Review by Don Pugatch
A magical night was brought upon the lucky fans who went to see the Master.
Having seen Dylan in New York's MSG Theater in January, and also seeing Dylan
at The Fox, in Atlanta in April or 97, without question, Saturday nights
concert was the best by far. Not only was Bob dancing, yes dancing, he was
so on, that you felt the energy that he, along with his band was generating.
Dylan's voice was strong, Larry Campbell was given the lead way to tear into
many guitar rifts, and the finale, brought the house down when Bob switched
over to the harp, and literary blow the Coliseum down. Only problem, was that
the speaker set up of the stage was a disaster. Placing the speakers at each
end of the scaffolding, blocked our view visually, and we had $300.00 worth of
obstructed view tickets, along with hundreds of others. They may have taken
away the view, but the music more then compensated and in my mind is Dylan's
voice wailing out Blind Willie McTell.
PS This time he did not forget the lyrics of BWM.
Review by Trey Starke
Just finished Monday at work after a most enjoyable night on Saturday,in Atlanta.This was my
28 show and had the pleasure of seeing him in London at The Hammersmith Oden and The Alabama
Theater in Birmingham.While not a tribute to the past,The Alexander Arena is a great place
to see a concert.Small,great sound,etc.Alot of people around me were there is see Joni ,but
like most of the reviews they all sounded the same.It was her birthday and see only snapped
at the crowd once,when she was doing her Irish women story.She didnt have time to talk abouy
it in America before she called somene rude.Bob put on a good show and I got to hear few
songs I hadnt heard live.No surprises he started with Gotta Serve and like previous reviews
was excellent until he tried to sing loud.the times are a changing.He did talk,introduced
the band,he did strut,even smiled.He looked more worn than normal yet seemed happier .My
review on the best songs were.Blind Willie Mctell aclassic song about the south ,a bluesy
song about the blues .He could sing it soft.Stone Walls and Steel Bars was one of the best
all night.Ascoustic with a great band.I agree with Bob,one of the best he has been with
lately.Like all the past reviews Tangled up in Blue was worth the price of the ticket.I was
somewhat upset at no harp and was feeling cheated.I wish Bob would keep up the longer rifts
even if it meeans fewer songs.I thought he did a good job with Lovesick and I know some that
are reading this think i am crazy.Again ,slow and soft .Leeopard Skin Pill Box Hat just
rocked,wide open,loud and excellent.Blowin in the Wind was a disappointment,I did not like
the new arrangement it seemed to take the rhythm from the song.Fully expecting Forever
Young,a great ending with It aint me babe,Harp,long rift with a Friend of the Devil intro,a
great way to end the night.
Review by Duncan Hume
Atlanta. No beer anywhere at the venue. "Bring on Bob Dylan" shouted a
supporter half way through a long song introduction by Mitchell. She stopped,
asked him to repeat himself which he did, to a hushed crowd. "To each his own"
she replied. Shortly afterwards the offending person was removed from his seat
by the enthusiastic security. I was later told he was allowed back in on the
condition he sat in the corner and didn't say a word. So much for free speech
! In the end at 9.45 his wish was granted and Bob Dylan was escorted to the
'Serve Somebody', strong and powerful start. Bob into the song. New verse,
woman, man, something, trash can. Check the field recordings for details. '
I'll Remember you' was shouted and was the poorer for it. 'Mobile' was long as
usual. Bob delivered a high energy performance but it never really took off.
'Blind Willie' was THE highlight of the evening for me. A great performance, I
think word perfect. Bob was jigging around on his toes to the beat, really
into the song. How appropriate to pull it off in Atlanta less than 70 miles
from where Blind Willie McTell (McTier) rests in peace. 'Can't Wait' followed.
I saw the early live performances of this song which were so fine. Short two
and three word bursts, adding such great impact the song. That's changed now
and some of the strength has been lost. 'Stone Wall's', short and sweet.
