page by Bill Pagel
Review by John Frisch
Last night's show at MCI Center was another in a string of amazing
performances over the last five to seven years. It was probably the
strongest show I have seen from start to finish. Dylan was in incredibly
fine voice as he performed a fabulous set list that included six, count
'em six, songs from Love and Theft. Highlights for me included "Wait for
the Light to Shine", "Girl from the North Country", "Highwater", an
incredibly powerful version of "John Brown" and "Honest with Me". He
pulled the harmonica out three times including on a very inspired reading
of "Tangled Up in Blue". I had most wanted to here "Mississippi" from
Love and Theft and, because he had already played four songs from Love and
Theft, I was really surprised when it immediately followed on the heels of
an excellent 'Summer Days". "Mississippi" simply was worth the entire
price of admission and easily ranks up there among the five or six best
performed songs I have heard by him. He was absolutely on top of his game
vocally and this version had all of the nuances and emotion of the studio
version and more. One other thing I noticed was how tight the band was and
how much they enjoy playing together. I had good seats but still watched
a good bit of the show through binoculars and the band, which actually
seemed to stand closer together on stage than at other shows I have seen,
really seemed to have a genuine and warm rapport which enabled them to
really feed off of each other in an exceptionally tight way. An amazing
show--let's all hope the neverending tour really never ends!
Review by W.T. Pfefferle
Wait For The Light To Shine: Gorgeous, joyous. Bob seems to love singing
with the boys. Bob's got on one of the many black suits, and boots with
white flames. "He looks too thin," a nice woman near me says a couple of
times while eyeing him through binoculars. "And he's not any more
handsome," she follows.
Girl Of The North Country: The standard treatment, which is still awfully
good. Although I love it, when I hear it I usually figure I'm not going to
get Boots of Spanish Leather elsewhere, and that makes me blue.
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall: First time for me to hear it live, and it's
Searching For A Soldier's Grave: The crowd at the MCI Center in Washington
DC is the typical mix, 30-40 year old Deadheads, 50 year old corporate
types, and scads of college kids. The fellas start this and nearly
everyone around me wonders what it is. A nice guy in a business suit says,
"This is from his new CD; I've got it in the Audi." (I swear I'm not
making it up.)
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum: Of all the new songs (and what a nice
collection we get), this is the one that seems to go over the best. Some
poor SOB in tie-dye wrings his body in unusual and terrifying shapes as he
moves to the beat. I'm thinking, "Try breaking the tablets in half."
Tell Me That It Isn't True: This is the biggest surprise for me of the
night, and while it's gentle and pretty, it doesn't seem like it fits
Just Like A Woman: People do love to hear songs they know, of course, and
it's too bad. This was done nicely, but not particularly different or more
engaging than any other modern version of it. Bob's phrasing (which as you
must know, either charges ahead of the music, or lays back Willie Nelson
style), wrings much out of old favorite lines, and folks respond well to
High Water: Oh man, I have been a big fan of the song since I heard John
Howells' "pre-release," but this is stupefying and tremendous. The version
is dirtier, darker...and when Bob growls "things are breaking up out
there," it brings shivers.
Floater: I want to like Floater. But I don't. The crowd sort of ebbs and
flows in and out of the place on certain songs. A minute into Floater and
the place looked like a typical 4th quarter during a Wizards game.
Tangled Up In Blue: Greatest hits? I've been thinking that more and more
of the years. Of course there's a lot of new material this year, and I'm
very appreciative, but this one and some of the other after the encore are
getting a little rote for me. I'm sorry, I hate to piss on a song that is
so many folks' favorite, but like Just Like a Woman, this is the standard
John Brown: Beautifully recast, and I thought I'd never want another
version after Unplugged. But this is a real highlight for me. The whole
"how Bob sings" question comes up among folks who don't see him very much.
A young man ahead of me says, "He should clear his throat," and it takes
all of my strength not to wrap my hands around his own throat and send him
to his great reward.
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right: Nice.
Summer Days: Another new knockout. Three guitars, just like Molly Hatchet
or fill in your favorite boogie band from the 70s or 80s...that's just a
joke, by the way. Charlie, who dresses much better now than he did during
his Austin/Dallas days, is remarkably at ease in the band. When I saw them
last summer in Dallas, he struggled, I thought, to find a place for
himself between Bob's...uh...mathematical playing, and Larry's fluid work.
