Montreal, Quebec

August 5, 1997

du Maurier Stadium

A good show ,the boys looked  liked they need some fine
tuning  no lack of effort from Bob here ,he even got the harmonica on a
few songs and seemed to want to play and entertainmore than other band
members .Bass man was always on the ball and energetic,smiling and
bouncing around and so was Bob considering he might be in need of some
health maintenance regime ,Bob was doing alot of picking always trying
to make something happen ,simple but fun.

Myles at


The following review was posted to on August 5, 1997

Well, they weren't lying when they said it started at "7 pm sharp!"
We were relaxing out front, having a Sleeman's Cream Ale (after 
checking out our 10th row seats) when BR-549 hit the stage at 
6:59 pm and we wandered into the stadium. A fine fun set, though 
personally I think when it comes to this kind of retro 
country/hillbilly music, Canada's Ray Condo and his new band
could blow them off the stage, and would make for a great Dylan
opener (catch Ray at a dive near you! Worth every penny!). Still,
they were tight as hell,and it's not every day you hear Ray Price
songs at a Dylan concert (or Blind Willie McTell, for that 
matter--more on that lower down). Sounded like Ray to me anyway...
They played half an hour, and then Ani DiFranco came on.  

Ani was charming, a huge grin on her face pretty much the whole way 
through the set. I've heard a lot about her though haven't heard 
her before and was pleasantly surprised, with a few reservations.
The stage rush had started right after BR 549 left, all the young
little Ani-ettes lining the front of the stage and middle aisle. 
She played with a bassist and drummer (fine Canadian boys, 
she pointed out), not solo as I was expecting. It was an enjoyable
performance--can't really haul out the superlatives for her--fans
might tell you otherwise. She's an interesting guitar player and 
songwriter, though I was surprised at the number of angry/pining 
relationship lyrics (angry I expected, though not delivered with that
huge grin). A love-gone-wrong song with a chorus that started with 
the words "Fuck you..." was a standout, in my mind, not so much for the
language, but a beautiful, funny, sad song. Other remarkable things were
the pickguards on her guitars.  Pickguards the size of Texas. Some took up
2/3rds of the top. Though she didn't bang on the guitars as much
as I've heard about...

Incense lit...

Bob came on at about 9 pm in a dark suit, sparkles woven in there 
somewhere, pants striped along the sides with what looked like teeth 
from the men he's killed over the years (maybe the stripes weren't 
teeth, but teeth-shaped). He's wearing a gold Les Paul, now that he's a 
guitar hero. Absolutely Sweet Marie. Never a favourite of
mine until I heard Completely Unplugged, and I've been waiting to hear
it ever since.  A great version band-wise, though the standard first-tune
low vocals in the mix at first, corrected by the end.

Lay Lady Lay followed unexpectedly, a wonderful version with Kemper
tapping out the familiar cling-clang rhythms on cowbells.  This one
was as close to the Nashville Skyline version as I've heard, a rockier
bridge with some power chords thrown in, Bob's 90's growl instead of
the warbly Skyline sound. Not one I'd pick for a dream setlist, but I
was once again proved wrong. Still, I woulda killed to hear Death
Letter Blues, the alternate on the setlist.

No. 3.  Not the song we've all come to love.  No one will be able to 
just write "Duh..." in this spot for awhile. Instead, Tough Mama seems
to be settling in here.  Much like the Planet Waves version, as Sadie
mentioned in her review of Loon Mtn. Not a great vocal from Bob, but
this isn't a vocal song anyway, more of a romp-stomp swamp-rocker.  
Woulda been more thrilling with The Band I suspect.

You Ain't Goin' Nowhere.  One of my favourites, this was dead on. Bob's
reclaimed this tune, just nailed it, a-sneering and a-snarling one moment,
plaintive whine the next.  Backup vocals from the boys, and the a capella
ending.  I was surprised how many people seemed to know it, or maybe 
it was just the groove the band hit.  The Voice is in fine shape I say.

Silvio was the same as ever, not one I listen to at home, but a pleaser
in concert.  One of the few moments where Larry Campbell--who could give
Bob a run for his money in the stone-faced department--was allowed to cut
loose, dueling with the reborn Bob guitar god.  Very tight performance
(it should be by now) with the crowd singing along (!).