Sounded great as it has always. A strange introduction to 'Tambourine Man'. It
had me guessing right up to the first line. Great (and expected) reaction from
the crowd. Bob delivered the song with a care and tenderness that is hard to
fathom after all these years. 'Masters' provoked the crowd in to supportive
cheers at some of the hard hitting lines, something usually reserved for the
last line. 'Tangled' blasted. High speed. Words running into each other. A
twist in lyric, Delacroix being replaced, but I can't remember by what. A
careful 'Make You Feel My Love'. No reference to Garth Brooks. Bob's voice
only left the melodic tracks fleetingly. ''Til I Fell in Love' had the same
problem as 'Can't Wait'. Nowhere near as powerful as it was in early
'Love Sick' sounded confident with Cambell playing some great lead. 'Leopard
Skin Pill Box Hat' (aka Rainy Day Women) was as expected. The crowd pleasing
shuffle/duck walk guitar hero. 'Blowin' in the Wind' blew me away (again).
Delicate caring and full of respect for the song. Only thing better was 'Blind
'Highway', full lights, full volume.' It Aint Me Babe' and finally the long
overdue harp solo the wrap things up. Bob unusually playing the melody on the
harp until the very end when we got the big blasts and the raised right hard.
The crowd went nuts and Bob left.
Just a couple of other observations about the show. Tony Garnier was bouncing
off the walls. At one point he stood on the drum riser rocking. At least twice
he went over and stood with Campbell, side by side, moving in time together,
once trying to bounce hips with Larry. Lastly someone should call the shoe
police. Bob's white numbers win the ugly award for the third consecutive year.
So Bob, I wonder where we go from here. I hope there are some changes. Mix up
the set list, get off safe ground and start taking risks again.
Review by W. Matt Meyer
Bob Dylan concerts are becoming the way I mark the passage of time in my
‘‘When did we do that?''
‘‘Oh, that was a few months before the Dylan show in Tupelo.''
As the months fly by and the years get torn off the calendar, Dylan
concerts are also becoming sweet precious memories of time spent with
the one I love. (I've been lucky enough to find a woman that likes Bob.
Of course, I had to ask her to marry me.)
I am still a novice in terms of number of Dylan concerts -- I've seen
six in four years -- but I honestly believe I am seeing Dylan at the top
of his form. (Note that I said ‘‘seeing'' because the process is
The concert in Atlanta was no exception.
First, I'll start off with a few notes about Joni Mitchel. It was her
last night (I think) on tour with Bob. It was also her birthday, so I
knew I was in for something different than most audiences had been
seeing up to this point. (Those who saw multiple Mitchell shows back me
up, I am only guessing).
Anyway, she really suprised me from the moment she started playing ‘‘Big
Yellow Taxi.'' Wearing a green, crushed velvet dress, she cut a
strikingly hippie figure as she swayed back and forth to the rhythms she
was strumming. Her hair was angelic and it shined in the stage lights.
In the words of the Bob, it rolled and flowed all down her breast. She
was definitely the North Country girl in the heart of Dixie tonight.
Her face was worn and creased from the years and from the cigarettes.
During one song she stood -- looking every bit the diva -- and smoked
French woman style as the band's hippy jazz swirled around her.
For her first few songs-- which she played by herself on guitar -- the
effects on her guitar were captivating. Very chorus-y. Very reverby
sounding. My fiance leaned over to me at one point and said ‘‘Who else
is playing?'' (Our view was obstructed by the stacks of speakers. But no
one else was on stage.)
The music was truly ethereal throughout her entire set. My impression of
it was what Sting wanted to sound like when he was recording ‘‘Nothing
Like the Sun.'' Very jazzyrockfolk. Even her voice reminded me of
Sting's. (Or should I say Sting reminds me of her? My reference point is
Sting. I know nothing of Joni's past recordings.)
But on this night, the fact that I knew none of her songs made me want
to listen to all of them -- to drink them all in with an urgency that
was spurred on by knowing I probably would never hear them again.
Her voice also reminded me of Lou Reed. Kind of strange references I
know, but it makes sense.
