Reviews

Boston, Massachusetts
Fleet Center
November 24, 2001


[Karen F.], [Donna Benevides], [Daniel Zovic], [Christopher Dunn], [Mark Goodrich]

Review by Karen F.



It was the last stop on this amazing leg advertised as
“In Show and Concert”  Remember how we all wondered,
now we know.  As speculated by some RMD’ers, it was a
‘magic show’ after all.  We wondered what he’d play
from L&T and how they would sound live, now it’s been
done and we know we were right when we first said
these songs are great.  They, for the most part, stood
the test of tour worthiness and proved interesting new
additions to the amazing body of work we all love.
Boston is an old haunt but it was my first Bob show
there.  I had hard boiled eggs and dipped bread (no
brains) in a bowl with garlic and olive oil.  The
crowd added a whole new level of excitement, they know
how to throw a Bob party from the first note of Rodeo
to the last note of Knockin.  Smiles on every face on
stage and in the crowd.  What a great audience.  If it
wasn't for the accent and the complete SPORTS
infatuation everywhere I’d think I was home in NY.  We
drove 1000 miles to Bob gigs this week and I was sorry
it had to end.

Bob seemed to bring us back to reality tonight.  The
song and dance man of this weeks shows, went back to
being the ominous tale teller.  MSG and Philly had a
rollicking fun feel to the songs and I forgot about
the war while I was at the shows those nights.  I
didn’t forget for very long during Boston.  I felt
like Bob was reminding us again that this ain’t Disney
World.  It’s not like he was proselytizing but
nevertheless he was telling us how he feels about the
war.  It was the importance, the tone and image he
puts on individual words that gets the meaning across
and tonight, to me, it was at times horrifying images.
Wait for the light keep looking for the sign.  Oh boy,
joyful apocalypse written all over it.  When he talked
about the hard rain that’s gonna fall I cried full
fledged tears not just watery eyes.  Now I’ve heard
this song umpteen times over the decades and must have
50 versions of it, and tonight it got through the
shields and I felt it once again.  The search for the
soldiers grave was intense to me tonight and very
moving.  High water everywhere, things are bad out
there, sliding down and breaking up.  John Brown sat
before us in his wheelchair and he wasn’t pretty to
look at and I shook my head in wonder and took this
one to heart tonight.  It was stunning in Philly and
here too.

Then he rocked the house with a song that hasn’t
excited me since fall of ’99 TUIB, he did it in the
best all out rocking version I’ve heard from this
tour.( it was sad to hear the heading for another
joint line, because HE ISN’T)  It was instantly
followed by an equally hard rocking summer days and I
couldn’t help but wonder how he had the strength to go
all out on both.  Sugar Baby – this song has been so
wonderful on tour.  

Wicked messenger brought the ominous feeling back and
then he went joyously right into  RDW (a song I never
wanted to hear again but when it’s played like this
you just get into it all anyway, especially with THIS
crowd)  Bob went all out on the guitar  Great mood and
hamming it up, not at all like the lack luster version
from Portland.    In Things Have Changed any minute
now I expect all hell to break lose came through
morosely.  I was soon realizing how much I wanted Bob
to stay forever young.  Blowin – Oh, Blowin the best
song ever written by anyone and tonight he sang it and
made sure we knew that he still thinks too many people
have died.  We took a walk on the watchtower and he
emphasized the two riders that were approaching and
the winds howling and the 11th all came back to me.  I
was dumb struck by another song that I have heard
countless times.  Just amazing.  And then he left us
knockin on heavens door and I was very glad we put the
guns in the ground.

When Bob attacked the masters of war on this tour he
was able to do it without offending anyone or causing
people to boo at this delicate time.  Speaking of
booing, when the men in the audience whoop it up for
“the amount of trouble women bring” I say a gentle
boo, ya’ll don’t have to get so much pleasure out of
it!

Bob, Enjoy your time off and come back soon.  We need
to hear you just as much now, if not more, than ever
before.  We have gone through so much in the last 40
years with you and we need you.  So long and thanks
for all the fishes.

Love, Karen

[TOP]

Review by Donna Benevides



It's 2 am. Just got back to the elbow of Cape Cod. Being the
designated driver, who had three Michelob Lights +/-, I got
lost in Boston coming home. Did I mention the "contact high"
from all those old hippies smoking weed? Oh, I'm an old
hippy? Sorry. The intros to the band members were made
during the instrumental portion of "Rainy Day Woman..."

