Grantham, Pennsylvania
Messiah College
Brubaker Auditorium
November 6, 2004

[Mike Semuta], [Alex Leik], [Dave Papenfuse], [John Rasmussen], [Greg Wicklem], [Stasia Karel], [Mark Kraynak]

Review by Mike Semuta

It's been 9 years since I last saw Dylan (that's a long stretch
considering I'm only 36) and this was my 5th show. 1986, 1989, 1994,
1995(opened for The Grateful Dead) & now 2004. I've been doin' Phish for
the last 9 years. I may have been a little too hyped for Dylan. Probably
one of the better shows this tour so far judging reviews and discussions
in the line to get in. And even though I knew Bob would not be wielding
his guitar, it was harder to take than I thought since not a lot of people
were raising too much fuss about it. It was strange to say the least. I
did call the opener before we went in and sure enough I got my wish -
Maggie's! Then what I will call a "different" version of The Times They
are A-Changin. I did not like the vocals that much, too much stopping,
starting. I don't want to hear the studio version, but the unplugged
version is awesome! I don't like the new working - clumsy is the word I
would use. This was the best Bob's voice sounded all night for Lonesome
Road Blues. Everyone sounded tight. Mr. Tambourine Man was next, again I
did not like the version, he changed the tempo so much I only new it was
Mr. Tambourine Man from the lyrics. Next It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only
Bleeding) This was much better. I like the new working especially since it
was pretty heavy and loud. I love when Bob stretches the last word out -
To understand you know too soon There is no sense in tryyyyyiiiiiiiiiing!
That's Dylan at his best and why I love him so much. Po Boy was next and
was great. Enjoyed hearing this live, and a fun song to boot! I told my
friend "I feel like we're on a Riverboat playin poker" Then Stuck Inside
Of Mobile , took me a while too get this one. Hardly recognized it.
Dignity. I knew it right away, I was excited to hear this one, and the
band was right on this one. Some differences in the vocals, you could
almost sing along to this one. Lovesick - I loved hearing this one, Bob
doesn't seem to have as much trouble singing the newer stuff. Again the
band was good here. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum - another one that sounded
great. I was getting uncomfortable watching Bob during the guitar leads.
It's got to make him want to grab a guitar and do his thing. Take the song
a different direction, whatever. Then Saving Grace.I don't own that
album.I didn't know what it was, but it sounded good. I was wondering if
he would play anything on that LP Saved since the show was at a Christian
College, and sure enough there you have it.Honest With Me - a great song
that could have had the place rockin' but failed to because of the stops
in between words in the chorus. I was disappointed he chopped up a
perfectly good song with those awkward pauses. Then Ballad Of Hollis Brown
sounded smooth nothing too out of the ordinary here. Summer Days was a
little rough but recognizable. I don't like predictable setlists, but we
all could see what the encores were gonna be. Like A Rolling Stone and All
Along The Watchtower. So no suprises here. Overall I'd say I was
disappointed. I'm probably just being selfish and hiding from the fact
that Bob's getting older and his voice is failing him onstage. But, I'll
still go see him again......especially if it's within 20 miles!!

-Mike Semuta


Review by Alex Leik

After 41 Bob Dylan concerts, you come to appreciate the many incarnations
of "His Band" that you have been able to see. You also start to think
about your favorites & least favorites. Freddy Koella remains the worst
band member I have ever had the good fortune of seeing. But the best, my
favorite is, well, like asking what my favorite Dylan song is. Saturday
night @ Messiah College, Stu Kimball & George Recile competed for my most
current favorite. 

Brubaker auditorium is smaller than my high school gymnasium (~800 people
in my high school, grades 9-12). The cement walls & lowe ceilings had us
worried that the sound may not be the best part of this show. We were
pleasantly mistaken - great sound throughout. With us seated at the top
row of the first set of bleachers (which was still only like 25-30 yards
from the stage), stage Bob, the men in black, all with hats (save Larry)
sauntered to the stage around 8:20PM, straight out of a mid-western saloon
(or Columbus, OH). Maggie's Farm was something I had expected, and it
received proper treatment. Stu picks up where he left off the last time I
saw him, his second show ever with the band in Uncasvile, CT. But, the boy
appears to have found his place, no longer the wide-eyed rookie in a
legend's band, but now an important piece of the puzzle. Blistering leads
were traded with Larry, the ever competent veteran, and Bob gave several
quick nods of approval to the entire cast.

