Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 09/04/99


Atlanta, Georgia

September 4, 1999

Chastain Park Amphitheatre

[Robby Prince], [Joe Cox], [Jason Johnson], [Jeff Bridges]

Review by Robby Prince

Man, I have had a good weekend.  I got to see the Lucinda Williams (with John Jackson on
guitar) and The Allman Brothers Band Friday night in Birmingham.  It was a great show.  It
was nice to hear JJ's playing again.  

Well Paul Simon started the show at the beautiful Chastain Park Amphitheatre a few minutes
after 7:00.  The venue was the nicest ampitheatre I have ever been too.  It also had the
BEST outdoor sound I have ever heard.  Chastain is also the smallest venue Paul and Bob have
played this summer. Paul's setlist has not changed.  This was the first time I have seen
him, and he was excellent.  His eleven piece band is tight.  The highlights from his set had
to be Boy in the Bubble, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, and Late in the Evening.  Then
Bob came out and looked like a giant next to Paul.  The started the duet with a fairly nice
version of The Boxer.  Since that was only the second time to play that, the harmonies need
a little bit of work, but not alot.  Bob played two nice harp solos.  Then came the Buddy
Holly/Dion medley which was more fun than anything.  I dont think it was good enough for Bob
to incorporate it into his nightly setlist though :>).  I thoroughly enjoyed the reggaeish
version of Knockin'.  The ended it with some nice vocal interplay saying..."I hear you
knockin, but you cant come in..."

After the set change, the incense was lit, and Bob and the band came out looking very nice. 
Bob was in a black jacket, black pants with white stripe, gray shirt and boots.  Larry was
wearing a long gray coat, and black pants.  Tony was wearing an olive suit, and Charlie was
in black.  Bob and Charlie both looked like they had haircuts.  Well any way.....

I dont think anybody is really sure what the first song was.  It was a "bluegrass gospel
song" but it wasnt one he has played before.  It is now listed as I Am The Man, Thomas, but
nobody is really sure.  I liked it though.  

Tambourine Man was next.  This is always a good song.  Bob took all the leads on this song,
as he did for most of the acoustic set.  It wasnt the best version I have heard, but it was
still strong.  

Then came a treat for me, Desolation Row.  I knew that is what it was as soon as he started
playing.  He seemed to be concentrating on the words.  Very well done.

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue was next.  Larry swapped to pedal steel.  He can certainly play
it, but I miss Bucky's playing.  He was phenomenal with that instrument.  It was a quality
performance though. 

Larry played the opening of Tangled.  This wasnt the best version I have heard, but we did
get the "she lit a burner on the stove...." verse.  I was really excited about that.  Bob
also took a nice harp solo.  

I was expecting to hear Charlie play at least one solo in All Along the Watchtower, but he
didnt.  Larry swapped over to lap steel.  This was the first time I have heard this song
since '96, and I have to say I liked the 96 version a lot better.  

Lay, Lady, Lay was nice to hear.  It had a good sound with this band playing it.  I
thoroughly enjoyed it.  

Stuck Inside Mobile was next. My dad and I were talking about how Bob will change lyrics,
and sure enough he did.  This was a different version that the one I heard Pensacola in
February.  My memory is a little fuzzy, but I think we got "Grandpa died last week...." "Now
the senator came down here...." and the "Now the preacher looked so baffled..." verses. 
Different and good.  

Then came THE HIGHLIGHT of the show, Not Dark Yet.  As previous reviews have said, this is
the song to hear.  This was the only time Bob stood still.  The entire place was silent as
Bob sang this.  It was excellent!!!

Bob introduced the band.  He said " is Charlie Sexton.  A lot of people know
Charlie."  Then Hwy 61 kicked off.  This is always a high energy song, and is sure was.  We
did get to hear Charlie play a great solo. He is very good.  

Like A Rolling Stone was the first encore.  Dont have much to say about it, except Bob sure
did emphasize "how does it feeeeeeeellll."  

Blowin in the Wind hasnt changed much this year.  Such a wonderful song.  

Not Fade Away ended it.  The house lights were on, and the volume was turned up.  I would
much rather hear this than Rainy Day Women any day.  This was my third time to hear NFA and
it cooked. 

So overall, it was a good show.  I have quit comparing shows because I have yet to see a bad
one.  This was my 7th show, (I am only 19 :>)and I enjoyed it!!!  To anybody that has doubts
about this tour, DON'T, go!  Hopefully a good copy of this show will turn up.  Like my dad
said (about the venue) "You could sneak a recording studio in here."

