page by Bill Pagel
Review by Nick Pappas
Wow! I went to the last 5 dylan shows on this tour and I must say last
night at Harvard definately competes with the Bethleham show for the best.
I was kind of nervous about Bob coming to harvard (I go here); i've been
to over 100 shows and I've realized that oftentimes the type of crowd has
a direct affect on Bob's energy and "singing" performance. But, to my
suprise, the crowd was pretty good and Bob was in amazingly high spirits,
singing strong the entire night.
There is no setlist up yet, so here's what he played from my memory (the
exact order might be off but this is definately what he played):
Rainy Day Women: Bob came on at about 8:15 to the usual intro. He was
singing strong from the start, not once did he do that thing when he
raises his voice on the last word in every line. He was moving around in
his dark suit, and at one point his microphone got cut off right before
the hook line, and the entire crowd yelled finishing the line "everybody
must get stoooned". The sound came back in a second and bob finished the
song strong with a great harp solo.
Forever Young: heard this at UNH, but this version was better. He sang it
the whole way through even reaching on some of the chorus. He played a
sweet harp solo at the end and Larry complimented it nicely on pedal
God Knows: Heard this in brockton last summer, but i liked this version
better. The sound in the Gordon Track was very good from where I was, i
was with my roomate (it was his first dylan show) and he could understand
all the words. i was pumped.
Desolation Row: I was so excited to hear this, i haven't heard it since
the 2001 tour. It was awesome. Bob delivered about 5 verses. Stu played a
good solo on this one and bob ended it with some nice harp
It's Alright Ma: Once again sung strongly. By now bob was sweating up a
storm, every time he moved beads of sweat flew onto his piano!
Lay Lady Lay: The crowd immediately recognized this one. Good singing
here, he played harp again!
Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee: The one song i was not excited for. Bob sang it
well and strong, i've just heard this way too many times.
Don't Think Twice: Crowd immediately recognized it. He sang it kind of
slowly compared to other versions, but it was effective. His harp solo at
the end got a huge response. It was awesome. By this point bob was
bouncing around all over the place. At the end of this song he almost
hoped over to george and tony. He then looked at the crowd and pointed to
some girls in the front. It was funny.
Highwater: with larry on cittern. I always like hearing this. It's got a
great groove and bob sang it really strong. I love the stop/start jams
John Brown: The HUGE suprise nustled into a greatest hits/love and theft
set. It was awesome. Larry was on Cittern; it was spooky and slow and bob
sang every verse without missing a line (he was reading off his piano but
that perfectly fine with me). This was a highlight for me, much better
than the version I heard on the 2001 arena tour.
Stuck Inside Of MObile: Fun and rockin as usual. Bob sang the senator
verse instead of the Ruthy verse. Stu was great during his leads.
Honest With Me: larry on telecaster not slide (or cittern like UNH). They
changed the riff around a little bit; it resembles the tum tum tum like in
summer days and highway 61 that they play now. It was rockin. I'd like
something new in this spot but tonight this was energized and rockin. Bob
walked to the center of the stage after and did his "thumbs up" thing.
Sugar Baby: I like the new arrangement of this one. He sang all the
verses, and didn't resort to any of his sing/song methods. It was
Summer Days; Rocked out as usual. People around me were dancing. Bob sang
strong, the Jam was really good, especially larry.
Bob and the boys stood at attention, bob was bouncing around like a
chicken. He kept pointing to some peopel right in front of me and giving
the thumbs up. It reminded me of Bethlehem, i was waiting for him to do
the "there is nothign up my sleeves" routine, but instead we got smiles
and thumbs up.
The encores were good too. ROlling stone was a crowd favorite immediately.
He sang it pretty well, there was a lyric flub int he second verse, but he
recovered. Once again i was happy to hear him sing "how does it
feeeeeeeel" rather than just "how does it feel". The crowd loved this one.
