Aberdeen, Maryland
Ripken Stadium
August 12, 2004

[Rev'd John Wm Klein], [Stephen Walter], [Ethan Block], [Rick], [Joel Metzler], [Danielle P.], [Adam Dean],
[Todd Holden], [Dalton Fleming], [Peter Stone Brown], [Kevin Briggs], [Marion Millhouse Barker]

Review by Rev'd John Wm Klein

"A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and it did. The amazing thing is that 6000
fans were willing to stand in the rain to hear this fabulous concert. My
daughter Allison and I arrived with, as always, great expectations and
were not disappointed. We managed to move quickly to places within twelve
feet of the stage and just about thirty feet or so to the right center of
Bob's location at the piano. Our wait for the concert to begin was greatly
improved by the acquaintance we struck up with four very interesting fans.
Bill at Pepperguy8@AOL, Rick from near Pontiac, Michigan and Stacey who
had seen Dylan years before and Laurie who had seen Bob many times
recently. Allison and I live in Baltimore and the two ladies traveled from
Westminster, MD. Our expectations were heightened when a young man who had
staked out his position just to the left of us said that he had been at
the Connecticut Concert and even though he had seen Bob almost one hundred
times, he judged it to be the best rock concert he had ever seen. Bill and
Rick had also been at Altoona, PA two nights before and their praise of
the music was further confirmation of another great performance in store
for us at Aberdeen. 

It wasn't long before the rain began to fall. The rain was torrential! The
opening act was washed out after one number. Threatening electrical sounds
stopped everything  for a bit and then with some clearing of what would
have easily closed an out of doors concert for any lesser performers,
Willie Nelson appeared on stage guitar raised and we were started once
again. Willie was really good and his performance overcame electrical
amplification difficulties as a result of the storm. He played for well
over an hour and no on could possibly have been disappointed. 

When Bob took the stage the fans pushed still closer to the stage and we
found ourselves right up front. The rains began to fall again and no one
left and Bob and band didn't miss a beat. Before the concert our small
group had been discussing what we would like to hear. I said "Drifter's
Escape" (a long time favorite of mine and the name of my 26' sailboat) and
Rick said he had always hoped to hear "Cold Iron's Bound" but he didn't
think either of us would get our wish tonight. When Bob appeared on stage
and began the first of a thirteen number set with a very hot "Drifter's
Escape" we just couldn't believe it. When the fifth number was a driving
"Cold Iron's Bound" we realized that things just couldn't get much better.
We had also said we hoped that Bob would sing something with Willie Nelson
and another wish was granted in "Milk Cow Blues". It may not have been our
favorite song but it was something to witness. Behind Bob and to the left
of his Oscar sat an acoustic guitar all ready to be played. We, of course,
hoped Bob might pick it up when he and Willie sang but he stuck to the
piano. I think I would have loved to hear them both on "Boots of Spanish
Leather" or "Girl from the North Country" but we were blessed by what they
delivered to a rapt attention audience in less than ideal atmospheric
conditions. By this point the weather worsened; I mean it was raining
again and after a superb rendition of "Sugar Baby" (one of the evenings
best) Bob walked across to Tony Garnier and said something which I imagine
was "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall ". They sang it next and raining hard it
was! I'll never forget that performance; I don't think I've ever been so
soaked in all my life. It was really wet and miserable and everyone was
smiling. Notable in that smiling category was Larry Campbell who turned
in, as always, an outstanding performance. The high point of the evening?
Everyone stayed and Bob gave the music his full attention. Somehow this
great music on this "Never ending Tour" triumphed over everything, even
nature. Thousands went away filled with an  an aesthetic experience that
only Bob Dylan could deliver. Thank you Bob! May this tour never end! Your
music, given to millions,  I know will never end. Thank you for making
this a better world and for joy, vision, and beauty brought to a world so
much in need. 


Review by Stephen Walter

So there I was, in the parking lot of an Aberdeen, Md. business park, gin
tonic in hand, eyeing a downright apocalyptical sky: tall, narrow clouds,
black as midnight, advancing like some infernal cavalry against a backdrop
of flat gray -- the horsemen come to do battle with the hoarse man. We'd
arrived late, passing by the lights of Cal Ripken Stadium and the tour
buses lined up in back, adjacent to the highway, and had been diverted up
the road, about a fifteen-minute walk away (I've learned from experience
never to set foot on that rolling cage of beasts known as the concert
shuttle bus), even though the approach to the stadium would reveal the
farthest parking lot to be scarcely half full. Intriguing.

It wasn't raining at this point, but I could see what was coming, and
honestly, I didn't want to get out: the car was comfortable and dry, as
was the Bombay Sapphire. "The things we do ..." was my malcontent refrain;
I wasn't inclined just then to dwell upon the things Bob Dylan does for
us, for which he is, after all, handsomely reimbursed. But no, apparently
we had come all the way from New Jersey and it was my decision to go in
the first place, & c., so I had to get out of the car. Ridiculous-looking
rain poncho circa Jones Beach '00 in hand, I grumblingly trudged forward.

Not being an aficionado of minor league baseball parks, I'd found it
difficult to visualize the stage setup from the many written descriptions.
Turns out it was even more bizarrely disjointed than I'd imagined;
romantic concept meets blunt reality, and the result is basically two
discrete concerts, with only the powerful sound system in common: the
first one in the stands and covered areas served by the giant video
screen, at off-angles to the second one in the outfield served by the
actual stage, the two wholly separated by the tented soundboard and the
gaping hole of the infield, covered by sheeting that, I later learned,
some poor soul emboldened by substance abuse was unable to resist
employing as his own personal waterslide, only to be handcuffed and
dragged away. Mustn't touch the infield, sanctum sanctorum of the batty
baseball cult.

Willie Nelson and Family were already on when I came in; the rain was
still in abeyance, but obviously the place had been deluged earlier on.
Nelson's fluid, friendly style and well-worn, reedy voice only heightened
my longing for one of those transparent summer evenings in which I could
unwind and just enjoy his music; as it was, however, I felt edgy and
impatient as the sky darkened even further. Dylan's crew seemed to share
my mood as they assembled the stage in double time; for all the latest
safeguards, I would think that performing outdoors in foul weather remains
an unpredictable, even potentially dangerous affair.

"I can snap my fingers and require the rain ...." All right, that much
I'll readily believe, although I'm not so sure about the turning-off part.
Like clockwork the rain began minutes before Dylan's set, starting as a
fine mist and gradually increasing in strength. On went the absurd,
tent-like raincoat that made me feel like the Gorton's Fisherman. As the
pre-intro music swelled, I made my way down to the outfield along a series
of boards strewn over (and already almost floating on) the sodden grit
along the foul line. I'd heard so many nightmare stories about the
situation near the rail this tour that I gladly settled for a space around
fifteen feet inward from the soundboard, dead center, which afforded a
full-stage view, excellent sound, and a relatively uncrowded and tranquil
atmosphere throughout, disrupted only by bands of fleeing or returning
reprobates from points closer in.

