Fargo, North Dakota
North Dakota State University
Newman Outdoor Field
August 23, 2002

[Kathleen], [Bruce Pollock]

Review by Kathleen

We arrived in Fargo plenty early for me to get in line
to get to stand in the very front of the stage, but I
decided to have one last try at tracking down Charlie
to have him sign my Japanese fanzine of him 15 years
ago that I showed him in Southampton. (No luck, will
have to wait).  Since I didn't have my usual long wait
in line with everyone, I didn't get my usual front row
vantage point.  Still I ended up in the second row
near Larry.  There were lots of college kids, this
being a college field (I can't believe I am calling
them kids which means I'm not one, but they looked
soooo young) near the front, a very different crowd
from previous nights for me.

The band came out maybe 15 minutes late  (seems they
are averaging 15-20 minutes late lately, and the sound
checks which I generally savor, are also abbreviated
and starting later and later), in their matching
maroon outfits with black shirts which the local
newspaper reporter didn't seem to like too much based
on his comment that they looked like a wedding band. 
I did have "Partridge Family" pass through my mind
(which I mean in the most sentimental and reverent way
since seeing David Cassidy at Madison Square Garden
when I was 9 is what got me started on my life
happiness/solace in concert-going).  These guys were
pretty stylized though, everyone with their personal
motif that they always have, but in maroon
"uniforms"–Larry in cowboy civil war, Charlie in
cowboy Armani, George in cowboy jazz (maybe sans
maroon, it was hard to tell), and Tony in cowboy
dapper.  Dylan in all black with a tannish silk cravat
or scarve, hard to really see to call.  His boots had
hot rod flame toes.  (says my companion, extra deluxe
made, only Bob could get away with wearing these.) 
But, who cares what they are wearing when everything
sounds good (and the crowd is cool), unless you are me
at home dying to picture the scene at the concerts I
miss, right?  

And they sounded very good in Fargo.

A Voice From On High–nice as usual, harmonies were

I'll Be Your Baby Tonight–Southampton was a little
cleaner, but still great to hear

It's Alright, Ma–  on par with the rest of the week, I
still miss how this was a little more countrified
during the Asleep at the Wheel/Nashville Skyline set
list time frame (I guess I just miss all the teles and
the sound three years ago, in general)

Searching For A Soldier's Grave–  this seems to be
played at all the sound checks, so they are very good
at it, again, lovely harmonies

Honest With Me- Larry pulled out a different guitar
than we had seen for this song, a pimped out deluxe
upper and lower polished metal pickguards (not the
truckstop reflecto type), old Craftsman,
Harmony/Kay/Craftsman (this description from my
encyclopedic partner), for this great bluesy version
of this tune.

Quinn, The Eskimo – So great to hear this in 2 out of
4 shows.  I think either the version or the crowd in
Southampton made it more fun and danceable, but who's
grumping about getting to hear this choice? Not me.

It was about this time that I had had enough of the
front, having been hip-checked without any warning or
words-- no, literally pushed with the blanket I was
standing on pulled out from under me from a guy
helping someone in a wheelchair get to the front.  (I
noticed he made sure his wife next to me didn't have
to move and could see, meantime, 5 feet tall me was
thrown backwards.) I would have moved even without the
manhandling.  Anyway this entire scene caused all
sorts of bad blood with the audience in the area (mad
that others didn't move, mad that they were getting
pushed around), horrible energy, with no one,
including the wheel chair person, being accommodating
of or kind to anyone else, so I left the front and any
hope of seeing anything.  The rest of  this review is
courtesy of the first time ever I wasn't in the very
front, which had some very positive aspects for me
soundwise (and I could take some notes), once I got
over my initial disgruntledness over how people under
the guise of being kind to one person can be so mean
and disrespectful to other people and believe that it
is justified.

Moonlight– people were waltzing in the back near me,
song right on the money, straight down the line
version of the song from the CD

High Water–  Bob was posturing near Larry with lots of
half-smiling between the two.  Charlie was doing the
chop chop, stuff which sounded good.  I thought this
was the best rendition I had heard in the last few

Don't Think Twice, It's All Right–  whereas Bob spit
out these words in Omaha, here he used a very
soft-phrasing and husky voice, which worked well. 
Larry played a twangy lead. Bob played a just right
harmonica break or two.  This sounded clear and
pleasant from the very back of the stadium, though I
noticed through my binocs that the place was large
enough that their hands were out of sync with what I
was hearing (very disorienting for me, used to the
whole enchilada at each show–seeing the music as well
as hearing it, feeling the vibrations from their
guitars and on-stage monitors.)

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue–I haven't kept up enough
to know how rare it is to get this song, but I hadn't
heard it a long time and I really liked it.  Larry's
steel wafted across the field and it sounded dreamy
and lovely (really made the song)   Stand out delicate
fill-in work by Charlie, and Bob's leads were very
listenable and interesting.  I think this may have
been the most enjoyable song of the show for me.

Tangled Up In Blue–Having the two blue songs back to
back worked very well.  There was all sorts of
grinning interludes from the band at each other, and
they looked like they were having a terrific time. 
Although I couldn't really tell much difference
between this and any of the recent nights' versions,
it sounded good from the back, with a lot of
separation of the guitars.

