Review by Peter Stone Brown
Dylan's show at College Park was for the most part a high energy affair
with occasional, fleetling glimpses of the bone-chilling intensity he is
capable of. Dylan is clearly having a lot of fun on stage these days,
and why not? He certainly doesn't have to prove anything at this point.
If anything he's trying to disprove those who would say he just stands
there and sings. Constantly-in-motion, his stage moves are an almost
comic combination rock star guitar slinging swagger and once again
Charlie Chaplin, perhaps with a bit of Harpo Marx and WC Fields thrown
in for good measure. After all this time, his sheer presence is
magnetic and riveting. You don't want to take your eyes off him.
Musically, thing were a bit speedy. "Serve Somebody" roared to live
with Dylan singing in a shockingly strong voice. The song rocked and
rocked hard, considering Dylan -- judging by his curious hair style --
looked like he just woke up.
A fairly speedy "I'll Remember You" followed making it even clearer that
he was in good vocal form, getting into his low scary voice on the
"Didn't I try to love you?" bridge.
Fairly typical renditions of "Memphis Blues Again" and "To Make You Feel
My Love" came next. On all these songs, Dylan took every single guitar
solo which is unfortunate. Sometimes his solos are fun, sometimes the
three-note repetition serves to take the energy level up a few notches,
but too often they are just meaningless. He has a superb lead guitarist
in Larry Campbell -- easily his best live lead player since Robbie
Robertson -- and he ought to let him step out instead of hogging every
The standout musician of this particular night was easily Tony Garnier
who was playing amazing, driving and intricate runs throughout the night
whether on "I'll Remember You" or one of the evening's true standouts,
"I Can't Wait."
The acoustic set began with an okay "Stone Walls and Steel Bars." This
was followed by yet another re-arrangement of "Mr. Tambourine Man." It
began at a moderately slow pace, and slowly built up to a rousing peak
on the last verse. Having reduced the melody to two notes, as only he
can, he phrased those two notes to build and build to a stunning climax.
However, this is a song that never needed to be rearranged period. The
melody is one of the most beautiful Dylan ever came up with the the
original tempo perfect. It would be nice to see him return to it.
A brisk intense "Tangled" followed with Dylan really leaning into the
lyrics in a close to intense clipped fashion. An epic song by any
standard it was made even more epic by two Dylan guitar leads and
finally a harp solo that started off very slowly and tenuously and just
kept building and building till he hit whatever it was he was looking
for and once he found it, he didn't let go.
"Don't Think Twice" started with Campbell finger-picking the original
"Freewheelin'" guitar part. Sounded pretty cool until Bob led it back
to three-note-solo land, destroying the original mood, making what
could've been a really gorgeous version a typical one.
Then in a surprise move the intro to "Blind Willie McTell." And it was
strong, and it was powerful and it was fine through the first stanza and
then Dylan forgot the words, and no he didn't get thrown off by the
guitar. He just forgot the next line and it's too bad Tony or someone
couldn't have said to him "East Texas" and it would've come back. Then
he went into the fourth verse or something couldn't remember that did
the part of the last verse twice and thankfully ended it. And it was
too bad because he was actually singing the chorus the way he originally
wrote it "And I know no one can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell"
instead of the Band's version "I know one thing, no one can sing......"
What really made it a shame was the next song was "Every Grain of Sand"
which would have been an incredible one, two punch. But the McTell gaff
clearly rattled Dylan and kind of let the air out, and for a second we
almost thought he'd forgotten the words to this as well, but he pulled
it out. The momentum was gone however, and "Highway 61" whether it was
scheduled next or not was definitely the right move to get the energy
"Lovesick" had kind of a strange beginning, but they pulled it out with
Campbell finally stepping forward to take a solo. However, this is one
of the songs where Bob's solo like the one he took on the Grammys really
works. Oh well it's one of the joys of being a Dylan fan. The one time
you want him to take a guitar solo, he doesn't.
Bob still had some surprises up his sleeve as everyone was expecting the
inevitable "Rainy Day Women" and instead he pulled out "Leopard Skin
Pill Box Hat" in a way to make everyone think it was going to be "RDW."
A moving "Blowin' In The Wind" came next with strong harmony from Larry
and Bucky following Bob's phrasing stretching wind.
Then it was back to the electrics for "Till I Fell In Love" and as it
was getting pretty late and close to midnight and we weren't sure
whether they were coming back or not, Larry seemed to think the show was
over -- but come back they did for a gentle "Forever Young."
It was a show more entertaining and fun than moving, but it was fun I'll
"I can't even remember what it was I came
here to get away from." --Bob Dylan
Peter Stone Brown
Review by Jay Siegelman
We arrived at College Park, Univ. of MD at 6:30. Ran into a tshirt
vendor in the parking lot & got a nice tie dye t-shirt for $15. Saved
$10 over the "official ones & it was much nicer.
Upon entry we were advised girls with girls, guys with guys, you are
gonna get searched. PG County & the State of MD show their true
It would not be the first time. Upon entering we were advised that those
who smoke cigarettes would not be permitted to go outside and reenter.