"I'm going to get my coat,

I feel the breath of a storm.

There's something I've got to do tonight ..."

It must be said that adverse weather brings something special out of
Dylan's performance, a sometimes-mystic hammering of man versus nature
that is a variant, perhaps, of the overarching theme of "the individual
against the whole of creation" (in Ginsberg's gnostic formulation) that
resonates throughout his work. Whereas at Jones Beach back in July of
2000, the last concert I attended in similarly torrential rain, this theme
took on a beautifully desolate, even mournful shading -- "Long Black
Veil," "Desolation Row" -- tonight it manifested itself in a spirit of
defiance. "Drifter's" came out fierce and strong, its wicked harp like a
body blow against the elements; a slow, deliberate "I'll Be Your Baby
Tonight," on the other hand, sounded like an assurance that yes, he was
here with us, grateful after his fashion, and ready to persevere. We'd
pledged our time, hearts and ever-wettening bodies, this song seemed to
acknowledge, and then to affirm: I can make it through, you can make it

Maybe it was the clarity of the sound or the particularly biting delivery,
but for the first time since probably '02 I almost appreciated "Tweedle
Dee" again for the fine song that I always thought it to be, before too
many performances dulled my sense of its intrinsic merit, its authentic
strangeness and cruel wit. I was still recovering from my shock at this
response when I noticed a couple of strangers easing out onto the stage to
a wonderfully warm, gracious introduction from Dylan. Tonight they're
going to do it, I realized, tonight out of all the dates so far -- the
sweet perversity of it -- a night when I had almost chosen not to go the
distance. This alone would have repayed the effort: a cover of "Milk Cow
Blues" notable for its long, delightfully bluesy jam in between Nelson's
opening verses and Dylan's closing one -- loose and off-the-cuff, but
joyful -- as Willie and son traded licks with Dylan's players, the
bandleader smiling widely on the side as he watched it all unfold.
Unfortunately, Campbell had just begun to soar on the pedal steel --
Nelson egging him on -- when something in the equipment fritzed, emitting
a horrid, grating, watery static reminiscent, again, of Jones Beach, when
the sound system frizzled early and often. Not sure if he went near the
instrument again afterward; at any rate, they found the thread again,
easily, and cheerfully, enough and wrapped up a moment to be cherished.

"Well, I thought that the rain would cool things down

But it looks like it don't."

At this point the rain was coming in surges; it never really let up, only
alternated between hard and insanely hard -- as in, "I've never felt rain
this hard" -- pouring straight down in drops the size of walnuts. At Jones
Beach it had been cool and wind-driven off the water, but tonight cold
rain and shivers would almost have been welcome; instead it was warm and
thoroughly soaking, the dank air unfit for consumption and the poncho
creating a nasty sauna effect. Each burst of the truly sick rain would
thin the ranks up front as the faint of heart turned and ran, allowing me
to edge slightly closer as the night wore on. They weren't immune to the
water onstage, either, I could see, which I confess made me feel a little
better, spiteful person that I am, even though I suspected it might lead
to a shortened set.

Dylan wasn't ready to yield an inch of ground as of yet, though; energized
from the duet, he launched into a ferocious "Cold Irons" that seemed to
beat back the storm through sheer dint of will. Then he downshifted into
the new "Sugar Baby," which I found better than its debut at The Chance,
where I'd had trouble hearing it over the crowd, but still somehow
inchoate. It strikes me that the verses themselves are quite impressive
both musically -- I like the gentle sway of them -- and vocally: tonight
they built toward the final lines to express an authentically
disconsolate, heart-broken tone. In contrast, the choruses seem musically
awkward and spatchcocked into the arrangement in a way that disrupts its
rhythmic flow and detracts from the overall mood. Perhaps because of that
awkwardness, they are also less convincingly sung, and what should be a
dynamic, dramatic monologue-style interplay deteriorates into a sort of

Much as I may tire of it, I have to admit that "Highway 61" has been
exceptional of late, showcasing the strengths of Kim / Camp -bell -- still
an understudy for Sexton - Campbell, and less fascinating than Koella -
Campbell, but with definite room for growth -- and the relentlessness of
Recili, who interjected a pounding, three-beat pattern to ram the song
home. "Floater" surprised me next, and Dylan handled it capably despite a
couple of flubs: a missing river and an extra Christmas, with the addition
of "Christmas-dancing," a close cousin to the Wilbury twist, I believe.
Fiddle was presumably a safer choice than the pedal steel tonight, and
Campbell took it for all it was worth to provide a splendid accompaniment
to this weird Japanese novel of a song, his playing rich yet pure and
consummately graceful: he is, I think, a "conservative" musician in the
best sense of the word.

"I stood unwound beneath the skies

And clouds unbound by laws.

The crying rain like a trumpet sang

And asked for no applause."

What followed was the high point of the night and, for me, of the year
thus far. "Hard Rain" would be an obvious choice for this set, of course
(the chorus had sounded more than once from various throats in the
audience from the very beginning of the show), but that doesn't mean that
one could take the quality for granted. Nevertheless, it exceeded every
expectation, and was easily the best rendition I've heard since Fall '01,
if not earlier; it may have even rivaled Atlantic City '99. Here Dylan's
performance went from defying the elements to merging with them, becoming
charged with their physical power and transmuting it into spiritual
potency through the medium of voice, of song: the verses rolled on
furiously, hard at one another's heels, just like the waves of rain; his
voice deepened, broadened, and took on an almost electrical burr as he
channeled those unforgettable lyrics in an almost incantatory mode, this
rainmaker, this rain-singer, this metaphysician twanging in the dark. By
the climax it seemed as if the sky itself had cracked its poems in naked
wonder -- that this literally was what it felt like to gaze, in that
brilliant synaesthetic image, upon the chimes of freedom flashing. All
across the audience arms went up into the air as if to embrace the rain
and the music alike in a gesture of victory and surrender, equally
glorious, both at once. I lost all consciousness of being uncomfortable or
wet; in that instant of release, I had learned to be part of the weather,
and the weather had become part of the song. Don't know how it will play
on tape but here, tonight, it was simply magnificent.

As if in response, lightning began to flare off in the distance. The
threat of an electrical storm combined with the water gushing through
various leaks onto the stage conspired to end things early. I sensed this
when "Honest with Me" went into "Summer Days," so I retreated across what
was by now an orange-brown, muddy lake to the concourse where the "other
concert" was happening, the sound smaller but still remarkably clear. I
stood back and away from the metal railings for the encore.

