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Review by Ben
For some bizarre reason the first (rather lengthy) segment of my
review from last nights show disappeared into cyberspace leaving
no trace either on my end or rmd. So here we go again... with a
nights sleep behind me..
I got in line at about quarter to 7 and it was snaked,
coincidentally enough almost to the spot I was at when I bought
tickets a few weeks before. After a little over an hour of great
conversation (is there anything else with Bob Fans?) the line
began to move and we were inside!
St. Andrews Hall was once a gymnasium for a church school that
has since been converted into a music hall. The floor was
hardwood and roughly the size of a basketball court, rimmed on
the second floor by a balcony that was about as wide as a hallway
(4 feet or so).
I staked out a spot in the first 1/4 of the floor and, aside from
a few trips to the bar for water and ice, bided my time until at
9:10 the lights went down. A strobe light began to pulse on stage
and Bob walked on, strapped on his guitar and sort of shrugged as
the familiar "Ladies and Gentlemen, would you please welcome..."
He started acoustic with
A great tune, that really kicked things off right. Larry was on
stage left, Tony stood slightly behind Charlie on this song to
the right. At one point Charlie leaned over and said something
to Charlie and they both cracked up. Both Larry and Charlie sang
back up vocals, Sextons adding even more country flavor to the
When Bob first came out he looked like Death warmed over. His
eyes were sunken and his face looked haggard. But as the song
kicked into gear, and throughout the night his entire persona was
transformed, his spirits were lifted, elevated by the music.
Cocaine was over far too soon and he started into:
Mama, You Been On My Mind
A sweet, sincere version, and a song I had yet to hear live. He
began to loosen up on this one, grinning more and more and
starting to move around.
Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall
From the opening chords I knew we were in for something really
special. He sang with a conviction and a force I had rarely seen
before, hitting most of the verses. When he sang the couplet "I
heard the song of the poet who died in the gutter/I heard the
sound of a clown who died in the alley." his voice raised and
moved up the scale in a tremendously passionate way.. There was
a sense of pain, but also a sense of victory... the same sort of
triumph over pain that lends those BoTT songs their majesty
(particularly in their RtR incarnations). It was an incredible
moment, one that froze me in my tracks and sent shivers down my
spine. If anyone has a tape.. He never hit that emotional high
again, though he was with every word. After the "I saw a white
man who walked a black dog" line he fired off a nasty little riff
full of spirit and spark.. A glory. At this point I had my
moneys worth. Indeed I'd wait in line and pay 25 bucks for a
tape of this song! Simply incredible.
Love Minus Zero/No Limit
Another wonderful surprise and a song I'd never seen live before.
Sublimely beautiful, delivered with just a tinge of
wistfulness... He messed up the "Bridge at midnight trembles"
verse delivering the first couplet twice (only once finishing it
correctly) but it was endearing and he didn't miss a beat. The
band as a whole were performing as a unit in a way I didn't
expect them to with the departure of dear Mr. Baxter. Towards
the end of the song he turned and pushing his guitar aside
reached for the harmonica. He picked it up and quickly launched
into a solo, the melody of which wasn't exactly from L-0, but it
somehow fit with what the rest of the band was playing... It
didn't last very long, but it sure was nice to hear..
Then came the ever familiar chords of
Tangled Up in Blue
Apart from missing Bucky's mandolin, this song simply brought
down the house as it always seems to do. The energy in this song
was simply incredible. He brought back the "new" couplet "He
worked for a while on the dock of the bay/While time was slippin
away" and delivered it with a grin. Fantastic!
Girl From the North Country
The opening chords sounded like Don't Think Twice, but I was
pleasantly surprised to hear it was North Country.. A beautiful,
haunting rendition. He seemed really into it, feeding off the
energy of the crowd. A great breather before plugging in and
hitting us with the energy of
Some may cringe at the return of Silvio, but I, for one, was
simply overjoyed to hear it! Filled with an impassioned energy,
Bob tore this one apart! Simply incredible! The entire place was
filled with this energy which was, as at the best of concerts,
being bounced between the band and the crowd! Fantastic.
