page by Bill Pagel
Review by Steve Williams
Sometimes I think Dylan is like a Rorschack test: what you hear is what
you got going inside at that moment; or maybe not. I've attended about
ten Dylan shows over the years- first one Dylan and the Band in L.A. in
'74. I don't think tonight's performance at UC Berkeley was a
particularly strong show. Haas Pavilion seats about 6 or 7,000 and it's
build for basketball so the acoustics were awful. The place was packed
and the crowd was worshipful, but , for my money, the instruments too
often overwhelmed Bob's voice which ranged from loose and supple to tight
and perfunctory. I didn't know the opener "God Knows" and I still don't
as I couldn't catch much more than those two lines. He did a passably
decent "If You See Her Say Hello" and a fine, rocking "Lonesome Day Blues"
and he had me almost believing that he actually meant it when he sang
"Forever Young." I've never understood the appeal of "Tweedle Dum and
Tweedle Dee" unless it's that semi-catchy guitar riff, but it seemed to me
that the band couldn't stay together. The album version of "Trying to Get
To Heaven" has made me cry numerous times over the years; it is so
plaintive, yearning, humble, sad, and lovely. I appreciate that Dylan
tries to find new facets in his songs as he twists them all out of shape,
and here he stretched out the refrain in a particularly tortured way (and
why does he feel the need to have his inflection rise at the end of about
80% of his lines??) , but somehow the song did not touch me. Rorschack?
It didn't help that he flubbed a verse. "Highway 61" was terrific. The
band seemed to be really committed and so did Dylan in this heavy
political season. "Roving gambler trying to create the next world war..."
"Desolation Row" started promisingly and had it's moments, but it seems
he missed a verse or two and somehow, for me, the song tonight lacked
heart. "Boots of Spanish Leather" was pretty, but perfunctory- little real
passion in Bob's singing that I could detect (Incidently, I found his
harp playing fairly insipid tonight, as well). "You Ain't Going Nowhere"
went nowhere but through the motions and the great "Blind Willie McTell",
though full of blaring riffs, came nowhere near the Bootleg album cut in
depth of feeling. The band slid in and out and into synch with "Honest
With Me" and then Dylan did a decent, not a great, "It Ain't Me, Babe."
"Summer Days" was a fine, committed closer, before they returned for the
"Like a Rolling Stone" had the capacity crowd roaring, but honestly,
they could have been playing in their sleep. "All Along the Watchtower",
on the other hand, was, for me, the evening's high point, played with
passion and delivered honestly by Bob as though fully conscious of the
prophetic nature of the lyrics to our very own times. "None of them along
the line Know what any of it is worth."
I love what Bob has given to me and to us over the years. I hope he
keeps his heart engaged. Thanks for reading.
Review by Steve Kringen
I arrived in Berkely at 6:30PM for the 8:00PM show at UC Berkeley's Haas
Pavilion. An hour and a half later I was able to find parking far north
of the campus near a large rubber baseball field! I walked to the campus
and found the end of a line which was at least ten blocks long and growing
quickly. My portion of the line made it into the packed Haas Pavilion
around 8:45 (during Forever Young), I'm sure at least 500 other fans
didn't get in untill 9:00. Once I finally calmed down from the
frustration of the "wait in line while the show is going on" experience
and had a couple $7 beers I really enjoyed the show. Desolation Row,
Boots of Spanish Leather, It Ain't Me Babe, and Like a Rolling Stone were
the highlights, but it was a great show all the way to the end with Bob
sounding clear and strong. The crowd cheered so loud I couldn't hear my
stereo on the way home.