Bob stepped up and grabbed the mike saying "thank you friends" the crowd
cheered as he introduced the band. He did a joke I hadn't heard before
when introducing larry: "larry is the golfer of the group..he golfs
wherever we go...whenever he goes golfing, he brings two pairs of pants in
case he gets a hole-in-one". The crowd liked that one.
Watchtower: rockin as usual. I've heard it so many times but i think it's
the perfect closer. The solo's from both stu and larry (on pedalsteel)
where great. TOny was groovin the whole time and George went crazy on the
drums. Right before repeating the first verse for the usual ending, bob
started banging away at the keys. He played some pretty funky grooves
before he started singing the ending. He then literally hopped to center
stage. He was again pointing at some people this time in a different
section. He was definately in high spirits tonight.
ALl in all I had a great time tonight. ALthough it was a pretty much
greatest hits/love and theft setlist (with the excpetion of the John Brown
Suprise) bob's mood and his strong singing made it just super. The sound
in the gordon track, where my roomate practices tennis, was unexpectedly
really really good. Better than the URI show on wednesday for sure. I was
really happy to see bob having fun at my school. I talked to a lot of
people after the show and most of them thought it was amazing. A few
complained about the song arrangements but thats to be expected from
people who haven't seen bob live before and only have the greatest hits
CD. It was great that bob played here, by 11:15 I was back at currier
house. Can't wait for the next tour!
Review by Sallie Donovan
I didn't have a ticket but was able to buy one from somebody. The crowd
buzzed as Beethoven's 9th and Aaron Copeland symphonies played. Harvard
undergrads traded remarks of cynicism and ignorance. "My parents used to
listen to him." "Can't understand the words." "What's with this classical
music?" A mother whined at her teenage son to stay "just a while."
Nevertheless, there were a few with a clue, speculating about the set
list, reminiscing on all the shows they'd seen. I was 20 feet from the
stage, behind a tall thin man with frizzy gray hair, black leather
jacket, black pants and boots--he turned and I saw the familiar
narrow-eyed profile, cowboy shirt--yes, it was a Bob Dylan impersonator!
But he couldn't quite make it, being a foot too tall. Copeland's violins
took off running, lights went down, and sweet Nag Champa incense filled
the air. Clear and unmistakable, the band lay down first chords of
"Everybody Must Get Stoned," perfect let's-go song for this crowd. There
was swaying, grooving, waving, and massive joining-in on the chorus.
Light reflected off the keyboard into Dylan's face, grave and impassive,
doing his job, singing the words down into the mike every so often. He
chose "Forever Young" next for this crowd of young'uns, and I hope they
got the kind message. A hard rock, sometimes bluesy, series followed,
with "God Knows," "Desolation Row," and "It's Alright, Ma" showcasing the
great jamming and solos of Larry Campbell and Stu Kimball. The five men
onstage let the music's power come through them and fill the audience.
Larry's pedal steel solos made "Lay Lady Lay" as sweet as ever. Picking
up speed again, they followed with "High Water" and "Tweedledee and
Tweedledum." Dylan, who had thus far remained inscrutable, broke into
several smiles on "Tweedledee" and began to have more and more of a good
time. In the hot lights, you could see sweat fly off him as he sang
"Stuck Inside of Mobile" and the hardest-swinging "Summer Days" I've ever
heard. He ended one of those with a giddy waltz around the stage--simply
enjoying being there! One of his turns revealed he was wearing a long
tail coat with two brass buttons at the back. He kept it buttoned, and
the high-neck shirt and gray tie, along with a tightly-rolled black
cowboy hat, made him look a little like a military man, civil war style.
In keeping, he next sang a sobering ballad of a young soldier wounded in
that war, coming home to his family. Great depth and power, a clear
statement of sorrow over today's wars as well. I don't want to leave out
the more "unplugged" acoustic songs -- "Don't Think Twice" makes a lovely
piece especially with Larry's versatile talents. "Sugar Baby" also
notable in this category. A hard-rocking "Honest With Me" at the end
showed they still had plenty left to give, and so did the encores on
"Like a Rolling Stone" and "All Along the Watchtower." I can't end
without a eulogy for Dylan's guitar playing. It appears those days will
not return. But for every chance we still have to see him and his band
play, there is no opportunity more priceless.
