Altoona, Pennsylvania
Blair County Ballpark
August 11, 2004

[Carsten Molt], [George Lauder]

Review by Carsten Molt

Jillsy and i made the 2 hour trip from Pittsburgh to see Dylan and Willie
Nelson. We got to the ball park around 5 PM and as the doors were set to
open at 5:30, the line already stretched half way to Terre Haute. With
some quick thinking by Jillsy, we still managed to position ourselves
about 20 people back from the front in the center. The crowd was pretty
laid back at this point but that would eventually change. More on that

At 6:30, the Hot Club of Cowtown came on the stage. They are a 3-piece
bluegrass band from Austin, Texas. They were quite good and were having a
lot of fun. You could tell that Dylan and his crew get 2 busses, Willie
has his bus and the Hot Club of Cowtown has their station wagon. They
played for a fun-filled 45 minutes and Willie came out to sing a song with
them. It went nowhere but you could tell the band was in heaven.

During the break, i noticed that the place was packed on the field and in
the stands. i also spotted my mom and stepfather in the stands with my
binoculars. i also chatted with someone who graduated from my high school
for a few minutes.

After 20 minutes, Willie Nelson and his band came out for their set. i was
somewhat disappointed. Willie spent a lot of time waving to people in the
crowd and pointing at fans. His set seemed to drag on and on. There were a
few highlights. The stand outs were "Still is Still Moving to Me", "Pancho
and Lefty" and "Move it On Over". Most of the crowd seemed to love it all,

After a break, the intro music started and the crowd started to surge
forward. The jostling, shoving, jockeying for positon and hip-checking
began. A side note, if you leave your spot near the front to get beer and
then return, don't expect to get your spot back. It is also not cool to
knock people over trying to get your original spot back.

Dylan took the stage exactly 20 minutes after Willie Nelson left it.
You could not hear any of the intro as the crowd was roaring. There is
nothing like that wave of energy that ripples through the crowd when Dylan
walks on stage. Dylan was wearing his black suit and bolo tie. His hair
was pretty grey and he was already starting to sweat.

With a nod to George. they were off into

1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat-This was a nice surprise and it was very well
done. Dylan shouted some lyrics but his voice was clear and strong. The
tune opened the show on a high note. It was the first time the song has
opened a show since 10/15/98. 2.  The Times They Are A-Changin'-Not one of
my favorites but it was pretty good. Dylan got the lyrics right which is
seldom done on this song. He also gave us a nice harmonica solo. 3. 
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum- I wish Dylan would drop this tune for awhile
but it was strongly delivered and it seemed to rock a little harder than
usual. By this point, Dylan was sweating a lot and it was dripping from
his nose and chin. 4.  Boots Of Spanish Leather- Wow! Probably my favorite
song in Dylans canon and it was excellent. Dylan gave us 3(!) long
beautiful harmonica solos. His voice had a warm purr in it as he tenderly
sang the lyrics. This was my personal highlight of the show. 5.  It's
Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)-They pulled out all the stops here. Dylan
howled the lyrics while the band worked up a powerful maelstrom behind
him. Larry was on cittern tonight, while he was on mandolin on the tune
when i saw him on 6/8/04. It was a smoking version. 6. Watching The River
Flow-Dylan seems to play this almost every time i see him and it tends to
grate on my nerves. Jillsy says it was a great version and it did seem to
sound louder than usual. Dylan redeemed this song choice for me with a
blistering harmonica solo. 7.  Man In The Long Black Coat-i was hoping to
hear it and it was superb. It was dark, spooky and had that late night
vibe to it. Dylans vocals were loud and husky and he projected it really
well. This was the first time i saw it live since the first time i saw
Dylan in 1992.
8.  Highway 61 Revisited- The spell cast by the previous song was
shattered with a barnstorming "Highway 61". This tune always seem to
deliver the goods and tonight was no exception. Stu Kimball played a long,
searing guitar solo that was brought a big smile to Dylans face. 9.  High
Water (For Charley Patton)-The rocking songs continued with a
tour-de-force version that had Dylan pounding away on the keyboard like
his life depended on it while Larry and Stu traded licks back and forth.
Dylans vocals were very animated and one could tell that he knew he had
the crowd in the palm of his hand. 10. Honest With Me-Before the tune,
Dylan put on his black cowboy hat. This song had started boring me but it
was pretty good on 6/8/04 so i was interested to see it. It was awesome!
It snarled, smoked and raged on and on. During the instrumental break
Dylan walked that goofy stroll to the center of the stage, stood with his
right hand shaped like a gun and slowly turned with his finger still
pointed and jabbed it at George whos ensuing drumming took the jam to
another level. The lyrics were a bit rushed but it didn't matter since the
music was on fire. 11. I Believe In You- Dylan started the song with a
lengthy harmonica solo and gave us a very pretty version of this great
tune. This is one of Jillsys favorites and i was glad she got to witness
such a good version. 12. Summer Days-First off, this song is never going
to reach the heights of the Fall 2002 versions when Charlie Sexton was in
the band. That said, the song still managed to generate serious dancing
from the crowd. Larry and Stu worked up a wall of sound with duelling
guitars along with Dylans pounding away on the keyboard. After a lengthy
jam and Dylans hurried final verse, they stood in formation saoking up the
well deserved cheers of the crowd before leaving the stage. After a few
minutes, they returned for the encores starting with 13. Don't Think
Twice, It's All Right- Larry sat down at the pedal steel for the first
time all evening for this song. i was hoping for "Mr. Tambourine Man" but
i was denied. This song runs hot and cold with me but tonight it was
definitely running hot. Dylan did a bit of up-singing but it didn't
detract from this version. He was obviously having fun and the band laid
down a tasty groove for him to ride on. He ended the song with a decent
harmonica solo. 14. Like A Rolling Stone- No surprise here but it was well
played and Stu laid down a juicy, guitar solo. The chorus turned into a
crowd sing-along and Dylan sang it straight enough for the crowd to sing
with him. It was not overly special but a fun tune, as usual. After the
tune, Dylan came to the front of the stage and gave us the band
introductions. As he was walking back to the keyboards, Tony pointed at
his back and mouthed the word "Bob" to the crowd. 15. All Along The
Watchtower- i was expecting a standard run through but Dylan was having
none of that. The first couple of verses came and went without
circumstance. Then Stu played a great guitar solo and George was beaming
from ear to ear as Dylan shared a knowing laugh with him. When Dylan
stepped forward to sing the original "last" verse,  it was great. There
was a echo on his vocals, not unlike the recent versions of "Cold Irons
Bound". It worked really well and evidently, Dylan thought so too.He sang
the same verse again and he stretched out the last word along with the
echo so for a few seconds, it almost sounded like he was duetting with
himself.  After another solo by Stu, Dylan sang the first verse again and
the song came to a close and after a quick formation, they walked off the
stage into the darkness. Notes: A. i never heard Dylan rock so hard and on
so many songs before. B. Stu Kimball has taken the mantle of lead
guitarist and Larry has returned to adding color and class to the
arrangements. Larry still is cooler than cool. Stu Kimball looks a lot
like Dylan pooler, tk37. C. i really like George Reciles drumming. i know
that some others don't. Whatever your opinions of him are, there is no
denying that he is a force of nature back there. D. There was no search on
the way in and the event staff was very mellow. There was a lot of fans
taking pictures and i saw one person film the whole show on his camcorder.
E. Some people really can't handle their alcohol very well. Overall, the
crowds seem to become more obnoxious with each show. This was a tremendous
show and i feel lucky to have witnessed it. This was what Jack Nicholson
meant when he referred to the "transcendent Bob Dylan." I'm sorry this is
so long but i tend to ramble when it comes to Dylan. i also apologize for
any typos but it is late and my ears are still ringing. Any suggestions or
complaints are welcome. 

