page by Bill Pagel
Review by Michael Milliman
...these bootleggers make pretty good stuff... They will if their tapes were
rolling in Syracuse last night!
Somebody Touched Me--glory, glory, glory! But the congregation was still
finding their pew!
My Back Pages--the hairs on the back of my neck stood up as Larry's fiddle cut
through the blackness before the lights came up. WOW.
It's Alright Ma--I'll admit I'd hoped for Desolation Row, but Bob won me over
with his curt stabs at wisdom here, his great vox rolling over the seas of
uncertainty dropping pearls of insight over the limits of music. Here there
Soldier's Grave--thought I'd be more moved by this one, considering. I was
still a little distracted by people who were still trying to find their seats.
Imagine if people moved around this much at the movies, where you've only paid
7.50! People are crazy...
Tweedle Dee&Dum--Well, since Bob was treated like an opening act thus far, the
crowd took a little notice when the lights went waaay down and came up to this
tune. It was the beginning of an interesting juggling display by Bob: keeping
us Diehards happy while keeping the Newbie fish on the line, let alone the FM
passersby, who came for plastic cups of Labatt's and some expensive wallpaper.
Love the ending.
Where Teardrops Fall--Bob trying to charm my wife, who loves this song. I don't,
or didn't, because I loved this version, so much more fluid and coherent than
the choppy OM one.
IBYBT--I've heard this at every Bob show I've seen. I liked the words this
time, "Shut the shade, shut it tight, we're gonna make it last all night..."
High Water--for somebody who contributes so much to the show, Larry sure got a
lot of Bob's backside. He's over there laying down the perfect groove and Bob
acts like he's a roadie. Wierd. This song was perfect, the rising coda going
doom, doom, doom...
Boots of Spanish Leather--great version of a great song. Too bad this song
shares its music with It Ain't Me Babe and Girl From the North Country.
John Brown--rhythmically revivified, chopping away at poor John's mother, so
Tangled Up in Blue--the first concession to the FM listeners, who pricked their
ears up at a somewhat familiar tune, or recognized the chorus from Rolling Stone
articles or something. All three groups rocked along with Bob and the Boys
here under the red lights of a Blue song. The harp solo was awesome, with
Bob sort of wandering the stage looking for a dime.
Summer Days--keeping the groove going with enough electricity to light up 'Cuse.
Everybody get ready, lift up your glasses and sing! Whereever Elvis may roam,
he's wearing a smile whenever this song is sung.
Sugar Baby--with all the energy blasting around the joint now, Bob definitely
rocks the boat here. He's fearless, because the easy thing to do would be to
skip this song and go right to the rest of his rocking repetoire, but Bob knows
that energy is not the same as attention... not everybody was ready to learn
that lesson. A maniac woman in the next section back shouted out, You had your
chance! Give it Up! I guess we were all a little unsettled. Bob's phrasing
on this performance is out of this world, much truer than the stop-start
delivery on L&T.
Cold Irons Bound--a rolling river. a jerking boat. Is it going to, or isn't it?
RDW1235--no thanks, but the crowd was ready to forgive Bob his wandering from
the palace of Rock.
People cheered. My hands ached. Even I, knowing what should come, began to
Country Pie--I didn't believe it when I read it here, and I'm not sure I still
do. Love Sick and Things Have Changed make sense as alternatives, but the Pie?
What do I care?
LARS--Does anybody think this song works live? Does anybody think it needs a
guitar solo? Tonight, the solo got in the way of the princess on the steeple.
Dogs Run Free-- what a musical education you can get at a Dylan concert.
He plays classical before the show, folk, rock, rockabilly, old-timey roots,
and now jazz.
Honest With Me--INEVERWANTEDTOGOBACKTHERRRRRE...IDRATHERHAVE...
Blowin'--Everybody cheers for the questions. The answer is a little harder to
know what to do with, my friends.
All along the Watchtower--the world's greatest song deconstructed to the world's
greatest riff. None of them along the line know what any of it...is....worth...
