Norfolk, Virginia
The Norva
April 6, 2004

[Kris and Paul], [James Sarvis], [Michael Ruppe], [Katie Mitchell], [Scott Bradshaw], [Alex Leik]

Review by Kris and Paul

Great show, wonderful set small, small, small venue maybe a thousand - 
sound man had a hard time hearing and couldn't bring up bob's keyboard. 
 Bob never left the confines of the keyboard and was obviously playing 
hard but no one could hear the keyboards over the way too loud band.  He
never picked up a guitar although several were on stage for his 

My recommendation is to bring down the drum set.  We are there to hear 
Zimmerman and not some overly loud drum set.  Again, amazing show, 
wonderfully reworked songs and Bob seemed fit - but very, very expensive
because the venue was so small.  It seemed like the sound crew had 
trouble adjusting to such a small venue and we were listening to preset 
sound levels akin to larger venues.  The show ran under two hours and it
really felt like the tour was just stopping through to gain some gas 
money before heading off to Atlanta.  We were back on the streets before
10 pm.  Really feel kind of ripped off by Zimmermans less than two hour 
gig, and then see ya wouldn't want to be ya exit.  For almost $60.00 
dollars ($57.50 without tax) a head i think they could have squeezed out
 another set and taken the show to 11 pm or even taken a break and 
finished up by 11:30.  For god sakes we are paying their salaries.  The 
Allman Brothers put Zimmerman to shame.

Again a great show for what it was worth but it still felt like "wham, 
bam, thank ya mam" and off to Atlanta.  I feel sorry for the venues 
in-between the big cities if they paid the hefty price we did - really 
feeling ripped off in Norfolk.  Zimmerman should have realized the 
ticket prices and given us a little bit more.

First time I blew off buying a tee shirt at a show - Jimmy Page and The 
Black Crows we bought three tee shirts on the way out and lost our minds
all night long.  Someone tell the sound man to turn down the band and 
turn up Bob.  Someone tell Bob 2 hours is bullshit!  It might be good 
for the Michael Jackson's of the world or Vegas but not for rock n' 
roll.  Booooo!


Review by James Sarvis

Great show ! I caught the Bender show at American University Sat Nite,
that was good but this was a hair better. As far as the sound I thought it
was very good,  yes they should turn up Bobs keyboards, but the drums and
band were at a good volume.Bobs vocals were clearer than average and sung
with conviction.Cold Irons  bound was a stunning opener and the whole
night rocked hard. Masters of War, This Wheels on Fire, and I Believe in
You were nice surprises. Very good Watchtower. Summer Days Jammed but
could not match the Fairfax show with Charlie Sexton. I got my 58.50
worth! The Norva is a Great Venue. (1500 capacity) Good sightlines, great
sound, outdoor smoking area good bathroom facilities. The crowd was 
little reserved (much older than the Bender crowd). So pay for your ticket
and don't complain.



Review by Michael Ruppe

I had never been to The Norva. It's a nice club with beefed up acoustics.
I had just seen Bob last Saturday in DC & as much as I enjoyed that show,
The Norva was better! This was my 14th BD show, & I'd put last night in my top
Cold Irons Bound started things off strong. Bob stayed on piano all night.
Larry had his typically great night & Tony & Richie were solid as usual. I
thought Freddy played much better than he had in DC. Set highlights
included some rarely played stuff. This Wheel's On Fire & Most Likely You Go 
Your Way were great surprises, while I Believe In You was simply outstanding! 

Same three encores, but all in all, a great set played in a nice club setting 
with great sound!

Michael Ruppe


Review by Katie Mitchell

I went to the Saturday show at Bender as well, and while 
that show was excellent (a set list beyond compare--Ballad 
of a Thin Man is one of my favorites, Dignity and A Hard 
Rain are near the top of my list as well, and The Times The 
Are A-Changin' was an infinitely clever choice for the 
daylight savings change) the Norva show rocked.  Literally 
rocked--I could reach out and touch the speaker bank from my 
position on the balcony and have spent the day getting over 
the ringing in my ears.  But if you're going to blow out 
your hearing, Bob is worth it all and then some!  

Cold Irons Bound was an incredible opener--lending an 
surreal atmosphere to the anticipated intimacy of a small 
club show.  I don't intend to analyze the set song by song, 
but can I just say that I do love me some Masters of War.  
While I couldn't imagine him choosing to play it DC (that 
would be so overly conventional for the man) I was so 
enthused that I got to hear it.  The sadistic heartbreaker 
in me was totally feeling Most Likely You Go Your Way (And 
I'll Go Mine).  A favorite to begin with and the roaring 
waves of sound made it absolulely unbelievable.  Talk about 
being blown away by the music.  

I Believe In You is such a beautiful piece, but I didn't 
feel the emotional plea that it usually carries.  It relies 
so heavily on a quality vocal and I think by the time in the 
show Bob played it, his voice was too tired to capture the 
plaintive/reverent tone the song demands.  That being said, 
Honest With Me was the next song and though "Love and Theft" 
isn't really one of my favorite albums (though I find 
Mississippi inexplicably addictive), I must say that Honest 
With Me really got the crowd going and sounded terrific.  I 
can't help but think Bob and the boys fed off the crowd's 
enthusiasm, but I have no solid basis for that assertion--
dude, Bob is nothing if not inscrutable.  It Ain't Me, Babe 
was a nice touch--a classic that has not been overplayed.  
Some of my friends had problems figuring out what song it 
was, since the rendition was so different from the studio 
version, but the consensus was that it was fabulous 

The obligatory Summer Days followed by the usual encore 
predictably rocked, though I think LARS would have benefited 
from an organ part--but that's just a small complaint  (oh, 
for shame! I ought not to criticize such a masterpiece at 
all!).  I know I shouldn't have been, but I was disappointed 
that there was no second encore, especially if it entailed 
Rainy Day Women, but I suppose it was too much to ask for 
both shows I attended to get second encores.  (yes, I did 
say both.  As in two.  We college kids are somewhat limited 
by geographical proximity to campus.  It doesn't mean we 
love Bob any less!).  Honestly, I didn't want the show to 
end, just one more song? Please? Oh Bob, don't ever go!  
Well, just one more song and I swear I'll be happy!  But 
alas, it was not to be.