Times was a welcome # 2, nothing different from the past few years (I
think this version has been played since the Fall 2002 tour, but now no
acoustic guitar, just bouzouki (Larry) & Electric (Stu). LDB was another
rocker, Bob seemed to rush through it, only stopping the vocals once, if I
recall correctly, for a guitar break. That came to a quick end, and they
stumbled through a disastrous Mr. T. They didn't seem to really pick up on
Stu & Larry's exchange during Maggie's Farm. I though that, combined with
George's driving beat during the opener, would really have launched the
show, but it took a little while longer. It's Alright Ma was standard
fare, and though the president's line got a nice applause, it wasn't as
near as thrilling as I had hoped. Then I remembered, Messiah College,
these people all voted for W, they don't want to hear that even he is

Po' Boy quieted things down nicely and, IMO, is the point where the show
took a turn for the better. This L&T gem made a rare appearance (2 shows
in a row, no less) and was nailed. Larry seemed to be coaching Stu through
it, but he really didn't need it, he was right on. And here is where
George Recile is due major credit. Too often I hear the complaint that he
is too loud, too Winston Watson. I, personally, love that about him. But
he also has this ability to lay back and drive a song with the audience
not even feeling that the drums are being played (ala Kemper). That is
what happened here, some great brush work allowed the focus to remain on
Bob's delivery of this hilarious lyric, and Stu & Larry's brilliant
acoustic work. Recile's reward?? The next 4 songs, Bob simply cut him

Mobile was something I had not heard in a few years. The treatment is
still the same, Larry on acoustic, Stu on electric, but we all know our
frustrations with Bob never really allowing Charlie to fly with a lead
(until his final tour). Bob has a confidence about Stu very early in his
tenure, something that cannot be said for most musicians that join "His
Band". Brilliant leads on Mobile, Dignity, Love Sick, etc., etc. with
Mobile receiving this neat little descending scale solo that ended each
break, very reminiscent of the beginning of UTRS. As for George, well, he
earned his keep last night, and made sure his boss did not have to worry
about losing his place at any point. But Dignity Love Sick, & Mobile
really stick out, as I think back upon it now, as the 3 songs where George
gave it his all, but never reached the point where he was drowning out any
other band member - great sound!

Saving Grace sounded as if it could have been Shooting Star, and all those
pundits who thought they'd get a treat tonight because Bob was playing
Messiah College, were relieved (despite that fact that this has been a
regular song on the setlist since Spring 2003, I still heard people
comment that it was because he was playing a "religious" school! Folks,
Bob doesn't know where he is night after night, and probably doesn't
care!). Sorry - great version, still mostly the same, the intro seemed a
little different, but very nice overall.

No surprises in the end, although George was given a chance (with Hollis
Brown) to prove that his delivery in Po' Boy was no fluke, and he rose to
the occasion. We received the standard band intros after LARS (with more
stellar lead by Stu), where Bob stands center stage with the mic like it
is Comedy Central stand-up hour. Only problem is, we all know the
"windshield vipers" joke, and all the others for that matter! I really
started to feel bad for the band after that, realizing they have to hear
it every night, AND laugh at it ("Ain't that right George?")

2 things other than Stu & George stuck out for me this evening in
Grantham, PA. Bob's voice was stronger than it had been in some time,
maybe due to the night off before. And he toyed with several different
ranges, proving yet again that he can still do it when he wants to. Hollis
Brown was a vocal standout for me, as was Saving Grace, but then, he was
also able to turn it around 180 degrees and scream it out, coherently and
well, like with LDB. Also, this was the first time that I have been able
to clearly hear the piano, during almost every song. AND, it sounded good,
in key, on time, a little ivory tickling offered some nice faux leads, but
generally it was just chord work, and it sounded better than I can ever

So, by about 10:15PM, the big black buses hopped on Rt. 15., passed the
glimmering waters of the Yellow Breeches (one of the best trout streams in
the entire US of A), and found their way to the PA turnpike, headed for
Pittsburgh. Good thing the Steelers won today, they'll have another reason
to be pumped up for a good show. Too bad the Grantham crowd couldn't be
more enthusiastic - my only complaint on an otherwise above average night!

