Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 09/08/99


Antioch, Tennessee

September 8, 1999

First American Music Center

[Paul Williams], [Joe Cox], [Magnolia], [Carsten Wohlfeld], [Mark Rothfuss], [Billy Evans]

Review by Paul Williams from Memphis

  I was not in the best of moods driving up to Nashville. Three different
people who had said they'd go had cancelled out, so I was driving up there
with an extra ticket to sell. I had to ask myself, "are these three hour
drives (and back) really worth it for maybe a couple of hours of Bob?" When
I got to the venue, I was trying to sell my ticket, and the gestapo ran me
off the premises, saying I couldn't sell my ticket on their property. I
hoofed it a good long way back to the street, and they accosted me again,
telling me that I had to go even further out if I wanted to sell my ticket.
At this point I just said "fuck it," and decided to just take the loss, or
just give the fucking ticket away. Surely there can't be a law against
that. On my way back, a guy asked me if I had a ticket for sale. He didn't
look like an undercover gestapo agent or anything, so I told him I'd sell
him my $65 ticket for $50. He wound up haggling me down to $25, so I wound
up taking a $40+ bath, including the "service charge." Ouch.
  Got inside and didn't see a soul that I knew. Simon came out with hi
band of very talented musicians, great players all of them.  I'm not uch
of a Simon fan, but I really did try to like it. I really did. After all, I
told myself, I did really like Simon and Garfunkel when I was a kid. But
for all of the talent up there on stage, I found myself asking, "why am I
not enjoying this?" For one thing, the light show was fairly obnoxious, all
this flashing on and off, and smoke and shit. For another, despite all the
talent in that band, I couldn't escape the fact that it was all for the
most part just exotic window dressing, and all the smoke and mirrors in the
world couldn't disguise the fact that Simon has always been Bob Dylan Lite.
There were moments that were kind of enjoyable. I've always loved the horn
section on "Late In The Evening." But it just came across as this rich guy
accumulating all these disparate elements to dress up a bunch of fairly
bland songs. I'm not against multicultural music. Kip Hanrahan's been doing
it brilliantly for years, since way before GRACELAND came out, as a matter
of fact. But nobody knows who the fuck Kip Hanrahan is.
  Bob came out for the four song "duets" portion of the evening. He seemed
to be gamely giving it a go, but looked pretty uncomfortable up there with
Simon and his huge band. Their voices did not blend well at all. I was
beginning to see what that guy who wrote last week about how disappointing
he found these shows to be was talking about. Ugh. They did "The Boxer," "I
Walk The Line" (which was at least kind of cool to hear in Nashville), "The
Wanderer," (the 2nd Dion song I've heard Bob do, the other being "Abraham,
Martin and John")  and "Knockin' On Heaven's Door." Back when they first
announced this tour, I said that I wasn't too interested in hearing these
two guys together, and somebody asked me if I wasn't at least curious to
hear what they'd sound like. Well, maybe I was a little curious, but I have
to say that my mind was not changed. If anything, it was far worse than I
could have imagined.
  After the first part of the show mercifully ended, I wandered around,
trying to find anybody that I might know.  The staff at this facility is
the rudest bunch of people I've run across in a while. You can't even ask
them a simple question, like, "where's the bathroom?" or something without
getting a smartass reply. Throughout my roaming, I heard several people
comment on how rude the people who work at this place are. It's totally
  Finally, I ran into a friend who used to live in Memphis, who immediately
proceeded to alter my outlook on things. As we walked up to the lawn, we
ran into a friend of some of his friends, a lovely lady from Murfreesboro
named Perthany, who was both enchanted and enchanting. We made friends
immediately, and at this point the whole world seemed brighter. Thank you,
my dear, for being so magical at a time when I needed a little magic. She
even likes NRBQ! The perfect woman! She went to find her friends, and I
went down to my seat, which was on about the twentieth row.
  Dylan came out with his  band, opening with the Stanley Brothers song, "I
Am The Man, Thomas." They sounded so good, a much fuller sound than I'd
expected. This is my first show of the post-Bucky era, and I was amazed at
how good they sounded. much better than any of the tapes of this tour that
I've heard. Then, I notice there's an extra person on stage, playing
mandolin. I take a good look through my binoculars: Marty Stewart. He
played mandolin for the entire acoustic set. "Mr Tambourine Man" was the
next number. Bob's voice sounded great, and the accompaniment was muy
simpaticio. I've always wanted to see Bob with a real bluegrass band, and
throwing Marty into the mix transformed Bob's band into just that. Bob was
talking to Marty in between songs all night long, as much as I've ever seen
