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Review by Carsten Molt
As Jillsy and i steered our way into the Bryce Jordan Center parking
lot on Saturday evening, we noticed that there were a lot more Deadheads
there than at the Pittsburgh show. It also became clearly evident that
the crowd was definitely there to party. It was a very young crowd and
the fact that Penn State lost a few hours earlier didn't seem to dampen
their mood at all.
Phil Lesh and Friends were much better than the night before. Their set
contained among other tunes a great "Terrapin" and a beautiful "Box of
Rain". Derek Trucks was phenomenal again. At age 19, the sky seems to
be the limit for him and his singing slide guitar.
Dylan came out on stage wearing his black suit and white shirt. He was
wearing a Lester Flatt tie so far that i could tell from my center
stage seats. We were kind of far back but after last night, we were
content to be able to sit tonight. They began the set with...
I am the Man, Thomas(acoustic)- The first time i have ever heard this
played. It was nicely played but didn't leave much of an impression on
me. It was very short and over in a hurry.
To Ramona(acoustic with Larry on Mandolin)- This was very sweetly
played. Dylan was singing at a mid tempo pace squeezing the emotion out
of the lines. He added little vocal ticks to the words "your cracked
country lips, i still wish to kiss, as to be by the strength of your
is one of my favorite Dylan lines and he nailed it beautifully.
Desolation Row(acoustic)-Even more beautiful than last night. It was
well played and Dylan sang it with the loudest but very tender voice.
This was a definite highlight. Kemper's drumming was very soft and
understated here. His playing was good all night and not nearly as
obtrusive as last night.
Mama, you been on my mind(acoustic with harp)-The mellow mood continued
here. Dylan as balladeer singing to that girl in the window hoping
she'll ask him up. Larry Campbell playing slow sparkling guitar as Dylan
retrieved his harp. The harp solo was slow and sweet. Dylan took
a sweet but short solo that was amazing and could have gone on all night
but he chose to end it short and the band seemed confused by the quick
Tangled Up In Blue(acoustic with harp)-The first upbeat song of the
night and the Deadheads
were up dancing and shaking their bones. Charlie Sexton played the most
electrifying acoustic guitar that a human can play. Dylan letting his
voice dance upon the words, sometimes pushing out a few words, other
times letting the lines trail off into the ethers. The band had a full
head of steam going and Dylan broke out the harp and played a pretty
blistering harp solo that reaced to keep up with the music. This was
unusual as the band usually adapts their playing to Dylan's tune on harp
other than the other way around.
All Along the Watchtower(Larry on Pedal steel)- Very quickly played and
the crowd goes nuts and it ends without much jamming. It always seems
cut short to me when it could go on for another minute or two. It was
well played but nothing out of the ordinary.
Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues-A much better rendition than last night.
Dylan delivered the lyrics with strong conviction and did quite a bit of
leg wiggling. He was obviously immersed in the tune though i think he
skipped a verse.
Shelter from the Storm- oh, God Two nights in a row. An embarressment of
riches Dylan can bestow on us when he wants. There are no words to
describe "Shelter" the way he did tonight.
I'll try to explain it as much as i can with the cumbersome words we use
to describe emotion.
Dylan at the height of his game adding layer after layer of emotion as
the song progresses. The band laying back letting Dylan's voice room to
stretch out and suspend time as if the song would last forever. Larry
playing soft cascading notes in the background as Charlie and Tony lock
into one anothers soft groove. One of those moments where nothing else
matters except the next word, the next line. Soft and beautiful. Dylan
seems to be saying "truth is not loud and aggressive but whispering and
tender." Not just the highlight of the night but for me the highlight of
the 12 shows I've seen.
Seeing the Real You At Last- the intro sounded a lot like the Rolling
Stones "Honky Tonk Woman. It was fast and fiery and a jarring transition
after that heavenly ‘Shelter" Dylan was pretty much yelling the lyrics,
spewing them forth with great gusto. Charlie Sexton playing mean guitar
propelling the song to it's great conclusion.
