page by Bill Pagel
Review by Julie Morrill
My review of the springfield show is strictly
from my standpoint ( being in the middle of
a near mosh pit) and among a mob scene of
springfieldites on the track. This was probably
my 40th dylan show over the last 20 years or
so and always have I gotten at least close
enough to get eye contact from Bob. ( We
have met and I always think he sees me.)
Sunday nite was really depressing, I think it
was probably a great show but I had to
stand on tiptoe and stretch my neck and
felt afraid to move for fear some of the strong-
arms near me would start a disturbance. It
was a very weird crowd on the track and
they weren't nice. Finally my friend and I just
gave up. It was weird because I was there
but felt like I wasn't. Luckily, I am going to
Vail on Sunday next and hope to see Bob.
Julie Morrill, Carbondale, Il
Review by Brian Burkhart
I've seen so many Bob shows now its getting hard to decide what is really
a great show, but these last two have been up there with the best. Bob
absolutley mowed over a spirited crowd in Sedalia, and although this show
didn't quite live up to the pure energy of that one, it came close and had
a few more surprises in the set list.
True Bobcats had been waiting all afternoon outside the grandstand in order
to get prime position for the standing room only area. We got treated to a
great soundcheck session that could be heard pretty well outside. I got
there about 5pm and luckily was able to work my way to the first few rows,
front and center. A Bob show is just so much better when you can see all
those goofy faces Dylan makes, and I've come to appreciate the slapstick
humor and showmanship of some of the other guys in the band, especially
It was a good crowd, the grandstands were nearly full and the track was
filled with bodies as far as I could see from where I was in the front.
While we waited for Bob, the local fair workers passed out water bottles
to those down close; a welcome treat considering the heat and the fact we
were packed like sardines.
The show began more or less on time, with Bob entering the stage to the
sounds of the 4th movement of Dvorak's "New World" Symphony. He did this
in Sedalia, too, a real amusing little treat reminiscent of Elvis coming
on stage to "Also Sprach Zarathustra." Some of the stuff Bob gets away
with just kills me, but it was perfect.
For a seasoned Bob-goer, I thought the show started off a little ho-hum. It
was in doubt until "I Don't Believe You" which was performed with much
enthusiasm and glee, similar to the "Live 1966" version, but a little more
of the down-home sound. Bob had us then, following it up with one of the
best versions of "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" I've heard and a rousing
The show really acquired gravitas, however, with the electric set Bob
finished with. The collective power of "Blind Willie McTell," "Most
Likely You'll Go Your Way," "Cold Irons Bound," and " Everything is
Broken" blew away everyone and momentarily surpassed the vitality of the
Sedalia show. Bob introduced the Band during "Everything is Broken" and
really had 'em going. "Blind Wille McTell" was haunting, and cheers
erupted from the crowd during the line "God is in his heaven..." I can't
emphasize enough how much these four rocked; as good as any four numbers
I've heard the past three years.
The encore seemed anticlimatic, but welcome. Bob seemed especially pained
during "Love Sick," although Sedalia's performance was better. The rest
were all crowd pleasers, and did just that. "All Along the Watchtower"
returned to the traditional Hendrix-style after a slower,jazzy, syncopated
version played in Sedalia.
I was hoping for a second encore, perhaps "Cat's in the Well," but it was
not to be. It mattered not, becuase I was still "reeling with this feeling"
from "Everything is Broken."
After the stage lights came up, they put on a laser light show featuring
the Go-Go's which just seemed very inappropriate after such a show, but
nothing could bring us down.
I should note the Missouri and Illinois state fairs were both nicely run
and featured many fun things to do before and after the shows. The locals
were all very nice, security was tight, and it was amusing to top off the
nght with a snow-cone rather than the customary Molson's.
Overall, Sedalia and Springfield were two grade-A Bob shows. I can't wait
for "Love and Theft" and the expected accompanying tour.