Once again, I want to thank my dad for going.  This was our 6th Bob show together.  I also
want to thank my friend Rick for going.  Bill P, thanks again for such a great site.  Hi to
Debra Moore, Mike Nave, Anders Tidstrom, and Brian Blacklow.  

Sorry if I rambled, thanks for reading.  
Robby P

"Reality has always had too many heads...." BD


Review by Joe Cox

     Now that I'm officially settled back in from seeing the Atlanta show 
Saturday night, I figured I'd do the usual review bit on here and give 
everybody some clue as to how the show was. Atlanta was a long drive (about 
4 1/2 hours or so) and I have to admit that Chastain Amphitheatre is not my 
kind of place for a show. I much preferred the atmosphere at Bogart's in 
Cincinnati. Chastain is about the most yuppified place I've ever been in; 
lying as it does just outside of Buckhead, right in the guts of some very 
pricey real estate. The crowd brought their dinners and the over 45s sat 
back for a nice warm evening with a belly full of dinner and some relaxing 
music. Which is NOT what I like to see.
    Speaking of dinner, on the way in, I passed by a barbed wire fence which 
overlooked the busses and the dining area for the evening. I stood there 
with my traveling party for a few minutes, just seeing who could be seen. 
Paul Simon walked through at one point, already wearing his performing 
clothes for the night. We also saw Tony Garnier and David Kemper, but that 
was about it.
    Paul Simon led off, of course, and performed his extremely standard 
setlist. The second time around for me on Paul's set and frankly while it 
still has its moments for me, I grow tired of it. Thank God that Bob is as 
flexible as he is with the setlist! About half of Simon's songs are really 
great ("Me and Julio", "Boy in the Bubble", "Call Me Al", etc) and the other 
half are very pedestrian and uninspiring. Honestly, "Trailways Bus" just 
doesn't make me think that it was worth the $86 I paid for my ticket. Simon 
was very into his set, dancing around more than the other time I saw him, 
shaking some hands at the end, and having a good time.
    Of no small entertainment to me was the fact that about 2/3 of the way 
through Simon's set, I look up and who is walking through the crowd but 
CHARLIE SEXTON! Of course I looked down at my fellow travelers and once we 
all slipped our eyes back into our heads, we confirmed that it was Charlie. 
He sat down right beside the soundboard and just watched Simon's set. An ink 
pen was procured and I went down, with a friend of mine, to get an autograph 
from Charlie. I'm proud to say that he was extremely courteous and kind. He 
signed autographs for the both of us and we chatted with him for a few 
seconds. He seemed very genuinely touched by our interest and appreciation 
of his work. Strangely enough, nobody else either recognized Charlie or had 
the audacity to go and bother him :), but I guess that's just the way it is.
    After "Still Crazy", Simon brought out Bob (despite the fact that I 
heard a fellow in my row yelling for Bob after "Call Me Al"!). They were 
their usual jokey selves, at least until the music rose up.

The Boxer

    I definitely was looking forward to this. While I considered "The Sound 
of Silence" to be the most palatable part of the duets, hearing these two 
men sing this song promised to be unforgettable. It works pretty well, with 
Bob croaking very low under Simon, but still being very vocally present. 
After a couple of verses, Bob reached into his jacket and whipped out a 
harp, playing a pretty terrible solo. It was a very solid performance, but 
it seemed like it ended a little early maybe. I'm not sure that the duets 
have really improved that much in terms of quality (those two voices are 
kinda like water and oil), but the vibe was much better and I at least felt 
like they both were giving the song their all.

That'll Be the Day/The Wanderer

     After watching Bob just totally give up on this song in St. Louis and 
just make a bunch of really funny faces, Saturday I found out that things 
aren't that much better when he really does sing it. Basically this song is 
just an excuse for Paul and Bob to have some fun and rock out a little bit. 
In the midst of "That'll Be the Day", right after the line "...that if we 
part, that I need you", Bob and Paul exchanged "I need YOU"s, much to the 
amusement of the crowd. Paul Simon also improved the "I tell 'em I'm Bob 
Dylan" line into "The Wanderer". This wasn't a terribly good performance, 
but they had fun and Bob at least made an effort, unlike St. Louis when he 
just stood back and made Paul sing. Bob was pretty animated during this 
song, both with expression and dance, which really set the tone for the 
whole night.