Tears of Rage-A very fresh and moving rendition. Larry and Charlie
singing in high harmony like a sacred choir. "Oh what kind of love is
this, that goes from bad to worse" Such emotion. Such clarity. Dylan's
voice rich with love and truth. A real show stopper if there ever was
Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat(Larry on Steel guitar) i was expecting Highway
61 and was a bit disappointed at first but that disappointment turned to
utter delight as the band found it's groove and Dylan leaned forward
with legs splayed and roared through the vocals. During the end jam, the
band musically became one musical entity and sent searing soaring sounds
from their instruments that echoed around the capacity crowd and left
our hearts pounding and our ears ringing as they left the stage.
Lovesick- Another good rendition of the lone Time Out of Mind track of
Like A Rolling Stone - It was well played and a definite crowd pleaser.
Dylan playing with his phrasing a little bit but it didn't make the song
any better or worse. A pretty standard rendition but a little better
than the flat summer versions.
Blowing in the Wind(acoustic)- The crowd was excited but it didn't do
too much for me. This seems like such a rinky dink song to me. It was
o.k. for what it was.
Not Fade Away- i never tire of this song. Everybody dancing and Dylan
smiling and singing great harmony with Charlie and Larry. Full on
rock-n-roll party time.
Another great night of music. Not as many surprises as last night but
very tight and empassioned playing and of course that breathtaking
version of "Shelter" that was worth the price of admission itself. As
Paul Williams would say "You've got to hear this tape!"
Review by Peter Stone Brown
There must be some way out of here I thought to myself as downtown
Philadelphia was completely gridlocked and every road heading West was a
parking lot. “Big trouble on Philly highways,” said the guy on the
traffic report. For some reason on a preposterously warm November
Saturday afternoon, a bunch of different people in various key locations
decided to crash into each other. 10 minutes later the traffic guy
said, “What is going on today?” And I tried all the roads and every
shortcut and no matter where I went I ended up sitting taking almost an
hour to drive what should take 20 minutes. Finally I made it to the
meeting place in Valley Forge and picked up my friends the double-D
couple who had come from even farther from somewhere in the middle of
New Jersey. We hopped on the Pennsylvania Turnpike which prides itself
on being the oldest such road in the nation. About the only thing
that’s changed since it was built sometime in the beginning of this
century is the price of the tolls and occasionally the speed limit.
This year in the annual trucker’s poll Pennsylvania came in third for
worst roads in the country only because Arkansas and Louisiana roads
have apparently deteriorated over the past year. The turnpike was
miraculously free of traffic and for the most part state troopers and my
car was in the mood to go a good 15 miles above the speed limit.
Stopping at the last rest area we exited the car where we were playing
my more or less “Dylan Country” tape which is Self Portrait and Dylan
along with other stuff thrown in in a different order to notice the
temperature had dropped a good ten degrees. Then off the turnpike for a
short hop on I-83 to the gravel, up-hill wonders of US 322 West, a
mostly two-lane road made out of some sort of gravel material so every
10 feet the wheels go bumpety bump. By this time Dylan-in-Nashville had
been replaced by live Otis Redding and I was never able to get the
bumps to synchronize rhythmically with the music. 75 miles of this.
But it was a nice day and we were in good spirits. Soon we were met by
the hundred mile Winnebago caravan coming from the Penn State football
game. “Serious tailgating,” said Mr. D.
And then the caravan ended, but as we got closer there were Winnebagos
everywhere in fields in ditches, thousands of them and finally there we
were in line for the lot with plenty of time to scope out a space for
the all-important quick exit. We chose the Winnebago lot. We got out
of the car to find the temperature had dropped again, about 20 degrees,
maybe more. It was freezing. Time to pull out the hooded sweatshirts.
“The hood is up, don’t talk to me,” said Mr. D. In the distance loomed
the Bryce Jordan Center like some great Spielbergian spaceship landed in
a cornfield in the Pennsylvania blue mountains.
