Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 09/25/98


September 25, 1998

Concord, California
Concord Pavilion

Thanks to Randy Hayes for the following review:

    Lucinda Williams was pretty good - much better than I thought she would be.  In fact,
    she blew Van Morrison right off the stage.  JJ Jackson, now in Lucinda's band, played
    some fine slide guitar.  It was nice to see him again.  Van Morrison was boring, but
    when Dylan follows anyone looks bad.  Soon the waiting was over and Dylan and his band
    took to the stage.  Dylan looked as fit as ever.  He wore a black suit with a glittering
    silver bow tie.  They went on stage at about 9:50 and played until 11:15.  

    Gotta Serve Somebody- opened with the fierce guitar sound of Larry Cambell.  I wasn't
    really expecting this one, and was quite delighted at it's apperance.  This was a great
    performance of a great song.  

   Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You-  had some good vocals and was an overall strong

    Can't Wait-  This song has really been evolving over the past year.  Tonight the song
    sounded muscular and heavy.  I agree with many others when they say that one line from
    this song is worth the price of admission.  Every word is twisted to the edge, with
    Bob's eyebows raising and dropping with every word.  

    Queen Jane- I've heard better versions. I liked how Bob repeated most of the lines
    twice.  Overall, it was a solid performance. 

    Silvio- Finally the crowd gets into it a little.  Larry was on fire and made no
    mistakes.  Dylan started his patented knee bends and ankle twists.  A major soloing
    section of the song was omitted which shortened it a bit . . . kind of a bummer.

    Friend of the Devil-  I never thought I would hear this one.  I was expecting the
    overplayed Steel Bars.  The ending part was amazing - the band gradually slowed the pace
    of the song until it was very quiet and soft.  That ending made it an even greater

    Masters of War-  Most people sat back down for this one.  This was the great '98 version
    we have come to expect from this song.  Near the end, during one of his solos, Dylan
    stood on one foot with his other knee up - one of the finer poses of the night.

    Tangled-  also had a new ending arrangment that rocked.  This included new lyrics that
    were understandable; but I forgot them.  Luckily every show gets taped so we don't have
    to worry about stuff like that.  These new lyrics were different than the new ones sang
    in Europe - I think.

    My Back Pages-  A definite highlight.  Beautiful tone in Dylans voice.  What a harmonica
    solo!  Dylan was constantly pointing at people as he played the harp and strutted around
    the stage very quickly.  Perfect!

    Blind Willie- Another one of the highlights.  My girlfriend, myself and two other people
    directly behind us were yelling "BLIND WILLIE MCTELL!!"  during a long quiet break after
    My Back Pages.  We were only about ten rows back but I know Dylan still probably didn't
    here us.  Never the less, it was quite exiting when we got what we wanted.  It was an
    absolutely amazing version with a different vocal delivery than any other version that I
    have heard.  Dylan seemed to be growling out the lines.  How does he change the way that
    he performs a song night after night?!  He never ceases to amaze.  

    No wasted words during the band intros, and only 2 to 3 "Thanks everybody"s.

    Highway 61- Damn, no Till I Fell in Love!  This was a smoking version though.  Dylan was
    having fun and smiling a lot.

    Love sick- This was an average version.  It was rushed.  Larry played a great high note
    solo in the middle.  Another awesome ending.  The band stopped playing for about 7
    seconds and Dylan was all alone to play a funky little solo to close the song.  

    Rainy Day Women- Great when your there and dancing to it. 

    Blowin in the wind-  Another highlight.  Dylan can really hold those notes. "Blowin in
    the   Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeend!!"

        This was a great show.  It would have been a lot better if we got 17 songs instead
        of 14.The San Francisco bay area is always cursed with double and triple bills.  We
        are just lucky he is still touring though.

    -Randy Hayes


Thanks to James Constantine for the following review:

The contrast between Dylan's Maui show and the one last night at Concord was
like night and day.  Maui was small and incredibly mellow while the Concord
show featured Dylan the rocker, totally in comand before a huge audiance.  The
massive outdoor sound system really projected both the power and majesty of
Dylan's music.  This was big time rock and roll! The Concord Pavillion is only
35 miles away from San Francisco, nestled in the Esat Bay hills.  Getting there
for the 7 PM showtime was either a miracle or totally out of the question for
many on this Friday night.  Hence we missed Lucinda Williams' set.  I was told
that Dylan's former guitarist, J.J. Jackson performed with Williams during her
short, but rocking set.  Van Morrison was significantly better than his San
Jose appearance with Dylan last May.  His band features some great SF Bay area
musicians including Pee Wee Ellis on sax, and David Hayes on bass.  Van
performed "Moondance", and "The Healing Game" during his nearly 90 minute set. 
For the encore, Van brought out his beautiful daughter, Shana Morrison to sing
"Have I Told You Lately?"  Shana lives in Marin County and performs locally,
mort recently last week at the SF Blues Festival where she performed with slide
guitar legend Roy Rogers.  By the time that Dylan appeared, most in the 12,500
seat pavillion were indeed primed and  ready to rock.  What we got musically
was the stuff of legends as Dylan roared out of the starting gate with "Gotta
Serve Somebody."  Dylan snarled the lyrics while managing to tear off some
really funky guitar riffs.  Despite what I saw otherwise in the original posts
after the show, Dylan performed "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You."  It
appears that "Cold Irons Bound," one of my favorite new Dylan songs has been
dropped from the setlist as the third song performed was "Can't Wait."  While
"Can't Wait" doesn't have the psychedelic opening as "Cold Irons Bound," the
song is structurally very similiar as I noted in my Maui review.  Dylan and
Larry Campbell really get a chance to stretch out during this one.  The guitar
jam that intro'd "Queen Jane" was terriffic as well as Dylan really nailed the
song both lyrically and musically.  "Silvio", one of my  favorites, written
with  Grateful Dead lyricist  Robert Hunter, was puntuated by Dylan pointing to
the crowd for emphasis during the song's chorus.  That was nothing compared to
the rousing ovation that greeted the accoustic version of the Grateful Dead
classic. "Friend of The Devil," that the master pulled out.  The memory of the
late Jerry Garcia certainly is still in the hearts and minds of many,
especially in the San Francisco Bay Area and it really showed last night. 
Dylan's power and fury was probably best demonstrated during "Masters of War,"
as the song rings true over 25 years after Dylan first wrote it.  "Tangled Up
In Blue," was also wonderfully delivered,  and unlike the Maui version,  Dylan
remembered all of words.  Many in the crowd figured that this would be a short
but sweet acoustic set and Dylan surprised us by staying out and giving us a a
very moving rendition of "My Back Pages," that hit a nerve with the middle aged
audiance.  The song was one of the first Dylan songs to bridge the gap between
folk and rock and roll during the mid 60's and Dylan's version, while different
from The Byrds, was no less powerful.  Dylan even brought out his harmonica and
blew strong and sweet during this chestnut.  "Blind Willie McTell" was also
another breakup for us SF fans.  Larry Campbell played what appeared to be sort
of a guitar/banjo/long necked, mandolin or something during this one.  "Highway
61 Revisted,"  rocked and gave the crowd a chance to get up on their feet and
shake in the cold night air.  The predicable encores of "Love Sick," and "Rainy
Day Woman," were also very well recieved.  Dylan finally brought it all back
home with the folksy "Blowin' In The Wind," that this fan will never tire of. 
All in all, the last two nights of this tour have been filled with many musical
surprises and will be one of the reasons that I'lll opt for the Shoreline show

Younger than Yesterday, 

James Constantine

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