Somerset, Wisconsin
Float Rite Amphitheater
August 3, 2003

[Jerryn], [Craig Planting], [Jessica R.]

Review by Jerryn

the show at the floatrite amphitheater in somrset was just about as good
as it gets for a mid-summer concert.  reserved chairs going from the stage
way back to the grassy slope, food concession booths to the right of the
stage, so the general admission area was the grassy slope to the left of
the stage and 2/3 of the way around the amphitheater, at least until dylan
took the stage and it all morphed into one massive general admission area.
 the whole atmosphere was reminiscent of a san franciso "be-in" back in
the days.  incredibly interesting people in varied altered states of
consciousness, sharing everything from bottled water to brownies to tokes
of various herbs.  robert hunter came on stage right at 4:00 with some
really fine music and seemed to make the sun reappear during one song. 
the amphitheater was nicely filled by the time dylan and the band came out
and went right into "silvio" which had everyone up on their feet and
dancing and there they stayed.  i think it was during "if you see her say
hello" that he played the harmonica seveal times and did that repetitive
thing he does that just absolutely soothes your heart chakra.  harp for
several songs, changed some lyrics on one or two tunes, larry and freddie
were noodling a bit, tony and george excellently present and the whole
band sounded great!  lots of dylan folks there, lots of deadheads, and
also many people who really loved both.  after the set change, the dead
did three songs before bob walked onto the stage, then "big river" and
unbelievably the next words "they're selling postcards of the hanging..."
and the dylan people just gasped and cheered at the same time as he went
into an unexpected and powerfully sweet "desolation row", high point of
the whole show for me.  "johnny b. goode" was another romping treat and
bob and bob were really laughing and enjoying every raunchy minute of it, 
bob's legs in a wide stance at the keyboard, smiling full out, spilling
the fun being had on stage onto the whole audience.  then he was off and
onto the bus.  no place on earth i would rather have been.  thanks bob,
for taking us there.


Review by Craig Planting

-Fast out of the gates
-Clean, arcing guitars
-People still looking confused, trying to find seats
-Am in 35th row off to the side, clear view of band but not close enough
to see Dylan's expressions -Dylan on side of stage, facing band from
behind keyboards, dressed in black with a red tie on -Heard rumor that
Dylan has switched to keyboards because of worsening arthritis, have no
idea if this is true -Beautiful, tanned hippie girls strolling down aisles
without giving anyone eye contact, the older I get (35) the more beautiful
the young girls become, I see the young guys posing and I know they're
clueless to the true worth of the diamonds before them -Killer lead from
Larry, a telecaster? -Sound is great, especially for the first song -Dylan
pushing tempo with singing, obviously in a big mood -Black shades, looks
like an earlier incarnation -Sweet scent of wafting tea -Dylan in full
sunshine, has to be sweltering dressed from head to toe in black -My God
they are rocking Silvio, never knew what this song was about, but it sure
sounds good

If You See Her Say Hello:
-Hippie girl with dreds doing Dead swirling dance in aisle, bare feet,
peasant dress, sweating face, I'm surprised at how many people in their
twenties are here for The Dead, when's the last time they put out a good
album? -Nice harmonica solo, long drawn out harmonies -Have moved closer,
also closer to center, in aisle at about the twentieth row -Dylan still
blowing harmonica, holding it with one hand while playing the keyboards
with the other -Have heard that Dylan only plays the black keys, anyone
know if this is true? -Tea scent becomes denser as you move closer to
Dylan -So far zero security in aisles

Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee:
-What is this song about an ugly, ambitious, money loving, retired
couple? -A wasp wants to fuck with me -Dylan is filling the space between
the dirt and the wispy clouds -Band is chugging away, tight -Was told be
security to move and have slipped into space of empty seat on aisle, asked
middle-aged guy next to me if he minded and he laughed and said, "Nah, I'm
not supposed to be here either." -Larry playing staccato, machine gun
lead, then breaking hard back into song's guitar refrain -Dylan jerking
skinny, black shoulders forward on big beats -I can see him better from
here, he has on a black satin shirt with black pants that have big silver
buttons running down the sides of the legs, and also the red tie is
actually a burgundy, silk kerchief. Looks like he's run away from a
mariachi band 

Watching the River Flow:
-Chugging rhythm
-Drummer is up on riser and is as visible as the rest of the band. 
-New guitarist is doing a funky blues solo that follows melody closely,
clean notes that slip in between Larry's slide lead. The sound of slide
guitar is one of the reasons to keep living. -Band bouncing, enjoying
themselves -More harmonica, Dylan dragging the rhythm, giving it Willie
Nelson-style tension 

