Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Clipper Magazine Stadium
June 19, 2005

[Peter Stone Brown], [Stephen Trageser], [Kevin Briggs], [Tom Karel], [Howard Weiner]

Review by Peter Stone Brown

It was night of the living morons at Clipper Magazine Stadium in
Lancaster.  And I had trepidations about going for many reasons.  Not the
least of those reasons was the Camden show was so good, and so much fun. 
But someone made me an offer I couldn't refuse and so it was off to
Lancaster to this stadium buried somewhere in the middle of this
Pennsylvania city.   And everything went smooth, the ride out, finding the
place finding the people we were looking for, it all worked out.  Well it
all worked out until I went to get inside, and this was one of those place
were the women went in one side and the men went in another.  Well the
security guy looks at me and says "No pens."  "No pens, you must be
kidding."  Nope no pens.  Well that was almost enough to make me turn
around right there.  Now keep in mind the previous show was in Camden, New
Jersey.  Camden, New Jersey is not a nice place.  You basically don't want
to get out of your car in most parts of Camden.  You don't even want to be
in Camden.  Camden's a good place to be if you like to get shot.  But at
Campbell's Stadium in Camden, there was no boy's and girl's line.  There
was no search or pat down.  In fact you were actually greeted by very
friendly people who told you to have a good time.  But I went inside and
someone else had a pen.  I'd heard of no binoculars, and all kinds of no's
to bring to concerts, but no pens took the cake.  Well we finally found
some stairs that actually led down to the field and there in the middle of
the crowd was some guy with an easel and paints - and I couldn't bring in
a ball point pen.  So we started the trek to find some sort of vantage
point to the right of the stage and it quickly became apparent we were in
the middle of the loudest, most drunken, annoying and downright stupid
group of people I've ever encountered anytime anywhere.  I started
thinking about how some people say well, Pennsylvania, there's Philly and
there's Pittsburgh and then there's the hellhole of your choice in between
and suddenly it became quite clear why Rick Santorum and Arlen Single
Bullet Theory Spector are the senators and why this country is in the
shape it's in.  There were the tumblers and the rumblers and the prancers
and the dancers, and then there was the 21st Century Acid Casualty who
probably wasn't 20 and had a huge knapsack on his back complete with one
of those foam things sticking out that you put a sleeping bag on and I
couldn't bring in a pen.  The acid casualty would scream every so often at
the top of his lungs while jumping up and down and when he wasn't doing
that would mumble loudly to no one in particular things like "cell phones,
radiation" and other pleasantries, while also jumping up and down.  We
managed to get away from him.  But it didn't matter because there were
hundreds more just like him and I started remembering that Lancaster ain't
all that far from where 3 Mile Island went down and you know that stuff
gets in the air, and there were those three-headed goats and stuff.  The
Greencards came on and said the exact same things they said in Camden
about how good looking the crowd was.  I decided they were annoying, and
it didn't make any difference because you couldn't hear them anyway.

Willie Nelson's announcer came on promoting Willie's book "that he wrote
himself," Willie's two or three latest albums that aren't out yet and
Willie's "Dukes of Hazard" movie, and threw some CDs into the crowd.  Some
woman kept picking up beer bottles and tossing them over to where the
security guys are supposed to be, but they weren't there.  I guess they
were in the crowd looking for ball point pens.  The announcer came on and
introduced Willie Nelson and just like Camden, no one took the stage.  Ten
or 15 minutes later Willie's band came on followed by Willie, with sister
Bobbie back on piano, which I already figured out because there was a
grand piano on-stage, but more importantly no kids.  No Lucas, no Michael,
which may have been why Lucas got to jam with Bob Dylan three nights
before.  But it didn't make any difference to the crowd that Willie Nelson
was on-stage except that they could louder and hoop 'n' holler, and push
and shove some more and climb on people's shoulders.  The barely knew what
song he was singin' except for to answer the god awful "Beer For My
Horses" thing he keeps including in his shows and oh yeah, this girl
behind found it necessary to shout "Georgia" at the top of her lungs when
Willie did "Georgia On My Mind."  Basically he did the same set he did in
Camden, though it wasn't anywhere near as good, the main difference being
that the instrumental "Down Yonder" was back so sister Bobbie could show
off her piano style which basically reminds me of grade school assemblies
where whatever teacher could play piano did on the hymns or patriotic
tunes or whatever they forced you to sing in assemblies in grade school.

