Vienna, Virginia

August 24, 1997

Wolf Trap
Filene Center

Thanks to Peter Stone Brown for the following review:

What a great, great show!  Easily the best of the 3 shows I've seen this 
summer (other two being Hershey and Philly).  Dylan was ON IT from the 
1st note of "Sweet Marie" and did not let up with the same kind of 
energy he had in Philly.  There was no messing around of any kind, 
between songs and during songs.  I haven't seen him do a show, so crisp, 
clean and concise since I saw him at the Supper Club.  And Dylan kept 
his guitar solos to a minimum for the most part and made the most of 
them.  Where his solo on this at Hershey was pointless noodling that 
went nowhere, tonight he played a cool little almost Chuck Berryish riff 
for one verse that fit right in and served as a good counterpoint to 
Larry and Bucky's country riffs.  

Very cool also was the second tune, "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With 
You," with Campbell playing the Charlie Daniels lick of the original 
version.  Dylan left the guitar work up to Campbell.  "Tough Mama" was 
really intense with Dylan really leaning into the words.

First surprise was "I'm A Rovin' Gambler" which I've had for years on an 
old Jack Elliott album.  They did it in a bouncy country version with 
Campbell and Baxter singing harmony on the last line (which repeats) and 
added a neat stop there too, with fine bluegrassy guitar from Larry.  
Dylan's version is longer than Elliott's with additional verses about a 
poker game and a murder.  It was superb.  "Tangled" followed and though 
it was the same version they've been doing on this tour, Larry wasn't 
playing the opening rhythm quite as hard, making the song more flowing 
and it worked out great.  Dylan was mugging and making faces and having 
a good time singing it.  He kept cracking up Campbell both during the 
singing and when Dylan was soloing.  They seem to be developing a real 
rapport with each other.  I was a little sad that the acoustic set 
included two covers, but it didn't matter.  

"Watching the River Flow" followed and if there was a weak spot in the 
show, this was it, but only 'cause the song and the arrangement itself 
just weren't on the level of the other tunes tonight, though Campbell 
and Baxter were trading great country riffs and when they slowed it down 
to a blues at the end it turned the whole thing around to a powerful 

In the darkness between songs, I saw Campbell trade his guitar for a 
bouzouki and I knew what was coming.  The one song I've been waiting 
something like 10 years to see Dylan do "Blind Willie McTell."  He does 
it an an arrangement that's a cross between the Infidels takes and the 
Band's version (as stated here before) with the added "I know one thing" 
No One Can Sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell as opposed to I know 
no one can can sing...  When the Band sings it, it's slightly awkward 
but Dylan had no such problems.  It was phenominal!

At the songs conclusion he mentioned that folklorist supreme Alan Lomax 
was in the audience.  I wasn't able to get everything he said, but his 
closing comment was, "If anybody unlocked the secrets of this music, 
it's Alan."  A strong tribute to an extremely important person to folk 
music.  A blistering Highway 61 (a song that rarely captivates me in 
live versions--I prefer the humor and the beat of the original) closed 
the show with Campbell and Dylan both tearing it up on guitar with funky 
dirty licks.

The show could've ended right there and it wouldn't have made a 
difference.  "Like A Rolling Stone" followed and was almost 
anticlimactic.  Campbell seemed surprised when Dylan threw the solo over 
to him and didn't quite catch the ball and they seemed to lose the 
thread a tiny bit.  A nice version of "Forever Young" was the acoustic 
encore with Dylan really singing and holding the notes.  He didn't seem 
to take his solo at the end quite where he wanted, but it didn't matter. 
 "Rainy Day Women" was the usual with Dylan singing maybe 2 verses and 
the rest being a not bad blues jam.

I've been seeing the Never Ending Tour now for 9 years (Dylan for way 
over 30) and this was one of the tightest shows of the tour I've seen 
him do.  
"I was just too stubborn to ever be governed 
by enforced insanity."  --Bob Dylan
Peter Stone Brown 

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