But now Charlie is mesmerizing, whacking and ringing out notes and
filigrees and WHOMPS out of the various guitars he employs. Does he have
more than Larry?
Mississippi: I say this just because people hate it. I like Sheryl's
version. Please send hate mail to Ima@dumbass.org.
The Wicked Messenger: WOW. Another soaring rocker. Wicked singing,
playing, etc. It occurs to me that Tony's a little low in the mix, moreso
with the standup than with the electric. Odd, because when I was here in
the summer to see the lovely Maddy Ciccone, the mix was bass heavy
throughout the night. I love Tony's playing, and could always stand a
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35: Hey, people are smoking pot. It's just like the
60s. Or the 70s. Or the 80s, or whenever it was that you were 18. Hey, and
Bob says "stoned" a bunch in this song. A handful of folks near me left
after the song. Gotta beat the traffic.
Things Have Changed: Five people tap me and ask if this is the song he won
the Oscar for. I tell two of them that no, he won an Oscar for his soaring
score for The Natural.
Like A Rolling Stone: Standard.
Forever Young: Standard, but very nicely sung, and again, the boys on
harmony really lift this.
Honest With Me: One time, before I die, I want to hear Bob go into Hwy 61
during this, just one time. Mix is noticeably louder overall in the
encore. A guy near me with a hearing aid confirms it.
Blowin' In The Wind: More great singing.
All Along The Watchtower: Listen, I'm overjoyed at Bob's re-emergence in
the mainstream, but while people poured out past me during this tune
(rocking, but needing to get to the suburbs), I reflected back warmly to
the riotous and indecipherable late 80s, early 90s shows. I remember
seeing him one very bleary night in Dallas during the GE Smith days--and
don't get me started, I mean I hate him too, how can you not--there was a
titanic quality to those nights when GE would go to the red Gibson and
lead everyone into Watchtower...fastest versions you've ever heard...Bob
leaning in and and ripping through the verses like it was a race. But I
also remember a night in 90 or 91 when at a small music hall in Dallas,
after a rough, ugly, loud, and incoherent first 60 minutes or so, Bob
spilled out a gorgeous reading of "What Good am I?" So who knows?
Anyway, this made night #12 or 13 for me and Bob, starting with the
life-changing second show at Tempe in 1979. I saw him nearly every year
from the late 80s till the present when I used to live in Dallas. This was
a great night, but a little odd to see him in such a big room. I miss the
2000 seaters a bit, but if I must share Bob with the world, I'm glad that
there's enough folks out there willing to come along for the ride.
Best wishes from DC.
Review by Peter Stone Brown
Bob Dylan was totally on from the second he started playing tonight at the
cavernous MCI Center. Dressed in black, with the band in matching gray
suits, they tore into "Wait For the Light to Shine," with Larry standing
out on mandolin. This was no warm up song with Dylan trying to find his
voice. He and the band were right there from the first note. This was
followed by an exquisite "Girl From the North Country," which led into a
surging version of "Hard Rain," with Dylan trying a new attack on each
verse, sometimes rushing, the lyrics cascading, and then laying back,
almost letting each line sing itself. The band was magnificent carrying
the song like an ocean in waves that would glide and then pound at the
shore, as Dylan sang each "hard" differently, sometimes adding, "Yes it's
A standard, but strong renditon of "Searching For a Soldier's Grave,"
brought the energy level back a tiny bit, but only to maximize the impact
of the first electric song, "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum." The band had the
groove right in the pocket with all kinds of crazy guitar stuff going on,
with Dylan playing a search but not destroy lead, and finding what he was
looking for, and when he found it, you wanted him to keep going but he
pulled back and let Charlie take over. It was everything you wanted this
song to be live.
Then it was back in time for a perfectly played "Tell Me That It Isn't
True," with Larry Campbell shining on pedal steel. Larry remained at the
steel for "Just Like A Woman," which was heightened by David Kemper
playing something very close to the original Kenny Buttrey drum fills.