So finally Bob Dylan and his band come out and this time he's wearing a
white cowboy hat with the sides of the brim rolled up so it kind of looks
like a hot dog in a roll on his head and he's into "Tombstone Blues."  And
he's kind of snarling and growing it out, and I was hoping he'd kind of do
what some people refer to as "the wolfman" so like maybe some of these
people would just leave and Dylan fans would emerge and all of a sudden
it's the John the Baptist and Commander in Chief verse and Bob is nailing
it and there's no doubting the sneer in his voice when he sings, "The
commander in chief answers him while chasing a fly."  

"Lay Lady Lay" came next and it was okay and Donnie Herron is not taking
his eyes off Bob while he's playing the all important steel part and Bob's
voice is starting to hint at the wolfman and I think somewhere in there he
laughed at something and Denny Freeman is kind sticking in these rhythmic
jazz fills near the end, that maybe sort of work and then it's into "God
Knows" which was okay.

And then came what should have been a highlight, "Visions of Johanna" 
with Donnie on electric mandolin but this audience doesn't know what
"Visions of Johanna is."  Not only that it doesn't know what visions means
and it never heard of no Johanna.  And Dylan's up there singing about the
all night ladies and escapades on the D Train and people are talking and
talking and looking at their cell phones and somewhere in there the
upsinging has begun, and then Donnie takes this solo on the electric
mandolin and he's got something turned up somewhere because there's a lot
of sustain and a bit of distortion and it's definitely on the way to be
being sort of Hendrixian mandolin and then Dylan comes center stage for a
harp solo and the song ends.

They then tried to get things moving with "Most Likely You Go Your Way"
and Kimball's got a cool sound happening on his strat but when the go into
the bridge something somewhere isn't quite right and then Denny takes a
solo and they're back into the bridge and something ain't quite right
again and Bob comes to center stage for a harp solo.  

They then went into "Million Miles" in sort of half jazz/half blues
arrangement that's been happening for the last whatever and the band is
nailing it and it would have been great in some smokey jazz club but not
in a baseball stadium with a field full of morons who insist on being so
close to each other that you don't have room to lift your arms to clap.  

This led into "Memphis Blues Again"  and Dylan is in full speed ahead
growl mode and the band is kind of doing this semi bossa nova beat and
Denny's doing this jazz fills and he takes this solo that just had nothing
to do with anything, but the pay to get out of going through all these
things twice really rings clear in my brain along with that this song just
has never come close to the studio version ever.

"Trying To Get To Heaven" came next and one guy who was right at the
front, who I've seen at a few other shows knows what song it is, but this
version is upsinging supreme with whip cream and cherries and nuts and
chocolate syrup on top.  The only line that is sung, well the way the
melody kind of usually goes is before the close the door at least for the
first couple of verses, but then suddenly it's before they close the DOOR.
And this idea comes into my mind that maybe this starts to happen when
Dylan thinks the audience isn't paying attention or he just doesn't like
them, because he started this show laughing and smiling and he's not
exactly doing that now.

"Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum" came next and the best things about was
Kimball started doing these Robbie Robertson 1966 guitar breaks.  This led
the a positively dismal "Positively 4th Street," and well it was kind of
like Dylan's voice was like a seesaw and every time it the end of the line
appeared that ol' seesaw went up, "You've got a lot of NERVE, to say you
are my FRIEND and so on throughout the whole song.

Then came this piano thing that I should have recognized except the woman
behind me decided to forget totally how to act in public, but the person
with me said, "New Morning" and sure enough it was and it rescued the
night briefly, with Herron playing what once was the Al Kooper French horn
part on lap steel, and Dylan is deciding to really sing and suddenly he's
really there for the line "this must be the day that all of my dreams come

And then they started "Summer Days" and I have to find the other person
I'm giving a ride to, and my car is way in the back of some hideous
parking lot that appeared to have one tiny exit and we kind of hear the
beginnings of "The Times They Are A-Changin'" as we exit the stadium and
even though it was a pretty long walk to the car we were gone thankfully
before "Watchtower" started.  I sure was glad to get out of there alive.