Alex Leik


Review by Dave Papenfuse

as bob dylan approached the stage last night at messiah college in grantham pennsylvania, he smiled at stu, 
his new guitarist, adjusted his black cowboy hat and began a two hour performance with a vicious 'maggie's 
farm.'  bob was on target to be sure through the opening number and he maintained that level for the 
duration of the show without exception.  vocally strong, bob sneered the lyrics when that was called for 
and on no song was it more called for than the opener.
then came the times they are a-changin' after which he effortlessly assuaged any fears that we were 
witnessing an oldies act by attacking love and theft's lonesome day blues with unbridled rage.  after the 
always welcome tambourine man, the evening's first real treat was in store. mr.dylan proceded to approach 
it's alright ma im only bleeding, a song he has performed innumerable times, in a completely new and 
completely exciting arrangement. it rocked to sum up. hard.
po boy followed and was given a very strong run-through. what followed next was the night's best one two 
three punch.  mobile then dignity then love sick.  al sharp all smooth all perfect.  tweedle dee isn't a 
very strong song and its inclusion after the 3 song killer combo was of course an anti-climax. then bob 
pulled out all of the remaining stops with saving grace (perhaps a nod to his surroundings? well dare not 
guess) and a true surprise (hollis brown) before three non surprises (say it with me kids, summer days, 
LARS, watchtower).

bob rocked
bob looked healthy
long live bobby!


Review by John Rasmussen


The Messiah College show was, for me, a mixed bag of wonderful highs and scattered lows.  After a fairly 
rocky first half, there was a dramatic shift for the better during the second.  To comment briefly on 
the accessibility of the facility, it was not handicapped-friendly and the 84-year old WWII veteran who 
was my companion for the show trudged through the swampy, pitch-black patch of earth that doubled for a 
parking lot and hobbled his way along the half-mile, mostly uphill trek to the back of the ticket 
holder's line.  We certainly didn't know the physical challenges that lay ahead going into the concert, 
but Hell, I thought: he fought the Nazis so he can handle this okay….and he did, without a hint of 
complaint.  What'cha gonna do?  We weren't going to simply turn around and go home, but I would have if 
he gave any indication that he didn't feel up to The Journey.  (By the way: it was his third Dylan 
concert: the other two I took him to were the pouring rain show of Hershey '94 and front-row at
Hershey '97.)

Anyway….the concert was in the gymnasium, rooms which are not known to be acoustically sympathetic to 
music, but it was a cozy place to see Dylan.  The usually-punctual Bob & Band started a wee bit late due 
to the fact that there was a line of concert-goers still waiting to get into the facility at showtime.  
When the band did take the stage, they burst into a fired-up Maggie's Farm.  Although the fellas were 
equipped with a superb sound system, for the duration of the evening whenever the hard-driving songs were 
played there was a wash of tight-as-a-drum sound that enveloped the music, blurring much of the crucial 
openness between the instruments & the notes they're playing, wiping away essential melody and turning 
the sound into a deadened roar.  You can imagine (or no doubt you've heard) what happens to Dylan's 
vocals in a situation like this.  Regardless of questionable acoustic quality or the warm-up band 
performance, Maggie's was a great opener.  The Times They Are A-Changin' came next and it was during
this song that distinct & dramatic changes in Dylan's phrasing became evident to me.  This is due in 
large part, I think, to his playing the keyboard instead of the guitar.  I know my phrasing changes when 
I change-up the instruments, as a piano is not a rhythmic instrument and as such does not allow Dylan to 
maintain any kind of melodic consistency in his phrasing.  Yeah, I know.…"melodic consistency" is not a 
term that has ever been generally applied to Dylan's in-concert vocals, but to me the change was quite 
radical.  I hadn't seen Dylan or heard any of his live material since his last Central PA appearance in 
1997 and the change in phrasing was quite jarring to me.  Lonesome Day Blues came off well enough, 
despite suffering in the wash of sound.  Mr. Tambourine Man just didn't do it for me and was perhaps the 
low-point of the entire concert.  Although the band played a nice acoustic arrangement with a pleasant 
melody line, Dylan's unsure phrasing robbed this classic of it's undeniable potency.  The same could be
said for the ensuing It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), which at least was a cut above the preceding 
number.  It was about this time that a feeling of mild disappointment came creeping.  I thought "Oh, 
well….you win some, you lose some", but Po' Boy began the shift to a much-improved concert.  The sound 
quality and the band's performance improved dramatically.  Lovely separation of distinct instruments, 
Bob's vocals audible and well-phrased.  Fantastic!!  Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again 
was another dip into the sound wash, but from here on in the concert was terrific.  Dignity was alive 
with genuine energy and sounded great.  Love Sick was a definite highlight.  A huge smile spread across 
my face a minute or two into this gem.  Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum rose above the sound wash on pure moxy 
alone and was another real highlight due to Bob's fine vocals and the distinct lead guitar riffs.  The 
superb highlight of the entire show was served up next: a lovely, heartfelt Saving Grace.  It was 
light of the entire show was served up next: a lovely, heartfelt Saving Grace.  It was absolutely 
gorgeous, shimmering with exquisite beauty.  As Messiah College is a Christian school, I was hoping Bob 
would dip into his catalogue of Christian tunes.  My hope was fulfilled far beyond my wildest dreams: 
this performance was devastating, making the entire trip worthwhile.  As the crowd broke into 
appreciative cheers at the conclusion of the song, I turned to Ellis and said "Now we're getting 
somewhere!"  Honest With Me returned to the sound wash but I was still glowing from Saving Grace so I 
didn't notice too much.  The Ballad Of Hollis Brown was mesmerizing, another terrific highlight: the 
band illuminated in an eerie purple glow, excellent phrasing from Bob and tasteful playing from the band.  
Summer Days rocked, the best of the hard-drivers this evening, the band galloping through a monumental 
middle jam, during which the volume level became noticeably louder.  The encores were, of curse, Like A
Rolling Stone and All Along The Watchtower.