Review by Elaine Anderson
Well, here I am having crossed 5 state lines traveling by train and car to
see Bob Dylan in Springfield, Ill. This is my third time to see him live
- the first being in Nashville 3 months ago and the second in Des Moines
Friday night. For me, the absolute highlight in Springfield was Blind
Willie McTell. I think it's very rare for him to sing it so I felt lucky
to be there. I liked it much better than the recorded version - which
does have beautiful vocals and piano - but the guitar-driven sound of this
live version made it feel like he really owned the song and it just filled
the arena and was very powerful. Other highlights for me: Everything is
Broken, which Bob seemed to have fun with and Love Sick and Cold Irons
Bound, both of which I felt were better than the recorded versions. After
the concert, I listened to the buzz from the crowd as we made our way
though the fairgrounds to the exit. Older people liked Don't Think Twice
and seem to have forgotten about it.
I also heard a yound man comment on Love Sick and how Bob's delivery seemed
full of emotion. My relatives in Iowa were worried that I would see the same
"show" in Springfield that I'd seen two days earlier in Des Moines but there
were many new songs. I think it's amazing how many songs he has and the way
he keeps them up to date so you don't feel like you're going to an oldies
concert. Hearing Bob sing Blowin' in the Wind live for the first time didn't
fill me with nostalgia, but brought me square into the present - along with
a sense of having traveled a long way to get here.
Review by Geoff Cowgill
Well, first off let's get the disappointment of an 18-song set out of
the way. Fully expecting the 20-song onslaught, I was a little
dismayed to hear "Blowin' In The Wind" in the eighteenth slot. I'll
try to trace how this came about. The encore started out with a very
good "Love Sick", extremely atmospheric and with some very nice
phrasing from Dylan. "Like A Rolling Stone" followed in a manner that
depending on your generosity was either stately or turgid, during
which Bob was dive-bombed by some large bug. Charlie squished it when
it rested on the stage, to the apparent delight of Larry. Bob remained
fairly inscrutible about this. As "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" began,
Tony looked lost as Bob seemed to be singing a little out of the
groove. It actually came together pretty well, though. "All Along The
Watchtower" was terse and energetic, but Bob cut it very quickly after
the "wind began to howl." Expecting about five more minutes of solos,
this came as a surprise. Seemed to come as a surprise to Charlie, too.
Group huddle. Charlie exchanges electric for acoustic and slaps the
neck of his guitar in what seemed to be a peeved manner. Tony clapped
his hands in obvious glee, seemingly glad to be done for the night.
"Blowin' In The Wind" begins and seems a little quicker paced than
normal. The encore, though greatly appreciated by the crowd, was not
going to be one for the record books. But...I must express my
gratitude and delight about the main set. A great choice of songs and
terrificaly performed. "Roving Gambler" started off and was very tight
and delightful. "Times..." was well done for the first time I had ever
heard it. I liked how Bob dropped his voice for the last syllable of
the title each time. "Don't Think Twice" was stellar and Bob decides
to grab the harp. It takes him a couple of bars to get something
cooking, but it turns into a great little solo and the crowd
justifiably goes ape. The first electric song is a propulsive "I Don't
Believe You". The song usually sounds kind of loping but tonight it is
more tightly wound. Great. A loose and charming "I'll Be Your Baby
Tonight" with a pretty carnal line change (something to the effect of
"shut the shade/shut it tight/I'll make it last all night/tonight") is
next; a nice surprise. "Tombstone Blues" rounds out the first
electric section quite nicely.
Three well-performed but routinely heard acoustic songs: "Baby Blue,"
"Masters Of War" and "It Ain't Me, Babe". It's a good thing he plays
these so well each time I hear them. Every time I hear "Masters Of
War" begin I think "oh no, not this again" but I'm always really
impressed by it. Tonight he cut the soloing very short and repeated
the first verse at the end, ending the song not on a typical
instrumental drag-out but with a dramaticly emphasized "I can see
through your masks." Very nice change.