Review by Stephen Trageser

What a great way to spend Father’s Day: at a Dylan concert with two of my
kids.  Had to cope with a few assholes, but unfortunately that’s part of
what you get with almost any type of live entertainment these days. Note
to drunken idiot with little kid on shoulders in front of the stage –
unlike the people behind you, your kid didn’t give a crap about the show.
And to guy who whistled in my ear like to wake the dead (or at least any
Amish that turned in early)  – you blow.  Cigarette smokers - when the
crowd is packed like sardines in a can, give us a break. But enough
bellyaching; despite the hardships, this was an excellent show.  The
weather was perfect: mild and dry. Unlike the show we attended last year
in Aberdeen MD, the stage was set up just beyond the infield grass,
instead of the outfield fence, which provided as intimate and cozy a
setting as is possible in a stadium. The crowd arrived early and nearly
filled Clipper Magazine Stadium way before the Greencards took the stage
to open the show.  These “three Aussies and a Brit” were energetic,
engaging, and entertaining, which is enough to forgive them for their
“Hello Lancaster PA” pandering to the crowd.  I’m sure the record company
had a little something to do with their selection as opening act, but
nevertheless, they’re appropriate for this tour.  Willie Nelson was great,
playing his usual hit-filled hour and twenty minute plus set. His beat-up
Martin guitar with the hole never sounded better. If Dylan’s voice is like
“sand and glue” (with apologies to David Bowie,) is Willie’s like bourbon
and 10W40?  Whatever, we’re just pretty damn lucky that he and Bob still
like to still get out there as much as they do. I expect that someday my
kids will be telling theirs (who’ll be rolling their eyes in disbelief)
about seeing these two together and it only cost $49.50 per ticket. After
band equipment changes, in a short time, Bob kicked off with a rocking
Tombstone Blues that got the crowd moving. Next came a welcome, but
overly-long, Lay Lady Lay. Didn’t recognize the next song (God Knows why
not) but enjoyed it.  Visions of Johanna which followed was one of those
re-arranged “I can name that song in three verses…” numbers that (to me)
really needs a vocal performance that Bob is not up to at this stage of
his career (not that he shouldn’t continue to do as he damn well pleases
since that’s one of the reasons we still love him no matter what.) Most
Likely You Go Your Way was wonderfully ragged. Can’t say enough good
things about Million Miles. Unlike the other reviewer, I thought Bob
amazingly succeeded in turning a baseball stadium into a small club for at
least this one song. Awesome. Stuck Inside of Mobile was kind of shaky,
but I love hearing those crazy lyrics, or most of them anyway. God bless
Bob for not using a teleprompter. I always thought he did, but this night
I was close enough to see his crib notes. Again, who gives a crap if Bob
Dylan flubs a lyric or does an ad-lib change.  If you’re a fan, you accept
this as part of the package, just like the song arrangements. Tryin’ to
Get to Heaven, however,  was very close to the album version, with a
strong vocal.  Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum made me think of the Chuck Berry
line “…I must admit he had a rockin’ band…”  As I told my kids, I don’t
expect this song’s lyrics to ever be engraved on a monument in granite,
but it’s a great work-out for Bob’s excellent-as-always band.  (For what
it’s worth though, and no knock on the new guys, but I miss Larry
Campbell. He killed.) By the way, I thought I actually heard Bob’s
keyboard at some point during the show, but his signature harp playing on
several numbers more than made up for the phantom instrument. Positively
4th Street didn’t sound so hot, but I like the song so much, it didn’t
really matter. New Morning was a welcome surprise and the highlight of my
evening. One of my favorite songs from a vastly underrated album, the
vocal was terrific and the band rocked. Summer Days is another band
workout that’s a great set closer for these ballyard shows.  The Times
They Are A – Changin’ and the majestically powerful All Along the
Watchtower closed the show.  Being able to see two songwriting and
performing legends like Bob an Willie up close and personal at an
affordable price is an absolute blessing. Hope they roll by again next

Stephen Trageser
Jamison, PA  


Review by Kevin Briggs

Dylan's group feels the loss of Larry Campbell....

This is how I would summarize Dylan's performance in Lancaster. This is the second time I've heard
the band since Campbell left, and the first time with the newest arrangment of members.
I've been to 12 Dylan concerts in my brief career, so I'm not the most seasoned Dylan concert goer
in the galaxy of Dylanites, but it's only been since 1995, that's just over one a year, which is
enough to know what I'm talking about. Of my twelve Dylan concerts, this ranks at the bottom. I've
never really ranked one at the bottom before, but now I have to.
Stu Kimble is not good enough to carry the load as the primary guitar player. He's like Todd 
Pinkston on the Eagles, who is only really good for stretching the field and running quick out 
patterns, but can't catch the ball very well, and is weak in traffic. He's a button guy, a role 
player, just a blues guitarist. Receli has emerged nicely on drums, but is still too busy for me. 
The two newest members seemed like they joined the band the day before. They seemed like they 
started playing their instruments a year ago, and are now in their first band. They just seemed 
like they are figuring out how to play. Ganier kept the sanity.