him verbally communicate with anyone on stage. An absolutely stunning "It's
Alright Ma" followed, Bob spitting out the words very clearly and
deliberately. I thought back to the first time I saw him on the '74 tour,
and the huge ovation that he got when he delivered the line, "sometimes
even the president of the United States must have to stand naked" had
gotten. Interestingly enough, it didn't get nearly the roar of approval it
had received twenty-five years ago. "Baby Blue" was next, with Larry
Campbell moving over to pedal steel for some beautiful accompaniment. I
love the arrangement they're doing. "Tangled up In Blue" finished off the
acoustic set, and as many times as I've heard this song, I don't know if
I've ever heard it quite so beautifully rendered. Bob was genuinely
inspired by Marty's presence, and he pulled out his harp, and played it
better than I've heard him play it in a long, long time. He and Marty were
standing right next to each other, trading off and it was quite a moment.
Marty's mandolin added so much to the sound of the band, making them sound
even tighter and more rhythmic than usual. This was absolutely the best
acoustic set I've ever heard Bob do.
  The electric set opened with "Watchtower," a song I've heard too many
times,  but nevertheless one of his great songs, and tonight's version was
tighter than I'd heard it in a while, not any pointless jamming, just
cutting to the quick, not wasting a bit. Marty switched to electric guitar,
and Larry moved over to lap steel on this one, and took a wicked solo,
reminding me of the way Al Perkins used to play in his days with the Flying
Burrito Brothers and Manassas. "Just Like A Woman," a song I could hear Bob
sing a million times and never tire of, was next. Larry played some
beautiful pedal steel on this one, and Bob sang it beautifully, as he
always does. "Silvio" was next, a crowd-pleaser and a hypnotic incantation,
not my favorite selection, but a great version.
  Marty switched back to mandolin for the next number, "Not Dark Yet," the
lone TOOM song of the evening. He weaved lovely lines around Bob's vocals,
and this made for one of the nicest musical moments of the night. A
poignant song, beautifully rendered. Charlie Sexton had been fairly quiet
up to this point, doing nice ensemble work, and contributing backing
vocals. His high voice blends very well with Larry's, giving Bob his best
male back-up vocals since the Band. He strapped on a different beautiful
Telecaster for each of the next two numbers, Highway 61, and "Like A
Rolling Stone," which was exactly the song I needed to hear at that moment.
He ripped into both songs with a ferocity reminscent of Jimi Hendrix. I
noticed that he uses a lot of effects to get his sound, which testifies to
how much Bob thinks of him. I don't think Bob's ever let anyone use so many
effects before, but why argue with success? During  LARS, Charlie was
quoting Bloomfield's original solo from the record, something that Bob has
rarely allowed his musicians to do. I remember somebody (John Howells?)
talking about him doing this a month or so ago, but you really have to hear
it for yourself to quite grasp how brilliantly Charlie pulls it off. Marty
leaned in and shared the mic with Bob on the chorus. Bob kept pointing at
Charlie as the young guitarist wailed, like he was saying, "look at him,
just look at him, will ya?"
  After these, everybody left the stage, the crowd's applause slowly built
to a thunderous ovation, and the band came back for two more, a bluegrassy
version of "Blowin' In The Wind," and a version of "Not Fade Away" that was
closer to Buddy Holly than the Grateful Dead on this night. I left feeling
totally exhilerated. I was so glad that I made that three hour drive. This
show was magic. Life is wonderful.
  I've had extraordinary good fortune/dumb luck over the years seeing some
pretty great walk-ons at Dylan shows. Tonight was my forty-seventh show,
and at eleven of them somebody's come out of the wings to do something
special. In order, I've seen the following folks guest at Bob shows:
Santana, Bloomfield, Garcia, Maria Muldaur, Roger McGuinn, Al Kooper & Dave
Stewart & Annie Lennox (same show), Joe Walsh, Billy Lee Riley, Dicky
Betts, Carl Perkins, and now Marty Stewart. Tonight's show fell on the
seventh anniversary of the Billy Lee Riley appearance in Little Rock. This
was the first time I'd seen anyone sit in the whole night, and as great as
those other folks were, this was definitely the finest overall contribution
I've ever seen anyone make in a walk-on role. It was night and day seeing
Bob with Paul Simon, and then with Marty Stewart. It was obvious who's
company Bob preferred, which is not to put down Simon, who the large crowd
seemed to enjoy, as it is to say how much he seemed to immensely enjoy
Marty's presence on stage. I know I did. I would love to see him join the
band, or at least make the trip down to Memphis on Saturday. All in all,
I'd have to say that this was quite possibly the best Dylan concert I've
ever seen, and I've seen some great ones. My only quibble would be the
shortage of TOOM songs, but I'm not complaining. Last night was pure magic.