Bob was great. He told one joke, Charlie's the meanest man in the band.
When we played the Middle East, he killed the Dead Sea! and had a ball mugging
for somebody in the front row. We didn't get (too) much of Bob's special mix
of lead guitar, but his singing was everything singing should be. Thanks for
listening, and thanks Bill for all your hard work. This site is a godsend for
Bob junkies like me!
Review by Geoff G.
Some random thoughts on 11/13 from someone with fresh
ears: HIGH WATER KICKED MY ASS! I tried not to have
expectations too high. Earlier in the day I told my
friend that I went with, "as long as they play High
Water, I've decided it will be worth it." I knew from
other reviews that Larry'd been playing banjo so I was
pretty confident that we'd get it. I had a lot of fun
at this site looking at set lists and reading the
reviews early in the tour but after awhile I decided
to stop so I would hopefully get some surprises. And
it worked pretty well. I was able to stay away til the
night before & then I NEEDED to check out the Penn
reviews. I was glad I read them as they were pretty
negative and it grounded me. I had seen Dylan 2 other
times - both in 91. I didn't like either & have read
that it was one of his worst tours ever. In fact, the
most memorable thing from the Utica 91 show was a
bizarre joke where Bob brings out a huge bow and acts
like he's going to play his guitar with it. He told
some joke - something like he learned it from Jimmy
Page. I don't think he even tried it - just brought it
out, told his joke, then got rid of it. Famous Prop
Comic Bob Dylan. You've got your big 3 working today:
Gallagher. Carrot Top. Dylan.
Well, I needn't have worried. This show exceeded my
expectations several times over. There were a few
songs I knew would be played: Summer Days, Rainy Day
Women, Honest With Me, & I expected Tangled Up In Blue
& Blowin' In The Wind, but the rest was up in the air.
So, my first Dylan show in almost exactly 10 years, &
I've been unable to get any boots of this year so far.
Here are my thoughts on most of the songs:
It's Alright, Ma - At first it seemed like this was
going to be amazing. It was so good the way he sang
"sighing" in a drawn out style at the end of the first
verse. then it got kind of messy. The band kept acting
like it was going to catch fire, but they never did.
Still, it's an old favorite & great to hear live.
Tweedle Dee - excited to hear a Love & theft song, but
this would not have been high on the list. One
interesting thing - I swear the delivery of one of the
"Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum"s sounded just like Jack
The big surprises (for me anyway - I don't know about
the experts): Where Teardrops Fall and I'll Be Your
Baby Tonight. These were totally out of the blue for
me. Baby Tonight was excellent, but Teardrops was a
revelation. I never cared for the album version but
this was absolutely beautiful. It caused me to give my
first scream of the night.
High Water - From other reports, I expected this to be
great, but I didn't know it would be so different from
the album. This song was really rocking. My favorite
moment on the album version is his perfect delivery of
"Either one. I don't care." He didn't distinguish this
in any way live but the rest was better, especially
the first half. Tougher sounding. A definite
John Brown - I'm not familiar with this one. I loved
it. Pounding and powerful. Very good vocals, easy to
Tangled Up In Blue - the one everyone had been waiting
for. I think the entire crowd stood for this one. An
odd thing - I may have this wrong because my view was
obstructed, but here's my perception. Near the end Bob
grabbed a harp, blew a few notes, realized he had the
wrong harp & went back to pick another. Now it SOUNDED
like everyone in the band thought it was the end &
tried to end the song, but Bob had just grabbed the
correct harp, blown about 3 notes & was pissed that
they'd stopped. Almost imperceptibly they started up
again quietly, and built, and totally saved it. Am I
right about this or is this just the way they play it
now? I hope someone else comments.
Summer Days - was pretty much what I expected.
Swingin'. Loved Charlie's big red guitar (is that too
technical?) and Tony spinning his bass.
