page by Bill Pagel
Review by David Link
I'm just in from a fun 500 mile drive up I-5 from La Jolla to the north
Bay Area, after seeing a Gem of a show at the RIMAC Arena in La Jolla on the
campus of the Univ. of California, San Diego. (after also seeing UCSB, San
Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento).
We arrived in line at UCSD early in the a.m., and then checked out the
inside of the arena a little later. It was approx. three or four times
bigger, in terms of building space inside, than the gym at UCSB, which is
about the size of Dillon Gym at Princeton. Whereas the UCSB gym had about
five or six rows of bleachers on each side and a larger section against
the back wall, RIMAC had many rows of bleachers on the three sides.
I was expecting a smaller venue, but it was nice, and brand-new. (Oh,
right, we're in La Jolla). So we geared up for a long wait, and listened
to hours of softball practice on the field next to the line.
A guy representing the resident "fruit ice" vendor (i don't know what
else to call it) was walking down the line w/ free samples...since it was so
hot out after the fog burned off there were many takers.
About a half-hour before the line was let inside, students bearing
Official Dylan merchandise made their way down the line, selling shirts,
posters, stickers...it was quite a strange scene.
The line was let in, and thankfully they did not go through the
"reasonable" search that was done at the UCSB show...To go back for a
moment, I understand the need for security, especially now, but that was a
bit much. I was Ordered to empty my pockets, turn around, and put my hands up!
Man, i've never been arrested, but this sure sounded like it. It was a bit
invasive. (Yea, great security. My friends saw at least two people scam
over a wall and into the show--not searched, of course). Now that was a fun
show, but it was also just about the most error-filled Dylan concert I can
remember. (in the 90's, anyway). Some people get very offended to hear
that, but I don't mean it in a bad way or am harshing on him. He just happened
to blow a bunch of lyrics and at one point was playing some leads that were
so crazy that Tony was looking at him with alarm. That said, i was still very
thankful to be there. (After UCSB we spent an enjoyable afternoon visiting
an old friend at her house on the beach in Malibu. No, there were no Bob
sightings at the store)!
Back at RIMAC, since we were at the front of the line, we were able to
secure front row center spots, always a good place to see a show from.
Simply put, this show raged. Bob was in very good form after 2 days
without doing a concert, and was clearly psyched up. (He was probably on the
calm fairways of Torrey Pines in the morning-Ha!).
I'm not just saying this was a mind-bending performance because I was
in the front. I was also in front for San Jose and it just did not have quite
the same insane, intense positive energy as this show.
They came out at 8:05 and did the expected opener. For some reason I
still really like this even after seeing it 5 shows in a row.
Tonight, the amazing songs for me were all of them.
Just Like A Woman featured a totally twisted (in a good way) Dylan solo
that just seemed to wrap itself aroud everything...He was doing some crazy
shit, and most of it worked! And then he pulls out the harp and brings the
place down. This version was one for the books, at least from my
We had been jabbering about hearing Mississippi since Sacramento, after
he had done it once in the Northwest, and we were finally rewarded. I can't
describe how good it was; get the tape or cd. It was the highpoint of the
show for me, as it was for many others, but this concert was so energetic
and awesome everything else also stands out in my mind...Yet another powerful
Masters Of War (although the Sacramento version still sticks out in my
mind) Then, a perfect quiet One Too Many Mornings and then Visions? Come
Summer Days rocked hard, then another very nice, clear Sugar
Baby...almost crystal clear. The sound were we were was right-on tonight.
Cold Irons Bound was great fun, and then they all got lost in the
middle! It was amazing to hear everyone in the band seemingly playing
something different, and then suddenly all find the right place, seemingly
at the same time. Near the end, before the jam, Bob did not scream
"YEAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!" as he sometimes does, but more like "AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!"
Truly epic...I'm still thinking of this one compaired w/ the one in Vegas in
August, which was unreal in its own right. I love both of them.
To close the set with Rainy Day Women just seemed to make perfect sense
on this night; Bob was really into it.
