Minneapolis, Minnesota

Northrop Auditorium

November 4, 2008

[Chuck Samson], [Howard Weiner], [Dan Jackson], [Craig Planting],
[Erik Thompson], [Tom Dunn], [Iris Seifert]

Comments by Chuck Samson

Dylan came "home" to perform at the University of Minnesota and so I came
home to see it.  The songs were mostly old, significant and familiar.  He
closed the show with Blowing In The Wind moments before Barack Obama was
named the winner in the presidential election.  He introduced the song to
us, inferring the significance of the election result.  Dylan seemed
energized by a crowd that stood for the entire 2+ hours of the show.  
Truly a wonderous night for me, one that cannot be topped, or matched.  
Its the right time to say "that's enough" after years and dozens of

The sound system in Northrop Auditorium was very weak, unfortunate since
the band played so well.  I'm looking forward to reading what it was that
Dylan actually said after "I was born in 1941...."

Chuck Samson 
Sagle, Idaho


Review by Howard Weiner

It was a performance dominated by anthems that changed American culture.
Revisiting his old school, University of Minnesota, Dylan played “The
Times They Are-A-Changin,” “Masters of War,” “It’s Alright Ma,” “Like a
Rolling Stone,” and “Blowin in the Wind. ” Walking out into the lobby of
Northrop Auditorium after the show, there was a thunderous roar, females
were hysterically screaming. Initially I thought Tony Garnier had been
spotted in the lobby, but everybody was reacting to the scoreboard on the
big screen: Obama 297 Mc Cain 130. It was bad news for Joe the Plumber,
but fantastic news for Obama, Dylan, all the young liberals on campus and
yours truly. A poignant celebration broke out in front of the Auditorium.
This was the place to be – a crowd touched by Dylan’s desire celebrating
on Obama’s historic night.  Around noon time, I was kicking
around in Bob’s old crib – second floor of what was Gray’s drugstore in
Dinkytown. Dylan spent some time up there reading Woody Guthrie’s Bound
for Glory in 1960. It was an unseasonable warm and glorious day, t-shirt
weather. Gray’s is now Loring Pasta Bar, a nice place to woof down lunch.
I had a few beers and a yellow fin tuna sandwich topped off with a
jalapeno laced pickle. This was a historic day; Dylan’s first major
concert took place on 11-4-61 at Carnegie Hall. I was born on 11-4-63.

There was a popping instrumental, but Dylan lyrically butchered “Cat’s
in the Well.” The crowd went ballistic when they realized “Time Times 
They Are-A-Changin” was second. His fellow Minnesotans were
boisterous all night. Dylan offered up a pair of harp solos and went for a
stroll to the center of the stage on solo #2. I liked Summer Days in the
third spot, but only Dylan jammed on organ during the instrumental. It’s
weird, there are these two guys in suits and top hats, Denny Freeman and
Stu  Kimball, who used to rock solos, but now their lack of contribution
is staggering. Bob needs to free them up to play, or sack them.

During “This Wheel’s on Fire,” Dylan emerged from behind his organ 
and shuffled around the stage like a motivational speaker as he
sang. He then placed the microphone on stand, continuing to sing, now
motioning with his hands like a flight attendant reviewing safety
procedures. A few Rockettes style kicks were thrown in for good measure.
The next song started off like the Barney Miller TV theme, no wait a
second, it sounded like “Chain Lightning” by Steely Dan, but I realized
Dylan’s garbled words were “Tangled Up In Blue.” Yikes, this really didn’t
work out too well. Two songs later, the reworking of “Stuck Inside of
Mobile fared much better, though Dylan mangled and flat out blew several

“Masters of War” was excellent, and with the inclusion of an eerie 
“John Brown,” this performance had the feel of a final parting
shot at the Bush regime. Musically, the concert was a little ragged, Dylan
never really got on a magical roll, though his organ playing was excellent
and dominating the sound. “Shooting Star” was a great choice for his
return to Minnesota: “Seen a shooting star tonight and I thought of me.
Was I still the same did I ever became what you wanted me to be.” A black
backdrop with stars appeared, created for this exact moment in the show, I
suppose. Dylan started the song playing keys and then strapped on his
electric guitar for the final verse. Huge roar; that was the extent of the
guitar experiment.  A late “Under the Red Sky” was another nice call,
loosening-up the mood. I love “Thunder on the Mountain,” but the lack of
Freeman’s guitar was disappointing.             

