Scranton, Pennsylvania

August 12, 1997

Montage Mountain Performing Arts Center

Thanks to Dan Levy for the following review:

I was at last night's show in Scranton.  It was amazing.  I can't really
find the words to say how much better it was than even the really terriffic
shows I've seen in the past couple of years, including several this year.

You know the two dimensions you can use to assess his vocal performances:
level of impassioned committment and level of musicality?  He was peaking
out on both last night.  I don't know whether he is just more relaxed
playing in out-of-the-way venues, but everything he sang, all night long,
was just closer to the ideal.  And then to make it the more special, the
set list was seriously rich.

I think that was the first "Sooner or Later" he's played in almost 20 years,
and he sang it like he's been inside that song and working on it like
a standard.  Joey and Born in Time, too, though more frequently played,
a couple of times a year I'd guess, were probably the best versions I've
ever heard, and they're among my favorites.

I'd never heard "Oh, Babe It Ain't No Lie" before.  He sings it as an
upbeat folk song, brimming with love, and it is the point in the show
that anchors his work in the tradition that he's pushing forward, like
Cocaine has at other shows and so many other traditional or old-time songs.

The standards, too, were elegantly presented, especially Mr. Tambourine
Man, which is now in a stringband arrangement.  Bob's singing really
benefitted from the 95 tour in which he sang the song without playing
guitar, just standing steady with a hand mike and taking it very slow.

The band has come together finally, with Larry Campbell seeing deep into
Bob's guitar solos and comping so well that Bob can take his solos even
further.  I have to say, I've been skeptical of Bob's solo guitar, but his
efforts over the past couple of years are really paying off.  And David
Kemper, "the man who keeps the beat," as Dylan introduced him, really
gets dynamics.  His playing incorporates the narrative of the music and
takes the songs from setting to setting quite elegantly, with power.  Bucky
has been rising to the occasion with some really smart steel guitar playing
and Tony looks very happy.  This is the best band he's put together yet,
dare I say it the best ever on the Neverending Tour.
(continue; to end, type . (a period) on a line by itself; type :? for help)

But, as always, the vocals are what I went to Scranton to hear, and they
were so good that they show just how good it can be.  Imagine the songs
are like those balloons in the Thanksgiving Day parade.  Every night Bob
and the band inflate the balloons, and some nights they're blown up to
their fullest potential.  Last night was one of those.

These shows should be recorded.  I don't know if the Dylan organization
has a tape setup at the mixing board but if they don't they're really
missing out on the real, real deal.


Thanks to Jim Okuniewski for the following review:

I was pleasantly surprised for this show. Sweet Marie was very tight as the
opener. Joey was really cool to hear but it would have been better if he sang
more of the verses. I gues I can't get through a show without hearing Watchtow
er which he reintroduced after a short hiatus. He missed the last verse on
this one. Born in Time was absolutely mesmerising. I think this is a great
song "Not one more night, not one more kiss, not this time baby, no more of
this" sends shivers down my spine, especially as he begs and pleads while
singing it. O Babe it Ain't No Lie was difficult to hear the words but the
crowd loved it. Mr. Tambourine Man was a great crowd pleaser and he did a
fine job. Tangled Up in Blue was a little muffled. Tough Mama was a little
ragged but I think it's supposed to be that way. She Belongs to Me was
incredible singing it like he really meant it. Everything Is Broken had a
really cool arrangement, more flowing. The encores started out with One of
Must Know (Sooner or Later) and it was perfect. Bob's guitar had a real nice
tone (even if it is a fancy gold Gibson and not Strat or Tele). Girl of the
North Country was a had a nice feel to it. I could do without the Rainy Day
Women #12 & 35 closer but the crowd really loves it.

Once again, I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked the song selection. Joe
y, Born in Time, Everything Is Broken and One of Must Know were the surprises
and therefore the highlights for me. Bob was very animated throughout the
show. He did a few jigs here and there. I am not impressed with this new
guitar player. He is not adding anything to the songs, just playing along.
Bob needs someone on guitar to give the songs new dimension. Bucky Baxter is
a real treat. Sometimes I hear sounds of an organ or keyboard and it's Bucky
on the slide. He is an amzing player. The rythm section is real solid.Tony
Garnier is always dead on and the David Kemper is less busy than the last guy
whose name I have forgotten but I met him several times before and after

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