New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Morris F.X. Jeff Municipal Auditorium
April 26, 2003

[David Smith], [Michael Smith], [Michael Palma], [John Pruski], [Tom Ostoyich]

Review by David Smith

We just returned home to the Detroit area after seeing Dylan play the
Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans.  This was our first trip to the Jazz
Fest and will always be a very memorable trip.

Arriving early to the Auditorium, we decided to take a walk through the
French Quarter--it set the tone for the evening.  Although I overheard
some locals complaining about the acoustics compared to other venues in
NO, the Municipal Auditorium had a very good feeling to it--the wooden
floors squeak with history--as if we were seeing Dylan playing to a small
crowd at a high school gymnasium.

Dylan invited Dickie Landry to play sax on most of the songs and it was a
perfect fitting for the Jazz Festival.  Dylan appeared in a good mood
throughout the show--coming out from behind the piano to dance or direct
his band on several occasions.  The set included a number of highlights,
the acoustics song sounded very good as did the electric jam on Cold Irons
Bound.  All in all a very good concert, ranking high among the many Dylan
shows we've seen.  Really the only downside to the show was some very
strong and aggravating security around where we were sitting.

We left the Auditorium just a short way into All Along the Watchtower
(still waiting for an acoustic version).  Leaving a few minutes early
allowed us to find the two black Prevost buses waiting to take Dylan and
his band away from New Orleans.  After being slowly pushed back away from
the sidewalk near the buses, we found a spot between the two tour buses.
Most of the band members were standing around outside the Auditorium
waiting for Dylan to come out.  After some time, Dylan left the Auditorium
dressed in a power blue suit and wearing a black hat.  As he approached
the buses, a photo flash caught his attention and he came down in between
the two parked buses to say hello to his fans.  A most amazing trip to New
Orleans and the great tunes of Dylan and his band were all out-done by the
opportunity to shake Bob Dylan's hand and to hear him say "thank you." Not
many artists would walk through a narrow space between two idling buses to
thank his fans--an amazing experience.

David Smith
Ferndale, Mich.