Near the conclusion, Dylan went back to his amp picked up the right harp
the first time for a more than decent solo. Both songs were a little laid
back after the blast of "Tweedle Dee," but it turned out to be perfect
pacing for the maximum impact of "High Water," and where I was Larry's
banjo was strong and clear, while Charlie's guitar was the perfect
counterpoint providing an ominous sound throughout as the song kept
building and building in intensity with Dylan delivering a spectacular
The lights went down and there was a tiny break between songs and what
seemed like a slightly different intro emerged into "Floater," and it was
obvious that everyone was trying to make sure it was right with a
deliberate almost banjo like rhythm throughout, and the instrumental break
between the verses turning into something else entirely.
Then it was back to acoustics for a charged "Tangled Up In Blue" with the
spotlight just on Dylan and Larry until the band kicked in at the end of
the first verse. Dylan might have skipped some verses but it didn't
matter at all, and did sing the "she lit a burner" verse. He played a
good solo in the middle, and then dropped it and let the band take over
and from where I was it seemed like he was point with each hand to Larry
and Charlie. Then after the last verse again picked up the harp, slowly
finding his way into the solo and hitting it, and you were hoping he'd
keep the solo going for another verse, and low and behold he did getting a
little wilder this time around and bring the song to a strong conclusion.
A totally stripped down and powerful "John Brown" followed, which was just
about as close as you're going to get these days to seeing Dylan totally
solo. The band was there but providing the most subtle accompaniment, all
rhythm letting the story totally be the focus, the words, the images hit
you as it ended right at the last line, no instrumentals, just the song.
A cool "Don't Think Twice" came next and I was hoping Dylan would again
pick up the harp but it wasn't to be.
However it didn't matter at all because a super-charged, totally amazing
"Summer Days" took the already high energy level up a few hundred notches.
It kicked off in high gear and never let up with Dylan's vocal incredibly
powerful, funny, biting, snarling all at once, making sure he had the room
to get in the "Whaddaya mean you can't, of course you can line" at maximum
impact. And then there were the guitar solos, with Charlie holding back
at first waiting to see what Dylan would do and then playing around what
he was doing and it kept getting higher and higher and then Larry stopped
playing rhythm and joined in the fun and you had all three guitar players
playing lead in one manic, glorious swing, jump, blues pure rock and roll
moment of sheer joyous mania, never once colliding or getting in each
other's way driving it home to a phenomenal conclusion.
Now that in itself would have been enough, but then came a gorgeous and
majestic version of Mississippi that simply soared. Now throughout the
concert Dylan's vocals had been strong, defined, emotional and to the
point, but somewhere in the middle of this song on the second part of one
of the verses, he just pulled out all the stops and started singing higher
in that way that cuts right through you where his voice sails way above
the band and takes you somewhere else entirely. It was completely
Then wham! They were into a totally rocking "Wicked Messenger," and again
when Dylan goes for the harp on this tune, he's right on it, no pausing,
blowing a couple of notes first, he knows exactly what he's gonna do and
"Rainy Day Women" closed the initial set and for whatever crazy reason,
Dylan is really singing this song on this tour as opposed to a few years
ago where he'd maybe sing a couple of verses and have it basically serve
as a jam. In fact, except for one changed line, he is actually singing
the original lyrics from the album and not making them up as he goes
The encores started with a strong "Things Have Changed," a fairly standard
"Like A Rolling Stone," a nice, moving "Forever Young," and then kicked
back into high gear for "Honest With Me," bringing the level down a bit
for "Blowin' In The Wind," and then returning for a searing "All Along The
What was known as the formation appears to have blown away in the wind, as
Dylan no longer just stands there and stares back at the audience. On
this night, he (and the band) took several bows.
There was absolutely no doubt, though he let the songs do the talking that
Dylan was totally aware of where he was and what went down. But
interestingly enough while the cops decided to search our car going into
the venue lot looking under the car with mirrors on sticks and popping the
runk -- we considered it longhaired profiling when considering who the
act was maybe the should have been looking for someone who looked more
like Timothy McVeigh - there was no search (that I saw) entering the venue
itself. Hopefully this show was captured my more than a few people. DC
was a brilliant concert in every way. Madison Square Garden should be
Review by John Pruski
Yo Y'all. Where yat!? Tonight's totally fantastico Bob Dylan concert at the
MCI center in DC was my first of two consecutive Dylan shows I'll see on this
fall's L&T tour swing across the States, my first since the somewhat regional
shows of 28 Apr 2001 (in Charlotte, NC) and 29 Apr 2001 (in Blacksburg VA),
and my first since I got a great new job and gave notice / quit my job
yesterday at the Smithsonian Institution's Natural History Museum.
