusely, in all different
directions, like an actor.  Of all the shows I've seen, in this one he
seemed genuinely tuned into the auience.  There was a "thank you
everybody" after Senor and he introduced the band  after Seeing the Real
You at Last.  Once when leaving (after the second encore?) he pointed at a
couple folks in the first few rows, kind of an "alright!" finger pointing,
if that makes an sense.

Re. the Ani factor.  Granted I'm a fan of hers, but I thought when Bob
came on and started, people got serious.  The emotion was much more
intense where I was once he came on (the cops got meaner, too).  True,
some of Ani's fans tuned out, but on the whole it seemed to move up a
notch.  Folks (around me at least) were enthralled with Bob's set and the
number of folks who sat down after Ani was finished was more than made up
for by the people who had been sitting and now sprang to their feet .  
I've seen Ani live solo and she has quite a stage presence, quite
talkative, provocative -- I thought she toned it down as befits an opener.
 And there was no way she wasn't going to do an encore, though I don't
know how that affects Bob's time onstage.  I'd be curious to hear what
folks seeing her for the first time thought.

A good show, in all.  Wouldn't mind a tape of it, if only for Tangled,
Back Pages and Cocaine.  Those of you who say it wasn't that great make me
worry I've missed all the *really* good shows!


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