Another great Things Have Changed seemed to sum up some of the brutal
happenings that are going down now. Leave it to Bob.
If Dogs Run Free is always well received, and tonight was no
exception...Larry was picking and grinning away as usual and Bob looked
happy as well. Honest With Me was Bob rocking the house down one final time for
the night, and Blowin sent everyone away into the evening. What a
show!!!!!....My friend was on the elevator with Bill Walton after the show, and Bill had a
great time as well. This is Very high up there on my personal list of
See you folks in New Hampshire, and have a fun safe tour.
Review by Tom Kirby
Another mighty fine show from Bob and his band last night at the new Rimac
Arena at the University of California, San Diego. A fairly small arena
that only seats 4,800, there is not a bad seat in the house. The show was
GA and sold out, so I got there 4 hours before the show time and had about
200 people ahead of me in line. The floor had no seats and I sat about 20
feet in front of center stage, far enough back to be in range of the main
speakers hanging from above at each side of stage (too close to the stage
and often you don't hear the main towers at all)
It only took about 1 minute into Wait For The Light To Shine to get the
kinks out of the sound system. Bob and the boys were on right from the
start. A nice gospel opener that had Bob singing "pull yourself together
and keep looking for the sign" and Larry and Charlie joining in -- very
enthusiastically -- on the refrain "wait for the light to shine." A lot
of cool chant and refrain like that. Then we got a solid My Back Pages
that featured Larry very heavily on the fiddle, and Bob joined in on the
harp to nice effect. I've never seen or heard such a long fiddle solo from
Larry before. Next up Desolation Row, with Bob quite focused, and given
how desolate everyone is feeling these days, it seemed very fitting. No
wonder Bob is playing it a lot this tour. Next up Searching For a
Soldier's Grave, another very fitting song, sounding just like it did last
year on tour when Bob first broke this old chestnut. Then we got our first
taste of the new CD with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, sans bongos. I miss
the bongos, but this is a nice new fun song that they played a little up
tempo from the CD cut. They have also already modified one or two of the
bridges quite a bit that sounds great. You can hear the version from
10/14/01 right now off of Bob's web site (yes, they already have something
from this tour on his bobdylan.com/performances page!) Very good solid
show so far, great respectful crowd, cool venue. But up next is when
things really entered a whole new realm with a great version of Just Like
a Woman with great harp work. What a great tune. Then a solid Stuck Inside
of Mobile with Bob particularly emphasizing the part about "wondering what
you have to pay to get out of going through all these things twice"
Actually, there didn't seem to be a lyric without an incredible, powerful
delivery for the whole song. Then a conference among the band, and out
pops the second time Bob has ever performed Mississippi. This is what I
most wanted to hear from the new CD, and what I most wanted to hear,
period. What a powerful new tune. But you can not hear this song without
thinking about 9-11-01, and hearing it in concert, it was hard to keep the
tears from flowing. Soon I gave up trying. Back to earth, and the
recurring theme of the night, with Masters of War. Then the show entered
very rarified air with the most sublime, wonderful, magical, could never
be topped version of One Too Many Mornings. Sung to a crowd that was in
silent rapture. Polished off with beautiful harp work. Such intense
moments can not last, and so even a very good Visions of Johanna up next
did pale in comparison, even though it is one of my most favorite songs.
