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Review by Carter Lewis
first off, paul simon was pretty good. better'n i
thought he'd be. he played a set which featured you can call me al,
graceland, trailways bus, me and julio down by the schoolyard, mrs.
robinson, still crazy after all these years, diamonds in the soles of her
shoes, further to fly, slip slidin' away, bridge over troubled water . . .
blahblahblah. then, he introduced bob. they started a way-mellow version of
sounds of silence that was awesome. the medley of the rock classics was
decent, but short. knockin' on heaven's door was great. they traded verses
and played it reggae-style (a la live at budokan -or eric clapton's
version). very nice. harmonica by bob, and complete with the new line (in
addition to "just like so many times before") "i hear ya knockin', but'cha
can't come in." the first song (hallelujah) was one i'd never heard. but,
damn. it was bluegrass to the bone and it was terrific. tambourine man was
nothin' really special, but cool. masters of war was the best version i've
heard. it was like a two-string blues riff without much of the turnaround of
a 12-bar shuffle. very nice. baby blue - first i'd heard it live and it was
very good. tangled, always my favorite, was as nice as when i saw him in
nashville in february. harmonica. then, i have no idea what happened next. i
was expecting leopard-skin pillbox hat. the music started like a cross
between that and rainy day women. so, he starts about people stoning you...
then a chorus. second verse he says "they'll stone you and then they'll be
back again" three of the four lines, then a chorus. then, he turns to the
band and they end it. bob kind of starts waddling and crouching/slouching
back toward the drum set, seemingly laughing. i have no idea. then, one i
was looking forward to - all along the watchtower (which i'd never heard,
either). it was amazing. i was bummed by the mix-up on getting stoned and
this got me back up off my chair. after two riders approached and the wind
began to howl, though, it got cut all of a sudden. they were in the process
of building up and just stopped, suddenly. now, i'm thinkin' bob's on the
sauce again. or worse. there was a shirt thrown onstage during this song -
and i'm not sure if it was the same girl who took hers off earlier in the
song, but i'm guessin' it was. on another note: not sure if it was at this
point or when exactly but he wanted to introduce his band - "some of the
finest musicians in the world." he introduces larry campbell (guitar) and
makes a joke about larry discussing rock 'n roll with neil young and neil
tellin' him to hold a rock up to one ear... then introduces david kemper
(drums) and makes an elvis costello joke and chuckles. kemper gave a drum
roll after the first joke. then, he introduced the rest. just like a woman
was decent, but not as great as other versions i've heard before. he did
have a little exchange with an audience member and security pulled him back.
as dylan walked with the guard, he ducked and turned like a kid at an
amusement park and got away long enough to get some flowers offered up by a
fan. i wonder if that was the same one who threw the shirt? not dark yet was
amazing. i was hoping for this gem. it sounded similar to the studio
recording, but still had a dylan live-ism quality. highway 61 was terrific,
with bob holding out the number (highway
sssiixxxtyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy-ooonnnnnnee!) then he bowed out and gave another(complete w/midwest-drawl) "thank you, ladies and gentlemen." not too long
after, the encore began. true-to-life version of like a rolling stone and
then it ain't me, babe. if you never hear bob dylan play any other song,
make sure you hear him play not fade away. a bit different from what buddy
holly did originally, and god bless it. it's just straight-up rock 'n roll.
period. he played this as the lights came on (shows at this amphitheater
have to stop at 11) and rocked it for a good 10 minutes. i honestly think he
wanted to play more, judging by the way he shimmied to the mic with his
guitar as the band stopped the song. oh well. this was the greatest hits
set, with more acoustic than i've seen. a few misfires intact, a great
showing from mr. dylan.
Review by William Robertson, Jr.
Here are some impressions of Bob Dylan's excellent performance last night
in the misty rain and unseasonable cool at Walnut Creek near the capitol city
of Raleigh. Bob was graciously introduced to the large crowd by Paul Simon,
who had just finished an outstanding performance of his own. Bob, snappily
dressed in dark suit, white shirt, and a very sparkly ribbon tie, joined with Paul
in a wonderful presentation of Sound of Silence. Popular press reports,
implying that the duets have been tentative or clumsy, had not prepared me
for Bob's beautiful and tactful sharing of this song. Perfect. They proceeded
with That'll Be the Day, Wanderer, and the reggae Knockin', all quite good.