Review by Michael Smith

As you can probably surmise by the presence of Dickie Landry on sax, the
Saturday show in New Orleans was another great one - and very, very
unusual, the weirdest Dylan concert I've ever seen. The whole tone of the
evening was set by the bizarre virtual "meet and greet" with the band that
took place outside of the venue a couple hours before the show began.
(Expect to hear lots of stories about people meeting the band because all
of the band members, except for George, hung out outside of the auditorium
for at least an hour - content to chat with any of the dozens of fans who
approached them.) Lucinda Williams opened with an incendiary show that
consisted almost entirely of material from her new album. Unfortunately,
she also went on late and her set was all too brief - I think she only
played about 7 songs in all. When Dylan came out onstage shortly
thereafter, all hell broke loose in the audience. I think the audience's
minds were collectively blown that there was a guy on stage standing
between Tony and Bob, playing the saxophone. It's kind of difficult for me
to evaluate the first couple songs because I couldn't get my mind around
it and also because overzealous venue security were shining flashlights
into peoples' faces, attempting to clear the aisles and get everyone to
sit or stand in front of their rightful seats. Bob was wearing a white
suit and a black ribbon tie with white polka dots on it. Dicke Landry was
watching Bob closely in order to figure out where to fit in. During the
first couple songs, his playing seemed a bit tentative; he would blow a
few notes during a pause between lyrics and that was it, but when the band
launched into an excellent version of Tombstone Blues, Landry really
started wailing away. The highlights of the show were all of the recent
material: Things Have Changed and the Love and Theft and TOOM songs. For
me, the concert really took off with a barnstorming version of Cold Irons
Bound that brought the house down. The band was really tight on this, with
the guitars and drums crashing in at the end of each line in perfect
synchronicity. Larry and Freddy were doing this funny dance, rocking back
and forth together when they weren't playing. Landry only played during
the guitar freak-out part between verses but his saxophone added a lot to
the controlled chaos. This was followed by a rather weak Don't Think
Twice, which saw Bob starting out on acoustic guitar and abruptly
switching to the keys before he even started singing. This decision
must've distracted him because it took a long while for the song to come
together. After the previous evening's weak performance of Tambourine Man,
I was starting to wonder about Dylan's commitment to his older material
but he soon quashed the thought with a fine version of Just Like A Woman
that featured, beginning with the bridge, some really outrageous,
elongated phrases that drew a big reaction from the crowd. High Water and
Honest With Me were both really excellent with Dylan attacking the lyrics
in an appropriately vicious fashion. For those of you who think you know
what HWM is about, wait until you hear this new version with the
stop/start instrumental break. I'll go so far as to say that this song is
to the new band what Summer Days was to the old one. Again Bob jumped back
dramatically from the keyboard during the break and danced his way back to
the drums, clapping his hands and directing the band. This new version has
given me a whole new appreciation of the song. But the absolute highlight
of the show was still to come: the powerful one-two punch of Floater and
Can't Wait, both of which were flawlessly performed and benefitted greatly
from Landry's sax playing. Floater saw Freddy faithfully replicating
Larry's original violin part and, during the instrumental break, both he
and Landry took solos. It sounded like a totally different song - like
some kind of demented, psychedelically-mutated German cabaret music from
the thirties; I mean, Floater with sax and violin! Too much to ask for,
really. After it was over, Bob said "That was an autobiographical song."
Can't Wait was unrecognizable before Bob started singing. It had a very
"cool jazz" sound, with the band playing a new descending melody line (not
unlike Million Miles); it was also funny to me that out of all the songs
played it seemd like this was the one where Landry instantly knew what to
do! As with Floater, the sax helped to make this a brand new song. After
it was over, Bob introduced the band, starting with "We have a special
guest with us tonight - Dickie Landry." Summer Days still wasn't as
satisfying as last year's versions although I thought Freddy's soloing was
more confident and aggressive than the night before. The predictable
two-song encore was very well done with Like A Rolling Stone being
particularly (and atypically) good. After Watchtower but before "the
formation", Bob had a word with Landry and they shook hands. All in all, I
thought the first night was slightly better because nothing in the second
night for me could match the transcendent high of Dignity or Hard Rain
(the single best Dylan performance I've ever seen live - now where's that
mp3!?) but it was still chock full of great performances, Dylan was very
animated and engaged (especially on the newer material) and the saxophone
made the whole damn thing very memorable and weird.

Michael Smith


Review by Michael Palma

Bob was better indoors.  Seemingly excited about the energy of the
building.  He added one more guy to the band who doesn't know his songs --
a saxophone player -- obviously a gesture toward "Jazzfest".  It didn't
add much to the music except make the sound even muddier.  And,
rightfully, the sax was buried in the mix (except for the solos -- which
were also awkwardly turned way up).  Bob was playful, like I've read from
other reviews on this tour.  And he danced and all that -- how cute.  But,
the setlist was boring ("Can't Wait and "Floater" were the only two songs
with any real relevance). And the show still felt routine.  While the new
guitarist is still lost most of the time, he did add a great violin part
to "Floater".  The show still felt like it was some kind of inside joke
that he and his band are playing on the audience.  Hey, I've seen him much
worse, many times.  But, not recently.  

It's time for Bob to be "Honest With Us" -- his fans.  Rather than rush
out to play 180 shows a year, 100 of which are uninspired with a rote
setlist of interchangeable parts and a band which doesn't know the
material -- how about an act which meets his standards?  Not perfection or
a quirky setlist of rarities -- just a solid professional show with an
interesting setlist from his catalog.  Like he was doing when he toured in

The Never-Ending tour comes to Atlanta on Friday -- just a few miles from
my house.  I don't think I'll be making the trip.


Review by John Pruski

Bob Dylan's Saturday night Jazz Fest concert at the Municipal Auditorium
in New Orleans was way special.  Special because Dickie Landry joined the
band and played some nice Sax, as well as because the show included two of
my favorite songs: Ain't Goin' Nowhere and Positively 4th Street.  