Here he paused and caught his breath, then stepped to the mic and
said "Thank you very much Ladies and Gentlemen." He paused and
then leaned back in. "I went to the Motown museum today."
(Cheers) "I was looking for the Smokey Robinson stuff.... I
couldn't find it. This guy came up to me though and he said
‘What did Clark Kent turn into when he got hungry?' I said
‘What?' He said ‘Supperman'. I never did find the Smokey
Robinson stuff though.."
Man in the Long Black Coat
One of my favorites, especially live, and this version was no
exception. How this band transforms from the lilting country
harmonies on "Cocaine" and "Mama" into a rock outfit on "Silvio"
and then into the mysterious swampy sounds of "Long Black Coat"
will never cease to amaze me. This song had layer upon layer
of emotional and musical depth. Bob seems, at times, to become
so involved in his solos that his body moves with the music. At
one point in the song he launched into a phrase that drove him
physically backwards from the mic, staggering under its weight.
I stood transfixed...
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
Another wonderful surprise. Sweet and fun. A welcome break from
Black Coat before
Not Dark Yet
I'd heard that he'd been playing this one for some time, but had
been yet to hear it. It was staggeringly beautiful. What these
TooM songs have lost in their newness is a sense of depth and
power that they didn't necessarily have when they were premiered
during the fall of 97. Gone is the raw energy, and replacing it
is a majesty and beauty.. He was with every word, spitting them
out between grins.
Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues
An incredible rarity. It was truly wonderful to witness it.. He
was quite animated on this one, moving around on stage, hamming
it up.. Its difficult to express the experience of seeing a
song like this one live.. An otherworldly mix of energy and
lyricism. Words fail me..
Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat
There was a girl in the front row wearing one, so I wonder if it
was on the cue sheet or if Bob merely played it on a whim for
her. Either way it was incredible. Tapping into that same
energy of Silvio, he held onto it and played its heart out. The
beginning chords sounded ominously like RDW so I, dreading the
worst, was overjoyed to hear it turn into Leopard Skin. The
entire place was dancing, or moving as much as they could (it was
rather cramped and HOT! towards the front where I was...).
He could've ended right there. The night was more than
complete.. But of course he came back for the encores...
Yet another surprise on this night of wonders! A wonderful
version filled with nuance.. The solos were impassioned, but not
quite as intense as the Soy Bomb solo from the Grammys (But of
course he had a direct emotional stimulus to deal with then..)...
Highway 61 Revisted..
Here he kicked into high gear again.. Spitting out the words
with an energetic passion, launching into his guitar work in a
way I hadn't seen before. He seemed overjoyed, and indeed we all
were... At this point he had played for nearly two hours, and
surely he had given us more than we could ever expect... but
after a brief word with his roadie he strapped on the acoustic
It Ain't Me Babe
Again, the beginning sounded like Don't Think Twice... A nice
version, somewhat unremarkable until the end when he removed his
acoustic guitar, and after some distracted, self- conscious moves
on stage worked his way over to the Harmonica case.. After some
deliberation he chose one, turned back towards us, only to
realize that he had forgotten the harmonica mic, he turned back
and with a nervous grin raised it to his lips... He played
through the melody line once, timidly.. then again, picking up a
bit of confidence as he went along. This continued, until like
the Tangled from the Philly TLA shows particularly 12-15) with
Patti Smith in December of 95 he broke through his inhibition and
began to play the song from the inside out, wailing out the heart
of it with each pass... It was beautiful and splendid, a
standout performance in a night of perfomances one only dreams
Of course he can't end on an Acoustic note so it was back to the
Not Fade Away
A great song, like Silvio that is so full of joy and energy that
I was ecstatic that he played it. He really seemed to have a
great time and at the end, looked a bit reluctant to leave.