Now the extended highlight of the show. The single most impressive
performance of the evening, "Blind Willie McTell" is starkly and
evocatively phrased and the music is powerful, moody and greatly
nuanced. This would be a stand-out on any live compilation Columbia
might wish to release. As a side note: don't you think a "Never-Ending
Tour" box set is long overdue? A very fun "Most Likely You'll Go Your
Way" is next. The "You say my kisses are not like his" line has been
changed but I couldn't quite figure out to what. Something absurd,
judging by Larry's reaction. The insane and dissonant "Cold Irons
Bound" should really mess with the heads of anybody who might still
think Dylan should never have gone electric. I don't know, this
arrangement might be the loudest, noisest thing he's ever done. The
regular set is rounded off with "Everything Is Broken". I like
"Leopard-Skin", but it was nice to hear this for a change. The band
had a lot of fun with it, especially during the band introduction
during the song that allowed everyone about a split second of musical
show-off time, with some mock-heroic rock star posing. Apart from the
sloppy encore, this was a great show and I got much more than my
money's worth by the fourth song, anyway.
Review by Mark Rothfuss
"I wound up peeking through Bob's keyhole down upon my knees..." Review of
It is now Tuesday morning....very, very early morning...and I have just
woken up after 16 hours sleep. Ya see, Springfield, IL is a little over 6
and 1/2 hours from Lexington, KY where I live. After the show on Sunday
('bout midnight, eastern time), I drove straight back home and then had to
go immediately to work. Thus, my review may lack something in terms of
freshness, but hopefully it will be a bit more clear now.
Here we go...show 36 on my never ending tour.
I hadn't planned on making this tour. I wanted too. But all the shows
were kind of far away and I couldn't really come up with a good enough
reason to brave the heat, and the crowds, etc. It just seemed
impractical. Luckily, at the last minute I was invited up to Springfield
by a friend of mine who just moved there. Not only that, but she works at
the agricultural center where the event was held. So I got my excuse.
Visit a friend, then I can see Bob! I'm pretty easily persuaded, ya see.
We got to the fair grounds early Sunday afternoon. As I walked thru the
endless maze of pig pens and horse stables on my way in, I hear what
appears to be Bob's band playing "Senor"....I get closer and closer and it
gets louder and louder. But the show doesn't start for hours??? Then I see
a crowd of people peeking thru a few little windows. Turns out its sound
check. No big deal, right? So why the big crowd? Turns out Bob was there.
This I had to see. So instead of waiting my turn at the window I run
upstairs and try to find a way out onto the grandstand. The whole joint is
locked down. But the keyhole on one particular door just happened to be
big enough and in just the right spot to give me clean visual access to
Bob and band. It was a strange experience. Bob sat very high on a stool,
with electric guitar, wearing a white jacket/shirt and big, dark
sunglasses. Looking very cool and very in control of the situation. The
band were dressed primarily in black, Tony without his trademark cap. I
just have to say, these guys are class acts. Always dressed to the nines!
Even at rehearsal!! After Senor, the band made several very different
attempts at Watchtower, taking a brief break and trying some unknown old
timey country groove, then back to some more Watchtower. After hearing it
about 9 times, my friends and I left to sample some of the Illinois State
Fair's attractions before show time.
After a few rounds on the "ring of fire" ride, and after a very heavy
dinner of burgers, fries,beer, pizza, ice cream, and those damn powdered
cake things, we carried each other into the grandstand and straight up
into the nosebleed section. Probably the farthest I've ever been from
main stage...but not bad for such short notice. And right around 8:00 Bob
and band strolled on out. All wearing different clothes. Bob in black, of
course. Big reaction from the crowd. It was just about dusk and the rides
at the carnival lit the the backdrop with great drama. Recorder on!
1. Roving Gambler (acoustic)
Great song. Unfortunately it seemed muddy and muffled to my ears. Not
Bob's fault, but the sound system. However, my recording picks it up
quite well and it turns out it is a very good rendition. At this point I
should mention that Mr. Dylan began doing his trademark dancing, as he did
for the rest of the show. The girls I was with described it as
"adorable"....way to go Bob!
2. The Times They Are A-Changin' (acoustic)
Nice arrangement. Bob's seemed to devote slightly more attention to it
than usual. For once, he didn't just toss it out like a stiff obligation.
Though many a line was, indeed, badly flubbed.
3. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (acoustic) (Bob on harp)
Amazing harp solo! I mean, it did not let up. Simply breathtaking. I love
the way he leaves his guitar hanging at his side and plays with one hand.
All in all, a very good and totally upbeat performance. Marred only by
the appearance that Bob seemed a little unsure of the words (and the
4. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) (Bob on harp)
Same kind of uncertainty here. You can see him pondering, "Do I really
want to nail this one or not?" Just kind of hesitant about the whole
endeavor. However, I think toward the end of the song his answer turned to
yes. Treating the audience to its second straight, though slightly less
inspired, harmonica closing.
5. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Larry on Pedal Steel)
Boring. But not especially boring, I just always say that about this
6. Tombstone Blues
Wow! No uncertainty here. This was nasty! I'm talking lean and mean.
Howling! This performance knocked me out, picked me up and knocked me out
again. Dark, swampy, rollickin' blues. Very TOOM. And Bob's phrasing was
truly, truly, impressive. A contender for best version i've ever heard.
7. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (acoustic) (Larry on pedal steel)
I am so sick of this tired, old arrangement. Put it out of its misery,
Bob. However, if you like this arrangment then it was a pretty fair
8. Masters Of War (acoustic) (Charlie on dobro)
Both this and the previous number, are the two songs I seem to see the
most. But unlike Baby Blue, I am very fond of this version of MOW. I miss
Bucky Baxter's mandolin, but still very strong.
9. It Ain't Me, Babe (acoustic)
Simply stunning. Really masterful control of the verses, and wonderfully
sly delivery of the the refrain. As always, a great acoustic crowd
pleaser. (even for those members of the crowd unfamilliar with the song,
i.e. my weekend host).
10. Blind Willie McTell (Larry on bouzouki)
After he went so many years without touching this masterpiece on stage, it
began to seem as if he never would. I know we all prayed for it. So who
cares if it's been done more than a few times in recent years? It still
feels like a treat to hear it after a decade and a half waiting. All in
all, a good version. Much better than the older all electric rendition
from years past.
11. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
A very majestic highlight. True to the original in a lot of ways. But as
far as Im concerned this version transcends it. Thin, wild,
mercury...definitely bright gold. A strange metalic guitar sound
permeated. All jingly...like bell tones. And good grief, you have to hear
Bob's delivery. Like a train thumping over tracks on the verses. And the
steam whistle on the chorus.
12. Cold Irons Bound
Love it!! Other worldly. Great tempo changes, which Bob handled with
ease. Kneebends and rockstar poses were abundant. And the relative
closeness of Chicago was not lost on the audience.
13. Everything Is Broken (encore)
Not EVERYTHING! In fact this number sounded pretty together. Band was
rockin', with Bob improvising lyrics to "gotta serve somebody" results
(whatever that means). Perfect vehicle for band intros. So ridiculously
Vegas, its actually cool. By the by, what exactly did Bob murmur before
introducing the "gitaaaah playerrrr."
14. Love Sick
Second TOOM song. Served to remind me that the new album is due out
soon. A certain "calm before the new album/new tour storm" overwhelmed
me. This might be the last time I hear LS and think of it as one of his
new tunes. Strange. And a fine version it was. Nothing extra-special, but
hardly just "walking thru the streets that are dead."
15. Like A Rolling Stone
Below average. Bob totally half-assed this one. But nobody seemed to care.
Everybody up in the highlands where I sat rose in appreciation. My
compliments to Mr. Sexton who once again captured the magic of the
original guitar riff, while taking it in blistering new directions.
16. Knockin' On Heaven's Door (acoustic) (Charlie on electric guitar) This
arrangement makes hearing KOHD seem like a first. It is absolutely
beautiful. Delicate. Downright prayer-like. A different song all together.
Vibrant blue. I hope he hangs onto it for a while. Great
"oooooooo--oooo-oo-ohhs" from LC and CS. And nice choreography from Bob
and band as they stepped back from mic's in sync.