I was kind of hoping for Roving Gambler next, but the familiar
chords of Mr. T. Man started (prematurely from Bob).  What can you 
say about this?  I much prefer his slowed down 95 to 97 versions, 
so it was a joy, familiar as it is.  Nice noodling from Bob on 
the Gibson, and a staccato hand-held harp solo at the end.  
He's got a bullet mic for the harp now, attached alongside 
the vocal mic.  Bucky on mandolin. I wish he'd blow
on that thing once in a while instead of just strumming.  
We known he can.  Crowd went nuts for this song, naturally.

Tangled Up In Blue.  This is a slightly slower version than I'm 
used to of late, and it was a great, funky acoustic groove that 
they had going. Drumless and bassless for the first verse, after 
which the fellows joined in.  Tony looked especially pleased with 
it throughout, and Bob's lead work, while not exactly pyrotechnics, 
was some great 2 and 3 note chord vamping on the G to E strings 
that worked beautifully. Heard this one in Montreal last year, 
and while that was great too, I'd hazard a guess that this one
will be singled out when the tapes are heard (I'll put in a grovel right

Cocaine was next.  Not at all the quick fingerpicking version we know 
from the Gaslight Tapes (all the lyrics were different as well, 
perhaps more along the lines of Rev. Gary Davis's, dunno). Sort 
of a You're Gonna Quit Me pace happening. I could listen to Bob 
play the oldies all night.  Someone should put together a Golden 
Vanity Part II tree, I say.

Watching the River Flow was the standard version, some people don't like 
this one, I love it.  Extremely tight playing from the boys, perfect
vocals from Bob.  I prefer Kemper's old school style of drumming, subtle,
but rhythmically all there, a tasteful player (coming from an ex-drummer). 
Bucky was much more prominent than usual in the mix throughout most
of the show and his steel really drives the band at key moments.

After River Flow there were a few strange chords, sounded like someone
had capoed on the wrong fret or something.  Larry had a bouzouki. All of a
sudden I was hearing the unmistakable chords of Blind Willie McTell, sans
piano, electric/acoustic bouzouki version.  No one in the crowd seemed to 
know what it was and I started hollering. I should say that I haven't 
hollered at a concert in about 20 years.  I knew BWMcTell was a possibility
from the sound check report a couple days ago, but didn't actually think
I'd be there at the premiere, if there ever was one.  Once they sorted out 
what the hell they were doing (tooks a few bars), this settled into an 
amazing Arabian (swear to God) influenced BWMcTell.  A modal chord vamp 
running throughout over top of the regular chords, definitely middle 
eastern, not something from the versions we know (never heard that cover 
version of it though).  "Seen the arrow on the doorpost..."  Every 
was beautiful, you could tell Bob had been getting ready to sing this 
one for a while.  I'm outta words for this one. Crowd roared at the end.

(Phew, choked up just thinking about that :-)

Last of the regular set was Highway 61, and what a version.  Same 
arrangement as in recent years but perfectly played, high energy closer,
blowing any possible version of Maggie's Farm to kingdom come. Soloing was
tremendous and Bucky started to go wild on the steel guitar in the
solos before the last verse.  Just pounding out a chord solo, he took 
over, even Bob just let him go and danced around, adding his own inimitable
riffs to the mix. By the end Bob was laughing and smiling like you wouldn't
believe, even Larry Campbell looked excited, and Tony (he's the funny one,
right...) was obviously having a great old time.  Bucky never even
looked up, was in the zone.  A favourite song of mine, and the best 
version I've ever heard.

Encores: (quickly, gotta go to bed) Thunder clap from Kemper, Like a 
Rolling Stone.  Tight, nothing special, aside from some spacey chords 
toward the end from Bucky who still wanted to play it seems.  
Crowd: nuts.

It Ain't Me Babe. Really pretty rendition, with a soft straight
shuffle from Kemper on the drums.  Wonderfully sung, Bob on harp at the end,
looked spur of the moment to me.

RDW #12&35.  yadyadayada...Smiling and dancing and pointing from Bob 
though. Marijuana fumes poured forth (from the crowd)...

Well, up way past bedtime...that's all folks. A *great* show.  Bob's in
fine health, looks younger than last year and is definitely having fun 
up there.  Don't miss him, and if you get a tape of this show...

Andrew Mullins

Return to Current Tour Guide page
Return to Bob Links
Go to the Set Lists (by city) page (1995 & 1996)
Go to the Set Lists (by date) page 1997 Tour, 1996 Tour , 1995 Tour, Pre 1995 Tours
Go to the Cue Sheet page