“Ain’t Talkin” was a great way to wrap the set up. In his black pants 
with the singular red stripe running vertically and grey top hat, Dylan
barked out his masterpiece with gritty determination. It was a 
wonderfully strange show. “Like a Rolling Stone” was necessary, as 
always. Dylan wailed a great harp solo to the crowd’s delight. It
was a spot usually reserved for Freeman, who is quickly joining 
Stu Kimball and Stephen Marbury on the bench. Oh well, Tony 
and George are still cranking and Donnie’s happily hanging in. Before
"Blowin’ in the Wind,” Dylan said something like, “I was born around the
time of Pearl Harbor, I’ve seen some darkness, but I think things are
beginning to change.” After thrilling the crowd with the final encore, the
hometown hero, came to the front of the stage with his Cowboy Band 
lined up like statues behind him. He was giddy, smiling at the rowdy 
audience.  He raised his arms  upwards in a curling motion, holding them 
there suspended, palms  stretched outwards as he swaggered to the left 
and shuffled to the  right.   

I give all this to you, the good people of Minneapolis. Watching Dylan
receive his admirers was worth the price of admission. We filed into the
lobby and looked up at the screen. An African American man was elected
President of the United States and the all white crowd broke into an hour
of spontaneous celebration. 
Howard Weiner


Review by Dan Jackson

This is not so much a review, but a quick collection of the details us
Bob-nerds look for in other reviews. We received a special show election
night, as Bob delivered one for the ages. As usual, in the pre-concert
hype, folks hoped he would do or say something acknowledging the historic
night--and I have learned after seeing him 50-plus times that the more you
think he will do that the less chance he will. Well, tonight he did. Yes,
he pulled out a couple songs new to this leg, but by no means "rarities."
And a glance over the rest of the set list showed no surprises. However,
The Times They Are A-Changin' was the stuff of legend. It would be very
hard to say if he really did anything different performance-wise, but in
light of the evening's events and the pandemonium in the audience each
time he got to the chorus, this performance left me with goosebumps. The
rest of the concert found Dylan laughing and seeming like he was trying
new stuff as he was going along. Wheels On Fire found him on the
center-stage mic hamming it up with weird hand gestures and turning to
look at Recile on drums after every line. On Shooting Star, he started off
on the keyboard, but strolled out and picked up the guitar to play for
about 30 seconds. He didn't seem to have keyboard trouble as has been
reported at other shows when he has switched up mid-song--rather he did it
just to do it. The new version of Beyond the Horizon is great! It has the
same circus-y feel found on Waitin' For You. I believe he got through
Summer Days without a word slip and he looked quite pleased with himself
as he wound up on the last few lines and stepped back at the end like a
pitcher that just got done throwing a no-hitter. He may very well have
been just a pleased with his keyboard solos that were very prominent (and
extended) in both Summer Days and Highway 61. When they came back out for
the encore, Garnier was sporting an Obama button on the lapel of his coat
(it wasn't there before), and when Dylan did the band intros, he said "on
bass guitar, wearing his Obama button, Tony Garnier." He started talking
some more right after that, but it seemed to take a second for it to
register with the crowd that he mentioned the button then they went crazy,
drowning out the first sentence or two of what he was saying (most
unfortunately), but shut up when they realized he was still talking. He
went on to say "I was born in 1941 when Pearl Harbor happened and we've
been in darkness ever since--but it looks like that is going to change." I
personally voted for Obama, but wow, pretty strong statement to say the
least. I really wish I could have made out what he said before that. All
this happened while he did a little noodling on the keyboard. Anyway, one
of the best shows I have seen, made so strictly on performance, as a look
back at the set list would leave me inclined to think it wasn't great show
at all. And that's why we love it--just when you think something will or
won't happen, he manages to surprise.


Review by Craig Planting

Throughout the show Dylan sang some of his most overtly political songs,
including: "The Times They Are A-Changin'" "John Brown" "It's Alright, Ma
(I'm Only Bleeding)" and a great, atmospheric "Masters of War." As the
song was coming to a close Dylan re-energized the music and repeated the
first verse. He emphasized the line: "I just want you to know I can see
through your MASKS." It sounded like he didn't want the song to end.