Review by Joe Cox

       I warned you all and here it is: another review from me, this time 
coming a little closer on the heels of the show I saw, specifically, last 
night's show just outside of Nashville. Nashville is just a short jaunt from 
home, and it's certainly a privilege to have Bob playing more or less in the 
back yard :) That said, it was a phenomenally strange show. It had some 
incredible ups, some subterranean lows, and a lot of strange moments in 
between. It wasn't the best show I've ever seen Bob give, by any stretch of 
the imagination, but it might somehow be the most memorable.
     Paul Simon was, well, Paul Simon. I had a little fun with the traveling 
companions by "requesting" certain songs which I knew Simon would play. 
Obviously, it didn't intrigue anybody who'd seen the show before, but it got 
a lot of amazed reactions from the folks around us. I thought Paul was 
somehow better than he had been the other two times I saw him, but in 
retrospect, that might be very well due to the quite beautiful (and mildly 
drunken) woman who sat next to me... but I guess that's a story for another 
day and place :) I enjoyed my three Paul Simon viewings, but I'll not be 
actively seeking him out anytime soon.
     Paul brought out Bob which naturally worked the crowd into a frenzy. As 
a side note, it was a very good crowd, which stood for the bulk of Dylan's 
set and was very much into the performance. As they always do, the two 
exchanged a few pleasantries and they got the duets rolling.

The Boxer

     Bob had some problems with the height of his microphone and had to 
adjust it a couple of times early in the song, but this was quite a strong 
performance. Bob's vocal was farther up in the mix than in any of the duets 
I'd previously heard and he was gamely carrying his gravel-like voice 
through the song. This was quite a touching rendition, as Paul and Bob (or 
is it Bob and Paul?) actually seemed, for once, to be singing together 
instead of against each other. Bob broke out the harp, but got discouraged 
when his riffs were competing with one of Simon's horn players. But he came 
back with a very strong bit to end the song (much stronger than the poor bit 
he tried in Atlanta).

I Walk the Line

     They really don't sing this one very well at all, but face it, 
appreciating Johnny Cash is a prerequisite for being a decent human being. 
For that reason, I really enjoyed this song. Nothing too terribly memorable 
here; a solid performance, but certainly not topping "The Boxer".

The Wanderer

     I more or less assumed that "I Walk the Line" would segue into "Blue 
Moon of Kentucky", but instead it abruptly ended. Of course, I quickly 
recalled that he'd done "I Walk the Line" and then "The Wanderer" once or 
twice before, and sure enough, that's what Bob and Paul delivered. Not as 
much clowning on this one as I'm used to; no "I tell 'em I'm Bob Dylan" line 
from Paul (which I have heard twice before). A solid performance.

Knockin' on Heaven's Door

     The pseudo-Budokan arrangement wafted out into the night again. I 
really enjoy this one and so did the rest of the place apparently. Bob was 
working on a lot of guitar jamming during this one, at one point even 
soloing in between vocal lines. He and Simon weren't very precise on this 
one, yet there was a good-natured attitude there which made it work. Back in 
July, it seemed like a vocal slip-up produced some sour feelings between the 
two, last night, it was just a good excuse to ham it up a little more. At 
the end, Paul hit the next to last chord and stayed on it for quite awhile 
(as he does with one of his own songs; Is it "Graceland"? My memory fails 
me.) while Bob riffed on it right beside him. When he finally switched to 
the ending chord, Bob gave a noticeable sigh of relief, maybe picking on 
Paul just a bit! After about a half-hour break, most of which I spent 
chatting with Bill and Jane Parr, we got what we came for.

I Am the Man, Thomas

    I wanted to hear this one, Bill wanted to hear it, my friends wanted to 
hear it... and he played it! And played it well! One of my friends commented 
on the way home last night that it was "one of the best songs ever written" 
and said that he was inspired to attend church on Sunday, based solely on 
that song. Well, I'm not sure about the best song ever written bit, but it's 
a great song and a fantastic performance.
    When the lights came up, we all noticed Marty Stuart was right up there 
in the thick of things. Marty had the mandolin on this song, and most of the 
acoustic set, and his presence was certainly welcome. "I Am the Man, Thomas" 
got great harmony vocals from Larry and Charlie, and a fantastic performance 
from Bob. What can I say- I saw the first two "Somebody Touched Me"s and the 
first two "I Am The Man, Thomas"s; Bob is definitely making a statement 
these days. I'm not too sure what it is, but I know the gist of it, I'll say 
that! Excellent performance, but unfortunately it had to end.

Mr. Tambourine Man

     Bob mentioned special guest Marty Stuart, who got a nice hand and then 
launched into "Tambourine Man", which was quite solid. Not the greatest 
version ever, but extremely nice. Bob's vocals were a little low and growly 
on this one, and this was the first song where he was really hamming it up 
with Marty Stuart. Truth be told, I thought this was a good version, but 
nothing too incredible, until I saw Bob make the trek toward the back of the 
stage. The harp adds so much to this song!
     Bob proceeded to play his harp bit right into Marty Stuart's face and 
the two of them were having a great time. This harp bit was much different 
than the one I heard on "Tambourine Man" in July; much more melodic and 
pleasing. It really put a nice cap on the performance. As a side note, this 
made me remember that in Atlanta when Bob sang "Mobile", in the second verse 
he sang "Shakespeare, he's in the alley, with his tambourine and his bells." 
Could the Bard be the Tambourine Man? Probably not, but it makes one wonder.