Sugar Baby - I love this song. No matter what I'm
doing when I play this album - washing dishes,
cleaning the house - I always manage to find myself
sitting down and listening to the whole thing. When it
ends, it's like waking from a dream. This live version
was beautiful and the colors and patterns on the
background made it very dreamlike. It was amazing but
it seemed like almost the entire crowd was silent &
still for this one - except for the ENTIRE ROW of
people right behind me!! I wanted to turn around but
couldn't think of a nice way to tell them to shut up
so I just sat there in silence. I leaned in and tried
harder to concentrate on Bob. Eventually he won them
over and they stopped talking.
Cold Irons Bound - was Funky Mud. A total killer. I
was afraid he'd dismiss this album. I was ecstatic
when this started up. The beginning was unmistakable.
A big highlight.
Rainy Day Women - A crowd favorite. It turned into a
sing-along. I liked how the band intros were done.
However, everyone got just their instrument & their
name - except Charlie. He got about 2 sentences. But I
totally missed what Bob said. Did he make a joke?
Hopefully someone will write about this so I can know
what he said. I thought the guitar work after the
intros was very cool.
Country Pie - they did it fine, but who needs it?
Definitely seemed unnecessary. Once they played this I
thought, "well, that means If Dogs Run Free" is
coming..." And I was right. Once it started up, I
leaned over to my friend and said, "how predictable."
It turns out that it was really fun and I really
Honest With Me - My least favorite from the new album.
When I first heard it I thought it sounded like a
cheap knock-off of how Highway 61 had been live. In
concert, the song is very strong. It was really
rockin' and I wonder if maybe it should be played
earlier in the show. I think it would really get the
Blowin' In The Wind - the band harmonies are a great
way to rejuvenate this one and the audience ate it up.
All Along The Watchtower - blistering.
I've read that eastern audiences are not very
demonstrative. Most of the crowd did spend most of the
concert in their seats, but I thought they were very
appreciative and very into it. The place was packed.
As I said, they sang along to RDW. And they clapped
along to either Pie or Dogs. I forget which one. On
their feet dancing for some. Lots of clapping and
cheering for both old and new songs. Not nearly as
much marijuana smoke as I expected.
A great band, they can charge like a train. I love how
they all stand in a line at the end, staring us down,
waiting for us to give them what they know they
deserve. It's like the end of a play. It's like a
police line up. But it's also like High Noon or
something. At any second someone might shout out,
Not only did we get several super cool classic Rock
God stances from Bob (the best was knees together,
toes pointing at each other - I burst out laughing at
that one), we got the foot tapping, the leg twisting,
and even two or three funny little dances. He also did
a pretty amazing kick thing at the end of a solo. My
friend loved his boots.
One of the best nights I've had. Now I hope I can find
some bootlegs soon. I MUST hear live versions of more
Love & Theft songs!
Review by Jack Dumpfy
This was my first post-September 11th Dylan show (that of course implies
first time hearing live Love and Theft, and first time since the
"attacks"). I have seen Dylan some 7 or 8 times in the past four years,
and this was the tightest his music has ever been.
However, the venue's security was even tighter. I don't know if it has
increased in light of the recent events, but it was physically impossible
to stray an inch from one's designated seating location. I was positioned
3/4 of the way back on the floor area, row GG. In the beginning, I tried
to linger in the aisle to get a better view of the stage in this sports
arena that is completely unfit for musical concerts. Within seconds of
leaving my chair, I was aggressively pushed back into my row with a couple
of flashlights blinding my eyes. I have been to concerts with twice as
many people crammed into smaller, general admission areas. Concerts,
especially of the Dylan sort, are intended to liberate the crowd. Why else
would we pay?
They might as well have set up ropes and orange cones around everyone's
I don't mean to throw caution to the wind, but what are they solving by
confining us to little, chalk-outlined rows and folding chairs? The only
effect is dead crowd energy, perhaps a disappointed performer, and
probably lost future revenue for the facility. I'm certainly not going
back there. Although, I'm sure Dylan has seen his share of crowds, and in
fact, the band's energy did not suffer in the least. The atmosphere was a
"While them that defend what they cannot see
With a killer's pride, security..."