Ellis and I exited as the encores began, which I thought was the prudent thing to do, for his sake.  As 
most of the journey was downhill this time, we had a much-relieved trek to the car and was on the Turnpike 
within minutes: the easiest concert getaway I ever made.  I walked in my back door 20 minutes after leaving 
Messiah College.  All in all, it was a fun evening, although I clearly saw room for improvement in the 
overall sound of the band, much of which had little to do with the acoustics of the facility.  My formula 
for an improved show?  Simple: less electric, more acoustic.  In my opinion, songs like It's Alright, Ma 
and Memphis Blues could and would be dramatically improved.  Playing acoustic instruments will also, by 
nature of the dynamics of the instruments, alleviate much of the heavy-handedness that flared during the 
performance.  Overall opinion of the concert: Saving Grace notwithstanding, if someone could have seen into 
the future and given me a run-down on the evening's entire course, I would have sold my tickets.  I say
this with all due respect to Bob & Band and to all my brothers & sisters out there, but I've seen Dylan 
many times over the last 20 years, including several superb performances, and have heard my share of rare 
tunes and jaw-dropping readings.  Perhaps I'm just getting old & jaded.  BUT: if & when he comes back to 
Central PA, I'll no doubt be there!


Review by Greg Wicklem

I generally see Bob once a year, but this was my first time seeing him in
nearly two years.  Tonight’s show was the smallest venue on his current
tour – Messiah College’s Brubaker Auditorium – which holds about 2,000
people.  All in all it was a great show – unremarkable, but great
nonetheless.  The acoustics in the small hall were surprisingly good.

Tonight my wife and I saw the show with another couple.  My friend,
Jonathan, and his wife.  Neither had seen Bob before.  Like my wife, my
friend’s wife was along mostly for the night out, although my wife has
seen Bob a few times.  My friend Jonathan said the show was much better
than he thought it would be and he is a Dylan fan.  Jonathan’s comments
probably mean more than mine, seeing the show through new eyes.  He loved
Lonesome Day Blues and especially, Honest With Me and Summer Days.  He’s
never heard either Time Out of Mind or Love and Theft, so it was his first
time hearing any of those songs.  It was fun to experience one of Bob’s
shows with someone who has never seen him and especially to have it such a
great show.

Bob’s set list has become pretty pro-forma on recent tours, but his band
has never sounded better!  Bob’s voice was in great form tonight too!  
Stu had some great solos – most notably for me, I think, were his solos on
Tweedle Dee, Honest With Me and, of course, Summer Days.  Larry can
flat-out play - his slide and pedal steel work were sweet!  I have to say
I miss the old acoustic sets that Bob would do and it’s just not the same
with him on the keyboards for the whole show.  But, I have to say that his
harp work was fabulous tonight!  Bob seemed to be much more active than
usual interacting with his band -  especially Larry and Stu – during the

The only song I hadn’t seen Bob play before was Saving Grace, so that was
one of the highlights for me.  The show had a lot of energy and like I
said at the outset, I’ve never heard Bob and his band sound better!


Review by Stasia Karel

First, a little background on some of Messiah's other Dylan-related activities that I experienced: 
Several years ago I attended an "alternative chapel" at Messiah, the theme of which was performances 
of Dylan's songs by students and faculty members.  The library director used to teach a freshman 
seminar on Dylan, and I also remember going to a panel discussion on whether Dylan's music could be 
considered part of high culture.  

