Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 11/19/99


Atlantic City, New Jersey

November 19, 1999

Sands Casino
Copa Room

[Peter Stone Brown], [Kathy], [Patrick Rathburn], [Jackie Pajas], [Mary Mosser]

Reviews by Peter Stone Brown

Early Show:

Atlantic City to put it quite simply a bizarre place and here was Bob
Dylan appearing there for the fourth time at a place he already played
earlier this year, the Copa room in the Sands Casino.   I left Philly in
the middle or rush hour, miraculously didn’t hit any traffic jams and
made it to A.C. in the usual time: one hour flat.  I strolled past the
gamblers in the one arm bandits easily found the line to the Copa Room
and wandered down it till I found my friends the Double-D couple just
where they said they would be.  Now the Copa room is pretty small with
lots of tables and chairs and these booth-like lounge things which they
keep reserved for the heavy gamblers who get comped to the show.   They
have some sort of seating chart and it takes awhile for everyone to get
in.  Sometimes it helps to tip the Maitre d’ to get a better spot.  We
got a pretty good table a little to the left of the center of the stage
and had a good 45 minutes to kill before show time.  I spent it getting
something to eat in the Casino (they give you passes out), and wandering
the Copa Room in search of various RMD-ers though I didn’t know what
they looked like, and found the one who did give me a description, Kevin
Reilly who as it happened was sitting at the table next to mine.

So right around 8 PM the curtain came up and there were the roadies
tuning the guitars.  About 8 minutes after, Dylan and band appeared and
launched into a spirited “Roving Gambler,”  a totally appropriate song
for the setting.  Dylan seemed very loose and in good spirits smiling
broadly.  An okay “Mr. Tambourine Man,” followed and then Dylan said
hello to someone in the audience whose name I already forget and said he
was the presidient of the International Bob Dylan fan club, and then
went into the Stanley Brother’s “Cold Walls and Steel Bars” and it was
good too.  The thumping rhythm he uses these days for “Desolation Row”
came next and it was he was singing strongly and clearly and this was
followed by the now familiar, clean picking of Larry Campbell
introducing “Mama You Been On My Mind.”  A powerful “It’s Alright Ma”
came next followed by a nice gentle “Tomorrow Is A Long Time.”  And
about this time we started looking at each other.  Six songs and not an
electric guitar in sight.  Could it be?

Now let’s backtrack a bit.  When Dylan played the Copa Room at the end
of his tour last February and people found it was a small 700-seat room,
speculation ran high.  Would he make it special?  Would it be another
Supper Club?  As it turned out those shows ended up being typical tour
shows, though a little shorter and fairly lackluster ones at that.  Was
this the night he would make up for it?  

“Masters of War” came next.  And then they started something unfamiliar,
something I couldn’t place, something almost jazzy.  And Dylan said
something encouraging to the band like “you got it” or something like
that and stepped to the mike and the words didn’t come.  And the band
kept jamming with Larry on steel and Dylan stood there still in a good
mood, but whatever song it was, the words didn’t come and it sort of
collapsed, and he said, “Well here’s my version of it,” and went into a
delicate “One Too Many Mornings.”  This was followed by a fairly roaring
“Tangled,” and they took off their guitars and left the stage, returning
for a quick “Blowin’ In The Wind.”  There were no band introductions in
this show.

Now at some point in the show, (I forget between which songs) a woman
jumped on stage to talk to Bob, and then she motioned to some other guy
who came up and then they left.  I don’t know what it is about this
particular room that makes people think they can jump on stage.

Anyway, “Blowin’” didn’t have its usual long introduction where the band
runs through and entire verse and chorus before Dylan starts singing,
just a tiny little intro and he was into it.  At some point during this
song Bob’s guitar tech snuck on stage and grabbed Bob’s Strat from
behind the drums.  The lights went down after “Blowin’,” and there they
were back on stage again but in the shadows you could see this time they
had electric guitars, and wam! into “Not Fade Away,” and then real deja
vu time, as all of a sudden there’s one, there’s two, no there’s 50
people on stage just like last February’s late show at the Sands.  And
Dylan is surrounded and you can’t see him.  But unlike last time, he
didn’t stay on stage and very quickly you saw a roadie take his guitar
and lead him off stage and the song collapsed.  End of show.  Again.