Maryland you see has this great law-no smoking in any public building,
gee you'd think they would do something, especially since Joni smokes
(and when she lit up....we cheered.. So a word to the wise......if you
smoke...avoid the Maryland. Still wondering which other individual
freedoms will be taken next....but that's my soapbox.....back to the
concert. Those that smoked ended up doing so a la high school in the
bathrooms, and those anal U of MD police actually went to the bathrooms
to put a stop to it. Memo to U of M police-you are only there because
you cannot get a real police job and that just demonstrated your way of
To the show.
Dave Alvin-good but not great. Rockabilly but nowhere near the class of
the Stray Cats. However the keyboardist was GREAT. Ditch the band guy
and you may go places.
Joni was great. Even sick she still hit those notes. She had an attitude
and she showed it. She apologized for her illness, and commented "I'm
Also said that she wasn't mad tonight. Highlights included Big yellow
Taxi, Sex Sells Everything, Woodstock (it's hers though CSNY recorded
it), Amelia and a Billie Holiday tune called Comes Love.
Not going to do a song by song on Dylan, the set list is there to see.
My impressions are that the show was great. Bob pulled out old
favorites, new songs and put on a show. And most importantly all of the
words were sharp, the band was tight, Bob was smiling, moving, almost
dancing. He appeared to be quite ALIVE and it looked like he was having
fun. Highlights were Blind Willie McTell, a definitive Blowing in the
Wind, a show ending Forever Young.
Unlike when I saw him at the Warner a few years ago the harmonica only
came out for Tangled Up In Blue (my favorite). Serve Somebody was a show
stopper and it set the tone for the night. Memphis Blues, Don't Think
Twice, Highway 61 and the whole encore had the audience up and dancing.
Everyone looked like they were having a grand time.....especially Mr.
As a special treat Mr. Tambourine man was touching, and rocking. Bob put
on quite a show, and the band keeps getting better.
For those afraid Bob had lost it I' m here to say check out this tour in
a city near you. Even after all these years he still is the MAN.
Review by Jeff Myers
Standard opener with Gotta Serve Somebody.....beautiful I'll Remember
You.....Stuck Inside of Mobile got the crowd going and Bob sang the Teen
Preacher verse which I don't recall hearing in 1997 or early 1998
shows.....nice version of Make You Feel My Love, better than Sunday at
NYC with no word intro (i.e. mentioning Garth Brooks).....typical Can't
Wait.....Stone Walls & Steel Bars sounded excellent and of course most
of the crowd didn't know what the song was.....crowd responded loudly to
Mr. Tambourine Man..... and really got into it with Tangled Up In
Blue.....normal arrangement of Don't Think Twice.....most interesting
song of the night was Blind Willie McTell; Larry Campbell looked
surprised when his guitar was being replaced for this song. Bob started
the first verse, "Seen the arrow on the doorpost, saying this land is
condemned, all the way from New Orleans to Jerusalem." Then he forgot
the rest of the verse and didn't travel to East Texas. After some
guitar strumming and trying to remember the lyrics, he sang the next to
last verse (woman by the river). He then started the last verse in the
middle. All he sang was one full verse and two partial verses. He said
to Tony that he forgot the words..... I believe that got us an extra
song as I doubt he would have done Every Grain of Sand
otherwise.....regular set ending with the usual rocking Highway
61.....encore began with Love Sick.....then a pleasant surprise by
dropping Rainy Day Women and playing Leopard-Skin Pillbox
Hat.....beautiful Blowin' In The Wind with the crowd singing
along.....Till I Fell In Love With You and Forever Young closed
Overall, I thought it was an excellent show and Bob had great energy on
Review by John Pruski
The Bob Dylan/Joni Mitchell show last night (Bob's penultimate on this mini tour) at the
Cole Field House on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park was truly a
treat. The show was sold out or essentially sold out (there were a few empty seats behind
the curtain or way off to the side of the stage).
Dave Alvin opened at 7 pm with a nice set, which included Blackjack Davey. This was
followed at about 8:45 pm by Joni Mitchell replete with her "bug" that she said she picked
up a few days before. Crummy early birthday present for Joni, who looked great (natch...)
in a long emerald green dress. She opened with a solo Big Yellow Taxi and her encore was a
solo Woodstock, but sandwiched in between was a great Joni set with her band. She
apologized for her cold and not being able to hit all the high notes, but nevertheless she
did hit some, so perfectly that at points people around me were nearly jumping out of their
seats. Joni even jokingly announced "here's Bob's verse" at one point and then sang her
Dylanesque verse, with the aid of her sore throat. I'm so glad that we got a cool Joni
Mitchell show before Bob's great set.
After a very quick set change came Bob Dylan who played from about 10:00 to 11:45 pm, with a
tight set that flowed extremely well, and which was very well-received. There were no or
few breaks between songs and only after HW 61 did the band walk off the stage for a moment.
