Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 03/02/99


March 2, 1999

Las Vegas, Nevada
Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
House Of Blues

[Bill Sigmon], [Tom]

Review by Bill Sigmon

please pardon typos, and incomplet sentences; i'm tired and web tv has
no spell check.

Short but sweet was the show

Great place to see live music, acoustically it's only decent, but the
ambiance is wonderous: glass windows,  fire colored, a huge chandelier,
mystic signs from all walks front  and center, with a huge "Unity
through diversity" atop. Able to see everything from everywhere. Tons of
leg room, even waitresses serving and cup holders; comfortable, to say
the least about the venue.
I realized as the show started that it was 20 years since i first had
seen bob; i believe he also opened with serve somebody. It was 79 in
bethlehem pa at stabler arena. Anyway, Bob has seemed to get better and
better with age; he is finally, which may seem odd but none the less
true, genuinely comfortable with an audience in my estimation. Oh he
will never be Mick Jagger on stage, or BOno for that matter, but the man
can inspire a crowd through his own catharsis, for sure for sure.  
I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't any reference by Bob to the
specific show, place, etc., though he never seems to add that. It seems
strange that with all the meticulous tinkering he does on studio
releases, he doesn't do the same live, but so it goes.  Of special
interest on this night was a number of things.  His heart on Just like a
woman was full tilt, and we heard our first solo from the man. No
harmonica all evening, and i imagine he did same whole tour, oh well.. 
IT aint me babe, offered a mood and lighting that to me, sitting balcony
front row, looked like a twenty something year old, it was magical. I
know bob never melds one song into another, but at the end, it sounded
identicle to Your a big girl now, and then the song ended. THere was
also some chord disharmony here, as bob was higher than the others by
one or two, but  no one seemed to mind.
Friend of the devil was nice, and it was the first time i have heard him
do it live, but if he is going to pull from Garcia, which i find a
wonderful homage, why not choose to encore "DEal" for vegas?
Can't wait was great, he really does the new songs well, the 2 from the
latest, along with silvio were by far the tightest of the night. 
frankly a borish hwy 61 came on, then end; after only an hour; it was
1:30 by then, and what came next was quite special. 
Dressed like a grunge type, out slinks Bono, and they do KNockin', it
took BOno a while, and BOb was giving him the floor, and he finally
added a new verse, including a birthday wish to the guitarist (Whose
name i am mental block on right now), all the tuxedoed people there, and
bob's cowboy boots. It was cool, and as far as i'm concerned, the only
true highlight of the evening.  
   I hear the real show was a private party at club rio the night
before, which could explain why this one was so short, and why bob
overall seemed a bit tired. any info on what that show was like, i'd
love to hear.
   It was a very different crowd from any show i've been to, definately
the quietest. The reserved section was barely half full, as it was a ton
of mid forty & fifty or so year olds, that'd been comp'd tickets, and
evidentally didn't want to come to a show that started at midnight
during the week. the real hard core's seemed to be down on the floor,
dancing, singing, and having a good time.  I had an extra ticket i sold
(at face, of course) to a 70 year old guy that was into it as much as
anyone else up there- not to paint it so grim, as there were some of us
up there, but we were few and far between.
   I was miffed at all the scalpers too. Dylan looking dudes scalping
tix for twice what they cost.  NOt to rag, but it seems that if the
messeges are listened to, and not just the messenger, it'd be a better
All in all, i am glad i went, and would crawl across cut glass til i
bleed to see bob most of the time.  Besides, i put 2 quarters in a slot
leaving the casino and won a $450 jackpot, so of course it was good for
ciao to all.  comments directly to:


Review by Tom

 The House of Blues is the ultimate venue for viewing a show.  There is a 
lot of wood in the room, which gives it a very warm sound.  The room is 
laid out with standing room only from the front of the stage to the 
perimeter bar.  The balcony area seats the higher priced tickets, which 
leaves a first come - first serve arrangement at the front of the stage.  I 
was in the center, about 10 people back.  There was a lot of energy in the 
room early, and the band definitely picked up on it.

 Dylan took the stage around 12:20 and opened with "Gotta Serve Somebody." 
 The high-light of the night came early with "Just Like A Woman," which was 
the fourth song of the night.  His vocal delivery was out of this world - 
especially during the last verse on the "when I was hungry, and it was your 
world."  Fantastic!  "Sylvio" followed, but seemed to be a turning point 
for the show.  I personally love this song, but it seems like Dylan may be 
getting a little tired of it.  It didn't have the energy the song needs.

 The acoustic set opened with "It Ain't Me, Babe."  The change, at the end 
of the solo when it slows down, was great.  It had the perfect pace, and 
really takes this classic to the next level.  "Ramona" had a good pace as 
well.  The high-light of the accoustic set, though, was definitely "Friend 
of the Devil."  It moved just slow enough to feel eternal.  Dylan's voice 
was superb, especially on the "got two reasons why I  . . . "  bridge of 
the song.

 Musically, "I Can't Wait" was unstoppable - almost.  It had a Reggae feel 
to it, but not really.  The first solo was probably the best I have ever 
heard this band play.  The petal-steel took it up a notch and everybody 
followed suit.  Then came the second turning point of the show.  During the 
final solo, the drummer (I don't know his name) seemed to lose his place in 
the song and mistake one of Dylan's half-jumps for an ending cue.  He tried 
to let an ending form while the band was still in normal timing.  Soon 
realizing his error, he jumped back in and it went mostly unnoticed by the 
crowd.  Dylan, in his ever-professional manner, waited a good four seconds 
before turning to give him the eye.  By this time, the groove was lost and 
so was the song.  Almost like some strange sacrifice for how great the 
first solo flowed.  Even with this derailment the song was hot.

 "Highway 61" ended the initial set.  Dylan was singing this very well and 
the groove was there.  Probably a step above the previous shows I have seen 
with this song ending the night. Unbelievably, the drummer again completely 
miscued during the final solo, this time ending the song completely!  There 
was no catching it this time.  Dylan was very obviously frustrated now, and 
I half-expected the encore to be another acoustic set.  Don't get me wrong, 
I really dig the drummer he has playing.  A very solid rhythm drummer with 
great accents, but his head was in the clouds tonight.

 During the encore, Bono from U2 came out as a surprise guest and did 
"Knockin' On Heaven's Door."  It was super-cool. Definitely a 
crowd-pleaser.  Bono kept missing the "Just like so many times before" 
ending to the chorus, but it didn't seem to bother Dylan at all.  For the 
final verse, Bono made up his own lyrics.  Saying something like "Bob 
Dylan's doing it again" and "He'll always be in my heart."  He did two 
verses and I think Bob had enough.  He ended the song mid-chorus.  Nobody 
seemed to care - they just loved the scene.  I was digging it too, except 
that I didn't get to hear "Love Sick," which I think is brilliant -one of 
my favorites from the 90's.  There is also normally an alternating second 
song in the encore that I missed.  So this killed two songs for me.  He 
ended with "Not Fade Away," which I have heard friends from the east coast 
talk about, but never got to see until tonight.  Great Delivery.  The way 
the music breaks for every line during the verses is perfect.  Isn't it 
funny how much better a song sounds when Dylan arranges and performs it?

 Overall, even despite the drummers need for a week off,  this was probably 
the best concert "experience" I have ever had.  The room is just too good 
and the guest appearance was awesome.  The first four songs were hotter 
than normal, and great moments outweighed the not-so-great moments.  "Just 
Like A Woman" may have been the best song I ever saw Dylan do.  "I Can't 
Wait' was definitely the best solo I ever saw.  I Can't Wait for him to get 
back to the states!


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