Now who knows whether they would have done another song?  But given the
things that have been happening on this tour, especially in the last two
weeks, it wasn’t out of the question.  While “Not Fade Away” has been
the show closer for most of this year, in Philly he came back after it. 
So anything is possible, and given that this time around he was
attempting to make the show something unique and special by doing the
whole thing (except for NFA) acoustic anything was possible.  But we’ll
never know.


Late Show:

It was out of show number one and back in line for show number two, this
time with Kevin Reilly while my other friends went off in search of food
and gambling having decided that getting in line was a waste of time. 
The line moved somewhat faster and we were joined by some other friends
of mine.  Once inside we had a choice of tables and chose one a little
closer to the stage, but also because Kevin had shared his table with
the two guys seated there and said they weren’t talkers.  So we had a
table of no talkers which was something of a problem at the first show.

Just as the lights went down, a human wall in the next row in front of
us decided to stand up.  “SIT DOWN!” came the shout from not one but at
least two tables.  He ignored it.  “SIT DOWN” came the collective shout
again.  (I loved it.)  Finally on about the third or fourth shout he
realized he had no choice.  

Dylan and the band came out and were into “Oh Babe It Ain’t No Lie.” 
There was a force to it, and a tightness that wasn’t there on the first
show.  What could have been the intro to either “Girl From the North
Country” or “Boots of Spanish Leather” came next.  I wrote down “North
Country,” then said to my friend, “No it’s ‘Boots.’ “   It was a
beautifully played and sung “North Country,” followed by a splendid
“Visions of Johanna.”  Then came a nice surprise, “Rock of Ages,” the
hymn done more or less in a haunting bluegrass version that was truly

Then what sounded like the typical Never Ending Tour intro to “Times
They Are A-Changin’” followed, except it wasn’t, it was “Hard Rain,” and
a truly excellent “Hard Rain” with Dylan getting more and more into it
with each line digging in really deep on “the song of a poet who died in
the gutter.”

And then out came the electrics and into a blues riff and both Kevin and
I wrote down “Tombstone Blues,” but it was “Maggie’s Farm.”  But playing
around with intros weren’t the only tricks Dylan had up his sleeve, the
next song was a total surprise, “The Man In Me.”  And it was just a
gorgeous version, particularly the bridge which he did twice, changing
the line from the original to “From my toes right up to my hair.”  On
the rest of the song, Dylan echoed each line he sang with a guitar line,
almost like a blues singer, though this isn’t exactly a blues song.  And
then came a killer rendition of “Tombstone Blues,” with Charlie Sexton
stepping out on lead guitar.  

A better than the record version of “To Make You Feel My Love” came
next, followed by band intros and a typically rocking “Leopard Skin
Pill-Box Hat.

“Love Sick” as usual was the first encore featuring a tough guitar solo
from Dylan and then “Like A Rolling Stone.”  And again with each line it
became clear that this was one hell of a version, especially on the
second verse with Dylan really leaning into “You say you never
compromise with the mystery tramp but now you realize” and then after
the chorus a woman walked on-stage and then another woman.  And the
first woman actually went up to the mike and sang off-key and out of
time “How does it feel,” and then the sound guys turned the mike down. 
And one of the roadies led away the second woman and there was another
roadie crouched behind the drums ready to pounce into action, and this
woman just stood there and Bob’s standing there playing making those
crazy faces that he makes and the band keeps playing and she doesn’t
leave and finally she’s led out of the way but still stays on stage
dancing to the crowd and finally Dylan sings the last verse and she’s
still up there pumping her arms and Dylan sings, “You’re invisible now.”
looking right at her and then adds “Oh yeah” and everyone seemed to get
it but her, but what might’ve been one of the most amazing recent
versions of the song was ruined.  The lights went down and the band left
the stage.  

They returned a few minutes later with Dylan wearing a cowboy hat and
blasted out “Not Fade Away” uninterrupted.