17. All Along The Watchtower
Strange. I heard them rehearse this countless times this afternoon and yet
not a single attempted version was used tonight. More a combination of
them all. I have never actually heard a Bob version that really sounded
like Hendrix's classic rendition...until tonight. This one had Jimi
stamped all over it. Guitars were heavily drenched in trippy acid effects.
Get a copy of this show for that alone. Also of note, though, was the
bizarre dropped ending...right after, literally, screaming "Howwwwlllll"
Bob turned to Dave Kemper and did his "cut" motion. And within seconds the
song was over. None of that great "dun-dun-dun-dun-duh...." slowdown
stuff which usually ushers "Watchtower" out. Just bam! We're done.
18. Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)
A sea of BIC lighters emerged. Mine a Bob Dylan licensed Zippo. It was
spiritual, I tell you. It felt like church. And not the boring kind of
church either. No. The Dylan Ministry. Lovely version. It keeps getting
prettier. Less folksy protest...more bluegrass hymn. It was a good
opportunity to once again take stock of my surroundings. What a
spectacular night it was. Bright carnival lights glowing in the distance,
cool, dry summer weather, pretty girls everywhere...and then Bob...Bob and
this old, old song. No doubt, music is a mystical, magical force...not to
sound like a hippy...but I was once again left awestruck. At just the
sheer grace and majesty of his unparalleled gift. In a lot of ways Bob
Dylan does seem to be the force that ties the rest of the universe
together. At least on August 12th he did.
Yours in Bob,
Review by Amanda Smith
Bob Dylan's performance at the Illinois State Fair was the first time I've
seen him live, and it's left me in a quandary about seeing him again. I
can't imagine him giving a better performance, and I can't imagine
surviving it if he did! The crowd at the fair were predominantly in their
twenty's, which might have served to infuse Dylan's performance with the
kind of energy he displayed. The show blasted off with a rocking rendition
of "Roving Gambler" that had the noise level and propulsion of a jet
airplane, and if anything went uphill from there. Several times between
songs Bob stood toward the back of the stage rocking back and forth on the
balls of his feet. He looked like a fly weight chomping at the bit to get
back into the ring, knowing that one or two more blows would give him a
knock out, and what a knock out he and the band delivered!!
To be completely honest, there were a few rough moments. I couldn't hear
the first line in "All along the Watchtower". He either couldn't remember
it or sang it too softly. Once he got into the groove, that was one of (if
not the best) renditions of that song I've ever heard. Hendrix would have
been proud. At one point during the song, Dylan had his guitar in a
vertical position and seemed to be lost in the joy of the riff they were
putting down! Rock on Bob !!
Another fine moment was during "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" . Bob was
awash in blue light and the timbre of his voice brought tears to my eyes.
The combination of the words and the harmony and sweetness of the acoustic
guitar was mind blowing . The first time Dylan played his mouth harp the
crowd went wild, but quieted down not wanting to miss any of it. He
doesn't play with the same verve as when he was twenty-five, but it was
moving nonetheless. "Knocking On Heaven's Door" was fine. Bob began in a
on a darkened stage. Very effective. The vocal harmony was tight and
sweet. The last line of "Love Sick" was so chilling in it's delivery, I
could hear an o-o-o-h from the crowd.
Speaking of which - the audience was a large part of the entertainment
that evening. There was a man in his fifty's in the grandstands who seemed
suffused with joy and was gyrating so wildly I thought he might fall over
the railing. The young man sitting behind me was a blast. He sang along to
every song, only missing a word or phrase when Bob had changed it. A
particularly chilling line in "Masters of War" elicited a groan and "oh my
God" from him. When the bass guitar started it's distinctive inter to
"Cold Irons Bound" he yelled out "I don't believe it!". After awhile it
seemed an act of cruelty to withhold my binos from him (we were sitting in
the 15th and 16th rows). When I offered them, he grinned from ear to ear
and nodded his head so vigorously that he looked like a dashboard
ornament. Looking through the binoculars he kept repeating... "Oh man --
oh man -- oh man." Everyone belted out "how does it f-e-e-l" and then gave
themselves and Dylan a rousing ovation!
