Reviews

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
First Union Spectrum
November 17, 2001


[Pete From The South], [Karen F.], [Tom], [Mary Mosser], [Craig S.], [Cincinatus],
[Stasia], [Peter Stone Brown], [Todd Holden], [Alex & Josh Leik]

Review by Pete From The South



  Having noticed a shortage of reviews of Bob Dylan's concert at the Spectrum 
in Philadelphia on 11/17, I feel compelled to contribute.
  I heard Bob there with the Band, musta been 22 years ago (older then - 
younger than that now) and I was poor and so were the seats.  This time 
around was much better. I went with my daughter (17 - major Bob fan) and son 
(15 - Bob fan in progress) and a smattering of in-laws.  One cousin, Chris 
(14) fell asleep (tell me that it isn't true) during "Tangled Up In Blue"!  
   Our seats were at the far end, lower level, great view, great neighbors.  
Right in front of us one guy spent most of the concert on the floor doing 
interpretive dance.
   Bob and the band rocked big.  The place filled up as the night went on and 
it was just a wonderful experience.  At one point during the show I turned to 
my daughter and allowed as how I couldn't imagine anyplace I'd rather have 
been at the moment.  She proclaimed Bob to be the national treasure that he 
surely is.  I'm so glad my kids got to see such a living legend in such a 
perfect venue.
   I won't do a laundry list of the songs, but I loved "Wait For The Light To 
Shine" and want to know where I can get a copy of it recorded.  "It Ain't Me, 
Babe" is very important Bob, as is "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right".  Both 
were done well - all were done well.
Bob was black, the band was purple and the light show was not distracting.  
"Summer Days" really jumped.
    In this age of fiberglass, it's nice to find a gem.
                                                       Pete from the South

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Review by Karen F.



God Bless Bob & Larry & Charlie & Tony & David.  It's
been a year (11/8/00 Bethlehem) since my last
(confession) audience with Ďthe pope of musicí.  By
the last notes of AATW Bob had all 20,000 screaming
fans in the palm of his hand.
Great drive to and from Philly, pure anticipation on
the way down and nothing but awe on the way home.
(Thanks PSB for directions).  We stopped at the Oregon
diner for a bite to eat and some libations to cut the
edge.  The 4 tour buses were locked behind a big
fence.  At least 20 guitar necks visible on stage. 
Nag Champa stage left, Al Santos stage right looking
more like Santa than ever.  8:15 Rodeo, L&GPWCRABD,
Bob in black w/white trim, the boys in red, all with
gray shirts.  Around this time I started uttering the
phrase "I love that man" and have repeated it
countless times since.  Prophetic, vital, brilliant,
Bob with his mathematical touching the soul music,
struck again.  Magical, glowing like burning coal
stuff.  It took TUIB, RDW, LARS & AATW to get most of
the people awake but us die hards were glowing from
8:15 till 10:45.  I have a bunch of boots from this
tour and they don't do it justice.  David got to kill
the dead sea tonight.  The stadium was packed with all
ages 5 to 85.  The whole show was a highlight but some
specific moments made me smile bigger or feel deeper.
Wait for the light to shine Ė first time live for me,
it reminded me of Hallelujah Iím Ready or Somebody
Touched Me.
It Ain't me, Babe - Bob let the song come to an end
and with that unbelievable timing revived it by harp.
Hard Rain & Soldiers Grave Ė chills
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum - Charlie and Tony mugging
and playing off each other most of the night, Larry
seemed somber but smiled at times
Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You - emphasis on
tonight and you
Lonesome Day Blues - hits your blues buttons and you
feel this song
High Water chills again
Don't Think Twice - lavender lights, Bob serious but
lighthearted
Tangled Up In Blue - audience realized they were alive
and Bob was in the room, Reddish lights
John Brown - what can I say?  Bob is my hero. 
Live...Now...Stunning.
Summer Days - Tony swung the bass a little and the
crowd swung a lot. "what looks good in the day, at
night is a SCARY thing" great fun
Sugar Baby - no reaction to the bootlegger line from
the crowd. green & purple swirling lights Cold Irons
Bound  - rocked, cold white light, serious and fast,
no harp
Rainy Day Women - Audience woke up again "don't matter
what you wear or if you're even there"  Short on
lyrics big on sound.  The finest band in the world
intros.  (no doubt)
Things Have Changed - my husband loves this song so he
was all smiles
Like A Rolling Stone -  crowd pleaser
Forever Young -lots of acoustic this show.
Love the harmonies on wait for the light, searching
grave, for young, and blowin.
Honest With Me - my least favorite L&T song. Oh hell,
it was great, I have obviously lost all objectivity
and bob can do no wrong.
Blowin' In The Wind - I learned this song and took it
to heart 40 years ago and have kept it there ever
since.  I will never tire of it.
Watchtower - THANKS BOB!
On to MSG and  Boston with a deep desire to hear
Mississippi live