A friend of mine had the best analogy.  “You don’t lean out from the
stands and catch the ball during a no-hitter.  You get ejected from the
game and banned from ballparks.  This was fan interference.  You don’t
interfere with the show.”

I can’t put it any better than that.  And so it seems to go with Bob
Dylan and the Copa Room.  But until that point, that late show was one
hell of a show.

"Where the angels' voices whisper to the souls of previous times." 
--Bob Dylan
Peter Stone Brown 

Comments by Kathy

This is in response to the review by Peter Brown.  
I must say that I totally agree with your opinion of the woman jumping on the 
stage of the 11:00 show.  I would also like to say to Mr. Brown, every other 
person at the show, and most of all to Mr. Dylan whom I admire and respect 
more than any other artist in the world I am truly sorry.  You see I am that 
idiot and I hope you can forgive me.  There is no excuse for it and I can 
only say that between the excitement of the show and the endless glasses of 
wine before, during and after the first show my common and not so common 
sense left me.  Please do not hate me.  I'm usually not 

that much of a jackass.  Again, I apologize and I'm sorry if I ruined the 

                                                   Kathy aka female soy bomb


Review by Patrick Rathburn

Four hours before the scheduled start of the show we went down to the
Sands to check out the scene. About twenty fans were already in line
in front of the Copa Room hoping to score the prime seats for the
general admission show. We decided to take our chances and go back to
our hotel room for a nap after our journey from Chicago. We went back
around 6:30 and we were pleasantly surprised to find out that we could
get a drink from the adjacent bar and get in line with only about 150
of the anticipated 750 person crowd in front of us. In line we met
T---- from Florida and enjoyed trading stories about different shows
that we had attended over the years. Once into the Copa room we were
escorted to our seats just left of center and about twenty feet from
the stage. The waitresses were soon taking our drink orders and at
that point it was very difficult to find anything in life to complain

Everyone can view the set lists as compiled on this fine site by the
admirable and praiseworthy Bill Pagel, so I won't go into a lot of
detail on that. As you can see Bob threw everyone a curve and played,
save for the final encore, an entirely acoustic set. Some of the
highlights for me were his extended harp solo on TUIB and the change
in tempo of Desolation Row. Also I really enjoyed again the added
singing accompaniment of Charlie Sexton with Larry Campbell especially
on BITW which I first witnessed at the Paul Simon show in Chicago this
summer. I must admit that I was hoping for more electric songs because
of my proximity to the stage. But I would stand in line to see the man
shave so I'm not complaining. He could take the stage alone playing
nothing but a wax paper and comb and I'd still enjoy it just fine so I
may not be the best one to give an impartial review. As usual Bob's
rendering of the set was heartfelt. He was in fine voice and it was
both an honor and a privilege to view him working in so close a venue.

Now I'm disappointed to have to report the only negative part of the
otherwise completely enjoyable night. As some of you may already know
about half way through Not Fade Away a woman decided to go on stage to
get close to Bob. For some reason no security responded. Bob being the
gentlemen, professional and all around nice guy that he is kept on
playing. Of course others from the front rows decided that since no
one stopped this women it would be OK for them to go on stage also.
Soon after there were about thirty or forty people on stage with more
on the way and Bob was escorted off by security and the band had to
abruptly end the show.

Now I'm a forty-seven year old guy who has been following BD since I
was about twelve. I don't have every song he ever sung on tape and I
don't dress up as a character from his songs on his birthday although
I certainly don't begrudge anyone who does. I have attended Bob's
shows whenever and wherever I can but this was as close to the man as
I have ever been. This was a very special occasion for me and some of
the moments in the show for me were so personal that I choose not to
share them with anyone. Point is I consider myself to be as big a Bob
fan as there is, and just being in this hall for this show was good
enough for me. But apparently not for those who invaded the stage at
the end of the show. 