I was really psyched for the show, to hear the new L&T songs, and to expose
Bob for her first time to a great friend who sadly leaves the States and
moves back to South America in two weeks. Thus, it was a great, albeit
bittersweet, night for me on a personal level. I am not a music expert,
so my usual summer vacation style travel log follows and will hopefully
temporally place y'all in one fan's shoes, rather than being an intellectual
commentary. To that I would leave to my good friend Todd Harvey (author of
the recently published The Formative Dylan by Scarecrow Press) who had three
nights of Library of Congress Folk Concerts to organize/attend this week,
unfortunately including tonight.
The MCI center was a few blocks walk from work on the National Mall and
tonight's show marked Bob's first appearance in DC proper since the
completely intimate and fantastic TOOM club shows at the 9:30 Club of 4 & 5
Dec 1997, nearly a four year hiatus. I should mention, however, that the 22
Feb 1998 show at the George Mason University campus in Fairfax VA, the
Nissan Pavilion show of 16 July 1999, and the MWPP show of 29 July 2000 were
just outside the Capital Beltway; and the College Park MD show of 5 Nov 1998
was just inside of the Beltway, thus all four were in the suburban DC area.
Bob and "His Band!" were great as usual, and non-sold out MCI Center was not
that all that sterile of a place as I earlier imagined. The show started a
bit late, at about 7:57, the floor was about 2/3's full, and the lower two
(of three) levels seemingly full. The concert went over really well from my
great seats with everyone grooving, although the crowd all stood only for the
encores. We didn't hook up with Alex (who commented on the State College
show), but did see John and Andy. John said that Hard Rain was his 1000th
live Dylan song. I love the brownish posters (with the eye) for tonight's
show and man what about them great "I Shall Be Released" T-shirts!
Bob performed six (vs. five) L&T songs: Tweedle Dee, High Water, Floater,
Summer Days, Mississippi, and Honest With Me, all new to me, as were Light
To Shine and John Brown. The show proper was 16 songs (the longest of this
tour), then came a spread-out formation, 5 encores, another spread-out
formation (again broken off by Larry), and a lagniappe encore (isn't this
redundant?) of Watchtower, for a grand total of 22 (vs. 20) songs.
Actually, only the Chicago show had more (23) songs than performed tonight,
with Green Bay, Madison, Nashville, and Toronto also clocking in at a
marathon 22 songs.
Bob was in great voice tonight and blew nice harp on three songs: JLAW,
TUIB, and Messenger. He seemingly soloed less than normal, but his bass
runs on Forever Young were very noticeable and especially tasty. All the
L&T songs were superb, and it was really something to hear Tweedle Dee
(remember this song was featured on the recently opened film Bandits),
High Water (dig Larry's banjo picking), the jaunty / jazzy Floater, the
speedy Summer Days, the great Mississippi, and the rocking Honest With Me.
The 1 & 4 songs (Light and Searching) were the same as earlier in this
tour, and as before these were the only non-Bob compositions and the only
songs on which Larry played mandolin. All told Larry played Pedal Steel
(Tell Me & JLAW), Lap Steel (RDW), Banjo, Bouzouki (Hard Rain & John Brown),
Mandolin, and lead guitar (this with a slide on Mississippi and Honest).
Charlie was scorching throughout as always, even playing some slide on High
Water, but I did not notice him playing in the great "Texas organ" guitar
style that I've heard played by him during other recent shows. Tony played
acoustic bass on the otherwise electric Floater and Summer Days, and played
his Coma bass on the Acoustic encores. David beat the hell out of his drums,
especially on the burning Messenger. Bob introduced the band during RDW and
David as the "meanest drummer in the world" and joked that when David went to
the "Middle East he killed the Dead Sea." Bob stopped playing and rocked
out / danced for a few seconds in each Don't Think and Things Have Changed.
