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


Noblesville, Indiana

September 9, 1999

Deer Creek Music Center

[Carsten Wohlfeld], [Tom]

Review by Carsten Wohlfeld

At first I wasn't too impressed with Indianapolis. The downtown district where the Hoosier
Dome (now RCA Dome) and the bus station are located seemed to be very artificial, all new,
tall buildings but no people. Later I noticed all the old and often very beautiful buildings
hidden between the skyscrapers and with some nice parks just a few minutes from downtown
away it's actually a pretty nice city I guess. The Deer Creek Center, yet another
Amphitheater, was 15 miles north of Indy, in the middle of nowhere and it was actually
surprising to see that everybody showed up for the very early 7pm showtime. So instead of a
half empty pavilion Dylan already played to a packed crowd when he opened with

= I Am The Man Thomas (acoustic)

Just as good as the night before, even though Bob seemed less animated as the previous day,
maybe because it was "just" his band tonight and no special guests.

= Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic)

was still okay but on as good as in Nashville. Interestingly enough it didn't feature a harp
solo, which seems to be a sure sign of Bob not caring too much about the song (I mean if he
usually plays harp on it and then skips the solo every now and then)

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

every bit as good as the night before, which means that it ranks among the very best
performances I've ever seen at a Dylan show. Simply stunning.

= One Too Many Mornings (acoustic)

Larry on pedal steel. I've often said that he never gets this song wrong, but tonight it
didn't seem to be quite right. The band played not only VERY slow, but also very soft and
because of that Bob's not very smooth vocals were (too) high in the mix. Please bare in mind
that it was still very good, just not as spectacular as usual.

= Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)

was "Tangled", very well done, including a closing harp solo.

= All Along The Watchtower

Much better performance than the one from Nashville. Unfortunately the sound engineer forgot
to set the levels right and so my favorite part of the tune - Charlie's three chord intro -
was almost inaudible. Larry on lap steel, this time with a pretty hot solo.

= Lay Lady Lay

was "Lay Lady Lay" with Larry on pedal steel. Okay, but nowhere near as good as "Just Like A

= Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again

Charlie on acoustic. A very good performance that leaves little to be commented on. Wonder
if he's gonna do it again in Memphis on Saturday. He better does, or Simon will beat him
with his line "I'm going to Graceland, Gracelaned, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee". Watch
out, Bob!

= Not Dark Yet

As gorgeous as the night before, even though Bob should realize that soft guitar solos are
best left to Charlie or Larry. Band intros followed. 

= Highway 61 Revisited

for the people in the "bleachers in the sun".

= (encore)
= Like A Rolling Stone

Crowd: nuts. Bob: having a great time.

= Don't Think Twice (acoustic)

A very welcome change to the usual "Blowin"/"Ain't Me Babe" routine. I think it just works
better in this spot cause it's a bit faster and while the others might have certain lullaby
qualities, to end the show this works a lot better, in my humble opinion. And it did have a
harmonica solo. Then Bob welcomed "one of the greatest writer's of this century really and
I'm not kidding" (his words, maybe slightly paraphrased) and Simon shuffled out on stage.

= The Boxer

Dylan's band had ABSOLUTELY NO idea what they were doing. Larry on pedal steel, Charlie on
electric guitar, Tony on acoustic bass, David having trouble with the everchanging drum
parts  -  great musicians each and every one of them, but NO CLUE how to do this properly.
Bob wanted to do a harp solo, but couldn't cause he didn't find a way to join in his Larry's
pedal steel solo. A pretty ramshackle version indeed.

= I Walk The Line

Larry on fiddle. Simon took the lead and it was actually quite enjoyable. I think Dylan's
band does a better job on this song that Simon's.

= The Wanderer

There was supposed to be a bigger gap inbetween songs to allow Larry to switch from fiddle
to geetar, but Simon forced Kemper to start the song and so Campbell looked both a little
irritated and lost as the others started without him. And all that on a night where Bob
played most leads by himself as well.

