Reviews

Syracuse, New York
New York State Fair
Grandstand
August 22, 2003


[Barb Henry], [Tim Wrona]

Review by Barb Henry



TOOK A ROAD TRIP TO SYRACUSE WITH MY 19 Y.O. DAUGHTER FOR HER FIRST DYLAN CONCERT.
BOB PUT ON A CLASSIC PERFORMANCE WITH LOTS OF ESSENTIAL BOB DYLAN. THIS IS THE
FIRST CONCERT I'VE HEARD HIM TELL A STORY.  HE SAID THAT LARRY WON A PIG AT THE
STATE FAIR.  HE ASKED HIM WHERE HE'D KEEP THE PIG AND HE SAID IN THE BED NEXT
TO HIM.  HE ASKED HOW WOULD HE STAND THE SMELL, HE SAID THE PIG WOULD GET 
USED TO IT.  AFTER THE LAUGHING BOB SAID, "WOOOWWW!," THEN CONTINUED TO 
INTRODUCE THE BAND.  

THE BAND SEEMED A LITTLE TIRED BUT BOB WAS HOT TONIGHT.  HE DANCED AND SMILED, 
WE SWEAR HE LOOKED RIGHT AT MY DAUGHTER WHO WAS WEARING A LIGHT BLUE BANDANA 
HEADBAND.  STATE FAIR VENUE WAS AWESOME WITH THE ULTIMATE DROP RIDE IN THE 
BACKGROUND AND FIREWORKS AFTER.  THE CROWD WAS COOL BUT MELLOW.  LOTS OF SMOKE 
IN THE AIR IN THE LOWER SECTIONS WHERE WE WERE, BUT EVERYBODY MUST GET STONED.

WE LOVED HEARING SENOR-MY FIRST TIME.  IT AIN'T ME BABE WAS AWESOME AS USUAL.  
THE L & T SONGS WERE GOOD AS I'VE SEEN THEM BEFORE.  DON'T THINK TWICE WAS A 
HUGE HIGHLIGHT AND THEN THE MOST ROCKIN' VERSION OF SUMMER DAYS I'VE HEARD IN 
MY 5 CONCERT HISTORY.  GAVE ME GOOSE BUMPS.  

MY DAUGHTER WAS THRILLED TO HEAR LIKE A ROLLING STONE AND WATCHTOWER SEEMED 
BETTER THAN I'VE HEARD IT BEFORE.  THE ULTIMATE CLOSER WAS A NEVER TO BE HEARD 
AGAIN VERSION OF TANGLED UP IN BLUE.

BOB TOOK LOTS OF LONG BOWS AND LOOKS INTO THE AUDIENCE.  HE LOOKED FAB IN HIS 
BLACK COWBOY SHIRT WITH WHITE GLITTER TRIM TO MATCH THE WHITE PIPING IN HIS 
BLACK PANTS.  ALWAYS STYLISH AND COOL, BEST WAY TO DESCRIBE HIM AT THIS SHOW.  
THE WAIFS WERE A GREAT WARM UP WITH OUTSTANDING HARMONICA BY ONE OF THE SISTER 
SINGERS, FROM AUSTRALIA.	

WE TOTALLY WANTED TO SEE BOB AT NIAGRA FALLS, THE CANADIAN BORDER GUARD URGED 
US TO GO, BUT ONLY 3,000 TICKETS SOLD OUT VERY FAST UNFORTUNATELY.  WE ENJOYED 
THE FALLS AND THE BEAUTIFUL WEATHER TODAY AND YESTERDAY.

SYRACUSE WAS ROCKIN, GREAT ROAD TRIP AND INITIATION OF MARGO TO THE 'BEST 
FRIENDS TOUR.'  SEE YOU NEXT TIME BOB, COME BACK TO CINCINNATI.  THANKS 
AGAIN.

BARB HENRY
BJZH@AOL.COM

[TOP]

Review by Tim Wrona


I was lucky enough to see 2 of the 3 upstate New York shows - at Darien
opening & playing with the Dead on August 8th and at the New York State
Fair in Syracuse on August 22nd.  2 shows, 2 weeks apart, and both shows
on Fridays.  Both of these shows delivered above and beyond even last
Fall's cover song bonanza in Elmira, NY.  I walked out again thinking that
he must really likes playing in upstate NY, or of course, maybe he just
like playing everywhere.

Opening for anyone in a shed, especially the Dead, isn't an enviable task.
Half the crowd is still filing in, it's light out, etc., etc.  Dylan
responded at Darien by turning up the volume during his set and having Bob
Weir sit in on half the songs.  At times it was reminiscent of the Outlaws
4-guitar army (with the Tommy sitting in) and it rocked.  When Bob came
out for his part of the Dead set, you could tell he was totally into it
and having a great time playing with these guys.  He played the first
Tangled of the summer tour and then the only Takes A Lot To Laugh, both in
near Jerry Garcia Band style.  The 4-song set was extremely well played
and everything the Dylan-Dead shows should have been in 1987, with the
notable absence of one guitar player.

Fast forward 2 weeks.  It was his first time playing the Fair in 10 years.
The Syracuse Post Standard had printed the 2002 Newport Folk Festival
photo (with the wig and beard) in color on the cover of the weekend
section. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't he wear that get-up so that
people wouldn't use that photo?  Anyways, after the predictable comments
from those who saw the picture and don't get it like "you're going to see
that?", we hit a couple beer stands at the Fair and then headed to the
grandstand.  The familiar introduction came on and when he walked out, he
was the headliner, and he owned the place.  Sweat poured off his chin just
a few songs in, and then off his beak.  Totally focused, great songs, and
a very appreciative crowd.  He was literally hopping up and down in
between songs, and attacking the piano during them.  After Watchtower,
George was waving his arm over his head encouraging the crowd to get him
to play one more and he did, the last Tangled of the tour.  I've seen
Tangled countless times, but seeing it in the spot that so often has been
occupied by Rainy Day Women, it was the finishing touch.  This Fair
version was all Dylan, and the Post Standard the following morning; 4 out
of 4 stars.

Tim 

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billp61@execpc.com

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