Starkville, Mississippi
Mississippi State University
Humphrey Coliseum

October 24, 1997

Thanks to Bill Parr for the following review:

 October 24, 1997
Bucky comes out early for some last minute tuning, sans hat and jacket(I
think he wasn't wearing the jacket). Nobody seems to take any notice. I'm
still impressed with the guy. He's responsible with an astonishing amount
of the really choice sound which this band produces. Stay healthy, Bucky.
   1.   Absolutely Sweet Marie

Well, I've got pretty good seats. First row, not far from center. (Seat 5,
where 1 is most central. B side (Bucky Baxter side).)

No monitors in front, again. Nice - no view obstruction.

No opener, so at around 8:15 (didn't jot it down - I was too preoccupied -
lots of folks in attendance I knew, some only electronically and for the
first time meeting in person) the lights dimmed, Bob and the guys saunter
on stage (that's right - they didn't walk. They sauntered!) and "Ladies and
Gentlemen, . . . ."

Absolutely Sweet Marie. Haven't tired of this one yet. But, Barbed Wire
Fence would be a nice opener, I'd think. Maybe someday.

The voice (Bob's) is extremely low in the mix. Good energy, guitar work.

   2.   If Not For You

Nicely played. The voice is coming up in the mix. Is it Bob getting the
voice warmed up? Adjustments being made to the sound? Or are my ears just
getting tuned to the show? IN any event, the volume of the voice is
improving. Throughout the entire show, the guitars were VERY STRONG in the
sound mix.

   3.   Cold Irons Bound
Thank you. The first few notes came out, and the amount of recognition was
impressive. Folks from all around obviously knew what this one was, even
after only just a few notes.

Score: 1 live debut (but hold on!!! We're by no means done yet.)

But it wasn't JUST a live debut. The freshness in the performance is
obvious. Dylan is working with this song, smiling at the audiences obvious
recognition and appreciation. Bucky and Tony exchange knowing glances (I
imagine - Yep, the guy's enjoying himself on this one.).

What's the word? Magnificient! The atmospheric sounds may have originally
been partially crafted by Lanois jointly with Dylan, but they're there
tonight. It's not just work done after the musicians leave. They're
creating the sound. And I like it.

   4.   You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
Done well, as always. Very close to the version I heard this summer, I
believe in Wolftrap in August. (Don't have the, er, documentation with me
to verify this right now.) Have to check it when I get back home after
Jackson and Mobile.

By the way - when did Dylan last do the version of this with the McGuinn
reference in it? Anybody know?

   5.   Can't Wait
What! Cold Irons Bound was magnificient, and I was trying to imagine how I
could describe it to you. And decided that it just wasn't possible. And now
I have to talk about TWO LIVE DEBUTS on the same night. The voice was very
close to the version on TOOM. I think they played it a bit faster. Larry
Campbell adds some nice notes here - nothing flashly, just some solid
background. Dylan is definitely into playing lead tonight.

And, finishing up to lots of applause, we hear them crank up

   6.   Silvio
What can be said? This is a great concert song. So much superior to the
studio version. And it continues to evolve. There was some guitar work I'd
never heard them do the likes of before, about two minutes before the end.

   7.   Stone Walls and Steel Bars (acoustic)

Thank you, Bob. GOod work with the setlist. Thus far, selection has been
magnificient! Of course, wouldn't mind a Blind Willie McTell, maybe
Angelina, Caribbean Wind, . . .

   8.   Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)
Listening to this, I think - the accomplishment of the composing and
performing artist may perhaps be approached by stopping to consider that
TUIB remains new after all these years. And that Dylan could and has
constructed wonderful setlists which have omitted TUIB, My Back Pages,
Tambourine Man, Blowing in the WInd, Times they are A' Changin', . . . And
these songs remain new, constantly being reinvented. To the point that TUIB
is virtually as new, as performed, as Cold Irons Bound was.

   9.   Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic)
Which makes my point. The CONTROL on this song. Every word enunciated with
painstaking clarity. The controlled timing. This is a performance to
remember. Get the tape!

At this time, I'm emotionally exhausted. We've already heard two live
debuts, and splendid performances of TUIB and Tambourine Man, . . . How can
he keep this one from sagging toward the end?

  10.  'Til I Fell In Love With You
Well, there's your partial answer. Strongly and very enthusiastically
performed. THe highlight for me - the look on Bob's face as he sings the
very last phrase. (Almost the identical look to his face on Love Sick,
coming later . . .)

Three live debuts.

  11.  Blind Willie McTell
And here's more of the answer. Nicely done. Not enunciating well for the
first two lines, which has me worried. But then he recovers. He's still
doing that bit with taking a pair of lines (is that a couplet???) which
have, say, six words in each and delivering them as two and ten.

  12.  Highway 61 Revisited
Oh, yes - back into "rock concert time." With a vengeance. Attack of the
Killer Guitars is on.

The usual encore drill - Bob and the band leave with some waves to the
audience, the crew immediately comes on and makes some adjustments. Then
Bob and the band return.

  13.  Like A Rolling Stone
And start up again, where they left off. Strong rock. Dylan continuing with
lots of glances at lots of us in the first row (We've all been standing
since the band came on stage before Absolutely Sweet Marie.).

Dylan's enunciation is very good. Precision. Biting of those syllables.

  14.  Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (acoustic)
Nice, nothing special about Don't Think Twice tonight. Nothing wrong, just
nothing which I noted.

  15.  Love Sick
I had thought that surely, after three live debuts and already one acoustic
encore, we would not get Love Sick, even though it showed up across the
Atlantic. But, here it is. ANd that closing verse - Dylan loves it.

  16.  Rainy Day Women #12 & 35


Well, a strong, sturdy start to the fall U.S. tour.  I'm away from my
reference library, and hence am wondering - when did Dylan last debut three
songs live the same night? Surely Toad's Place qualifies. Now, of course
1979 was ALL live debuts on November 1.

So, the question:

What are the top Dylan shows in terms of number of live debuts? Only
counting live concerts - not extended rehearsals, . . .

But, my recommendation: If you haven't planned on catching Dylan on this
tour - repent!  Buy your ticket, book the hotel room, fill up the car with
gas, and catch up with the tour. Bill Pagel's page will, as always, give
you the full itinerary and ticket information. See you there - maybe
Jackson, maybe Mobile, maybe Tuscaloosa, maybe Knoxville.

Don't miss this tour.

Bill Parr

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