All in all, the show was everything I'd hoped it would be, and
more. No greatest hits material. A tremendous mix between new and
old, serious and fun, fast and slow, acoustic and electric, joy
and pathos! He is an artist of the highest caliber, a real joy to
see performing at his peak as he did tonight.
A quick fashion report: Bob was wearing his black pants with the
white piping on the sides that he's been wearing for a while, but
he had on a blue silk shirt with a slight pattern on it (I was
too far away to tell what it was) unbuttoned to the third button
revealing a white undershirt, covered by a black suit coat. Larry
had on a blue silk shirt and black pants. Tony was wearing his
bowler hat and a red/orange shirt with black pants. Charlie had
on a black double-breasted Nashville style long sleeved shirt
with country stitching and black pants. David Kemper was wearing
a cowboy hat and (!) sunglasses. Don't know what he was hiding
from, but his drum work was simply superb. There was a slight
breeze on stage, to stem the heat, but Bob's hair tossed in the
wind and it was incredible to see him in profile, eyes raised,
legs slightly apart, defiant to the end.
Of course if anyone has a tape, I'd love to hear it.. I don't
have anything from Summer 99, but quite a bit from before...
Hope some of you enjoyed my rambles...
Review by Bob
Lengthy emotional view from an old guy that cannot believe the
Arrived at around 6:00 pm to get in line for general admission.
First time at St. Andrews. Once in the place shortly after 8:00,
it is a small gymnasium-looking "dance hall". Felt like the
luckiest old fart in the world to be standing center floor, 8
people (rows) from the stage (there was no seating).
Started around 9:10. First thing that hit me was how clear i
could see their faces, I mean crystal fucking clear, every
expression, like they were in my living room...
You already have the setlist, so here goes my first ever input to
you on my view of what happened to me last night. What Bob and
the band did up there in the heat (no A/C) was just for me and
this very special crowd. Pardon me if this is more emotional
Cocaine -- made me realize it had really started and time is going
to speed up for me big time as it always does at one of his
Mama you been..--- Place is waking up, vocals clear, guitar
Hard Rain --- I took this as the first serious payback for you guys
standing in line overnight or doing what you had to for tickets.
Vocals were clear, facial expression at times looked like he was
23 years old ( like the videos >from the early 60s)
Love- 0 ---- makes me want to cry, this and two others I never
thought I'd see live (tom thumb and hard rain). Beautiful guitar
Tangled --- don't listen to this one much from the live tapes/cds I
have. For some reason one of the few songs I prefer the album
version. But....Tonight, absolutely devastating, things really
got cranked up and bob and larry were really working and I found
out the floor was going to be shaking soon where I was standing.
Girl N country ---- I'm biased because one of my favorites live.
Could have used Bucky's mandolin altho I was told later a mandolin
was on stage, but (unfortunately) not used tonight.
Silvio --- serious rock and roll. Started really liking this song
live in past 2 years as his vocals got (imo) increasingly
better. Tonight, devastating (sorry for redundancy), floor was
At this point, "thankyou ladies and gentlemen. I was over at the
motown museum today. I was lookin for all the, you know the
Smokey Robinson stuff. I asked the guy where all the Smokey
Robinson stuff was. He said I don't know, but you know um, you
know what happens to Clark Kent when he gets hungry? I said
what? He said he turns into Supper Man. I mean I still don't know
where the Smokey Robinson stuff was."
Long black coat --- all I can think of when I hear this song is
Tony, and he was in my living room (or I was in his).
I'll be your baby --- fun song (for me). Seemed like extended guitar
sections. Got the feel that there was no hurry to end some of
the songs that seem to be getting shorter in this past year.
Again, I took this as thank you people for doing what you had to
Not dark yet --- extended opening, really thought this might gonna
be shooting star, but wasn't disappointed. Facial expression was
passionate, he was really working on the vocals. Outstanding.