= Knockin' On Heaven's Door

The "big" news is, Larry is now playing an inaudible bouzouki on this song. Other than that
it stays the same, Bob sings two verses, Simon one and the band supplies the still great to
hear backing vocals. And then the lights came back on and the show was over, as least as far
as I was concerned. In no way it was as good as Nashville, though it was still good value
for money. Bob didn't mess up any songs, he just didn't do the 150% versions he did the
night before. Maybe they where saving the surprises, more guests and all for Memphis? I
surely hope so. Thanks for reading and goodnight.

carsten wohlfeld
"satan is real" (the louvin brothers)


Review by Tom

I arrived early to deer creek, north of Indy, because I had a 300+ mile
drive, and I know that chicago traffic is hit-or-miss (try to miss it,
naturally).  At 3:45 the lots were not yet open, and the sign said there
was no advantage to arriving early.  I drove around the venue until I
found a local resident with a sign out front for camping, which is
pretty easy at deercreek.  The guy who lives across the street was
charging $10 to camp in his yard, not bad, considering that it cost $7
to park at the venue, and then they kick you out afterwards and make you
wait in traffic.  I'd have to recommend camping nearby at the
deercreek.  This local fellow had 4 porta-johns behind his barn for the
campers, and does this all season right across from the back of the
venue's lawn.  He said he hears every show, and it turns out, if he
listened, he could hear every soundcheck, which I did.  Now, I love
audio, so when I get to hear a soundcheck, I am in hog-heaven, in this
case, the hoosier variety.  Off to the venue I go, wish't I'd'a had a
tape deck for the check, nobody whatsoever hassled me for listening
outside, it was me and the birds at 4pm hearing:
     Bob's soundguy, I presume checking a microphone over the PA, most
likely EQ'ing the system for his own voice, which is a reliable enough
test signal if you do it all the time.  "check, Zircon, Marsupial, yo,
vernacular, 2, 2. . .Syntax, check two, Marsupial, somnomolent,
somnomulent" spoke the voice, and the sound was good across the street.
They went through a quick check for David's drums, some pink noise
calibration which sounded like a hot-air balloon, the a guitar check,
slide guitar check, a mic check for Paul Simon's mic, which, apparantly
they call him "Al" which I found amusing, as in "Al vocal 1,2"
  Larry checked his slide guitar (is it a lap steel? sorry to offend the
purists, I dunno), he played a nice Amazing Grace, then some lines from
Not Dark Yet, then he kicked on the heavy vibrato he uses in Not Dark
Yet, I believe.  Larry then checked his mandolin (bouzouki? I was
outside the venue, couldn't see except when I strolled up to the back
fence and peeked in, as if through a keyhole. . .), then his fiddle, and
back to mando for a runthrough of Knockin with just drums and mandolin.
BTW, this was all sort of relaxed, start-and-stop type soundchecking,
not hectic at all, just taking the time to relax and find a groove.
Another quick start of Knockin, this time with guitar, bass and drums.
     I heard a brief (VERY brief) guitar tease of Friend of the Devil,
just the start of the intro, then just a taste of the Morning Dew intro,
followed by a brief I Want You lick on the guitar . . . oooh, this
october is gonna be fun.
     Tony then warmed up his bass a bit with some walking country stuff
that sounded familiar, and was, I believe, I Walk the Line, which he
rehearsed with Charlie's guitar, I believe, since it sounded like Larry
had his fiddle out.  They went through I Walk the Line's segue into The
Wanderer about 8 times, making sure they could do it smoothly, and I
think they also attempted the segue into something else, maybe blue
moon?  I wish I knew that song a bit better, I can't confirm that that
was the other thing with which they rehearsed the IWTL segue.
Around 5pm, Bob (yes, Bob) joined his band for a lovely version of
Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You, which was not played in the set
that evening.  I felt great, stoked that I arrived early, and happy to
be at my own private Dylan show- not another person in sight for me, and
I was dancing on the lawn outside the venue!
One Too Many Mornings followed, I don't think they really ended it
carefully, just kinda let it go when they were done with the verses
Somebody Touched Me, again, almost complete, but the music just trailed
off muttering instead of hammering out a song ending for no crowd.
5:30pm, soundguy puts on a CD, and let's let the crowd come into the
venue, that's it for the check.

Dylan's set: 5 acoustic, 5 electric, 2 encores, then 4 with Simon.