But it was delivered well, and it sure kept this mighty fine show going
along nicely. But then we entered more rarified air, but on an altogether
different mountain top, it not a different planet. You just can not
believe what these guys are doing with Summer Days in concert. I thought I
had seen this band cook at top notch before, but never, ever have I seen
this band play as tight on such a challenging tune as they did on Summer
Days. I was talking with someone who has seen the whole tour and he did
say that we got the most incredible version of the tour, but these guys
got this great new song so down, so rocking, so swinging, so amazing, you
have got to hear it to believe it. Then a major switch of gears, and we
get another one of these wonderful new tunes, Sugar Baby. "Some of these
things, you can learn to live with, and some of them you can't." I have
been hearing Bob sing that in his most haunting way possible over and over
in my head ever since the show. That and "look up, look up, seek your
maker, before Gabriel blows his horn." Again, the most rapt, silent crowd
I have ever been a part of. Wow. Once again, moments that intense can not
last, and so we then got an average version of Cold Irons Bound. Before
the next song, Bob had a conference with Charlie, who had just switched
guitars, and had him switch again for Rainy Day Women instead of what they
were going to play. Apparently Bob had suggested in his conference that
Charlie cut loose, because he had a great lengthy solo, and also really
drove this whole song way beyond it's typical "filler" capacity. A lot
more jamming than usual. Bob introduced the band during the song. The
encore started out pretty typical with an average Things Have Changed and
LARS, but then was quite a treat with If Dogs Run Free, Honest With Me
(our 5th new tune of the night!), and Blowin in the Wind. These last three
were very, very solid, rounding out an incredibly good show. The lights
stayed off for a few minutes to the most thundering applause possible from
this small crowd. What a show! Can't wait to see Bob again tomorrow in LA,
even though that arena can hold, what?, 25,000? Believe me, with Bob and
the band this hot, the material this good, even venues like that should
not be missed.
Review by Alithia Stecking
Everything was perfect. The place was sold out, not an empty seat and the
floor was just packed! I stood in line for 2 1/2 hours before the doors
opened at 7:00pm, then stood another hour before the show and then all
through the show. A total of almost six hours! But well worth it - I would
have stood twice as long!
When we got inside we were nine people from the stage! That's as close as
I've ever been! As soon as Bob's incense were lit, everyone that was
sitting got up and started to cram together. We got pushed back by some of
the people crowding in from the sides and ended up about 18 people back
from the stage. Still the closest I've ever been to The Man.
The band was tight and awesome. Larry was in a particularly good mood - he
kept smilin' the whole night and Bob seemed to be amusing him too. Tony
was also in a great mood. He was really going to it! David was even in a
jovial mood. He came out smiling and after the final song of the encore,
when they were all just standing there like they do, David waves his arm
in the air and gives a great big smile to the audience (Larry was smiling
too). Charlie looked a little anxious. Not sure what the reason for that
one is. He just kept lookin' around at Bob and Tony all through the show.
Seemed like Tony was constantly reassuring Charlie with a smile or nod of
the head. There were also looks of approval and smiles between Tony and
Larry. All in all the band was getting along great.
Now for the most important one - BOB! He was in a fine mood as well. Not
talkative (we didn't even get a "thankseverybody"), but quite animated.
He was just full of facial gestures like raising His eyebrows or
squinting His eyes or glaring to make a point of a certain lyric. His
delivery of the lyrics was exquisite!!!! Everything was perfectly
annunciated and He was right on with doing His thing with the lyrics. He
was lookin' out into the audience when He was playing and it sort of
looked like He might have come close to a smile a few times, but I think
it was just more of a smirk than a smile. However, He did smile when they
were playing If Dogs Run Free. He looked like He just had the best time
playing that song! Also, the first time I had heard it in person.
Some of the highlights...
He did terrific harp solos on My Back Pages, Just Like A Woman, and One
Too Many Mornings! Stunning as usual!!! The band quieted down a little and
Bob blew that harmonica...... Knees bent, He was slightly leaning forward
and then back with His right hand waving free and tapping. The other
highlights were Summer Days, Cold Irons Bound (which I have never heard in
person before), Mississippi, Desolation Row, Sugar Baby, If Dogs Run Free,
and Masters of War. Now I must follow this up with a few more details on
the songs. Like I said before, Bob was just perfect with the lyrics (maybe
two slight mistakes the entire evening). On Desolation Row, He was singing
"Don't send me no more letters nooooooooo, not unless you mail them from
Desolatiooooooooooon Rooow." Just so awesome, very close to the
performance in Bethlehem, PA last year (it's on Pathway to the Stars).