"Hard Rain" had knocked the ball out of the park; all that remained was to
round the bases and try to get home safely. That said, to listen from far
across a barren field to "Rolling Stone," ringing out through the driving
rain, punctuated by lightning flashes, and calling forth a very faint echo
from the stands -- much eerier and more effective than any of the
artificial stuff they've been cooking up for "Watchtower" et al. -- isn't
an experience I'll soon forget. The echo stayed with me as I made my way
through ankle-deep water, drenched to the bone, up the dark road out of
the stadium, the tour buses whizzing past, high and dry, midway through
the slog. No complaints here. Bob Dylan had walked out in the rain and
done what he had to do -- what, at his best, only he can do. And I
couldn't have been wetter or more grateful.


Review by Ethan Block

Ripken stadium.  Rain and traffic outside;
corndogs, mustard, smiling kids, and large beers
inside.  Treacherous walk out to the centerfield
stage.  Nice setup here: Good and loud and Bob up on
the jumbotron leaning wailing into the mic.  Driving
rain and not much lightning yet but the drifter
escaped anyway as he always will.  As Bob and the boys
follow Drifter with Tonight it slaps me (but no
surprise) the care he's putting into every phrase. 
Beautiful harp playing.  I think Larry was on the
pedal steel for this one, tying it all together.
Tweedlie Dee was as good as when I heard them
play it for the first time.  Hope they keep that
"piano" well enforced, he's really leanin in legs
spread wide jam.
We all see Willie and sons come out and Bob says
something through laughter about "there's nothing we
wouldn't do to each other". It sure was nice as I and
many others heard Willie's set only from our
rolled-down car windows.  That man's still got a great
voice in addidtion to his incredible fingerwork. 
After singin a verse of Milk Cow he and his son and
Stu all traded solos.  Me and my sis didn't think Bob
could pull off singing a verse but he managed
something funny in his way and then that was all and
Willie left us all grateful to have seen their
Still awestruck, we hear the band start in with
the intro to Cold Irons Bound.  Perhaps a song about
Pittsburgh beer, this one has been perfected and never
fails to inspire.  The whole band, Recile especially,
just nail it and Bob hits 'em all.  Near the end Bob
leaves his piano for center stage lookin like Ozzy
directing the symphony of the damned lovers.
The next song sounds at first like the chords to
Sugar Baby but proving once again that nobody covers
Bob like Dylan, it is Sugar Baby.  Beautifully and
perfectly sung and played, a different version than
the first live one.  There's a performance up on if you didn't know.
The rain picks up a bit, big drops diluting my
beer, and it was time to rock out with Hwy 61.  Always
great and anyway new blood in the band keeps this song
on the edge, blasting the people taking cover in the
concessions to their toes.  

Floater's a favorite and was again dead-on though
he failed to mention the Ohio River.  Larry's superb
on the violin.  Hearing him sing the Romeo and Juliet
line is worth price of admission.  High Water seemed
to be the logical follower what with the storm and all
but really Hard Rain did make more sense.  This one
just blew us all away.  A faster delivery of lyrics
than previous times I'd heard, running the lists of
sights and sounds and to-dos together.  Larry's got
that smile now, lookin at a smilin Tony as if they're
Bob's biggest fans just diggin the roll.  A big
crescendo for the last verse and in one of those
magical moments the rain fell harder and harder and
the drops bigger stirring us all into a frenzy.  A
highlight of highlights.  

They maintained the intensity with Honest With
Me, breaking up the phrases this time instead of
running them all together.  Even when a setlist looks
bland, there's always new twists and whims which keep
things fresh and exciting.  Summer Days, Stone, and
Watchtower finished off an awesome night, rockin as
hard as their predecessors and keepin the people
farthest from the stage twistin their wet butts off.  

Ripken Stadium.  Cal was good, ok.  But Bob's got
some kinda superhuman maniacal endurance.  Maybe he
won't ever oblige my in-between-song shouts for New
Pony (thanks to the echoes) but any time he's close
enough I'll be there dreaming.


Review by Rick

What a great way to start a show. The band got the audience's attention
right away. An excellent version of  Drifter's escape, one of my personal
favorites. Song two: Did not expect this one- another classic.
Unbelievable how beautiful it sounded. I was in awe. It tore me up. Also
the woman I was standing next to was singing on the chorus so I joined in
on a couple choruses with her. Much fun. Tweedle dee was cool- the crowd
really dug it. A standard for Bob lately, but if it's your first visit
with Bob, an absolute delight.Willie came out with his two sons Lucas and
Micah and performed Milkcow Blues with Bob and band. Even though Willie
did it in his set, itwas still one of my very favorite moments ever in all
the twelve times I  seen Bob. He was very jubilant and happily expressing
it. I've never seen him laughing with such a display of plain ole rock and
roll excitement. It was great. He leaned toward Lucas several times
looking right at him with a smile making sure the youngster was properly
encouraged and to make him feel a part of what was happening- oh my
goodness, how real and precious. It was great, great fun- not a bad
rendition I might add. Cold Iron's Bound is another standard he does
frequently. It was good. The crowd really got into it. Sugar Baby- sweet
stuff- it is too bad people decide it's time to start talking over Bob's
beautiful art. Highway 61 - a true classic song in all of rock history.
Bob does it better than anybody could compare. I absolutely loved it.
Larry Campbell just tears me up on the steel guitar. He is a delight to
watch (when I am not staring at Bob) , no matter  what instrument he is
playing . Floater - another work of art the crowd would rather talk over.
Oh well I dug it. His expressiveness  in his motions , and his grimace, is
beyond explanation, a thrill to watch him work his craft. Hard  Rain , an
absolutely great rocking blues version. A true highlight of my evening.
Honest With Me - I love this song and it was awesome. I noticed  the other
fans seemed  to be really into it also. Summer Days- can't mess this up- a
twenty first century rockabilly classic. Bob's band does this style very,
very cool. Loved it! A great last song for a set.( if no encore occurs).
Rain or no rain, the crowd wanted more, so he plays his biggest hit record
of all time, and he proved once again he is the greatest single rock star
of the rock and roll era. I don't know if I will ever  tire of this song.
Like a Rolling Stone  is an anthem. It is legendary . It's pouring rain so
let's call it a night. No! To send the people on their way in an absolute
frenzy, the band goes right into All along the watchtower . Unlike the
original- this is a fiery rocker  that Bob and the group seem to enjoy a
lot. It seemed to me they shortened it . All in all still a very cool way
to end the show. A hard rain did fall, Buckets of rain, we needed shelter
from the storm, and we felt like we were Down in the Flood. Opening band
played one whole song, "Ida Red" , started the second song and the rains
poured. Over half an hour later a clearing appeared in the sky and  Willie
Nelson went on.The rains came back lightly. About half way into Bob's set
the rain got heavier and heavier.Very few people left that were up by the
stage and it poured the rest of the show. People were drenched. But to me,
a really awesome part of seeing  Bob in concert is some of the people I
meet. I was blessed by meeting some extraordinari;y nice people. Thank you
John. Thank you Alison. By the way John, I'm still waiting to see your
review of the show.  I do apologize for being wordy, but I simply can't
help it, especially when it comes to Bob. To those who aren't going to see
him perform, all I say is - GO! Make it a priority. I'll be in Grand
Rapids in a couple weeks. So expect more excitement from my next review. 
Also, to those who aren't able to go (John's wife), I hope this brings you 
a good feeling of what a Bob Dylan concert is all about. Thanks again.