Review by Shaun McNish
well it's the morning after the berkeley show. a strange evening from the
start. my advice to all of you who might be going tonight or tomorrow or
the near future would be to get there early. they didn't open the doors
until about seven, and by the time i made it through the line, which must
have stretched nearly a mile from the front of the arena, i was out of
cigarettes and nearly sold on the idea of selling the tickets and going
out for drinks.
whoever was in charge also decided we couldn't bring in our umbrellas.
they had to go in large plastic buckets in front of the venue, which is
crappy enough. but upon exiting at the end of the show they had actually
emptied the buckets on the sidewalk and sorted the umbrellas by color. i
hope they realized after that little experiment that most umbrellas are
i won't go into the fact that once i made it inside the Haas Pavillion i
had to get an armband before they would let me onto the floor. yes that
could have been taken care of while i was standing in line for an hour
outside, but hey! nobody was asking me for bright ideas.
onto the show... my roommate and i FINALLY made it onto the floor a few
notes after the start of "god knows". god knows there must have been two
thousand people still standing out front. but my first reaction was that
bob sounded pretty damn good. yes he still sounds like he's been smoking
wood chips since 1972, but we all know some nights are better than others.
and "under the red sky" is actually one of my favorite dylan records.
was rather suprised to hear "if you see her, say hello"... another one of
my favorites. the re-written lyrics recieved loud applause from the
crowd. it was college kids and they might not know better.
if i remember correctly, about this time we entered the land of "love and
theft." a great cd to listen to at home, but honestly now, a lot of words
with nothing to say. and bob has put breaks in the verses of the wordier
songs such as "lonesome day blues" and "summer days." maybe the intention
is to add a bit of mystery... "what will he say next?!" but i think the
real reason is to give bob time to catch his breath.
a real hightlight for me was "highway 61 revisited." he just sounds like
the devil when he shouts this one out.
tonight was my first experience with bob on the piano, and i have to say
it sucks. and not just the fact that bob is far far far stage right at a
sharp 90 degree angle to the audience. but with bob on the piano
searching for middle "C", there is nobody to reel in his beurocratic rock
band. bob was never a guitar god, but his herky jerky rythm added a
drunken element to the music and really kept the band on their toes. now
they are all just asleep at the wheel. larry does an excellent job, and
tony was rather invisible.
the new guitar player whose name i won't bother to learn, because i'm sure
he'll be gone soon like the last one... he, well, he plays like he's in
journey with these big turdy "don't stop beleeeeeevin'" guitar solos that
really made me wanna climb the rafters and jump.
i've never been to a rock show where there is nobody in front of the band.
what the hell is this? bob is tucked stage right and all across the
stage are the best session players money can buy. the biggest applause of
the evening came when bob got up after one song or another and walked over
to george, waving his arms in a rather odd bob way apparently offering
george instruction to PAY ATTENTION! the audience was happy to see that
bob could still shuffle.
all in all i know i sound like a giant bitch. i just wish bob would
decide to lite a little fire under his ass or enjoy the farm. we all get
tired of work sometimes and thats when we take a vacation... lets see...
one ticket at 38 dollars X 12,000. i don't make one-hundred grand a day
and even i need a little time off.
well the book is fantastic though... should i have called this the never
Review by Bill A.
Was nice to be in Berkeley, quaff some Blondie's and Yogurt Park before
the ride home. I got a lot to complain, but Bear with me. The security
was so slow in letting folks in, that the line went 15 minutes up the hill
to the International House. Seemed like they were doing a body cavity
search or making each human go thru a cat scan !Wow! Never saw the campus,
sooo.. slowly, even as a student there. The walk down was a block up from
Telegraph when a cell call at about 8:17 said the band was not on yet.
Apparently, someone told the star to wait. But by the time we got in, a
lot of folks that arrived :45 minutes before 8 (showtime) missed the first
2+ songs. Also overheard that there was a screwup at one of the earlier
Bay Area shows, where the will call people got in before the line proper.
When you get in, another wait to get a special wrist band to go onto the
floor. Incredible BS. This is what you get for breaking new ground-
Playing venues that have little or no experience working a concert. The
gymnasium had the smell of dirty gym socks and jock itch, temporarily
wiped out by the clouds of green bud. Back at the mixing board the sound
was crap. If you moved half way up on the perimeter the sound wasn't so
Two years between the Bay Area, and Larry looks like he shoe polished his
mullet, long bangs are gone, and the mustache looks like Tom Selk. The
complexion on Stu reminds of the Metallica guitar dude, and if Sexton
appeal wasn't obviously missing, his orchestration was. Don't forget,
that 30% of the set has been "Love and Theft" and the previous. Two Pork
Pie hats a knitted beanie and a Stetson from the movie. Same backdrops
from 2 years ago. Isis Eye, and the blue/grey curtain.