Review by Willie Gissen
Dylan at my Alma Mater
Well, it finally happened. Dylan played at my alma mater, Harvard College. I couldn't believe it when
I first found out. Then, I couldn't believe it was a closed campus show. Only faculty and staff had
access to tickets, not alumni. There was hope, however. A small number of tickets would be available
through bobdylan.com. I hit the Internet at 10 AM the day they went on sale, and, after a few refused
attempts due to call volume, I secured two tickets. Later, after hunting around on the Internet, I
learned that only 500 tickets were offered, and they sold out in 12 minutes. My tickets, which I nearly
threw away when they came in the mail -- I thought it was Harvard asking for money again -- were
numbered 423 and 424...just made it. I had fallback strategies to ask someone I knew in the Dean's
office; she had been a student advisor and good friend when I was in college, but, fortunately, I didn't
need to call in any favors.
Dylan played on Sunday evening and because of the nature of his schedule, I was able to make a weekend
out of it. Driving up from New York, Amherst was two hours away, then Cambridge another two. So I went
to Dylan's concert at Amherst on Saturday night, then drove to Cambridge after the concert where I had
reservations at the Cambridge Gateway Inn. Got in around 12:30 PM, crashed, then woke up refreshed the
next morning. When I read my complimentary Boston Globe, I learned that the student body was celebrating
the football team's 35-3 victory over Yale yesterday and their undefeated record for the fifth or sixth
time in over a hundred years. As I left the motel to drive into Harvard Square, there were some
middle-aged people with Harvard jackets on in the parking lot. I introduced myself as an alumni and
found out that one of them was a parent of one of the players. So I realized this was going to be a
memorable weekend for more than Dylan alone.
I was going to the concert with a good friend from freshman year; he lived across the hall from me in a
dorm in Harvard Yard, and we used to blast "Like a Rolling Stone," after our last class on Friday
afternoons. But I wasn't meeting him until 4:30 PM, so I had the day to walk around and reminisce. For
the first time in my life, I went to a Sunday service at Memorial Church in Harvard Yard. I had become
a Christian while on a leave-of-absence from Harvard when Dylan came out with "Slow Train Coming."
Afterwards, I used to hang out with the Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship on Friday evenings but
wasn't into organized religion and didn't go to Harvard's church. Just as well. The service was way too
liturgical for my tastes; I'm used to a more freewheeling Assembly of God approach. The reverend was
friendly and gave a good sermon even though the regular Pastor, a longtime fixture who preached even
when I was a student -- Reverend Peter Gomes -- was unusually absent due to a health problem.
After the service, I went to my favorite deli in "The Garage," an assortment of eateries off of Harvard
Square. The deli was called Formaggio's, and when I ordered my regular roast beef sandwich with boursin
cheese, one of the people behind the counter looked at me funny. I told her that this restaurant has
been around for a long time; she said, yes, over thirty years," and I responded that I used to come by
when I was a student.
Then, when I sat down at one of the tables, I realized that "things have changed." Two cute co-eds were
eating two tables down; I noticed them but didn't pay attention initially because I had bought a New
York Times from the famous newsstand in Harvard Square, which has magazines and newspapers from around
the world, and I was looking at the newspaper. Then, one of the co-eds, who had an unconsciously loud
way of speaking said to her friend, "You're still a virgin, right?" I nearly dropped my sandwich on the
floor as I was subsequently treated to a very x-rated conversation. I couldn't believe it. The one with
the loud voice kept saying to her friend, "Oh, that's hot." Her friend's voice was lower as the two
compared their love lives.
So, it was definitely turning into a weekend to remember. I went outside around 3 PM, looking to see if
the chess con men were still outside offering games for a price. I had been playing at Marshall Chess
Club in New York City, and my chess skills were newly honed. I got a game, and we played for an hour and
a half to a drawish position, at which point I told the guy I had to meet a friend at 4:30 PM, and since
neither side was ahead, I didn't owe him a two dollar fee.
