Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 07/16/99


Bristow, Virginia

July 16, 1999

Nissan Pavilion At Stoneridge

[Bob Keifer], [John Dicken], [John Frisch], [John Pruski], [Scott Marshall]

Review by Bob Keifer

It was a beautiful Virginia summer night... to sit in traffic w/ the heat
on high in your 84 Buick that was overheating.  I, like so many BOB fans,
paid our $40 to see BOB do Highway 61, Like A Rolling Stone, and Blowing
in the Wind along w/ the duo set of Sound of Silence, That'll Be the
Day/The Wanderer, and Knockin' on Heaven's Door because a train wreck or
something closed Route 29 and sent us on a wild goose chase to Nissan
BOB still kicked ass (and I enjoyed Paul Simon despite earlier reviewers
saying that they left the hippie show), but it was disappointing to miss
most of the set.  One note however, Blowing in the Wind was even better
than when I saw BOB in February (Normal, IL), and it blew me away then! 
Oh, BOB!  I can only plan to see you again!



Review by John Dicken

Although there may be better singers or musicians, I would be
hard pressed to find many better rock musicians who know that live music
is to be provocative as much as it is entertaining, and who can more
honestly sing about alienation and community, despair and faith,
idealism and utter world-weariness.  And musicly, who else has better
assimilated either the traditional American traditions of blues, gospel,
country, and roots rock than Dylan -- while Simon adds the African and
South American influences -- and despite each doing so for nearly 4
decades continues to sound current and spontaneous?

The two sets are very different -- Dylan reinvents his songs every year,
performance, and even every verse, meaning each performance is unique,
with a somewhat rough, "jamming" feel but providing fascinating themes
and variations upon himself with each concert.  Simon has a much more
carefully crafted, tight stage show -- the concert you see by him will
be nearly identical to what we heard (except that Simon will open
tonight, whereas he closed our concert.)

Dylan's acoustic set opened "Somebody Touched Me," a cover of a
traditional bluegrass song I was previously unfamiliar with but very
much enjoyed the gospel feel of even if I didn't catch every word.  Then
he turned to "Mr. Tambourine Man," one of my highlights from the concert
listening to him rephrasing his emphasis of the familiar lines with each
chorus.  Another highlight was "Masters of War," played with an
intensity that made the 35-year-old Vietnam era song seem current even
-- perhaps especially -- in a time of "touch-button" high tech wars. 
One of my few disappointments was "Tangled Up in Blue" -- among my
favorite Dylan songs, the rearrangement seemed to intentionally obscure
many of the lyrics.  Again, I enjoyed seeing how Dylan chose to recast
his own work, but perhaps my expectations were to high.  "It's All Over
Now, Baby Blue" was the final acoustic song, played with a heavy
country-music influence that I haven't heard in other versions.

While in my three previous Dylan concerts over the last decade I have
generally preferred the acoustic set, this time I preferred the
electric.  "All Along the Watchtower" electrified both the guitars and
the audience reaction.  Then he sang a very clear, somewhat playful
"Just Like a Woman" that reminded me of the version from the recently
released "Royal Albert Hall" 1966 concert.  The surprise song of the
evening was "Silvio,"  the only song from his 1980's work he performed. 
While the chorus is among his catchiest, I initially was disappointed he
didn't choose one of his more substantial songs, but the performance as
a rock anthem again reinvigorated the concert.  I was thrilled that he
sang "Not Dark Yet" from his most recent "Time Out of Mind" album -- in
concert the relatively clearly annunciated lyrics and crip musical
backing resembled the recorded version and the sharp lyrics put the song
on the caliber of the many classics that composed most of the concert. 
Dylan has started a new habit of telling a corny joke as he introduces
his band -- tonight's was "My ex-wife left me again tonight.  She's a
tennis player.  Love doesn't mean anything to her."  Finally, he did an
energetic version of "Highway 61" to close, playfully stretching the
middle of "Sixxxxxxxxxxxxxxtttteeeeeeeeeeeeeeee--oooone." 

His solo encores showcased perhaps his two most recognized songs.  It's
impossible not to enjoy any performance of "Like a Rolling Stone" and
this version, while not necessarily the most creative, was solid.  I had
never before heard him perform "Blowing in the Wind," and even though
the popularity of the many different covered versions have made this
ingenious song almost trite, the performance with the band providing
backing vocals and Dylan's as always new emphases made it original
again.  Dylan introduced Paul Simon, and they carefully ensured that on
"The Sounds of Silence" that their guitars and voices were in sync.  The
very slow tempo with Dylan providing a gravely bass harmonization and
harmonica solo to Simon's familiar lead gave the song a dirge-like
depth.  A rollicking medley of the classic Buddy Holly "That'll Be the
Day" and "The Wanderer" followed, with Simon leading.  Finally, the two
alternated verses on "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," starting somberly but
finishing with a more exhuberant mood.