After a prompt stage change, Bob and band returned, beginning with
Hallelujah, I'm Ready, which I had very eagerly awaited. It was perfect; a
good mountain Gospel vibe. Larry on mandolin. Tambourine Man was next,
and Bob displayed his new harmonica technique-held in the left hand only,
while the right arm is resting over the guitar. This was the way for each of the
harp deliveries. Style notes: Bob had changed from the sparkle tie to a
darker one. David, Larry, and Tony were as usual, with David's white hat
about the size of a Volkswagen. Charlie wore a black suit with open white
shirt. He's a handsome young man with a very cool manner on stage.
The acoustic set continued with a wonderfully-arranged Masters, then
Tangled in the usual solid way, and Baby Blue with great steel guitar by
Larry. The electric set began with Rainy Day Women. Bob and Charlie on
brown Strats, and Larry playing slide; my view of his guitars was obscured.
Just Like a Woman came next, with great steel by Larry and Bob excelling
on the left-handed harp. Watchtower then gave us a great blast of guitars,
along with perfect vocal delivery. One of the most interesting moments of
the night came now, when at the moment I was expecting the long guitar
solos to begin, they ended the song with a very complex and compelling
fast ending very soon after the lyric concluded. Remarkable; one of those
moments that rewards careful attention. Charlie now brought out a big
black Epiphone as the combo launched into a breathtaking Not Dark Yet.
I heard several people say it was the best single song they had ever heard.
I regret that I cannot quote last night's joke, but I can report that it included
mentions of Neil Young and Elvis Costello. The set ended with a blast of
guitars on Highway 61, Charlie now employing a pretty blue Telecaster.
The band returned to the stage, Charlie making another change to white
Strat, for LARS, wonderfully delivered, now an absolute wall of guitar
energy blasting through the front rows and out to the thousands dancing
on the muddy hillside. Back to acoustic for Ain't Me, wonderfully done, with
the left-hand harp again, and Tony using a bow on the upright. The front
row was somewhat distant from the stage, but Bob made a good effort to
make eye contact with many fans, and very graciously received flowers.
The conclusion of the evening came too soon, but wonderfully, as Not
Fade Away was delivered perfectly; it seems to get better every time.
Charlie now on an attractive red hollow-body Gibson.
We thousands drifted into the night, once again thankful that Bob Dylan
remains on the road, thankful that he brings so much of himself to each
performance. I continue to say that Bob has never been better-don't
Review by Trey Starke
Just returned to Alabama from Raleigh and cannot seem to get certains
thoughts out of my mind.How right when you think you know what Bob
is going to do-you are wrong. For example,the last three shows I have
seen, the TOOM material was the wonderful and in reviewing the sets l
lists was excited he was taking this further.Not last night ,only one song,
but I am not complaining.He was loose,his voice was clear,and the harp
was a GREAT treat.We arrived ,after leaving five kids at home,and arrived
at Walnut Creek around 7:00.Rainy,good crowd,almost capacity ,and the
arena had a tight set of rules from line, alcohol, smoking, etc. and believe
that some noise ordinance cut Paul and Bob short as they only did 14
songs each not including the duet.I am a Bob fan and thought some of
the reviews were hard on Paul and tried to keep an open mind.I am glad
he went first and it is a tribute to Bob that he his SOOOO much better.
He did very little for me.He did a good job with Me and Julio,Diamonds
on the Sole of Her Shoes,which followed into You Can Call Me Al. The
crowd was hopping by now but it was a Zimmy audience.The crowd sat
down on Still Crazy and then Bob walked on in his black suit and the
duet review has been repeated many times.To see Dylan and Simon on
stage together put a smile on my face as this was alittle piece of history.