He is just so cute, I know all the ladies out there agree too! And while
Bob played many old hits, the L&T songs sure sounds like hits too! Many
thanks to Bob and His Band for a truly special and wonderful night!
John Pruski, 15 Nov 2001
Review by Todd Holden
not as big as I imagined, lower concourse near the sound board,
the little fella looked a little sluggish starting out, but by 'girl from
the north country' he's slipping in second and bound for overdrive, and
'summer days' pushed that energy over the gathering like a wave of
strings as tight as any on this earth
the band is happening
one less than avid fan of
Bob Dylan commented that ' he should stick to playing his old stuff' he
narrowly escaped with his miller lite in tact, stern reprimands followed
that the MAN has evolved most of the tunes from Love and Theft, only a few
months out there for us to listen to, and this is why the reworking and
arranging kept most of the crowd on their feet for over half the show.
D.C and Maryland fans are the best, and the band responded in kind,
all in all, we all got our two hours and twenty minutes worth, any more
said would be superfluous, the set list bounced off every wall and over
every fence, and into the fury came our tireless troubadour, one more
Review by Alex Leik
If I have learned one thing in my journies with Bob Dylan, it is to never let
one show speak for everything. While I have commented that I enjoyed the Penn
State show, I clearly was hoping thast his guitar playing at this perfomrance
would not be the mainstay of my 5 shows. At the MCI Center on Thursday night,
Bob put any concerns to rest by pulling out a spellbounding peformance, one I
am already putting ahead of Towson '00 and Baltimore '99 as the best I have
ever been lucky enough to witness.
Unfortunately, DC traffic prevented me and James from making some
pre-arranged engagements with the two Johns (hey, not what you're thinking!!)
- John Pruski and Jon White. Both will be at Philly though, so I am hopeful
to see them there, especially before Pruski moves to MO (midwest Dylan fans
will be thankful, John is a great guy!). Did run into Ken, however, outside
the venue and he was ready to go. Also fielded a few questions from a French
TV station regarding Bob and what he means to us in these times. Inside the
MCI Center by 7PM, and Bob was there around 50 minutes later.
Wait for the Light to Shine was the opener, and what a song. We missed it in
Penn State, but made me long for it even more. Harmonies were on, Larry was
even given a little running room on the mando. Volume was MUCH louder than at
Penn State. Girl From the North Country in the second slot again, and it was
nailed all over again. However, this time there were no wrong notes for Bob
to trip over in the guitar solo. Very beautiful and quiet solo that got the
point across. Again, fom this song we knew singing would be on tonight, but
so is guitar playing for Bob.
I had been hoping to hear Hard Rain at some point on this tour, and got a
very nice version, followed, almost ironically, by Searchin for a Soldier's
Grave. Both of these received a nice response from the DC crowd - clearly
understanding what was being said.
The Electric set brought out a rockin Tweedle Dee. The first notes got a nice
response from the crowd, leading me to believe many were more familiar with
the new stuff than some of the other stops on the tour. More wonderful
singing shined through on Tell me That it Isn't True and Just Like a Woman.
Larry took top billing with Tell Me during an incredible pedal steel solo.
What can't he do? He probably handles Bob's bookkeeping on the road.
Highwater stunned yet again. I had the St. Paul version in my car, byut did
not wat to play it for James as I wanted him to be surprised. He was! Totally
different song, and it was better than the Penn State version. Floater still
needs the violin, but it was better than Penn State.
Tangled was my first version in some time, but when you have a great crowd
like Bob had tonight, it can be one of the highlights of the show. On 2
verses, Bob appeared to start singing early, as if he could not hear the band
through his monitor. They recovered quickly each time, which made me think it
may have been intentional, kinda like how he sings the lines in BITW a little
early, but it works. Also, during the breaks for guitar solos, Bob did this
thing where he walked around the stage, snapping the beat with his right
hand, occassionally looking towards David. Charlie and Larry kept playing
rhythm, and a solo opportunity was lost. Very odd!! Don't know if as I
mentioned earlier there was a monitor problem or what. But, it was nice to
see him lay back rather than try something that bombed. He did get a solo in
at the end, so maybe problems were fixed?