[TOP]

Review by Tom



I went with my 18 year old son and a friend of his to Philadelphia. They wanted
to go,  it wasn't really my idea. For me, it's hard to imagine not having spent 
your whole adult life admiring Bob Dylan, with a few lapses. And it always 
seems to me that alot of the songs are "age specific", so since we, Dylan and 
me, were more or less the same age, the songs have been especially meaningful.
Anyway, we went, and they were really surprised at the enthusiasm everyone felt.
It was irresistable. I think everyone knew he would give a great show, and he did.
I think his is the only rock n roll band that has Modern Jazz Quartet or classical 
music standards for their performances, you know without being stuffy or anything, 
just that everything is clear and together and interesting.  You love the way it 
sounds. 

It's amazing how puritanical punk anarchists are. My 18 year old companions 
wanted to kill all the old Dylan fans that were dancing around in the arena. And I 
think they were the only ones sitting by the end of the concert. But even young 
would be psychopaths had to admit that the songs were really good and the band
was terrific.  I won't go through every song, but since I'm here I just want to say 
that I think Tweedledum and Tweedledee is about Gemini, at least partially, so 
is the line "The Siamese twins are coming to town".  The line-up of songs was 
wonderful, and I think the fact that Sugar Baby comes when everybody just 
wants to scream and dance is great. It's a magnificent song: love and the 
prospect of death are themes that never lose their charm. 

The arrangement of Rainy Day Women is very merry, is Dave the only one 
he jokes with?  I was really glad to hear Things Have Changed. I don't think
it's cynical, I think it's just right.  Finally, I think Honest with Me is a great 
rock n roll song and another song that has to do with his relationship with his
vast audience, which is why it's in the encore section with LARS and the 
rest. 

All in all, it was unimaginably good. high level rock n roll. 

Tom 

[TOP]

Review by Mary Mosser



We left for the show around 3:30, so we could stop for a few brews at the pub 
before the show.  I was just a little sad that our friends from Belgium couldnít be 
here with us to enjoy the show too.  We arrived at the venue around 6:45, I think.  
I was a little silly with those 2 beers.  I picked up a poster and some stickers for 
my guitar case, and then headed down for the show.  The crowd was friendly, 
one dude was a little too friendly, but thatís another story.  We found a spot about 
10 feet directly in front of the sound board.  If I couldnít be up front, I wanted to 
be where the sound was going to be just as good as Merlin speakers.  

The stage was set up very simple.  I couldnít see the floor, but my daughter was 
sitting in the seats, and said it was black and white checkered.  It was about 8:10 
and the big priestly looking man with white hair and beard fired up the incense, as 
did the sound board people.  Then the set list was set out and the technicians did 
their thing. It wonít be long now.  At about 8:20, Bob and the Boys showed up 
and wasted no time.   Bob was wearing a black suit with a touch of white trim, 
and a white shirt and those crazy boots.  Deana told me after the show, itís as 
though he was saying ďHey, Iím the greatest song writer in the world.  I can also 
dress like the cats meow!Ē  They opened with Waiting for the Light to Shine.  
The sound was perfect.  This is a good one to start with.  It ainít me Babe was 
next and Bob steps over for the harp.  Very sweet. 

Iím digginí that guitar heís playing.  Itís a Martin, maybe.  It looks like two pick 
guards on either side of the sound hole.  But itís all Black with a white fret board.  
It looks really sharp on the man.  Could it be a new model?   If so I like to test 
drive one of those puppies for a few years.  If I donít like it, Iíll give it back.  