I had read on this page that she had been chastising the audience's lack
of attention or their occasional outbursts of heckling. I was hoping it
wouldn't happen tonight.
I was wrong.
As she introduced a song about oppression against Irish women, a man
screamed out ‘‘We want Dylan.'' Or something to that effect. She said
back to him, ‘‘I'm as good as Bob and you're an idiot. And a rude
A few more Joni points:
** During Big Yellow Taxi, she said ‘‘Bob Dylan wrote this verse . . .
'' and then went on to mimick his voice.
** It was her birthday this night, and she said an article in the New
York Times said she was older than the president. ‘‘And he's still
pretty frisky . . .'' she quipped. (But if he is younger, than he should
be friskier, right? But I digress.. . . )
** Is it just me or does Joni mention modes of travel a lot in her
songs: taxis, jets, cars, etc.
** Some lines stuck out: ‘‘Like a chicken scratching for a piece of
immortality.'' ‘‘They light the candles in the church and the wax rolls
down like tears.''
** She got two standing ovations. The crowd was very receptive of her.
** She played both songs of hers that I knew: ‘‘Both Sides Now'' and
‘‘Woodstock.'' Very nice.
On to Bob:
1.Gotta Serve Somebody
2.I'll Remember You
3.Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
4.Blind Willie McTell
6.Stone Walls And Steel Bars (acoustic)
7.Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic)
8.Masters Of War (acoustic)
9.Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)
10.Make You Feel My Love
11.'Til I Fell In Love With You
13.Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
14.Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)
15.Highway 61 Revisited
16.It Ain't Me, Babe (acoustic) (with harp)
Atlanta's commercial oldies station 92.9 was playing a “Totally Organic
Folk Rock Weekend.'' I assume it was in honor of the concert. They
played a lot of cuts from the newly released live CD from 1966 and a lot
of other choice Bob stuff. I was glad they played more than the usual
hits. Very cool, in my opinion, for such a cheesy station.
They also played a silly commercial for a local vegetarian restaurant
called Mellow Mushroom. It featured someone mocking Dylan's voice.
Basically, it was Bob and Joni trying to go to Mellow Mushroom incognito
so they could enjoy the vegetarian pizza. Wierd.
“Ladies and Gentleman . . . ''
I've seen Bob six times now and he's never semed like he was having more
fun than he was tonight. Many people have reported the same on this page
recently, and it was true again tonight. He seemed a little tired, but
very animated. His dancing is almost comical and seems to be almost
self-mocking at times, but it's very amusing and fun to watch.
He didn't talk as much tonight and seemed to be hurrying through songs.
Maybe because Joni played until 9:30. I'm not sure.
Gotta Serve Somebody is probably the weakest opener I've seen him do,
but it was enjoyable. Especially the background singing by Campbell, and
I guess the others. I couldn't see Bucky or Tony (but they don;t sing do
they?) Anyway, Jokerman gets my vote for best opener. The drummer that
was with him at that time was incredible. I miss him.
Back to Atlanta.
“I'll Remember You'' from 1985's Empire Burlesque was tight and
interesting. I enjoyed the song, though I've never heard it before. I
have yet to buy Dylan's 1980 albums. I am scared of them.
On “Stuck Inside'' he changed a lyric that I found humorous. He said
“Smoked my eyeballs'' rather than “eyelids''. I found that funny. Kind
of like “Truck driver's wives'' on “Tangled'' instead of “carpenter's
On “Blind Willie'' I enjoyed the funky guitar/mandolin instrument that
Larry prefers to use. Gives the song an Irish, rogue's gallery kind of
feel. Bob's singing on this one is clipped and frantic, sung with great
reverence for the old blues man.
