Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 09/22/98


September 22, 1998

Puyallup, Washington
Western Washington Fairgrounds
Puyallup State Fair

[Tim Whittome], [Mitch Rath], [Doug Wilbur], [Jack Brockie], [Ward Serrill]

Review by Tim Whittome

Before launching into a review of this show, you must first picture a very
extraordinary scene and a beautiful backdrop.  You have to imagine
wandering past stalls of animals being exhibited and sheep and goats being
led around on leads.  You have to picture fairground slides, wheels and
young children yelling with excitement as they tried to win teddy bears.
You have to see the BBQ's steaming away and quaint retired security staff
that may never have seen a walkman let alone suspected that anyone might
try and record this wonderful show for posterity.  You need to also picture
my wife, Amy, guessing the weight of pigs and cows whilst I was inside
watching Bob Dylan seething away in the main fairground stadium.  Lastly,
you also need to picture beautiful Mt. Rainier looming high over Puyallup
on our way to this show - gleaming in the setting sun and no doubt just as
eager to see this show once it got started.  If Bob saw all these things
too (and Rainier would have faced him if he could have seen it), what would
he have felt or thought?  Surprisingly, this was a perfect venue against a
perfect setting.  It was also a family show with babies perched on
shoulders, small children carrying  candy and adults whipping out lighters
(but not any cigars!).  Someone also claimed that they could see Dylan's
mother on stage or in the audience.  I can't verify if this is so or not.

To the show proper ...  I have to say that I can't remember the last time I
actually had tears in my eyes at the end of a Dylan show - maybe it was the
last night at London in February 1990, but for me, watching Dylan pulling
off a final beautiful "Forever Young" that was spookily reminiscent of the
1981 versions but without the harmonica.

In short, this was a truly wonderful, exciting and vibrant show, and with
the brief exception of the warm-up version of "Maggies Farm", no failures
all night.  I wish I could say it was the best this year, but unlike
Carsten, whose reviews of other shows I had read with a mixture of wonder
and dismay, this was my only  show since the El Rey last December.  "Long
Black Coat" was deep, menacing and dark, "Cold Iron's Bound" was venomous
and "You Ain't Goin Nowhere", the usual great version that had the crowd
singing and which gave Dylan his first standing ovation of the night.

"Can't Wait" seethed with as much rage as President Clinton would have
liked to have displayed at his Grand Jury testimony - indeed I felt this
over a number of the songs played tonight.  Even "Silvio" was enjoyable and
two planes flying low into Sea-Tac even diverted over the fairground as if
to see what the fuss was about down below.

I liked the countrified version of "Don't Think Twice" and for "Masters Of
War", Bob adopted an ethereal deep voice as if the coffin had already been
lowered and the victim wanted to yell back in a muffled voice of terror as
to how he had got there.

Then came "One Too Many Mornings" - as beautiful as ever, followed by
Tangled Up In Blue.  The latter was so good that it may have surprised even
Dylan as he gave one of his usual awkward bows at the end in acknowledgment
of another standing ovation.  The crowd were ecstatic throughout this show
and Dylan could feel it just as Lucinda Williams had done earlier in the
evening before Bob appeared.  I hasten to add that Lucinda was good and I
may go out a buy one of her albums as a result.  She has a new one out now

To return to Bob, we were next wooed by a tender "Make You Feel My Love"
that was much improved over the album version before he launched into yet
another one of his 'seething rage' songs from Time Out Of Mind.  I again
wondered who Dylan had in mind as he sang "I was All RIGHT till I fell in
love with you"?  Any thoughts?  I guess not really.