I met Mike outside the Coop at 4:30 PM; the Coop is a Harvard clothing, paraphernalia and bookstore in
the center of Harvard Square, and provides a good place to meet by the columns in its open-air foyer.
He was there waiting, and we went to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant (another new experience for me)
before going to wait in line for the concert. When we got to the venue, across the river near the
stadium and Harvard Business School, they had segregated the ticket holders into two lines, one for
students, the other for bobdylan.com. I had never seen this at any other college concert and was bummed
out because I thought they were going to let the students in first. They claimed that it was just
because the students had $25 tickets and needed to show their college I.D. to get it, but they did let
the students go in for several minutes before the doors were opened on our side. Anyway, we still did
get relatively close to the stage, so the moment for the concert had finally come.
Dylan was in an extremely good mood. He started the show off with a rollicking version of Rainy Day
Women then moved into Forever Young. It was like he was trying to teach the students. Dylan even smiled
during "Tweedledum and Tweedledee," an uncommonly long version with the band and him obviously enjoying
themselves. The Harvard students really got into the concert after he played Don't Think Twice, It's
Alright, even the five teenybopper girls in front of me who kept chattering and playing with their hair.
One of the highlights of the concert was Dylan's singing of John Brown. He sang the lyrics of this
poignant story very clearly, being careful that all the students, even the non-Dylan fans who didn't
know the song, would be able to follow along. All of a sudden, the concert wasn't just a college party
and social event. In his typical style, Dylan had infused it with meaning. Maybe I was imagining it,
but I think the audience listened even more intently to the lyrics for the remainder of the show. It
was no longer just about recognizing the songs and singing along.
Then, something unusual, after the usual superb "Like a Rolling Stone" in the encore. Dylan made a joke.
Yes, with a sly smile, he said that Larry Campbell was the golfer in the band. "He has two pairs of
pants in case he gets a 'hole in one.'"
After one of the best versions of "All Along the Watchtower" to end the show, Dylan made a whole new
generation of fans among the coming elite. As usual after a Dylan concert, the audience was buzzing
after the show was over.
I rode back tonight, taking a nap halfway to ensure I didn't fall asleep on the road. I'm still
digesting the weekend off, and the appearance of Dylan at my alma mater.
Review by Kevin Ouellette
Just got back from the Harvard show. I was right on the rail just to the
right of Larry. This was one HELL OF A SHOW! The band came out around 8:15
with Bob wearing a black cowboy hat, black pants and jacket with a gold
shirt and tie underneath. The band was in matching tan suits. They kicked
it off with Rainy Day Women which rocked. Then a somber Forever Young with
nice harp work. God Knows was a nice rocker. Then Desolation Row which was
played perfectly Bob played some nice harp again. It's Alright. Ma and
Lay, Lady, Lay were pretty standard versions. Highwater had a different
arrangement with Larry on what I think was a Bozuki(spelling may be
wrong). Great version of Don't Think Twice with more harp from Bob.
Tweedle was next which I hate, but good guitar work by Larry and Stu.
Mobile was a good version. Then the SURPRISE of the tour came when the
band went completely acoustic with John Brown. Let me tell you that this
version was perfect. Bob spit the words out like venum and the band was
really cooking. HWM was a another good rocker then the band went back to
completely acoustic with a great Sugar Baby. Summer Days ended the first
set and it was, dare I say, almost as good as when Charlie was in the
band? It was definately the best version I have seen since Charlie has
left, theThis concert was fantastic, great way to end the tour. Keep it
going Bob, we'll be waiting for you the next time your up this way.
Review by Larry Fishman
I believe that this is Zim's first proper concert at Harvard University
which has graduated it's share of Presidents, CEO's and other famous,
smart, rich & connected people. I read somewhere that they could fill two
large freshman classes with all the applicants who have perfect scores on
their college boards - yikes. The show was held in an indoor running
track sloppily converted into a makeshift concert hall without seats The
enthusiastic audience - a mix of students whom clearly have downloaded
their shares of Dylan MP3's along with the usual motley contingent of
graying, balding diehard Bobcats.
