Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 12/17/97


Los Angeles, California

December 17, 1997

El Rey Theater

Review provided Alistair Hunter

BOB DYLAN @ The El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, Thursday 12/17/97 

The El Rey Theatre with it's audience capacity of 900 is a wonderfully 
intimate venue. Again I was stage left, on the riser by the speakers, 
and 18' from center stage. 

As soon as Jewel came onstage, someone shouted out "Like A Rolling 
Stone" and she promptly flipped him off. Then she rather politely said, 
"You're welcome to come back later.". I listened to Jewel's "Pieces Of 
You" 1994 on the way up to the show. This is an album that is still 
charting more than three years after it's release. There is no question 
she has grown with experience and has the potential for so much more. 
Just a gal and her acoustic guitar. She started with a new song "Don't 
Walk To Close" ...and her guitar sound was breaking up ...both for her 
and for the audience. She told the soundman...but kept trying to make it 
happen. Finally she just stopped and asked the audience," Does this suck 
as much as it does for me?" Again to the soundman..."What do you want me 
to do?"...Extremely slow and poor response to assist her. Finally 
someone tried a different plug and she banged on the guitar a bit and 
broke into her set including some very powerful new songs.. I'm not sure 
I know all the titles, but this is my best shot..."I'm Sorry";  "A Song 
About Hollywood"?;  "Strange"? ( I think this was the point where she 
told the audience to "shut up" and this quiet and lyrical piece) ; 
"Pieces Of You" ( she introduced this song by telling the story of 
playing for a modeling convention with major celebrities who just didn't 
get it ... when the lyrics of "ugly girls"... "faggot" and "Jew" rang 
out ...forks dropped...and she was left with a somewhat stunned 
audience...there is no question she has learned from her stage 
experiences) "Who Will Save Your Soul"; "I Tryed To Forget You" ( very 
Dylanesque! ); "Last Dance Radio" ( wonderful!); "Deep Water"; "Song My 
Dady Taught Me" ( a wild increasingly intense yodel that pleased the 
entire audience ). There were shades of Joni Mitchell, and one could 
remember a very young Joan Baez with just a guitar and a voice opening 
for Bob. I was surprisingly impressed and look forward to her new work.  
It is clear this is a singer/songwriter that has a "connection".

Bob hit the stage right on time with Larry Cambell (electric & acoustic 
guitar); David Kemper (drums); Bucky Baxter (acoustic, electric guitars 
,pedal steel guitar & mandolin); and Tony Garnier (electric guitar & 
acoustic upright bass).  It was "Maggies Farm" (again the signal that 
this is a new sound and a new Dylan who moves and talks more than ever); 
"Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power); "Cold Irons Bound" ( a sonic 
introduction and then it is solid and hot!); "You're A Big Girl Now"; 
"Can't Wait" ( again there is an intro that kinda winds up and there he 
is ..a solid punch) ; "Silvio" (this is very live 'new'  rocker and 
tonight it featured  'Dead Eyed Dylan' ) ; Roving Gambler" (traditional 
acoustic); "One Too Many Mornings" ( a sonic intro're not quite 
sure what it is gonna be and then what a treat!); "Tangled Up In Blue" 
(acoutic...this is the one that has the audience right with him the rest 
of the evening and he knows it. He is coaxing the sound out of this 
guitar and this is also 'The Limbo Dylan' doing the "how low can I go" 
routine...kinda 'The Dylan Dance'!!!!! ); "White Dove" (this is electric 
and he is doing "The Dylan Waltz"!) ; "Blind Willie McTell" (where has 
this baby been hiding for so long?) ; "'Til I Fell In Love With You" 
(strategically placed as the final song...wild!) ;  and then he is back 
for the encores....."Highway 61 Revisited" ( this is the most amazing 
version!) ; "My Back Pages" (acoustic and much more alive and clearly 
touching than the recent "Bob Dylan Live '96" EP4 release!....were the 
lyrics really..."I was so fucking older then, I'm younger than that 
now?" Oh. And here he is doing 'The Dylan Swagger" and then 'The Dylan 
Duck Walk'!); "Love Sick ( one of the most powerful Dylan songs in some 
time!) "; "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" ( the lights are up for this one 
and the whole house is rockin' and he is playing to and acknowledging 
the audience).

Again the guy who used to just stand and sing one song after the other 
and just split, talks more and shakes his tail feather. Tonight I 
spotted 'The Dylan Toe And Heel Taps'  AND 'The Dylan Knee Dips'!!!!!! 
along with --->..."Thank you everybody" ...when he does the band 
introductions he does his " We were trying to get Don Henley up here 
tonight but we couldn't find him"...and a surprise acknowledgement of 
..." of the great drummers in the audience tonight...Ringo 
Starr...where are you Ringo?...I guess we don't want to put the 
spotlight on him". Ringo was actually up in the VIP section in the 
balcony seats, but for a moment I thought I spotted him in the front by 
the stage. I thought!...maybe he's gonna hop up during the 
encore! ...but then I realized the guy I was looking at had way more 
hair than Ringo these days. Each night of the Bob Dylan Festival in Los 
Angeles appears to be getting better. CAN'T WAIT until tomorrow 

Alistair (Al) Hunter

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