Tom Thumb --- I consider this to be rare as hell and I'm going to
believe it was for just me and this special crowd. (Was a little
disappointed in the versions from tapes of Madrid in April and
Toronto and NYC last oct.) Last night, he was having fun and
really working on the vocals and extended guitar sections. It
had the frolicking feel that took me back to the versions of
Virginia Beach Aug 97 and Durham Apr 97.
Pillbox hat ---- still learning to like this one, and last night is
going to jump start me into searching my archives. Would be
interested if this was on the cue sheet or for the gal in the
front row with "the" hat on....
Love Sick --- precision, passionate...
Hwy 61 ---- devastating, fucking blowaway.....Excuuuuse the
redundancy and repeating myself, but my alltime favorite rock
and roll song and tonight it just shook me to whatever core is
left in my old body... Extended guitar sections, vocals.... I
think this is the song that Charlie Sexton made his biggest and
best contribution last night....
Ain't me babe -- -worked real hard on guitar and the extended harp
ending, may rival Copenhagen jul 96. Have to compare when I get
back to earth...
Not fade away --- shook the floor, the building and who knows what
else, an amazing closer. (Couldn't really appreciate it on the
previous tapes I've heard)
Back in my son's car at 11:15. Listened to the tape I made on the
way home. Made me wish I wasn't such a cheap ass and had better
portable equipment than a walkman cassette, but 2nd time through
at home and a little eq work, its listenable maybe a 6 (of 10).
Ill be searching for a better one.
By the way, my son (hes 33 and saw Bob Dylan once before, last
nov) has much broader musical interests than me. He thought the
show and setting was the best thing he'd ever seen.
Now, tonight I will be going to Pine Knob, which I expect to be
afterglow in row "yy" of the pavilion, if you know what I mean.
Review by Bill Parr and Nancy Hernandez
Dylan came on stage about ten after nine looking healthy and
ready to conquer Detroit. The church hall was as hot and humid
as a sauna bath for which you began to yearn not long after
entering the hall. The only remnants of an ecclesiastical past
were the name and the old wooden entrance doors.
To give an idea of how small the venue was and how close the
performers were to the audience, it was possible to read portions
of the cue sheet from the rail where we were standing in front of
Tony and Charlie. Rock of Ages was spotted, but went unplayed.
The stage was so tight that Charlie and Tony were rubbing elbows
all night. And Tony had to restrain his usual hip-swinging to a
more modest level to avoid damaging either himself, Charlie, or
nearby equipment. There were a number of equipment snafus for
Charlie all evening, including feedback and an amp that appeared
to fail. Kemper was literally backed against the wall to the left
corner. Band equipment was stacked along the side walls of the
hall, and the electronic equipment was denser than normal on the
floor due to the stage size.
For Christine Consolvo and other dedicated followers of fashion,
Bob's couture was more dressed down than recent fashion reports
of stylish formal suits and ties. Bob was wearing the cowboy
suit, but with a blue multi-color design silk shirt, without tie.
Black pants with white piping, white belt and short matching
jacket. The shirt was unbuttoned at the color by at least a
couple of buttons, allowing a tank undershirt to show.
Understandable, given the heat and humidity.
Tony Garnier gave the leather pants a rest, understandably given
the heat of the venue.
Bob looked lean and mean, ready to play. Clearly healthy. Even
by the end of the night, he hadn't faded away. No sign of
fatigue, though many signs of perspiration (details omitted).
And so the concert began.
When Bob and band took the stage shortly after nine, they quickly
kicked into a rousing version of Cocaine Blues. (Not the
Hallelulia, I'm Ready we'd hoped for, but maybe next show!) Bob
was obviously in strong voice, and smiled many times during the
night. Larry Campbell and Charlie Sexton backed up on the vocals.
Charlie appears to have a good voice.