A Hard Rainís A-Gonna Fall is next.  This is one of my favorite tunes.  I 
especially 1like the line, ďIíll know my song well before Iíll start singiní.Ē   
Searching for a Soldierís Grave was appropriate since 9-11.  The mandolin added 
a nice touch.  Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum was rockin.  At this point the boys 
were getting loose.  Tonight Iíll be staying here with you I donít remember too 
much about, but Lonesome day Blues was definitely a show stopper for me.  I 
love this.  Thereís nothing like the A-D-E blues to makes my back bone slip.  I 
was hoping heíd do this. I was happy camper.   High Water (For Charlie Patton) 
sounded just like the album with Larry on banjo and Charlie on slide.  Back to 
acoustic for, OH MY GOD, Donít Think Twice, Itís Alright!  I love this.  I love to 
play it.   I love everything about this song.  Tangled Up In Blues was great to hear 
again.  Bob got the harp out again.  He used it tenderly.  Itís at this point I think to 
myself , ďWhat a great show!Ē  The sound, Bobís voice was very clear and you 
could hear every word.  John Brown was another appropriate song for the times.  
Iím a Mama, I know.  Summer Days is where everyone just lets loose to have a 
good time.  Bob was doing that little thing with his leg, and the crowd was cutting 
the rug too.  You just canít stand still to it.  It moves you.  Sugar Baby is a different
story.  If this doesnít stop you in your track, I donít know what will.  The lights 
during this song were cool.  Cold Irons Bound was a surprise.  Then Rainy Day 
Women.  I looked around and everyone was goiní nuts.  After they finished, they 
stepped back and Bob did a little bow.  He pointed his guitar at someone in the 
crowd in a few directions and Larry pointed to someone on the right side of the 
stage.  The whole place was on their feet.  

They returned after a few minutes of applause for the encores.  Things have 
changed was the first encore.  Great tune.  Like a Rolling Stone was next.  Then 
Forever Young.  Bobís voice was right on, and the boys added some nice back 
ups.  Honest with Me was another one I was hoping to hear, since heís been 
doing it, but you never know.  The harmonies in Blowiní in the Wind made my knees 
wobble a little.  They ended the show with All Along the Watchtower with a spooky 
ending. 

We try to get to see Bob at least once a year.  Heís definitely on top of his game.  
The New York folk are in for a super show.  If you donít have a ticket, get one.  
You wonít be sorry.  I have been so excited to see Bob and the Boys, since he 
released his new album.  I didnít get to listen to it the day it got released, because 
of the tragedies that happened on that day.  When I did listen to it, I was painting 
a window outside our house.  My hands started to shake; my heart was pounding 
so hard I could hear it.  I dropped the brush.  I ran to my husband and asked ďAre
you listening to this!Ē  I did a lot of crying, a lot of thinking and a hell of a lot of soul 
searching since that day, as I think most of us have done. 

When I got home, I put on a pot of coffee, took my blankets outside and laid down 
in the field to watch Godís light show.  For each star that fell, I prayed for peace
all over the world. 

Mary

[TOP]

Review by Craig S.



TONIGHT BOB CAME OUT 15 MINUTES LATE. I KNEW MISSISSIPPI WAS DONE LAST
CONCERT, BUT SUGAR BABY WAS MOST LIKELY GOING TO BE THE GREAT ALTERNATIVE.
ALSO SUMMER DAYS SHOULD BE DONE, A SONG THAT GROWS ON YOU THE MORE YOU
LISTEN... SO WAIT FOR THE LIGHT TO SHINE STARTED US OFF, WITH 3 PART
HAMONY, AND LARRY GIVING 2 FLAWLESS MANDO SOLOS... I SHOULD MENTION THAT 3
PART HARMONY WAS FEATURED TONIGHT, ALONG WITH WAR RELATED SONGS, AND
POSSIBLY SOME AD-LIBBING...