Highway 61 
-Minnesota's highway 61 is twenty miles from here
-Dual lead guitar
-Security is tightening, trying to keep the aisles clear
-New guitarist looks like a short Mark Knopfler
-Dylan singing 2nd verse, turning face into the sun, might actually be
smiling -They're absolutely plowing through 61, like successive freight
trains coupling under looming thunder -All the songs so far have been fast
punchers -Big crashing finale

When You Go Your Way And I Go Mine:
-Dylan having fun, stretching last word of each phrase
-Definitely smiling
-Dylan walked to center stage, faced the audience and rocked back and
forth like a boxer anticipating the opening bell, also from time to time
runs fingers through his hair on the sides of his head which looks like a
boxer getting psyched -Dylan's Oscar is on the amp directly behind him,
he's so cool he can tour with his Oscar without anyone stealing it -You
can see how comfortable and in command he is up there, he knows his band
can turn on a dime -Crowd is standing, even masses up on the dirt hillside
that surrounds the main floor area -Contact high, perfect elevation

Drifters Escape:
-Pounding kick drum rhythm, like a trip hammer against your sternum
-Guitars climbing higher
-Big smiles, Larry shaking head as if in disbelief 
-When it seem they couldn't rock any harder the train accelerates
-Lead guitarists never resort to repetitive licks
-Song pauses in mid-air for harmonica breaks, sharp notes cutting through
the bottom, Dylan trading fours with his band

Bye and Bye:
-First slow down of the night
-How many rock bands can pull off twenties, swing jazz and not sound like
dorks? Amazing. The middle-aged guy next to me loves it. He said he's
dying to pee, but there is no way he's missing this. -Dylan taking his
time with the lyrics, almost rapping them like on "If Dogs Run Free"
-Larry pulling round, tasteful notes from hollow bodied electric -Crowd
swaying to the old timey groove, makes me miss my grandfather who was
great-souled -The guitars are so clean -Acoustic bass

Honest with Me:
-Menacing, a warning from the past
-Dylan growling
-Have moved all the way up to the front, in aisle, standing directly
behind security guard who has his back to me -Dylan giving big smiles -Am
really close, can see the sweat on his face, the band is having a ball

Song ends and Dylan introduces band giving his standard "the best drummer
on this stage joke", then says something I miss, looks at the bass player
and laughs on mic, don't think I've ever seen Dylan laugh -Notes I'm
scribbling may be buying time, the security guy is evicting people around
me, but not hassling me -OK, I got kicked back 15 feet

Summer Days
-Perfect rockabilly, a reminder back to when rock and roll still rolled -A
female security guard just tried to get me out of the aisle and I said I
wrote for and we went back and forth until I said I did
not have a press pass and I needed her to do me this one small favor and
let me stay and I wouldn't be a problem and the show was almost over, etc.
She frowned, patted me on the shoulder and walked away. Success. The
female security guards are easier to bullshit sometimes -Dylan standing
with legs spread, bouncing on knees -3rd guitarist who I believe is the
guitar tech has joined them, standing next to Dylan; he appears to be
watching him for the changes

Song ends and Dylan moves to center stage, nodding head, too contained now
to smile, gives thumbs up from his waist, nodding head as if saying, "Yes,
there it is. You got plenty." Dylan exits

-Crowd roaring, there is a multitude here, filling the dirt hillsides with
tie dye -A beautiful girl is tying her long blonde hair up into a knot,
then rubs the back of her neck where fine, translucent hairs run down in a
blonde avenue between her tanned shoulder blades, sigh.

Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35:
-The sun is coming out from behind a cloud, late afternoon golden slanting
Midwestern sunlight, not as bright and biting as when show began -Dylan
smiling at bass player -Sunlight illuminating right side of Dylan's face
and salt and pepper curls -Dylan laughing -Old Blues two-step groove
growing louder -Musicians smiling at each other -Larry smiles as he rips
into another fluid solo, he sounds like a cross between Neil Young and
Lowell George -Dylan driving band with harmonica, swooping in and around
dual guitar leads -The entire night the guitarist never stepped on each
other's toes -The guitars spiral higher -Song ends and Larry has a huge
smile on his face as he takes off his guitar


Review by Jessica R.

The outdoor setting of Somerset lacked the intimacy of smaller venues; my Bob 
bud I attended the show with commented that it felt as if Dylan was mainly set 
on reviving/pumping up the crowd, and thus the poetry of his work was somewhat 
lost. But that aside, Bob was in great form once again and gave Somerset a 
freewheelin', rollicking performance in a relaxed, playful mood that had us 
smiling and laughing along with him.