Next was Mama You've Been On My Mind. Anybody ever heard a weak
version of this? Those of us in Saint Andrew's Hall didn't.
Then, Bob and band turned, still in acoustic format, to It's a
Hard Rain A-Gonna Fall. This was, frankly amazing. Initially,
the intro sounded like the anthemic Times They Are A-Changin',
but then it became obvious, before the vocal began.
The expression and passion in the voice were, well, amazing. Bob
spat out the verses - savoring the words, enunciating clearly
(yes, that's what we said - clear enunciation! Where do these
people who speak of Bob mumbling go to hear shows? Or do they
talk through the shows they attend, thereby precluding hearing
Bob's vocals?). This performance of Hard Rain could well have
been the high point of the show, except things continued to grow
(See Tom Thumb and Not Dark Yet, discussed later.).
Next, Love Minus Zero / No Limit. Dylan is a really enjoyable
acoustic guitarist. If he ever wants to give a show just of him
on acoustic guitar, no vocals, I'd go see him any time. Of
course, I'd go see him in anything. Lovely harp solo, prolonged,
as part of this song. This was a wonderful performance. The only
thing to mar the performance was knowing that Rock of Ages was
the alternate on the setlist.
Tangled Up in Blue. Solidly done. Not a highlight of the show.
Still, clearly a crowd pleaser. Lots of sing-along action on this
one, from the audience.
Girl From the North Country. Wonderfully performed. Focusing on
Dylan ? the highlight here. The emotion in Dylan?s voice as he
delivered the vocals was clear. How does he continue to recreate
this feeling, so long after writing the original? This is an
Then, the band changed over to electric equipment.
Silvio - back again in the setlist. Solidly done, but a little
brief. None of the extended jamming of earlier years. This was a
chance, however, to hear a little of Charlie Sexton at work.
Then, Dylan joke time:
Dylan indicated that he had gone that day to see the Motown
Museum. He said that when he got inside he asked about the
location of the Smokey Robinson exhibit. Then, he segued into
telling a joke:
"I asked him, what does Clark Kent become when he gets hungry?
(Hey Bob, Why was the mushroom the life of the party? Because he
was a fungi.)
One wonders - is Bob making these up, taking them out of a book
of old jokes, or perhaps calling up one of the grandkids the
afternoon before a show, and asking "Hey, granddaddy needs
another joke. Heard any good jokes lately?
Next song: Man in the Long Black Coat. This was wonderful. The
menace conveyed by the three guitars (plus bass) was palpable.
"She went off with the man in the long black coat."
Next: I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. This is always a fun song. (By
the way, notice the romance quotient - Mama You've Been On My
Mind, Love Minus Zero / No Limit, Tangled Up in Blue, Girl From
the North Country, and I'll Be Your Baby Tonight, and we're not
even to the encores yet!
Then, one of the night's highlights: Not Dark Yet, performed in
anthemic form. One could imagine an orchestra behind Bob on this
Next, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues. It doesn?t get much better
than this one. The driving, looping rhythm (don't know if we can
explain this, you had to be there. Get the tape!!!) was part of a
wonderful arrangement, full of rhythm, and a vocal delivered with
passion and power. Toward the end, Dylan stepped up to the
microphone and projected with shocking vocal power. Did anybody
notice if someone had turned the volume up, or if Dylan did this
just with voice?
Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat - always a crowd favorite, played with
great energy by the trio of guitarists. It seems that as he
learns the ways of the band, Sexton is going to fit in
And the band left - with not very far to go, of course.
Return for the encores:
First in - Love Sick in the usual, solid performance. (Another
The band then kicked into Highway 61. Sexton traded lots of good
guitar work on this one with Campbell and Dylan.
The shift back to acoustic, for . . . It Ain't Me, Babe. Replete
with Dylan harp solo. A soft, slow and delightfully raspy
version that gave us a chance to cool down and reflect on the
nights magic before a rousing finale.