Boots was sweet- but not as with the persistent guitar from last Sac show.
There was no Bob guitar, a bit of harp was really his contribution, other
than the odd interesting lyrics; used Genghis Khan. Tryin to get to
Heaven, Desolation, found the band tentatively loosely stumble-jambing
with lots more eye contact than I remember. But the proof was in Summer
Days. Once an over-the-top-reckless-rave-up with Charlie kicking the
crash, pushing Recile, & especially Larry. There was little drive or
competition, as Stu relied on Bob to direct the song, the entire band had
too much pensiveness, even here too much eye contact.
Blind Willie was nice. 61 was fierce and faster tempo., but the strat did
not deliver. Note- when the setlist says acoustic, that means electic
piano mixed down low and an electric strat, stand-up bass and Larry's
acoustic guitar. No brushes for the drummer. Forever Young and Nowhere,
sounded nicely comfortable. Dancing Bears appear for LRS. It aint me Babe
was a really likable version. By bolting at Watchtower, I got a hawaiin
and a veg slice along with a cheescake/chocolate with a spoon. Filled my
tank on University, beat the crowd and took the 1:20 ride up I-80.
Still dissed about missing the first 2 songs. A ' 71 Yellow Ghia passed
the tour bus right before the Carquinez Bridge.
Review by Sharon Lord
Just as warm fall skies welcomed Bobby to the bay area, the chill of a wintry night watched him leave.
The skies opened up expressing the feeling of this saddened fan. Elated to be heading to another Dylan
show, sad that he was heading out of town afterwards.
Berkeley was aglow with Bob Fever. Parking was A drag, leaving this concert go-er wondering if I should
just hand my ticket to a passer by and forget the whole thing. Then deciding to give it one last look,
I drove into a lot that had a "full" sign and found a spot. It happened to be next to the concert hall.
As I got out of my car, one of those little golf cart type vehicles drove by and I heard the radio
message say "It's going to be about 28 more minutes before we can start. Which I was glad to hear, I
wouldn't miss the opening after all. As I got to the front of the building, my heart dropped when I saw
the crowd waiting in. line, I thought I'll miss the whole show just waiting to get in…then I heard
someone say…you mean if we already have our ticket, we can go on in. I was glad I had my ticket in hand.
Security was tighter at this show, and pat downs were being done as well as looking in purses. On the
way out someone in the elevator was complaining that umbrellas were not allowed in.
For this show, I choose the seating section, right hand side of the stage, facing Bob. I ended up
standing in the landing area, as did several others. Surely they over sold the concert. (Hope you get
your fair share Bobby) Once again the audience appeared well behaved. A few wild dancers on the floor,
but they were towards the back left hand side.
The show started late, and I was glad. Kicking off with "God Knows". Followed by "If You See Her, Say
Hello", "Lonesome Day Blues" & "Forever Young". By This Time, I KNEW EXACTLY WHY I travel the globe,
drive in rain, hike up hills to stand in the room with the man whose melodic voice use to sing me to
sleep as a teenager. when the late night radio DJ's would spin the 'long version' of "Like A Rolling
Bob surprised us with a powerfully weary "Desolation Row". The crowd went wild. (Thank God for the
bootleggers) My personal favorite of the night was "Tryin' To Get To Heaven". As I had been wanting to
hear it live. I can't say enough good things about the show. Bob's voice remains strong. He wails on
the harmonica. The selections were outstanding. He wore his black cowboy hat for the whole show, no
glimpse of curls tonight. Oh Well. Perhaps he will take it off again in Santa Barbara.
Review by Lynda
I don't think it was just that our seats were up in Right Upper
NoseBleed (a function of 'open seating' even tho I bought my tickets
months ago, untrained staff giving bad directions and a rediculous
'system' of wristbands needed for 'floor seating' - which you don't find
out that you don't need one until you've waited in yet ANOTHER long line).