This line from "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" has relevance to
this situation. We certainly didn't see those airplanes coming. How can
we defend against things like that? How can we be secure and safe without
forsaking our liberties? How many years can people exist before they're
allowed to be free? I don't blame the security for yelling at and pushing
people around. We're all paranoid. But what is that going to accomplish?
Alright, my tirade is over. I should say something about the music.
Brilliant as usual, Bob. The addition of John Brown to recent set lists
is a timely amendment. Always has been one of my favorite songs from
Dylan's protesting youth, or whatever you want to call it. Cold Irons
Bound proved its Grammy-winning status, whatever that means. And I'm sure
one of those new L&T numbers will add another statue to Bob's shelf, or
the cabinet in his garage, wherever he keeps those sort of decorations. I
vote "High Water." However, how can you really vote on such a thing?
Finally, could Larry learn a few more stringed instruments... I'd like to
see some diversity, jeese. And Charlie (killer of the Dead Sea!) needs to
practice some scales or something. (hopefully a note on the sarcastic
nature of these comments is unnecessary)
Keep on keepin' on, Bobby. At least like 10 more albums. (And play more
venues with General Admission floor area.)
Thanks for reading,
Review by Seth Yacovone
Here are my thoughts on the Bob Dylan show last night in Syracuse. It was
my 6th show since 91 and my first since 11/12/00 in RI. One year and a day
later. Just for the record I love "Love and Theft" was in a good mood for
I personally feel that Bob was not emotionally tied to much of the show
last night. Lots of going through the motions. The band came out and opened
with Somebody Touched Me. I really like this song but Bob was singing it
an octave lower than usual and repeated the Glory Glory Glory part 3 times
and then ended it about 1 min. and 20 seconds in. The worst Somebody
Touched Me I've ever heard. I wasn't worried we all know Bob sometimes
needs to warm up.
The next tune My Back Pages felt shaky like the whole band wasn't quite
together. Bob gave a pretty flat delivery of the vocal and forgot quite a
few words. When he picked up the Harp at the end of the tune it sounded
like he either grabbed an interesting key or maybe even the harp was a
little out of tune. By the end of the solo he found 3 notes that fit and
actually played a pretty cool close. The version of this in Rhode Island
last year was head and shoulders above this one.
It's All Right Ma I'm Only Bleeding excited me very much. My first time
hearing this one. Bob again didn't sound into it and just kind of spit the
tune out without much feeling. The band felt like they just wanted to end
it, I liked Bob's whispering approach at the start of the tune but it
never went anywhere.
Searching for a Soldier's Grave was up next and was an ok average
Solider. Electric set time was up and I was hoping that this would be the
wake up call that everyone seemed to need. I had heard Bob was really into
the new songs and I was psyched to hear them.
Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee kicked in but again a rather bland version took
place. Bob's vocal was simply uninspired compared to the album version or
the live version on Bobdylan.com. Charlie did play some nice guitar licks
but eveytime he would start to really get pickin' Bob would play some loud
wrong notes over him.
Where Tear Drops Fall was a nice surprise with Larry on Pedal Steel.
Again though Bob started the number before anyone was ready and this hindered
how quick the band locked in together. Some nice Vocals on this one though
esp. the Roses are Red part. An ok version.
I'll Be your Baby Tonight was pretty bad though. Bob just sang it very
dull and played a lot of bad guitar notes.
The Banjo meant Highwater time! I was psyched for Highwater. I like the
live arrangement alot with more rocking drums. Although Bob slept his way
through the first two verses or so by the end he sounded like he actually
cared what song he was singing and this was probably the best tune of the
night so far even though it wasn't very very good. Acoustic time again
brought out Boots of Spanish Leather. When I saw this two years ago in
Troy NY it was an amazing emotional show highlight. Tonight it featured a
detached flat vocal and some funky (in a bad way) Bob guitar solos.