Hey, even Peter Stone Brown left before the encore, shaking his head, looking rather ill (but he
looked that way from the get-go.) The problem of the crowd was inevitable in Lancaster. Perhaps the 
most conservative large town in Pennsylvania, Lancaster's crowd was a charicature. They were mostly 
fans who were into being fans, and were ignorant of the two performers they were seeing. That being 
said, it really doesn't matter what they were like. If only devoted fans came to concerts, 
performers would never get new fans. The crowd was pretty generic, but it was also Lancaster's 
first big concert, at a stadium that opened about two months ago. It's already in vogue for 
Lancastrians to go to Clipper Stadium, so the concert was a who's who of the town, in many respects.
People who get out and do stuff in Lancaster got out and did the concert.  It wouldn't have 
mattered to them who played. The same people would have been at Long's Park for the Sunday Night
concert if Dylan and Nelson didn't come into town.
The fans deserve a break for a few reasons.  First, they paid their $50 too, so they can come into 
that concert and have their own good time.  Second, there is no protocol for a concert, and cynical 
concertgoers who get-off sounding like behavior Nazis should take a break from going to concerts if 
all they are going to do is bitch about the crowd.  There were seats available where people sat 
respectfully.  Yes, parking sucked.  Yes, security was anal.  Yes, Lancaster is a clostrophobic town. 
So what.  Camden and other places I've been are horrible cities to go to, but the music is good, so 
who cares?

My take on the experience is that all problems would have been solved if Dylan did a better job. 
Dylan is extremely reliant on having an outstanding band, so when his band crapped the bed last 
night, he crapped the bed. I'm sorry, I love Dylan's music and he's been my number one since I've 
been a fan of music, but he is not able to make up for his band's inadequacies. To use another 
football analogy, it's like Donovan McNabb trying to win games all by himself, which everybody knows 
he can't do. He does some amazing things out there, things that no one else can do, but he only does 
them because a running back runs a good route, or because the defense is playing really well. Dylan 
was the same way last night.
Tombstone Blues was pretty good, I thought, then "Tryin' To Get To Heaven" wasn't so bad, but there 
were no highlights. I have longed to hear "Visons of Johanna" live, but was disappointed. It was 
stale, flat, uninspired, and "poppy." No more song analysis here, even though it's "protocol" for 
Internet reviews. Sorry.

I will go see my hero Bob Dylan as many times as he comes to a location near me, and will probably 
go out of my way to see him at a location not so near. i will be into the music, not the other stuff 
that doens't matter. I would go see Dylan on Three Mile Island, in the middle of the factory, and I 
still wouldn't complain about the venue or the three-headed goats. I look forward to catching Dylan 
again, even if he still has that unskilled modified guitar player (it was not an electric mandolin, 
it had six strings).


Review by Tom Karel

I admire and enjoy Peter Stone Brown's reviews and I'm sorry he had 
such a lousy time in my home town on Sunday night. [ a disclaimer - 
my real hometown is Bethlehem, PA, where Bob has played several times over
the years, but I've lived in Lancaster for 20 years and it's starting to
feel like home ]  I was sitting in the stands for the concert, a few rows
behind the dugout on the first base line, and had a completely different
perspective of the show - and of the crowd. Our section of the stands was
deemed an "Alcohol-Free Zone" but that restriction certainly did not apply
on this night.  Still, in spite of much beer being consumed by people
around us, no one became loud or obnoxious.  The only annoyance was the
constant flow of people going to get more food and drinks, though that's
common practice at these outdoor events.  I was able to get in to the
stadium with a pen in my shirt pocket and a friend I was with persuaded a
guard to let him in with a bottle of water, so poor Peter must have had
very bad luck at the gate.

The entire evening was very entertaining.  I was impressed with the 
new ballpark and with the size of the crowd (9,100 according to the 
local paper).  This was an all-ages crowd: elderly hippies and 
hipsters, bikers and businessmen, housewives and high school kids, 
pot-smokers and little children playing at the fringes of the 
infield.  I suspected that most of the people were there to hear 
Willie Nelson, or just to have a good time, but I was pleased to see so
many people wearing a variety of Dylan t-shirts.  As the first concert in
this new stadium, I'd say it was a roaring success.

A few notes on the performances:

The Greencards were pleasing - young and enthusiastic with good 
harmonies and a good sound.  Down in front of us two fans held up 
large green cards during their set.