To find my way home, had to follow the misty, half moon in
the south, the direction we had to go, even though we were
lost. After driving through blocks of brownstones, we came
into a beautiful area that was wide open and had tiny white
Christmas lights on the bare trees. We were both commenting
on how lovely it was. Then we saw a sign that said it was
Washington Square. It being a mild, muggy, seacoast night,
the fog there rose, mixed with white clouds, mingled and
hanged in the air....

I was singing "Forever Young" as we drove our rusty old 89
Custom Cruiser (Brady Bunch) station wagon homeward. Despite
the 132,000+ on her Olds-ometer, the anti-freeze leak, and
the left blinker that doesn't work, she cruised right along.
Even the Boston cabbies got out of our way, after taking a
look at the big ugly thing coming at them. When your
attitude is, "Go ahead, Hit me. I dare you. I could use a
new paint job and some body work, anyways." that makes it
the perfect set of wheels for dealing with Boston drivers.

The Fleet Center is near the World Trade Center in Boston.
North Station is in the same building. There are trains
visible through a glass wall. We parked in the underground
garage and took an elevator up to the lobby. We arrived two
hours early because of the lack of parking in Boston. We
should have parked the car at one of the T parking lots and
took the T into North Station, but we had a cooler full of
beer and you can't drink beer and smoke Camel Turkish Golds
on the T.

I was going to write a set list, but everyone does that.
What I really want to do is to try to express the
unexpressable in words, but I don't have the words to do
that - no Bob Dylans here. I'll try, though.

The concert started at about 8:15 instead of 8. There was a
big delay due to security checks. We had been hanging out
for a while and got some Dunkin' Donuts coffee, went back to
the car in the parking garage, etc... When we went to enter
the Fleet center, were intercepted as we tried to get in
line and told that we had to go outside - to the END of the
line. OK. We did that. There were no scalpers selling
tickets. There were lots of people coming up to us and
begging for tickets. "Do you have an extra ticket you can
sell me?" "Hey, anybody got a ticket to sell?" It seemed to
be sold out, because the ticket window doesn't close until
thirty minutes before the start of the show, and there were
forty-five more minutes to go.

The security check was scary. Security people wearing latex
gloves patting you down and searching purses. A man had to
search my purse, and I had feminine things in there. He was
quite embarrassed, so didn't  notice my knife. Have carried
one ever since I was a Girl Scout. A Girl Scout knife was
"basic equipment". We do still have a constitutional right
to bear arms in America, believe it or not.

Good seats. Bob and his Band were at their best. Fleet
Center filled to capacity, except for the seats behind the
stage. Floor was standing all night. Burnt my thumb holding
flame up with the Bic lighter. At least 4 encores. People
screaming, singing along, and applauding - at all the right
times. People waving their arms and dancing. I cried at
least four times. Bob was powerful. The band was powerful.
They were really "connecting". They were so intent on what
they were doing. They were so into the music that they were
"unaware" of the audience - until they stopped, and then
they were in awe of the appreciation.

I've never seen Bob bow to an audience as many times as
tonight. I found myself bowing back ever so slightly, in an
oriental manner. There were lots of groupies there. Some
were in front of us. There were lots of young people, who
were totally blown away and really getting into it, even
though they didn't know the songs. When Bob sang "Looking
for a Soldiers Grave", I heard someone say he had never
heard that song before.

Encore, after encore, after encore. It was almost 11 pm
before the final encore. Bob Dylan, who a couple of years
ago played at the Tweeter Center (formerly Great Woods) as
"second fiddle" to Paul Simon, sold out the Fleet Center as
a solo act. He sold out Madison Square Garden in NY a few
nights before. I knew, in my heart, at that Dylan/Simon
concert two years ago that Dylan should not have EVER been
second to anyone, and tonight proved that.

Because words cannot do justice to the performance tonight,
I'll have to make a Flash movie with pictures, music and
words. Even then, I cannot express it. But I'll try.  I'll
send the link when I get it online.

Did I mention that I traded one of our ticket stubs for a
picture of Bob (that I didn't have) to a guy who collected
them?