IT AIN'T ME BABE, STARTED SLOWLY, BUT FINISHED OFF WITH POSSIBLY THE  
HARMONICA SOLO I'VE HEARD FROM BOB. HARD RAIN WAS BLUES LIKE, BOB REALLY
EXPESSING"YES IT'S A HARD"... SEARCHING FOR A SLODIER'S GRAVE HAD STRONG 3
PART HARMONY... TWEEDLE WAS VERY JAZZY, FEATURING DUELING LEADS, CHARLIE
DOING THE LEAD GUITAR RIFF..TONIGHT I'LL BE STAYING FEATURED LARRY ON
STEEL GUITAR, LONESOME DAY BLUES WAS HARD BLUES,"AAAAAHHHHH'M GONNA TAME
THE PROUD"...HIGH WATER MORE BLUES LARRY SMILING AT THE DRUMS DEEP
SOUND...DON'T THINK TWICE SOUND LIKE PETER PAUL AND MARY STYLE FOR JUST A
SECOND... BOB SEEMED A LITTLE DISSATISFIED, CALLED A MEETING AND FOLLOWED
WITH A STRONG TANGLED UP, JUST BOB AND LARRY PLAYING THE BEGINNING, NEW
WORDS LIKE I REALLY PAID SOME DUES, WORKING NIGHT AND DAY WHILE HIS TIME
WAS SLIPPING AWAY, AND SHE READ IT TO ME, ETC...JOHN BROWN WAS DONE WITH
EXTRA FEELING, ESPECIALLY THE PART WHERE HIS" ENEMY'S FACE LOOKED JUST
LIKE MINE", VERY MOVING AND MORE WAR.... SUMMER DAYS FEATURED A HEAVY
STAND UP BASS BY TONY, BUT I'M AFRAID BOB REPEATED " MY POCKETS ARE FULL"
LINE ON A SECOND VERSE BEFORE HE RECOVERD IN TIME... I DON'T BLAME HIM
THOUGH, IT'S ONE OF MY FAVORITE LINES IN THE SONG TOO. CHARLIE GAVE A
GREAT LEAD GUITAR...SUGAR BABY WAS INCREDIBLE, ACCENTED BY CYMBAL CRASHES,
BOB WAS VERY NASAL ON."HAPPINESS COMES SO QUICKLY,AND LEAVES JUST AS
QUICK"...BOB WAS CLEARLY VERY ON AND THE CROWD LET HIM KNOW IT IN BETWEEN
VERSES...COLD IRONS BOUND WAS HARD BLUES,HEAVY BASS DRUM AND TOMS, TONY'S
BASS SILENT DURING THE VERSES...ON RAINY DAY WOMEN,I BELIEVE SOME NEW
WORDS WERE JUST COMING TO BOB, SUCH AS,"THEY'LL STONE YOU LIKE YOU GOT HIT
BY A TRUCK", DYLAN THEN LAUNCHED INTO A SLIM HARPO TYPE LEAD, THE CROWD
ENDING IN FEVER PITCH, A RESULT OF SOME FAST RHYMING AND THE KING OF
GUITAR TECHNIQUE BOB WAS TALKING OF IN ROLLING STONE
INTERVIEW...ENCORES...THINGS HAVE CHANGED ALSO FEATURED SOME NEW WORDS,
LIKE, "YOU CAN WIN WITH A LOSING HAND" AND"TRYING TO GET AS FAR AWAY FROM
MYSELF AS I CAN".. LIKE A ROLLING STONE WAS POWERFUL, AND FOREVER YOUNG
HAD 3 PART HARMONY SO GREAT, IT PUT TO SHAME GROUPS AND EVEN SOME SUPER
STARS THAT USE A LINE OF BACKUP SINGERS FOR HARMONY...HONEST WITH ME WAS
STRONGER THAN ON THE CD...MORE 3 PART HARMONY IN BLOWIN IN THE WIND,MANY
CHEERS ON TOO MANY PEOPLE HAVE DIED, MAYBE SUNG WITH FEELING FOR 9/11?
LAST SONG WATCHTOWER, ACTUALLY STARTED WITH MELODY FROM"EXODUS"ON
SPEAKERS, LARRY DID GREAT LEAD, CHARLIE DID A HENDRIX TYPE LEAD. TONIGHT
THIS CROWD SEEMED AS APPRECIATIVE AS EVER, BUT BOB I DO REQUIRE
MISSISSIPPI, AND WHILE YOU'RE AT IT, STICK IN FAREWELL ANGELINA, BUCKETS
OF RAIN, QUEEN JANE, DAYS OF 49, PRETTY PEGGY-O, ROVIN GAMBLER, GOING
GOING GONE, YOU LEFT ME STANDING IN THE DOORSTEP, I BELIEVE IN YOU, YOU'RE
A BIG GIRL NOW, THIS WHEEL'S ON FIRE, IF NOT FOR YOU, IT TAKES ALOT TO
LAUGH, ETC... JUST DON'T ELIMINATE ANY YOU SANG TONIGHT, OK?

CRAIG S.

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Review by Cincinatus



Before the show, I was talkin to some cons while slurping some Coors.  We
talked  about meteor showers, solitiude, bald spots, Graham Parsons, the
virtues of Murphpy's Irish whiskey,  and of course the man of the evening.
 The seasoned Dylan fans were out in force. Others were virgins awaiting
the sage." Wait until you see  this  band ", someone shouted. We
concurred!