“Can't Wait'' got me up and dancing. Even though we were far from the
stage and we were making people behind us angry, we stood up anyway. I
was at the Starkville, MS, show in October of 1997 and experienced the
four live debuts -- which he is still playing in the same order in the
setlist apparently (5, 10, 11 and 12). Starkville was a magical night
that is never to be repeated in my Bob Dylan experiences I imagine. But
tonight's performances of the new material (“Til I Fell In Love With
You'', “Love Sick,'' and “Make You Feel My Love'') were awesome and
energized and clearly the songs he enjoys singing. The material is just
as good as his older songs, in my opinion.
On “Til I Fell in Love With You,'' I may be wrong, but I think Bob and
Co. are playing this song a little faster and with a brighter feel than
the album or than previous performances. Am I wrong?
The harmony singing is stellar. From “Stone Walls'' to “Blowing in the
Wind,'' Larry Campbell is actually phrasing like Dylan. Something I
thought was impossible.
On Bob's older songs, like “Tamborine'', “Masters of War,'' “Blowing in
the Wind'' I often wonder what he thinks as he sings the lyrics. Could
he really be feeling the same pain or passion he felt when he first
wrote them? Is he just a channel for the spirit which gave him the songs
the first time? Is he mocking himself and everything he stood for by
singing such obviously anthemic songs? I don't know, but he kicks ass.
Expecially on “Tamborine''. During tonight's performance, and I think
the tape will bear me out, the line at the end about “To dance beneath
teh diamond skies . . . '' was the most exciting phrase of the evening.
Maybe it's just because I like it so much, but it seemed to sound
pleading and begging and full of hope all at the same time. Very great
“Tangled'' was awesome as usual. I enjoy watching all the Bob-Heads
casually rush the stage as the song begins. The security had been crappy
all night, making people sit down and stop dancing. But they seemed to
back away when this song started.
Tonight's performance of “Love Sick'' had the coolest solos I have heard
Larry Campbell play. They really brought the song to life and shot the
whole thing into the stratosphere. I wonder if Dylan tells Larry to back
off on the songs before the encore and then lets Larry loose during the
encore songs? That seems to me what happened tonight.
On the songs where Dylan solos, his noodling on the guitar is fun to
listen to. He can evoke more emotion with a two note solo than other
guitarists who use the whole fretboard.
“Leopard Skin'' was fun tonight. He loves doing this one. I believe it
was on this song that Tony came over to Larry's side and started shaking
his ass toward the crowd. I know he came over twice tonight, but I
forget when. This song rocks and rolls.
“Hwy. 61'' was perfect, snarling and vicious. I loved it.
When it hit time for the last number, i realized we were not given any
harmonica solos. I had read that he was playing it during the acoustic
sets, but he never picked it up. I was really hoping for a harp solo
during “Tangled,'' but was denied. Thankfully, he picked it up during
the show's closer “It Ain't Me Babe.'' I enjoyed hearing it again. It
had been awhile since he has used a harp at shows I was at. He really
knows how to build a solo up to a crescendo and make it soar. Was
thinking about how this songs is supposedly a kiss-off to the folkie
crowd. And was wondering if Bob really thinks about that when he sees
10,000 of his fans sitting in the audience, still hanging on every word?
Does he only play “It Ain't Me'' at the end of shows? Also, when was
the last time he didn't play “Rainy Day Women?''
W. Matt Meyer
Review by Jeff Bridges
After Joni's set Bob and the band came on promptly. Dylan was dressed
in a dark suit with silver piping on the troussers, white shirt, dark
tie and some funky white shoes. As most reviwers lately have noted Bob
looked to be having a lot of fun, grinning almost uncontrolably, mugging
for the crowd and, from Gotta Serve Somebody through the entire show,
doing what has been described as his "strange little dance". Bob was
riveting. His enthusiasm and energy were contagious. He seemed to be
playing for himself as much as anything else,with extended guitar solos
on many tunes. Larry was in peak form- and Bob was Bob. During the
encore set they took it through the roof with Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat,
reaching a crescendo in Rock and Roll that few bands have attained.
Then, at the end of It Aint Me, Babe, Bob strolled behind the set, took
off his guitar, grabbed a hand mic and his harmonica, stepped to the
front of the stage- and blew at/for the audience- punctuating this
classic song with finality.