Donna Benevides

[TOP]

Review by Daniel Zovic



My God,  every show gets better and better! This show was by far better
than the Toronto show. It's great to see Dylan playing in front of large
audiences again,  but it's very annoying at the same time with stupid
casual fans or the die hards that need to take a break from seeing him so
often to not take the shows for granted. Every few minutes there would be
people getting up for food,  snacks,  drinks,  etc. No wonder why people
are overweight!!! Then I had to put up with the stupid ushers constantly
walking around to make sure nobody was smoking. Coming from Montreal this
is very strange and wrong,  you don't dare tell Montrealers to butt-out.
But b/c it was BOB I decided to have a smoke free night,  which wasn't
hard b/c BOB was there to distract my mind. Hopefully some of the constant
eaters will read this and decide to enjoy future shows rather than eating
the worst food ever! Then they can go home and eat like crazy there where
they can't bother the public. Something that hit me hard,  even harder
than the tragedy of Sept 11th was the display of American flags,  on cars
and homes. I was speechless after this,  I almost cried. Now onto the
show. Bob started with WFTLTS,  great song to give a feeling of hope.
Next,  It ain't me babe great version,  vocals a little weak but great
jam/harmonica session to lose this classic. My second time hearing hard
rain and it was great! Love how Bob does the chorus different every time.
Searching for a Soldiers grave left me searching for Answers. Tweedle dee
& tweedle dum,  ROCKING! Just like a woman was pleasing but very teasing.
Lonesome day blues: Happy to hear this one,  great rockin song. Highwater,
 can't get enough of this one live. Don't think twice great song to calm
things down. John Brown needed to remind us of the horrible outcome of
wars. Tangled was the cue to get everybody up from their seats. Summerdays
kept the dancers up. Sugarbaby gave us a breather and time to reflect.
Wicked Messenger rocked,  making all the rock acts today sound weak. RDW
turned the place into a dance floor located in Amsterdam. Bob took a 5
minute break and came out with things have changed. Like a rolling stone
lit the place on fire. Forever Young followed and was heartfelt. Honest
with me kept us away from the south side. Blowing in the wind brought me
to tears. Jimi Hendrix arrived thereafter to reminding Bob how this song
should be played. And finally I got to hear Knocking on heavens door after
my 4th show,  what a great version. Well another great show,  another
great tour,  another great year. BOB,  I"LL SEE YOU WITH ON THE TUBE WITH
GRAMMY IN HAND IN A FEW MONTHS!!!!!!

CHEERS!!!

[TOP]

Review by Christopher Dunn



The last show of a tour always carries a high degree of expectation, if
not apprehension.  Is he going to pull out all the stops, is he tired as
hell, what surprises might be in store? 

I all respects, this was another in a string of incredible shows, although
not up to the dizzying heights of the previous night in Portland.  In
terms of the set list, there were precious few surprises.  Even the
ferocity with which Dylan and band (should we now capitalize this to
"Band"?) played has become de rigeur.  We spoiled fans expect nothing
short of spectacular in terms of energy, musicianship, or song selection.

And after the Boston show, I continue to be spoiled!  Dylan played like a
maniac and held the really loud and rowdy crowd in the palm of his hand. 
I only wish that he had held his harmonica in his hand a few more times
and that he had deigned to recognize Larry Campbell as even being on the
same stage.  The obvious ignoring of Larry is starting to really bother
me, although as my 13 year old daughter said, "Charlie is newer, so maybe
Bob is paying more attention to him and he has more confidence in Larry." 
Smart little twerp!  But I don't think so!

Anyway, that was my only issue.  The delivery was incredible.  The
hissing, spitting vocals of Hard Rain were astonishing, and the mixture of
pathos and anger in Just Like a Woman rivaled any 1965-66 performance. 
And it is this mixture that alternately infuses individual songs and the
entire show.  Contrast Dylan's uptempo, leg shaking Summer Days with the
spit and vinegar Of Lonesome Day Blues.  In the latter, his delivery of
"I'm going to tame the proud" was the most spiteful, venomous, and
threateing of the tour.  I thought LDB in Milwaukee was extraordinary, but
this one.....oh, man!  

Rather than provide a song-by-song blow (others, I'm sure will oblige),
let's just say that Dylan, despite claiming not being a voice of a
generation, is still a voice of a generation!  His message(s), open as
always to interpretation (which is what makes him a great ARTIST), are
clearly enunciated, powerfully delivered, honestly stated, and rip to the
core.  Boston was no exception, and the wildly enthusiastic response of
the crowd was one tangible piece of evidence that Dylan's power is
undiminished.