The best part of the evening bar none, was watching Dylan. He looked in
great shape, having the energy and flexibility of a twenty year old. At
one point he had one foot on a ledge behind him that appeared two feet
high. He began to bend the other leg and contort his body, all the while
playing fantastic guitar! He seemed to enjoy the music and the audience.
Several times Bob and the other guitar players formed a circle facing each
other. They seemed to be playing for the joy they were receiving as much
It was like watching a private jam session. Of course we saw lots of foot
twisting and body contorting. I could see shadows of the young man who
toured in the 60's. It was G-R-E-A-T to watch Dylan's interaction with the
standing room only crowd. Frequently he would do things to provoke a
response from them. When he was playing a get-down-on-it rocking guitar
riff, he would lean toward them bending at the knees and shaking his head
back and forth as if to ask, "what do you think of that?" They would go
wild! Which would bring a smile to the "Zen Master's" face.
"Blowin In The Wind" became a sing along. The whole placed rocked back and
forth, and I could see tears in many of the eyes around me. As the last
chord was dying, Dylan removed his guitar and in one fluid movement
punched heavenward one hand holding his guitar the other in a fist. If he
wasn't thinking "nailed it!" at that moment - he should have been. The
whole place rose to their feet at once. There was clapping, screaming,
whistling and stomping of feet. I could hear shouts of "we love you Bob!"
minutes Dylan stood center stage front, his hands at his sides, his face
slightly up looking from left to right and back again basking in the wall
of sound which conveyed our love and approval to him. As he stood there I
thought of another musician who, when told he must play for a man because
he was a Prince, responded - "There have been and there will be thousands
of princes, but there is only one Ludwig Von Beethoven". To paraphrase -
There have been and there will be thousands of rock stars, but there is
only one BOB DYLAN!!!
Amanda K. Smith
Review by Dave Moyer
I can't really describe what happened last night, and if it keeps going like
this, I may eventually quit submitting reviews for these concerts to the web
page. How many times can a person write the words great, phenomenal, etc.
You begin to feel overly patronizing, like a panderer. Anyone who was there
knows how unbelievable it was. It's like you're transformed, in another
realm or something.
The show had a certain edge to it. The band was on fire and Bob was
completely into it. The acoustic songs seemed to rock hard. Make no
mistake, this was a rock and roll blow out. The band seemed to get into
a certain groove, making each selection an experience. My friend, who
saw him in Missouri, claims Bob was more animated there, but confirms that
the Illinois show rocked harder. As for me, it was a perfect night. The
six of us who went got general admission tickets and managed to get a
straight shot at Bob from about 30 feet away. The band walked out, and
there he was-the man, looking right at me, and I just couldn't believe it.
It was our anniversary. The only thing that could have made the show any
better would have been Love Minus Zero/No Limit, but I stop myself. I have
no right to make such claims after a show like that. My friend got to hear
his three favorite songs for crying out loud--I Don't Believe You (She Acts
Like We Never Have Met), an excellent rendition I might add, Tombstone
Blues, also done well, and Blind Willie McTell, a real and unexpected
I'll say this for me: I enjoyed The times They Are A-Changin', really like
the current rendition of Don't Think Twice It's All Right, thought I Don't
Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met), and Most Likely You Go Your
Way (And I Go Mine) were highlights. I very much enjoyed It's All Over
Now, Baby Blue, and It Ain't Me, Babe (although I thought it was Boots of
Spanish Leather at first). I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Masters
of War. Typically, I would not rank this albeit great song as one of my
favorites. Cold Irons Bound and Love Sick from Time Out of Mind were good
also. There was no bad, actually. The big surprise-and there always is one-
Everything Is Broken. Was this the same song from Oh Mercy? How could it
be? Like a Rolling Stone never tires. It was strong again.
I left the concert thoroughly pumped and he didn't do my favorite song
Tangled Up in Blue, the hardest rocker of them all Highway 61 Revisited, or
one of my favorites which has become common Desolation Row. He didn't do
Visions of Johanna, which I had hoped for in honor of by newborn daughter,
Johanna. If someone walked away from a lot of other concerts by other
artists thinking these thoughts, they might very easily have been
disappointed. But not with Bob.