Other highlights included the rare, Basement Tapes tune: "This Wheels On
Fire" which Dylan sang from center stage and a gorgeous "Shooting Star" on
which he played audible electric guitar. Also, throughout the night,
Dylan's keyboards were up louder in the mix than I've heard in previous

There's nothing flashy about this band, they hardly even solo. They seem
to be all about rhythm. They set up a groove and then, as the song
progresses, they play around at accenting different beats in an effort (I
think) to deepen it. It's hard for me not to miss Charlie Sexton's big,
Rockabilly solos and Larry Campbell's mandolin playing (actually it's hard
not to miss everything Larry Campbell played). But I think this band is
another example of Dylan doing what he wants to do rather than pandering
to his fans. 

Dylan introduced the band before the final song. When he got to Tony
Garnier (who I think has been with Dylan for longer than any musician in
any of his bands) Dylan said: "Tony Garnier on bass...who is wearing an
Obama button." After the roar of the crowd subsided he went on to say:  "I
was born in 1941, the year of Pearl Harbor, and things have been dark
since then. Now I think things are going to change." Then he played a
rollicking "Blowin' in the Wind." He actually danced in the center of the
stage as he blew into his harmonica. He looked like a cross between a
bandy rooster, a scarecrow and a grandpa doing a happy-dance.

Afterwards, as the capacity crowd made its way into Northrop Auditorium's
4-story, marble atrium, they found CNN being projected onto a wall. The
roar as each successive wave made its way into the crowded atrium and
discovered who had won the presidency was deafening. It was even louder
than the concert. People were leaning over the balconies above the throng,
waving and cheering. Couples were kissing. It was euphoric. (And yeah,
there were a couple of scowling white guys booing as they tried to get out
of the room as quickly as possible). 

Outside, between the massive, columned buildings, a guy was beating on a
drum. As the throng came out of the auditorium and down the steps into the
courtyard they began to dance and chant: "O-BAM-A! O-BAM-A! O-BAMA-A!…"
Hundreds of people joined in the spontaneous dance while the rest of the
crowd stood on the marble steps cheering and taking pictures. As the
chanting continued the rhythm changed to the quick blast of "O-BAMA!
O-BAMA! O-BAMA!..." The way the rhythm evolved reminded me of the concert
we'd just witnessed. It was an unbelievably warm night for November in
Minnesota and the dancing and the cheering went on and on and on. It was
positively tribal. 


Review by Erik Thompson

It is impossible to separate the where and when from the what, in regards to
Bob Dylan’s historic concert in Minneapolis last evening. The show (which sold 
out almost immediately) took place at Northrop Auditorium on the University 
of Minnesota campus, a school that Bob briefly attended from 1959-60, and 
was officially his first concert ever at the U. And, it happened to fall squarely 
on Election Night in America, during one of the most significant and 
momentous elections in recent history, with a candidate in Barack Obama 
that Dylan has openly supported in the media, which he hasn’t done much 
of in his past. So the potential was there for a truly extraordinary night, 
which it was for many different reasons.

Everyone in the crowd was galvanized by the occurrences of the day by the 
time the familiar introduction came over the loudspeaker, “Columbia recording 
artist Bob Dylan,” and the houselights dimmed. Dylan and his band strolled on 
stage to an absolutely deafening ovation (actually, it appeared that Bob 
skipped on stage, a move he would repeat for the encore). And, with a lively
version of “Cat’s In The Well,” we were off. The question of whether or not 
the night would have any overt political statements was answered with the 
second song of the set, a slowed down but no less potent “The Times They 
Are A-Changin” that had the crowed roaring their approval after every verse. 
It was a perfect moment, and entirely as relevant today as it was when he 
wrote it.

Dylan was extremely lively during the two hour set, as animated as I’ve seen 
him in over 10 years. He would punctuate his lyrics with subtle stomps of his
feet, and poked at the air sharply to emphasize his words. He also played a lot 
more harmonica than he has in the last three or four shows I’ve seen of his, 
sauntering over to the harp stand, picking the right one to match the tune as 
the band played behind him, and often taking the mic with him to center 
stage to solo away with the band. He was confident and cool on stage, and 
had a swagger about him that perhaps was based on him being back on home 
turf, playing to an adoring and boisterous audience.