The closer, as often of late, was Not Fade Away. Shades of Buddy
Holly. Bob and band left the stage looking triumphant, Bob none
the worse for wear, looking energetic and capable of doing it all
again in a few minutes.
Bill Parr and Nancy Hernandez, reporting from Saline, Michigan
Review by Jeff Knorek
Wow! Two shows in a row and they are only about 40 miles apart, and
only about 40 miles from home. This turned out to be part 1 our
vacation; first the Pine Knob show scheduled and planned for, and then
this one here at St. Andrews Hall scheduled the night before Pine Knob
(part 2 of the vacation will be the Star Lake show).
Kish and I each marked off at work and set about cooking up a whole mess
of food and getting the house in order to receive guests from far away
as Toronto, Florida, and Texas.
We feasted and drank and had a ball the night before St. Andrews, the
lunch before St. Andrews, the picnic before Pine Knob, and standing
around the car in the parking lot after the show at Pine Knob. What we
used to do all the time out on the road, cooking for the crew, has now
morphed into providing for the road-weary here at home. What fun we
had! It was great to meet some very nice (and very cool) RMD folks and
have them over for some beers and Barbecue, loud music, and chatter
Anyways, the St. Andrews show was far and away the best Dylan concert
that I've ever seen. They just blew the fucking roof off!
Here's what it looked like to me:
It was hard not to explode with joy just for having the good fortune to
be there...we were on the left balcony (Phil's side), near the rear, at
the rail. Close enough for me...it sure looked hot and packed down there
on the floor up front by the stage; I guess that at my age I just need
my own space and prefer to hang at the back of the hall, not matter how
big the hall is. From the back of *this* hall, Dylan stood as tall as
your palm-out hand is high when held at arms length. EVERYBODY was
close. With all the effort and ticket hand-wringing that everybody went
through to be there, it was a sure bet that only the faithful were
present...and it sure felt like it inside.
The show lived up to it; not one for the Paul Simon fans, but one for
*us*, like he used to do on prior tours when he didn't have to tailor
his show to AOR radio common denominator crowd-pleasing greatest hits
setlist bullshit. I apologize if this sounds snotty and conceited, and
I *do* understand why it is done and that there can be a lot of variety
within the structure of sameness, but the Pine Knob show was merely cute
in comparison with this one. While I have seen them rock this hard in
theaters, and in fact even at Pine Knob before (the spring 1996 show
SMOKES), this tour BY COMPARISON seems to be made up of dull Columbia
Records corporate-stiff-patronising, formulated, and production line
oriented concerts (although I must confess that The Star Lake show a few
nights later would be a very strong performance of such a setlist, one
that left me feeling happy and content).
Thank goodness Dylan plays small halls like this one while he is out on
the road playing those larger gigs. Thank goodness he came to Detroit,
one of the most unlikely places that I ever suspected he'd chose to play
such a show. We were very, very lucky.
_Cocaine Blues_ (acoustic)
Cocaine Blues is not my favorite song, but tonight I promised myself to
not nit-pick the set list. As it turns out, I wouldn't have to...but
with this one I just got settled in and used to being there, and the
crowd seemed to do likewise. I can only imagine that the band did as
well...it was really close onstage, Tony couldn't swing and sway like he
usually does. They were all nearly shoulder to shoulder apart, spaced
only by the length of the necks of their guitars. Larry was really,
REALLY smiling. He almost never does, so I took this as a good sign; he
looked excited. They were all dressed to the nines but with no
jackets...Larry had a lavender silk shirt and Charlie was in all black.
Tony didn't wear a hat, so he spent a lot of time squinting under the
close spotlights for the first few songs.
_Mama, You Been On My Mind_ (acoustic)
This one was new to me, but I didn't want to bug anybody around me to
ask for confirmation. Other songs that I heard for the first time,
_Tomorrow Night_ and _I'll Be Not A Stranger_, really blew my mind at
other shows but this one did not. The mix was still very disoriented
and flat, so it was hard to hear any nuances. Hearing them will be much
easier during the electric set.