Before leaving halfway thru this noise fest, we checked with downstairs
and the sound sucked there too. Haas Pavillion has no business renting
this venue for music - basketball - fine - music - NO WAY. This concert
was by far the worst acoustics, the worst mixing and the worst speaker
config I've seen in 30 years of live concerts. I COULDN'T UNDERSTAND ONE
WORD BOB WAS SINGING & EVERY SONG SOUNDED EXACTLY THE SAME. I could tell
the 3 guitar players and the drummer were working 'relatively' hard at it
(it's a pretty lay-back band in black to begin with) and Bob was
definitely doing his thing singing on top of the mike, but whatever mix
was being piped into THEIR ear bugs, HAD to have been a far cry from what
WE heard in the crowd. Was ANYONE checking for sound??? I drove 2 hrs to
get to this concert, actually had a great time standing in line for the
doors to open and was very amped to be seeing Dylan again after about 20
years...I was even ready for one of his 'scream into the mike' nights.
But I'm pissed because it was the venue's fault for not blocking off the
section behind the stage (with curtains or something), because so much
bounce and slap was created that the music got to my ears 2X then the
digital delay hit me. Someone should have cared more about the house mix -
I have to wonder WHO/WHAT got the good mix.... This looks to be a long
tour of university venues for Dylan. Would someone pls tell him to check
on the house mix so that an entire generation of college kids doesn't
think that MY generation didn't know great music.....
Review by Terry Way
A seemingly endless line of ants came for their sugar cube Sunday night in
Berkeley. The Hass Pavillion proved to be a complete hassle to enter. One
entryway tightly guarded for the 12,000 sellout crowd made getting in a
great test of patience. A trip to Kip's for a few cocktails and a game
check was the call. Upon returning, the line was gone and the show was on.
Rolling in to a blistering Hwy 61 we made our way through the floor to a
comfortable vantage. The place was packed in contrast to the Santa Clara
show a couple of days earlier. Berkeley loves Bob and Bob returned the
favor by delivering an inspired performance. The stage lights and
backdrop were showy and elegant and the sound was much better than at the
Santa Clara "sharkpit." Desolation Row, You Ain't Going Nowhere and Blind
Willie McTell were nuggets. The sugar cube was tasty and the ants left
Cheers, T. Way
Comments by Mark Alperin
random notes on beserkely show...smile
i arrive at 5 pm and with an EXTRA ticket in hand...cannot even give it
away..i was actually turned downed by a gal seeking a miracle because it
was not a FLOOR seat...for bob's sake it was FREE...unreal...so i knew
that the reviews would be overly piky and they were...yes it was a gym
..yes the sound could have been better..but tell me when cant it?? ...but
getting god knows...and if u see her say hello..can not be a sign of a bad
show ..and it surely wasnt a bad show...it was a good show.. not a top 10
..but surely in the top 50 for the year...smile....i was a happy apple
and thankful we got three bob shows so close to the bay area...blind
willie was a personal highlight but then what do i know...since this was
only my 289th show...giggle...all this talk about guitar players ...what
i miss is mr kemper...drums are just not the same...there is just no
interesting back beat going on ..can anyone tell me if kemper parting was
amicable...i guess i must wait another year to hear joker man...time for
these boot heals to be walking just glad they are of spanish leather...and
bay area fans...lighten up....u were there.....
Review by Mitch Meyer
I was motivated to add this review because my experience at Berkeley last
Sunday was quite different than all the others who submitted reviews. I
greatly empathize with the frustrations many of the others experienced,
but the only frustration I encountered was standing in line in the
intermittent rain for a few hours. I got on line at 3:45 p.m. and, as
usual at Dylan concerts, met some very nice people and chatted away the
time. My wife and I grabbed front row center seats in the bleachers, just
behind the sound board.
We had been waiting in our seats for over an hour before the show started
and enjoyed pretty good sound throughout the show. I had been to the
Santa Clara show a couple of nights before and attended the Davis show the
next night and I thought that Berkeley was clearly the best of the three.