Christopher Dunn

[TOP]

Review by Mark Goodrich



(As an interesting side note to this show, I read a review of the show in The 
Boston Globe today and the reviewer mentioned that during the sound check, they 
had been rehearsing some Christmas tunes.  Too bad he didn't play any at the 
show).

This was the last of my three trips to see Bob, and after a 60 mile drive on 
Wednesday and a 100 mile on Friday, it was great to have Bob in my backyard, a 
15 minute subway ride away.

After a superb show at Portland the night before, I was worried that this show 
wouldn't be as good.  I usually don't enjoy shows at the FleetCenter very much, 
being a large, sterile arena.   

But I was surprised again.  The show was great, and I heard 8 songs I hadn't 
heard the past two nights.  The crowd wasn't intense as in Portland – it was a 
sit down show until the encores – but they certainly were engaged and 
appreciative of the show.  Musically, this was the best show of the three.  
Bob's guitar playing was "on" tonight, and I found myself enjoying many of his 
solos.  They were were simple, but they were worked, and Charlie and Larry were 
able to add their own accompaniment.  I began to wonder if it was the mix on 
Wednesday night that made dislike the guitar work  – or maybe I was just too 
close to the stage?

I had a seat this time on the floor, about 20 or 25 rows back from the front.  
As show time approached, the stadium was still fairly empty, as people were 
still taking there seats.  The previous two nights they had turned up the house 
music and then turned off the house lights soon after that.  Tonight, they 
turned up the music a few minutes before Bob took the stage, perhaps to 
encourage people to get to their seats.  The arena was full or close to full.... 
I was happy that Bob was able to fill a place so large.

And again, at 8:20 the concert started.  Bob took the stage and everybody 
stood 
up.  The introduction and then...

"Waiting For the Light to Shine"
Another new one for me, and an enjoyable first song.  The crowd sat down after 
the song had started.

"It Ain't Me Babe"
I got worried during this that it might be a frustrating show.  After "Waiting.." 
had ended, the crowd gotten to their feet again applaud Bob. Most of them sat down 
after "It Ain't Me Babe" started,  but a few audience members decided they wanted 
to stay up to dance.  Now, I admit, I like it when the crowd stands up and dances 
– it brings more energy to the show.  But tonight was not going to be one of those 
nights, and it irks me when almost everyone it sitting down and a few people 
refuse to, blocking the view of those behind them.  Luckily, I didn't have anyone 
blocking me, but others around me did, and I had to listening to people screaming 
"Sit the f—k done" and the like.  It angered me and distracted me, so I didn't pay 
too much attention to the song.  There was a harp solo as at the end.

Luckily, by the end of the song everyone had pretty much sat down, and I was 
hoping things would be calm for the rest of the show, and luckily they were.  So 
I was able to settle down and enjoy myself.

"A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall"

This song didn't really do it for me.  Dylan couldn't hit the high notes on the 
chorus as he used to, which is, of course,  no surprise.  I usually like the way 
he reworks song to suit his current singing style, but on this song it didn't 
work, and I kept wanting him to sing "a hard rain's gonna fall..." the way he 
did in the 60's.

"Searching For a Soldier's Grave"
The first repeat song of the night for me from the other two shows I'd seen on 
the tour.  A nice, fun song.

"Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum"
The start of the first electric set is where I really started to get into the 
show.  I had heard this one the night before, but I enjoyed it a little more this 
time.

"Just Like a Woman"
I remember hearing this song live the first time I saw Dylan in 1997.  I wasn't 
much of a Dylan fan at the time, and so I wasn't familiar with the song.  I loved 
that performance, and have always liked the 90's live version better than the 
original recording.  I love the way Dylan sings the chorus, emphasizing the "makes 
love like a women" line.  A show highlight for me.

"Lonesome Day Blues"
Another L&T track that Dylan had played last night, though it was one song earlier 
in the set list.   I enjoyed it again.

"Highwater"
I saw a roadie handing Larry a banjo and got excited. I love this song and was 
hoping to hear it live. I loved the performance as well. A little heavier than 
the album version, which I liked.  Some good lead playing from Charlie and Bob, 
if I remember correctly – I was too into the song to notice all the details.