During his five encores Bob and Band barely took a second off, no huddle on the corner of
the stage for a few seconds as sometimes, and indeed no huddle nor regrouping was needed.
Bob simply roared from start to finish with a very nicely paced set.
We've all watched daily the set lists slightly modify show by show. Last night's show
reinserted I'll Remember You in the # 2 slot, but bumped Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 from the
encores. RDW12&35 was replaced with a rocking Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat. Also, I liked the
midset acoustic portion with four (vs. three of earlier recent tours ) songs. Bob blew harp
during TUIB with one hand, the other hand keeping his guitar swung around his back. Memphis
Blues Again remained in the # 3 slot for the third consecutive night, and although the mike
went on the blink for a second it still was great. As much as Sylvio always rocks, I loved
hearing something different in the # 5 or # 6 slot. I'd have to take out my notebook to see
when I was at a Dylan show without Sylvio or RDW in the set list; and last night's show
included neither in the set list. Once or twice last night the band seemingly prematurely
crescendo-ed (is this really a word?), but this was a small price to pay for a set that
otherwise flowed seamlessly. Since/counting the August 1997 shows at the Wolftrap, Bob
played Blind Willie McTell for the 5th time in 6 recent DC metro area shows. Bob prefaced
BWMcT by saying it was a "request." The Lomaxes (was it John alone, Alan alone, or both?)
recorded Blind Willie McTell (the singer, not the song) in a 1940 Library of Congress field
trip to Georgia, and at the Wolftrap shows 14 months ago Alan Lomax was in attendance and
was introduced by Bob. I can't help but wonder if Alan Lomax is a regular at DC area Dylan
shows and if Dylan is singing BWMcT to Mr. Lomax. If that is indeed the case, then this is
a nice sign of respect from Bob to Mr. Lomax. And we the audience in turn benefited from
hearing BWMcT as lagniappe, as last night's show included 17 (vs. 16) songs.
All-in-all another great show. Surely few reading this web page would disagree. Lastly,
the posters were great, this time going for $10 (vs. $15). I got home, popped in the show's
tape (that .... er .... a friend gave me), and inserted last night's poster in the mat/frame
replacing the 9:30 Club shows poster .... only to find out that the new posters are about an
inch shorter. But, the music more than made up for that. Thank you again Bob and Band.
(ps- sorry for the typos, I'm still tired from Sunday's B. B. King show at the 9:30 Club.)
John Pruski, 6 November 1998
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Review by Thomas Ganley
I arrived at Cole Field House at 7:45 PM. I had just missed the
opening act Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men. Then around 8:45 Joni
Mitchell took the stage opening with "Big Yellow Taxi". She played for
about an hour with her encore being "Woodstock". Then, quickly the stage
crew took down Joni Mitchell's stage set and replaced it with Bob's.
After waiting for a whole month with tickets in my hand, my favorite
musician was about to take the stage.
At 10:05 PM Bob Dylan came out and opened his set with a great
version of "Gotta Serve Somebody." After saying a quick thank you to the
crowd he and the band began to play "I'll Remember You". Next was a
personal favorite of mine "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues
Agian". This was a great version with Bob playing solo's throughout the
song which I was very fond of. The only thing was that the something
happened to the microphone during the song and two lines were not able
to be heard but Bob played through it as if it didn't even happen. He
then played two songs off his most recent studio album, in "Make You
Feel My Love" and "Can't Wait".
He opened his acoustic set with a good version of "Stone Walls
and Steel Bars". He the went on and played a magnificent version of "Mr.
Tambourine Man". Next was an awesome version of "Tangled Up In Blue",
the song in which he pulled out the harp. It was awesome to see him hold
his guitar in one hand wail away on the harp with the other. He then
concluded the acoustic set with "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" A song
in which I did not expect but thoroughly enjoyed since it is a classic,
and yet another personal favorite of mine.
He went electric again with a strong version of "Blind Willie
McTell", and continued with "Every Grain of Sand". Next was, in my eyes,
the highlight of the night. "Highway 61 Revisited" was strong and
powerful the whole way through. Once he started improvising near the end
of the song, many people from the crowd started going down the aisles
and began dancing around at the back of the floor. You could tell Bob
was enjoying this part because, like he had been doing the whole show,
he was lifting his leg up and bending down while he was wailing away on
the guitar. It was the coolest thing I have ever seen at any concert I
have been to. The band then took a very short break and returned for the
The encore began with" Love Sick". Next was "Leopard-Skin
Pill-Box Hat" which was a suprise to me because the opening sounded like
"Rainy Day Women". But "Leopard Skin" was very powerful. He then went
acoustic again with a great "Blowin' In The Wind", in which everyone
sang the chorus to. "Til I Fell In Love With You" was next and it was
done electrically. The night finally came to an end at 11:50 PM with an
acoustic version of "Forever Young".
The show was great. Bob was unbelievable, and it was a concert
I will remember forever. I totally recommend to anyone that if they get
a chance go see him live It is well worth it. Thanks Bob for a great
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