Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 02/17/99


February 17, 1999

Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland State University
CSU Convocation Center

[Carsten Molt], [Sue Demczyk]

Review by Carsten Molt

 Natalie Merchant opened her new Tour in great fashion with a tight
and very animated set that got the audience dancing.  She is much better
live than on record and
has to be sen to be totally appreciated.

After a lengthy intermission, The house lights dimmed and Dylan and co.
ambled on stage.
Dylan was dressed in his customary black pants with the stripe down the
side and his black boots with white trim. He wore a large silver bow tie
instead of the black tie he has been wearing.

1. Gotta Serve Somebody- It was evident that Dylan was here to rock from
the first chords. He stretched out the phrases and really leaned into
the guitar passages.  His vocals were strong and true on this song and
would remain so throughout the show. Bucky Baxter and Larry Campbell
added good back up vocals. This ending seemed different than other
recent shows.

2. Million Miles- After a spooky new intro, Dylan proceeded to turn the
tune into a slow blues burner.  It had many of the same qualities that
"It Takes a lot To Laugh, Train to Cry" has with extra room for some
vocal flourishes

3. Watching the River Flow- Always a great jamming tune that got the
crowd dancing. During the end jam, Larry Campbells  guitar string broke.
Dylan glanced over at him and stuck his tongue out at Larry. Dylan used
this opportunity to play some leads of his own he went into deep knee
bends and pointed the neck of the guitar directly at the crowd.

4. To Make You feel My Love- A simple love song that didn't really take
off.  The band seemed to be sleepwalking through it and Dylan didn't
give the song the powerful vocals that the song called to in this large

5. Stuck inside of Mobile(With the Memphis blues Again)- I had a feeling
that we were not going to hear Silvio and we got a fiery version of
"Stuck inside of Mobile" in its place. Dylan and Larry Campbell traded
licks between every verse and Tony Garnier danced up a storm behind

6. Mr. Tambourine Man(acoustic)- Aver good version of "Tambourine Man"
started the acoustic set off on a good foot. Dylan enunciated the vocals
clearly and he belted out the chorus with serious gusto.

7. Friend of the Devil(acoustic)- The Grateful dead classic has ben a
frequent acoustic highlight of recent Dylan shows and tonight was no
different. After a great vocal performance by Dylan, He lead a long jam
that brought the song into a very laid back country groove that elicited
great applause from the crowd.. Dylan took his time playing out the
ending taking the song's length into the 11 minute range before bringing
it around to the closing.

8.Tangled Up In Blue(acoustic)- The concert warhorse had a lot of life
in it tonight. Dylan stretching out the last word of each line as the
band rocked on behind him. At one point, Bucky was given a several note
solo during the bridge. He was wailing on the mandolin maniacally during
the songs long end jam also. The song went on and on with much guitar
hero posing by Dylan. Probably the best version of "Tangled Up In Blue"
I've ever seen.

9. Forever Young(acoustic)- After a long discussion between Tony and
Dylan, the band launched into a laid back version of this crowd
favorite. The energy sagged toward the end of the song as Dylan tried to
stretch out the jam but abandoned it after a few seconds and brought the
song to an abrupt end.

10.  "Til I Fell In Love With You- They brought back the electric with a
powerful rendering of "Til I fell In Love With You" with Dylan smiling a
lot and shuffling his feet. Larry Campbell stepped onto the Drum riser
and delivered several runs of chords that propelled the jam deeper into
a swamp rock groove.

11. Positively 4th Street- Dylan delivered a snarling vocal on this tune
with a lot of fire. He repeated the last word of each line which allowed
the lines to build to a climatic end. Bucky Baxter played several
beautiful notes on Pedal Steel that sounded organ-like in nature.
Garnier  added a couple lines of bass chords as the song faded out.

12.Highway 61- After the band introductions and a couple words between
Dylan and Kemper, they delivered a rocking Highway 61 that gave both
Larry and Dylan the chance to take long solos. This song has taken on
new life and got the crowd up and dancing again. After a quick bow,
Dylan and band left the stage.

13. Love sick- Dylan began the encores with a good "Love Sick" that was
well-executed.  Dylan sang the song into a different microphone than the
other songs during the evening which gave the song a shadowy echo effect
that worked well.

14. Everything is Broken- A very Funky surprise that was well received
by the Cleveland crowd.
Dylan dove into the lyrics with a lot of passion and energy. He did some
in place marching while allowing Larry to take the spotlight with some
tasty guitar work.