(alias Soupy Blackflash)


Review by Joel Metzler

After looking up the weather for Aberdeen the whole week just hoping 
that the forecast would change I pretty much excepted the fact that I was
going to get rained on. I didn't however expect to get rained on as much
as we did. After making the little over an hour journey from Lancaster, PA
I found my self right in front of the line 40 min. before the gates open.
The sky looked like it could open up at anytime; well they waited until we
had made our way to the very front and a song and a half into The Hot Club
Of Cowtown's opening act. When it hit it hit hard, IM pretty sure that it
wasn't safe to be outside at all during this storm let alone leaning on a
metal railing next to thousands of dollars of electrical equipment. So we
made the run for shelter and waited it out. After about twenty minutes it
passed and we sprinted back to try and get to the very front again, and we
lucked out and got to about the same spot we were, Its a shame that The
Hot Cub of Cowtowns act got cut short because they really sounded great.
After the sound crew got everything figured out, which wasn't until a
couple songs into Willie's set it really sounded great. I was very into
Willie's whole set, and so was he, I honestly think that he waved to every
single person in the audience. My highlight of his set had to be the SRV
cover of Texas Flood, Willie's son Lucas played his heart out and nailed
it...I was very impressed because he didn't look to be any older then 18.
He finished out his set with some church hymns which I really enjoyed, and
through his bandana into the crowd. Then came Dylan, I have seen him 5
times before and 3 over this last spring and summer tour at some shows in
philly and one in Delaware so I've become familiar to the songs he has
been playing and they only seem to get better every show....They took the
stage and right away it started to rain again, but it didn't matter....i
noticed that Stu Kimball seems to be a lot less nervous now, and he also
seems to have to wardrobe down now too.  They opened with drifters escape
which just set the mood for the rest of the show! next came Ill be your
baby tonight which has become a favorite of mine, i don't know if its
because it was raining or because i was front row it seemed to be the best
sounding bob show I've seen yet. Him and his band have just mastered the
art of rock and roll and I don't think I will ever stop spending the money
to go see them play. The next highlight came when bob came out to the
center mic. which usually doesn't happen until he introduces the band
during the encore, and then I saw Willie and his son come on stage, Bob
made some sort of joke and then they played milk cow blues. And if I am
not mistaken this was the first stop on the tour so far they have played
anything together so that was really great. The rains kept coming and the
set roared on...Then came "A hard rains a gonna fall" which was just
incredible. at the end of the song it just started pouring as the rain
seemed to crachendo with the song. Well im sorry for the long review but
it was a great night and I can't wait til bob comes around the area

Joel Metzler


Review by Danielle P.

I arrived at the stadium around 3:00. There was already a pretty long
line; I was probably about 60 people back. All day they had been calling
for storms and rain, but so far so good - it was sunny when I got there,
and hot. The gates were supposed to open around 5:30, but they actually
opened them a little sooner. Three lines formed, and they informed us that
our line, since all of us had been there longest (some people since 5
am!), would go first, then they would let the other two in. When it came
time to open the gates, however, it was every person for himself, and they
let all three lines in. It worked out okay, though, most people went and
sat in the stands. When it was time for the show to start, dark clouds had
rolled in, but still no rain. Hot Club of Cowtown came up and started to
do their thing, then it started raining. Lightly at first, but it didn't
take long for it to become a downpour. Cowtown had to leave the stage, and
they never did get to perform - by the time the rain was over, it was
about time for their set to be finished. I felt pretty bad for them. After
about 35 minutes, the rain stopped. Everyone was drenched, unless they had
bought the ponchos for sale on the way in. We were all cold and dripping
wet, but still excited. In fact, I think the rain added to the experience.
So, Willie came on and did his thing. There were A LOT of technical
difficulties with his equipment. His sons played with him, one on electric
guitar and one doing percussion. His sons are incredibly talented; Lucas,
the guitar player, is awesome! He looks like he’s only around 15, but his
guitar playing is probably on par with Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Willie did a
lot of medlies, and all in all, it was an enjoyable set, and it didn’t
rain any more for Willie’s part of the show. Of course, when Bob began,
the rain started again! But no one cared, we all were soaked to the bone
already anyway.  He came blazing onstage and got the crowd going with
“Drifter’s Escape” and “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”, then a rockin’ version
of “Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee”.  He brought Willie and Lucas Nelson out
then, and Bob and Willie did a duet, with Lucas helping out Stu Kimball on
guitar. And, that rarest of things - Bob actually talked to the crowd when
he brought Willie out! After the duet, Bob calmed the crowd down with some
slower numbers, then got it going again with “Highway 61”. Appropriately
enough, he did “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”.  He ended his set with
“Summer Days”, and then for the encore did “Like A Rolling Stone” and “All
Along The Watchtower”. I was a little disappointed that he didn’t do any
acoustic numbers. It seems he did on most of the other nights of this
tour, oh well. Dylan just keeps reinventing his songs, and is still a
dynamic performer. His band is GREAT, they just flow like a well-oiled
machine. I hope that they all stay with him for a very long time to come.
You would be hard pressed to find a better group of musicians. Downpours
and all, it was an awesome show, and well worth getting wet. Any chance
any of you get, go see him - you won’t be disappointed!

Danielle P.


Review by Adam Dean

And it's a HARD, it's a HARD, it's a HARD, it's a HARD, It's A HARD
RAIN'S A-Gonna Fall ........ Rain or Shine, as advertised, the Never
Ending Tour rolled into Aberdeen MD last night with Willie Nelson &
Family in tow. Ripken Stadium is a sleek corporate venue (built and
sponsored by credit card giant MBNA) with beautiful stands, which
fortunately are covered in most places. Heavy security was in evidence,
far more than necessary, with drug-sniffing dogs in the parking lot and
police on bicycle and on foot seemingly everywhere - protecting "family
values" or something like that.

