Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Lehigh University
Stabler Arena

April 18, 2013

[Howard Weiner], [Kalonymaus Amshinov], [Eric Morder]

Review by Howard Weiner

Bob Dylan and his band were fabulous at Lehigh University.  The journey 
began when I met my accountant at Tobacco Road on 41st Street by 
Ninth Avenue, where our bartender, Honey, took our money. We then 
drove west across Jersey with live Dylan thundering all the way to 
Bethlehem. Since we were two miles from Stabler Arena, we stopped 
off for cocktails at the Sands Casino.  Unfortunately, we got lost driving 
around the 2,600 acre Lehigh campus.  After forty-five futile minutes, 
we paid a pizza delivery guy twenty bucks to escort us to the arena. 

We strolled into Stabler, stomping to the beat of the “Early Roman
Kings.” The acoustics of the venue were crisp, and there wasn't a shabby
seat in the house. Dylan crooned a tender “Tangled Up in Blue,” and
the warm tone of Duke’s guitar infused the band with a renewed sense of

The joint was jumping as Dylan"s harp solos pierced the night during
“Behind Here Lies Nothing.” Dylan delivered the Holy Grail ,” Blind
Willie Mc Tell,” followed by another '80s gem, “What Good Am I?” Oh

The Thunder on the Mountain jam raged from fast to slow to loud to soft
and back again. Dylan changed gears, shifting the sound this way and that
way, and Duke and the boys were right on his tail. But no song captured
the essence of the show better than “Scarlet Town.”  Whenever I hear
this Tempest delight,  I imagine an old mill town like Bethlehem, where
the evil and the good live side by side, and all human thoughts seem
glorified.  Dylan’s performance was phenomenal.

I've loved hearing the heavy echo on Ballad of a Thin Man every show for
the past four years, but eliminating the echo for this tour is a touch I
like. The roaring crowd adored Dylan as he stood before the faithful and
marched in place, before splitting for the next cowtown on his schedule.

An hour after the parking lot emptied, my accountant and I were still
enjoying brews, shuffling to Tempest, and inhaling the magic of Lehigh.
Both the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band played legendary shows here
in 1981. We split after midnight and drove straight into pure fog.
Arriving in Chinatown by 2:30, we closed the night out with a succulent
feat down below at Wo Hop. Howard Weiner  
Howard Weiner
Tangled Up in Tunes: Ballad of a Dylanhead


Review by Kalonymaus Amshinov

The most consistently excellent performance I’ve seen since
the Fall 2006 tour closing show at the New York City Center and I’ve
probably seen at least 20 shows since then and five times as many before
that, going back to ‘74.   If this is what it’s now like when Bob
does the same set the whole tour, I’d be very happy, especially if the
set is as varied, well chosen and paced as this one, and even if it means
I’m less likely to want to see as many shows on each tour.  But whether
or not the nearly-identical sets every night are attributable to the Duke
joining the band just shortly before the tour, the Duke’s concise,
cutting but lyrical leads have made this a band that both jams out and
doesn’t waste a note, not to mention firing up and setting the bar
higher for Bob, who still clears it on nearly every song.   And it’s
truly amazing to see a strong, healthy Bob playing and moving around the
stage again with the feline grace of former good days, instead of the
awkward, stiff, arthritic, herky-jerky movements to which we’ve become
accustomed.   The vocal inadequacies we’ve unfortunately also come to
expect have been made not only irrelevant but have practically been put
out of mind by the masterful arrangements this band delivers, which often
seem to go way beyond being merely different, clever or even inovative for
its own sake, to restoring – or in some case showcasing for the first
time – the essence of these songs, whether they’re of recent vintage,
old classics or rescued gems of varying degrees of reknown.   In short, I
don’t care any more if it’s the same damn show every night, it’s an
effin’ sublime show and you should make every effort to go see it if you
can, while you can.


Review by Eric Morder

I first heard “Like a Rolling Stone” when I was 16 (I'm 40 now):  it was a 
wake up call to me.  I realized so much about myself.  Since then, Dylan has
remained for me a consciousness raiser, his songs proving stepping stones
in my emotional and psychological development—milestones, one might say.

We've all heard about “the end of the world,” apparently occurring on 
December 21, 2012.  What did this mean for us?  This “ending” meant 
the end of time's march through history, the culmination of billions of
years of life's evolution on earth.  With this magical date, the old
world, indeed, the age of Iron, came to end.  We should be in a new
Golden Age at this point.  But it takes a period of transition,
perhaps requiring an Armageddon of sorts to effect that transition.

Now, I've seen plenty of Dylan shows in my time, but April 18, 2013 
Lehigh University was my first post-December 21, 2012 show.  The 
difference?  Striking.  Traditionally, Dylan had been closing with “All Along
the Watchtower,” and then towards the end of 2012 he would finalize with
“Blowin' in the Wind.”  These shows brought the audience right along
to the end of the world.  I knew I'd be in for a treat with a 2013 Dylan
concert, and boy was I right!  It seems literally every song was one of
those scathing Dylan treatments, all with one theme:  “Wake the hell up,
people, and smell the pungency of the coffee!”  Opening number: 
“Things have Changed”--”I used to care but things have changed.” 
Somewhere soon after, “Lovesick”--”I'm sick of love...I'm
lovesick!”  Then “High Water,” which to miss the point of you'd have
to be in a coma. “Blind Willie McTell” was in there, a self-reference
indicating no one tells you better like Bob.  He even poignantly delivered
“What Good Am I?” asking the audience to check themselves and how we
assess his importance.  

My long time Dylan show buddy and I left the concert hall a bit early so as 
to get out of the parking lot before the rush, missing the finale “Ballad of 
a Thin  Man,” yet the walls of Stabler Arena rattled as we made our way out. 
Imagine, closing with a direct message, “You know something is happening
here, but you don't know what it is...”  Do they ever not!  2013
hallmarks the beginning of a golden age, and if the people aren't up to
it, it seems Bob is trying his damndest to reach us.  I thank Bob heartily
for this show, I hear the message, I'm moving my feet.  I can smell the
coffee as if I'd snorted some! --- 


Click Here
to return to the
Main Page

page by Bill Pagel

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