As for the venue, the "Floatrite Amphitheater" was basically a giant horseshoe: 
the sides were on a steep hill sloping down around the flat, reserved seating 
area which led to the stage up front. We had arrived at noon for the 2:30 gates, 
and we were in the first few people in line. (This was surprising since one 
usually has to arrive about 6 hours before the doors open to secure that spot.) 
Unfortunately, general admission wrapped AROUND this giant block of reserved 
seats -- not the normal right-under-Bob's-nose general admission setup we're 
all used to! Luckily, my friend and I found a great grooup of hard-core 
Dylanites to hang with and together we secured the furthermost corner of general 
admission, setting us up right alongside the reserved seat folks with the stage 
about 15-20 feet away. We'd taken off sprinting like bats out of hell to get to 
this coveted spot once the gates opened, only to look over our shoulders and 
realize NO ONE else was running. Hmmm … obviously it was not your typical Every
Man For Himself General Admission Stampede; all the Dead fans behind us just 
weren't in a big hurry.

From where we were standing, the band's big black vans were in perfect view; 
when Larry emerged from one, we all started yelling and cheering for him, and 
he acknowledged us with a wave! Definitely a great moment. After a few skirmishes 
with up-tight security members that insisted on moving us back up the hill a 
whole 3 feet (they claimed we blocked reserved seating viewing --- as if anyone 
sat during this show!), we were ready for Bob.

After Robert Hunter's hour-long opening solo set on electric guitar, Dylan 
arrived to huge cheers and immediately a big block of people rush up to the 
front of the reserved section. A couple people we were with commented that there 
weren't many Dylan fans in Joliet the night before, but this crowd was very 
receptive and ready to rock with Bob. Most everyone was standing up and dancing 
the whole show, although I think it would have been terribly hard to see from 
the back of the reserved section.
Bob donned a black long-sleeved silk shirt and a short burgundy tie that often 
got caught in the wind and required a little taming; black pants with silver 
stars running down the sides; and great big black sunglasses. (No hat for his set.) 
He was on piano for all his songs and played harmonica on probably a little over 
half of the tunes. His set was short and sweet at about half the length of a 
normal show. If it would've been a full set, it probably would rank as best show 
I've seen -- and Ames in November last year was amazing musically. A few musical 
* Silvio: A wonderful opener that really comes alive when played… well, live! The 
band had this little funk rhythm they stuck in during the chorus before revving 
up for another verse --- it was definitely a highlight of the night.
* If You See Her: a good 1-2 punch along with Silvio. He changed a majority of the 
lyrics, including this line: "Her eyes were blue, her hair was too" (!) I also 
remember one ending along the lines of, "I hate to be alone." He also really 
emphasized the "loooook me up." One of the best songs of the night, and the first 
time I've heard it live.
* Watching the River Flow had good harmonica as well; it's always fun to see him 
do one hand on piano and the other on his harp. This was another new song for me 
to hear live, and having these "new" songs really helped freshen up the show.

* Most Likely You'll Go Your Way: this one had Bob jamming out on harmonica in 
great fashion. Just when you thought he was done, he'd take a whole other verse 
and was really getting into it. These faster-tempo tunes were pretty popular 
among everyone there.

* Summer Days: as always, this one absolutely rocked and had everyone on their 
* Rainy Day Women: his encore selection and had a really long jam session in the 
He dropped in with the Dead after their third or fourth song, wearing a suit and 
cowboy hat (no sunglasses this time). On piano for three songs, which all really 
got great responses from the crowd.
*Desolation Row: my all-time favorite Bob tune and the best song of the 
afternoon/evening. He was smiling throughout the whole song and switched 
around/forgot a few verses; he ended about three of them with the same "the 
only sound that’s left/ Cinderella sweeping up" verse. But this one got better 
as it went along! No harmonica; it was a great jam that went on and on … and on! 
They were definitely having fun up there; Bob and the Dead guitarist kept 
whispering to each other and laughing, probably trying to figure out what verse 
they were on.
* Johnny B Goode: Wow! What a great surprise, and a real crowd pleaser. Bob 
fumbled through some of the piano parts, but nobody really cared. Big audience 
participation with the chorus, and a nice way to end his time on stage.

This was BY FAR the most energetic I've ever seen Dylan play. He smiled more often 
as the show went on and even laughed a few times. He gave this little thumbs-up 
sign to the audience during his encore, and seemed in good spirits the whole show,
especially during his set with the Dead. And we weren't without a little Dylan 
humour: he introduced George Receli as "the best drummer on this stage…" which 
got quite a few laughs from the crowd.
All in all, a GREAT show. Catch him now, folks, you won't regret it. Let's hope 
he swings through the Midwest again sometime soon. Thanks, Bob! 


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