As for the encores, you know, I have to say that what had been looking very
predictable before last night was anything but on the actual night.  I had
feared that Dylan would be so bored by now with this set ending of "Love
Sick" etc., but he looked and sang anything but and the 'new' versions of
"Blowin In The Wind" and 'Forever Young" startled me in their power.  Young
women and young men looking so fine were jiving away in delight in the
isles and Dylan was bowing constantly after each song.  Cameras were
flashing and the flames from cigarette lighters punched the air.  Even
"Rainy Day Women" went well even though it was another song I was hoping he
might have considered dropping beforehand.  It's a strange paradox, isn't
it, but I guess it depends on how he's feeling on the night, and last
night, whether bemused at the sights and sounds of Puyallup, he was feeling

One other interesting comment to add was that Dylan was invoking 'The Lord'
on quite a few songs.  Just wait till you get a chance to hear him barking
out 'Lord I Wish I'd never you' on "Love Sick".  At least, I'm sure he said
'Lord' but again, whose anger was Dylan feeling - his own, mine as I just
had a job terminated the day before, or that of the President of the United
States at whose inaugural Bob sang five years ago?  Who knows?  The
fanciful and the real mingle excitedly, fuel the imagination and lead you
into strange pursuits.

The lights went on, the stage went out, Bob bowed and left and I ran to
find Amy who had been judging the weight and look of the cows, sheep, and
pigs.  The Ferris Wheels were still turning but the children were whooping
less now and the animals had nearly all disappeared.  We found our car and
drove effortless back towards the gleaming lights of Seattle.  Dylan was
meanwhile probably on his tour bus heading towards Portland, Oregon.  Mt.
Rainier, invisible now, had fallen asleep.  An hour later, so too were we.


Review by Mitch Rath

A gorgeous, warm night amidst the Puyallup Fair-goers, food booths,
livestock (there was a certain country "air"), amusement park rides, and
various display booths hawking anything from hyperactive puppets to
spas. I stopped and listened to an hispanic group of fiddles, mandolins,
fifes, and flutes go through a few mesmerizing numbers, watched a
juggling act on unicycles, and tried to pick out the Dylanites among the
colorful crowd before the show.

Lucinda Williams came out with none other than JJ Jackson backing! JJ
was joined, and traded rhythm and leads with another guitarist who
reminded me of Ernie, of "My Three Sons" fame (the one with the old
American Optical black framed glasses). JJ and the other gentleman were
fabulous together, and JJ's slide was very tight. Lucinda's set was only
an hour, and it just bowled me over. I don't get the feel that the
majority of the crowd was into it, but she was just perfect!
Unfortunately, a rather loud woman sat down next to me, and began to
recount her experiences of the fair loudly to her companions, and then
proceed to stare, accross my gaze, at some bungy (sp?) jumping ride on
the fairgrounds. Lucinda did a few from "Car Tires On A Gravel Road",
which were wonderful, but I was disappointed she did not to "Sweet Old
World". No encore for Lucinda.

Ladies and gentlemen, would you please welcome....

Bob looked fitter, and  healthier even than this past May! Not the most
interesting outfit, for those who care, typical black on black with
piping and string tie over white, and I must add that the pants were a
little baggy on His Bobness.

No blow by blow for me on the tunes, just a few, from memory, thoughts:

Highlights, to me included "Blowing In The Wind" (an unreal emphasis on

"Tangled Up In Blue"- I watched the sound check for a time, and heard
this worked up, and was thinking maybe I had reached the near overkill
point on it, but, of course, the real thing, including the man on vocals
(absent in sound check), was a ROCKER, complete with mugging Bob, many
dips, poses, facial aerobics, and almost a bunny hop!

"Sylvio", and "RDW" same thoughts through my mind on possible overkill
as I had read so many set lists, but live, each was just a joyride to

The crowd rushed the stage on One Too Many Mornings (I think), and was
allowed to stay the rest of the evening, and the crowd stood from here
on out. 

No harmonica, but nice versions of "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright",
and "Masters Of War". In fact, again, no harmonica at all. I do miss it.

The band is loosening up a bit, to me. Larry Campbell is more audible,
and the singing backup (three part harmony on You Ain't Going Nowhere)
is very nice, as well.

I watched as two fellas early in the show, before all stood, were jeered
for standing while all else sat, to which one of them responded "Hey,
it's a rock concert!". Well, the laid back, mainly volunteer ushers and
private security folk literally dragged this guy away! It was a real
surprise in that they seemed to let all else go down.

Look out, Duluth.

Best regards to all,

Mitch Rath


Review by Doug Wilber

Bob's second visit to Washington state this year, this time, the Western
Washington State Fair. Lots of rides, cotton candy, grange displays of
vegetables and canned goods, Percherons and Clydesdales, hobbyists'
collections (red-handled kitchen utensils, troll dolls, knife rests and war
medals, etc.), 4-H all over the place. Unusual setting for a Dylan concert.
But he's back on the mainland now, and may as well dive in head first.