Sounds of Silence-excellent and the harp was out of this world!!!.That"ll
Be the Day/the Wanderer was weak in my opinion,Bob is not much on
medley.Knockin on Heavens Door was nice and reggae and everyone
naturally said it is better when Bobs band is playing.The guys next to
me had seen last night show and said Bob was stiff and the crowd
seemed much younger tonight.Nice applause and short one leaves the
stage and the roadies earn there pay.Bob opens with Hallelujah and
gets the house rocking and begins a Blowin rift and then "step back
kiss myself "he NAILS Mr.Tambourine Man .The harp was again so
sweet.Masters of War was O.K. and I have seen better.TUIB was good
as always but Bob sang the "Written from me to You"verse twice and
it seemed to cause some confusion.Baby Blue was real sloooow but
nice.Rainy Day Women which I have seen performed 30 times was
great. Charlie could be the difference. Just Like A Woman,not high on
my Dylan favorites,but last night it was a perfect 10. Again the harp
was terrific.Watchtower was next and like everyone has said a wonderful
Not Dark Yet followed and was wonderful.No stage rush at this show,
again the place had to many rules...He then introduces the band and
tells his Neil Young joke which wasnt funnny but at least he talked,
smiled and showed he has a sense of humor.Hwy 61was next and
Charlie and Larry played well.Like a Rolling Stone was full of energy,
the crowd on there feet,and the power of this song was rocking the
house.On It Aint Me Babe there was some confusion which really took
away from Bob harp performance,so I was disappointed.He then plays
Not Fade Away,everyone singing,and in the middle of the song the
lights go on, he finishes the song,and leaves.What a great night humor,
harp,harmony,and classic music played to the tea by a legend with a
great bandThe ticket stub is in the mail.No review in July 14 paper.
Review by Dan Keefer
The Night the Music Lived Again
On August 12, 1989, just being there was thrill enough. I'd been
listening to and inspired by Bob Dylan since 1962, but that night
was my first LIVE experience. Steve Earle fired up the crowd.
There were plenty there just for him! And then Dylan rocked.
On November 1, 1994, it was exciting but less so. For one, it's
hard to live up to a first taste, and besides, the show was in an
opera house setting with a smaller, more reserved band. There
was no opening act. Subdued. It was worth being there but not
Third time's a charm!! After being more moved by Paul Simon than I
expected to be . . . I'll have to drop in at the local CD store now . .
Dylan came out to share the stage with Simon, and from the beginning
you could tell he was "on". In the previous two shows I'd attended,
was little interaction with the crowd or other musicians. In fact, none.
Last night Bob had FUN!
Chills ran up and down my spine (my wife's too) as two legends sang
"The Sound of Silence". It was almost . . . well . . . spiritual. But
these two rockers immediately made it clear that they didn't want to be
simply icons or museum pieces. They jumped into a medley of "That'll
Be the Day/The Wanderer". Dylan was all smiles and chatted with Simon
during bridges. It was two vets having fun like schoolboys. Yeah, he
messed up the lyrics at least once. HOW it's done is the key, and Dylan
had fun with even that.
Was it me or did the "Mr. Tambourine Man" intro sound like "Blowin' In
the Wind"?. Dylan's known for mutating tunes and toying with his
audiences. "All Along the Watchtower" seemed to start out as
"Hurricane".Often I'm not sure what he's playing until he begins
singing . . . I'll refrain from the obvious comment there.
To cut to the chase, this was by far the best Dylan I have seen. Not
even close. Previously he seemed lost in himself, almost like an
audiences was a necessary evil. But last night he mugged and talked on
several occasions (It was obvious that there was someone in the front
that he was specifically interacting with. He went to the apron and
bent down more than once. The final time he took a bouquet of white
flowers, and one of the crew rushed out and pulled him back as if to
protect him from his own enthusiasm.) He even told a little story about
how Larry Cambell had been talking to Neil Young, and how Young had
told him "rock and roll is dead". I couldn't totally make out everything
Dylan said, but it included something about a bun or roll being placed
into someone's ear. A moment later Dylan laughed . . . Campbell
apparently corrected him . . . the conversation had been with Elvis
Costello, not Young. But the point was clear . . . Dylan was feeling
very much alive with rock and roll that night.
The music ebbed and flowed from ballad to ass-kicking rock. For my
money, the acoustic numbers were the highlights: an inspiring
"Masters of War", a beautiful rendition of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue",
and a great "It Ain't Me, Babe" encore version that made the
"No, No, No"s more light-hearted and whimsical than the venomous
original. But the rocking "Highway 61 Revisited" was right up there with
the best as was the closing Buddy Holly tune, "Not Fade Away".
It seems that a lot of people, critics included, want to make a lot out
of Bob Dylan's aging, unintelligible voice. Throughout his entire career
there have been those who feel voices must be smooth and beautiful to
be worthwhile. Nonsense. While there is no doubt that Dylan has off
days when he appears to be giving less than his all (In my opinion, I
saw two of those days.), there is no one who is better at phrasing and
using his voice as both paintbrush and blow torch. There are thousands
of "pretty" voices, but there is only one Bob Dylan. To those who
narrowly believe art must be meadowlarks, I say, "When you gonna
wake up?" If it's not too late, see this show. It's more than history.
