Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 11/01/98

Reviews

November 1, 1998

New York, New York
Madison Square Garden


[Andrew Klewan], [Joe Epstein], [Wendy Gell]

Review by Andrew Klewan


I had the great priviledge of attending my 35th Bob Dylan show at Madison
Square Garden last, the site of my first Dylan show (9/29/78).  To tell
you all that Mr. Dylan was beyond magnificent last night wouldn't come
close to describing the show.  From the second he hit the stage it was
apparent that this was indeed the changed man we have all read about
recently.  Serve Somebody was riff heavy and to the point, with the
first glimpses of the shuffling dance steps and long two step strides,
like Gregory Peck playing guitar in The Gunfighter.  I Want You was very
pretty with the first of many great guitar solos.  I can't say enough
about Uncle Bobby's guitar playing last night.  It was free form yet
never short of on the money and inspired all night.  Tom Thumbs Blues
got a great reaction, as did Make You Feel My Love, introduced by saying
how he hopes this version would be as good as Garth's.  Can't Wait was
tight, with a great foot pedal part by Kemper.  Don't Think Twice
contained the night's only harmonica solo, with the foot on the drum
riser and three exceptional guitar solos.  Masters was wonderful, as was
a stunning vocal performance on One Too Many.  Tangled could very well
have been one of the best versions I've ever heard, with the night's
best playing from those duelling guitar boys.  Joey was a nice surprise,
played well.  However, it was the next few minutes that did it for me.
He played Charles Aznavour's The Times We've Known, with a spoken
introduction commenting on how he admires Aznavour.  Charles Aznavour is
currently appearing here on Broadway in NYC which no doubt spurred Bob
to pay homage.  The performnace was the evening's best vocal, the way
Bob would sing it to you in his livingroom, which was what he turned
Madsion Square Garden into over and over.  The most touching moment of
the night came after Bob introduced the band, he said that it had been a
long time since he had played at MSG, and back then he was the type of
guy who didn't appreciate it, "but I sure do now."  Very moving,
especially seeing over these 20 years of concerts this magnificent
transformation.  I've never seen the man so happy on stage, so
appreciative, and moved by the audiences reception. Also, I loved the
fact that he never forgot about the people in back of the stage, often
turning and playing to them, especially in the harp break in Don't Think
Twice.   Anyway, after Highway 61 the encores came, with a brooding Love
Sick that was much quieter in the verses and propulsive in the
instrumental break.  Rainy Day Women was Rainy Day Women, and Blowin' In
The Wind was sung and played as though he had written it yesterday
afternoon and couldn't wait to sing it for someone.  With the possible
exception of 4/18/97 in Albany, I can unequivocally say this was the
greatest Bob Dylan concert I have ever seen, though I've said that every
time I've seen him since The Supper Club.  I don't know who the happy
old man parading around the world is in a Bob Dylan mask, but may God
bless him and keep him always.  What a night! 

[TOP]