It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)

    WOW! It really doesn't get much better than this. Just 110% dead on. 
Unlike reports from Charlotte, Bob knew the words this time, and put his 
soul behind this song. The band seemed to struggle very slightly to keep up 
sometimes, but Bob was just carrying them right through it. If I picked a 
syllable of the night "Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" would definitely be it. This was 
just an absolutely brilliant performance, nothing more and nothing less. The 
crowd seemed to appreciate this one; at least much more than I would have 
expected. Perfect!

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

     I'm going to hypothesize that Bob spent all his time studying the 
lyrics to "It's Alright Ma" and thus forgot most of the ones for "Baby 
Blue". This performance was just flat botched. Bob screwed up pretty much 
the whole first verse and then proceeded to sing behind the music for the 
rest of the song, which more or less ruined it. He tried to compensate by 
singing with a lot of soul, but he just could NOT get the lyrics, 
culminating by ending the song with "Look out the saints are coming through" 
again. Larry was on the pedal steel and he gave a fine performance, but 
still this was the weakest performance of the night by a decent margin.

Tangled Up in Blue

      But Bob can bounce back. Oh, he can bounce back. This was the best 
"Tangled" I've seen live. Bear in mind, I didn't see Rolling Thunder or the 
'84 tour or anything, so that doesn't mean much, but it was extremely good. 
Bob was just dead on with his vocals, singing this song with a passion that 
I've not gotten from it before. In the third verse, he sang "And he drifted 
down to New Orleans, where he was lucky to be employed/ working a job on a 
fishing boat, as his mind was almost destroyed". Also in the Italian poet 
verse, he sang "handed" which is the official version rather than "read" 
which I had heard the three other times I've heard that verse. His harp solo 
was brilliant again. He took off the guitar, so he was fairly dancy again, 
this time bending himself at the waist a couple of times when he found some 
nice grooves with the harp. He was having a great time with Marty on this 
one and as the song ended, Marty pointed at Bob with this look of amusement 
and admiration. An excellent performance!

All Along the Watchtower

     No surprise here. This was much better than Saturday in Atlanta, but 
it's still pretty pedestrian. Bob was much more into soloing than in Atlanta 
and Marty kind of livened it up a bit. Larry Campbell was great on the pedal 
steel and Charlie nailed the intro this time. The band was really cooking on 
this one, but I don't feel like Bob sang it terribly well. Solid, but 
nothing too wonderful.

Just Like a Woman

     Keeping Larry on the pedal steel is fine with me and we got a nice 
version of "JLAW". I think Larry is still a little low in the mix on this 
one; seems like Bucky made it the dominant instrument on this one. Bob 
really fooled around with the vocal on this one, trying out about a new 
style every line. He was really into the guitar bit too, as he was much more 
solo oriented than I've grown accustomed to on the slow electric songs. A 
nice performance. Above average certainly, but I'd have rather gotten 
something a bit more obscure.


     This is the part you're not going to believe. Bob Dylan, yes, Robert 
Allen Zimmerman, COULD NOT REMEMBER THE FIRST VERSE! He's only sung "Silvio" 
approximately 10 billion times and he completely blew the first verse. It 
was mainly just unintelligble mumbling and he hit on a word or two from 
other verses, but he blew it so bad that I wondered if the song wouldn't 
just somehow die.
     Thankfully, Larry and Charlie saved him by getting him through the 
chorus and from there, Bob managed to remember it. This performance had a 
lot of jamming. Tony, dressed to the nines in his purple suit, was really 
prancing around. Marty took a brief turn at a solo! It was a fun song, but 
once you've heard "Silvio", well, you've heard "Silvio".

Not Dark Yet

     I was happy to get this one again after the brilliant rendition from 
Atlanta. This version was almost, but not quite as good. Still a highlight 
of the show however. Marty started the song with an electric guitar on, but 
he quickly called for a mandolin, got one, and proceeded to play some nice 
riffs under the melody. I really have to salute his musicianship- he did a 
fine job coming in as a one-nighter like that. I love the sound the guitars 
get on this one; it's almost like there's a pedal steel in there, but there 
certainly isn't! Bob is right on top of the vocals for this one and it 
sounds so profoundly meaningful. An excellent performance of this very 
special song.

Highway 61 Revisited

     Bob introduced his band, without any really special comments, then 
paused at the end to introduce Marty Stuart again. They then kicked into 
"Highway" at which point we all rushed the stage. The vantage point was 
great, but I don't think I'll ever hear out of my left ear again. Charlie 
broke into a deep-bent duckwalk for a few seconds and this was the great 
guitar performance that it always is.
    Charlie Sexton plays the greatest solo on this! It's never the same 
twice and it's always white-hot and intense. The place was jumping, folks! 
"Highway 61" always sounds more or less the same, but it's so good that I'll 
take it any night! Marty got a big hug from Bob and the regular set ended 
with a bang.