Stand up and dance!! We did.
Review by T. Gould
In the cool mist of a summer night, our wandering guitar hero returned
in all his ragin’ glory. Simply put, Bob and the boys tore the joint up.
The difference between the previous night’s Va. Beach show/crowd and
Raleigh’s show/crowd was like day and night. This ain’t Ford country;
this is Dylan country. Over the years, I’ve seen Bob many times, but
this performance was special. Simon opened and played his usual
overly-long, overly-theatrical set (how he can play the same set, same
order, night after night is beyond me). A drum solo!? I felt like I was
having some prozaced Zeppelin flashback. Anyway, I don’t want to be
too critical; he was enthusiastically received by the crowd. But by the
time he got to the end of his set, the Bob-heavy crowd was getting edgy
with anticipation and frustration. Enough of the airy appetizer, bring on
the main course. Simon introduces Bob to a thunderous ovation. He
looked fantastic in black suit with stripe down the pants legs, sparkle
tie, and killer cowboy boots. Excellent version of Sounds of
Silence with Bob supplying understated and precise harmonic
counterpoints. Day/Wanderer medley was fine. Bob starting to smile
as he looked over the crowd, a smile that would rarely leave his face
the rest of the evening. Reggae-fusion version of Heaven’s Door, not as
good as with His Band. Takes guitar off and smiles as he looks around
at the packed, enthusiastic crowd, as if to say “You ain’t seen nothing
yet.” Quick set break, standard intro. and crowd is going wild as Bob
(he’s changed to a black tie) and the boys launch into a romping
version of Hallelujah!. Exceptional vocal interplay. Bob already moving
more than previous night, starting to feed off the crowd’s energy and
appreciation. Tambourine Man, everyone standing, dancing, cheering
after every stanza. Bob looking very young up on stage in that
Chameleon deal-with-the-devil thing he’s got going for him. The better
time he’s having, the younger he appears. Legs moving, bending at
hips on harp solo, roaming all over the stage. Masters of War is again
nailed. He sounds impossibly good: clear, strong, precise, all his
vocal intonations of bitterness, anger coming through loud and clear.
Crowd appears almost awed. Tangled Up in Blue and everyone is
cheering wildly, dancing from the opening chords, entire amphitheater
and hillside awash in flailing arms Still not as clean as previous
versions, but crowd loving it. Bob alternating between concentrating
and smiling wildly, bending, weaving, classic Dylan nasal phrasing.
He’s hitting his zone now. Odd repetition of stanza after guitar break,
lyric changes to New Orleans part. 20, 000 people would not sit again
the rest of the night. Baby Blue is beautiful. Bob taking the crowd on
a roller coaster of emotions. Electric Time: Rainy Day Women? Bob
giving the crowd what it wants, and the crowd giving back every ounce
of love and adoration it has in its collective body. Just Like a Woman.
Crowd is beside itself. Watchtower smokes. Bob stands next to
Larry and jams. Larry looks up surprised and smiles broadly. The
guitar moves are all there; crowd is loving it and so is Bob. Then, Not
Dark Yet, and it is absolutely magnificent. I can see people turning to
each other in the crowd. Is this as good as I think it is? One of the
highlights not only of the night but of the tour. Crowd is stunned into
silence by its beauty. Prolonged ovation at end. Introduces band,
tells stone/ear/roll joke. The controlled chaos of Highway 61. Bra
thrown up on stage. Scattered single roses tossed up too. Bob in
full guitar hero mode now, smiling, laughing, twitching, marching in
step, some serious leg swivels. The band all smiling, having a great
time. Highway... 61 drawn out vocals. Bob and boys depart. Crowd
is going wild, hillside ablaze in flaming lighters. Rolling Stone, crowd
screaming back, “How does it feel?” Bob sidesteps a stunned
security and reaches out to collect a dozen roses from front row.
Everyone is all smiles now. It Ain’t Me, Babe, extended harp solo.
Bob all over the stage now. A final eyebrow-arching gutteral “babe”
from Bob. One minute to eleven (when noise ordinance kicks in).
Not Fade Away burns. House lights up. Everyone cheering wildly.
Bob picks up the dozen roses, holds them to his chest, and bows.
He really seems like he doesn’t want to leave. Those who were there,
years from now, will get a far away, misty look in their eyes, smile,
and whisper to themselves, “the Raleigh show.”
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