The gates opened at 5:30 and promptly at 6:30, just as the Hot Club Of
Cowtown had taken the stage, a downpour, and I mean a torrential
downpour, with wild thunder and booming lightning, passed over the
stadium, driving the Hot Club from the stage, and absolutely soaking
those who remained in the open air in center field in front of the
stage. The rain passed through and a semblance of order returned and
Willie & Family took the stage about 7:30. Unfortunately the sound
system and video system had taken a big hit from the electrical storm,
and the sound was intermittent throughout Willie Nelson's set. At one
point, sound was lost completely for an entire song but the band
continued playing as if nothing had happened! Willies's set list is
basically Greatest Hits and what we could hear of it was enjoyable.
Willie spends a great deal of time waving to friends and fans in the
crowd and his medical problems (carpal tunnel) prevent him from doing
much picking on the guitar. The Family band backs him up quite well.
The fans love Willie though and Willie loves his fans!

The rain returned during intermission, first as a nuisance drizzle and
then as a steady rain. At least 1,000 wet souls braved the storm and
assembled in front of the stage for Bob, who appeared about 8:45.
Everything I had heard about this tour and Bob's current band appeared
to be true - boy, do they rock!! They wail!!! The wall of sound is
incredible and Freddie (who?) is certainly long gone and forgotten by
the Dylan faithful. The rocking opener Drifter's Escape really got the
crowd's attention, and was followed by a lovely I'll Be Your Baby
Tonight, with Larry playing a graceful pedal steel guitar. Set-list
standard Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum followed, with Stu giving the song a
much louder tone than the many previous versions I have heard. 

The big surprise of the evening was announced by Bob with "we're 
going to bring a few friends up here to jam with us" and then "Willie
and me go back a long time, a long long time", and there he was -
Willie Nelson and his two sons, on stage with Bob and the band. They
played the Milk Cow Blues, which Willie had covered himself during his
own set. Bob seemed to enjoy growling out the blues - Willie sang a
verse, then Larry did he break on steel guitar and then Bob sang a
verse.  I believe this was the first time on this tour that Bob and
Willie did a song together, and Bob fans can certainly expect to see
the two of them appear together at other stops on the tour. I think
back to the Paul Simon tour and how Bob and Paul did guitar duets of 
The Boxer, and how nice it would be to see Bob and Willie appear 
together, just the two of them, even if Bob played piano and Willie
guitar - and then I realize that both performers are in some respects
not the same "instrumentalists" they used to be, even if they remain
incredible musical forces in their own right. We'll just have to wait
and see on that one.

What we got the rest of the evening was mostly Love & Theft, which I
love and really enjoyed hearing a couple of the slower songs from, in
addition to the set-list standards. Both Sugar Baby and Floater were
perfect for the crowd and the venue and Bob obviously enjoys singing
the new material. Set list standards Cold Irons Bound, Highway 61
Revisited ,  Honest With Me, and Summer Days all sounded much louder
and clearer with Stu in the mix. It was certainly appropriate for Bob
to drag out the classic A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall , which he crooned
to the soaked crowd in front of the stage, with obvious enjoyment. This
was the "sing-along" song of the night, with the crowd under cover in
the stands (including me) joining in as well. 

The encore songs are the encore songs, Like A Rolling Stone and All
Along The Watchtower cut short by the weather and also probably by
Willie's appearance in the set - we were on the way out the door by
that point anyway for the wet drive back to Philly, only 65 miles yet a
world away from conservative Maryland. I was reminded upon commenting
about security to a local that "your in the South now, boy" and so it
was. Another Bob show come and gone, down the road to America.

Adam Dean


Review by Todd Holden

They say when it rains it pours, and that's not just with Morton's Salt…early
on it looked like the monsoons would skip over the field of dreams tour with 
Bob and Willie…  The folks at Ripken stadium ripped us all off…big time.  
Little did any of the 7000 plus fans know that the next day, Friday, Ripken 
hosts the World Series of  Youth baseball…or something like that.  So what do 
they do, the greedy bustards, they put the stage out near the outfield parking 
lot, not around second base where it should have been for those of us getting 
soaked but hanging on…even the small fry 'fence' at 210 for a home run by one 
of the young sluggers was 'out of bounds'…so, picture this…the stands and the 
facility itself are magnificent…easy access, good food, totally cool venue…but 
"Hello!"…weather?  outdoors?….Fans…what about us suckers who plunk down the 
cash to see the greatest living poet of our time and a living legend of the 
road and weed?  O.K. so we get there, little drizzle, but so far so good, then 
we see the stage way out past the fence for the  big guys to hit balls over…
that's 400 feet folks…the precious field where the 'series' is to begin today 
(Friday) is covered, and totally out of bounds to any foot traffic…ridiculous 
and ignorant…a dog track in the slime.  Willie opened and did a fast set and 
the opening act "Kowtow Critters' or whatever muddled through a song or two 
and big rains drove them, thankfully, off the stage.  A brief clearing, with 
'all business' attitudes, Willie and Family hit the stage and hit it with 
vigor and lust…even with the bad thumb from carpo tunnel surgery, Willie sang 
his ass off.  Mickey Raphael was great on harmonica as usual, Jody Payne, 
Paul, Bobbi…all played knowing the Bobster had to get out there as well, 
before more heavy downpours.  And so it was, without any undo delays…and a bit 
of Aaron Copeland's tribute to the Common Man…Bob ripped into his set…  I had 
managed to get punched by a blond on my way to the first row and closest ever 
look at Bob at the keyboards…and he was great…best ever version of Cold Irons 
Bound I've ever heard him do.  After opening with a seething, searing Drifter's 
Escape, I'd say that classically funny number was given its just deserts.  Hot 
too were Tweedledee and Tweedledum.  Willie comes out, he and Bob do a reprise 
of Willie's version of Milk Cow Blues, which Willie had done earlier. Bob went 
over hugged Willie and said something like it was good to play with and good 
for you to play with me, a first….but with the rain and crowd noise, I couldn't 
write the quote from bob  exactly. sorry about that, but at 65 I can only do so 
much in the moshe pit.  Floater and Honest With Me were soothing as the crisp 
rain intensified and melted clothes to skin…wallets were soaked and cells were 
stashed where the sun don't shine anymore.  Sure, Summertime and Hard Rain were 
hip as usual and tighter than a rat's ear…what a band…and Bob was animated along 
with the raindrops.  The shows in the field of dreams tour are about two or three 
shy of what he did on the previous tour of the northeast before going over seas….
but it hardly mattered because the arrangements and drive of the re/worked 
classics still makes you wonder what drives this guy to the heights he reaches 
day after day, night after night?  He doesn't have to sing another song…write 
another lyric and he's done his job on this earth making us stand inside the 
rain with the Ripken Blues Again.