For now I was just going along for the ride.
_A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall_ (acoustic)
Again, the Board did not want to accommodate the volume required to
amplify the acoustic songs...they'd have been better off to either lower
the volume or by using no amplification at all. Sometimes it is louder
when you turn the volume *down*...I wish the sound crew could get a
_Love Minus Zero/No Limit_ (acoustic) (with harp)
Charlie pulled out a Dobro (or maybe a National Steel guitar) and had
all kinds of feedback problems...he was essentially a liability
onstage...it had to have been driving him crazy; a roadie came out and
together they fiddled around with knobs on the amp and with cords and
such. It would have been a perfect song for his background slide sound,
but it never jelled. Charlie had equipment problems all night long. I
really like this song, and am looking forward to hearing him take
another crack at it. One thing I need to stress is that Charlie not
once looked tentative or unsure of himself unless his gear was causing
him fits, and even then he didn't let it show much.
_Tangled Up In Blue_ (acoustic)
Finally the crowd loosens up and dances, and the vibe of the whole show
changes. I enjoy how the kids seem to assert themselves here. Recalling
how the spring '96 shows were like this from start to finish, I am glad
that at least there is a point at which we can look forward to such
exuberance each night, even if it doesn't start with the first note. If
Dylan returns to a format with fewer acoustic songs, and not opening
with them, then I think he can take advantage of his new secret weapon,
Charlie Sexton, and create more energetic shows. More on this in a
_Girl Of The North Country_ (acoustic)
I swear that I can hear the paper of the speaker horns flapping around,
it sounds *that* loud. Nevertheless, the delivery is sensitive enough
that Colleen, my little sister who quit her job in Florida to be here,
cried. There are enough acoustic guitars here to render Bucky Baxter's
role, however good he was (and he was VERY good), superfluous. Once
Charlie gets his gear together it will be fun to see the mix expand.
I think that Bob Dylan makes a much better acoustic guitarist than an
electric guitarist. He would have sounded better if he wasn't so loud
in the too-loud acoustic mix. Conversely, his sidemen play monster
smoking leads during the electric set and he's better off letting them
Tonight he did just that.
The way the lights came up as all four of them simultaneously stepped
forward hitting the first note was really cool, and is a visual memory
that will represent this show in my mind for a long time to come.
THEY WERE ALL SMILING. Charlie got a piece of a solo toward the end and
just SHREDDED it...he spoke with such a joy and with such vigor that the
whole crowd up where I was got a lot more excited. Not the song I would
have wanted to hear if the choice was mine, but still they whipped out
the best Silvio that I'd ever seen. The crowd was bouncing all over the
place up on the balcony.
_Man In The Long Black Coat_ (Larry on Pedal Steel)
Cooooooooooooool....this one just MELTS. Since Larry is engaged with
the steel, Charlie's role again is higher in the mix than what seemed to
be offered him at the two other gigs I saw. The band is as much like
Pink Floyd as they are like Bob Dylan's band on this one.
_I'll Be Your Baby Tonight_ (Larry on Pedal Steel)
Finally, A song to slow dance with Kish, even though this is a boppy
version. We've gone from Space to the Country...Charlie plays country
licks like it is nobody's business. These guys are cool! They JAAAAM!
_Not Dark yet_
Now *this* was the moment I've been waiting for. Sometimes music can
take me to a far away place. The one time I've been there since Garcia
died was at Gallup Park on the Huron River in Ann Arbor...Pharaoh
Sanders took me there. While Dylan can blow my mind in other ways,
he doesn't really take me THERE. Tonight he did, due in large part to
Charlie Sexton. Charlie did this sound (from what looked like a Fender
Telecaster) that I would expect to hear from David Gilmour. Coupled
with the tempo of the song, Larry being rather muted, Bob just crying
those *chilling* lyrics...man...this was the moment, the one that we
wait years for. Charlie was way high in the mix, as he has been
throughout the electric set, and here he really shines. The lights were
blue and white, casting a ghosty haze on the stage and crowd. I was
reminded of _The Days Between_, but this was so much better.
_Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues_ (Larry on Pedal Steel)
This one was more straight ahead than Larry's steel playing might
indicate. It sounded to me like he didn't have a hard feel for the song
in his new role yet...it was still very good, but I can see room for
improvement. Charlie played a Gretch and had a gritty tone to it.
They have to work at keeping the mix uncluttered, but this was a problem
when Bucky was in the band, too, so it is not unique to this lineup.
_Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat_
A great set closer, like a fun and rollicking night at small bar on the
down side of a town in which we don't have to live. By now the
crowd/band gestalt seemed to reach a plateau and everybody in the whole
room was simply having a good ol' time.
A solid delivery, although a little cluttered what with three guitars
playing essentially the same chords. Larry's solo wasn't the
ball-crusher from the February shows we saw.
_Highway 61 Revisited_
THIS IS THE ONE THAT BLEW THE ROOF OFF THE PLACE.
Charlie did this mind boggling first lead which was seamlessly handed
over to Larry once he had his way with it...there seemed to be a level
of professional competition happening between the two that elevated
this song to new heights...I hope that Dylan makes good use of it in the
months to come. The crowd just ROARED with approval when they finished.
Everybody, both them on the stage and us in the crowd, was sweaty and
hot after a good workout with that exhalted feeling of having just been
a part of something special and grand.
_It Ain't Me, Babe_ (acoustic) (with harp)
He plays this at almost every show, and I don't care as long as he does
it well. Once again he did, and it never fails to amaze me that we still
swing and dance to it as if it represents a portal through which we all
have had to pass through at one time or another in our development:
"I don't want to be mean about this but...."
_Not Fade Away_
Again, the February versions had more twang and punch to them, but this
still rocks and the crowd revved up for one last time to show them just
how glad we all were to be there. Amazingly, the Pittsburgh show had a
smokin' Not Fade that rivaled this one in intensity and crowd
involvement, but we'll get to that one some other time.
Sooo....our clan was one happy group of campers, you bet. The friend
from Texas left for home directly after the show while the rest of us
had a few hours to recover to prepare for the sonombolistic adventure at
Pine Knob the next night. That, too, will have to wait for another time.
Review by Ken Gibbs
Another review of this show is probably not needed but as this was
the first Dylan show I had ever seen perhaps it will add another
dimension to the other reviews. We got an early jump on the evening and
were in rare form by the time we made Fishbones (a restaurant about a
block from St. Andrews) to get a bite to eat before the show. As dinner
finished one of the guys (who had been contracted to do the venue poster
for the show) headed over a little early to pass out some of handbills.
The rest of us made it over as the line started to file into the building.
The people packed the front 1/3 of the theater and with the temperature
hotttttttttttt, we decided the best place was a nice relatively
uncongested spot by the bar. In a strange way the heat and dinginess of
the place kind of added to the intimacy. Show time neared and we edged
closer to the stage and with this being such a small venue the view and
acoustics were great. When Dylan took the stage I knew I was in for a
treat. Trying to explain his stage presence to anyone that has not seen
him is a bit like trying to explain "wet" to a fish. To those of you that
have seen him you know where the term "legend" originated. I listened to
a cd of the show yesterday and the one thing that stands out is the buzz
of the people. It is so omnipresent that it becomes another part of the
band. I would have to say that even the folks that have seen Dylan
perform numerous times felt that they had seen a show for the ages. I've
been around since the Grande days and have seen great shows in small
venues numerous times. But on this occasion the man, the music, the venue,
and the people came together in a space in time for an experience that
will never be duplicated. - ken
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