The most disappointing thing is that I always thought that there was a
kinship among those of us who admire BD and enjoy his music, nothing
mystical or anything such as that but just a general understanding of
the correct order of how it should be. I guess I'm pretty naïve for
such an old guy. Now these people come along and they can't seem to
understand that the stage is where the man works. He plays these shows
for the love of the music and for the enjoyment of his fans. I'm sure
most of the people who take the time to read this probably feel the
same way I do, so I am probably preaching to the choir here but I just
have to get this off my chest. What is going on in the brains of
people who are so selfish that they would endanger the well being of a
living legend and his band members and interfere with the show? They
caused the premature ending of the show, they endangered the well
being of Bob and the band, and they disrupted everyone's enjoyment
just so they could say they got to touch him or dance on his stage. 

To the "Soy Boys" and to the unthinking people who illegally entered
the stage during Friday night's early show, even though you may not be
one to trespass and you just sometimes find yourself over the line,
please stay the hell off of the stage and away from Bob Dylan. 

I'm really glad that there is an upsurge in Bob's popularity in recent
years but it's too bad that things have come to this point. I hope
that Bob's company takes the necessary steps to insure his safety and
the preservation of his personal space and I surely hope that these
events will not discourage him from continuing his never ending tour.

Sorry if this is more of a rant than a review. Hope you understand.


Patrick Rathburn
Merrillville, IN


Review by Jackie Pajas

Okay - the 8pm show has now made the absolute top of my list, and there
are a lot of Dylan shows on my list (30 years worth).  The set was all
acoustic except for Not Fade Away for the closer, which they didn't get
to finish due to a stage rush by a herd of clueless groupies.  They did
finish it at the second show, though.

Without going through a song by song, Bob was dancing, smiling, and in
great voice at both shows.  First show was amazing with some real
surprises with Stone Walls and Steel Bars showing up.  Desolation Row
was prime, and he seemed to enjoy each song more.  The real standout was
absolutely the best version of Masters of War I've ever heard.
Emotional, powerful and perfect.  Lots of us in line for the second show
were talking about it, and we all were wishing that this all acoustic
show would have been recorded.  They really painted a masterpiece with
this one.

NOTE:  This band is really tight.  And the guys have obviously been
working on the vocal harmonies.  They were incredible.  The second show
included Rock of Ages and their voices were strong and blended, and
beautiful.. Both Larry and Charlie were showcased there as well.

As far as the venus goes, it was great!  There are no bad seats.  All of
them have good views.  Most important, the sound is incredible. Balanced
and clear, we could hear all of the instruments and voices during both
shows.  There was some question as to "maitre de" seating.  And, of
course, the casino comps got first pick, and  there were alot of them.
It didn't matter.

We flew into Atlantic City from Michigan, including a prop puddle jumper
from Philadelphia.  We got fogged in going home, the airport closed, and
put us on a bus to Philly.  It was all worth it - these small venue
shows are the best!!! After thirty years, and more Dylan shows than I
can count. these small audience ones are worth chasing.  I'll keep
trying to get to them.

Extra added attraction - Saturday night the Doobie Brothers played in
the same room at the Sands.


Comments by Mary Mosser

Atlantic City, Late Show. 

 I'm not the type of person to write reviews or comments.  I was never
 really good at it.  But here it goes.  My husband and I went on a
 mini-tour for the first time in a long time.  We had tickets to 5 of
 the shows, and were extremely excited to do this.  All the shows were
 great.  I can't think of one that was better than the other.  We had
 approximately one week to rest up before the AC show when a tragedy
 happened in my family.  My brother-in-law was shot in the heart.  He
 was only 34.  My sister has three little ones to raise by herself. 
 And after the prayers at the closing, Dawn got up and said, "Every
 night all five of them would crawl into their bed and say one
 prayer."  She then asked all of us at the funeral home to say the
 prayer with her and her family.  At that point I realized what a
 great person my little sister is.   We attended the very sad funeral
 that morning, and headed to Atlantic City afterward.  Now, on the way
 down I was wondering and hoping he (her husband) had seen the
 master's hand.  I guess what I'm really saying is to the girls and
 guys who jump on the stage.  I believe Bob know how much we all love
 him and his music, but show and tell the people in your own life you
 love them.  He tells us this in the songs he sings.  All you have to
 do is listen.  And if you have a few seconds, say a little prayer for
 Dawn.  Thanks.  



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