Like a Rolling Stone

    Bob milked the ovation nicely before returning for the encores. This was 
a very straightforward version of "LARS" with one real exception: Marty 
Sturart joined in on the singing for the chorus. And did so quite well, I 
might add. You know, the band COULD use another member... :)
    Again, if you've heard "Rolling Stone", well, you've heard "Rolling 
Stone". Again, though both the song and the arrangement are so indispensable 
that I love them every time out. Red-hot guitar work from Larry and Charlie, 
nice harmony from Marty, and being a few feet from The Man himself certainly 
made it memorable.

Blowin' in the Wind

    Before this one started, Bob ran through all the chords for "Don't Think 
Twice" on his guitar, which I really would've enjoyed hearing. But somehow, 
he elected for "Blowin' in the Wind." Strong vocals, both from Bob, and from 
the Larry/Charlie duo highlighted this. After the third verse, Marty steps 
up and counter-solos with Bob on the mandolin. I was just amazed at the 
brilliance he displayed with this. Bob enjoyed it so much that instead of 
singing the chorus that fourth time through to end the song, he turned and 
mouthed "one more" to Larry and let Marty solo through the chorus. The band 
followed with the final chorus, framing a very solid performance.

Not Fade Away

      This is so much better than "Rainy Day Women"! The guitars always 
completely dominate. Plus it's a great note to end on, thematically. Again, 
lots of jamming and playing around with Marty, as well as nice dancing. Bob 
was very wiggly throughout the night, but in this one he showed my favorite 
move of his: he bouned to one side, then the other, then split his legs 
wider apart. It looks like a move a tailback would use in the open field 
(football reference, for the non sports-literate) and it's just hilarious. 
What a great closer! The performance again was very typical, but it's just a 
great song and arrangement!

     This was a genuinely odd show. Certainly very entertaining, though. 
What a great crowd! What a great effort from Marty Stuart! And it was a very 
solid performance from Bob and the boys. Simon wasn't bad either. Thanks go 
to Bill Pagel, Bill Parr, all you RMDers who read these things, Ricky Cobb, 
Barbara Dawson, Matt and Greg, the lovely woman beside me, and well, 
everybody who makes these things happen and gives me a good excuse to ramble 
about them. And thank you, Bob Dylan!

All the best,



Review by Magnolia

God knows you ain’t pretty, Go knows it’s true.  
God knows there ain’t no one ever gonna take the place of you

You can feel his presence from the outer parking lot.  
Maybe that sounds dumb to the dumb and the numb, but it’s true all the
same.  Coming from Denver/Boulder I don’t have many connections to
contemporary country music, so I had to  ask who is this guy Marty
Stuart.  He’s got big hair and stuff.   The mandolin playing was a
very nice addition. And very hillbillie.  I say that in love.  He
played some electric axe too, but the mandolin was the cherry. Way
cool to get to hear “I'm the Man, Thomas”.  Killer song.   Killer Bob
Man.  Jesus Freak. “Mr. Tambourine Man” was perfect timing.  Cerebral
cortex imbibement kicking in to high gear from all directions. . 
“It’s Alright Ma”, hadn’t heard it for a while.  Alias put out on it
and it was a happy thing. Dancing mandolin.  I think that there were
two songs in the night that Bob and or, Charlie sorta lost it for a
minute, “Baby Blue” being one of them.  He makes some of the greatest
saves, and it is really so OK. Really it is.  It keeps him human and
makes me laugh.  Like when he screwed up on the opening of his 115th
Dream on greatest hits II, and just laughs his ass off.  I made a
recording of his laugh for my kids when they were young, and looped
about 15 times so he just kept cracking up endlessly. Or what about
the dog barking.  This is human and funny stuff.  It probably makes
him laugh, too, if his heads right, it made me laugh.  I think later
“Highway 61” got a little jacked, too.  Lemme just say this about that- 
He reels everyone back in and gets back on track, then he stokes your
head so bad with the rest of the jam, that you don’t remember or care
that there was an earlier stumble.  I mean, obviously he and everyone
there is looking for flawless, but it just ain’t gonna always happen,
so pay for your ticket and don’t complain. Or maybe he didn’t miss at
all and I just made it up that he did. He is a very funny man-and
beautiful, too.  Always a gentleman, gracious,  mannered, kind.
Anyway, “Tangled” was nice, very nice.  Mouth harp was exquisite, and
there was some word play in there with Marty helping, but I don’t
remember what it was.  I thought “Watchtower” was gonna be “Masters”
at first, but either way was good to go.  Always lovin’ “Just Like a
Woman” yadayada.  “Silvio” and “Not Dark Yet” back to back.  Been 
doing this to us. Unfair soothing torment on the heart of a soul.  
The white scrims blow hauntingly in the breeze behind the prophet 
man.  Echo the pain. He seems more willing to talk about this than I 
am.  Gotta hand it to ridgerunners everywhere tho, it was the 
quietest I’ve heard the arena since The Fillmore (where you could 
hear a pin drop.) Sweet encore, after 7 shows kinda predictable, but 
it’s fun t’see the tour virgins getting’ off on the last set.  Quite 
voyeuristic.  It’s a blessing to my heart to see the very young Bob 
heads. It makes me proud and reinforces to me that not all the 
highschool kids today are lost souls out blowin’ up schools and 
shootin’ their friends and like that. Maybe we should put the Book of 
Bob in the public high school curriculum as a mandatory field of 
study.  Might unbend the twisted ones , ya know what I’m sayin? You 
all know the end.  RJ is a spirit to be reckoned with.  God bless his 
curly head.  Been a pleasure to share space on the planet with him.  
Hope it’s a long while before it gets dark.  