Mississippi had Bob delivering "Got nothin' for you, had nothin' before!
Don't eeeeveeen haaave anythin' for myyyseeeelf anymore" (complete with
raised eyebrows!). Sugar Baby was the most beautiful song of the evening.
He really gave it to us tenderly and with feeling. Even more so than on
LAT. It was really moving. Summer Days was definitely the rockin' song of
the evening. It's taken the place of Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat and Highway
61 as the mover and shaker. And what fun those guys were having!!!!! Tony
was spinning his standup bass, Larry and Bob were just playing the heck
out of their guitars. Even Charlie looked a little less stressed on this
one. Bob had a little trouble delivering some of the lines because they
come so fast. He didn't mess it up, but He had to hurry through a few
places to catch up. Summer Days gave us, "I'm drivin' through the flats in
a cadillac car (slight pause); (then a heavy delivery of) the girls all
say I'm a wooorn out star (slight pause again) Weeell, my pockets are
loaded (heavy on the word 'loaded') and I'm speeendi! n' everyyyy dime."
Masters of War was incredible! He does the song and then after the last
line of the song "I'll stand over your grave 'till I'm sure that your
dead," He sings "Come you masters of war, you that build all the guns, you
that build the death planes, you that build the big bombs, you that hide
behind walls, you that hide behind desks (glares) I just want you to know
I can see through your masks." He just lets "masks" kind of trail
off....... What a superb way to end that song, by adding the first verse
to the end! It was like He was telling us all something important and He
wanted to make sure we 'got it.' I think most of us 'got it' from the
crowd's reaction :-)
All in all a wonderful show! The best I've seen so far anyway. He just
keeps getting better and better. Can't wait for tomorrow's show in Los
Angeles! :-) If it's even half as good as last night it will be well worth
I love you BOB!
San Diego, CA
Review by Jim Bartoo
A few days of rest in one's own bed can do wonders and that was certainly
the case as Bob Dylan returned to action on the second leg of his Southern
California Triple Crown.
Playing before a sold-out crowd at the University of California, San
Diego's RIMAC Arena, Bob was back in top form, tearing through his set
with the conviction of a man whose reason for being is to play and play
Opening once again with Fred Rose's "Wait for the Light to Shine," Dylan
was going to have none of the occasional funk of Sunday night's Santa
Barbara show. Intent, focused and ready to go, Bob hit all his marks as he
segued into "My Back Pages" and "Desolation Row." By the time Larry was
hitting the opening mandolin of "Searching for a Soldier's Grave," the
crowd was hooked and there was no going back.
I've found that the telltale sign of things good and bad is a long, hard
stare at Larry Campbell. When the deal is going down right, there is no
denying his visible please. Ear-to-ear grins were the order of the night
-- a vast contrast to the all business face worn Sunday in SB.
As for Bob, there were no long smiles or laughs but he seemed quite
pleased with the way things were going and for one, very brief moment
(during the encore of "Honest with Me" I believe), The Man cracked a grin.
Shuffling and posing, it was clear that he had indeed found his groove.
As for the show, it was a nice set -- mixing another healthy dose of "Love
and Theft" (including "Mississippi" this time) with a strong helping of
classics (highlights of which included "Just Like a Woman" and "Visions of
All in all, a great night of music that begs the question: What will Bobby
do for the trifecta Friday night at Staples in Los Angeles? I can't wait
to find out!
Review by Jeanne Davis
Coming from UCLA, of course I got stuck in traffic on the way to UCSD.
Unfortunately I didn't get into the RIMAC till Tweedle Dum and Tweedle
Dee, but it was immediately clear there was a huge difference from Sunday
Bob was as sharp as his suit - he was just present, and had the crowd's
full attention. As the show continued he became even more authoritative
and strode the stage, seemingly trying to get the people in the bleachers
on the sides to stand up.
