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Review by Tom DeWolf
This show was really something. I think it must be Eugene. I'm not sure why
he played here, other than he is so appreciated here. Fortunately for me, a
friend of mine is the caterer that Dylan's manager called to provide food
for the band. Consequently, he got in line before anyone really knew the
show was happening. With only a thousand seats, they went fast. After
seeing such a terrific show on Saturday, I never would have dreamed that
this one could top it, but it did. The crowd was incredibly supportive.
Whenever there was a moment of quiet, someone would yell, "Thanks for the
show, Bob!" Everyone knows he made no money at this show. 21,000 people at
$90 and $60 each on Saturday; 1,000 at $30 each on Monday. You do the math.
Because the crowd at the EMU ballroom was so appreciative, Bob seemed very
much at ease and really into it. There were only four songs that were
played both Saturday and Monday. The rest were different. It looked like he
twice changed songs from the setlist, the way he spoke to his band. There
was something so intimate and so special about this evening. "Spanish
Boots" was beautiful, as was "Simple Twist of Fate." "Highway 61" just
plain rocked. "Like a Rolling Stone" seemed like it would never end. They
just kept going, playing like there was no tomorrow. Interestingly, it was
during this song that some jerk jumped on stage and began to dance,
startling Bob. Security grabbed him in a bear hug and hauled him off and
Bob broke into laughter. The smile on his face is like nothing I've ever
seen before, live or in photos. His smile was spontaneous and
uncontrollable. He looked like the Cheshire Cat, grinning from ear to ear;
especially since the next line after that guy was hauled off was "How does
it feel to be without a home..." and the irony seemed to really tickle Bob.
Also at this point, Bob blew kisses to a girl right at the front of the
stage. He did this a couple times. Security was pretty intense at times,
removing anyone they caught taking pictures, confiscating their film and
throwing them out of the concert. It seemed a little harsh, but I guess
everyone has a job to do. I've never heard Bob talk so much, either. At one
point he said "Hello, Eugene. They call this the home of the hippies. I've
never been a hippie, but I'm an honorary hippie." It seemed that everyone,
including Bob, knew that this was a special evening by any measure. It
exceeded my expectations. Now, if I can only get my camera back... (just
Review by Kelly McIver
Best Dylan show I've seen.
Every aspect was on, from Bob's singing and guitar playing to band
interplay to song selection to crowd enthusiasm. It exceeded all
expectations. Plenty of folks were hoping that he would play longer or
choose different songs from the Simon set. I was just thrilled to see him
in such a small hall, after spending Saturday peering through binoculars
just to make out his face.
Well, we got his face and then some. You could easily make out the drop of
sweat hanging from his nose as he turned to check in with Tony during a
killer "Don't Think Twice." As the show went on, he sweated, smiled and
laughed even more. He was tireless.
The EMU Ballroom is a box-shaped hall with the stage at the narrow end of
the rectangle, with doors leading out to a deck to stage left and doors to
the student union interior to stage right. As is the Eugene way, people
trickled in, not filling the hall until maybe 7:45 p.m. or 7:50 p.m. (it
was an 8 p.m. show). Even up front, people weren't squished. They were very
appreciative, yelling out "thank you, Bob" between songs (I sure did).
Thanks not just for doing the show, which was unbelievably generous, but
for giving us this setlist.
Of course the crowd loved My Back Pages. It sets the tone for the show with
those life-affirming lyrics, and Larry's fiddle was a nice touch. I was
psyched because it wasn't Tambourine Man, signaling a break from the tour
Boots of Spanish Leather caught me completely by surprise. They essentially
used the same arrangement as for Girl From the North Country, done so
beautifully in Portland. I was shocked and elated when I heard BOSL lyrics
over the same gorgeous music with that clicking beat and shimmering guitar
Hard Rain was very long and very powerful on the choruses. He drew out the
"it's a hard..." lines for extra impact. One after another, we got songs
they hadn't done on tour yet.
