page by Bill Pagel
Review by Jim Maynard
Just got back to Memphis from the Tupelo show.. Bill Pagel has posted the
set list, so I will just give some overall observations rather than try to
go down the setlist...
First, I was disappointed in the low turnout. I wish Bob had come to
Memphis instead of Tupelo, there would have been a better turnout I'm
sure.. but then again there may have been many people who came to the
Tupelo show who otherwise would not have had a chance to see the legend
Dylan live. The Bancorpsouth center holds about 10,000 and I guess they
only filled about 2,000 of those seats.
Second, I was really psyched about getting what I thought were 6 row seats
in the D section... I thought I would be up close, but no change... we
were about half way back on the floor.
When Dylan was introduced the whole floor stood up.. so we had to all
stand up--I'm not complaining too much since I like to stand, but I
couldn't see Bob most of the time--I'm only 5'6. I'm convinced now that
they should never even put seats on the floor of a Bob show--there's no
Bob was wearing a black suit, a BIG white cowboy hat and a PINK scarf/tie
I was hoping to hear some songs I never heard live before, like To Ramona
(which has popped up at recent shows) or Hattie Carroll, or the one song I
really want to hear live-- Blind Willie McTell. I wanted to hear other
songs off of BOTT besides TUIB, like Shelter from the Storm or Idiot
No chance... the set list was very predictable. I got I am the Man Thomas
for a second time, followed by Mr. Tambourine Man (for about the third or
fourth time). The show was starting out slow... the youthful audience
around me seemed ready to rock but Dylan was in slow mode. It was a treat
to get an intro harmonica solo on Tambourine Man and almost all the other
acoustic songs. It's Alright Ma was another repeat from several
shows--though it was good. I got Searching for a Soldiers Grave for the
first time which I liked and it got a good reception. Still no rock
songs for the youthful fans..
Then, the lights behind the stage pointed out over the band and the
switch to electric instruments and a great version of Tweedle Dee and
Tweedle Dum.. which is not my favorite song on Love and Theft by any
means--but this version ROCKED! and to my surprise the kiddies loved it!
This live version is much better than the album version.
Just Like a Woman was the first "greatest hit" and for many the first song
they recognized. Things began to pick up speed with Lonesome Day Blues,
one of my favorites from L & T. It was followed by a rocking version of
High Water (and Larry played is fourth or fifth instrument--the Banjo).
Another Harp intro to Don't Think Twice, which Dylan sung softly, but he
really messed up on his solo acoustic guitar picking. He just couldn't
get it going.. he should have let Charlie to the lead parts... The crowd
really enjoyed the song anyway...
Master's of War was another song I did not want to hear live again.. but
it was very good, and got the interest of some of the youth who never
heard it before. They played very hard on the instrumentals.
I did not want Tangled Up In Blue again.. but I got it--and a very good
version anyway. This was the first song to really get the whole audience
up and dancing, and the most "rocking" version I've heard, thought Bob
flubbed the lyrics a few times and did too much mumbling. If he insists
on singing this song so much I wish he would put more effort into singing
it... but the audience really loved the song.. and the blue light show on
the curtains was cool...
Summer Days really rocked and was played very fast... he started out too
slow and now he was going too fast I thought.. but it was the first real
rock song and the kids loved it... like most of the new songs off L &
T---the young people really seem to like them as much as the classics !
The one song off L&T I really wanted to hear was Sugar Baby--which was
next. I've been reading about how quiet and attentive the audiences have
been during this song--but not in Tupelo, at least not around me. At this
point I really got mad--the people around me were shuffling in and out to
get beer, they guys behind me were talking LOUD.. I could not see, I could
not hear Bob.. I had it.. I convinced my friend Glenn to move.. we walked
back to some empty seats further back on the side so we could see... but I
didn't enjoy the song back there either. the back half of the
Bancorpcenter was EMPTY.
The next song was another scorching version of Wicked Messenger-- and we
decided to try to move to the front and get as near as we could to the
stage. Since so many people--mostly kids--were rushing to the front of
the stage the security guards gave up on forcing people back to their
seats, so Glenn and I were able to get very close on the right of the
stage. By the time we got there, the band started into Like a Rolling
Up front it was a totally different concert. There were rows and rows of
YOUNG teens and preteens! They loved Bob! They were dancing and yelling
and had hands in the air.. and singing How Does it Feel with Bob Dylan!
They were high fiving their school pals. I saw song boys looking at each
other in disbelief that they were seeing Bob Dylan live performing Like a
After staring at the crowd a few seconds Dylan and the Band left the stage
and the crowd cheered and screamed urging him to come back. The boys were
screaming for "everybody must get stoned"--which some of them were. They
came back out and Dylan sung a heartfelt Lovesick from Time Out of Mind.
Even though it was a slow song.. the kids seemed to really like it too.
Then a HARD ROCKING Honest With Me had them all dancing in ecstasy. The
band really cut loose on this one.. a lot of jamming--Charlie, Larry and
Bob going at it. It was Heavy Metal Dylan!
The switch to acoustic and a very appropriate song for this young
audience--Forever Young, with another long harmonica introduction. The
kids swayed and held hands and cheered Bob encouraging them to grow up to
be righteous, climb on every rung, build a ladder to the sky.. and stay
Another thunderous ovation brought the band back for the most hard rocking
version ever of All Along the Watchtower--the one song which I never get
tired of hearing. It was the perfect way to end this show and get the
kids back up and dancing and cheering. This song reminds them of what a
legend Bob Dylan is--he is the person who wrote All Along the
Watchtower--and he can perform it as well as Jimi Hendrix. After
introducing the band they repeated the last verse again. Guitars
blazing--LOUD-- it was a moment of ecstasy!
I thought that would be the last song.. but I saw the band strap on their
acoustic interments and I knew the next song would be Blowin' in the Wind,
always a good closing song to remind us of the "message" of Dylan's
music... not so much an explicit political message as a spiritual
message--and open to a lot of interpretations. It is a message of
freedom... artistic, emotional, political, and spiritual.
With ears ringing we excited the arena and headed back to Memphis. All
in all an good concert. Very predictable setlist.. with an emphasis on
the new songs on L & T (SIX!) , which seem to hold up very well live, even
better than the album in most cases. And the audience really liked the
While the audience was small compared to other events at the Bancorpsouth
center in Tupelo (I'm sure gospel and country concerts sell out), it was a
very diverse audience as usual. Glen and I both were amazed at how Bob
Dylan can attract so many age groups! Old, middle aged, young, and YOUNG.
He is one of the few artists to add a FOURTH or FIFTH ? generation of
fans to his fold... Who else has done that? There were LOTS of very young
teens and preteens.. and most of them seemed to really enjoy the show..
though a few looked bored--or stoned who can tell now days :)
(Maybe the next time Bob comes to Memphis I will get my wish: Blind
Willie McTell, Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol, and Idiot Wind. )
Jim in Memphis TN
page by Bill Pagel
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