Review by Carsten Wohlfeld

Maybe it was just because I never have been to Nashville before, though I wanted to go for a
long time, maybe it was because this was my first show after a break, but I had a great time
today. The city itself seems to be the perfect mix of traditional "country" vibes and the
flair of a modern big city. And there's so much to see, especially if you are into music.
First the Skyline of course, most important thing for a real Dylan freak, then the Grand Ole
Opry (which I didn't visit cause I went to the) Hall Of Fame Of Country Music instead and
that was pretty exciting as was the original Studio B. Lots of churches around in Nashville,
too. Big ones, small ones, old ones, new ones, fancy ones and some that even looked like
department stores. Anyways, on to the main course.

The Music Center is as bad/good as every pavilion in this country, you either love or hat
them. The lawn seats were cheap and you got to stretch out in the sun. Nice. The show
started at 8.15, and as Paul Williams reported already, using slightly different words, Paul
Simon sucked. The concert only improved when Bob showed up for

= The Boxer

Simon basically sang lead and Bob mumbled along. Halfway through, he got his harmonica out
of his pocket and literally held it under Simon's nose. He remained unimpressed though, sang
another verse and then 'allowed' Bob to do the solo, which wasn't one of his best. After the
song Bob said something to Simon who seemed to reply: "No, that's okay". Did Bob apologize
for the only so-so solo?!

= I Walk The Line

was "I Walk The Line".

= The Wanderer

Gets harder and harder every time they play it. Now even Simon's very laidback band really
rocks. Bob had a great time doing the song, he was all smiles and was almost dancing around.

= Knockin' On Heaven's Door

the reggae arrangement. Bob had even more fun than before during the new nonsense ending. A
45 minute intermission followed.

Then it was time for the real thing and you couldn't help but notice a lot of changes
straight away: There's a new member of the road crew for example. The guy who used to work
for Patti Smith has now replaced the guy who used to look after Tony's and Charlie's
instruments. Larry now plays a crFme-colored Fender Tele for all the electric songs, instead
of changing from Fender to Gibson and back various times. He also doesn't play his red slide
anymore, it was been replaced by a lap steel on a couple of songs. 

= I Am The Man Thomas (acoustic)

A great way to kickstart the show. A very fast tune, kinda similar to "O Babe It Ain't No
Lie" and "Roving Gambler", just more powerful, with Larry and Charlie joining in on backing
vocals for the chorus. And: There was a guest on stage for the whole night, playing mandolin
for almost every song during the acoustic set and electric guitar for the rest (unless
otherwise noted): Marty Stuart, who was introduced by Bob after the song.

= Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic)

Pretty good version (did I really say that?) cause Bob put a lot of effort into the vocals
delivery. Stuart's presense really seemed to fire him up, he seemed a lot more animated
than usual and talked to Marty after almost every song. He almost played lead guitar on
every song tonight, too. A harp solo closed the song. But it was what followed, that
completelz made the night (for me and without a doubt for many, many others)

= It's All Right Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (acoustic)

Crystal clear singing, Bob was spitting out the words just like on every great performance
of this song you've ever heard. Sounded as if they did it 500 times already, not only once
with this band. Pretty good arrangement too, with some nice loud/fast vs. slow/quiet changes
by David.

= It's All Over Now Baby Blue (acoustic)

had Marty on electric guitar, interestingly enough and not on acoustic as reported
elsewhere. The song started with Larry's gorgeous pedal steel solo and it could've been a
once in a lifetime performance if Bob hadn't been distracted by something that caused him to
have some troubles with the words. Halfway through it got much better again though and Bob
switched to crooner-mode, putting in his best Sinatra impression.

= Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

was a tremendous performance, probably the most enjoyable one I've heard in four years or
so. Bob was toying around with the words a lot, still watching Marty's every move. The harp
solo at the end was pretty damn good, too, with Bob doing a little call and reponse thing
with Marty, now back on mandolin.

= All Along The Watchtower

Finally its all electric again, with Charlie starting it off almost as loud and hard as JJ
used to do. Larry moved over to the lap steel, which made for a very "violent" sound,
especially since one of the guitars seemed to be out of tune. Bob played lead and pretty
loud he did it, too.

= Just Like A Woman

crooner approach, part two. Yet another song that I thought I'd never want to hear again
that due to Bob's great mood and on-the-spot vocal delivery was a highlight.

