Jackson, Tennessee
Pringles Park
August 20, 2004

[Jim Maynard], [Michael N.]

Review by Jim Maynard

One problem with outdoor concerts, especially in the midsouth around
Memphis, is you can pretty much bet on rain.  Thunderstorms were predicted
for tonight, but after some rain early in the day it seemed to clear up
before the concert in Jackson started at 6:30 PM.  It turned out to be a
very nice night, with no rain, until the last song in Dylan's Encore...

First, the opening act was OK, but not my king of music.  They were great
musicians, especially the female fiddle player who came back to play with
Dylans on a couple of songs.

Willie Nelson was alright, I'm not a huge fan, but respect him.  His voice
is as good as ever, but his guitar playing was obviously impaired by his
recent medical problems with his hands, so he had plenty of other guitar
players to back him up, including his son who is very good... (maybe he
will join Dylan's band one day.  Willie did his greatest hits (Blue Eyes,
Crazy, etc. and some Hank Williams stuff)..

This was my 13th Dylan concert and I was hoping to hear a few songs I had
not heard before (like Bline Willie McTell or Every Grain of Sand).  I
didn't get either wish, but did get a few songs I had not heard live.

Dylan rocked! As everyone knows, he is stuck on keyboards on the left side
of the stage, which I think is mainly a prop). He Came on strong with To
Be Alone With You, which I did not recognize for a while, his voice was
very ragged at first, but seemed to get better.  I'm sure most people were
lost on most songs since he did not do his "greatest hits."  TBAWY was a
good opener though.  Continuing the country flavor was  I'll Be Your Baby
Tonight from John Wesley Harding.

I'm not going to go in exact order, but note some highlights for me..

The recent songs tilted toward Time Out of Mine with good performances of
Cold Irons Bound, Make you Feel My Love and a splendid performance of
Standing in the Doorway.

The surprise song for me was If Dogs Run Free, which I would not put on my
wish list. I must say it was a pleasant surprise though, very jazzy, and
well sung with a nice harp added in (he plays lots of the harmonica now
that he's not having to play guitar).

The new version of It's Alright May blew me away.. used to the
acoustic/folk version.  Now it is a hard rock song, very different but I
liked it, though I prefer the acoustic version (I hope he will one day go
back to playing some solo acoustic guitar songs again..)

The hard rockers included Highwy 61, Honest with Me and Summer Days from
Love & Theft. Summer Days was a great song to end the main set ( I was
glad we were spared Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, a song I have yet to warm
up to, maybe if I understood what it is about, though I suspect it is a
meaningful commentary on human nature and the state of the world...)

Oh, instead of Every Grain of Sand, we got a very moving performance of
Saving Grace, my second time...

The Encores were the obligatory Rolling Stone and All Along the
Watchtower, both a performed a little too slow I think, especially when
the rain started coming down on AATWT...  but I can never get tired of
that song.

All in all, another good show, with Dylan showing remarkable staying power
as a performer.

Jim Maynard
Memphis, TN


Review by Michael N.

I caught Bob's show at Pringle Park last evening and there were several
rewards for me. I teach Elementary Music in Alabama schools and was
delighted to see 5 or 6 of my former students standing in the infield
waiting to see Bob. Support Music Programs In Your Public Schools ! They
aren't 3rd graders anymore and it's super to know that I've touched a life
or two by introducing them to Bob.

Now on to the show, it was really great.  I have seen Bob over 40 times
since 1974 and rank this show as superior to all of them in one
category....SOUND. Even with the mixes of the 74 Tour with The Band the
sound was never this sterling and crystal. I moved from the back of the
infield to within 7 paces of the stage and the sound was superb
everywhere.  I can't say what was heard in the bleachers but on the
field the instruments and Bob's voice were more clearly defined than any
Dylan show I've ever seen. And I have seen one or two where the sound
was abysmal. Speaking of this band, they really cooked. The new lead
guitarist blends perfectly with the ensemble and the group played so
tightly you knew they could stop on a dime.

The performance was a congenial (for Bob) one with lots of love songs
thrown in. But the love songs were balenced with a rock hard
arrangement of I'ts Alright Ma !  It probably said that there were
still many of Willie's fans in the audience when the line "but even the
President of The United States must sometimes have to stand naked" 
got only a mild applause instead of a thunderous roar. I get a feeling
that a large percentage of the crowd will be staying with Bush this
Fall :(    Maybe Bob should have hit them on the head and played Masters \
Of War.....or maybe he should have hit me on the head and played 
Neighborhood Bully :)

If Dogs Run Free was one I've never heard Bob do live. I wished that
he'd allowed himself a little piano break on that one to show us what he
might be capable of doing with jazz piano. But with Dylan you alway
expect the unexpected and  don't count on things to line out the way you
always want them....but he's always interesting and last night he was

I'd been following the reports of the tour and wasn't disappointed that
Willie & Bob didn't duet. It would probably just have slowed down a
great set.

Michael N.


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