I really can't complain that the songs were all up-tempo--
slowing it down worked at Bender but I think the smaller 
crowd at the Norva was kept more energized by the driving 
beats.  And I just can't say enough about the choice of 
venue--how many icons play at a tiny club in Norfolk?  I 
most definitely got more than my money's worth--being close 
enough to read Bob's music notes top of his keyboard (sans 
binoculars!)--you just can't put a price on that.

Katie Mitchell


Review by Scott Bradshaw

A great show.... there must have been a caravan, as I
too saw the Saturday night Bender Arena show.  While
Bob was not very interactive with the crowd tonight,
the set list WAS, particularly in the 1st half of the
concert.  Norfolk is a Navy town [largest naval base
in the world], Donald Rumsfeld had spoken to troops,
etc. that day in town, and there was heavy fighting in
Iraq..... So, consider the following:

1. Cold Irons Bound with the lyric "I went to church
on Sunday."  His last show, sunday, featured several
"God" songs.

2. It's all over now baby blue with the lyric "All
your seasick SAILORS...."

3. Lonesome Day Blues with references to a captain who
doesn't care how many of his pal's have been killed...

4. This Wheel's on Fire where he ties the lace up into
a SAILOR'S knot

5. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum.... who knows what this
song is about; but why couldn't it be Bush & Cheney?

6. Ring them Bells... indeed, they are breaking down
the distance between right and wrong.... [Bob got lost
in the lyrics on this one]

7. H61R.... Bush found a promotor for his war...

8. Masters of War... if you didn't know better, you'd
think it was written yesterday.  The best version of
this I've ever heard...he meant every word.

Who said Dylan doesn't do protest music anymore?    


Review by Alex Leik

Sometimes when you sit back and take some time to look at something, your
original perception can change. This can be due to things you have learned
since your first saw or experienced it, or events that have occurred since
the original experience. I did that with Norfolk, and what, upon initial
inspection, was an avg. show at a cool venue , has ended up a diamond in
the rough.

I arrived in Norfolk around 3PM, walked around the downtown area, much of
which seems to have been beautifully restored, and found my way to the
venue. Only about 15-20 people in line by 4PM, but I didn't fee like
standing. I mean, 1200 people capacity, is there really going to be a bad seat?
I caught a meal and a few beers at the Backstage Cafe. Great R&R memorabilia
made this the local fans' Hard Rock Cafe, but the food left a lot to be desired.

I was in the venue by 6:45PM, and realized I could have walked around town
until 8 and still found a decent spot. Ran into Tony walking through the
venue and wished him luck, with a request that they "kick ass tonight!"
They obliged!

Bob and boys were on quick, about 5 min. after 8, and into CIB. This was a
searing hot version, and the echo effect adds nicely, especially as an
opener. Baby Blue was nothing special and I figure Lonesome Day Blues in
the third spot, but got a version I was not expecting. Tight energy all
around, and George pounding away, determined to blow the roof off of this
small venue. We were all throwin' sand on the floor as they pulled out
surprise # 1 of the night, the 1st Wheel's on Fire of the tour (and my
first ever!). I miss the harmonies from Larry & Charlie, but Bob still
does it more than justice. Great version!

TD&TD rolled along next, a little more "umph" than usual, but then things
just reached a fever pitch that never really ended - Bells, Highway, MOW,
Most Likely, and UTRS transported me above and beyond the first few songs.
I had heard earlier in the day that during the sound check, Bob had
requested all staff at the NorVA to vacate the building. They did, and
they all were talking bad about our hero before the show, what a pompous
ass he was! Well, this was his big "I'm Bob Dylan, bitch!" to the NorVA
staff, and many of them were applauding and dancing by the end of this
run. INCREDIBLE!! This run of 5 or so songs was one of the best things I
have ever heard or seen at a Dylan show, or any show, for that matter!

So, how does he beat that? How about my first ever I Believe in you, which
was my 1st dance at my wedding, and here he gives it a wonderful treatment
only 5 days after the birth of my daughter! WOW! Even the wife got a smile
on her face when I told her he played it.

The usual suspects rounded out the main set, with the new It Ain't Me Babe
the icing on the cake! This gets better every time I hear it, and the way
Bob holds the notes like "Moooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhrrrrr" when
singing "A lover for your life, but nuthin' more!" is simply sublime!

Cats, LARS & AATW closed out the evening, each offering a little something
more than their standard performance, although the new LARS, with the
guitar break and just drums during the chorus still has not grown on me, a
little cheesy.

I was quick around the back of the venue, just as the band exited to the
buses. Bob was all business, no BS, no small talk at the wall, no nuthin'.
And as they did all night, the band took their cues from the maestro and
headed straight for their bus, no time to think! 

So #40 was a highlight, as I hoped it would be. It was supposed to have
been Hammerstein Ballroom 8/14/03, but the blackout prevented that, and I
was unable to attend the rescheduled show. Think I got a better one to
call # 40 in Norfolk. And the capper, after the wife hears that he played
IBIY, I convince her to take a weekend and go to Uncasville in June!!

Alex Leik


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