Lucinda Williams warmed up, if starting a concert with her amazing song
about a suicide can be considered warming up. She sang mostly newer songs,
she sounded great, she had enough enthusiastic fans there to feel welcomed
in spite of the parade of late comers. Song list: Handful Of Dust, Metal
Firecracker, Car Wheels On A Gravel Road, Right In Time, Drunken Angel,
Still I Long For Your Kiss, Can't Let Go, Joy, and Change The Locks. No

It is difficult not to compare this show with the May 18, 1998 at the
Gorge, where the "opening" acts for Dylan were Van Morrison and Joni
Mitchell, and much of the crowd was there to see all three. Lucinda
Williams' artistry deserves more than she is likely to get on this tour.

So Bob, in the black suit with a herringbone white stripe down each leg,
opened with Maggie's Farm and the crowd fired right up. Long Black Coat
hasn't turned up for a while, so it was nice to hear it, especially with
the band's atmospherics these days. Cold Irons Bound was the first of five
songs from TOOM, and a lot of the crowd was right there with him on all of
them. You Ain't Going Nowhere was almost a sing-along, Bob biting off each
line in the verse, but Larry harmonizing on the chorus. Can't Wait is much
jumpier now: I second those who notice the evolution of the TOOM songs on
the road. Silvio, #6, but as surprising and exciting for the crowd as it
probably is at every show. Air guitar, anyone?

The acoustic set seems sharper than May: Don't Think Twice (another
crowd-pleasing sing-along), Masters of War, One Too Many Mornings (oh my!),
and Tangled Up in Blue. Larry and Tony acoustic, too, and they ring and
shimmer (and rock) beautifully.

Back to TOOM, first for the last two pre-encore numbers: To Make You Feel
My Love (sung in much more interesting fashion than the album, now,
sounding more honest and therefore more seductive) and 'Till I Fell In Love
With You, and then for the first song of the encore: Sick of Love, who's
staccato intro has apparently become recognizable to many. Rainy Day Women,
an acoustic Blowin' in Wi-i-i-i-ind, Highway 61 and Forever Young seem to
be a fairly stable encore set these past few weeks.

There were few surprises or changes, as compared with other concerts I have
seen over the past 15 years, but I was thoroughly pleased and encouraged by
how strong and consistent Dylan sounds and appears nowadays. He leans in to
each song and renews it in the moment, so even as he's consistent, it's
never the same.


Review by Jack Brockie

...You know you're a BOB DYLAN fan when you wear a THE WALLFLOWERS shirt 
to the concert and receive a lot of dirty looks...

BOB DYLAN-Song&Dance Man

We arrived at our Motel in Puyallup on Tuesday.  The day of the show. 
When we were parking and unloading our bags my we saw a Vancouver 
pick-up, and on the camper was a bumper sticker which read:  "But to 
live outside the law you must be honest..."  I became very happy after 
seeing this. We were finally here!

We spent the weekend in Seattle shopping and just taking in the 
atmosphere.  Then it was off to Puyallup.  Puyallup is a nice place.  A 
little secluded.  We stopped in a store, and a boy was buying ties for 
the people who worked at the fair.  It was a dress code.

Later, we were dropped off at the gate to avoid parking hassles after 
the show.  We had our cellular phone.  We went into the Fair.  

The fair is grand.  It is pretty big.  There are rides, and a big Expo 
building.  One ride there was shaped like a big stick.  A person rode it 
for the low price of $20.  We looked around for our seats.  We asked 
about 3 workers there, but they kept telling us to go furthur down.  

We finally arrived, and we saw the BOB 'store'.  I picked up some 

We sat down, then I had to go get a soda.  I went there, and while I was 
standing in line, I received a lot of dirty looks...what?!! ...a THE 
WALLFLOWERS shirt at our BOB I just waited in line.  There 
was a boy waiting in line as well, so I talked with him.  Then the 
speaker came out on stage and started talking.  The National Anthem was 
played, but I was still in line.  There were supposed to be sky-divers, 
but they did not show up.