Taking our seats, we mused about the possibilties. Was Shakepeare in the
ally or was he on the bus polishing up his dancing shoes. The seats were
filling up quickly and the anticipation was building.  The Philly Spectrum
was the home of many fine performers.  Even the spirit of the overweight
Elvis who played the Spectrum prior to his death curled his lip in heaven
for the show about to begin.  Thats the vision I saw or maybe it was a
stale philly pretzel making me hallucinate.

The lights were turned low and the band made Fred Rose's " Wait for the
Light to      Shine"  their own.  A slow languid " In' t aint Me Babe
followed.  A good place in the set I thought.  The crowd was receptive and
the incense was burning.  We made contact next with a raunchy Hard Rain. 
A bit of swagger in this one believe it or not as Bob pranced like a
medicine maker  in an Alabama barn.   "Searchin for a Soldiers Grave"  was
up next and the blue grass was agrowin not to mention the revelence of the
song in todays day and rage.

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb got the philly crowd to their feet.  Bob keep
playin this new stuff. It is fresh and alive.  The ending was especially
shall we say charismatic as the boys flexed their chops. Timing is
eveything and " Tonight I'll be stayin here with You" was a dandy. A
highlight of the show for the addicted ones. "Sad and Lonely Day" ripped
followed by the tidal " Highwater" which in my opinion is an instant
classic.  Bill Monroe and Jerry Garcia  would be proud!  

"Don't think Twice" poignant  as always."Tangled up and Blue" brought down
the house.  Even though, I have heard this many times, tonight was special
and I hope Bob is feeding the boys because they are where its at!   You
could here a pin drop during "John Brown".  A six minute song sums up the
horror of war better than any history book.   "Summers Days" swung us
around the room.  I wonder if Bob talks to Setzer. Another one from Love
and theft, "Sugar Baby".  the song sounds to aged to be new.  The
bootleggers do got some pretty good stuff but then again so does Victoria
Secret.  Nevermind....Cold Irons Bound....rocked the house and last to end
the set Rainy Day Woman.  " Everbody must get stones"   I though I heard
Bob change the words and say something strange but maybe not.

The first encore was done like a true oscar winner. The crowd did not want
Bob to stop.  Rolling Stone...How does it feel?  Pretty damnd good at this
point.  Forever Young was good, but a low point,it did not feel that
young.  " Honest with Me " okay not one of my favorites from the new album
but nonetheless entertaining.   The version of "Blowin in the Wind" is
killer and too many people have died.  

Bob and band came out and conquered with a watchtower.   All and all a
good show as Ed Sullivan used to say!  Bob has truly become a song and
dance man.  Halleluja I' m ready to go again.

[TOP]

Review by Stasia



I got to the Spectrum at about 6pm, and waited in the
general admission line for 45 minutes.  They opened
the doors a little early, but it was a slow process
with everyone being checked thoroughly.  The required
wristband to get onto the floor seems to be a new
thing these days - or is it just in Philadelphia? 
Once on the floor I found a nice spot, 20 ft. back, on
the right side of the stage - where I was expecting
Charlie to be, but in fact the line-up has been
flipped since last November.  This is my 6th November
Dylan show (17th show total), and I like the fact that
he's consistent with his appearances on the East
Coast. 
 
The show began at 8:20 with Wait for the Light to
Shine, new to my ears, but a great song that I was
hoping to hear.  Big smile on Bob's face at the end. 
It Ain't Me Babe was pretty standard, with the always
appreciated addition of the harp at the end.  At the
beginning of this song something was wrong with
Charlie or with his guitar - I noticed a visible look
of disgust, and throughout much of the show he seemed
out of it (sick perhaps?).  Next came Hard Rain, quite
possibly the first time I've heard this live, and it
was wonderful.  It was the first highlight of my
evening, with very clearly sung lyrics.  Searchin' for
a Soldier's Grave was the usual, and I prefer it to
This World Can't Stand Long.
  
The #5 slot was, in my mind, the first point of
anticipation - would they play Tweedle Dee?  They did,
and this song is my overall highlight of the whole
show.  The most incredible part was the music,
specifically the heavy bass and drums.  At first I
only thought it was the bass that was providing the
sound, but then I picked up the drumming.  Tony and
David were amazingly in sync with one another, and
they gave the song a powerful aspect that I don't hear
on the album (I'll have to try turning up the bass on
my stereo).  Tonight I'll Be Staying Here W/ You was
fine, nothing really special though - it acted like
filler in terms of the whole show.  Lonesome Day Blues
was very well done - happy to hear it, but I would
have preferred Floater.  After it was over, there was
quite a break as the band was figuring out which song
to play.  I think it may have been a last minute
switch, because people around me were guessing what
the song would be and all of a sudden a guy said
"there's the banjo, it's High Water!"  This is my most
favorite song on LAT, but I donít remember anything
noteworthy about this performance.  It obviously met
my expectations though.