Review by Dalton Fleming

Talk about the Aberdeen waters flowing ...
I just got home, soaked to the bone after standing in a downpour at Ripken
Stadium in Aberdeen to hear Dylan give his absolute best performance I
have ever seen. If there is anyone anywhere out there who can perform with
the conviction and passion that Dylan brings to a good night, I haven't
heard of them. The Hot Club of Cowtown opened on time at 6:30, but stopped
after a couple songs when a heavy rainstorm that had been circling reached
the stadium. The Hot Club never came back on, which is too bad, because
they have a really nice sound. They're a high-energy jazz-western swing
group with a female singer, and several of their songs are reminiscent of
the recordings of Les Paul and Mary Ford from the '40s and '50s, real
sweet but very upbeat. Willie Nelson came out about 7:30, and the first
half of his set was badly marred by problems with the sound system. The
music kept fading out, so you could see the band playing and Willie
singing, but could only hear intermittently in the stadium seats. Then
they got Willie's voice coming through clearly, but at times with no sound
of instruments. They finally got the sound problems solved for the last 20
minutes or so of his hourlong set. Willie was laid back and gracious, and
the band was good, though not spectacular. Willie's sister Bonnie, who has
toured with him a while now, is a hot boogie-woogie piano player, and his
two sons played as well, one on percussion and the other, Lucas, on
electric lead. Willie was engaging, but seemed to rush through his hits -
perhaps frustrated with the sound problems - and the set had a perfunctory
feel. A heavy mist was falling when Dylan and the band came out about 20
minutes after Willie's set, and they were on from the first song. Tony
actually jumped up and down as he counted off the first song, "Drifter's
Escape," and Dylan was intense from the first notes he sang, and his
harmonica playing was potent as well. You could tell he and the band were
really jazzed. They followed with a nice, swinging version of "I'll Be
Your Baby Tonight" with Larry playing a nice, lilting steel guitar part
and Stu Kimball, playing a harder edged, rock 'n' roll guitar
counterpoint. That led right into "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum," with Dylan
staying very focused and strong in his singing and Larry and Stu weaving
leads in and out. Then, one of those special, transcendent moments: Willie
and his two sons came out on stage and joined the band. It was the first
time on the tour Dylan and Willie played together. Dylan walked to center
stage, took the mike from the stand and, grinning broadly, said, "Willie
and me go back a longgg way. There's nothing he wouldn't do for me, and
nothing I wouldn't do for him." Then he ambled back to the piano and they
kicked off a spectacular version of "Milk Cow Blues," with Willie singing
the first two verses and Dylan bringing it home after lead breaks by Larry
on pedal steel, Willie on his beat-up old acoustic, and Willie's son Lucas
on the Stratocaster. Dylan laughed and gestured and looked postively
joyful. Unbelievable. Then, a ferocious "Cold Irons Bound" and ... "Sugar
Baby." What a treat! It was a beautifully sung rendition, although it lost
some of the instrumental delicacy of the recording. "Highway 61" rocked as
always, and Stu got to showcase his blues-rock licks. He's an excellent
addition and, although not as technically proficient as Charlie, adds a
heavier rock flavor. Larry switched to fiddle for "Floater," then, another
truly transcendent moment: "Hard Rain." The rain had been building
steadily during the show, and, as if on cue, turned into a deluge just as
Dylan headed into the last verse, his voice rising and turning into a howl
as George thundered away on the drums. The crowd joined in on the chorus
and, picking up on Dylan's growing intensity, reached a fever pitch on the
last time through. Amazing, amazing, amazing.  They finished the set with
the usual "Honest With Me" and "Summer Days," which Dylan sang without
missing a syllable. A third guitarist, who may have been one of the
techies, played electric rhythm, with Larry handling most of the leads on
a big hollow body that he worked relentlessly, playing blazing fast
triplets and 16ths over a "Rock Around The Clock" beat. The encore
featured a reworking of "Rolling Stone" that again paired Larry on steel
with Stu on guitar, and they used the same instrumentation on "All Along
The Watchtower," which featured dramatic dynamics. After the lead breaks,
Dylan brought the music down and sang softly, then built toward a climax
that approximated the fury of the storms that had bracketed the show, with
Larry at one point hitting a mid-range note on the steel and then letting
it feed back and drench the last chorus, rising along with Dylan's voice.
I am in awe that Dylan manages to continually outdo himself. I know better
than to hope he will be this good in Salisbury - tonight was a perfect
storm, with the weather, the crowd and the good vibe with Willie - but if
he is, I won't be surprised.

Dalton Fleming


Review by Peter Stone Brown

Five days less than a decade ago I went to a Bob Dylan Concert in Hershey,
PA at the Hershey Park Stadium.  It started raining on the way there, a
heavy, steady rain and it rained the entire show as the football field
turned to mud.  The stadium was nowhere near full, and Dylan and the band
put on a good show with quite a few rain references throughout, encoring
with "Hard Rain."  I spent a good deal of time at that show trying to
figure out what secret they'd discovered to keep from getting electrocuted
as the wind was blowing the rain onto the stage.

Two months later I saw the Rolling Stones at Veterans Stadium in
Philadelphia.  It was October and a lot colder and again the field turned
to mud.  I swore never again.

I woke up this morning and the sky was a very strange gray, some
combination of clouds and pollution and the day felt weird in general. 
The weather reports were terrible.  This has been the rainiest summer I
can remember in Philly with surrounding communities and Philly itself
including my house and my block getting flooded.  Hurricanes were invading
Florida and making their way up the East Coast.  I picked up my friend
Seth and we headed South in I-95 straight into a couple of traffic jams. 
Just as we were crossing from Delaware into Maryland as the Governor of
New Jersey was announcing he was gay and had cheated on his wife with
another man and resigning it started to pour.  The signs on I-95 in
Maryland that are usually used to announce traffic delays all said: "To
report suspicious activity, call some 800 number."  It seemed like there
was one every five minutes.  Fifteen minutes later the sun came out and
maybe 15 minutes later after crossing the Susquehanna River we saw the
stadium from the Interstate and the tour busses parked along side of it. 
We made it past security who were checking every centimeter of every bag,
and down onto the field.  I'd told Seth the field was the only place to
see the show and he didn't believe me until he saw where the stage was and
saw where the stands were.  In some ways Ripken was the nicest of the
stadiums I'd been to especially in design though Yale was much older,
funkier and had more charm.  Ripken was also the smallest and the least
prepared.  Whereas every other stadium had 20 or 30 portojohns or whatever
the hell they're called this year, Ripken had 8.  Like Cooperstown the
only beverage you could buy on the field itself was beer.  We made it to
about ten rows of people from the stage, right in the center.  Very
ominous looking black storm clouds were moving North from Baltimore. 
About 15 minutes before Hot Club of Cowtown took the stage, a single very
scary lightning bolt somewhere to the south went all the way to the