Knockin' on Heaven's Door

     When this one opened and Simon's band came in, my friend next to me 
yelled "Oh my God, it's Budokan". I really enjoy this arrangement and it 
seems to me that maybe the duets are a little easier with Paul's gargantuan 
band backing the fellows than they are with Bob's boys. As is standard, the 
"I hear you knockin'" was retained. This was a very good performance, again 
not terribly brilliant, but good enough to keep electricity in the air. When 
it ended, Paul Simon departed and we had a very long (35 or 40 mins) break.

I Am the Man, Thomas

    And when the lights came back up- WOW! The band was out there in all 
their raging glory, strumming rather earnestly on what sounded like 
"Somebody Touched Me". As the song began and the chords were being played, 
Bob was walking around calling out some final instructions. When the vocals 
finally kicked in a collective "What the Hell?" was the reaction. It's a 
nice song, very Stanleyish, with lots of harmony vocals. The harmony vocals 
made it difficult to understand, but the part of the lyrics that I think I 
heard best ran "I am the man, I am the man, see these nail scars in my 
hands." I also witnessed the first performance of "Somebody Touched Me" and 
since both Bob and I evidently have a thing for these old hymns, I was very 
impressed. Dumbfounded but impressed. Incidentally, I'd really love to 
actually see the lyrics for this song, but I'm pretty sure that it puts to 
bed the business about Bob not singing songs directly about Jesus, even if 
he didn't (and maybe he did) mention Him by name.

Mr. Tambourine Man

      A predictable choice and a passable version. There was a big lyric 
fumble at the beginning of one of the verses, I believe the second one. The 
thing that stood out during this song, and all the acoustic songs, was how 
adventurous Bob was being with his lead guitar playing. It wasn't always good, but instead of playing single finger solos, he was playing complex 
little chunks of notes. Generally, it wavered between painful and sublime, 
depending on whether he hit the right note last. Then again, as a Dylan fan, 
I'd rather see a performer gamble and occasionally fail than play with a 
buttoned down style (Are you listening, Paul Simon?). We didn't get any harp 
on this one, which probably would have pushed it from mediocre to very good, 
but still a solid version of this, with the vocals sounding nice, if not 
always being completely accurate.

Desolation Row

     I love to hear Desolation Row and this version fit the high standards 
that Bob has with performances of the song. I heard it at my last show in 
Cincinnati, and while I don't think this version was quite as good as that 
one, it was still very very good. Bob just nails the lyrics on this one! I 
like the speed of it too, kinda uptempo and jaunty. Really, I think that 
speeding up some of his usually crawling songs is one of Bob's wisest moves 
yet. Naturally, he left out a lot of the verses, but he nailed the ones he 
used (he sang "The moon is almost hidden" third, I believe!) and played some 
highly entertaining lead guitar.

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

      The last time I saw "Baby Blue" live, it was a definite lowlight, but 
this time, I'd say it was one of the two best performances of the show. 
Larry did a terrific job on the pedal steel for this one (and everything 
else he ever plays, I might add!) and Bob was only too happy to deliver a 
beautiful performance. Again, it's also kind of fast, which suits me just 
fine. I'm not in the mood for a return to the days of twelve minute versions 
of this song.
This was about as good as it can get, tight music, breathtaking vocals, and 
a crowd that was in the palm of Dylan's hand. I got chill bumps when he'd 
hit the end of every verse and I'd just shut my eyes and listen to that 
soulful call of "It's all over now, Baby Blue." Perfect!

Tangled Up in Blue

     As is semi-customary, Bob lingered a bit long at the back of the stage 
when this one started up, missed the first time through and then came in. I 
correctly guessed that this meant we were getting some harp! When the 
spotlight came up at the beginning of this song and was right on Larry 
Campbell, I thought it was somehow appropriate. Larry is just brilliant 
every time out. He's so good that sometimes he goes unnoticed, but he's just 
near perfect every night.
     Bob gave a pretty straightforward run-through of "Tangled". I love the 
lighting on this song, alternating between blue in the verses and clear 
during the instrumental breaks. Bob sang the Italian poet and left out the 
topless place, as usual. But this song really came alive when, reluctantly, 
after song great jamming, Bob took off the guitar, picked up the harp and 
danced his way up to centerstage. And yes, he was dancing. It's about as 
Jaggerlike as Bob will ever get, at least I hope so :) He played the best 
harp bit I've ever heard him play, no sour notes, very up and down, just 
beautiful. All the while, he was dancing some robotic jig and kinda waving 
his free hand around, halfway like a conductor. The crowd just loved this 
and who wouldn't! "Tangled" always has some flaws, but the greatness of this 
song usually tightens it up as it goes and I don't think I'll ever get sick 
of it.