I won't dwell on Simon's set.  While very different -- with percusion,
guitars, and horns in triplicate as well as miscellaneous keyboards and
strings -- I very much enjoyed hearing both the 60's classics like
"Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Mrs. Robinson," and "The Boxer," his 70's
pop "Slip-Sliding Away" and "Late in the Evening," his 80's exploration
of international rhythms in "Graceland," "Can't Run But," and "Proof,"
and his recent song from Capeman, "Trailways Bus."  The highlight was
his closing medley of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" and "You Can
Call Me Al" starting a capella, then giving many musical solos, and with
Simon in with high-energy tempos.  Simon's set was probably even a
bigger crowd-pleaser than Dylan's.  

Enjoy your concert -- the comparisons and contrasts of the two
performers make this unique pairing all the more intriguing and

John Dicken


Review by John Frisch

I have had the benefit of seeing Dylan on each of his last 
four or five visits to these parts. While I would have preferred a more 
interesting set list, Dylan compensated for this with outstanding 
renditions of every song he performed.  I have always thought that his 
"phrasing" and the cadence of his "delivery" are the hallmarks of his 
great performances and tonight was no exception.  He was in fine voice 
and seemed to pay close attention to more subtle nuances in his singing 
than I have heard sometimes in the past.  
 Highlights of the show for me were the opener, "Glory, Glory 
Glory" (?), I was not familiar with it but it was superb, as well as 
"Masters of War", and a positively ethereal version of "Not Dark Yet" 
which for me was the best performance in the set. "Tambourine Man", 
"Just Like a Woman", "Tangled Up in Blue" , "All Along the Watchtower", 
and Highway 61" have become a bit too familiar to me in the shows I have 
seen over the past four or five years but these performances were head 
and shoulders above what I had heard previously.  "Like a Rolling Stone" 
was fiercely  delivered during the encore to an enthusuatic crowd.  
 This was a first rate performance and one of the most even from 
start to finish I have ever seen. Dylan was clearly on top of his game 
and in great humor throughout.  He even told a joke--"My ex-wife just 
left me again.  She has become a great tennis player.  Love means 
nothing to her."	
 Finally, "Sounds of Silence" and "Knockin on Heaven's Door" were 
the best parts of the Dylan/Simon Duet--Bob seemed a bit lost on "That'l 
be the Day That I Die".  Paul Simon gave a solid performance after 
Dylan's set but on this night Dylan was a particularly tough act to 

  John Frisch


Review by John Pruski

Review of the BOB DYLAN (and Paul Simon) show on 16 July 1999
 at the Nissan Pavilion, VA

Guarding against the potential bad  I-66W traffic, we took off early from 
work Friday afternoon and headed out at 4:30 PM to the Nissan Pavilion, 
near Manassas, VA, about 20 miles west of Washington DC, happily 
arriving a mere hour later to start tail-gating.  Upon entering we 
immediately went and got our 'two trains runnin' tour posters ($10) and 
shirts ($30) at the nearest merchandise stand, before making our way to 
our seats by 7:30 PM.  Bob and the fine newer version of his band, first 
up on the bill for the show tonight, came on at about 8:00 PM, just as 
the sun was about to go down over the nearby trees.  Bob and band 
opened with Somebody Touched Me.  This was an absolute killer version 
of a song I had been greatly anticipating and had not heard Bob do before.  
From there, it was all downhill in a bicycling /  Tour de France sense, that 
is the show gathered momentum.                                                                                                                                

The show seemed to be nothing but hit after hit, sorta like a Greatest Hits 
Vol. 4.  As much as I worship boots like Pure Heat that are loaded with 
rare and once-performed songs, I have to say that I absolutely loved last 
night's great hits package.  Not that Bob has anything to prove, but he 
had most of the 20,000-25,000 (a sell out or nearly so) of us (seeming 
more Simon than Dylan fans) in his hands from the get go.  Due to a 
nearby train accident, on top of normal DC traffic, the house and lawn 
were not filled early, but by dark (when the huge video screens came into 
use) the house was very nearly full and cooking.                                                                                                                     

Bob continues thanking 'ladies and gentlemen' and to joke during the 
band introductions, tonight's prefaced with "I feel so bad, my ex-wife just 
left me again, she's a tennis player now, love means nothing to her."  I 
did notice that TUIB modified the New Orleans verse, in that it omitted 
Delacroix Island.  This was perhaps more apparent to me than others, 
since as kids we would fish alternatively out of either Hopedale or the 
Island (Delacroix Island), both east of New Orleans.  In looking at Bill 
Parr's list that just came on the web, I have to add that Larry played pedal 
steel also on Not Dark Yet, for a total of four songs (by my count) with 
pedal steel.  Bob played harp on Mr. Tambourine Man and Sound of 
Silence.  As much as I miss Bucky Baxter, I have to say that Larry did 
a good job on pedal steel. Too bad Larry is such a fantastic lead player, 
otherwise Bob might be tempted to have him solely play pedal steel.  
Charlie took some very good leads, and his guitar was best heard 
complimenting Larry's great slide on HW61.  Bob's set and encores were 
predictably super, and as lagniappe we got the 3 song mini set of Bob 
and his band along with Paul Simon.  I remember both Bob and Paul 
playing acoustics for Sound of Silence, after that my memory fails me.  
Perhaps by the great closing version of Knockin' on Heaven's Door, one 
or both of them had strapped on an electric, and I  remember Paul taking 
the lead vocal on the middle of the 3 verses of the finale.  Hearing them 
play with 'I hear you knockin but you can't came in'  brought smiles to 
many faces as did Bob's whole +/- hour and half show, which ended at 
about 9:30 PM, about the time when sadly JFK Jr.'s plane was last 
heard from.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Paul Simon's set was up next and very good and as has been said 
before, seemingly even better received by the audience.  But of course
 few reading this page would compare Paul's music or set to those of 
our idol Bob Dylan.  Indeed, Bob towers over Paul anyway you look at 
it, or them  :).  Of course, we'll all be glued to friends with cable TV for 
tonight's Clapton (w/ Dylan) show, and personally I can't wait for Bob's 
next tour.  Thanks again Bob, rest up this August, and please come 
back roaring at us this fall! 

