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Review by David Ahlfeld
So, are you curious about the seven encores? Well, here is what we (my
lady and I) saw.
First, the main part of the show was great. A soulful Tamberine Man with
harmonica. A touching Boots of Spanish Leather and You're a Big Girl Now.
And then, on Watchtower, Bob invites Warren Haynes to come out. Warren is
one of the "Friends" of Phil and once played with the Allman Bros. A lot
of Duane in his guitar work beautiful sound. Once they get going, Warren
and Bob are playing off each other having a great time. I'm remembering
some quote from Bob that I read somewhere that he thought that Jimi
Hendrix's version of Watchtower was so great that he didn't dare play it
for many years after. And I'm thinking, is this the ghost of Jimi I am
listening to? Then on to Highlands and I get out the binoculars and watch
Bob up close, like he is in my living room, and he is mugging and grinning
and laughing on the lyrics in this. Then a strong Highway 61 (again Warren
comes out joined by Jorma) to close out the set.
Oh my, and then the encores. Started out with a solid Love Sick and a
wailing Rolling Stone. Then Bob said something like he had really enjoyed
touring with Phil and Friends and hoped they could do it again. He asked
Phil to come on to help out with a song he is famous for and off they went
on Friend of the Devil. Then Tony waved for the rest of the stringed
Friends to come out and Warren and Jorma join in for a long, wild Not Fade
Away with 5 guitars and 2 basses on stage! Finally, they close with
Alabama Getaway and we figure wow what a nice way to end the show and the
tour. We are seated up a little high and to the side so we can see over
the amp/speaker stacks. Bob is back there shaking hands with Warren and
generally saying thanks and goodbye to the touring partners and it looks
like its over. But, no, he turns, gathers up his band and comes on out
again for a beautiful, full Blow'in in the Wind. Wow, yeah, nice way to
kind of bring down the energy and send everybody home all peaceful and
mellow and wistful. So, we see Bob walk back behind the amps and everybody
is sort of walking away and he turns and gathers everybody up again! and
out they come for Rainy Day!! and the crowd goes nuts! Now, the standard
encores are, of course, not really encores anymore. Bob and the band just
need a few minutes off stage for a break we know they will be back so
it's more just a little waiting with some hooting and hollering. But at
this show, after the "encore", the crowd wanted a real encore and they
shouted and cried for it and we are looking at the back stage shadows - it
that someone coming back on stage? - no - yes - who is it .... Alas, it
really was the end of one of the best shows in our experience.
Review by Jim Halliday
Well, it was concert number 53 for me...and as the song goes "Time is a jet
plane, it moves too fast". That being said, Bob continued to show he is the
man. His stage presence is beyond COOL. His voice is holding up well. It
really is a shame that Radio doesn't play this guy. His songs hold up to
time. He continues to be creative with his interpretations...thus keeping
these songs energized and fresh Let's also realize the guy is obviously
having FUN on stage....And now, he must have the most diverse crowd in terms
of age and background. What a thrill it was to see so many high school and
college age people at the shows. I am not going to go through the set list,
other than to say it was great to be able to hear so many different songs
between the Worcester, UNH and AMASS shows. The highlights for me being
"You're a Big Girl Now", "Highlands" and "Blowin the Wind". In addition,
the UMASS jam with Phil Lesh and Friends on a mini Dead/Jerry tribute was a
blazing rock hoot. Life is good and what was great to see the Dead fans
have something to enjoy and Bob give them something back as well. I'm at 53
shows and counting.....Hope to see you there.
Review by Wendy Gell
Thursday Amherst bound Nov 18, 1999,
Came down to the gazebo to catch my breath and see the lake before the
long drive to Amherst to hear Dylan again. The concert in New Haven
last Wednesday so baffled me I was unable to write my review yet. The
water is making a lot of noise, leaping against the stone wall, the
trucks and cars rolling on the road across the lake sound like whales
songs long breathy and moody. It's hard to leave my house when the sun
is setting over the lake.