= Silvio

The usual rock workout, tonight with a new solo courtesy of guest Marty. 

= Not Dark Yet

Sung to perfection in his low voice and - "It's All Right Ma" aside -, most definitely the
highlight of the night. Marty played the mandolin on this song and it fitted very well with
the darkish mood of the song.  Band intros and a quick thank you to Marty Stuart followed.
As did:

= Highway 61 Revisited

Larry on lap steel again and with the three other guitarists trading off leads the whole
thing was a gigantic excuse to rock even harder than on Silvio.

= (encore)
= Like A Rolling Stone

pretty nice version, with Marty joining Bob on vocals during the chorus. It was great to see
the two together and see Bob having so much fun. I don't think I ever saw him interacting
with a guest that much before.

= Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)

The answer is blowin' in the wind and I still don't know what the question was: Maybe it was:
"Why do I keep playing this song" if it changes so little and it always sounds tired and

= Not Fade Away

Four guitarist on stage - do I need to say more? Soloing the night away.

A very, very strong show thanks mainly to Marty Stuart to brought a whole new feel to the
band and obviously had a big impact on Bob's perfect mood. The show was so good indeed, I'd
probably place it among the Top 10 if not Top 5 Dylan shows I've ever seen. Though you need
to ask me again in four weeks. Glad I could make it, thanks Bob.

carsten wohlfeld
"love is just a lie made to make you blue" (boudeleaux bryant)


Review by Mark Rothfuss

        What might have been an average performance, became a very memorable
one thanks in largepart to the multi-talented Marty Stuart.  Old Marty, lit
a fire under Bob's ass at 1st American last night. . .something Paul Simon
has failed to do, as of late.  Judging by the recent BD/PSperformances I've
seen, Bob seems pretty bored with the whole idea too. The last leg was
great, but now I'm beginning to understand that whole beating a dead horse
thing. It simply was not necessary to add this second leg. . .I hate paying
$65 dollars when I only want to watch $32.50 of it. The first time I saw
Paul was great, but after several identical setlists I've had enough.
Anyway, he's beginning to sound more like ENYA, than a cultural hero.---And
if you can believe it, I actually like Paul Simon.
 OK, on to the main event. After a very brief intro. by Paul, Bob stumbles
out on stage (in full Dylan regalia) and I wake myself up from my NEW AGE
coma.  The duets were terrible. The sound system had been troublesome all
through Paul's set, and Bob's mic. seemed to be turned down to an almost
inaudible level.  They showed a great deal of improvement at the next
night's show.  But in any event, it is still spine tingling to see them on
stage together no matter how out of sync they are.
 After, a brief intermission Mr. Dylan, the band, and very special guest
Marty Stuart bust out on stage with a bouncy, upbeat, and to some degree
haunting, breakdown of "I am the Man, Thomas."  The lyrics were tough to
nail down, but it sounded real good anyway.  I love these bluegrass openers!
Next we turn to a product of Bob's distinguished pen, the always welcome
"Mr. Tambourine Man." He showed a lot of dedication on this, very careful
and swooping phrasing on the verses.  What some might call, Dylanesque
phrasing...but it is Dylan, so what do they expect?  Anyway, really perfect
harp solo to bring it all back home. 
       OK, everybody...highlight time! "Its allright Ma!"  Upbeat, weird
beat, Kerouac beat, didn't miss a beat, and definitely tough to beat!
Really, dark and TOOMish. Thanks, Bob, thats one more tune crossed off my
list of "must hear- in person"! "Baby Blue" came as a bit of a let down
after that high...but it gave me a good chance to breathe. Marty gave this
song a fuller feel than usual.  Song number the crowd up on their
feet and got Bob marching his little be-bop march. "Tangled" always does.
During this song in particular I noticed that Bob has begun
to delay singing the first line of the verses, until half way through the
chord progression (way more than usual, and much more delayed). You may
notice on the tape, he really delays and then rushes to catch up. Very
bizarre, but maybe Bob was preoccupied with Marty Stuart. . .they did a lot
of genuine interacting, laughing and pointing. "You the man!" ..."No, Marty!
You the man!" 
 Next, the band lit into a smokin' smack down of "Watchtower"! Bob, and
particularly Marty really made this one come alive on guitar. At one point I
think Marty, actually physically stepped in front of Bob for a few moments
to soak up a little of that well deserved spotlight.  The vocals were
perfectly gnarly too. "And the wind began to HOWWWWWWAAAAAAALLLLL!" After,
the fire of "Watchtower" burned out, we sat down for a so-so version of
"JLAW." Kind of a throw away.  Little effort on either the band or Bob's
behalf.  But business picked back up with the ordinarily ordinary "Silvio."
Same old song, but rocking impromptu riffs from Marty made it worth
listening to again. Bob was jigging away at this point. It turned out to be
a fun little surprise.  At this point I was hoping for "Highlands" or
"Trying to Get to Heaven," but when the
stage lights went blue and Bob put on his serious face I knew it had to be
"Not Dark Yet."  So lovely, so stately, so DYLAN!  The vocals were whispered
and gentle, the phrasing was true to the original, and it was totally
breathtaking.  "I don't even heeeeeaaarrrrr, the murmurrrr of a prayyyyer."
And Marty Stuart's mandolin work on this one makes you wish he would join
the band full-time.  
 Hwy 61, wasn't particularly inspired. . .but it served its purpose. Nothing
new there. After the cheers died down Bob stepped up to introduce his
wonderful little string band.  No jokes, but lots of genuine thanking of Mr.
Stuart throughout the show. And then the snare shot, and "LARS."  It sounded
pretty majestic musically, but Bob sorta half assed it on the vocals.  He
did share the mic. with Stuart on the chorus; which was pretty cool. Oh
yeah, and how about Charlie Sexton's fresh revival of the original lick?  Me
dig, very much! For the last acoustic number we
were given"Blowin' in the Wind"... if you've heard the recent
arrangement...well, that's what it sounded like.  Not my favorite acoustic
closer, but still pretty pleasant. Finally, Bob decided to rip the roof off
yet another joint with "Not Fade Away."  I mean he violently rips the place
apart. He sends the audience home with pounding chests and ringin' ears.
Its loud, its off key, its raunchy...and baby, its perfect! And no, my man
Bob has no intention of fading away or anything of the sort.  This show, and
subsequently Deer Creek, were both well worth the 1200+ miles I put
on my car in two days.  If only I had a cd-r or video of these....(hint,
hint!) :) 