Hot Club took the stage and it started to drizzle, then it started to
pour.  Then it started to rain the hardest rain I'd ever felt in my life. 
The drops were huge and hurt when they hit your skin.  I can't remember
whether it was the second or third song, but all of a sudden the standup
bass player jumps back and they stop playing, moving to the back of the
stage as fast as they could.  Most people started running for the upper
deck of the stands.  There wasn't any room under the roof.  A bunch of
people went into the various restrooms for the next half hour.  Everyone
was completely soaked and most people including myself had raincoats. 
They did little to help.  Finally the rain started to ease up and Willie
Nelson took the stage at approximately the same time he usually does,
opening with "Living In The Promised Land," and following it up with
"Pancho and Lefty," and a bunch of other songs before going into the
medley of his classic original country songs.  There were sound problems
from the start.  At first Willie's mic didn't work, and his crew switched
it fast.  Then later on, the sound went out of the main speakers
completely and it seemed that they never really got it back.  I don't know
what the people in the stands heard, but the people near the stage were
hearing the band through the band's monitors.  And it was a shame, because
Willie was doing a much different set than on the other shows I've seen on
this tour, including "Milk Cow Blues," and he let his son Lucas (already a
good blues player) sing a verse of "Texas Flood," and the kid can sing

But as Willie's set went on, more ominous clouds were moving north.  He
ended his set maybe five minutes early and there seemed to me more of a
rush than usual to change the stage.  During this time the front got
really crowded, so crowded you couldn't move, you couldn't lift your arms,
and it was not a Bob Dylan crowd.  It was trailer park white trash.  Yes,
it was the night of the morons in Aberdeen and you didn't wanna even
consider messing with them.  Big motorcycle guys with tattoos.  Women
chatting on cell phones (even during Willie's set), some weird guy
complaining about cigarette smoke and bumming them every chance he could. 
It was really weird.  Some girl standing next to me started yelling out
"Bobby D" in a shrill shriek for no apparent reason every 30 seconds.  I
doubt she could name the title of a single Bob Dylan album.

It started to drizzle and a hatless Bob took the stage and launched into
"Drifter's Escape."  Once again he was on, the band sounded tight, but it
wasn't easy to pay attention to the music.  Much to my amazement, the one
video screen was actually showing Dylan.  He then did a not bad "I'll Be
Your Baby Tonight," and the rain got a little harder, and on into "Tweedle
Dee and Tweedle Dum," and the band is really kicking.

By now it was really pouring and all of a sudden Bob's at the center stage
mic and talking and I'm trying to understand what he's saying but the girl
is still shrieking "Bobbeeee" in my ear and people are having
conversations all over and then they wheel another guitar amp on the stage
and Willie Nelson is there, with his sons Lucas (on guitar) and Michael
(on tambourine) and Bob's saying something like "I'd do anything for this
guy and he'd do anything for me and we'd do anything for each other," and
he's laughing and runs back to the keyboard and there into "Milkcow
Blues," which Willie had already done that night.  And they're jamming and
Bob is smiling big time and then he does a verse and it wasn't from "Milk
Cow Blues," but I can't quite make out what it is because this motorcycle
guy is dancing into me and this girl is shrieking "Bobbeee."  And I'm
hoping that maybe just maybe they'll do another song, like maybe
"Heartland," but Willie and song leave the stage and they're into a fairly
loose but smoking "Cold Iron Bounds" and all this time the rain is coming
down fast and hard.  My pocket notebook is soaked, not that I could lift
my hands to jot anything down, my cigarettes despite being inside my
raincoat are crumbling bits of paper and tobacco and this moron is still
shrieking.  I consider moving to the back, but they're starting something
that sounds sort of familiar, but not that familiar and it turns into the
new arrangement of "Sugar Baby," that has a kind of very light, swingy,
jazz feel pushing it into something different than the studio version. 
And this of course is one of those moments that you go to shows for but
most of the people around me don't know it and start conversations and
Bobbeee is still being yelled into my right ear.  They tear into "Highway
61," and somewhere around this time, some people leave and a new space
appears.  I grab it immediately and then manage to move up further away
from the shrieker.

The lights are down, but I can see Larry has his fiddle and they're into
(amazingly enough) "Floater" of all things, and it's good too with Stu on
acoustic and Bob emphasizing the line "Cold rain can give you the

Larry puts down the fiddle and George kicks the drums into (finally) "A
Hard Rain's Gonna Fall," and he's really singing it, nailing every line
and then it was into "Honest With Me," with Bob again taking the front of
the stage to do whatever it is that he does up there and then "Summer
Days."  I decided I was wet enough and we headed for the back.  They
returned to the stage pretty fast and skipping the acoustic song went
right into "Like A Rolling Stone."  I looked at my watch and it wasn't
even 10 pm, and I figure Bob decided it was time for everyone to come in
out of the rain and was ending the show early.  There were small lakes at
the back of the field and my pants were so soaked (and I wore shorts
thinking skin dries quicker than cloth) that they felt like a 30 pound
weight around my waist.  

Luckily traffic was moving on I-95 and there weren't any flood, just an
outrageous five-dollar toll for going maybe 15 miles on the Maryland
Turnpike and finally the rain stopped at the Pennsylvania border.  With no
show tomorrow, with the weather forecast even worse, the people further
down South just might luck out, but there is that other hurricane moving
into Florida.  


Review by Kevin Briggs

A hard rain fell tonight in Aberdeen. Hot Club of Cowtown came out and
barely made it through one song before before called off the stage due to
whipping winds and a true torrential downpour. Crowds went racing to the
roofed section of the stadium and jammed together for about 30 minutes or
so before the rain let up. It finally slowed down for a while, and Willie
Nelson promptly began a set of little ditties and standards. He was
charming, but Dylan's professionalism was definitely welcome.

Dylan came out and played "Drifter's Escape," which was a great way to
kick off a very electric set. The band streched it out a little bit. Stu
Kimball is a great addition. He brings a lot of personality, and is an
intense stage presence. He seems to be a bluesman at heart, but has some
guitar licks that fit other genres. Hopefully he will polish up his
acoustic guitar playing in the future. He got to show some of his skills
in "Drifter's." Larry was great as usual. He smiled a lot throughout the
show, at Bob and Stu mostly.