The water moves a lot though there is no wind, The Indian name means
Lake of Many Currents. An underwater river must be flowing tonight. I
have to drop off two big bags of boxes to the post office first and
then pick up my friend Jesse the goldsmith in West Hartford where
I've never been and I'm nervous. I've been feelin discombobulated.
Tonight I want to get Bobulated. I hope for a great night as I start
the drive. 100 miles to Amherst. I drive north on Highway 91. I
notice Hwy 91 is Hwy 61 upside down. 1999 is 1966 upside down.
It's a time flip Live 66 at Albert Hall in England Live 99 in New
England. In last night's set , Bob did "Every Grain of Sand" - I've
never heard that song done live, I hope he will do it tonight. I
print out the set lists from Bob-Links and think about what songs Bob
will do. Maybe he'll do "I Want You." He did "Highlands" recently, I
think it would be sweet to hear that again tonight. A squirrel is
screaming from the tree behind me, screeching as though he is trying
to get my attention. So I'm listening: What, Squirrel ? The squirrel
is doing his version of the mink ad "What Becomes a Legend Most,"
holding his squirrel fur wrapped around him like Lauren Bacall
imitating me, wearing jewelry made with acorns and pine needles and
the jewels that fell in the garden. I laugh; the squirrel is making
fun of me. He does a stunning runway walk on the branch little furry
tail swishing. Time to go.
Jesse and I get to the Mullins Center , in Amherst; it's a familiar
and nice looking building. When we get in Phil Lesh is on already
doing the "Low Spark of High Heel Boys." Very well. I have discovered
that general admission means no seats at all, which was great with me.
Just masses of people Mullin' around . As we entered the stadium for
the Phil Lesh set we were pulled to the sound board like a giant
magnet, and I was holding on to the iron handrail in the first set.
We had a couple of Martini's before we got there. There is a funny
mess of spaghetti black and red wires on the sound board, which look
comically low tech. They are burning incense or is it the kids that
are so sweet you could kind inhale it like roses. After Phil's set we
wended our way through the crowd from the sound booth as the crowd was
changing to get a closer spot near the stage. This time I vow I am
going to be able to see Bob and the band. I had bad seats in the last
two concerts. Jessie found a spot where some kids had staked a claim
and were sitting on the floor about 30 feet from the stage. We throw
down our coats and sit down too. The kids are really friendly. I love
kids that age who have no idea how beautiful they are. They are
passing my jewelry around and asking me about the stuffed animal
camel purse I wear. I take out the sets play list from the previous
week and we talk about the songs. Cute guy asks me which song it would
make me happy to hear. That's a good question - maybe 'Oh Sister,'" I
say, as I've been listening to CD 2 of Live at Budokan in Japan ----
To me in W'english ( my playful version of English ) I hear 'Oh Sister
Wen.' I have a Japanese doll named Sister Wen. He said "Vision of
Johanna" was first on his wish list. I said "Shelter." We exchange
names of beloved songs. It was a long intermission. There was a boy
dancing up on one of the balconies in front of the exits so engaging
and uninhibited. I liked this crowd. There was a license plate in the
parking lot which read "B DYLAN." The blonde pony tail girl with a
tattoo up her spine, and her boyfriend and friends are taking turns
getting back massages with a little wooden knob. I think if we sit
here long enough we may get one too. Her boyfriend tells me that in
New Haven when Bob started singing "Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat" that
someone from the audience threw a leopard hat over the mike in front
of Bob like a ring toss, and someone had to run on stage and take it
off. At last it's started… Bob opens with a gospel song I had never
heard before. "Somebody touched me," I think the lyrics were. The
singing is very strong already. Everybody's feeling good. His second
song "Mr. Tambourine Man" seems to thrill the crowd which looks so
young they may have never heard it live before. Wolf calls. Bob looks
at the audience and does a harp solo. We hear familiar chords.
"Darkness at the break of noon shadows even the silver spoon," gives
me chills - He not busy being born is busy dyin'. "It's All Right Ma,
I'm only Bleedin'." The melancholy guitar solo goes to some ringing
place like a tuning fork to my skull. "It's easy to see with out
lookin' too far not much is really sacred." Boots of Spanish Leather
is tender and always seems to mean more then the words say. "The same
thing I want today I'd want again tomorrow".