Willie Nelson was in good voice and played a long and fast set.  I 
lost count of how many songs he sang.  I especially enjoyed the 
back-to-back Kris Kristofferson classics "Help Me Make It Through the
Night" and "Me and Bobby McGee."  I saw Willie last summer in Cooperstown,
NY and he had just come off of carpel-tunnel surgery so he wasn't playing
the guitar very much.  At this show he played like a maniac.  He new song,
which closed his set ("I'm Not Superman" ??), was a lot of fun and will
surely become a crowd favorite.

Bob took the stage around 9:15 and he played for over 90 minutes.  He
started very strongly with a rocking "Tombstone Blues" but the rest of his
set was uneven.   There was too much upsinging, which bothered most of the
people I talked with afterwards.  Also, for this kind of neophyte crowd,
there were too many unfamiliar songs.  My wife, for example, was bored by
the middle of the set - though the last three songs revived her (and many
others).  I was thrilled to hear "Visions of Johanna," even though it may
not have been a perfect version.  To sit in the chilly evening air,
sipping on a cup of hot coffee, and listening to Bob sing about "escapades
out on the D train" was pure bliss.  "Million Miles" was the best
performed song of the night - clear vocals and a great groove by the band.
The group I was with had great fun trying to guess the songs, but "New
Morning" stumped us all.  Bob's voice was lost in the mix for much of the
song but it had a rolicking "God Knows"-type drive and I loved hearing it.
I would have preferred "Went to See the Gypsy" instead, but we can't
always get what we want.  A lot of people had left before the encores and
so they missed probably the best part of the concert (though I'm sure the
sound filled the parking lot - and most of the city).  "Times" was a huge
crowd-pleaser and Bob sang it very well, but he and the band pulled out
all the stops on "Watchtower."  I've heard this song played many times and
this was one of the strongest renderings. Every word was clear and sharp
and near the end I thought George Receli was going to destroy my eardrums
with his explosions.  I expected to see cracks in the pavement on Prince
Street when we left the stadium.

Tom Karel
Lancaster, PA


Review by Howard Weiner

I need to hear a tape of this show to possibly confirm it’s the
best show I’ve seen in three years. What a night! Great
performance and set list from Bob. Lancaster is a miserable
little city with bad food, but if Bob had to be here so did I.
Strange how people who suffer together have stronger connections
than people who are most content.

This was the first concert ever at this Minor League ballpark and
unfortunately for the people of Lancaster it’s all downhill from
here on cause last night won’t be topped. Bob stormed out dressed
in black with a white cowboy hat and tore into Tombstone Blues.Lay
Lady was awesome as Bob did his patented shuffle to mid stage for a
harmonica solo. Bob’s vocals were very crisp on this slightly cool
summer evening.

Being that it was Sunday; Bob delivered a rocking sermon with God
Knows. The band really was awesome all night, but especially on this
number. As much as I miss Larry Campbell, this new band has meshed
and is as good as when Larry was in the band. Danny Freeman has
stepped up to take the bulk of the lead guitar work. Oh yeah, the
next song was Visions of Johanna. With two nights rest prior to this
show Bob sounded superb on Visions. I liked the sound of this one in
comparison to the one from the Beacon last tour.

Sticking to Blonde on Blonde, Bob and the band nailed the best
version I’ve ever heard of Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go
Mine. Donnie Herron played a great lead on steel pedal here.
Actually, every band member had an impressive solo on this number
including another shuffle to mid stage by the man in the white cowboy
hat. This version must have clocked in at around 8 riveting minutes
of rock and roll pleasure.

Bob took a surprise detour and played a rare Million Miles, and then
it was back to Blonde on Blonde with Suck Inside of Mobile. After
this foray it was back to Time out of Mind’s Tryin’ to get to
Heaven. This spiritual song has come a long way and finally sounds
almost as good as the album version. I love catching Dylan on

Mixing slow and upbeat songs like a master chef Dylan performed a
powerful Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum. Easing the tempo back down
Positively 4th Street was quite effective. Bob delivered the vocals
with emotion, as well as adding another big time harp solo. Unlike
the 1990 New Mornings, the one which followed here was beautiful
and true to the original.

Summer Days to end the set was a lot better than last tour. It
Wasn’t up to Campbell-Sexton standards, but they shifted tempos and
jammed out pretty well. Times Are A Changing sounds like it would
be more of the same ole, same ole, but not to Dylan tonight. For
some reason he really connected with it tonight. I was so elated
with the show I even enjoyed the all too predictable Watchtower.
Once again the band sounded really tight here. This was  about my
80th NET show and Bob still somehow keeps it exciting.  


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