Donít Think Twice is one of those songs that I love
hearing live.  I wouldnít mind if it was played at
every show, I have yet to hear a sub-par performance. 
Tangled Up in Blue is a song that used to be great
live - a guaranteed highlight of sorts - but then it
became overplayed and lost the magic.  With the harp
tonight it was better than last yearís renderings, and
Iíd guess the best since 1998 with Bucky on mandolin. 
The review in the Philly Inquirer called TUIB
"astounding," but I think thatís going a bit far.  If
Bob had decided not to play John Brown, I wouldíve
been quite disappointed.  Based on the recent
setlists, this was the one song I was seriously
looking forward to, and wow, it was awesome.  Very
light back-up by the band, and indeed the closest one
can get to Dylan solo. 
 
Summer Days was true to form, and a fun song to hear. 
Sugar Baby, however, was something else.  I was
impressed by the quality of this song, and believe it
sounded better live than recorded.  Then, the
beginning of the next song threw me for a moment. 
Cold Irons Bound had a crazy new sound, at least in
the bit of music before the first verse.  From there,
though, it was loud but pretty much the same.  I think
it was during this song that I felt very tired Ė
unusual for me at a concert Ė and it seemed like the
main set was dragging on.  I didnít notice anything
great about Rainy Day Women, but perhaps I just wasnít
paying attention.  The set ended at 10pm.
Encore began with Things Have Changed, a great choice.

I am so glad they did not play Country Pie Ė this
song is okay as a novelty, but in my opinion it does
not belong in the opening encore slot.  LARS followed
as expected, and it was a very good performance. 
However, Forever Young was the low point of the show
for me.  The harmonies sounded horrible, and overall
it was substandard.  But things livened up with Honest
With Me.  This is a great replacement for HWY61, a
good solid rocker.  Blowiní In the Wind was fine,
better harmonies but not great.  I enjoyed having
Watchtower as the closing song and at the very end of
it the band seemed to catch fire and just explode. 
The band totally came together and then Dylan repeated
the first verse of the song, which is quite unusual I
believe.  In my notes I gave the ending a "!!!"  The
show ended at 10:45, or nearly 2 1/2 hours worth of
music.  Amazing.

One thing I noticed after getting back was the
selection of songs from LAT.  Itís a coincidence Iím
sure, but of the 12 songs on the album, we heard every
other one (#1,3,5,7,9) until Sugar Baby (#12) where
two songs were skipped.  Iím happy they played 6 songs
from LAT Ė those songs made the show stronger and more
interesting.

Until next time,

Stasia, stasia_k@yahoo.com 

[TOP]

Review by Peter Stone Brown



Tonight was Bob Dylan's seventh show at the Spectrum in 27 years and his
first show there without any kind of supporting act since 1981.  Of the
three shows I've seen the Spectrum was the most packed and also one of the
most appreciative.  The crowd was pumped.

Again "Wait For the Light to Shine," kicked things off in high gear,
followed by an "It Ain't Me Babe," that was incredible featuring a subtle
guitar solo from Dylan that took the song somewhere else and at the end he
went back for the harmonica and delivered a somewhat astounding solo that
just built and built.

"Hard Rain" was every bit as strong as it was in Washington, with Dylan's
left leg constantly, twitching, shaking almost contorting-it never stopped
moving, reminding me of ancient articles by Bob Shelton and Nat Hentoff,
where they talked about how ever, while sitting at a table, Dylan's left
leg was constantly going.

"Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum" rocked, but there was something in Dylan's
phrasing that took the song somewhere else to an almost spooky place.  

Dylan then bounced back to '69 with "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With
You," and then came the night's first surprise.  Instead of staying with
the pattern of the previous shows (that I saw) where he then dipped
further back into his catalogue, he pulled out an astounding "Lonesome Day
Blues," that featured a startling good guitar solo by Bob.  And this solo
pointed out what made the Philly show special.  While consistently singing
with impact and intensity, Dylan seemed focused on the getting the music
and his playing right.  His guitar solos, whether acoustic or electric
took each song higher.  