He is the master. That night will always be hanging in the air over
So there you have it. Great, phenomenal, etc.
Comments by Pat Rathburn
Although this show has already been extensively and for the most part
exuberantly reviewed I still feel compelled to offer my two cents. Even
though I may not be the stalwart that some of you are, (only 15 shows since
1990), I think I can spot a killer performance when it slaps me in the face
as it did Sunday night. Though the entire performance was entirely enjoyable
as always, including a number of fine renditions, the band delivered an
electric one-two knockout punch to end the opening set that blew away the
entire audience. I'm not sure but I think Charlie may have sold his soul
to the devil. Get thee a recording of this performance and judge for
Review by Mitch Herbold
I was betting on the fact that the Springfield show would not be sold out.
I made the drive from St Louis by myself. I was a little late getting to
the fair grounds and I missed the first two songs. This was my 3rd show!.
I saw Dylan at Benedictine University, Lyle Illinois, in November 1997.
That was the first time I ever heard Cocaine blues, Silvio, This Wheels on
Fire, and a couple more. Ever since, I have been discovering and studying
Dylan's music. It inspires me. I love it. I love all the music he has put
out in the 90's. I saw Dylan open up for Phil Lesh last summer at the
Riverport in St Louis. I missed the first half of that show and I hardly
remember the rest because I was under the influence of mind altering
banana peels. I do remember Drifters Escape sounding nothing like the
original, but a feel good rocking sound. He also played Forever Young,
which seemed to be the theme for that summer. I made my way to the track
just in time to hear Don't Think Twice. I noticed right away that I wasn't
going to be singing along because Dylan sings it different. I didn't
recognize the next song because it had been a long wile since I heard I
Don't Believe You, and again it sounds different than the 60's version.
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight is another favorite of mine and again, way
different singing than on the original. By this time, I had ingested at
least 2 beers and was heading back to the line for more juice of the
barley. Tombstone Blues is a total jam. Dylan is such a kick ass guitarist
and he was doing some serious jamming. The work on the harp sounded
wonderful and the band was kickin up some dirt. It's All Over Now Baby
Blue, another oldie. I personally don't like the 60's version because of
the ear piercing harp, but I fell in love with the song after I learned
how to play it on guitar. The first line of the song is "You must leave
now, take what you need if you think it will last" I didn't realize until
later that Dylan was singing to me (read on). The song following that was
Masters of War. Excellent song. What a creepy sound with a strong message
being an anti-war song. I can't believe he still jams that old tune. Then
there was It Ain't Me Babe. I always think of my buddy who gave me my
first Dylan cd, this was his favorite song. Again, there is no singing
along with this tune. The sound of the band was real warm and smoothing
out, a little less dancing was going on after the last 2 songs. Then the
next song, was another I had never heard. I found out later it was called
Blind Willie McTell. I was having a hard time understanding the words he
was singing. The song is so sweet, reminding me of old renaissance or
Egyptian music. "dressed up like a squire with bootleg whisky in his
hand". When you Go Your Way and I Go Mine was the next song. Made me think
of my girlfriend "who I left behind" back in St Louis, by this time I was
missing her bad. Dylan sings my blues! Cold Irons Bound is another freaky
song that brought a chill to my bones, Yeah I was "twenty miles out of
town" The last song of the main set was Everything is Broken. I gotta say
that this song is up there with all time favorite jams. It sounded great.
I noticed people really getting their groove on to this song, dancin' and
a drinkin' and a carrin' on. Wow! What a set! By this time I was trying
to think of what the encore would bring. I figured it had to be another 5
songs or so, and I was psyched. I still hadn't really talked to anyone
around me. Well I was having a lot of fun and had my blood/alcohol level
peeking with corona light so I decided I was gonna break the rules, break
the laws, and choose liberty! The encore started with Love Sick, and
standing on a lonesome dirt track surrounded by thousands strangers, I
started kinda missin' the woman who would have been dancing with me.