“Never seen no place like this before,” I said quoting a rambling
gambling evangelistical song traveler, who said the same thing when
centuries ago he played a similar edifice also located next to a giant
football stadium located in the middle of what everyone knows is the
Mafia burial ground of the state where anything is legal as long as you
don’t get caught. Hoods up and not talking we were more or less blown
towards the spaceship box office as some wicked Canadian wind appeared
to make things even colder. Obtaining the tickets with lots of time we
headed for the congregation in the parking lot to secretly partake of
the sacred plant. “Are we there yet?” someone might have said. “If
you have to ask, you’re there,” came an answer. We stood up and all of
a sudden we were back in 1968. Someone had gathered all the Volkswagen
busses that had been in hiding for the past two decades and plop them
all down together in the Bryce Jordan Center. Bongos were bonging and
drums were drumming and all sorts of items grey flannel dwarfs would
prefer to see banished were in display in decorated cases like treasures
from pyramids embedded in ice. There were people everywhere. Music in
all directions. Lots of hair. Dreadlocks, too-long floppy flappy
jeans, a circus-meeting of the tribes. There must be some way out of
here I found myself thinking for the second time that day, as from out
of nowhere some authority loudspeaker boomed, “keep the passageways
It wasn’t getting any warmer, so we headed for the great looming
spaceship arena, check out the souvenir stand, hamburgers for only 3
bucks and into our seats. The floor is maybe almost half full, the
soundboards enclosed by a fence. Warren Haynes comes out to check his
gear to huge applause. Finally the lights come down and the band comes
out, “Viola Lee Blues,” and Derek Trucks is immediately noticeable on
guitar and Haynes echoing him and off into some more or less blues-based
jam and it’s really okay and somewhere in the middle they find “My
Favorite Things” and leave that and come back again and Phil is right
there digging in and I suddenly realize I’m really hungry and go out to
wander up and down the lonesome town of the spaceship perimeter ’cause I
can’t see a thing anyway because the people in the next section are
standing up especially this 7 foot tall guy who’s not even paying
attention to the show and I don’t understand why when there’s a whole
half a dance floor not being used these people have chosen to get
seats. Something just doesn’t add up here.
Out in the perimeter it’s gotten very strange. Barefoot guys in skirts
are dancing. I get a burger and a no-coke pepsi and wander around.
Every ten feet there’s someone with their eyes closed moving around in
some sort of trance-like circle. It seems the same people are passing
me over and over again and I can’t figure out how they got around the
entire spaceship so fast. Security guards are chasing some girl who is
totally ignoring them wandering right back into the seats after they
just got her out. I suddenly realize I’m back where I started and go
back to my seat. “He just sat down 10 seconds ago,” Mr. D. says and
wow, I can actually see the whole stage where the band will soon be
arriving at Terrapin Station and back into Viola Lee Blues and Mr. D.
says, “It’s called a sandwich.”