"High Water" which has consistently been a high point of the night, came
next followed by "Don't Think Twice" and an excellent "Tangled Up In Blue"
with Dylan emphasizing the "written in my soul" line.  "John Brown" was
stripped and stark with Larry's bouzouki providing an eerie drone. 
"Summer Days" was simply superb with the three-guitar attack.  At one
point Dylan realized he muffed the "my back's been to the wall line," and
quickly sang it again somehow squeezing it in.  This led to a slow, almost
delicate "Sugar Baby" that seemed to silence the arena.  It seemed as if
everyone was actually listening.  A ferocious "Cold Iron Bounds" came next
leading into "Rainy Day Women."

On the encores "Things Have Changed," and "Honest With Me" were the
standouts.  At the end of "Blowin' In The Wind," something happened that I
haven't seen at a show in years.  Suddenly there were a few thousand lit
cigarette lighters flickering through the entire arena.

Dylan and the Band returned for "Exodus" into a searing "Watchtower."  The
band came together to soak into the applause with Dylan shuffling, smiling
and pointing to various members of the audience. They left the stage for
the last time and the applause continued for several minutes till the
lights went up.  This is easily one of the GREAT Dylan tours.

[TOP]

Review by Todd Holden



Philly, Spectrum
chilly on the parking lot, warm enough to hang with strangers and party.
as ever,  the Little Fella went on a few minutes after 8 p,m.  he came to
play and not just for the ride.

starting slowly, just like at MCI two nights ago.  but the man has had a
night and day off, and by the second tune of the night, It Ain't Me Babe,
he was solid rocking's, steady plying his trade and blowin' the harp,
gettin' right with it, from the get go, none of this wafting along as was
the case in D.C.

not enough can be said of  This Band, and it's not just Larry, it's the
wall of sound they're putting out that just adds another notch to the
level of the significance of the messages put forth and the relevancy of
them all, as relevant as  they were 35 years ago.  There's nothing to
complain about with the shows Bob Dylan is putting on today, and the
die=hard fans have put up with much over the years, and always hoped
"tonight won't be one of those off nights"

it wasn't, the Philly crowd responded in kind and the aura was unleashed
on the sold out house. Tonight, I'll Be Staying Here With You, was nailed,
big time. and it's a toss up, but my choice of the 'days' was Summer Days,
but Lonesome Day Blues was so much better than at MCI.  His voice was
better suited tonight to his volume and our seats were right dead center
behind the sound board, it was all good.


Don't Think Twice and Tangled Up in Blue are staples and proved fulfilled,
fills and all,

then the cannonball hit me right smack dab in the chest, Cold Irons Bound,
the best version I've ever heard live and in person. he speared it, just
as tight as a rat's ear, and that's tight, and so desperate and anxious in
delivery, yet controlled and aimed right at me, and every other believer
in this Pennsylvania crowd. there wasn't an asshole in the place, there
must have been some kind of quarantine on them, they were not missed,
especially at a  show of this power and intensity. Rainy Day Women, Things
Have Changed, Honest With Me are fads of mine, and he issued them with 
high dispatch and fervor.

The final tune of the night, an omen, a warning, All Along the Watchtower
was incredible, after leaving the song with final words, the harmonizing
strings set fire to the stage, burning up the shiny black and white boots
of Bob, and then when we thought he was done, he went back and sang the
song again, from the beginning,

and if that didn't put my ass away , nothing else could
two hours, thirty minutes,
 and "executioner's face is always well hidden?

this was truly one of the best shows , out of about 57 or so, ever for me,
but then again we are all never the same each time we see a phenomena such
as this, everything's changing and every now and again, we chance the
change together.

Bird

Todd Holden
Bel Air Md.

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Review by Alex & Josh Leik



Our hopes were high after MCI center on Thursday night, but we were
careful not to expect better. That is the best way to be pleasantly
surprised. We arrived at the Spectrum a good 2 hours before show time, and
an hour before the doors opened. After becoming completely immersed in the
parking lot scene, we were off for the general admission line, and soon on
our way into the arena.