Thanks everybody and yours in Bob,


Review by Billy Evans

Well I went to Nashville and it was awsome there...Marty Stuart and Bob looked as though
they were having the time of their lives... Then Saturday came...I had decided not to
go...Next thing I knew I and my 16 year old 245lb 6'2" middle linebacker son, Dylan, (named
after who else) were on the Music Highway headed for the home of Graceland and the Memphis
Blues...We got there at about 7:15 (Show time 8) - Remember I had no tickets...Scalper $75
no way...This clean cut dude comes up says I got three tickets - How many you need - Two
-says I - $75 bucks - "I'll give $60" - "They're yours", says he...I'll never buy tickets at
Ticketmaster again... Simon came on at 7:50 (early) - He was great of course...He seemed a
little more relaxed and at home in Memphis - I think these ole rockers have more of a
kinship to Memphis...Simon did his pat set...He can't vary that thing at all...He has like 8
to 10 musicians and an elaborate light show...He's got to stay in line...When he did
"Graceland" the crowd was estatic...They loved him...Everyone was thinking (I believe) that
Art Garfunkel was going to show and do a song or two - The reason for people thinking that
was because Art was in Bartlette (a suburb of Memphis) on Friday night...It didn't
happen...I guess Art's still pissed... Next came Dylan...I am the Man...It was great -
Where's that song from - anybody know? e-mail me an answer...Next came Mr. Tamborine Man and
here is where I noticed something very unusual...He was doing the same weird inflection and
phrasing on the song as he had done in Nashville...Is that not wild...It's like when people
hear Thelonius Monk play one of those wild riffs and they say he's just jamming - He could
never repeat that and then you hear him again and he does repeat it....I mean Dylan works to
get that new phrasing to the songs and that new inflection...and no matter how different it
sounds from the original - he repeats it throughout his live shows...Then came "Ma" - Great
song - I like it with the band....One difference in Nashville and Memphis was that he played
alot more harmonica in Nashville...He played in Memphis - but not nearly the amount of the
Nashville gig...Of course there was still that two and three note lead...He had on the same
Salvation army suit that he had on in Nashville in Memphis...It was this old black suit with
a white strip down the legs and cowboy boots...(Don't these guys make enough money to buy a
change of clothes?)...Next thing was "One too many mornings"...It was great - I wish I had a
recording...any bootlegs out there?.... Tangled up in Blue was better in Nashville I thought
because of Marty Stuart's mandoline work...One thing I noticed, the regular guitarist
complemented Dylan's one and two note leads and actually made them work in the songs - In
Nashville, where Marty played, the leads of Dylan didn't work as well...Marty would be great
to take on the road as mandolin player though...Dylan's set in Memphis was similar to
Nashville but he did vary it a little... Next came Watchtower - Electric and awsome...Then
"Just like a woman" same inflection as Nashvegas...Then came a crowd rowser "Stuck inside of
Mobile with the Memphis Blllllluuuuuuueeeesssss Again" - Everyone was on there feet...."Not
Dark Yet" from the "Time" album (do we say album or CD? Whatever)....Bob was into it - you
could tell by his voice...Another one that got everyone to there feet was Highway
61..."Where's this killin' done" - It was done at the Pyramid in Mempho this night...
Finally encores of and everybody left happy... My son (the linebacker) said as we were
leaving the show...Hey dad you think you can teach me to play guitar?

By Willi X


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