John Brown gets a lot of flack. I really like the Unplugged arrangement
with the rolling beat and Bob building up the songs dramatic flair. The 2001
arrangement is slowed to about half the tempo and Bob sang it last night
like he couldn't care less until about the second to last verse. But then
the last verse returned to the trend of this show of "I am at my job get
me out of here" feeling that Bob was giving out. He seemed disinterested
and annoyed much of the show .Which doesn't mean it would be a bad show.
We all know that Bob getting upset can sometimes make for amazing
Tangled Up in Blue was next. This is the worst Tangle I have heard in person
or on tape. This was started too slow. Then Bob gave up on singing with
the chord changes too much. He also gave up on singing the ending of the
verses (he was standing on the side of the road part) in key. There was a
fair amount of forgotten lyrics and bad rushed phrasing to cover it. The
guitar solos Bob played were the worst guitar moments of the night. Up
there with the worst guitar I've heard Bob play. After a time and a half
through the progression with no one soloing, Bob picked up his harp and
played a rather ok solo to close the tune.
Summer Days! This was very good. Bob fluffed a couple lines but who cares
because he actually sounded like he cared. His voice started to react to
the band and vice versa something that had yet to happen this show. Very
Sugar Baby. Thank goodness this was played. I would have been pissed for
my seven hour drive if there hadn't been one great performance. Bob was into
this one giving the song a great soulful sad delivery. Great vocals and
mood on this one. It wasn't flawless but that doesn't matter. This was the
first time I was really moved the entire show. Great work.
I had yet to hear the new Cold Irons Bound arrangement. I much prefer the
old one with Tony's great bass line and momentum. By stopping every time a
new verse starts on all 8 (or whatever) verses it just creates the feeling
for me anyway that I've been listening to this too long. This was a loud
inspired version with really good vocals but the tune felt static in this
arrangement to me.
Rainy Day Women was Rainy Day women. Bob introduced the band and said
something like "Charlie Sexton is the meanest Band member. He's so mean he
went to the Middle East (??) and couldn't even see." Something strange
like that. It was weird. I don't know if Charlie even knew what he was
The encore opened with the weakest uninspired Country Pie I have ever
heard. Like a Rolling Stone followed that trend and included the fun of
Bob messing up his entrance for the final verse leaving the whole band on
different sections of the tune. In my review of 11-12-00 I said that I
didn't think If Dogs Run Free would be seen much after Fall 2000. But
unfortunately I was wrong. This was pretty bla.
Honest with Me was real good. Bob gave it an interesting different reading
than the album and sounded into singing this one about 75 percent of the
Blowin' in the Wind was Blowin' in the Wind. All Along the Watchtower was
good. Charlie's solo was kind of bunk but Larry's was the best lead
playing I've heard him do since Love Sick on 2/24/99. Then they were done.
I am sorry for being so negative but I have to call it like I see it. I
love love love Bob and Band what they have been doing but last night just
wasn't their night. I am sorry if you enjoyed this show and I am bumming
you out. It is only my opinion. The audience seemed to love the show and
ate it up for the most part. I just didn't feel Bob's heart and soul
connect with the sound and come out and touch me like it does most times.
This was the weakest Bob show since my first show in 91 that I have seen.
I really hope Manchester next week is more inspired. Thanks for reading
and thanks Bob for keeping keeping on. I know that musicians have off
nights and this was one imo. Thanks for Sugar Baby. It was great.
Review by Jason Jarvis
Let me just say that last nights Bob Dylan show was the best I've ever
seen. Certainly some great seats thanks to my friend Annie. The floor
seating arrangement isnt usually my favorite, but I was shocked to find
myself in the 2nd row in front of Charlie Sexton. Being a guitarist
myself, it was especially thrilling to get a close look at Mr Sextons busy
fingers. Also, my dad was with us and he doesnt like to stand for too
long, so if it were a GA show, we would have had to sit up in the
bleachers. VERY layed back crowd up front. Nobody was standing up, and I
got a sense that Bob would have rather had people on their feet (I think
he gets jealous of our comfort).
