Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 02/12/99


February 12, 1999

Southern Illinois University
SIU Arena

[Brent Stewart], [LaMar Choate]

Review by Brent Stewart

This was the fourth time i'd seen Dylan. The first
time was in 1990 when he played Carbondale right
after "Under the Red Sky" was released. That last
appearance in Carbondale is usually remembered around
town here with not so fond memories, due to a pretty
poor performance, but last night definitely erased
that memory and erected a very fond and impressive
memory of Dylan in concert.

It was an incredible show, definitely the best one
i've seen. Brian Setzer was pretty good, but it was
amazing to me that he couldn't get the crowd going
like Dylan did. 

The crowd was a good mix of swing dancers, deadheads,
young, old amd in-between. Bob's audience is as young
and excited and it's ever been, but he hasn't lost
anyone along the way. The building wasn't filled to
the brim, but it almost was.

"Gotta Serve Somebody" was a good opener, followed by
a very swampy "Million Miles," and then into the
country twang of "Maggie's Farm. 

His vocal was very strong and out front all night, no
flubbed lines, except he seemed to want to go to a
different verse of "Maggie's... than what he was
supposed to, though he pulled out the right line each

"Shelter From the Storm" was a nice surprise, though
he only sang three verses to, which leads me to
believe that he thought he remembered more verses
when he decided to play it than he actually

At this point the crowd was only partially into the
show. I kind of think Dylan senesd this after a so-
so version of "Shelter" that wasn't well recognized,
so after a conference with Tony we got "Cold Irons
Bound" and "Silvio," one extra song than he's been
playing as of late.

By the end of the acoustic set, the crowd was in the
palm of his hand. "Rank Strangers" was a highlight
for me, and got a terrific response, probably due to
the tight harmonies. "Tangled Up in Blue" really got
everyone excited and the crowd also went wild when he
pulled out the harp for "My Back Pages" even though
he did this really horrible two-note solo.

Dylan was really into the show, smiling frequently,
laughing with the band at flubbed endings, and posing
for the crowd. Especially during "Highway 61."

"Lovesick" started the encores, with a great solo by
Larry, then "Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat," a great vocal
on "Blowin In The Wind," and "Not Fade Away" that was
fantastic, especially with Bucky and Larry singing.

Bottom line: amazing. His Bobness was in fine form,
and thankfully made himself even more than welcome in
this area again sooner rather than later.

-Brent Stewart


Response from LaMar Choate

I just had to say this.  Since were all fans here I know you'll understand, I mean this is
the stuff we love to talk about till were blue in the face.  I had a little different read
on the Dylan show at Carbondale, IL than Mr. Stewart did.  My specific difference was about
the version of Shelter From the Storm.  In my opinion, and the crew I went with, this song
was one of the highlights.  I would love to hear a recording of this particular tune from
that night.  I've seen Dylan perform this song live twice before.  I probably own a half
dozen different versions of the song.  To me, this is one of the finest versions I have ever
heard.  He reinvented it...again.  

If there was a point that was lower than the rest of the show, I think it was a rather
uninspired Positively 4th Street.  Which, when you think about it, is kind of good.  Anyway,
I thought the show was quite possibly the best show I've seen Dylan perform.  From the
opening of Serve Somebody (which kicked) to a great Tangled up in Blue and finally a rockin'
Not Fade Away, this was a tremendous evening of rock and roll.  Dylan smiled, had fun, and
was in top form.  It was a wonderful night.  Oh yeah, Brian Setzer was great too.

Finally, some points we can agree on.  Yep, I was there the last time Dylan was and I agree
that Bob gave a poor performance, though at the time I blamed it on the sound system.  Well,
enough hair splitting.  It was a great show and I found much to agree with in the review I
read.  Thanks for writing it Mr. Stewart and thanks for the great web page.

LaMar Choate


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