Joliet, Illinois
Route 66 Raceway
August 2, 2003

[Peter Kirstein], [Patrick Berry]

Review by Peter Kirstein

For those who claim Dylan lacks nostalgia, consider this. His setlist
commenced with a rollicking "Silvio." He co-wrote the song, that appears
on the album Down in the Groove with Robert Hunter, the famed lyricist of
The Grateful Dead. With Hunter opening the show with brilliant
acoustic-guitar mastery and Dylanesque protest songs, Dylan was obviously
acknowledging Hunter's presence and role in the song.

"I will sing it loud and sing it strong,
Let the echo decide if I was right or wrong."

He performed "Joey," in 1987 when he toured with The Dead. I am sure the
reasons for Dylan performing this much maligned and criticised song were
in defiance of his critics, and an acknowledgment of the 1987 Dead tour.
The song was remarkably powerful and evocative and is an excellent concert
song. While Joey Gallo, is hardly my iconic figure, Dylan has an affection
for the outlaw-saint. See also, "John Wesley Harding," "Billy 1," "Billy
4," and "Billy 7" and other songs where he pines for the "victims" of
judicial excess.

Dylan at the keyboard has become his entertainment venue since 2002. While
the reasons may result from less physical strain that standing as a
frontperson with guitar, one should note that Dylan composed many of his
songs from the keyboard. Revisit the bootleg series, Vol. 1-3 (title is
not capitalised on the album) and listen to "Like A Rolling Stone"-on
piano. Take out that VCR or DVD player and replay D. A. Pennebaker's, Dont
Look Back, and see Bob at the keyboard offstage. Note the title is
continuously misspelled; the first word of the film is spelled "Dont" not

I had never seen Dylan wear sunglasses before and for a moment I thought I
was looking at the cover of his MTV Unplugged album or flashing back to
his attire of the 1960s. 

I have never attended a Dylan concert without hearing at least one anthem
of protest. While I fantasise at each concert he would rework his Farm-Aid
remark with the Stones at the Nelson Mandela concert: "I wish the US would
get out of Iraq." "I just want to say all this killing is so bad." "Hey
all, listen to all those professors who denounce American imperialism
etc." Well you know what I mean. I thought, given his recent setlists, I
might be disappointed but Dylan and his partially reconstituted band did a
powerful and evocative version of "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." Given the
fears of nuclear war, and nuclear proliferation, this song was especially
poignant given its original voice as a response to the insanity of the
Cuban Missile Crisis. 

"And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it."

Finally, I am the professor who was suspended last fall for writing a
strongly worded e-mail that condemned war and the evil monstrosity of
collateral damage. On more than one occasion, I thought about how Dylan
stood up for principle and refused to recant or relent under pressure. I
kept coming back to his song, "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues," that
was censored right before he was to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Sullivan liked the song but the censors refused to allow it-too
controversial they said-- and offered Dylan the chance to perform another
song. Dylan walked out of the studio.

Courage, indomitability, commitment to principle, advocate for peace and
justice, great figure of the 20th Century. It was you we saw and heard in

"May you stay forever young."

Peter N. Kirstein
Professor of History
Saint Xavier University


Review by Patrick Berry

After getting the news that a storm had caused the stage at the raceway to
collapse and that the show might not go on, I attempted to get a few hours
of fitful sleep before making the drive from Detroit to Joliet.  We were
almost to the Michigan/Indiana border before the venue ticket office's
recording was changed to confirm that indeed the concert was not canceled.

Upon arrival at Route 66 Raceway, I was happy to see what appeared to be a
much larger crowd than I had been anticipating.  I made my way through the
crowd to pick up my 9th row center seat (scored through Ticketmaster
Online on Thursday evening!!!) at will call and headed into the show in
time to catch the end of Robert Hunter's set.

I had not seen Bob since Ann Arbor last November, and so I was very
curious to hear Freddie Koella.  It seemed that recent reviews were
somewhat tepid, and I was very anxious to hear for myself.

I must say that this performance just smoked from start to finish.  Bob
seemed to be in very good spirits, smiling and laughing frequently
throughout the set.  Freddie's style has a more funky, earthy feel to it
than Charlie's and was a good fit with the rest of the band.

The Silvio opener was a nice nod to Robert Hunter.  Joey was an
interesting choice, maybe another nod to the Deadheads (did anyone buy the
Dylan and the Dead album?).  I always like hearing Don't Think Twice, and
this version did not disappoint.

Cold Irons Bound lifted the energy level way up, and it stayed at a peak
for the rest of the show. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall was simply
spectacular, Bob nailed every lyric.

Honest With Me, Summer Days and Watchtower were all power houses, with
much lick-trading between Larry and Freddie.

Bob's sit-in with the Dead came off great.  Trading verses, the two Bob's
were having an excellent time on Goin' Down the Road.  When Bob uttered
that first "Senor" I just about shit.  With Joan Osborne's backing vocals
it sounded like a cross between a mid-90's Dylan version and a Jerry
Garcia Band take on the song.  They ended the song with a nice little jam,
with Bobby D. laying down some chords, leading the rest to the end. 
Around & Around just flat out rocked.  Weir couldn't help himself from
stepping on Bob's verses and they ended up trading lines.  From my vantage
point Dylan was really happy to be there and was having some fun.  At the
end of A&A, he just walked off the stage, and headed out.

My first Dylan show was October 13, 1978 in Detroit.  I don't know exactly
how many I've seen since, but August 2, 2003, was one of the best!

Patrick Berry


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