A brief stop at the restroom, and short conversation with our old Chinese
drinking buddy (Yeung Ling) later, we were on the floor, about half way
between the sound boards and the stage, pretty much dead center. The place
filled up nicely and Bob and the boys were on stage by about 8:20. They
were off in a hurry with Wait for the Light to Shine.  The sound was great
and volume loud so the harmonies were felt and not just heard.  It was a
good indication that the show would be a good one.  Larry played a
mandolin solo that was one of the best I've heard.  It ain't me babe
followed and was a real treat.  Bob's vocal was outstanding as it was for
the entire show.  His meandering leads that were missing at Penn State
were right on tonight (Tangled up In Blue was the greatest four note solo
I've ever heard).  It aint me babe also featured some very tasteful
harmonica playing.  Hard Rain was very nice and Bob's phrasing was closer
to the original version than usual.  He often puts the entire line into
the first chord instead of spreading it out over all three chords as when
it was first recorded.  It's just a personal preference and tonight he
spaced it out just a little more.

Searching for a Soldiers Grave was next. This worked well after TUIB in
2000, but after Hard Rain it's just a little too slow, and especially
depressing - I imagine that's the point. Still a nice version. Tweedle Dee
and Tweedle Dum started the electric set, and roared along very nicely,
followed by a simply stunning Tonight I'll be Staying Here with You. Larry
stole this one on the pedal steel, and Bob's singing was in rare form.
Lonesome Day Blues was a nice surprise, and classic blues. Bob belted this
one out with much emotion.  It could have been written in 2001 or 1960 or
1930.

After Lonesome Day Blues was a great version of Highwater.  What a 
transformation from the recorded version.  The acoustic blues is something
special and one of Bob's best recordings, but the banjo behind the
pounding and shuffling electricity is absolutely beautiful.  Don't think
twice was one of the highlights with Tony doing some runs on the stand up 
that you don't see him do often.  There can be no argument that he is a
great bass player.  I think many of them (bass players) forget that they
are as much rhythm players as  they are melody or root note, but Tony
always has that balance.  During don't think twice he showed some flash
that he rarely gets to show. Superb playing!!  

Tangled up In Blue was great with the solo previously mentioned. 
Harmonica playing that went outside the standard 3 notes and was quite
melodic.  Vocally he combined a few different melodies he has been singing
over the past few years, and each one was right on.  I've heard it rock
harder but it doesn't always need to be the song that brings the house
down, and there were others tonight that did.  John Brown was nice but
just doesn't have the drive that it did on unplugged or the resonance of
some of the other performances.  Summer Days!! Oh me, Oh my!! Other than
Charlie apparently having difficulty with his equipment, this was a
classic.  Larry took all the leads and it appeared to be that way because
Charlie could not make his guitar be heard.  Not that Larry needed any
help, he was superb.  But I think they would have traded more if they
could have.  That song just rocks and there is nothing else like it.  

Sugar Baby was again a gem.  And I believe this was the point in the show
where there was some confusion or indecision or Bob was just messing with
the band.  Larry changed instruments three times before they started the
song.  Cold Irons Bound was tight and after they got through the last
verse hitting every one of those notes on the up beat Larry and Charlie
looked at each other and smiled.  It's a tough little thing to play and if
you throw Bob's phrasing in there it can make even the "best band in the
land" second guess themselves.  Well they did it right on and Bob had
plenty of "Yeeeeeeaaahhs" and "AAAwwwwwws" for us.  Rainy Day Women I find
hard to pay attention to just because of how often it is played.  It
sounded great and I watched the audience enjoy it a great deal.  You can't
say enough about the crowd in Philadelphia.  The spectrum was basically
full and they were loud and appreciative.  What a difference that makes
and you can believe that Bob knew it as he stood throwing jabs to the
crowd with his guitar at the close of the main set.

So we made our way to the back of the auditorium behind the sound booth
for the encores.  Things have changed was very nice and the phrasing and
"reworking" of the melody was right on.  The crowd loved "Like a Rolling
Stone" and it was a nice job, it just gets a little old.  A small price to
pay for attending so many shows.  Forever Young was one of the best lately
with new phrasing and slightly different harmonies.  Even those who did
not know "Honest with me" yet enjoyed it and by this time the crowd is in
a frenzy.  And no matter how many times you hear "Blowin' In the Wind" you
just never tire of it.  The audience responding to the most relevant lines
and falling to pieces after the harmonies on the chorus. 

Our good friend Dave attended  one of the spectrum show in 1974 and said
that the 74 version of Watchtower was "the best 6 minutes of music" he has
ever heard.  He may not have changed his mind, but he was as impressed as
we were by the 01 version.  Good stuff!!!   What a performance, what a
show.  It had about 17or 18 of the 20 pieces necessary for the perfect
Dylan concert.  Just don't ask what all 20 of those pieces are.

alex leik and josh leik

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page by Bill Pagel
billp61@execpc.com

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