There were some different production experiments going on with the lights
and curtains, including a scrim with cloud formations on it that was lit
to look like smoke at one point. There were people seated on the sides of
the stage and in back of the sound board (VIPs or college bourgeoisie?)
who aren't usually there. It seemed like the crew was getting ready for
Staples Center, which is a much bigger venue.
My favorite this show was One Two Many Mornings, which he made moody,
using finger picking string snaps against the fretboard to get the
argumentative feel of the song into his guitar playing. He played a lot
of guitar solos tonight, and got into the mood of each song and expressed
it not only in his playing but also in his singing.
Bob words this evening were, "university faculty and students, let me
introduce the best band in the land," and he made his Kemper joke,
calling David "better than no drummer at all." Tony was "the
extraordinary Tony Garnier." Charlie was the one who caught my attention
tonight though, because he filled in some interesting almost chicken
scratch bar chord sounds on a few songs. Larry played some beautiful
Cold Irons Bound was an amazing act closer and had a jazzy arrangement,
changing up the more rhythmic drive of the recorded version. This crowd
wasn't big on lighters but got the feet thumping thing going on the
bleachers and the echo of that brought smiles and thumbs up from some crew
type people in the sound mixing area.
The encores brought out bright lights on the crowd, like you'd expect in
an arena show for the big songs (RDW and LARS). The best encore was If
Dogs Run Free, which got some new lyrics, including "Just do your thing,
you could be queen or king." Giving the female gender some inspiration was
super cool thing for Bob to do, especially considering the location of the
All in all really fun, with enough different phrasing and music to keep
even people who have seen a few of his shows on their toes.
Review by Brian Goldstein
Well, we just got back from the tonight's show, and it was spectacular.
I'm twenty-one years old, and me and a couple of friends drove to San Diego
to from Orange County to see Bob. I guess the reason why I mention that I'm
twenty-one is to point out that thre are some people of my generation who
listen, actually LISTEN, to music that means more than, well, whatever
people my age do listen to. Bob means more to me than any other artist. I'm
not gonna go through the set-list (I'm sure someone else will), all I want
to say is that in this time, when so many things that we have taken for
granted are baing shaken to the core, it is important to have voices crying
out through the fog and dust to remind us of what is truly valuable and what
should fall. Tonight Mr. Dylan showed the few of us who were paying
attention that, even now, there is life and it deserves to be treasured.
He shows up, we show up, he plays, and he's gone. And one day he will
"If we never meet again, baby remember me. How my lone guitar it played
sweet for you that old-time melody. And the harmonica around my neck, I blew
it for ya free. No one else could play that tune, ya know it was up to me."
Well, tonight it was up to him, and he came through for me once again.
A lot of reponsibility to have on one man's shoulders, maybe too much. But
he sure does carry it well.
Only two things can pierce the human heart: tragedy and beauty.
Review by Sven Lewandowski
La Jolla is a kind of noble suburb of San Diego and it´s name doen´t
derive from ėjollyî but from the Spanish word for ėjewelî. And Dylan´s
performance at La Jolla really featured a lot of jewels. Once again the
concert took place at a University venue but the audience was okay this
time. They just behaved like an audience should, i.e. they listened to
Dylan was fit again and the two days rest seemed to be a good cure.
Still the set list was pretty much standard but nearly all songs were
performed almost perfect ! Compared to the show three days ago at Santa
Barbara there was a difference like between day and night. Now Dylan was
really on and commited to the songs.
Even though the first five songs were nearly the same as at the two
shows before the difference could really be felt. While the songs have
been performed at San Francisco in a standard and at Santa Barbara in a
substandard manner they were now treated just perfect. Except maybe for
ėMy Back Pagesî that still couldn´t match the perfomance at Cardiff last
ėJust Like A Womenî turned out to be even better than at San Jose and
Dylan delivered a superb harmonica solo.
ėStuck Inside Of Mobileî was also very enjoyable and much better than at
Santa Barbara. Larry on acoustic guitar agin.
Unsually I scream for ėBig Riverî but they never perform it. But now I
made up my mind and decided the yell for ėMississippiî being the only
song from the new album that Dylan had already performed but not for me.