I couldn't read my notes after that until "Tangled up in Blue."
Everyone likes this one. They scream between the verses. "You're a
Big Girl Now" is one of my favorites "and you are on dry land," (DrY
LANd) "we'll make it thru somehow your're a big girl now…." "All Along
the Watch Tower" got a big roar. The guitar solo so extremely
enjoyable people were dancing all over. "all the people came and
WEENNTTTT -- Barefoot servants too" Bob is smiling. The blonde girl
next to me says to her boyfriend "I have never been so happy in my
life, I'm smiling so much my face hurts." Her hair is down now and
her body's like Annette Benning, she's beaming. The band breaks into a
huddle and people start yelling out requests. I yell out "Highlands"
in a momentary lull in the sound of the crowd, and Bob and the band
started Highlands at that exact moment. It was perfect, like some
mystical ancient Yogi- Master of Time. "I know you're an artist draw a
picture of me, I would if I could but I don't draw from memory. But
I'm right here in front of you, or haven't you looked. I know but I
don't have my drawing book." I love this song. Bob sings every word
so clearly the lyrics just slay me. He's having fun "She throws the
napkin back and says that doesn't look a thing like me." His voice is
hypnotic. He's changing the words. "Soft-boiled eggs are scrambled
eggs. I got NEEWWWW eyes, everything looks far away " Bob sings in his
gravely voice. "Trying to right what went wrong the day before.
Sometimes it gets too late to learn." Lots of new lyrics.
"Highway 61" created an entirely new time in the concert. Bob made
funny faces, being totally silly sometimes. Seemed like the band was
having so much fun. They turn the bright lights on us in the audience.
I waved my wristy in the air. Everyone around us is dancing, young
people with belly button rings and blonde dreadlocks.
The band came back for encore after encore, just when you thought
they were done they did another song it was so satisfying. Bob and
Phil Lesh seemed to be having a lot of fun and were talking to each
other and Bucky too. I think I heard Bob say it was the end of their
tour together. Bob brought out everyone from the earlier set. There
were 8 people, I think, so rocking we were jumping up and down.
"Sometimes I feel like I'm being plowed under" was an altered lyric,
and You're on the right track- in Rainy Day Women. I couldn't write
them down. Seemed like he was making it up as he went. "Once upon a
time you dressed so fine," people screamed. "Just like a Rolling
Stone." "A Friend of the Devil" with Phil Lesh. I've come to love that
song after hearing it many times the past few years. Bob did a harp
solo, (there weren't many) . Then "Alabama Getaway." It was just what
we all wanted to hear. By this time I was too busy dancing to take
notes. I'm sure someone got the set list, and lyric changes and I
saw that tape player recording at the sound booth so there maybe some
bootlegs comin' I could be happy to relive this a thousand times in my
car. Don't Fade Away was great is always great. After we thought it
was over, they did "Rainy Day Women," and "Just Like a Rollin Stone."
"Blowin' in the Wind" was the last number with some beautiful
harmonies the audience was singing along. They kept the house lights
off a long time so we thought maybe there would be one more. Then they
came up and it was over. I went looking for the vendors to get a
poster but they were closed.
