Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 09/11/99


Memphis, Tennessee

September 11, 1999

The Pyramid

[Paul Williams], [Ben Tanner], [Carsten Wohlfeld], [Billy Evans], [Jason Johnson]

Review by Paul Williams from Memphis

  Tonight's show was a grueling ten minute drive from my house. The things
we do to see Bob... ;-)
The Memphis show was essentially the same show as Nashville, except
substitute "One Too Many Mornings" for "Baby Blue," "Memphis Blues Again"
for "Silvio," and delete Marty Stuart. Still, though, this was a great show.
  The "duets" portion of the show sounded much better tonight, with Bob
participating much more. He didn't back off the mic as much. I think the
other night he was really looking forward to playing with Marty, and knew
that that was when the crowd would get its money's worth, but tonight, he
knew he had to make the duets count. Bob's delivery, especially on "the
Boxer," was much more on target tonight. After "I Walk The Line," which John
R. Cash recorded in this very city at 706 Union, I was thinking that they
might do "Blue Moon Of Kentucky," which was also once recorded by some kid
who went to Humes High School (where Hugh Beaumont went) at that same
address, but we got "The Wanderer," as we had in Nashville. 'Knockin On
Heaven's Door was next, and the reggaefied version was pleasant and playful,
but nothing earthshaking.   
  "I Am The Man, Thomas" is a great opening song for Bob's portion of the
show, and Larry's and Charlie's harmonies really give it an old-time
bluegrassy feel. I could listen to Bob play this kind of stuff all night. 
"Mr. Tambourine Man" was beautiful, and the crowd was really into it,
cheering their favorite lines. I saw whole lot of folks with one hand waving
free tonight. "It's Alright Ma" was powerful, Bob's delivery once again
near-perfect. David Kemper drives this song along nicely, playing sort of a
shuffle rhythm. Tonight is the first show I've heard of just Bob and his
band since Bucky left, and they sound very, very tight.
  Larry moved over to pedal steel for the next song, a beautiful "One Too
Many Mornings." His pedal steel playing is more of a weepy Nashville sound
than Bucky's, whick is not to say it's not beautiful. I'd like to hear him
play more of it; it kind of reminds me of David Mansfield's steel playing
with the Rolling Thunder Revue on songs like "The Water Is Wide." Towards
the end of the song, Bob pulled his harp out, and slung his guitar behind
his back as he played a very nice solo while doing some of his best Carl
Perkins dance steps. This was one of my favorite moments of the night. Bob
is quite the showman when he wants to be.
  "Tangled up In Blue" was next, a nice tight version, Larry switching to
lap steel. He doesn't actually play with it across his lap; he's got it on a
stand. Bob's been playing this one every night for a long time, and while
there are songs I'd rather hear at this point, how can you possibly complain
about hearing something so great. I love to hear how he changes his delivery
from night to night, especially the way he continues to find different ways
to sing "the only thing I knew how to do was keep on...... keepin' ....
on..... like... a ..... bird... that... fleeeeeeew......" 
  "Watchtower opened the electric set, and it's obvious that this is a song
that Bob enjoys performing. I love the way they're doing it, with Larry
taking the solo on lap steel. It's much tighter than I've sometimes heard it
in the past, not a note wasted.
  Introducing "Stuck Inside Of Mobile," Bob stepped to the mic and said,
"We're gonna do this next song, we just couldn't get out of here without
playing this one." Of course the crowd goes predictably crazy when he gets
to the chorus. You could see all the band members looking around at each
other and smiling at the audience's reaction. Larry plays a real nice guitar
part on this one. "Not Dark Yet" followed, once again the lone TOOM song of
the evening, and one of the highlights of the night.
  Bob introduced the band, and Charlie strapped on a Telecaster for a hot
"Highway 61," Larry's lap steel slicing a path through the cacaphoneous
thunder of the band. The band left the stage, and the  crowd immediately let
loose with a roar that did not let up until the band returned. I thought
tonight's crowd was much more of a Bob crowd than Nashville, which seemed to
be slightly more of a Simon crowd than this one. 
  Charlie switched to a cream-colored Stratocaster for the first encore,
"Like A Rolling Stone." His solo wasn't quite as hot as it had been in
Nashville, but still, it was great. I really look forward to seeing how his
role in the band evolves. He's very talented, and has tons of stage
presence.  "Blowing In The Wind" was next, the lovely bluegrass arrangement
makes this song sound as timeless as it truly is. Bob then sent us all home
with a rockin' "Not Fade Away," reminding us of how this all got started in
the first place.
  Was tonight as hot as Nashville? Well, no. Nashville was maybe the best
I've ever seen. But, this was a very good show, a very good Bob Dylan show,
and I don't know of too many things in life that rate up there with that.
now it's just back to waitin' around for next time... (sigh) 


Review by Ben Tanner

    I was very excited to see Bob Dylan and Paul Simon together for the 
second time, but I was more looking forward to this one since Bob was 
closing.  Before I get to Bob, Paul Simon was very good, but I didn't enjoy 
his set as much amidst my apprehension for Bob to play.