The band was dressed in tan suits with black shirts while Bob just the
opposite with his tan shirt filled with sequins. Everybody has a hat
except for Cambpell who leaves his truss, a cross between a Yanni coif & a
Keith Carradine shagg unadorned. I guess if I had hair like that I'd go
hatless too. The acoustics were mid range acceptable as Bob was
energetic, focused, & clearly having fun.
Stu Kimball has clearly jelled & fits snugly into the band in the lead
guitar spot. With Larry Campbell & Tony Garnier front and center, we just
don't have to worry about the music-- it will be there each and every
night. It appears as if the audition is over for George Recili who is
ably esconsed at the drums. And by the way, Bob is playing lots & lots of
Prior to the band's recorded introduction: a Bob Dylan first. A
policeman came out and announced, "No Moshing!"
1. Rainy Day Women. With Bob rocking & lunging back & forth, the night
kicked off with this crowd pleaser. I'm not so sure this one has worn
well, but the undergrads dug it. D's mic gave out for a few seconds but
the crowd chimed in with the lyrics unprompted.
2. Forever Young. With Stu Kimball filling in the cracks & seams of the
vocals, a lovely take of the classic. Spot on.
3. God Knows. It's got 2 chords and they play it real loud. It's a
thrashing, crashing tune sealed with a short harp blast.
4. Desolation Row. With Tony & Larry picking up acoustic instruments and
Bob plucking away at the keys, a faithful, straight take of the
masterwork. Nice long harp solo.
5. It's Alright Ma. Larry picks up that Ballilika or mandalin like
guitar and Bob & the boys just riff away. While Rainy Day may feel a
little dated, this one is as relevant & current today as ever. Is there
any way, we could get John Ashcroft to listen to this.
6. Lay Lady Lay. We don't get much pure country music from Zimmy these
days (though the rumours of the Johnny Cash collaborations getting
released could change that) so let's cherrish what we get when we get it.
With Campbell at the Pedal steel and Bob hitting the harp for the 5th time
in 6 songs, this one jumped right out of Nashville into Harvard Square.
7. Highwater. With the riff shortened, the band armed with some acoustic
instruments, a delightful take on a Love & Theft song that we're all going
to miss when Lucky stops playing it.
8. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, We aren't going to miss this one. Sorry,
but while this tune is pleasant enough - it just lacks gravitas and
substance to be a nightly set occupier. But then again, I felt the same
way about Cold Irons Bound and now I miss it.
9. Don't Think Twice. A well played and performed tune, only marred at
times by some clutzy keyboard by Mr. D himself. Nice Stu guitar solos
with a Texas 2 Step feel. And hey We even get 2 harp solo's - one's a
bit of a lazy, Bob does some scales type thing, the other a little more
focused closing out the number.
10. Stuck Inside of Mobile. Ira In its reworked Supper Club like
arrangement & driven by Cambell's acoustic guitar playing. A little
sharper & more focused than the last couple I have heard.
11. John Brown. One of the songs that I love that someone doesn't garner
much praise in critical press. No doubt, its an unambigious and direct
finger pointing song (I love every Bob Dylan Finging Pointing Song!!), it
tells a powerful story with a profound message about the suffering of war
and our common humanity. What's wrong with that. With the needless
casualties mounting in Iraq, it's a good time to meditate on this one.
And I've got three boys.
12. Honest With Me. Having heard this on three successive nights (I
know, I know - I can't complain 33 different songs out of 48 peformed is
groovy), I was ready to sit down - but there weren't any seats. In it's
defense, Bob may be playing it virtually every night - for a couple of
years now, but he has reworked it slightly. It's a little less thrashy
and a bit more melodic.
