Tunica, Mississippi
Grand Casino Tunica
Grand Event Center
April 27, 2003

[Jim Maynard], [Matt Meyer]

Review by Jim Maynard

This was about my 10th Dylan show (I've lost count now). I was hoping Bob
would perform in Memphis this year since he skipped us the last couple of
tours, but Tunica MS was as close as he got so I made my first trip down
Hwy 61 to the Grand Casino. I went with my co-worker Glenn (who has been
turned on to Dylan ever since I took him to the great club show at the New
Daisy in Memphis back in 1999). We also took his girlfriend Dawn who is
one of those "he can't sing" people. She said she went along to show how
open minded she could be. Glenn has educated her about how important Dylan
is (she didn't know he wrote "Knockin' on Heavens Door"). Anyway, I've
never gambled, so Dawn introduced me to the slot machines. It will be the
last time I gamble. Luckily I only played a few 25 cent machines, or else
I would have come back to Memphis broke. I wasnt' too excited about an
opening act, but the Waifs were a pretty good folk group. They are great
musicians (one of the female lead singers played a mean harmonica) and
have written some pretty good songs. I've been trying to go to any dylan
show near Memphis just to here are few special songs I've yet to hear
live: Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll and Blind Willie McTell are high on
my wish list! I was also hoping to get one of Dylan's gospel songs for
Glenn who is still a "believer".. though I am not. Although I'm an atheist
(don't flame me!), I do find some of Dylan's religious music to be as
moving and artistically great as his "non-religious" music (if there is
such a thing for him.) We got the longer "voice of a generation"
introduction and Bob and the band launched into the predictable Tweedle
Dee (not one of my favorite songs off L&T, but a good warm up tune I
guess). Dawn seemed to be getting into the rockabilly grove and applauded
enthusiastically, and if I'm ot mistaken did some loud cheering and
whistling.... Tonight I'll Be Staying was another expected peformance from
Nashville Skyline. Dylan's voice was still a little hoarse after three
shows ina row, but better than I expected it to be. Highway 61 rocked big
time and here Freddie and Larry did some jamming. It seemed that most of
the show Freedie was sticking close to Larry and watching him as if he was
still learning the chords to the songs. He tried to find places to do some
solo licks and got a few in. Dont Think Twice I've heard twice before. But
it was another good version, Dylan's voice seemed to be warming up. Bob
picks up the harmonica few times on this song and plays it with one hand
still playing the keyboards. Now I don't like the stage set up. Bob seems
caged behind the keyboards on the left side of the stage (blocked from the
view of many people down on the left side of the stage). I was glad we had
side "balcony" sets because I had a good view of Bob. However, the problem
with balcony type seats is that you can't stand up without blocking
people's view so I had to stay seated most of the time. I looked around
for a place I could go stand but could find anything close by, but I stood
and stepped up to the rail between songs cheering Bob on..

Let me say that I enjoy seeing bob playing keyboard on some songs, but I
would prefer him on guitar more often.  He just didn't look natural back
there behind the keyboards all the time.. in fact a few times he wondered
around the stage like he was looking for something.. and then a few times
(I forget which songs).. he would just walk across the stage to Freedie
and watch him, or stand in the middle of the stage clapping along with the
band.. I guess he wanted to get out from behind the keyboards so people
could see him.. it was some of the oddest Dylan behavior I've seen on

Where was I.. Oh the next song was one of Glenn's favorites, Things Have
Changed. It seemed to rock a little more then the recorded version and I
love those lyrics from the excellent Wonder Boys soundtrack.. Peole are
Crazy and times are strange.. I used to care but Thing s have Changed"..
Indeed.. I couldn't make out the start of the next song but Dawn
recognized it'.. "Lay Lady Lay"! I've never heard this one live so it was
a pleasant surprise. Not as sweet and sensual as the Nashville Skyline
version, this was a totally different voice.. and a different man..
older... wiser...but still a man who longs to see her in the morning
light.. and reach for her in the night.." Drifters Escape was the second
hard rocker of the night and here Freddie and Larry jammed a lot.. it was
LOUD! Dylan's singing was not great and you cannot understand most of the
lyrics.. but he was wailing and stressign his vocal chords to their
limits... Perhaps another tribute to Jimi Hendrix ? And Dylan plays a mean
harmonica toward the end... Next I hear the familiar opening chords of
Just Like A Woman. One of my favorite Dylan classics I've heard several
times before, but I don't mind hearing it again (Nobody feeels any pain...
I just can't feel.. I believe it's time for us to quit..) I love the song
and dylan picks up the harmonica once again. The band rocked againon
Dignity. I believe Freddie and Larry jammed again.. Next was the highlight
of this show for me.. SAVING GRACE. Like I said before, I am an atheist
(an ex-fundamentalist Christian) and I do not share Dylan's faith or
religious beliefs, but you cannot help but be moved by some of his
religious songs. I wanted Glenn to hear this one and told him to listen
closely... "By this time I thought that I would be sleeping, in a pine box
for all eternity..." that line sends chills down my spine and Bob put
EXTRA care into the singing of this song. It was his best vocal
performance of the night I think. And the audience showed their
appreciation. Glenn and Dawn were moved... (they use Bob's religious songs
against me..) and I admit that even as an unbeliever (after Sept. 11 and
the horrors of another war.. sorry I just can't believe in an all loving
all powerful deity anymore... ) but Bob's performance of this songs does
make me want to believe.. Things crank back up with "HONEST WTH ME" which
gets eveyone up on their feet. At this point I just could not stay in my
seat.. so I sneaked down the staris to the left side of the stage to join
the party of dancing Dylan heads. at the end of th song the "usher"
insisted on clearing the aisle and told us to go back to out seats... I
sneaked to the back of the floor area until the next song... BYE AND BYE..
which I didn't recongize at firsst (It start out similar to Floater, which
I don't care for). but Bye and Bye is one of my favorite songs on L&T, I
don't know why.. I just love Dylan's singing on this one.. and those lines
"I'm sitting on my watch so I can be on time... singing loves praises...
not even acquainted with my own desires..." Out of fear of the big usher
dude.. I went back up to my seat for a steaming version of Wathing the
River Flow... Freddie really started playing on his own on this one..
getting some good licks in.. When SUMMER DAYS started I ran back down to
the floor. I can't sit through that song! Everyone was up again and a lot
of dancing arond me... Well there comes Dawn and Glenn down the stairs to
join the party. They even joined another couple in swing dancing.... the
big bad usher tried to clear the aisle again (why??).. but we hid behind
the back floor row until the predicted encores: Like a Rolling Stone .. up
come the lights and the everyone was on their feet.. young (YOUNG teeny
boppers), OLD couples with big smiles on their faces basking in the flood
lights... what other performer can bring so many generations together??
It's one of the most amazing things about a Bob concert... almost like a
giant family reunion.. We knew the last song was All Along the
Watchtower.. it seems to get better each time I hear it live... wow... it
couldn't have been played louder or harder... guitars wailing.. Bob
wailing (there must be some kind of way out of here!)... Hendrix was even
there could feel his presence....