That confidence was evident especially on a radically reworked and bluesy 
“This Wheel’s On Fire,” which found Bob center stage at the mic for the entire 
song. No keyboard to steady himself or hide behind, just a microphone and his 
spunky lyrics leading the song. It was great to see Bob so self-assured. “Tangled 
Up In Blue,” also received the patented Dylan rework treatment, with this 
version sounding a bit countrified and bouncy. I quite liked the new arrangement 
of one of my favorite Dylan tunes, and am constantly amazed at how Bob 
continually evolves his own material, never content to just let a song be finished 
and immutable. Frankly, the three song stretch of “Tangled Up In Blue,” “Masters 
Of War,” and “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again,” was simply 
flawless, and as good, musically, as it gets. The songs themselves are unparalleled, 
and each of them was delivered with passion and an intensity that fits the times 
impeccably. Bob and his band were on fire at this point.

And then the concert lost a bit of its momentum. “John Brown,” is a great song 
about the life changing tragedy of war, but tonight it was missing its spark a bit. 
The lull continued with a sleepy “Beyond The Horizon,” that really slowed the 
show down, and had people around me (I was fortunate enough to be in the 
eighth row) sitting down for the first time in the show. The show needed a jolt 
of life, and we got one with a blazing “Highway 61 Revisited,” that found the 
stage backdrop lit with cool black and white tribal-like designs reminiscent of 
Bob’s crown & eye logo. It’s always cool to hear songs written about local 
landmarks (which is part of the appeal of The Hold Steady for me), and this song 
was no exception. It was Dylan’s road out of here, one which he has never 
stopped traveling on, and this version was impassioned and volatile.

The backdrop changed to a star-filled sky theme for the appropriate and 
touching “Shooting Star,” with Dylan gently singing the lyrics, and even playing 
electric guitar center stage during the second half of the number. Again, it’s 
been over four to five shows since I’ve seen him pick up the guitar, and while 
his efforts were rusty at first, he picked up steam and confidence, and closed 
out the song leading the band home on guitar. He could’ve not played a note 
on the thing, but it still would have been a great sight to see Bob just slinging 
a guitar over his shoulder once again. “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” was 
up next, and, despite Dylan not enunciating the lyrics on every verse like he 
did when he was a younger man, the song still packed an emotional punch and 
an unrivaled lyrical potency, and was my favorite song of the night. It was 
reworked slightly into an exuberant blues number, and was a real treat to hear. 
The crowd roared for the “But even the President of the United States 
sometimes must have to stand naked” line, as they have every time he’s 
performed this song since 1965. His lyrics are truly timeless, and are as 
appropriate today as they were the day he wrote them. I don’t know if that 
should be consoling or truly frightening. Either way, Bob is a singular songwriter 
who has blessed the world with more gifts than we deserve. 

“Under The Red Sky” (the second song of the night from Bob’s 1990 record of 
the same name) slowed things down again, and much too down-tempo to 
keep my attention entirely, and my thoughts started to drift a bit towards what 
was happening with the election for the first time in the evening. But Dylan and 
his band again picked the momentum back up with a lively “Thunder On The 
Mountain,” that found Bob leading the band through the song on keyboards, 
soloing a couple different times during the number. Again, he was lively all night, 
clearly energized and commanding on stage. The stage lights went black for a 
simmering and soulful version of “Ain’t Talkin,” that closed out the main set on 
a high. The darkened stage lent a potency and weight to Bob’s ruminations on 
this journey from life towards death, and the difficult decisions we face daily. It 
was truly captivating, and a great way to end the set.

The break before the encore was a little longer than most, simply because I 
believe the band was trying to get updates on the state of the election, or 
perhaps the band was just soaking in the resounding ovation from the 4,791 
fans. But the band eventually came back out, complete with Dylan skipping back 
on stage, and I figured the encore would consist of the now ubiquitous “Like A 
Rolling Stone,” “All Along The Watchtower,” combination. Well, I was half right. 
“Like A Rolling Stone,” was rowdy and a real crowd singalong, with Bob soloing 
beautifully on harmonica towards the end of the song. It was, and always will be, 
a great rock n’ roll song, and even found Bob uttering his first words of the 
night as the applause rained down on him, exclaiming emphatically 
“Thanks Friends.”  No, thank you Bob. Seriously.

As he began to introduce the band before the next number, I thought that 
the encore was going to finish just like the last few shows of his I’ve seen, 
with no mention of the significance of the night or the location (which 
wouldn’t have been a surprise to me). But the crowd hushed instantly as Bob 
kept speaking after the intro’s were finished, saying “I was born the year Pearl 
Harbor was attacked, and I’ve seen some pretty dark days since then. It looks 
like things are going to change now.” Now, as any fan of his knows, that 
constitutes a long-winded speech from Dylan, and I was summarily moved by 
his words and sentiment, as brief as it was.