"Don't Think Twice"
This song had been played during the second acoustic set during the Manchester 
show.  I enjoyed it then, and enjoyed it again tonight.

"John Brown"
This was a nice surprise.  I'd never heard Dylan perform it live and I loved 
the arrangement.  It seemed particularly relevant right now.  Unfortunately, 
some drunken idiots behind me felt the need to scream during the quiet parts.  
The song was clearly lost on them.  Luckily, they weren't too out of control, 
and I was able to tune them out and enjoy the song.

"Tangled Up in Blue"
The fan favorite, and it worked yet again, getting the crowd excited and some 
up on their feet.  Even though I've heard it at every Dylan show I've been to, 
I still enjoy hearing it (most of the time).   It was performed well, and I 
like to see the audience getting in to the show.  Its good to see he still can 
get a big arena rocking.  Some of my friends were skeptical that he'd be able 
to sell out the FleetCenter, quite a large venue. I looked around and up at the 
balconies and saw people clapping and dancing everywhere.  Even though I guess 
I shouldn't care if he's "popular" it was great to see everybody appreciating 
Bob.

"Summer Days"
Back to electric and "Summer Days" again, in the same slot for the third 
straight night.  In fact it was only 1 of 3 songs in the main set (Tangled and 
RDW being the others) that was played all three nights.  And for good reason, 
because the performance was strong all three nights.  It kept the momentum 
going after "Tangled Up In Blue" and the crowd enjoyed it.  Another great 
thing to see – a crowd that came for the "hits" getting into a "new" song.

"Sugar Baby"
The second L&T song performed tonight that I hadn't heard at the previous shows.  
This was a great, quiet performance on Dylan's part.  I haven't listen to L&T 
in awhile, and hearing this made me want to dig it out again. 

"The Wicked Messenger"
What's up with this?  The music and arrangement was quite similar (if not 
identical?) to "Drifter's Escape" from last night.  Does the band play the 
same backing, and Bob sings the lyrics to the song he chooses?  Seemed a bit 
cheesy to me, but I enjoy the arrangement, so I was happy to hear it again, 
with Bob's harp solo at the end.  Bob continued be play a lot better lead 
tonight than he did on Wednesday.  Am I imagining this?  I'd interested in 
hearing other's reviews.

"Rainy Day Women"
Again I was impressed with Dylan's lead work, and the the jam sections of this 
song were most impressive  than the previous two nights.  I was enjoying this 
and the crowd was too.  Bob introduced the band, the song wound down, and they 
left the stage.

"Things Have Changed"
"Like a Rolling Stone"
"Forever Young"
"Honest With Me"
"Blowin' in the Wind"
"All Along The Watchtower"
"Knockin' on Heaven's Door"

This was basically the same as the past two nights, but with the welcome 
substitution of "Forever Young" for "If Dogs Ran Free"

Although I had hear the same songs three nights in a row, I probably enjoyed 
them the most this night.  Perhaps it was because I knew that I wouldn't be 
seeing Bob again for a while.  Or perhaps it was watching Bob conquer the 
Boston crowd.  The crowed loved "Rolling Stone".  As the song ended, I saw 
two people behind me picking up their jackets, assuming that would be the 
end of show...  I knew they would be in for a pleasant surprise.

The last three songs work so well as crowd pleasers, and  I enjoyed listening 
to them myself.  Tonight, there was no break between AATW and "Knockin' On 
Heavens Door", though the band acted as if it were leaving the stage after 
both "Blowin' In The Wind" and AATW,  teasing the crowd.  A little staged, 
I guess, but it worked and the crowd was loving it.

The band left the stage, and I though they might actually return for yet 
another encore.  The house lights stayed off for a while, but then, alas they 
came on.   When they did, collectively the crowd let out a disappointed 
"Ohhhh..." It's a normal thing to hear in this situation, but this was stronger
than I've ever heard before at any concert.   The crowd realized they had 
already got more than they could have asked for,  but really believed he might 
be crazy enough to give the audience more.

And so my three shows came to an end, and were a complete success for me.  Each 
night had it highlights, and the shows got better each night.  I heard Dylan 
perform 40 different songs, and 9 out of the 12 songs from Love and Theft. What 
more could I ask for?  Hopefully he will be back in the area soon.

[TOP]

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