And it would have been a pity to have flewn from Germany to the USA and
still having missed ėMississippiî. So I yelled three times and about 15
seconds later the band started with the opening bars of ėMississippiî
(maybe I should have yelled for ėShe´s Your Lover Nowî ? ;-)). Still
being glad having heard the song live I also have to admit that the
performance was rather disappointing. Dylan just did the song and that
was all. There seemed to be a lack of commitment. His phrasing was not
very convincing at all. It seemed to me like he just ran through the
song. It didn´t match the album version - to say the least. It was
surely the weakest performance of the entire show. But on the other hand
I´m also thankful that he played it on my request (it sure it was on the
cue sheet anyways). (Now listening to a recording the performance
doesn´t sound that bad to me, but still I´d say that it is rather weak).
ėMasters Of Warî and ėOne Too Many Morningsî followed. While ėMastersî
was nothing special but a good performance, ėOne Too Many Morningsî just
knocked me off-a my feet. Dylan´s voice was so tender and so commited to
the song. Surely the best performance of this song I ever heard ! Just
fantastic. And once again a great harmonica solo !!
As the lights went down after ėOne Too Many Morningsî I nearly prayed
that they won´t do ėHard Rainî again and when I saw Larry picking up an
acoustic guitar instead of the bouzouki I was quite relieved: The
acoustic guitar ment that it wouldn´t be ėHard Rainî. And you can
believe me: I´d prefered nearly anything to ėHard Rainî by now - even
ėIt Ain´t Me, Babeî or ėDon´t Think Twiceî. But much to my surprise they
did ėVisions of Johannaî !!
Okay, ėVisions Of Johannaî is not longer a song I´m desperately waiting
for. I heard it twice last year and you couldn´t say that it is a rare
song any longer (in fact it has been performed about every 5th show in
2001). But still it is a very enjoyable song. But the performance was
strange in some way. It was like with ėMississippiî. The set list of
the whole show was pretty much standard except for ėVisions Of Johannaî
and ėMississippiî, but all songs were treaten very carefully and in a
very perfect way - except for ėVisions Of Johannaî and ėMississippiî !!!
I wished he had been as much committed to ėVisionsî like he had been
committed to ėOne Too Many Moringsî or as much to ėMississippiî as to
ėMobileî. But in fact the strange thing was that the two most
interesting choices in the show´s set list were the weakest
performances. That doesn´t mean that the performances of these two songs
were really bad but the other songs were much better. Still the too weak
ones were much better than anything at Santa Barbara.
If the performances (not the choices) of ėMississippiî and ėVisionsî
raised a little doubt wether Dylan was really on or not, the performance
(not the choice) of ėSummer Daysî proofed that he was ! As I wrote in my
reviews of the other shows ėSummer Daysî always lacked of commitment,
sophistication and aggressivness in Dylan´s voice. But not this time !!
Now he treated the song like it deserves it and Dylan and the whole band
delivered a performance that could be called state-of-the-art. I don´t
think that ėSummer Daysî could get any better than at La Jolla !
As usual ėSugar Babyî followed and we got another perfect performance.
ėCold Irons Boundî and ėRainy Day Womenî closed the regular set and to
both songs Charlie added some fine guitar work that even made ėRainy Day
Execpt for ėIf Dogs Run Freeî, a song that I didn´t really like anymore,
the encores were the usual ones - all very fine performances. ėHonest
With Meî seemed to be an outstanding performance which I enjoyed very
Since there has been a kind of decline since the show at San Jose the
show at La Jolla can be called a turn for the better. But even without
thinking about the weak shows before, La Jolla was surely an outstanding
one. Not so much because of the set list but rather in spite of it.
While the set list was pretty much standard - expect for the mentioned
execptions - the performances of the most songs were superb ( - expect
for the mentioned execptions)
I think it was most probably the best California show.
comments are welcome, please email to:
page by Bill Pagel
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