Don't Think Twice was a worthy repeat, and they cooked it up to a real
show-stopper that had everybody dancing. Bob even made a big production of
going to the rear of the stage to select a harp, then stretching his arms
out and limbering up before blowing. The crowd went nuts. David's slapping
drumbeat, Charlie's scratched rhythm on the National steel... it was
Of course, Down Along the Cove was a total shock, and it, like all the
up-tempo numbers in the electric set, rocked hard. Blind Willie McTell has
been in my top few favorites for years, and for him to play it in
back-to-back visits to my home town was a thrill. Great version, too. The
band was tight, but with that dangerous edge showing through, like they
might explode at any moment.
Simple Twist diffused the tension, and Larry's pedal steel wept like a
broken heart. Once again, the music and lyrical delivery supported the
song's intent brilliantly.
Highway 61... I might get tired of it except that it's always so damn good.
It was again this night. Same with Rolling Stone. Not Dark Yet was another
great version. It may be just me, but it seems like he hits the Time Out of
Mind songs better than he ever has the Oh Mercy or Red Sky songs.
After Blowin' in the Wind, I started the Not Fade Away beat-clap, but
couldn't get others to join in. Didn't matter. Bob was ahead of me, and
they strapped on the electric axes for a skull-splitting Not Fade Away. It
was so much better than I'd hoped. The guitars were relentless. They turned
our brains to jelly and laughed about it, God bless 'em.
What a show.
Review by Sean Ferrarese
Monday, June 21, 1999
Hi there, A week after this show; and its no where close to leaving my
short term memory.
I wanted to write and correct Bob's quote and the Eugene show (also the best
show I've seen ) Dylan said. "Hello Eugene, I'd like to say hi to some of
the old hippies, I've never been one myself, but I'm kind of an honorary
OLD Hippie friend's in attendance were Ken Kesey and many other members of
the Grateful Dead Family and Merry Pranksters. This is who i think this
quote is directed too.
Here is a review published in the Eugene Weekly. It answered a few
questions for me. Like who bob was blowing kisses too.
Titled LOVE BEAM By Lois Wadsworth
Bob Dylan rocks out at the ballroom.
After megagigs at the Gorge and Portland and days before playing San
Francisco, an ecstatic Bob Dylan and his great band played to a privileged
group of 1,000 fans at the EMU Ballroom on Monday night, June 14. He sang a
few new songs the crowd appreciated, but he also delivered the goods on such
classics as "Blowin' in the Wind,", Don't Think Twice, It's All right,",
Like a Rolling Stone, " " Simple Twist of Fate," and a hard-rocking
"Highway 61"that brought down the house. In an homage to the Grateful Dead
and the Rolling Stones, he closed the night with that great Buddy holly tune
with the Bo Diddly beat, "Not Fade Away" Sublime.
Sarah Leiken of Double Tee Productions said the story going around their
shop was that Dylan liked Eugene a lot after his Mac Court appearance last
September with Van Morrison and wanted to play here again. Rumor here at EW
was that he wanted the band to stay hot for the SF date, and we were on his
way south. Maybe both are true. The promoters had one day to put it
together, Leiken said, and the show sold out in less than two hours. "We
didn't give away any tickets," she quipped.
This was my seventh Dylan concert experience, and it was totally unlike the
others. That's not just because he blew me kisses at the end of the show,
although that was an epiphany for me. I've seen before the hint of a smile
that plays across his face when he is pleased, but Monday night he smiled
with his whole face, laughed out loud and flirted with the crowd. It must
have felt good to perform in a hall the right size to see people dance, to
hear their heartfelt approval of every song, to feel the force of their love
He showed us all the moves, getting down in the bluesy numbers, holding his
guitar upright at the close of the rockers, doing the little boogie steps
that he's only teased us with before. We witnessed the shamanic power of
his music while his face transformed itself before our eyes, visible
evidence of the changes he's gone through in his long, ever-fruitful career.
The un-hip press likes to talk about how Dylan re-invents himself every
few years, but they don't get it. He changes. He remains the same. The
simple, irreducible fact about creative genius is that it's always new.
Bob Dylan: messenger of the gods.
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