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Review by David Berry
For the second year in a row I received tickets from my wife and daughters
to go see Bob Dylan in concert. Prior to that the last time I had seen him
was during the Rolling Thunder Review. Twenty years has changed us all.
This time for the concert we found ourselves in all places the basketball
arena where Georgia Tech plays basketball. We were early and as we
reached our seats the folks in from of us were consuming a large hamburger
from McDonalds who are a sponsor of the arena. This wouldn't have
happened 20 years ago. As we got settled we realized that from our seats
which were to right of the stage our view was completely blocked by a tower
of speakers and the scaffolding for the lighting. Bummer. All the people
sharing our line of sight started abandoning seats to get a better view. We
settled in again to the right of the stage where we had a side view of the
stage. Actually we now were somewhat behind the stage and had a view
very similar to what the artist performing had.
Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men strolled onto the unadorned stage and began
to play. I wished that I was in a smoky bar with a beer or two and I would have
been just fine. They were very tight and struck me as a blend of Rambling
Jack Elliot, Kris Kristopherson, and Jerry Jeff Walker. Country with a strong
bent to rock and role. They seemed grateful to be playing as the opening act
and had been on the tour for the past 3 weeks.
Joni Mitchell opened up with Taxi. The crowd seemed at that point to be there
just as much to hear her on her birthday as much as they were there to see Bob.
During Taxi she imitated Dylan's voice as she jokingly credited him with writing
those lyrics. It was amazing how close her nasal twang was to that of the
featured performer. I don't think I have ever been as mellow as how she sings.
There was layers and layers to her music as she wove her voice through out the
instruments. At times the complexities of her music had too many layers to it but
she always seemed to rescue it with the lyric quality of her voice. She clearly
seemed to enjoying herself. She talked to the audience freely. As her set was
winding down, she was about to sing her next tune and was the relating
background behind the ballad when someone impatiently shouted out "Bob" to
which she retorted "I'm not Bob" and then much like Bob himself did in 1966
electricity ran its course from her guitar in its own amplified sound that was very
clear. As she left the stage we could see from our vantage point the BD cake
being lit and we had the inside track on what was about to happen. With candles
blazing and her trumpet player playing that distant muted sound the anthem of
Happy Birthday drifted almost Joni Mitchell tune. By this time we were all ready
for Woodstock which still rang true from that mercurial performance to close the
60's. And then a treat to treat us all of her voice calling in the clouds.
As the roadies changed their never- ending tasks the sounds of Mozart floated
from the sound system. As the smoke pots got fired up and drifted into the air it
collided with the sounds of his current offering of "You got to serve somebody".
And so began Bob and his band leading us through another never-ending
Dylanesque evening. Yippee. Dylan didn't disappoint. From the start Dylan
seemed animated and wove around the stage in his almost boxer like movements.
Bobbing up and down back and forth as if shadow boxing with a likable sparring
partner. With his movements his voice warmed as the audience warmed. When he
hit "Tangled" the band really rocked and the whole evening moved into higher
gear. Fans moved to the stage and we could see them pumping their fists in the
air to punctuate their enthusiasm. Dylan and his band appeared to feed off the
excitement and energy. What a treat. Having been to four shows in the last year
the band was maybe was celebrating the end to this portion of the tour. Kind of
like the energy on the last day of anything. A reason to celebrate and leave with
something to remember. My own wish for the evening came as they absolutely
tore into " Pill-Box Hat " in the encore. It was as if all their energy that was left
was funneled into that tune. Like a runner saving some for the finish they
brought it all home. With anticipation and regret that the evening was ending,
the band for its finale broke into "It ain't me, babe. Dylan does a masterful job
of disguising what the song is until he moves into the lyrics. After all these
years keeping us guessing keeping us coming back for more, bringing it all back
home. As the song wound down he traded his guitar for the harp. Soaking every
bit of sound out of it just like the old blues performers did. A trick for bending the
music in just the right way to end a performance.
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