Another fine John Brown, and the crowd REALLY got this one - large applause
after Mrs. Brown gets the medals she so badly wanted!! Don't Think Twice was
wonderful, and talk about day and night guitar solos between Penn State and
this. Bob ran with this one, at one point taking a break to outstretch his
arms as if to say "Whaddya Think?" The response was loud and positive, so
Bobby obliged and got down right dirty and mean banging out the remainder of
the song. What a character, and what a great version of this classic.
Back to the Fender, and Summer Days comes Screaming out of the 13th slot.
BUT!!!!! He lets Larry and Charlie GO!!!! Everyone is on their feet, and we
got the "politicians..." line for the DC crowd. This was stunning - I have
not heard or seen a better version. I thought he would slow things down with
Sugar Baby, but we got the greatest thing I have EVER heard - Mississippi. I
can't put it into words, so I'll just say go to a show on this tour, and pray
that he plays it. The singing was emotianlly raw, pure Dylan. Made me
remember why I take a week and a half off of work to go to 5 shows.
Wicked Messenger and Rainy Day closed things out, and the crowd was so into
it - not like anything I have seen since Baltimore '99.
Encores were standard, but I will say the version of Forever Young was
unbelieveable. Sung with such care, and the harmonies took it to another
level - leagues above previous versions of this I have heard (3 or 4?) Still
love the new Watchtower, but ask me again after the Connecticut show;-)
Can it get any better? I don't know, but hope I am there if it can (MSG??). I
am headed to Philly with much joy on what appears to be a beautiful fall day.
So, while I will not expect Bob to top this, I'll know that it is still
always possible when he wants to do it. That is comforting!
Review by Rev. John Wm Klein
My daughter Allison and I arrived at the MCI Center by Metro amid
hundreds of others all of whom seemed really excited about being there.
They were not disappointed, nor were we. Next to us was Jason Cockman
from Greensboro, NC who had taken off work to see this concert and the
two following. We were able to compare notes as the evening progressed.
His considerable appreciation for Dylan's new work on "Love and Theft"
was obvious from the start. We had superb seats not more than sixty feet
from the stage and with a great view of the band's entry. From the first
note of "Wait for the Light to Shine" right straight through, I was
struck by how completely together Bob and the band performed. Six of the
songs were from "Love and Theft." Immediately, I was aware of how much
refinement has gone into these very creative pieces in just a few months;
they literally sounded better than the album cuts. Having just moved to
Baltimore from La Crosse, Wisconsin, I was thrilled to hear Bob sing
"Girl from the North Country." I last heard him do so in Rochester,
Minnesota where he added "If you're travelling in the north country fair
( around about Hibbing, MN)." But, to be honest I thought he sang it
with greater clarity in Washington. The third number was "A Hard Rain's
A-Gonna Fall" and it was amazing to see hear a thousand or more singing
along with him. The song had real passion, as always, and this early in
the concert he had the audience really with him. Active involvement was
the order of the evening.
For me, "High Water" was the best of the concert. I was increasingly
aware of the driving quality of this piece; one could sense the water
rising, higher and higher....I think it captured much the same feeling
as "Slow Train Coming" on the "Dylan and the Dead" album. "Floater"
brought the tempo down considerably just in time for "Tangled Up in
Blue." I know this is an oft-performed piece, but it was a thrill for me
and several thousand others. An acoustic rendering with Bob on harp, it
was so well done. I turned to Allison and Jason expecting we might get
"Boots of Spanish Leather" next. I had heard it in Lincoln, Nebraska, and
knew it had been on set lists in previous nights. We got an even bigger
surprise, an acoustic rendering of "John Brown" with Bob singing solo
with a clarity you might expect on "Boots of Spanish Leather." It was
riveting, haunting, silencing. "Don't think twice" followed which was
Allison's favorite. The crowd response and Bob's guitar work were both
fabulous. By now it was obvious how much Bob and the band were enjoying
being there. "Summer Days" reminds me a bit of Chuck Berry and I stand in
utter amazement of how Bob can continue to surprise each successive
generation. I've been a fan since 1964 and Allison since her early teen
years, she is now 26. There were a great many her age at the concert,
which was gratifying to me. I am so thankful that Bob Dylan isn't just
playing oldies for nostalgic graying grandparents. "Love and Theft" is
not just new, it's creative in a new way. "Mississippi," for example, is
about as good as it gets.