I finally made it back to my seat.  Then 2 minutes later..."Please 
welcome LUCINDA WILLIAMS".  She was good.  She sang all her hits.  Her 
band is grand as well.  One looked like BUDDY HOLLY.  She was in a 
Cowboy hat.  Her black hair shined in the spotlight.  

The crowd was getting restless to see BOB.  "You better bring out 
DYLAN!"  "Where's BOB?!"  The stadium seats were getting restless.  We 
just laughed and enjoyed LUCINDA.  When she was finished we would just 
clap really hard for her.

Then one more song. "Thanks for being such an appreciative audience..." 
she sarcastically said.

She was finished...the stage hands begin to fix up the stage for THE 

It was quiet...then...the words which haunt me...


Then...boom boom..."I ain't gonna work on Maggie's Farm no more..."  

Same song as the May 17th show!  AMAZING!

"It's a shame the way..."

BOB was dressed in the suit from TIME OUT OF MIND.  Black, with long 
pants.  He looked marvelous.

The crowd erupted...then...quiet..."crickets are chirping...and the 
water is hiiiiiiigh..."

The crowd was awe-struck.  It was great to hear THE MAN IN THE LONG 
BLACK COAT.   The song fit the night right about then...the light 
started to grow 

Then..."I'm beginning to hear voices!!!!"

The crowd cheered for this one...great spot for this song..."Cold Irons 

Then his beloved "Thanks Everybody!"

Then..."Clouds so swift..."  This version had a great country feel to 
it.  The crowd really got into this one.  Then at the end the crowd 
clapped for the last verse.

After this one I was expecting SILVIO for some reason...then he played 
my song..."I Can't wait...wait for you to change your's 

He was dancing up a storm on this one!  "Well, it's way past 

Then it was quiet...and BOOM BOOM!   Silvio!   A great Rocker...dancing 
again...the crowd loved it...

After this one...the crowd waited while he strapped on his Acoustic 
Guitar...then the opener...

The melody was played on this was marvelous...I was in awe from 
the melody...the crowd roared...and "It ain't no use to sit and wonder 
why babe..."

He held his guitar up to his face like in Gerde's...this concert had 
shades of the early '60s Minnesota and New York days.

Then to settle the crowd..."Come you masters of that build the 
big guns..."  Then..."and I'll stand 'oer your grave 'til I'm sure that 
you're dead..."

Then the melody for ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS was played...I couldn't quite 
place the song at first...then "Down the street the dogs are barkin'..."  
The crowd rushed up to the front of the stage on this one...everyone was 
up there...even some of the bleecher seats were empty.

Then..."Early one mornin'"  This was a Rocking version...he danced up a 
storm on this one..."Tangled Up In Bllluuuuuuuuuue!"

He played this song along time...he was strutting and dancing...long 
instrumentals...enjoying the crowd.  He had big smiles on his face.

A man beside me was trying to dance through the concert...but was 
hesitant...when I saw him during TANGLED...he was really going to town.

Then to calm the crowd again..."When the rain is blowin' in your 

This ROCKED as I haven't seen this live yet.  He sang it with great 

Then BOB introduced the band.  Tony stood with his back to the crowd 
most of the night.  He was really concentrating on the songs.  The sound 
of the band was superb.

Then "TIL I FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU!"  This rocked...he danced the night 
away on this one.  I was alriiiight...til I fell in Love with YOU!

Sweat's pourin' down!

After this song he bowed.  He bowed twice.  Once with both hands on his 
hips, then again with one hand on his hip.  He looked marvelous.

Then...dun...dun...dun..."I'm Walkin'..."

LOVE SICK!!!!!!!!!

He did not sing it on May 17th, but now he did.  It was glorious.  BOB 
would hold the guitar right in front of his waste...then...BOOM 
BOOM..."I'm Sick Of Love..."

I just don't know what to do...I'd do anything to...beeee with you!"

Then doo da doo da doo da doo

"They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to be so good!"

This was a Rocking Version.  The house lights went up on this, and you 
could see the crowd.  The bleecher seats were still packed.  Everyone 
was dancing and having a blast.

