Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 12/10/97


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

December 10, 1997


Review provided Peter Stone Brown

A remarkable show!  I can't remember the last time I saw Dylan with a
band this tight, but it was long ago.

The Troc kept a long line of people waiting in a pouring rain while they
searched everyone, but that was forgotten the minute Dylan launched into
a lean, rocking "Maggie's Farm."  "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here" kept
things moving, but the show changed dramatically with the first beat of
"Cold Irons Bound."  The band set up an impecabble Howlin' Wolf type
groove and Dylan just totally leaned into the song, phrasing it a bit
differently than the record.  He made each line count and the band just
wailed and didn't let up.  It was amazing.

A very strong "Born In Time Followed," and like the three songs before
it, it had a beginning a definite end, and Dylan seemed focused not only
on the song, but his musicianship, leaving the majority of lead guitar
in Larry Campbell's Hands.

"Can't Wait" took the show up another three notches.  Dylan is not doing
my favorite songs from the album, but it doesn't matter because the band
is so damn hot on these songs, making every beat count and performed
live the songs do not have the doom 'n' gloom mood of the album because
Dylan is having such a good time playing and singing them.

Sylvio was Sylvio, but the first acoustic song was a terrific "Stone
Walls and Steel Bars" with Campbell and Bucky singing harmony.  A total

Dylan played the intro of Love - 0 over and over, making the crowd and
quite possibly the band guess whether it was going to be that or (a rare
acoustic) "If Not For You."  The band even went to the minor chord
that's in "If Not For You," but finally he started singing.  It was much
faster than the last time I saw him do it (Patti Smith tour at electric
factory), in fact it was damn close in feel to the Bringing It All Back
Home original once he actually started singing it.

On "Tangled," the show seemed to lose a little momentum and both Dylan
and the song suddenly seemed tired.  He flubbed one of the verses, but
then, magician that he is, he used one of his now famous three-note
guitar solos to bring the song back up to speed and recapture the

"Memphis Blues Again" was okay, nothing really special, but all that
changed with a dramatic "Wheels On Fire" which was followed by a
thrilling "Till I Fell In Love With You."  Campbell somehow made his
guitar sound like a blues harmonica, while Bucky made his pedal steel do
wild organ tricks depsite the fact that there was some kind of Vox
Keyboard sitting by him that I never saw him touch.  Like The Hawks did
so many years ago with the songs off Highway 61, this band takes the
songs off Time Out Of Mind somewhere else entirely with Dylan leading
the charge and knowing it.

They returned and did a simply kick-ass Highway 61 that feel-wise was
also damn close to the original.  This was followed by a carefully sung
"My Back Pages" with Dylan clearly making each line stand out, despite a
couple of search and destroy guitar solos.  I actually started wondering
if he hits the really bad notes on purpose, so when he finally gets it
right (and he always keeps going till he gets it right) that the final
solo will have much more impact.

Then came "Lovesick," not quite as spooky as the record, but intense in
a different way, with Bucky playing the organ part on steel.  Again
Dylan was totally into the song, but unlike some of the other TOOM songs
that night, he didn't play around much with this one, delivering it
straight and solid.

Dylan looked pretty good, and seemed to have lost in a little weight.  I
thought his voice was in the best shape I'd heard it in since quite
possibly the Supper Club shows.  He's also holding his guitar a bit
higher up on his body, the way he used to in the '60s.  It was a show
where he directed the focus to where he wanted it--on the music.  This
tour is absolutely the one to catch.

"I was just too stubborn to ever be governed 
by enforced insanity."  --Bob Dylan
Peter Stone Brown 

Return to Current Tour Guide page
Return to Bob Links
Go to the Set Lists (by city) page (1995 & 1996)
Go to the Set Lists (by date) page 1996 Tour , 1995 Tour, Pre 1995 Tours
Go to the Cue Sheet page