The Municipal Auditorium is itself special to natives, since it is the
site of nearly all Orleans Parish High School graduations, including my
own as well as that of half of my six siblings.  Additionally, the
Auditorium is in a prime locale.  It is in Louis Armstrong Park bordering
the Vieux Carre (aka French Quarter), and is about two blocks down from
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, the most likely resting site of Voodoo Queen
Marie Laveau.  The only draw back is that Jazz Fest night show tickets are
often bought in blocks by conventioneers and tourists, the lots of which
talk through most shows without coming up for a single breath.  C'est la

Saturday's Auditorium show gave us 11 new songs not performed at the
Fairgrounds the day before, the only repeats being Things, Honest, Summer
Days, LARS, and Watchtower.  Besides my aforementioned favorites and the
encores I'd have to say the next biggest crowd favorite was a pretty Just
Like A Woman.   Saturday we had five great (vs. three the day before) Love
and Theft songs, as well as two TOOM songs.  Bob's solo piano intro to
Things sounded (to me) like Thin Man, but obviously the band was playing
Things.  I wonder if anyone else was similarly fooled.  It was nice to
hear Freddie play fiddle on Floater.  I can't help but wonder if we'll
ever get to hear Larry and Freddie simultaneously playing fiddle.  Another
notable modification of the usual set structure was that two (rather than
the usual one) songs were positioned between Honest and Summer Days.  

All in all, I'd have to say I slightly preferred this show to that of the
day before, if for no other reason than because I truly love to death both
Ain't Goin' Nowhere and Positively 4th Street.  Bob and Band were great as
per par for the course, and Dickie Landry (positioned between the guitars
and Bob) was a great addition for the night.  Bob was dancing and eyeing
the crowd at points, twice obviously doing so to the couple in the center
of the front row.  I had great forth row seats directly in front of
Freddie, and from my vantage point I could see that most of the auditorium
behind the stage was packed too, those poor people.  Bob noticed this as
well, and during the formations he and the band acknowledged the
behind-stage crowd (a really sweet gesture) to great applause,
well-deserved applause.

I had a great weekend trip home to New Orleans (I flew back to SL
tonight); this greatly enhanced by getting to see Bob and his wonderful
band.  Ya you right!

John Pruski
St. Louis, MO


Review by Tom Ostoyich

The evening performance, at the Municipal Auditorium, was
a fine show, but didn't grab me so forcefully as the night before.  Dylan
flipped the mix again by having Dickie Landry--from LA's great L'il Band
O'Gold's St. Andrew's Horns--sit in on sax, which made the show a bit more
ragged for the band--trying to figure who solos when, etc.  Plus, while
Landry did some fine playing on "Just Like A Woman", "Can't Wait" and
"Floater", a baritone sax would fit more with Dylan's current
band--something low and rumbling, it would put even more meat into that
stew.  "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" was great--Larry's pedal steel sounds
fantastic, but no harmonies from the band on the choruses (a mistake, I'd
say).  "Cold Irons Bound" and "High Water" were gripping, and the show
kept picking up steam--Dylan even grabbed an acoustic guitar during "Don't
Think Twice" but apparently thought the better of it after a few strums,
tossing it off and returning to the keys.  From "Things Have Changed"
onward, the show was quite good--"Just Like A Woman" with the sax, a
stellar "Honest With Me", a nifty "Floater" (w/ Freddie on fiddle--fine
work here);  Dylan said afterwards "that's an autobiographical story,
right there".  Plus a neat re-working of "Can't Wait".  "Summer Days" was
it's typical fun and then again "Rolling Stone" and "Watchtower"--a tired
encore choice made thrilling again by the band--again Dylan really vocals
were energized on "Rolling Stone" and it's appearance in the set is
welcome again.

The crowd was fantastic--the overwhelming majority on its feet and 
dancing--even in the upper sections of the hall--much more fun-loving and
appreciative of what was delivered onstage.  And again, my recently
converted friend took an extra ticket off my hands and again loved the
show.  So Dylan continues to convert, which again is testament to how good
his shows can be.  A great weekend--it's got me thinking about Atlantic
City in a few weeks . . .


page by Bill Pagel

Tour Guide
Tour Guides
Bob Links
Set Lists
by Date
Set Lists
by Location