Two things stand out in this concert. The first is the powerful "river
rising" and "water watching" themes. These are, of course, nothing new
for Bob. He has, after all, been following the 'river' his entire life.
He "heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world" (Hard
Rain's A-Gonna Fall), he called you to "admit that the waters around you
have grown..." (The Times they are a changing), and "...the river-boat
captain, he knows my fate" (Absolutely Sweet Marie). Bob's been "Watching
the River Flow" and been "Down in the Flood" and "I've followed the river
and I got to the sea" (Not Dark Yet), and "I'm going down the river"
(Tryin' to get to Heaven) and countless others. Somebody could write a
doctoral dissertation just on the "River Theme in Bob Dylan" and if they
do they shouldn't leave out the power of the Exodus event in "When the
Ship Comes In."
Now, at this concert a full one third of the songs had this river/water
theme prominently featured. While there is frozen river in "Girl from the
North Country" the main theme picks up with "Hard Rain" then the driving
"High Water Rising" followed by "all those rebel rivers" (Floater) and
"crossing that river" (Mississippi) and finally "Lots of water under the
bridge" (Things have Changed). If anything has changed it is that this is
not a particularly melancholy river, certainly not a passive, rolling
river; but, rather a mature life journey river that's going home.
Some-one said, "Let's hope the never-ending tour never ends." Well, as
Bob knows, "Your days are numbered; so are mine" (Mississippi). However,
I have a conviction this river is just too powerful to run out. Bob Dylan
is creating for eternity! Which brings me to that second thought which
was about the wonderful ending of the concert. After "Blowin' in the
Wind" he came back and sang "All Along the Watchtower" repeating the
first stanza concluding with "None of them along the line know what any
of it is worth." He repeated "none of them, absolutely none..." three
times for emphasis. That was the last note of the concert. The stiff
formation disappeared. Bob did that little "gallop," swung the guitar
around, smiled and gave the audience the thumbs up sign. He seemed
pleased with us; we were sure pleased with him!
Review by Kate Runevitch
I went to yet another Bob show this tour-in DC,
capital of our fair nation. I never care to go
there again-outside of seeing bob, of course. Maybe it
was because I drove all night to get there and i hadn't
slept in a couple days, or maybe because i thought
this would be my last show this tour-but the show
seemed shorter than usual. It wasn't though and
after later review it's all ok. I stood in line starting
at 10 Am and chatted with all the nice people you see
here and there at shows and discussed everything bob
and band which is a great way to pass the time. At
our fine line in DC there was an especially
entertaining man who had a special affinity for my
roommate. so that was a funny way to experience the
capital from our line since we had gone to meet the
sound buses in Morgantown and have a little chat
with my crew friend before we got on our way. I was
quite a long haul for us starting from home at 10 pm and
getting to DC at 5 Am. Needless to say, we only saw
what we could see from the line.
I have seen wait for the light to shine enough times
now-but I still love the song. It;s an easy one for
Bob to start with-not too much to remember-and all
of us who've seen him a number of times know he starts
off slow. The crowd at the show was the worst I've
seen this tour. They weren't cheering or clapping
much at all until he started into Tangled, which i
am sad that he decided to bring back. I was glad to
see Girl of the North Country though because when i
first liked bob, that was my favorite song. Searching was
beautiful as usual. I think he should let Charlie
and Larry in on the singing even more tan he does
because they usually complement him nicely.
Bob seemed very perturbed about the crowd-changing
the tempo and phrasing of the lyrics to throw off the
many drunks in the audience that were trying to sing
There were a number of points when he let his guitar
hang loosely around his neck not touching it at all
for the lack of support from the audience. The girls
who were next to me in the front stood rigidly the
whole time and seemed offened when I cheered or
yelled for bob or Charlie. I threw the flowers that i
always take with me up onto the stage just after floater
toward Charlie, and yelled to him. He in turn
became beet red since his is a rather bashful and shy guy.
We continued our dialogue of my yelling and his
making faces at me through this show taking up where we
left off from the last show.
I think the show seemed so short because they brought
in Mississippi so late this time and I was used to
having it more towards the middle of the first set.