Review by Joe Epstein


     Well, my day started at 8 in the morning.  My roommates alarm went off
at 8 and every 5 minutes after that until 8:30.  Anyways, the  shuttle into
Harvard left at 11, the train left from Boston at 12:30 and I arrived in
New York around 5.  I ate some pizza and donuts in Penn Station and made my
way up to the Garden.  The doors opened at 6:30 so a big group had
congregated by the box office where I met some very nice people.
     Finally, they let us in and I made it to my seat.  I conversed with
the people around me and tried to go check out the stage but security
wouldnít let me so I went back to my seat and sat down.
     Dave Alvin and The Guilty Men came on a little early and were pretty
good.  Actually, they jammed in my opinion.  They were no BR5-49, but they
were pretty darn close.
     After the brief intermission, Joni came out.  Iím not too familiar
with her work, except for "Big Yellow Taxi."  Still, she impressed me with
a spirited performance and a beautiful voice.  Very pleasant to listen to.
     Soon into the second intermission, you could see and smell the incense
burning.  Almost show time!
     Gotta Serve Somebody-rock solid!
     I Want You-as beautiful as ever and look at him go.  What moves!  Bob
had on a pair of white shoes that contrasted with his black pants and
jacket.  His feet were like lightening.  You could tell that he was into it
from the very beginning of the show by the vocals and the way he was moving
about.  He even started playing with the people behind the stage from the
start.  A great sign.
     Just Like Tom Thumbís Blues-"Iím going back to New York City, I do
believe Iíve had enough."  I was hoping he would play it and he did.
Tremendous.  Still dancing.  Tony was dancing from the start of the show,
too.  Not as good as Bobís dancing but close.  I wonder what Larryís
dancing is like.
     Make You Feel My Love-Iím quite fond of the lyrics and enjoyed the
performance.  Well done, although I miss the organ that Bob played in  New
London during January.  Before the song, he mentioned something about Garth
Brooks I think singing it, and that he was going to try to do just as good
of a job singing as Garth.
     Canít Wait-Excellent performance.  Vocals were top notch and Bob was
solo-ing away like a mad man.  Still dancing!
     Donít Think Twice-Always one of my favorites.  Beautiful harp near the
end with some strange/funny/amusing Dylan hand gestures.  Awesome!
     Masters Of War-In talking to a few people before the show, I commented
on how this song isnít one of my favorites thus he always seems to play it
when I go.  I guess I jinxed myself.  But like with any song, if you donít
want to hear it, and itís played, you still enjoy it to some extent.
     One Too Many Mornings-Beautiful and as tender as usual.  They kind of
messed up the intro a bit, but it was still a great performance.
     Tangled-was Tangled.  Rock solid as usual with the change in lyrics.
"He was working night and day, as time was a-slippiní away."  As good as
ever.
     Joey-Totally unexpected.  Two loud-mouths in my section kept
requesting it but were too far away to be heard, I think.  It started out
strong but seemed to fizzle out near the end.  Still very good.
Afterwards, Bob said something like, "...never play that again."  He was in
a very good mood, dancing and talkative throughout the night.
     The Times We've Known-He mumbled something about a Frenchman, and how
he himself had been to France before.  He then said, "Iím going to try to
do one of his songs now.  I usually only do this sort of thing for myself
when Iím alone but I kind of feel like Iím alone right now so..."  He then
started laughing.   A one off? Beautiful song.  Great performance!!!
     Highway 61-Rocked!  Jammed!  The usual with lots of dancing and
solo-ing.
     Love Sick-Good version.  Stumbled over a few lines but it was still
good.
     Rainy Day-was Rainy Day.  Never one of my favorites and I never really
like hearing it.  One reason is because I know the show is nearing an end
but once he starts playing and dancing, it jams and he rocks out.
     Blowiní In The Wind-Excellent!  I like the backing vocals by Bucky and
Larry.  Wonderful vocal performance.
     And with that, the show ended.  15 songs.  Not bad, wouldíve liked 17
but I wonít be greedy.  I missed "Silvio" (sorry :-) ) and I would have
probably liked an performance of  "Every Grain Of Sand" instead of  "Joey"
but overall, a very good show.
     Bob was into it from the beginning and didnít stop dancing.  He was
also in a very talkative mood.  Besides the normal, "Thanks everybody,"  he
actually spoke before and after a good deal of the songs especially "Tom
Thumb," "Feel My Love," "Joey," and "The Times Weíve Known."  At one point
he also said something like, "I havenít played here for awhile, and then I
never really appreciated it.  But now I do..."  Some very intriguing stuff
throughout the night.  And the dancing.  I couldnít get over it.  He didnít
stop!  Excellent show with some nice surprises.  Was it worth the 12 hours
of travel? Hell yeah!  I had a great time and I would do it again if I
could. Thanks to Bob, the band and everyone I met along the way!

-Joe Epstein

[TOP]

Review by Wendy Gell


my 2 cents-
I'm no rock critic but a passionate Bob devotee who never counted the 
concerts,  but went to everyone I could  everywhere I was .
We took  the Amtrak from New Haven on an almost fullmoon -all saints day- night.
I went with a girl friend who had never been to MSG before.
Bob opened with Gonna Serve Somebody as I had read in the reviews and  it  rocked!
He sailed into  I Want  You, one of my favorites and sometime soon after the next 
song a timid but respectful hand pulled on my sleeve saying "Excuse me but you are
the only two people standing in our section".( Loge ) I hadn't noticed and not 
wanting to ruin anyone's view we reluctantly sat down and tried to control  our selves.  
It was THE BEST Tangled Up in Blue I'd  ever heard , and Bob  talked more then usual 
and seemed so happy . I waited around my computer the next day for  the reviews to 
hear what he had said. We had great seats thanks to eye candy productions .  I was 
sad  that Bob  closed with out doing what has been called his "benediction " in this 
tour - Forever Young --and I wondered if the New York audience wasn't enthused 
enough or why.

I never get enough. We got to the train station at Penn station where an amazing scene 
occurred. 25 maybe 30 people were sitting around the  escalators where the numbers for 
the tracks come up, waiting to go home -back to Jersey or New England and someone 
started playing a great blues harp and a young couple began to dance. She did these 
long languid backbends, so young and supple. People clapped and the music began to 
swell with no apparent musical instruments. The Penn station security police stood 
around watching  with  sort of  smiles in the edges , and I was so proud of them- never 
interfered with the harmless and joyful expressions of the moment. The train was called 
the kids disappeared and we sighed as though it had been a bit of woodstock or some 
safe old 60's place .

I got home about 2:30 noticing my wrists black and blue from wildly applauding in my 
wristies.  ( I design these huge bracelets ) -no harm.
Bob's music is a driving inspiring medicinal part of my life all I can say is THANK YOU 
and I hope he comes  to New England this tour.  "Why Bo, I'll go anywhere with you 
now! ",  I hear in my head- the Marliyn Monroe voice from Bus Stop.

For about a year I've been working on a gallery in my website @wendygell.com.
Its a Bob Dylan inspired   art gallery  called wenDYLANd  ,  ( Dylan is always in the 
middle of wendyland ) and we  got linked to bob links and eye candy ticket sales people 
recently. I was wondering if anyone would recognize me and say hello.  Joni Mitchell was 
really outstanding too, I'd never seen her in concert .I felt we were all so lucky to be
alive.  My friend and I   walked  the streets and went for coffee and I heard "oh the 
streets of  Rome , are filled with rubble "....  On the way home in the train  I kept 
hearing in my head Emotionally Yours and had to go home and play Darks Eyes 
twenty times on my computer cd as I answered email.
More Bob More!!!!!

Love
Wendy Gell

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