At the end of this smoking set, Bob picked up his jacket and put his big
white cowboy hat on and soaked up a standing ovation from the cheering

Bob and the band leave the stage, but we got luck and made it to the left
side of the stage.. right where Bob exited.. we waved and shouted at him..
and I beleive he looke at me and saw me waving at him ("We love you
Bob")... he gave us applauded back.. or gave thumbs up.. I'm not sure
which.. All in all.. a pretty good show.. but every show has paled next to
the New Diasy perforamance in Memphis back in 1999... You know how some
concerts just make a great impression and you always compre later shows to
it... It says something I guess that Dawn, who did n't really care much
for Dylans' singing, still had sore hands from clapping and did a lot of
yelling and whistling... if Bob could reach her, well he is really a great
perfomer isn't he? I will try to catch the Little Rock show in a few
weeks.. but my credit cards are maxed out.. and I jsut spend $30 on a
classic lythograph of Bob when he as a young punk rocker, and a nice
collectors program with a cool overview of bob with some great pictures
and quotes... and the "free" bag was even special to me...
I'll keep it with the stuff I paid for :) bob come to Memphis and please
let me hear Blind Willie or Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll so I can die
totally satisfied!

Jim Maynard
Memphis, TN


Review by Matt Meyer

A two hour drive from Jackson, Tenn., -
birthplace of Dylan hero Carl Perkins - to the
Grand Casino and we are ready to see Dylan. 

My wife and I have each seen him about 7-8 times
apiece, with one of the best shows being his
Starkville, Miss., show in 1997. It was the first
show in the states after TOOM. Incredible. And I
saw a great Tupelo show in 1996, I think.

So, Mississippi has always come through for
Dylan. Tonight was no disappointment. The band
was solid, the music was incredible and Dylan is
just fun to watch.

But it would have been very annoying if I hadn't
already read about his not playing guitar
anymore. Also, I was aware his sets are much
shorter on this tour and have so far been pretty
much similar sets. Half of the 16-song set is
about four from Love and Theft, two from Hwy. 61,
and two or more from Nashville Skyline.

Now, this being Mississippi, I was expecting -
and was blesed by - a rousing version of Hwy. 61
Revisited. The casino's address is actually on
Hwy. 61. It was a no brainer.

But I was also expecting a possible departure
from the aformentioned pattern and that he might
throw in a gem from his civil rights era. I mean,
he was in Mississippi. Forty years ago is when he
came down to this state to help blacks gain
better access to the polls and other civil
liberties. This part of the country changed him
and affected him in many ways with its politics
and its culture. I was expecting maybe a "Pawn"
at least or "Blowing in the Wind." Something.

But I guess he's not that flexible. Or, as he
sings in Things Have Changed, he just doesn't
care anymore.

On this night, I feel the band were phoning it in
slightly. Could be they were tired from two
nights in New Orleans. Could be they didn't like
everyone sitting on their asses or the fact that
the front row people were getting served drinks
by skimpily dressed waitresses. The whole casino
vibe clashed heavily with Bob's grooviness vibe.

Seeing the tribe of Bob followers - dirty scruffy
guys dressed in black, old hipsters with pulled
back ponytails and women with long flowing hair
and sundresses and guys in goatees and tie-dyed
shirts - mixing it up with the slot machine crowd
(all normal Janes and Joes with fanny packs) was

But the music and Bob himself are enough for this
now weary traveler. Even if the reviews make this
tour sound unappetizing, go anyway. It's worth

P.S. The opening act, The Waifs, were awesome.
The two female lead singing sisters can harmonize
like nobody's business. Bob picked them up in
Australia and brought them along with him. They
are classy and fun. However, if you don't care to
see anything but Bob. This act takes about an
hour to play and tear down. So adjust your
arrival accordingly.

Matt Meyer


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