Based on the other reviews, it sounds like central PA needs more regular Dylan tour dates!  The show 
felt different from the ones in March in Philadelphia, one reason obviously being the location, but 
the whole tone of the band and the songs played felt quite mellow (in my notes during the show I said 
"subdued," and I think this was also a reaction to the respectful audience).  This was my 28th show, 
and I can only rate it 7.5 (but that's not bad - it's based more on the setlist than anything else, 
and I've only seen one or two shows that might score a 10).  The venue rated by itself scores higher, 
perhaps 9, because the band looked larger-than-life from the floor.  I would love to see more shows 
in this sort of setting, with the same mellow feel, just with varied songs.  But when I looked back 
at other concerts from as far back as 1998, I noticed that many of the shows follow a formula of 
mixing songs from the 1960s with the last two albums, with occasionally an odd one from the in-b
etween years and sometimes a cover.  A great show for me includes something from each decade and not 
as many greatest hits (the surprise factor is why I keep going).  I'll also add my vote to the pot 
and say I miss Charlie, and even Freddie (I didn't really get into Stu's playing until the end of the 
show when it was easier to pick out his leads).

A note about Maggie's Farm - the guy standing in front of me in line mentioned that this was one of 
his least favorite songs to hear live, and I said, "of course that means he'll play it tonight."  And 
then I said that my least favorite song to hear live is Stuck Inside of Mobile….  The highlights were 
Dignity (which sounded like HWY 61 at first), Saving Grace (so appropriate), and Hollis Brown (a 1st 
for me).


Review by Mark Kraynak

The self proclaimed song and dance man - Mr. Bobby Dylan made it to
Messiah College last night.  As the ticket says - In Show and In Concert. 
He played their gym which according to the paper only 1600 tickets were
sold.  It was standing room on the floor and the top half of the bleachers
were the cheaper seats for the students -  even though quite a few sprung
the 49.50 to sit down front.
The intro was a bit shorter than usual - "He started out in the 1960s -
drugs and alcohol hit him hard - in the 70's he found Jesus - he faltered
in the 80's but went on to make great records with Lanois in the 90's -
Columbia recording artist bob Dylan."  The entire band was dressed in
black.  Bob stood stage left at his electric piano - he wore a black suit
with white buttons up the outside of the bottom part of each leg.  He also
wore a black cowboy hat the entire show.  He had on a scarf around his
neck worn like a tie - and some sort of shiny jewelry around his neck. 
They opened with a strong "Maggies Farm".  Its the first time I saw his
new guitarist Freddie - he is really good - he is the lead guitarist he
has needed for years - he can play actual rock leads and his spooky fills
are really good.  He also must be about 6'5" - he's a big guy.  "The Times
they are a Changin" was next - pleasant enough country - he only partially
destroyed it.  "Mr. Tambourine Man" was not too good - a slow sing song
pace that made no sense.  His vocals were a bit harder to understand than
usual.  Not as bad as when he was drunk in the 80's - at least now he is
trying - but he doesn't have a whole lot to work with.  "Its Alright Ma"
got a nice hand.  The rest of the show were the usual tunes dressed up as
half steps.  "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum" really shows off how tight his
band is.  Really nicely done.  "Saving Grace" was his only born again
song.  "Hollis Brown" was next to last and was the only song he was really
trying to emote on - I think he hit it right on the note.  The band gave
it a very soupy bayou kind of feel.  "Summer Days" was the rave up closer.

They really did kick the hell out of the guitars - they cranked up the
volume a bit and let fly.  For the encores it was the usual "Like a
Rolling Stone" with steel guitar and "All Along the Watchtower" - Freddie
really hit the Hendrix riffs really good - lots of great loud to quiet
dynamics on this one.    

The crowd was very subdued - no beer sales since it was at a Christian
College - a total of one beer in the trash cans outside - and no one
smoked anything at all in the building.  This made the incense smell from
the stage all the stronger.  More bands should burn incense while they
play - its a nice effect.

We waited by the tour bus for about half an hour after the show - zero
people were waiting there - so this might have been the best opportunity
to meet the guy I may ever have - but the busses weren't even turned on. I
guess Bob was leading a Bible study backstage or something.  Tonight Bob
and his Band move on to the Pitt campus in beautiful Pittsburgh.  

Don't know if anyone saw the recent passing of Bruce Palmer age 58 - he
was the original bass player for Buffalo Springfield - his most famous
riff was probably on "Mr. Soul".  He grew up in Canada near Neil Young -
and he and Neil and Rick James (also recently gone) formed the Myna Birds
- then Bruce and Neil drove their hearse to LA to search for Steve Stills
- they found him on the Sunset strip and started playing at the Whiskey. 


page by Bill Pagel

Tour Guide
Tour Guides
Bob Links
Set Lists
by Date
Set Lists
by Location