The set list was excellent. I thought that Stu's playing which did not
stand out at either of the other two shows was a real highlight in
Berkeley, especially on LARS. Dylan's harmonica playing was much more
purposeful and clear on this night as well. As someone else commented,
Berkeley loves Dylan. The crowd was primed and responsive, greeting Dylan
with a roar and responding enthusiastically throughout. I had the feeling
that Dylan was more up for this show, more determined to conquer, and he
did so. He went at the songs with added intensity, I felt. Highlights
for me were a beautifully arranged, gentle version of "Boots of Spanish
Leather." The vocals were totally clear, and Bob was drawing every ounce
of sentiment out of the dialogue. "If You See Her, Say Hello" included a
softer new final verse than I heard a couple of summers ago in
Southhampton, NY, where he sang "If she's passing back this way/ I hope
she makes it quick/ Because if I see her face again/ It will make me
siiiiiiiiiiiick." At Berkeley, it was something like, "If she's passing
back this way/ And I sure hope she don't/ Maybe I'll be there/ And maybe
... I won't." "Lonesome Day Blues" was hot, "Forever Young" a great song,
but a middling version, and then the run of the next 11 songs (after we
got passed yet another uninspiring "Twwedle Dee") was phenomenal. Dylan's
intensity built with each song, the variety was great and every song hit
I've been to 12 Dylan concerts post-TOOM and I would have to rate this the
best. A definite "A+" that you wish everyone could experience. So I feel
bad for the fans who got caught in that long line and even missed some
songs, but I do want to report a better experience. I have not walked out
of a concert feeling so exhilirated since Dylan and The Band in 1974 after
the 3 p.m. show at Madison Square Garden. It was that good a concert.
Comments by Sandra Soklin
I was lucky enough to attend both the SF show and the Berkeley show
this time around. They were probably my 18th or so Dylan shows since I
first saw Bob with The Band in the mid-70's. Sometimes he is the cosmic
character and sometimes it is a little more of a job. SF was a crowded,
steamy scene which I realize now was a run-through for the band. Berkeley
was the real deal. We were on line by about 5 p.m., got in when the doors
opened and were rewarded with excellent seats, about 6 rows above the
sound board. The sound and the line of sight were very fine (especially
compared to SF). Bob was in very good form - sounded good and he even
pranced around a bit!. I think he may have wrist problems and wear braces
on his wrists, he holds his hands very stiffly. All in all, I think the
show was excellent. I preferred Berkeley to SF, but of course, am glad to
have seen both. I try to see him whenever he comes to town, he is a
working legend and catching one of his shows is always a gift. I find
myself shouting Thank You Bobby, whenever I see one of his shows.
Review by John Patenaude
"It's the Woodstock of all lines!" comments one of the more than 10,000
people in line holding a ticket to see Bob Dylan on Sunday night October
17th. in Berkeley, California. The person behind me gets on her cell phone
and exclaims, "I'm in a line sixteen miles long". This is by far the
longest line I've ever seen. It seems everybody is on time waiting for
this particular show that's advertised as "8pm Sharp! Don't You Dare Miss
It" and everybody's anxious for the doors of anticipation to open to the
gates of musical perception to witness the visiting storyteller legend of
our generation integrated with the musical genre of the times. "Everybody
who's ever owned a Bob Dylan record is in this line" another patient
patron observes. This is the most well-behaved audience I've ever seen,
only one person trying to cut in line. They move quietly and peacefully,
as the line quickly flows into the auditorium. Dylan opens the show with
"God Knows" and closes with "Summer Days". We have the perfect seat to
stargaze directly across from, and facing, Dylan who is sideway view to
the audience. The musical acoustics of a basketball gym are not an ideal
place for a concert. I've seen Dylan this year in very small venues of
about a thousand people, in Washington D.C. in April, at the 9:30 Club,
and at The Grand, the former Avalon Ballroom, with its twenty-four
chandeliers, in San Francisco last week, a warm up show for this part of
the Never Ending Tour that is now playing college campuses across the
country until just before Thanksgiving. Dylan plays country, blues, jazz,
swing, rock 'n roll and folk songs. He has a standard presentation he has
used since the release of his last album "Love and Theft", showcasing
tunes from this, songs that grow on us. His encore now almost always
includes "Like A Rolling Stone" and "All Along The Watchtower", that he
played tonight. His vocals are not as loud as we'd like them to be. He
could take a cue from The Wallflowers whom I've seen in a small venue and
were much too loud. (They could, in turn, take an acoustic clue from
Dylan). At the end of the show, Dylan gathers his band and delivers a
giant group hug to the audience.
page by Bill Pagel
| Bob Links
| Set Lists
| Set Lists