Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 06/12/99


Portland, Oregon

June 12, 1999

Rose Garden Arena

[Tom DeWolf], [Jay Geck]

Review by Tom DeWolf

This is the third time I've seen Bob Dylan over the past year or so. 
Perhaps it is because he's working with someone less moody than Van 
Morrison, but Bob seemed absolutely giddy. There was no tension in the Rose 
Quarter at all. He's been putting on terrific shows since his illness, 
don't get me wrong. But tonight, he was enjoying himself beyond anything 
I've seen before. With Bucky gone, Bob was taking the guitar leads almost 
all the time. He was dancing, smiling and talking to the audience more than 
usual. "Girl From the North Country" and "Just Like a Woman were particular 
highlights. When Paul Simon came on stage at the end of "Don't Think Twice" 
(wonderful rendition with Bob on harp), it was perfect timing. Their slow, 
soulful "Sounds of Silence" (again, with Bob on Harp), was a revelation. 
Not only was it beautiful, it was surprising to see the respect these two 
men showed for each other. Whenever I've seen or heard Bob perform with 
others in the past (Tom Petty, The Band, Johnny Cash) he's always gone 
where he's gone and the others have worked to keep up. Here, Bob and Paul 
were watching each other's every move and keeping pace with each other. It 
was as though they were consciously trying to be sure they didn't upstage 
each other. In a certain sense, it made their performance more subdued than 
some might have liked. However, their four song duet was such a subtle and 
sweet moment, that I won't soon forget it.

Paul Simon and his band were great fun. More than anything, the rhythm, the 
tightness of the band and the talent makes one surprised at the fact that 
he hasn't performed in close to a decade. The songs from Graceland were the 
best. Like my friend Brad said, "Graceland is a perfect album." "Me and 
Julio" and "Slip Slidin' Away" were also highlights. But nothing was as 
cool as having Paul come back for a second, unexpected encore. "The Boxer" 
was a perfect ending to one of the most memorable concerts I've attended. 
I'm sure that will remain true for at least two days, until Monday, when I 
attend Bob's concert at the EMU Ballroom in Eugene...


Review by Jay Geck

    The Rosequarter, home of the Blazers, was behind letting the lines in.
No clues in the crowd control.  At starting time, 7:30, 10% of the house was
full due to this screw up.  But they delayed the show, until about 8:10.
Bob opened, surprisingly to the "every other night" posts in this news
     Hallelujah was really fine, lots of spark.  I think Larry was on
mandolin. As the cliche says, the set list doesn't describe the
performances, all of which reminded of the best tapes I'd heard.  Sure, I'd
like him to mix it up more, but . . . whadya gonna do?
    Bob played the best Tambourine Man I've heard in years.  Really
stretching the lyrics, and getting a hypnotic beat like he gets with
Desolation Row.  Same with Masters, even if I've seen it a dozen times.
    Girl from the North Country was the inspire moment of the acoustic set.
slow, studied, like bob wanted to impress someone in the wings.  I really
think he was playing more in-tune throughout his unusual solos and dueling
lead guitars, perhaps because he's getting better.  The Tangled up in Blue
sounded even better than ever.  I was a big fan of what Bucky brought to Bob
in the 1990s, but Charlie and Larry were really mixing it up with Bob, and
Bob's solo was not the more typical "challenging" dissonant notes, but a
really cool in-tune, tempo that came out in a great climax.  It made me
think that Bob's new line up will be better than the last, if that is
    On went electric gear, with Watchtower.  The greatest hits feeling of
Bob on the US summer circuit, with a bunch of Paul Simon fans to impress.
Charlie had some moments to get off on his new gig -- what great guitar
player wouldn't want to rip some solos on this song with Bobby?  Bob used
his strat, but Charlie went back and forth between various strats and
telecasters -- a great sound that really pickup throughout the electric set.
Not Dark Yet was great -- worth waiting for.  A great low string solo by
bob, in tune again! ;-)  Interesting playing between them all.  Stuck
Inside, -- again the finest sounding version. Bob delaying the refrain, and
Tony playing a rhythm like the Dead's cover.  Just like a Woman, sorry, I
can only think of Woody Allen's movie when I hear the refrain, but Bob
really likes the song, and it shows.
     The Love Sick was perfect.  Coalesced quietly, ticking, then exploded
halfway through with great drums.  Kemper is sounding better, less
obtrusive.  Perhaps he want to impress Simon's drummer - Steve Gadd (Gatt?),
who was really good.   LARS was better than ever, quiet, great booming
solos, quiet, with a loving delivery by Bob.  And Don't think twice was a
crowd pleaser, that they do so well.
    Without leaving, Bob says "Let me introduce one of the musical geniuses
of the 20th Century Paul Simon" (something like this).  Bob was absolutely
studied on trying to sing harmonies -- after a long instrumental Sounds of
Silence.  Paul on a hard bodied guitar that sounded acoustic, with effects.
Bob sang lower than Paul.  A successful and delightful version, better than
I expected after the early reviews.  And I Walk the Line was great, Larry on
fiddle, Charlie on a big hollow electric Gibson.  Blue Moon, well, they
needed more work, but it was fast.  And Knocking on Heaven's Door was really

    So Bob was performing at a peak, like the great tapes from the Globe
last year, or the takes on Bathed in a Stream.  But no unusual songs.  Oh,
if he'd play Peggy-O next time around.

    With apologies to all anti-capemen, I'll add that Simon's set was really
good -- far better than I expected.  His large band - 12? -- filled the
hall.  The Rose Quarter has great sound (great for a basketball arena) and
all the instruments were well miked.  Crowd response was incredible to the
Graceland songs, and Boy in the Bubble was a truly inspired reading.  More
Simon fans than Dylan fans, too.  The Late in the Evening encore was great,
and he (too sincerely) thanked and thanked the crowd (which brought him back
for a second encore, surprising for the rather heterogeneous group of tired
looking old and middle-aged Portlanders down in the expensive seats).
During the second encore for Paul, the Boxer, I do believe it was better
than Bob's version on Self-Portrait.  But others are free to think for


Return to Current Tour Guide page
Return to Bob Links
Go to the Set Lists (by city) page
Go to the Set Lists (by date) page 1998 Tour, 1997 Tour, 1996 Tour , 1995 Tour, Pre 1995 Tours
Go to the Cue Sheet page