Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 07/04/99


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

July 4, 1999

Marcus Amphitheatre

[Matthew Stroshane], [Eric Franecki]

Review by Matthew Stroshane

I was surprised when the lights came on and I saw Dylan walking up to the
stage with his big, white cowboy hat perched on his head. Unlike the
previous two shows, there was no opening act for Dylan and Simon at
Summerfest. I think this really hurt Dylan who opened after two nights of
Simon opening for him. The concert definitely would have benefited from
having another act open, especially the BoDeans who opened the two
Minnesota shows and have a rather large following in the Milwaukee area.
Instead Dylan had to warm up the ice-cold crowd. A total of about five
people stood up during the first four songs combined. They started with
Friend of the Devil, on which Larry played violin and followed with My
Back Pages, which brought the only harp by Dylan until the duet with Simon
on Sounds of Silence.  Dylan was singing powerfully, holding the
"nooooooow" with a big twang in his voice. The slow love song Boots of
Spanish Leather was next and it was nice to see Dylan playing a wide
variety of songs in the opening slots.  The sold-out crowd finally got to
it's feet on Don't Think Twice and stayed standing for Tangled and
Watchtower. Tangled was similar to the Duluth version but this time
without the harp solo at the end.  The electrics were brought out for
Watchtower and the band went with the momentum from the last two songs.
The pace slowed for Tryin' to get to Heaven and the band had a long jam
during Memphis Blues. After Heaven, Dylan told another joke but I didn't
hear any of it, so if someone out there did, please let us know what we
missed. Dylan again slowed things down after building them back up for
Make You Feel My Love and then continued the roller coaster with the
romping Highway 61. This got the same great bottleneck guitar from Larry
as last night and had the crowd on their feet singing and dancing.  Like a
Rolling Stone began the encores again and received pretty much the same
treatment. Blowin' in the Wind was again sandwiched between two fast,
energetic songs and seemed out of place, though not as much as in Duluth.
Not Fade Away followed and continued the fast-songs-sandwiching-slow-songs
pattern. The dueling guitars of Bob and Larry combined with the vocal
harmonies make this one of the best songs I have seen Dylan do live. Dylan
then introduced the "man who needs no introduction" and Paul and Bob sang
Sounds of Silence. The performance was much more moving tonight than the
past two shows and Bob's gritty, low voice brought authenticity to the
confessional first verse: Hello, darkness my old friend. It seemed as
though Bob were singing as a lonely drunk confronting his only friend and
the effect was devastatingly powerful. He also brought out the harmonica
at the end for only it's second appearance that night. For the next two
songs, Dylan and Simon changed their duet for I think the first time on
their tour. We were expecting I Walk the Line and Blue Moon of Kentucky
again but after the somber Sounds, we were very pleasantly surprised to
hear the sing-and-dance along That'll Be the Day followed by The Wanderer.
Paul sang lead throughout both songs with Dylan contributing harmony.
Knockin' On Heaven's Door followed with Simon and Dylan trading verses and
both throwing in the chorus from "You Keep A-Knockin' But You Can't Come
In" toward the end. By the time they were finished, Dylan's normally
buoyant, curly locks had been matted down under his white cowboy hat and
were stuck to his head.  
As much as it pains me to say it, Simon stole the show tonight. Throughout
his entire set, he had the crowd on it's feet singing and dancing along.
It was very surprising to see after the last two shows because he hadn't
received such a great response from the crowd. This may be because he
opened for Dylan the two previous nights and I just didn't notice, or the
last two shows were held in Dylan's home state and actual town of his
birth and he was the hometown hero, or it may have been the lack of an
opening act that would have got the crowd loosened up, or it may have been
Dylan's set list which alternated between fast, energetic sing alongs and
slow quiet love songs and the crowd never really connected. Either way,
crowd response clearly favored Simon by the end of the night. 


Review by Eric Franecki

     We woke up tired and strung-out(the 3 of us worked a jam packed Ozzfest 
concert for 15 hours the day before) with only one thing on our minds, Bob 
Dylan playing on the last day of Summerfest. Well being the smart bright 
teens we are we figured we don't need tickets, we'll just get our hand 
stamped. We made it to the festival grounds at 11:45 and ran to the ticket 
booth, and of coarse the hand stamps were sold out(in 30 min.). So now we 
had to come up with 3 tickets. one of the girls I was with, Alex, stole a 
marker and wrote on both sides of my tee-shirt that we needed 3 Dylan 
tickets. So we walked around the festival grounds for a good 5 hours(in 100 
degree weather). Then we decided to make our way back to the ticket booth 
and find a scalper. One of the first people we see came up to me and asked 
if i would throw away the shirt the next day, of coarse i said no because it 
was my new Dylan concert shirt(saved $40),so then he told us he'd get us 3 
tickets for $100. So we went on our way at the festival and started to have 
a good time. We went back to meet with our guy and he's babbling about $60 
apiece, and of coarse we paid him(I mean it's Bob Dylan live). After we got 
our tickets many people started comming up and offering us cheaper tickets( 
'cause of my shirt),but of coarse we had ours and were broke. So 6:00 rolls 
around and were into the show.
    I was pretty anxious come 7:30, but of coarse the show didn't start 
until 7:50. Dylan came out and it just seemed to make everything that whole 
day and week seem right. He started off with "Friend of the Devil", seemed 
good for the day we were having. And of coarse myself and the the girls i 
was with were on our feet dancing and just enjoying the show, but the big 
dude behind us didn't like that and insisted we sit down. So we sat until 
Bob played his harmonica during "My Back Pages", i had to give him an 
ovation for that,right?Well again the dude insisted i sit. The show and 
crowd seemed a bit cold(due to no openers) until "Don't Think Twice  " when 
the whole crowed finally found their feet and stayed like that through the 
rest of the show. Comming to the show I had no idea how moving it would be. 
Songs like "All Along The Watchtower", "Make You Feel My Love", and "Highway 
61 Revisited" all took on a different meaning seeing them from the man 
himself. The encore surprised me with "Like A Rolling Stone" and "Blowin' In 
The Wind"(my second fav Dylan song)in an more uptempo  version than what i 
was accustom to. Then Simon came out. Dylan and Simon together on stage, 
that was just as amazing as it gets. They opened with "The Sound of Silence" 
witch for only the second time all night Dylan played his harp. "That'll Be 
The Day" was the first song that the whole crowd new and got into, I 
personally thought it was a good cover for the two. "Knockin' on Heaven's 
Door" was a quite decent finish. After that the set change started and 
that's the last i saw of Dylan, seemed too short,I was hoping that Dylan and 
Simon would jam some more, but of coarse that didn't happen. Simon put on a 
pretty good show also. I felt i got my $60 worth. I saw Dylan once in my 
life, hopefully its more but only time will tell.

   The last paragraph might be messed up because im tired. It was a fun 
experience and i hope you can post my story. By the way it was on7/4/99 at 
Milwaukee. Email me if u like it please.

Thank you,
Eric Franecki


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