Anyway I chugged the last of my beer and started smoking my weed. Well
Just as the song was finishing up, I was grabbed by two seemingly pissed
off cop's. Apparently the cop saw me smoking and wanted to know where it
was. Of course I played dumb. I made sure not to blow the lung full of
smoke in his face and hoped he didn't see the evidence under his foot! I
thought I was going to jail for sure. I was very polite, agreed with the
cop when he told me how stupid I was. Furthermore he tells me before we
got to the gate that I was going to leave and not come back. I agreed
wholeheartedly. The cop was cool. He made sure to not let his captain see
as they took the rest of my stash, and escorted me to the gate. I
practically ran to my car and on the way out Dylan was again singing to me
"How Does it Feel". By the time I got back to my car I heard "Knockin on
Heavens Door" and that was a good note to leave on after suck a close
call! All in all it was a fun show! I love general admission. The beer was
cheap. The band was hot. It only cost me $34 to get in, more than a fair
price. I think the band has a country sound to it and I think the local
cowboys had as much fun as I did. The only songs I really wanted to hear
were Things Have Changed, Silvio and Visions of Johanna. Well maybe next
time! Furthermore I will not be smoking a pipe in public ever again! I
will be sure to be at the next show though! Thanks Dylan!
Peace, Mitch H, Saint Charles, Missouri
Review by Kevin Larson
The Devil is in the details and watching Bob work the sound check like a
quarterback on a stool with players huddled to practice is proof. Pretty
sure warm-ups included Blind Willie McTell and All Along the Watchtower
while the QB was wearing shades and a short sleeve white shirt. Bobby
looked loose and comfortable playing to a group of Illinois State Troopers
who were digging the warm-up riffs in the bright warm sun. Security was
tight in that no one was allowed back stage while Bob was stationed in the
Bus. Hence, "Get on the Bus". Bob is a well-organized performer who sticks
to a two-hour schedule with the bus leaving promptly after Blowin In the
Wind before the crowd knows what is going on. Also, Bob requested that
the jumbo TVs remain off not sure if this was for security or just to keep
the fans in close and focused on the stage.
"Life is a Carnival". The track "is the sideshow" at the Illinois State
Fair in Springfield for great sound, the view, and fun for what was to be
a Great Show… "All in the same Boat, Restless Age, Turn the page, Take
another Look"… the new BAND is hitting on all cylinders and Bob had great
energy and the sound was perfect from the start with Roving Gambler, The
Times They Are A-Changin', and Don't think Twice, It's All Right. The
opening numbers flowed with solid country and western flavors and this
rhythm works well in Central Illinois. With helicopter rides and Ferris
wheels going around and around and around for the entire show this night
was special for sound value even thou the set list was played with various
themes, rhythm, sophistication, and frolicking. Larry got jiggy on a
repetitious jazz riff, and all of it is not appreciated until after
absorbing the entire show. The fact that Bob played 18 songs and not
19 or 20 like the previous nights is an example of how several songs
were worked longer to express new enhancements. "Life is a Carnival
believe it or not"… Bob plays the heartland Fairs with the same energy
as a show in New York, Paris or Amsterdam.
The three standout songs from the body of this show were Masters of War,
Cold Irons Bound, and Everything Is Broken. Each of these songs had great
lighting, variations on delivery, and enough energy to get the entire
packed track up up up. Charlie was connecting with the crowd up-front and
had a great intro on Cold Irons Bound that was referenced often during
pausing syncs to stage impact and energy to each added verse, very nice.
Charlie BTW, we have seen your great playing since first joining the group
and it is nice to see how Bob and Larry have opened the door for key
contributions to the set, keep on rocking. However, my wife says…. The
wet look has to go, not that you need a sergeant Carter "flat top" like
Uncle Raymo the Springfield Cracker just a more natural style. Larry has
a more pronounced rebel look, facial hair with a few greys like Bob's mop.
The encore set was pretty standard and nobody went back to the fair until
after Bobby was past Route 66 via I-55. I hope Bob makes plans to visit
Chicago again this Halloween for another great trick or treat show. Guys,
until next time - keep on rocking…. Did I mention that the Bass player is
page by Bill Pagel
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