I am the Man, Thomas: Good opener, fast and tight, a fun song for me.
Dylan is telling me that he is the man, while simultaneously, I am
actually the man Thomas, since it is my name!
Tambourine Man- Bob gets his left knee a-twitchin, gonna be a rockin
It's Alright Ma- Wow, a scorcher, I think Bob got all the words exactly
right, just set-em-up and knock-em-down.  Remember its not he or she or
them or it that you belong to!
One Too Many Mornings- Bob keeps most of his weight on his right foot
when he plays acoustic guitar, freeing his left leg to boogie and
Tangled up In Blue-"Truckdriver's wives", as it's been for a while,
also, subbing for the line about working on a fishing boat outside
delacroix was a line about something or other and his memories blown
away, I'd like to check the tape.  Harp Solo here- Bob
hands off his acoustic guitar and picks up the harmonica in his left
hand, keeping the right one waving free, such as it was.
Watchtower- Wasn't as smoking as the Duluth one I saw this summer, but
it rocked the crowd, which was the lamest audience I've seen at
deercreek in my 20 concerts there, although I only had seen the Dead (12
times there), Phish (6 times) and a Further fest, and I think these acts
draw more enthusiastic crowds anyhow- again, I look forward to october
tour with Phil Lesh and Friends- more of a dancing crowd than the Simon
Lay Lady Lay- Balanced on his left foot with the electric, and shaking
his right leg, Bob took the guitar solo.
Memphis-  sounded to me like Bob said Shakespeare in the alley "with his
Tympani" and his bell!  Bob Smoked our Eyeballs with a both-feet-planted
guitar solo featuring some knee-bending action.
Not Dark Yet- Charlie with the sweet solo.
Highway 61-This stretch of highway goes from about Dylan's hometown to
Elvis's, and is just begging for some telephones and shoelaces out in
the sun.  I swear.
LARS- Larry's guitar sometimes sounds like a harmonica or a fiddle to
me, whining along.
Don't think Twice- Bob was "thinking and a'wondering, walking all the
way down the road" playing guitar with his feet spread wider than
shoulder width, and then went for the lefty harp.
Bring on Simon with an intro like "one of the greatest songwriters of
the last century" and I thought he was making a joke like Paul was from
the 1800's, but I guess I'm not used to this millenium nonsense.
The Boxer- Good vocal duet, better as a duet than Sounds of Silence, I
thought, beacuse it was a bit more up-tempo, and less delicate, easier
to get right.  Bob played the harp solo with his guitar slung out of the
way over his right shoulder.
I Walk the Line- with Larry on fiddle.  After the song ended, there was
a pause, and Simon thanked the crowd, so the repeated soundcheck of the
transition was not really what ended up happening.
The Wanderer- Going round, round, round, round, round, dah-dum dah-dum.
Knockin- I was a bit surprised that it wasn't more reggae-style, like
over the summer, but it was pretty square rock and roll this time.  Bob
and Paul sang "Knock knock knockin on, knockin on heaven's door" every
time, and they did the IHYKBYCCI vocal interlude, as usual.

After the set, as it ended, with a huge grin, Dylan gave Simon a
shoulder-check, handed his guitar to a roadie, and then, almost as an
afterthought, turned back around and punched Paul Simon in the upper arm
and went off.  The guy whose land I camped on said that Dylan's tour bus
was out of there 10 minutes after his set ended.

Simon's set:
Hard to give a definitive review of a show that never varies much, let
me mention that song 2 Can't Run But segued into Boy in The Bubble, and
that that song ended with a drum coda where the other musicians left the
stage, then returned for the last few notes, after which Simon
introduced the drummers.
During Graceland, some gusty west winds picked up, adding eerie
dimension to the preceedings, then after the song Simon said "Thank you
so much"  I wonder if he went to Graceland for his day off on friday?
Anyone spot him there?
Song 12, Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes had a rock and roll-type
drum ending with flashing lights and everything and segued into -> You
Can call me Al.  Simon is really a great lyricist, but would be a total
lightweight in the rock and roll department if he didn't have that
kickass band he hires.  After YCCMA he introduced the horns,  thanked
the crowd again and said "god bless you all."  After Late in the Evening
and Still Crazy he said "I thank you so much.  I'm happy"  but he
sounded really blase.  for Proof he didn't play any guitar, just
gestured a lot with both hands, then went electric for Sounds of
Silence, which featured one guitarist doubling on cello, and a nice duet
between Paul and Vincent Nguini, the guitarist from Cameroon.
Afterwards, Simon said "My Pleasure Y'all" and that was that for that.

Overall, I prefer Dylan headlining, but really, those two guys should be
able to each headline their own shows.  It really dilutes the crowd to
have folks there for some other band than the one playing, especially
when the "opening act" is just as noteworthy as the headliner, and the
crowd ignores the set, or doesn't give it the full attention it rates.
Also, the ticket prices were way too high in the pavilion, I felt like
it wasn't good for the artists to have so many unsold seats up close,
but then, I enjoyed the dancing space, but would have enjoyed it more to
have it filled with likeminded people.  See ya on Phil 'n' Dylan Tour!
Champaign here we come.

   -tom (acffhmorST)


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