And they actually stop playing and start “Box of Rain,” and Phil can’t
exactly find the melody but he means it so it doesn’t really matter and
they leave and come back and do something else or maybe they did
something else before, but now the lights are up though they’re still on
stage. And soon they are rolling away the equipment and rolling the Bob
And soon they take the stage and there he is looking damn fine in his
best riverboat gambler clothes with a Lester Flatt or Colonel Sanders
tie depending on whether you’re coming from a bluegrass or chicken
perspective and they’re into “I Am The Man Thomas,” and it’s a fine
upbeat bluegrass/gospel thing and Larry especially sounds a little
stronger on it than Bob does and the lights go down and they’re taking
their time before going into the Mexican cantina rendition of “To
Ramona” that’s almost a little too cantina-ish but still okay and the
nights go down and apparently another huddle and before the song starts
I hear Bob play this tiny 3-note blues lick that could mean “It’s
Alright Ma,” but they decide to do something else and the rhythm starts
and it could be “Desolation Row” or it could be “Visions of Johanna”
and Dylan or someone is pushing the rhythm and he’s alternately singing
it great and okay searching for that indefinable place where he can
really drive it home and sometimes finding it, singing maybe half the
verses and I wonder if he picks and chooses from different verses each
time he does it, but I’m not that much of a statistician. They’re right
into “Mama You Been On My Mind,” with Larry picking out crystal clear
like water running Doc Watson-ish leads until Bob takes over after the
2nd verse and he kind of seems more into playing it than he is in
singing it and another verse and he goes back and picks up a harmonica
and actually looks at it to make sure it’s the right one and goes into a
really great but two short solo where instead of playing the usual two
note thing he’s been doing lately to start (like check out the harp on
“Trying To Get To Heaven” on TOOM for an example), he’s playing some
really crazy up and down stuff, but it’s over too fast and he gave just
enough to let you know he can still do it. Then into Tangled and again
he’s searching for that thing singing one verse or maybe even a line
high and the next one low and on the “She lit a burner on the stove”
verse he hits it and it’s that moment where he just nails the song right
through you in the that way that only he can do and the show is going by
really fast and it’s into Watchtower with Larry on lapsteel and it’s
okay but nothing really special and another lights-down huddle and the
intro to Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues appears and this one of those songs
that he really cares about and sings every verse except “up on housing
project hill,” getting in his best electric solo of the night. And
then Shelter with yet another arrangement, kind of moderately paced
which leads to a burning “Real You At Last,” with great nasty guitar
from Sexton followed by the night’s show-stopper, “Tears of Rage,”
carefully done with beautiful back-up vocals from Larry and Charlie with
Larry reaching way back summoning the spirit of those Basement
recordings and especially Richard Manuel.
And then after another huddle, and a fairly crazy intro, they bounced
into a rolling roller coaster of “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat.” And at
the end, Bob lingered on-stage after the rest of the band had split and
turned around to deliver a classic Bob Dylan-styled bow.
They returned to launch into “Love Sick” notable for “take to the road
and plunder” being changed to “Feel like I’m being plowed under,” and
into an okay “Rolling Stone,” and then “Blowin’ In The Wind,” and we
looked at each other and with 200 miles for me to drive and another 75
or so for my companions made a quick exit into the even chillier
Pennsylvania mountains night for the steep downhill drive discussing
whether Charlie’s being under-utilized or not as we cruised by the
run-away truck ramps.
"Where the angels' voices whisper to the souls of previous times."
Peter Stone Brown
Review by Josh Leik
it first occurred to me about five years ago that each dylan concert i went
to was better than the last. i never would have thought that many years and
concerts later it would still be happenning. this was the first time i heard
" i am the man thomas". it went by so fast that the tune didn't stick with me
but the harmonies were beautiful and bob is indeed the man. ramona,
desolation row, and mama you been on my mind included some of the best
singing i have ever heard him do. tangled up in blue did not set the place
on fire like it sometimes does just because it was done just a touch too
slow, but it was still wonderful and bob was having a blast. the harp was
whatever tangled did not accomplish was taken care of by all along the
watchtower. i swear this made hendrix sound like mary travers. ( sorry mary)
tom thumb's blues had a rough start but was otherwise great and i haven't
heard him play the song for years. although shelter from the storm was
magnificently done, i really missed the pedal steel larry played the last
time i heard it. i think that was jones beach. but again bob sang so that
the words poured out of him and made me want to cry. seeing the real you at
last never does a whole lot for me but it was a fine version of the song
maybe a little slow. tears of rage included vocal harmonies that i don't
remember from previous versions. charlie's mic was not turned on for the
first chorus but when they got it going he and larry really made it happen.
Leopard skin pillbox hat was not as hot as sometimes and there appeared to be
a little confusion at the beginning. i believe charlie started in the wrong
key but it was barely noticeable. again i believe just a little slower than
it should be played.