The Boxer

Very good, but I liked Sounds of Silence better in this spot.  About 3/4 of 
the way through, Bob carefully plucked a harp from his pocket and played a 
very nice solo.  Bob and Paul seemed to share the vocals more evenly than the 
first time I saw them.

I Walk The Line

Very nice, first time I've heard it.  Not much to say about it, but well 

The Wanderer

Not my favorite, I'd rather see Blue Moon of Kentucky or That'll Be the Day, 
but still enjoyable.

Knockin' on Heaven's Door

Reminiscent of Budokan.  I liked the reggae version.  On the first line, Bob 
started to say "I can't see you anymore" but corrected himself and it came 
out something like "I can't se---I can't use them anymore"
The duet set was very nice, with Paul and Bob sharing vocals more than the 
first time I saw them when Paul seemed to dominate.  But on to Bob's set.

I Am the Man, Thomas

Never heard the song, but it was great.  The band was together from the 
start, and there was great harmony from Larry and Charlie.  Nice opener.

Mr. Tambourine Man

Was hoping to hear Back Pages, but this was the first time I've seen Dylan 
play this where he remembered all the words.  Nothing spectacular, but solid.

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

HELL YEAH!!! This is the song I came for, and it was everything I expected, 
Bob confidently spitting out the poetic lines quickly.  I can't describe how 
awesome this song was live.

One Too Many Mornings

I was hoping for this one, and I got it.  It was very good, with nice pedal 
steel from Larry.  I was surprised to see Bob pick up the harp on this one, 
and he played a fantastic solo to finish it.

Tangled Up in Blue

It was probably the best version of Tangled I have seen, but with no harp 
solo.  There's nothing I can say about Tangled that nobody's said before.

All Along the Watchtower

Awesome song, executed well, the perfect start to the electric set.

Just Like A Woman

A beautiful song, with excellent phrasing by Bob.  This is one of my favorite 
songs, and I love hearing it live.

Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues

I had expected to hear this one because of location, and Bob prefaced it 
saying, "This next number, we can't get out of here without playing this 
one."  Very nice rendition, with the crowd expectedly going wild after each 

Not Dark Yet

First time for me to hear this one live, and it was everything I expected.  
Great vocals from Bob with lots of emotion.  Best song off TOOM.

Highway 61 

HIGHWAY SIXTYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY OOONE.  Man, they just rock out on this one.  I 
love this song, and you can tell that Bob and the boys love playing it.  
Charlie Sexton had some great guitar work on this one, and it was really the 
first time I've had an oppurtunity to see him play to his full capacity.

Like a Rolling Stone

Expected, but well received.  Great song, lots of emotion on the chorus, more 
good guitar work from Charlie.

Blowin' in the Wind

Great number, perfect execution.  Good harmony from Charlie and Larry.  I 
love the version of this song they play now with all the harmony.

Not Fade Away

Great closer- it's got everything: high-flying guitars, lots of harmony on 
the vocals, and a pure rock and roll beat.  I had been looking forward to 
this song all night and it was worth it.

Overall, this was the tightest I had seen the band, with no conspicuous flaws 
anywhere, no words forgotten by Bob except for the little stumble on Heaven's 
Door.  This would have been the best Dylan concert I had seen, but the crowd 
just wasn't into it.  The crowd was unenthusiastic at best, with most people 
just sitting there, staring dumbly.  I was very disappointed in the crowd, 
but not at all in Bob.  Great show, hope I can catch at least one more before 
the tour ends.

Ben Tanner


Review by Carsten Wohlfeld

Memphis was the first place on this tour, where everything went as I'd wished it would. The
bus station, Beale Street, Mud Island, The Pyramid - everything you need within a few
blocks. So I arrived early in the morning, after a very pleasant day off in St. Louis -
Vintage Vinyl is the best record store in the whole wide world, yay - and meeting a very
nice person on the bus en route to Memphis, did some record shopping @ Shangri La and tried
to relax a bit. After all I'd been to Memphis a few times before and did all the regular
sightseeing already. The Pyramid is a weird place to see a show. It holds about 16,000
people and Simon and Dylan sold about 9,000, I guess. Simon opened and got a standing
ovation for "Graceland" - of course. Bob the joined him for

= The Boxer

which was great as Bob was really singing along and not just mumbling as usual on the duets.
Bob on harp, too. He actually came RUNNING on to the stage when Simon introduced him...