All Along the Watchtower

     And then the acoustic set was done, Charlie (playing electric on this 
one, instead of acoustic like this summer) kicks this off with a strange 
intro, the lights come up late, and it's off. Watchtower was very mediocre. 
The vocals were fine, but Bob insisted on trying to play lead and all the 
while I'm looking at Charlie, thinking "He could blow the roof off this 
place right now." It wasn't bad, it just wasn't very good either. It was 
also extremely brief. The sound was missing something, really kinda naked, 
maybe because Larry was on lap steel, maybe because Charlie didn't get to 

Lay Lady Lay

     A very nice performance of this. I think this was better than the 
version we got in Cincinnati. Larry's steel pedal playing is getting much 
closer to the depth of Bucky Baxter's. Bob sings this song so much better 
than he did a few years ago. I think this was the official cuddling song for 
the folks at Chastain, which is pretty understandable, I'd say. Very nice.

Stuck Inside of Mobile

    Did you feel the groan, just from reading the title? :)
No, really, I love "Mobile" as much as the next person, but I've just heard 
it too many times. At least it can be counted on to draw some good dancing 
and posing out of Bob. The performance of this was pretty good, but this is 
one of the songs that I could really do without for a while. The guitar work 
was good, the vocals were fine, but once you've heard "Mobile", well, you've 
heard "Mobile".

Not Dark Yet

     I'm not prone to raving in my reviews; at least, I don't think I am. 
That said, this was absolutely and completely perfect. I spent the whole 
song covered in chill bumps and just shaking my head. This is a million 
times better than the version I heard in Cincinnati. The sound they were 
getting approximated the pedal steel, but they weren't using it. The vocal 
phrasing was the finest that I've ever heard. Bob was strong with it, he was 
on target, he held lines just enough to make them dramatic, but never too 
much. This was perfect. If I could create something this perfect, I know 
that I could die a happy man.
    From the first line (I really didn't want to hear this one initially), 
Dylan just completely drew me in. There was definitely something extra 
behind this performance- I felt like I was watching a miracle or something. 
If I could make one argument to someone who doesn't appreciate Dylan, I 
would transport them to Saturday there in Chastain Amphitheatre, and after 
they apologized, I would forgive them for the error of their ways. This song 
summarized why I go see Bob Dylan. Someday, I won't be able to see or hear 
this kind of magic again, and I want to be there for every second of it that 
I can. God bless Bob Dylan, the last and the best of the troubadours.

Band Intros

    As usual, the band was introduced after the 9th song. When he got to 
Charlie Sexton, Bob introduced him and then said something like "A lot of 
people down here know Charlie, evidently." He gave this amused chuckle and 
Charlie looked quite embarrassed. I know this is a logic jump in the biggest 
way, but could this have been a reference to meeting Charlie during the 
Simon set? I saw no one else approach him, and while I realize that it's a 
very unlikely tale to spin, and there's a good chance that I'm wrong, I went 
out of Chastain Ampitheatre convinced that Bob Dylan had indirectly referred 
to me! I know, go ahead and flame me and accuse me of a huge ego trip, but 
I'm pretty mildly convinced of it.

Highway 61 Revisited

     This one never disappoints. Charlie would be worth having in the band 
even if he just stood there for the rest of the set and only played on this 
song. His soloing was so tight that he and Bob traded riffs for about three 
or four verses and I wasn't sure Bob was ever going to sing again. The best 
part is that I didn't particularly want him to! I was a big Charlie Sexton 
fan anyway, and Saturday pretty well clinched that, but all personal biases 
aside, he played the most rocking, peel-some-paint-off-the-walls solo that I 
can imagine. When Charlie Sexton is one of the greatest guitar players ever, 
don't say I didn't tell you so. Bob was very into this song, giving it the 
usual "highway sixtyyyyyyyyyyy-ooooone" treatment. This song could awaken 
the dead, quite possibly.