15. Don't Think Twice(acoustic)- The crowd sang along with the beautiful
rendition that contained some delicate finger-picking guitar work from
Dylan. David Kemper propelled the song along with some soft metronome
drumming that was never obtrusive.

16. Not Fade Away-After a brief discussion between Garnier, Kemper and
Dylan, The band launched into a scorching version of the Buddy Holly
classic "Not Fade Away". This drew the
loudest crowd response of the evening as the crowd danced, clapped and
sang along with Dylan and the band. A great climax to a great show.

Some final notes of interest, There was no security at the doors at all
so there should be great tapes of the show circulating soon. There were
many very young concert-goers it seemed. They seemed to know most of the
songs that Dylan played. All in all. It was a fantastic evening of
rock-n-roll by one of the originators of the form. Sorry for the length
of the review. I hope you all have a chance to see Dylan in the near
       Carsten Molt


Review by Sue Demczyk

I'm 34.  18 years ago I owned BD's greatest hits #1.  I liked it, I
played it often.  That was the extent of my Bob Dylan experience.  Then
two years ago, when my boyfriend was playing me some of his favorite
music of the 70's, he slipped on Blood on the Tracks.  I listened.  A
couple of weeks later I asked him to play it again and thus began my
Dylan enlightenment.  Since then, I've done the listening, I've done the
reading.  I know all about everything that Dylan will allow us to know
about.  February 17 was my second Bob Dylan concert.

My entourage included said boyfriend, my son (15) and his girlfriend.
We settled into our 13th row seats for some people watching.  My son had
been to several Aerosmith concerts, and a Stones concert, but this was
his girlfriend's first.  Natalie Merchant was very entertaining, and I
believe that she mentioned that this was the biggest place that she had
ever performed.  We took a walk toward the end of her set for some cool
air because I thought it was ultra warm down on the floor.

My son enjoyed striking up conversations with the 40-somethings sitting
around him. He  liked to hear stories about how many times they all saw
Dylan, and one guy told him about seeing Aerosmith in the 70's (forgive
him, he loves Steven Tyler).  His announcement that this was his first
Dylan concert led to high fives all around.  His girlfriend sat there
wide-eyed looking at all the stoners and hippie kids passing out flowers
and wearing "hug me" signs around their necks (one asked me if I wanted
to be "glittered", I declined).  I wondered what would go through her
mind when Bobby came out and started singing with his unique voice.  I
waited patiently, clutching my poster, while my dear boyfriend looked at
me and sighed.

The incense was lit, various aromas filled the air, and then it was
time.  At my last concert (2/14/98), I was still really unfamiliar with
Bob's music and his band.  I was glad to have this opportunity to be so
close to him and just see the man perform.  The first sight of him
coming on stage in the darkness, wow, it's like you can't believe that
you're in the same room with him.

Bob started singing, and well, Bob was Bob.  I had a hard time with the
first 2 songs because they seem unusually loud to me, but by time he got
to Watching the River Flow, I was used to it.  I was loving every minute
of it.  Watching Bob's facial movements brought a smile to my face over
and over again.  My boyfriend teased me by taking a couple of shots at
him concerning his rapid guitar playing (he's just jealous because Dylan
has consumed my brain).  My son and his girlfriend politely listened,
and Mr. Tambourine Man brought claps of glee from her and she said, "I
know one!!!!!!". She ended up knowing 3 songs...not bad.

I really enjoyed the acoustic portion of the show, and Tony, Larry et
all did such a great job of holding everything together.  I was hoping
to hear my favorite, My Back Pages, and he didn't break out the harp all
night, but hearing Positively 4th Street was beautifully done.  There
were surreal moments during the evening  when the young kid that we see
in Don't Look Back was actually up on stage.  How does he do that???  I
was struck by the fortitude of this man, how hard he works, how much he
is his music.  Everyone wonders why he keeps up this endless touring,
but he has to.  He's more his music than he is himself.  It's what he
was born to.  We all go through that stage of trying to figure out
what's inside that head of his, but eventually give up and realize that
it doesn't matter.  He's already given us his music, his words.  And for
this gift I say, Thank you Mr. Dylan.

On the way out my boyfriend commented that my son and his girlfriend
will probably get married someday.  They won't know what it is exactly,
but they'll have this inexplicable connection and they won't be able to
help it.  I wouldn't be surprised.

Sue Demczyk


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