Love sick just blew me away. This band is so tight and i was just starting
to miss this song since it wasn't played much on the simon tour. the best of
the three times i have heard not fade away. again i would rather hear the
pedal steel but they made it tighter and changed the phrasing of " not fade
away" to keep in interesting. the vocal harmonies were great. even 15 feet
from the stage. which brings me back to my original point. i have seen
better shows due to set lists or the way certain songs were played, but each
time i go to a dylan concert i can count on it being excellent and seeing
new things even after 50 some gigs.
Review by Philip Bevilacqua
I started listening to Bob intensly about 3 years ago, and have
accumulated about half of the CDs (I will soon have them all). I have
enjoyed reading the reviews compiled on this site over the past three
years. This was my first Dylan concert, so for those readers who have been
to >30 concerts, here's a different perspective.
My first impression upon seeing Bob--He looked great, wearing the black
country gentleman suit. He walked in with a cowboy hat, but took it off
before even reaching the mic. His mannerisms reminded me of Dylan pictures
from the 1960's.
1.) I am the Man, Thomas
I had a feeling this was coming from reading the site, but didn't know
the song. The band had a full, bluegrass sound. The harmonies were loud
and gorgeous--shivers down the back of the spine.
2.) To Ramona
We listened to this in the parking lot, while enjoying some preconcert
beverages. This is one of my favorites, so I was thrilled. A very heavy
waltz feel to the song. Bob's voice was in excellent form; the timbre
expressed much emotion.
3.) Desolation Row
First real response from the audience.
4.) Mama You Been On My Mind
The first of three real highlight for me. I haven't heard this before,
but could make out every word, and Bob was really into it. Excellent harp
solo at the end.
5.) Tangled up in blue
Built in intensity to the point that Bob sounded angry at the end. With
the Italian Poet, but not the topless bar.
6.) All along the watchtower.
Really rocked, in a Hendrix-like style. A real highpoint.
7.) Just Like Tom Thumb's Blue's
Another favorite of mine, so very welcomed.
8.) Shelter from the Rain.
Bob said, "Going to slow things down a bit"; and with the exception of
introducing the Band, this was the only time Bob spoke to the audience.
This is another favorite, "Offered up my innocence, got repaid with scorn"
9.) Seeing the Real You at Last
The second real highlight. Once again, a song I don't yet know well, but
the words were clear and intense. The sound was loud and fully felt.
10.) Tears of Rage
Seemed like the band had trouble with the harmonies on this. From my
reading, this doesn't seem like a common live song. Bob's voice was filled
with emotion on this, especially "But, oh, what kind of love is this. Which
goes from bad to worse?"
12.) Love Sick
The third highlight for me. Bob knelt for some time in front of the drum
set before starting this--turning on a track? Very intense, more shivers.
13.) Like a Rolling Stone
Solid, and anthem-like.
14.) Blowing in the Wind.
Really enjoyed the harmonies on this.
15.) Not Fade Away
All around an excellent show. Sorry I can't compare to others, but a
friend who has seen many Dylan shows told me this was far and away the best.
Review by Mark
I've seen dylan maybe 15 times over the past 3 decades and this was by far the
best he's ever been in opinion.... i am the man thomas... took a minute or two to
get going but was jaunty...nothing spectacular though i thought to ramona...a
nice change of pace.. and the first sign he was going to continue with the
everchanging set list and give an evening full of suprises...some great phrasing
on this one desolation row... only the 2nd time i've ever heard this live... a nice
version.. he really delivered the choruses (i.e. not unless you mail them from,
DESOLATION ROW) with conviction. i was on the floor about 30 feet away, and
this one really got the crowd fired up mama you've been on my mind.. a nice
arrangement and really well done, the band just keeps getting tighter and tighter
tangled up in blue very sweet, delivered with conviction, i've heard this one a
bunch of times before, and it's never the same twice.. a really solid version
all along the watchtower...this was one i was hoping he'd avoid in favor of
something else, i've heard this warhorse many times.. but i gotta say i really
enjoyed it...dylan was obviously having a great time tonite and looks very
healthy and commited too, from the southern colonel string tie to the great
power chords on this one. they kept it short and tight and it really fired up the
just like tom thumb's blues...just like awesome, you had to be there!