John Pruski, 17 July 1999, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC


Review by Scott Marshall

After a nearly 200-mile solo road trip, I arrived at the Nissan
Stoneridge Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia, although the tour T-shirts say
it's Manassas. It's Bristow. As I arrived about an hour before Dylan's
opening set, I made my way from my parking spot through the masses of
people in their lawn chairs, on their tail gates and generally drinking
much, listening to music, and of course, thinking they got it made. A few
tunes from the parking lot hangout were drifting thru the air as I
proceeded toward the Pavilion--the Freewheelin' ditty, "Talkin' World War
III Blues," as I heard a 21-year-old Dylan sing about being a string bean
and mean. Also heard what sounded like a '74 live offering of "Don't Think
Twice, It's All Right," and a few yards later I made out the Grateful
Dead's "Alabama Getway." Then over the Pavilion loudspeaker P.A. system I
heard an advertisement for future shows, i.e. Barry Manilow, Kenny G and
Farm Aid. Thankfully, Dylan was around the corner. And my seat was pretty
good, much better than Raleigh, and not quite as good as Virginia
Beach--about 25 rows back, right behind the orchestra seats. Since Dylan
opened it was broad daylight as he, Tony Garnier, David Kemper, Larry
Cambell and Charlie Sexton made their way onstage. Was expecting a third
night in a row of "Hallelujah, I'm...", but instead got another gospel
song--"Somebody Touched Me," with the same country bluegrass flavor. I
checked these lyrics out when they were originally posted...don't know how
Dylan sung it the two previous times, but tonight he added an extra line:
"It was on a Sunday, it was on a Sunday...Somebody touched me..." Then it
was time for "Mr. Tambourine Man," and a woman beside me and in front of me
actually were laughing Dylan's was a sad state
of affairs, not the song but them. Dylan again donned the harmonica to much
applause and concluded the song with his mouthpiece. "Masters of War" was
brooding, as per usual, with Dylan emphatically pronouncing "I'll stand
over your grave 'til I'm sure that you're dead" and then jamming on some
acoustic guitar. "Tangled Up in Blue" was the same story, beautifully told
once again. It seems Dylan will be playing this until he can't play
anymore. The final acoustic number had Larry Cambell slide over to lap
steel guitar for a difficult-to-discern-from-the-outset "It's All Over Now,
Baby Blue," a rather slow rendition with Dylan paying particular attention,
it seemed, to the phrasing. Acoustics were good from my vantage point and
Dylan was clear in his enunciations. Electricity began to flow (literally &
figuratively) as "All Along the Watchtower" continued to get attention
after a brief hiatus earlier in the tour. Larry Cambell is a humble player
but can put out some mean sounds on his gitar. Not sure why Charlie Sexton
had his acoustic guitar out on this one. Next up was "Just Like a Woman" as
Campbell again played lap steel. Dylan seems to be enjoying singing this
one of late. A nice return for the rocker, "Silvio" as the crowd simply
went nuts--perhaps the most response of the set. I usually don't do the
sing-along thing, but on "Silvio" I was a participant. Then came a
beautifully, sweet/sad "Not Dark Yet" which, I know this is sounding
redundant, but 'tis true, the whole audience was captivated. Incredibly
still as Dylan sang "I know it looks like I'm movin', but I'm standing
still." Afterward Dylan made an odd comment about feeling bad because his
ex-wife divorced him again, but now she's a tennis player and love means
nothing to her. It was all said with somewhat of a chuckle...odd. Then came
the main set closer, "Highway 61," which had the folks dancing and
gyrating. Encores included the crowd pleaser "Like a Rolling Stone" and a
beautiful "Blowin' in the Wind," where Dylan seemed to really pour out his
heart on this old staple. Then as usual, Mr. Simon came out for their
brooding "The Sound of Silence" dute along with the fun medley of "That'll
Be the Day/The Wanderer" and an equally-so "Knockin' on Heaven's Door."
After the applause, I hit the road back home to Virginia Beach, skipping
Simon's set, since I had heard it the last two shows. His set is great but
being spoiled with Dylan's set-list-changing ways, I could live without a
third consecutive night of identical (I think) songs. Take care, everybody.


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