Somebody Touched Me opened it up and had Bob smiling by the end of it,
My Back Pages was very clearly delivered and Larry sounded great on
fiddle. Larry played electric guitar, acoustic guitar, fiddle, mandolin,
bazouki (on John Brown), pedal steel, and steel guitar. Oh yeah, he sings
too. Searchin for a Soldiers Grave was very well received by the crowd.
Tweedle dee Tweedle Dum is just a guitar showcase for Larry and Charlie. I
noticed Charlie really ripping it up on this one, with some nice
acknowledgment from Bob after some tasty riffs. Next was When Teardrops
Fall. first time I'd heard this one live. Obviously well rehearsed and
sounded great. Baby Tonight was next, followed by a transfixing Highwater
that had the whole room into the groove with the band. Spanish Boots, my
wife's favorite was masterfully delivered with Bob taking some tasty leads
on his customized cream colored Fender with "Bob Dylan" inscribed on the
fretboard in mother of pearl. Classy rig.
At this point I yelled for Cold Irons Bound, just to give him the idea for
later in the set. The Tangled up in Blue that followed was definitely the
most inspired reading I have yet heard of this classic tale. He went on
and on at the end with his guitar, and then with his harp. It had tons of
feeling behind it, unlike some other times I've heard it when it was just
so so and it would appear he was just going through the motions. Summer
Days was next, another guitar showcase. more nods from Bob to Charlie
after the tight solos. Bob took a very well played, WAY more than 3 note
solo during this one that surprised me. Sugar Baby was very pleasing to
the ear. It seems that everyone LOVES the bootlegger line "some of these
bootleggers make some pretty good stuff, plenty of places to hide things
if you wanna hide em bad enough" ( Long live the hard working
bootleggers, as long as they arent turning profits and are simply
spreading the performances. ) Next we got the Cold Irons Bound we wanted.
That song takes the breath right out of me when they blast those notes in
perfect synch. Straight down through your heart into your soul. Rainy Day
Women ended the set appropriately, but I will say that I didnt see even 1
person around us smoking the good stuff. Guess they didnt want to chance
getting booted from those sublime seats up front. ( I know I didnt )
I like Country Pie in the opening encore slot. It works perfectly to get
the crowd back up on its feet. Even the old folks in the front row were up
and dancing on that one. Bob was hamming it up with the vocals during this
one and had me laughing out loud in hysterics at some of his antics. I
think I may have been the only one laughing at him, as he looked over and
smiled at me a little, acknowledging that he was just funnin' around, and
the song doesnt really go like that. Rolling Stone was followed by Dogs
Run Free. Nicely played and had the whole OnCenter crowd clapping along
with the catchy jazz backbeat for a few minutes. The band was tickled that
people were clapping along. Honest with Me is awesome live, with a totally
different feel than on the CD. Again, nice guitar work Charlie :-)
Blowin in the Wind is really a group supplication that takes place on
stage nightly. Between the verses the whole band would get really close
together and bend down low to the ground, very prayer-like. Im sure that
song is definitely one of Bobs prayers that he delivers to us, as often as
neccesary. It is really touching to see the dedication he has to these
words. Making absolutely sure that everyone understands their weight and
We yelled and yelled and the band came out for a 2nd encore of
Watchtower. Nice to see a little different arrangement of the song than
usual. We yelled and yelled some more, hoping to hear Knockin, but to no
avail. Bob had surely ridden off into the Syracuse night in his rolling
hotel long before we stopped yelling for that 3rd encore. Not that 2
encores werent enough. Thank you Bob Dylan. Please come back to upstate NY
soon. ( Ithaca is a nice place to stop on your next tour :-)
page by Bill Pagel
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