"I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" came next and was solid, although relatively
standard. The band was very tight, in a way similar to the Sexton days,
but without the same level of virtuositry. I mean, Sexton and Campbell
were probably the best guitar combination Dylan has had. Nevertheless, the
current band is very tight. They are a rock band above all else. They play
electric and Dylan nods to his gunslingers when he wants a solo, which is
often. They are usually allowed to go two or three measures before being
called off. At one point I thought the energy level of the band rivaled
the mid-70s recordings I have heard. It was almost a testerone-driven
barrage of electricity (in the mid-70s it was probably a cocaine-driven
barrage of electricity).

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum was delivered very well. The band is
form-fitted for this kind of song. I think they'd do a good job with
"Tombstone Blues" too, or "Maggie's Farm." Like I said, they are a rock
band and are at their best when rocking hard. Dylan's voice had been very
clear to this point. I think this is now the standard and everybody needs
to stop acting like it's some great event when we can understand the guy.
He was unintelligible sporadically in the late 80s and early 90s, and has
typically been very intelligible since.

The "Milk Cow Calf Blues" duo with Willie was a lot of fun. Dylan took the
mic at center stage and said a few words to Willie. I heard the beginning
of what he said, but couldn't heaer the rest because of how many drunk
idiots were burping, farting, pissing, and yelling all around me. Dylan
said soemthing like, "I know I really mean a lot to you, and you really
mean a lot to me...." He laughed which shows he was hamming it up. Willie
played the same song with his own band, but Dylan's band completely
outclassed "the family." The climaxes between verses was astounding.
Receli really knows how to elevate the intensity of the songs. Campbell,
Kimball, Nelson Jr., and Nelson each took a solo, which was great.
Nelson's son has this Stevie Ray Vaughn style goin' on. It's a highly
reduplicated style, and he does it in a highly reduplicated fashion.
Sometimes he overplays instead of letting the notes ring out. However,
he's apparently 15, according to Peter Stone Brown, so he'll learn to
balance his emotional playing.

I am getting tired, so I'll skip to the bonified gem of the evening. Most
of the songs rocked in a rockabilly kind of way, and I mean they really
rocked, but Hard Rain was a show stopper. First of all, it was perfect
because it rained all night long. Everybody was soaking wet. Most people
didn't care, and many stayed out in the torrential downpour so as not to
lose their spots at the front of the stage. Dylan sang it and the crowd
roared. Each verse was delivered in a climactic fashion. He carefully
built the tension and momentum throughout the song and was on fire by the
time the final verse hit. It was the most moving, slightly rocking
electric version of Hard Rain I've heard.

In general, the band is clearly in an electric rock your face off phase.
Even Hard Rain rocked. This is a good thing, since people who otherwise
couldn't care less about Dylan will now at least say, "his band really
rocks." Dylan fans have known that about his NET bands for years, but new
listeners will latch on to this style. He has abandoned any inklings of
the hippie/jam-band phase which mostly followed Jerry Garcia's death, but
which followed him for years. 

The lack of acoustic instruments will alienate some who go for the hymnal,
melodic songs delivered so well with Bucky Baxter and Sexton. I loved
those arrangements. That "It Ain't Me Babe" done from about 1998 to 2002
was great. However, this band has its own merits, and is - dare I say -
classy. They play with eachother perfectly. I think it's important to note
that Campbell seems to really like what he's doing up there. He plays such
an important role, and when he's happy it's obvious it makes a huge impact
on the Dylan world. After "Hard Rain" he looked like he couldn't believe
how great Bob had just sang, and how well everything sounded. Also, he
frequently smiled in Kimball's direction while they were playing off of
each other during songs like "Drifter's Escape," "Highway 61," and "Summer
Days." Ganier is always solid, and Receli has finally gotten laid, so he
doesn't play like a frustrated Jack Rabbit might play. During the
rockabilly songs, the band would do these fantastic stop and starts. It
emphasized just how controlled they were. While one guy was having a solo,
the rest of the band would often stop to let the guy's solo ring through.
It also created a great dramatic effect.

The crowd in Aberdeen was different than any I have seen at a Dylan
concert. I've seen Dylan with Ani DiFranco, Paul Simon, without another
act, Phil lesh, and now Willie Nelson. The fans at this concert were by
far the most belligerent I have seen. It was probably due to how long the
show was, so people boozed it up from 5:30 until the show was over at
10:30. All I know is I witnessed three heated arguments, a person near me
took a piss on the plastic ground coverings during "Like A Rolling Stone,"
and the drunk bastards behind me screamed every line of "All Along the
Watchtower," only after Dylan just sang each line, and with the word
'fuck' placed in each line as an adjective of some sort. I also think
Nelson draws a more conventional crowd. He's way more mainstream. It
reminds me of when I saw Neil Young in Pittsburgh. He packed the Star Lake
Amphitheater, but most of the crowd were insanely drunk college football
players or fraternity brothers who had no regard for anyone but

I prefer the timid nature of Dylan's crowds. I don't care if 60% of the
people wouldn't have been there without Willie Nelson. 

Bottom line: Dylan was great. My top five Dylan concerts I've been to are
Columbus Veterans Memorial 2/99, St. Bonaventure 4/97, Camden NJ 2000,
Pittsburgh Civic Arena 99, and Aberdeen 2004. I've seen 11 in total, so
it's one of the better ones. Get ready to be rocked...on to Salisbury!


Review by Marion Millhouse Barker

I have enjoyed reading the reviews posted on your site; however, I must
disagree with many of the reviews of the Aberdeen, MD, show. Having first
seen Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 (when he went electric),
then having seen him at George Harrison's benefit concert for Bangladesh
(1971), then having seen the Before the Flood tour in 1974 (with The
Band), then having seen dozens of concerts since then (with Bob at both
his highs and his lows), I would have to say that this concert had a great
band but mediocre arrangements and delivery of most of the songs. In
addition, the short set list should have been longer given that most of us
stood in the pouring rain throughout the concert. Also, the sound system
was sub-par (this may be the fault of the stadium, not Dylan). Although I
could follow all the songs b/c I know the lyrics, I asked my 19-year old
son whether he could decipher the lyrics to songs he did not know -- and
he could not.  Due to the leaden arrangements of most of the songs, Dylan
shouted out lyrics instead of singing them, and the effect was to strip
most songs of any of their original allure. (I have seen Dylan many times,
so I know that he rearranges his songs all the time. I didn't expect to
hear carbon copies of the recorded versions, but I hoped to hear versions
that were at least as good.) The exceptions were most of his recent work,
including Twiddle dee dum and Twiddle Dee dee, Summer Days, and Honest
with Me. I long to see Dylan and a band as good as the one he toured with
after releasing Love and Theft. In the mean time, there is his prodigious
body of recorded work to listen to.

Marion Millhouse Barker


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