page by Bill Pagel
Review by Aaron Vedock
Let's give this a try. I have seen Dylan 3 times twice in 1999, and then just last
week at WVU, which was really quite a good show.
Somebody Touched Me: Of the three times I saw Dylan he opened with this old
gospel traditional tune twice, I really like they way Bob sings this song, well done
on this night.
It Ain't Me, Babe: Bob sounded great! He pulled out the harp for a bit, his playing
It's Alright, Ma (I'm only bleeding): Again a great acoustic tune Like they way he
held out maaaaaaa' .....I'm only sighing'
Soldiers Grave: Not familiar with this one.
Tweedle Dee / Tweedle Dum: Well done, again his voice was clearly audible, and
understandable, he really sounds better than he did in 1999 when I saw him last.
Just Like a Woman: Good Harp, GREAT song! well performed on this night
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight: For me this was the first highlight of the evening, a bit
of a flub on one of the verses, but other than that it sounded great, Bob really
seemed to be enjoying himself
High Water: Not Familiar with this tune, but I do remember Bob mentioning
Don't Think Twice: The second gem of the night, the band really sang out on this one,
Tangled: Nothing to say, this song speaks for itself!
John Brown: !!! Wow! what a wonderful surprise, sang with much emotion, bob really
put some emotion into this one, very moving.
Summer Days: Not Familiar With this one
Sugar Baby: Not Familiar with this one
Drifter's Escape: Great harp playing from Bobby, really "tight"
#12 & 35: GREAT SONG!! Played and sung really well, the crowd really got into
this tune (as always)
Now to the Encores:
Country Pie: first time for me to hear this one, sounded good
Like a Rolling Stone: Again very tight
Forever Young: Bob Broke out the ol' Acoustic - I have seen Dylan twice prior to this
night, and have always wanted to hear this song VERY MUCH, in fact this is why I
went to this show, I saw that he had been playing Forever Young this tour, and figured
being a college venue it would be pulled out of Bob's bag o' tricks. I was in heaven,
had a tear in my eye, just sat down in the isle so I could give all of my attention to
Bob and his voice, very emotional song, makes me think of my mom every time I hear it.
Thanks Bob !
Honest with Me: Nice song, great slide guitar by Larry
Blowing In the Wind: Again perfectly played as always, I love they way their voices
harmonize on this song...why can't they sing like this all the time??
I figures the show as over, and about to head to the parking Lot when.....they came
WATCHTOWER!! Tight, Tight, Tight, Great ending to a great show!
Dylan and the band seem to be playing a singing very well this tour, best he has
sounded of the three times I say him. excellent show!
Review by Gary Adam Harki
Bob Dylan came to Morgantown Wednesday, November 14 and brought with him
one of the most unique and rare acts in music. He was not rock, nor
bluegrass, nor country, though all these labels could be placed on his
performance at some point in the evening. A diverse crowd of 6,000
ranging from old hippies to college students and everything in between
came to hear Dylan and his band play 21 songs from his huge and diverse
catalogue. It is easy to criticize Dylan, for not having a perfect voice,
changing the arrangement or timing of a song, or even not playing some of
his most known or best loved tunes. Several times throughout the night
you could hear shouts of "Hurricane" in the Coliseum by fans wanting to
hear his 1976 hit about the then wrongfully imprisoned fighter Rubin
Carter. It has been said that his place high on the list of rock icons
allows him to do what he wants.
But to accept these criticisms is to miss the point. If you want to hear
the original version of "Like a Rolling Stone", with it's powerful organ
and exacting lyrics, listen to the CD. Dylan did play many of his most
known songs, but they were not carbon copies of the original. He did not
come to Morgantown as a kind of traveling museum, reminding the old and
showing the young what it was like back in the 60's. He came with his
show as a relevant force in music today, not yesterday. To some degree,
Dylan has been battling his fan's expectations of him his whole career.
There was much animosity with the crowds when he switched to electric
guitar in 1965. And while there certainly were no hostilities between the
grateful crowd and the singer last Wednesday, there was a sense from the
stage of, this is who I am, this is the music I play, take it or leave it.
To say Dylan does what he does simply because his notoriety and respect
allow him to, is to forget he has been doing these things his whole life.
The same band that performed with him on his latest album, "Love and
Theft", back Dylan on this tour, and their familiarity with him shows.
Tony Garnier and David Kemper were a steady rhythm section on bass and
drums. Charlie Sexton provided a unique guitar voice throughout the night
and Larry Campbell played whatever the song called for, be it acoustic,
steel, or slide guitar, banjo, or mandolin. Dylan's stage and dress were
consistent with the feel of his show. The backdrop of curtains, and the
country suit he wore both could almost be from another time entirely. His
band was similarly dressed, with the drummer wearing a cowboy hat. Yet,
like his music, nothing seemed particularly of any one time or place.
They could have been playing in a 1920's jazz club, a 1950's hoe-down, or
the Coliseum in 2001. He started off with "Somebody Touched Me" which had
a gospel quality to it and allowed Sexton and Campbell to harmonize, as
they would sporadically throughout the night. The harmonizations offered
an almost bluegrass feel to the songs, often reeling Dylan in when the
timing of his vocals jumped around. "It Ain't Me, Babe" came next, along
with Dylan's first use of the harmonica for the evening. One thing that
has remained constant throughout his career is his interesting use of the
harmonica. He often seems to add it in, not so much as a standard
instrumental solo, but as an extension of his voice, giving life to
feelings and moods he could not quite express in words. "Tweedle Dee and
Tweedle Dum" was the first song of the night from the new album. His
vocals here matched closer to the CD, perhaps from him not yet being burnt
out singing it for the thousandth time. One of the highlights came midway
through the night with "Tangled Up In Blue". Dylan used the same
three-guitar set up as the original, yet with a slightly different rhythm.
His weathered voice sounded particularly appropriate for telling the
story in the song. Many of his songs, which in another time could have
been seen as relics from a bygone era, have resurfaced with new meaning in
this age of anthrax and terrorists. "John Brown", which Dylan originally
wrote in 1963 but was not recorded until his 1995 "Unplugged" album, tells
the tale of a boy going off to war and coming back horribly injured. With
the United States in the beginning of another war, his song hit the crowd
close to home. The second song into his encore gave the crowd one of his
best loved songs, "Like A Rolling Stone". The intertwining guitar solos
of Dylan and Sexton, along with the lights flashing onto the floor crowd
of mostly college students with every singing of the chorus, made it one
of the best performances of the evening. The final two songs of the night
gave the crowd a poignant ending to a fine performance. Like "John
Brown", "Blowing in the Wind" was a reminder of the hardships and sadness
of living in this world. His gravely voice went well with the message in
his song. Dylan ended the evening with "All Along the Watchtower", playing
it in much the same way as Jimi Hendrix did in his cover version. Dylan
has been quoted as saying he plays the Hendrix version both because he
liked it better than his original, and as a tribute to Hendrix. It has
been said that history repeats itself and everything old is new again.
In Bob Dylan's case his performance was timeless. In an age where the
country is at war and the best selling albums are by boy bands that sing
for twelve year olds, Dylan gave the Coliseum a different kind of show
entirely. The music was relevant, and so is the artist.
page by Bill Pagel
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