After this one I did not know what to expect.  I thought it was 
over...then...BOB walked back out with an Acoustic Guitar..."How many 
roads...must a man walk down?"

"The answer my blowin' in the wind...the answer is blowin' 
in the wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiind!"

The crowd really sang along with this one.  It was excellent.

BOB danced around again.

Then a long pause...people started leaving thinking it was over...then 
he walked back out with an Electric Guitar...da dadladonda...."God told 
Abraham..." He whispered the lyrics...then he really sang the song!

"Out On Highway 61!"

After this Masterpiece the crowd shouted.  The crowd called him back, 
some people started to leave again...then he walked out with an Acoustic 

A lady beside me said, "he's gonna sing another one!"

"May God bless and keep you always..."

This Rocked!


BOB held the Forever forever...then he'd sing young at the very end.
Everyone sang along as well.
A Great Closing song for a Great show!
17 Songs!
Thank you BOB!


Jack Brockie


Review by Ward Serrill

Okay I set out for my sixth, seventh and eighth Dylan shows of the year. 
First stop: The Puyallup State Fair in Washington. This was an outdoor 
show and on the way to the stadium my friend Arroz and I stopped in 
long enough to catch one race of the All Alaskan Racing Pigs-miniature 
porkers who barreled out of stalls like horses and rolled around an oval 
track and jumped over three sets of hurdles to a tray at the end with some 
food in it. Soapy Smith won the race we saw.  Then we stopped in to 
watch a perverse ride called "shot to the moon" which essentially was a 
huge metal open cage with two people strapped in suspended by two 
huge rubber bands that slingshotted the idiots into space until they free 
fell about three hundred feet and bounced back up again and again. It 
was so sickening I had to laugh. I'll take pig races any day.

The stage announcer at the stadium was from Las Vegas via Kansas, a real 
bad imitation of a middle American am radio personality. He was so bad 
and tried so hard to entertain us that he was entertaining. He kept 
announcing the parachutists that were to appear and drop into the stadium 
at any minute. They never showed up.  If you could imagine Tammy Fae 
Baker singing the national anthem, that's what we got next, but also backed 
up by a huge recorded chorus from the U.S Naval men's choir. It was 

So, Bob in his infinite and subtle wisdom opened the show with you 
guessed it: Maggie's Farm. The rock and roll was good, the lyrics 
undecipherable.  Then he quieted down into "Man in the long black coat" 
(which always makes me think of Johnny Cash) and is one of my favorite 
pieces from this current tour (which I call the Renaissance Tour.) Basically, 
if it's slow and folky or country flavored I love what he's doing these days.

Next up was Cold Irons Bound, which has such an infectious dance rhythm 
to it. You can see Dylan's exploration of the sonic rock n' roll of this piece 
evolving. Then my first great surprise of this show: You Ain't Goin 
Nowhere, sweet, sweet guitar work and harmonies. The boys in the band are 
figuring out how to harmonize with Bob and Larry Campbell especially 
seems to be stepping out a bit more. After that, Can't Wait and then Silvio.  
Bob looked great, prancin', dancin', smilin! scowling, clowning around. And 
the electric guitar leads and jams and bridges were exceptional throughout. 
Every song you could see him take a little different course instrumentally 
exploring a bit. Larry watched Dylan's hands intently at times to see where 
he was going.

Then it was time for the highlight of every show on this tour: The acoustic 
set.  Don't Think Twice, then Masters of War, which absolutely put me on my 
ear with its deep down raw middle of the earth power. One too many mornings 
next-sweet sweet sweet! Back then sadly to electric for Make you feel my love, 
then Till I fell in love with you. I am growing a bit weary of the Time Out Of 
Mind songs, though I must say they have grown in power over the year. The 
encore: Love Sick, then Rainy day Women which never ceases to get any 
crowd riled up, but after nine times of it this year I could use a break.  Back to 
acoustic and another highlight: Blowin' in the Wind and played like it was just 
written, a powerful new and enduring ballad. Highway 61 next and ending with 
a classic acoustic version of Forever Young. Yeah.

Good show overall. Dylan lit up energized. The electric jams and bridges were 
exceptional. Bob is playing lead on these. The acoustic songs as always were 
worth the price of admission.

On to Portland.


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