= I Walk The Line

Another nice choice for Memphis of course since Johnny Cash first rose to fame of the
Million Dollar Quartett in Sun Studios as you all know. The performance was basically the
same as always.

= The Wanderer

Why they chose not to do Elvis' "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" only about eight blocks away from
Sun Studios, where the song was originally recorded is beyond me. 

= Knockin' On Heaven's Door

was "Knockin".

After the intermision Bob and crew came back out to open with:

= I Am The Man Thomas (acoustic)

which actually sounded even faster and louder in the indoor venue than at the open air shows
before. Great stuff. Larry and Charlie on backing vocals for the chorus.

= Mr Tambourine Man (acoustic)

was sung in a lovely deep voice, but was maybe a bit too fast, at least I thought so. It
didn't connect as usual. Bob's lead guitar was very high in the mix and his solo actually
pretty good. Well, above average at least.

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

Sounds better and better every time he plays it. I'm now ready to say that it's most
definitely the best song I ever heard Bob do live. Simply amazing.

= One Too Many Mornings (acoustic)

Larry on pedal steel. After the not quite so good version from Noblesville they did it again
only to prove that they can do better. Tonight it was as lovely as it ever was, still pretty
sow but with a GREAT harp solo at the end.

= Tangled Up In Blue

Bob loved to sing this song tonight and he was actually jumping around (!) on stage. The
only problem: It was a bit too fast and he couldn't concentrate on the phrasing as much as
he did the previous nights.

= All Along the Watchtower

They slowlz begin to figure out what they want to do with this all electric (plus lap steel)
arrangement now and the songs gets better and better each night.

= Just Like A Woman

was "Woman". Then Bob mumbled something to introduce the next song, which of course was...

= Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again

Fun version, with everybody in the floor section on their feet and/or chairs. Standard
version, with a stretched out "agaaaiiiiin" at the end of each chorus.

= Not Dark Yet

was "Not Dark Yet". Quite nice. Band intro time.

= Highway 61 Revisited

Charlie Sexton took the lead but the song didn"t connect quite as well as it usually does.
It wasn't a particularly weak version, but not as good as it used to be either.

= (encore)
= Like A Rolling Stone

Nice phrasing, nice extra riff towards the long ending part. At the end he seemed to sing an
extra chorus while the band was playing the verse, or maybe I'm confusing things here... for
a moment it sounded pretty weird though.

= Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)

still no answer after almost 40 years.

= Not Fade Away

We remember Jerry. RIP.

So there it was. I had thought it would be a bit better actually, as both Simon and Dylan
seemed to have saved their energy in Noblesville for this show. Simon actually got the
better crowd response tonight, which was a first for the shows I have seen. Mind you, I'm
not saying it was a bad show, all the shows I've seen on the Simon tour have been very, very
good. But the magic that was there at Madison Square garden or in Nashville was absent
tonight. I'm sure it's gonna return tomorrow in Lafayette. Until then, thanks for reading
and so long!

carsten wohlfeld
"your girlfriend can leave you but the rolling stones are there forever" 
(alan mcgee) 


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


Review by Jason Johnson

The man has got me hooked. I am thoroughly enjoying this latest tour and am
in awe that he can still do it after all these years. I drove from atlanta
to see this show and it was well worth it (could i have expected anything
less). The dylan set opens with "I am the man, thomas" and i was really
getting into it. I actually had a better seat here than in atlanta (for
which i paid about twice as much for). The band was really on it that night
and the mood was great inside that pyramid structure. The sound was as great
as in atlanta, but was good nonetheless. i was happy to hear it's alright ma
and one too many mornings though i wished charlie and larry would have added
a little harmony on the latter. after those the set was pretty much the same
as at chastian but no less impressive. again the highlight of the evening
was highway 61. the encore was good but everyone wanted to hear a little
more, but the lights finally went on again. leave 'em wanting for more, i
suppose. I wasnt as impressed with mr simon this time, as he played the same
songs as expected. but some of his songs were chilling. back to dylan: not
dark yet was mind blowing and i really had a good time throughout. the crowd
was much better than the buckhead yuppies in atlanta. i have got to see this
man again soon. i am an addict.

jason johnson


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