shelter from the storm ...after tom thumb i was starting to get that feeling
that i was seeing a historical show... after suffering thru a bunch of mid 80's
ones when the best you could hope for was one or two good performances to
salvage the set, everything had been solid and the lyric delivery very strong. ...
and then came shelter. absolutely wonderful... and up to this point my
highlight of the night.
seeing the real you at last i didn't /don't know this one...but i gotta tell
you.. it rocked like crazy.. bob's doing a 100 or so shows a year, and playing
like he's in a heavy metal band with crunching guitar chords and venemous
lyrical delivery... very very nice.
tears of rage...this is the one that made my night.. i woulda gone home happy
if this had been the end of the show.. i have never heard this one live and it was
transcendental..a lot of the crowd didnt seem to be that into it, but suprisingly
a lot of the younger dead heads on the floor didn't know the tune... it almost
seemed as if he was giving it the reverential treatment as a tribute to richard
manuel... when larry came in on chorus it sounded a bit like richard.. beautiful
aching falsetto ...it woulda been nice to hear him do a verse himself...
bob ended the set proper with leopard skin pillbox hat... i must have been
still delirious from tears, cause i thought it was gonna be rainy day woman from
the intro, and turned to my brother and said, man i'd like to hear anything but this
one.. and then he played anything but that one... it was absolutely fantastic...
blonde on blonde for the new millenium
oh and by the way.. a couple of points about the show... very nice lighting
on a simple curtain...and between songs they'd completely darken the stage while
dylan and band conferred or whatever... it was a nice theatrical effect, almost
like you were seeing different scenes from a play or something encores
love sick a new one and maybe his best vocal of the night (if it's possible to top
some already great moments, it kinda reminded me of seeing dylan during the
slow train coming stage when he was really trying to do the songs faithful to the
albums to sell them to a concert going crowd who wanted the greatest hits of the
60's instead... he sang this one very true to the album with one great exception...
the band locked into a swamp groove feel and absolutely nailed this song. dylan
took some great lead licks on this one as he had all night.
like a rolling stone another ive heard numerous times and had gotten blase
about, but it wasn't a throwaway tonight and the crowd really responded.. another
solid performance in an already outstanding show... he absolutely bit off the
choruses on this one and sung them like it was his last time on stage ever.
blowin' in the wind... the crowd loved this one obviously.. the best harmonies of the
night on the choruses.. this band can really really sing. not a suprise song but a
nice performance nonetheless.
not fade away buddy holly meets bob dylan meets the clash!... i'm gonna tell
ya how its gonna be... its gonna be awesome.. everyone knew this one was comin'
but it wasn't anticlimatic at all.. instead it was a great cap to a wonderful show...
if you were there i hope you enjoyed it as much as me.. if you weren't catch
him on this tour if you can....i saw him last summer of 98 and thought it was very
strong, but this one blew it away...
keep the faith
Review by John Mertz
Phil Lesh's interesting (but long) set meandered around between dozens of different rhythms
and riffs - really quite good for the most part. Warren Haynes (Govt Mule) and Derrik Trucks
(son of Allman Bros drummer Butch Trucks) provided Garcia-like guitars; Trucks looks to be
about 15 and plays like a young god. The set included "Mountains Of The Moon" (from
Aoxomoxoa), Coltrane's version of "My Favorite Things", "Box of Rain" and the encore was
Dylan was in fine form, animated and often smiling. The band meshed well and the three
guitar approach often lifted the music into a rarified atmosphere...even though the set was
curiously heavy on "hits", they played them with conviction, and the guitarists' Louvin
Bros.- type harmonies were a nice addition which made one forget all the other versions of
"Not Fade Away" --it belongs to Bob now.
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