I was surprising to me that they took their first
leave only 2 songs after that since the crowd
interaction had only started at song 10.
All the love and theft songs were done perfectly as
usual-i just love them. Though I knew Po Boy was
not to be tonite from the posters. He told a joke while
introducing david-something about "David's the drummer
who went over to Europe and killed the dead sea.
That's how mean he is!"
Forever young was the encore highlight followed by
honest with me and Blowin. watchtower ended it as
usual, which was fine, they all took a well deserved
bow and left.
There was far more to this show than just what the
common viewer saw though. Bob was notably sillier
than usual in facial expression and in action. He
was often walking around the stage snapping his
fingers and giving directions instead of playing a solo
in that certian pert if the song. He squatted down a
few times also. he seemed very happy to see the
diehards in the crowd-even if everyone else was planted
in their seats or standing without moving on the floor.
In addion to my flowers this time-i had a sign from
Tony's former roommate in the 60's to tell him hi.,
his name also happened to be bob-and our BOB looked
rather hard and long at it, but couldn't figure what
Montalto was I'm sure. Tony knew though and they
all had a good chuckle at it and I think it made tony
feel better because he surely gets less attention than
all the other members barring David since he's behind
the drums all the time. Bob seemed i a good mood and
it may have been my best show ever-if only the
audience was a little more supportive.
Kate Runevitch (again-sorry i can't resist doing these)
Review by Jesse Lambertson
I pulled back into my apartment fewer then three hours ago and I am now
ready to tell of my experiences seeing Bob in happy relaxed form at the
MCI center in Washington DC. The show was enjoyable and I had a great
deal of fun. But I have two short complaints and I want to get those
out of the way right now (though they have nothing to do with Bob). #1
The parking underneath the MCI center was $20 for the night and I think
this is a form of robbery. #2 There was this one kid who was trying to
break in front of us while Bob was doing Highwater (for CP). And when
we did not let him, he made a lot of noise and talked incessantly over
Bob's lyrics. I particularly wanted to hear it but I thought it better
to ignore him rather than make him worse by trying to get him tor
shutup. It worked somewhat but not until that song was mostly over.
But negative experiences aside, there were a number of firsts for me
last night. One was the quiet rendition of John Brown. I had not heard
it before and was ready. Wow! The sound was clear and his voice rang
cleanly over the bazouki played by Larry Campbell. I also loved Forever
Young with Larry's and Charlie's voice trailing off after Bob's on the
beautifully moving, yet straight forward, chorus. And I finally heard
Hard Rain. But instead of using any help for the chorus like the way
he did a couple of years ago, he did it by himself. NICE!
There were some great moments as Bob played with the crowd. One was
during the first set formation when Bob, responding to the crowd's
loud adorations, pointed with gratitude to the people all the way over
by the left set of seats. He said in an interview recently that he
always plays to the people in the back because the people in front are
always going to be there, the many followers and long time tourers. So
last night he made his statement more concrete by deliberately
recognizing their claps, yells, and whistles. It was beautiful. Bob
Dylan understands that he is a Star, but he also, by gestures like that,
shows a humility and appreciation of all the people who like his work.
I thought it was great. There were two other moments of high emotion,
one was the particularly slow version of Just Like a Woman. I somehow
came to really feel that song like I have not before. Bonb was involved
in it, like most songs, but the slowness of last night's version gave me
a lot of room to contemplate the meanign of the lyrics and absorb them.
I think I just finally personalized it in a way. And the other rather
emotional, almost sappy, moment last night was while he sang the chorus
to Searching for A Soldier's Grave when he drew out the Searching...
line with a slight whimper, like a crying sound, and a sobbing look on
his face. It was amazing that he was so expressive. He is playing with
the words in more and more unique ways as the takes control of it, like
he said in Rolling Stone, with more confidence. And speaking of
confidence, Bob's guitar playing is also becoming more confident and
more techinical as time moves on. I understand that his guitar playing
has always been good, but his control of the band and the time he takes
for himself is becoming more exaggerated each tour leg. GO BOB! Thanks
for the numerous moments of being human with us last night Bob. And
thanks for delivering what you guys do best to us David K., Charlie S.
and Larry C.
page by Bill Pagel
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