Carsten Molt 


Review by George Lauder

This show seemed to be more intimate than the two I have seen before (RFK
6/25/1995 opening for The Grateful Dead and 11/14/2001 in Morgantown WV),
mainly because of the setting.  It was a beautiful summer evening, and the
idea of doing a tour of minor league baseball parks is a good one.  It
takes the show places in the United States that does not usually draw A
list artists.  In keeping with the minor league theme, children under 12
were admitted free with a paying adult.  My almost 8-year-old daughter
wanted to go with me so we went with some of my other friends.

Things got off to a bad start.  One of the guys who was going could not
find my house where we were meeting, so we did not leave Cumberland until
after 6:00pm.  We made the 65-mile journey up US 220 in record time but
the parking was full.  We knocked on a local's door and God bless her, she
let us park in her driveway for free.  One guy made quite a profit by
shoehorning 32 cars in his yard at $10 a pop.

We sat by the car having a few drinks until we heard Willie starting to
play.  We made our way into the stadium and ended up in the outfield at
the edge of the mass of humanity.  I debated weather to try to make it
closer to the stage after Willie finished, but I did not want to piss
people off by putting my daughter on my shoulders.

Some in the crowd had too much to drink/smoke and tried to start some crap
with one of the guys I was with.  It never ceases to amaze me how brave
people are when it is two on one, but when the one's friends show up, the
tune changes.  It does not matter who is playing in concert; if you are in
general admission, crap is going to happen.  A similar thing happened at a
Dave Matthews Band concert I was at a few years back.  I watched two guys
push my friend down and laugh at him, but when I came to help him up, they
retreated quickly to the bathroom.  Of course my friend is 5 foot nothing
and 150 lbs sopping wet, and I'm 6'2" 275lbs, so I think I scared them.

Anyway, the sound was great in both mix and volume, and the crowd seemed
to be enjoying themselves.  Highlights for me were It's Alright Ma, Man In
The Long Black Coat, and the Encore selections.  Don't Think Twice has
become one of my favorite Dylan songs, both the album version and live. 
Like a Rolling Stone is always a crowd pleaser.  All Along The Watchtower
was wonderful.  Extended solos, extended verses, and excellent "mojo".

I did notice there was another person playing guitar, behind Dylan's
keyboard, during one song in the second half of the set.  I do not
remember which song, and I do not think it was during the encore.  It
appeared he was playing a Fender Telecaster and it was only for one song. 
Any Dylanfiles know who it was, or what song?

My daughter & I had a wonderful time, and she could hang with the big boys
all night. It was nice being able to take her to a real concert for the
first time in her young life.  Of course, she has heard a lot of Dylan
over the years from me and since her favorite song was not played (Forever
Young) she got a Forever Young tee shirt. We made it back to Cumberland
about 12:30 and we stayed up talking for another hour about the concert. 
She did see some people smoking, and went into her rant about smoking
being bad.  She did not care that people were smoking pot ("Daddy, what
stinks") and drinking, but she really hates people smoking around her.



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