The parking lot was like a Dead show, Morocc'an roll. Kids selling
stuff on blankets. I didn't get a poster, drat, and I did a great art
piece with the last one with Natalie Merchant "LIVE AND IN
PERSON_DON'T YOU DARE MISS IT!!!," for the Dylan gallery on my
website so I'll have to find one, they even took the tickets stubs
completely -- come on, I use these things. I love these kids so much,
I ought to take some time off jewelry designing and teach art or
creativity up here as a guest teacher or something. Jesse and I talk
driving on the way back remembering the concert. What kind of pin
could we make inspired by Bob's music? I thought a guitar pin , maybe
blue with strings that wrap around with wings , it's a thought , a
"Tangled up in Blue guitar." Jesse plans to be flying in a jet plane
on New Years Eve, 2000. Y2K . I ask him why. He said "It's a matter
of faith." The drive home was easy and fast, after I dropped off my
friend I listening to some live concert bootleg one of my on line
Dylan buddies traded with me. I don't even know what I'm listening to
but it hardly matters. My car is a moving live Dylan concert, with a
"Star Fleet Academy" sticker in the rear window. (Till the wheels fall
off and burn I think..) I got home about 3 am the dogs were glad to
see me. I started writing my review. This was much easier than writing
for the Coliseum show. I checked in at Bob Links to see if the set
list was up yet, not yet. It's 4:00 am, Bill's off the job . It all
goes so fast in cyber space. The concert was totally satisfying, I got
SO Bob, so Bobified, he was so GOOD , so much Bob. It was Wendelicious
and I'm really inspired -- I needed this. Now I can probably go back
and write my last week's review. I like doing this writing and having
people visit Wendyland at my website, my Dylan inspired art gallery
"wenDYLANd ." WenDylan d…..Dylan is always in the middle of wenDyland.
" Certainly Wendy had been dreaming…While she slept she had a dream.
She dreamed that the Neverland had come too near and that a strange
boy had broken thru from it. The dream itself would have been a
trifle, but while she was dreaming the window of the nursery blew
open, and a boy did drop on the floor."(J.M. Barrie -Peter Pan and
e mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob and His Band have 2 more nights and this tour is over. Have a
great holiday, get some rest , Happy New Millenium and Peace to all.
Bob come back soon and thrill us some more. Thanks , Wendy.
Review by Buddy Kirschner
I was able to catch the last 5 out of 7 shows (was unable to make Augusta or
Ithaca) on the Phil Lesh and Friends/Bob Dylan tour.
It was evident from the preshow vibes that this was going to be the icing on
the cake night, both for the fans and the musicians. Pull out the stops and
let the good times roll.
Phil Lesh with Jorma , Warren Haynes, John Molo and a very ballsy keyboard
player from the Zen Tricksters, Rob (? last name?) played a spirited and
energized 100 minutes. Lots of end of the tour hugs all around, it was
genuine and real.
Bob came out looking focused and purposeful, as he glanced to his band
members and began to play Somebody Touched Me. The show had a nice mix of
material from early stuff (Girl From the North Country) right up to TOOM
(Highlands and Love Sick).
Warren Haynes came out and played a ripping guitar lead on the 8 Th. song of
the set Watchtower. After 2 encores, Bob remained on stage while the rest of
the band left, he casually held the mic in 1 hand and kicking his feet out in
front of him, spoke to us in a soft but clear voice. Thanking us for being
there, thanking Phil Lesh and his band and then as Bob's band returned
introduced Phil to play "an old song Phil helped make famous", Friend of the
Devil. As that song ended Warren Haynes and Jorma joined Phil and now with
guitars all around Bob looked over to one side and then the other, and with a
nod began to play Alabama Getaway, this song started out hot and kept getting
hotter and hotter as the guitar jams went to a frenzy before exploding in a
final crescendo. A spirited Not Fade Away ended what we all thought to be the
fianl encore on this gala last night of the tour. But alas the house lights
remained off and Bob returned with his band to play the well harmonized
Blowin' in the Wind. Once again the band left the stage, with many waves to
the crowd, and again the houselights remained off, after 2 minutes, yet AGAIN
Bob returned with the band to play Rainy Day Women. WOW! 7 ENCORES!!!!! I
indeed got my money's worth. I am not sure how Bob can do what he does, night
after night and come out so strong in the end, but however he does it, I can
only say Thank God and Thank You Bob Dylan.
I am not certain when or how it occurred, but in the past 3 or 4 years, I
have witnessed a transformation in Bob Dylan. He has somehow managed to
articulate and pronounce with so much soul in every word of every verse, his
harmonica seems to penetrate right into your very center, and touch that part
of you that feels. Perhaps it is just getting on with life and maturing into
mastery. There is no one else I know of, that can consistently give and give
and give so much to so many as Bob Dylan can and does, let's hope for a long
time to come.
Thanks for listening.
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