13. Sugar Baby. Certainly the artistic center of Love & Theft, it has
been reimagined and recreated into a fairty tale like arrangement. Stu
picks up an accoustic guitar for the first time to join the others.
Really splendid, effectively delivered. The line "Ain't no limit to the
trouble Women can bring" now routinely getting applause.
14. Summer days. Bob just loves ending the first set with the tune that
has returned closer its Glen Miller esque sound of the album and away from
the fast, faster fastest takes of the Charlie Sexton era and the Chuck
Berry Rock & Roll the Clock versions of the brief (and not forgotten)
Freddie Koella shows.
15. Like A Rolling Stone. I guess when Rolling Stone Magazine, this
week, declared the song #1 of all time, you are going to play it every
night. These Harvard kids really wanted to hear it as I imagine any first
time concert goer would. I found the take okay, maybe just a bit on the
good side of lackluster. I can't quite imagine a time when it won't be
16. All Along the Watchtower. Now peformed with the music quiely
strumming during the verses and then the musicians just cranking it up
during the instrument breaks. It's air guitar playing for the even the
most dedicated metal heads.
Met & chatted with alot of interesting people over these last couple of
shows, from tapers and travelers (Norway & England) to old friends & new
ones ( and even our webhost). It's been a blast.
Thanx for reading.
Review by Jane Wolf
What a concert! This was the 6th time I have seen Bob and His Band this
year (and I didn't have to travel the globe). I am amazed by his
generosity. Bob blessed the young crowd with "Forever Young", saddened
the older crowd with "John Brown" (sigh!) and rocked the whole crowd with
"Highwater". What can I say about Bob's voice other than "I am addicted."
He played quite a bit of harp and nailed it on "God Knows" and "Lay Lady
Lay". He sounded as good as any blues musician I have ever heard. His
voice is the main instrument in the band, of course, followed closely by
Larry's guitar and Tony's bass. The drums were superb and Stu Kimball
added that heavy metal. If there is a rock and roll heaven, I know Bob
will be playing and I sure hope I'm in the audience.
Review by Igor Jakovcevski
Amherst & Boston
WOW. Both shows were...WOW.
Bob's voice was totally great, the band was tight, not as exciting and
innovative as it used to be with Freddie or Charlie, but tight, playing
solid rock, following Bob's lead. These two concerts were keepers/sorry
for the folks who could not make it. Setlists: No surprises here, 'cept
for John Brown in Boston, and it was also surprisingly good, sounded
rehearsed, and Bob was fully focused on what the song meant. Crowd was
pretty quiet during that one, too. Absolute highlights (for me): 1. God
Knows. The band plays thunder as God speaks. Think "and the gods made
love" from the electric ladyland. think "God knows there's a river/God
knows how to make it flow/God knows you ain't gonna be taking nothing with
you when you goooooo". 2. Desolation Row. Anyone else notices how much
Bob's poetry gains with his great singing? I think I never really got this
song before I heard him last night. It was also far from acoustic, it was
a thunder, too. 3. Standing in the Doorway... Bob changed tempo, it's
totally new song. He was actually speeding it up during the performance.
Now it's not just desperation at the doorway, there's some nervous heist.
4. Watchtower, especially the first night. Those who heard it will know
why. The world comes to an end, and we still wonder what any of it is
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORTH? Besides, the wind begins
TOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo howl. 5. Honest with me, second
night. Amazing new arrangement, he uses a riff from "Stuck inside of
Mobile..." in it, and it fits. Absolute lows: 1. Lay lady lay...I see no
reason for this song to exist. performed probably as good as any NS song.
I don't see reasons for the album to exist either. 2. High Water. To make
it clear, I love this song. But it does not work without Freddie. Stu just
does not get it, so it sounds hollow. Bob and Larry did their best, but it
was arranged for the lead guitar. Relative highs: all the rest. We even
heard Maaaaaaay you Staaaaaaaaaay Foreeeeeeever Young again. The game is
the same it's just upon another level. Thanks Bob, see you next year,
page by Bill Pagel
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