Like A Rolling Stone

     This one did awaken the dead, or at least the codger beside me :). I 
know some people get sick of this one, but I'm not one of them. More tight 
jamming from Charlie, a fine vocal performance from Bob, who was singing a 
little behind the music, as usual. There's no moment quite like when Bob 
hits the chorus and sends out that emotive "how does it feeeeeeeel?". 
Everybody was on their feet in Chastain, and everybody was enjoying this 

Blowin' in the Wind

     Unlike St. Louis, here the crowd was so into the performance that they 
stayed up for the whole encore, including this one. I really do enjoy this 
arrangement (Hey, I enjoy any arrangement where Larry and Charlie get to 
sing!) and Bob drilled this one. He sang the three verses straight through 
without a break and then looked like he might try to sing another 
(unfortunately, another verse doesn't exist, but I'm not sure that could've 
stopped him:) ), but instead he played another great acoustic guitar riff, 
reminding me again of his daring on the guitar. Now if we could get him to 
be as daring with the setlist :) As usual, a dead on performance, with Tony 
pulling out the bass the looks so much like an acoustic guitar that I have 
to make sure it isn't. Very good!

Not Fade Away

      Up with the house lights and up with the volume! I think this is a 
fantastic closer and I could never get sick of it. Charlie rocked out and 
sang those great harmonies with Larry, who played a pretty mean solo of his 
own during this one. Tony came over and lined up with Larry and Bob. I was 
kinda surprised that Kemper didn't get in on the act somehow, but he seems 
quite content to play his usual solid drum bit. Bob was still into the show, 
very playful and always dancing. And with this one ringing in our ears, Bob 
put on his white cowboy hat and headed on out to the bus.

     In summation, this wasn't the greatest show I've seen, but it was very 
very good. The setlist was pretty common, but I was strangely pleased with 
it, because it seemed like most of the time, he either gave us a small 
surprise ("Desolation Row", "Lay Lady Lay") or just played the heck out of a 
song I wasn't that sold on ("Baby Blue", "Not Dark Yet"). Bob was probably 
as physically demonstrative as I've ever seen him. The harp break in 
"Tangled" alone was the most dancing that's been seen from Bob Dylan in many 
years. With a very nice show, a meeting with Charlie Sexton, and a POSSIBLE 
mention from Bob, you can imagine that it was a great time!   I'll be in Nashville
on Wednesday and I'll keep you RMDers posted.
(how's that for my pun of the day? :) )

All the Best,



Review by Jason Johnson

the show must have been great despite the unecessary yuppie enviornment that
the chastain park ampithatre provided. I realize that this is a bit late,
but i saw the dylan set as being quite bountiful despite bottles of wine
being sold to the highest bidder. the performance of highway 62 was simply
breathtaking as was the performance of not dark yet . i have to include the
fact that two concert goers decided to leave after paul simon took the
stage, saying unless it's the best acoustic performance ever i am not gonna
stick around. while bothersome those two seemed the epiphany of the rather
laid back chastain crowd, not standing for dylan as they did through much of
simon's set. the highlight of the evening for me was the afore mentioned
highway, where the master strutted and fretted through the wonderful
rendition which could rival the performances on the 66 tour. he just simply
ignored the obvious upscale night and rocked. the man focused greatly on
earlier (for dylan) material and brought out some standards and hopefully
proved himself to those many anoying people who found it neccesary to later
find their way out of their chairs for the crowd-pleasing rolling stone but
i dont think i have yet mentioned how much i enjoyed the rendition of not
fade away. while i was (as always) hoping for one more, the band took it to
another level, as opposed to the tapes i have heard, and it was just a right
and i exitedto the right thinking what a great performance. i wish so manymore of my fellow atlantans had been there, but i suppose the high ticket
price and the buckheadness (local slang) of the almost perfect night. it
seemed suspicious to me, as i have never been to this venue before, that
none of my dylan friends chose to attend though i did make a few new ones.
Atlanta: desperate city on the rise too fickle to appreciate the masterful
performance of a man still rolling after all these years.

jason johnson


Observations by Jeff Bridges

 just felt the need to post my appreciation on this forum. the concert
has been reviewed here already. just a few thoughts. bob was indeed
clean shaven, his hair trimmed to some degree, and looking well. did
anyone else notice that he apparently has shortened his guitar strap---
no longer in the gunslinger style. he tended to hold the neck pointed
upward----as the " british invasion " kids used to do.      the sound
was excellent. the show was entirely bob--- strong vocals and fantastic
lead guitar. it was the first time i had heard "knocking on heavens door
" with the little richard tag. thought it was great. the two buddy holly
tunes were a pleasure. and, as has been mentioned before, "not dark
yet'........well, i dont know if i could stand to hear anything better
than that. thanks bob. as always, looking forward to your next release.


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