Dylan then closed the show with another nod to the night’s historical events, 
changing things up with a version of “Blowin’ In The Wind,” that perhaps has
never been as significant and appropriate as it was last evening. It was stunning 
and stirring, and moved everyone in attendance, no matter their party affiliation. 
Change was, and is, in the air, there is no denying it, and the song was a 
testament to that promise. It was the only way the show could’ve ended. As 
the band gathered for their group bow, Dylan was clearly moved by the rapturous
ovation, balling his hands into fists and punching at the air, knowing this show was 
a clear knockout. The band knew it too, with a few of them muttering “Wow,” 
as they walked off stage, knowing that they were part of something truly special 
this evening. Bob Dylan and his band continue to be not only relevant, but 
inspired and innovative, with their songs gaining significance every time they are 
performed. Every one of us lucky enough to be at this show will remember it 

And, as we filtered out of the auditorium, news was just coming over the air on 
CNN, which was being broadcast on a screen in the lobby, that Barack Obama 
had just won the Presidency. Wave after wave of people coming into the lobby 
would get the news, and shouts of joy and jubilation echoed through the halls. 
The celebration continued outside, as an impromptu party broke out, with 
everyone dancing and shouting “Obama, Obama,” in time with the drumming 
of a street musician that found himself in the right place at the right time. It 
was an incredibly jubilant end to legitimately one of the best nights of my life. 
But the real odyssey actually begins now, and I, for one, am ready to do my part 
in order to make sure this incredible journey is worthwhile. And last night, Bob 
Dylan and his wonderful band did their part to make sure I, and all who were 
there, never forget this night.


Review by Tom Dunn

Dinner at the Loring
Dylan used to live upstairs
A drugstore cowboy

Fans are flocking in
Colleen and I and some friends
Hey hey Paul Metsa

Northrop's pillars rise
Excitement in the north wind
New t-shirt designs

Long lines out the door
Big screen in the corridor 
Election night waits

Lights dim intro coughs
Only sold out show in town
Don't dare miss it

What's in store tonight
Cat's in the well

Hope times are a'changin'
Summer days 60s still here
This wheel's on fire

Tangled skips along
Master's masks revealed soon
Memphis blues respite

John Brown with banjo
Horizon settles the nerves
61 back drop

Shooting star guitar
Even the President must
See red sky eyes

Mountain thunder roars
Talk the talk just walk the walk
Lights down lighters up

Eye image encore
LARS with a thank you to fans
Introduce the band

Stu and Denny pick
George and Donny beat and strum
Finest in the land

Tony Garnier
Wearing Obama button
St. Paul's unsung kid

Born in '41
The same year as Pearl Harbor
Things are now changin'

How many years can
Man turn his head and pretend 
He just doesn't see

Time to filter out
Barrack has 297
Entire hall erupts

High fivin' hugs
Chimes of freedom are flashing
In tear-filled eyes

College students jump
Northrop's steps morph to dance hall
Chanting OBAMA!

Incredible show
Dylan heads another joint
Incredible night


Review by Iris Seifert

Thought the writing was done for now. But being in Minneapolis, at UofM,
for Election Night with Bob Dylan was a must like going to the march on
Washington with Mr. King, or like in my case going to Berlin when the wall
came down in 1989. The euphoria spilled over, the energy was so high that
some songs sounded confused, but what does it matter? Mr. Dylan and Mr.
Garnier were riding so high at times that nearly no-one could ever touch
that level, and it is not only the songs, skill and delivery…

It seemed like their fingers could not be arrested, and were made to dance
across their instruments; the new microphone system in theme time style
enticing Mr. Dylan to an incredible rendition of “This Wheel is on Fire” –
and on fire it was. “Highway 61” was hotter and faster than ever, filled
with all kinds of sirens from all instruments.  “Shooting Star”, from Oh
Mercy of ’89, tied the knot to my Berlin experience; not only all light as
it turned out, the shooting star dimmed all too quick… And “Under the Red
Sky”! Finally, the way that Mr. Dylan announced that things might be
changing now is exactly how all his work hints at the truth…

Thank you for all and everything, and sending a warm Minnesota hug, and
one to Mr. Garnier, and while at it, one for all the 'Hibbingites' (is
that how you say it?) – wonderful to meet you all (again)…



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