Summer Days– this was a much much better rendition
than the previous two nights.  For one thing, in Sioux
Falls, it seemed like Charlie was turned way down in
the mix (or was it where I was standing or that I was
dancing like crazy?), but Charlie was loud and clear
in Fargo on all the songs, and he did a creative, but
it-fit solo.  The entire band and Bob, as usual for
this song, grinning and smiling and laughing together.

Make You Feel My Love– This song is too slow to be my
cup of tea, but with a huge sky of clouds and
lightening to the east, along with the big orange moon
coming up near the stage, the sweetness of the song
came through, and I tolerated the lack of boppiness
pretty well.

The Wicked Messenger–Dylan and the guys' obvious
enjoyment of this rock arrangement, and male-bonding
guitar attacks are worth seeing (if not hearing?), and
it's always fun when the band is having a good time.  
Still, most of the people in the crowd near me were
like "what was that?" (It's seems to make an
appearance at the sound checks, so I suspect it's fun
for the band.)

Rainy Day Women #12 & 35– solid and nice performance,
the band had their missions clear with a little less
improvising and a lot less getting lost from each
other than the night before. (less horsing around,
also.)   Dylan could just play a tape recording of his
band introductions, though, it's kinda funny how exact
the intonation and the pacing of the introductions,
for the most part, have been.

Encores–hey, no problem making points on the Dylan
pool on the encores the last three nights, what's up
Bob?  Still they sounded good, despite the fact that
the crowd was not too worked up like the night before
for these.

Like A Rolling Stone–  I was dancing with the leftover
Deadheads in the back on the lawn, sorry, no notes,
but I think it was fairly standard.

Knockin' On Heaven's Door– Dylan was himself (that's a
good thing); Charlie took a nice solo; Larry had the
pedal steel modulated just right; and the lightening
was big and nearby at this point.  Dylan didn't add
the third extra "knock" in the chorus every single
time (like he has been doing), so that did make me
take notice.

All Along The Watchtower– same, which is to say, fun
phrasing and good solos showcasing the guitar players'

Lest George and Tony think that they are
unappreciated, I have to again say that I really enjoy
hearing them and watching them.  George seems
accessibly happy, is fun to watch, and sounds like
he's been with these guys all along; and Tony also is
pretty much the only one to even send a smile out to
the audience at the outside shows (Larry maybe),
besides being able to keep the rest of the guys on
track when they occasionally get lost from each other
in missed ad libs, no small feat.  (Didn't happen this
show, but see my Sioux Falls review.)   So, yeah! to
you two.

Though it was an exciting idea, we decided to forego
the large Winnipeg arena show to which we did not yet
have tickets and head on home.  (The homogeneity of
both the set list and the arrangements also helped us
decide, which I'm sure ensures that Winnipeg will be
fabulous and unique.)  Fargo was a large enough town
that we were able to acquire the Slash recordings of
the Blasters that we had on the "to purchase" list
before any news on the tour.  So even as I type this,
we are boning up on what could be in store soon if the
rumors are all true.  (or are they not rumors
anymore?)  At any rate, if all is what I hear, we will
all be glad to have Charlie back in Texas with us, but
it begs the question of how I will follow any
sure-to-be wildy successful band that he starts AND
Dylan in the future.

Of course, the more immediate concern is how to get
tickets and figure out logistics to join back up with
the Never Ending Tour in October.

Until then, sending love to all those going on (safe
travels!) and those who can't be on the tour from the
sunflower fields and our current position passing back
through the land of Rocky Racoon.



Review by Bruce Pollock

I was there, and it was great.  The evening was perfect for the outdoor
concert in the Redhawk's Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo.  The moon was
full, the sky clear, the crowd was thick, and the mosquitoes were nil with
the audience, but Dylan appeared to may have been bitten, as he repeatedly
scratched the left side of his face throughout the concert.  It was a hot
evening, with everyone in summer apparel.  Bob wore a black long-sleeved
shirt--he must have been terribly warm.  Growing up in Minnesota, could he
have forgotten that winter is indeed cold, but the heat of summer does
come for a short time??  Or maybe he was smart enough to wear the
long-sleeved shirt to protect himself from the insects that were attracted
to the stage lights and our star for that night in August. Bob and his
band came on-stage with no ado and went right to what everyone was waiting
for--his brilliant production of music and unique singing.  Dylan sang
with enthusiasm and energy.  He moved to his own music, and smiled at the
very appreciative and receptive audience.  Many of the songs he performed
were from his newest releases.  When he performed his classics such as
Tangled Up in Blue, Rainy Day Women, Like a Rolling Stone, and Knockin' On
Heavens Door, the crowd sang along and cheered and waved and made sure
that Dylan knew these were obviously the favorites.  One song that
surprised me that Dylan sang was Quinn, The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn).  I
hadn't even realized that this was one of Dylan's own masterpieces, and it
was pure pleasure listening to a song that was not expected to be on the
set list.  After singing 15 songs that were vibrant and wholesome, the
lights went on, Dylan stood on the edge of the stage and accepted and
acknowledged the audience's praise and applause.  As expected, but never a
guarantee, Dylan returned to the stage after a brief disappearance, and
shook the stadium with his encore of three classics.  Once again he
presented himself to the audience for a few moments, by just standing and
nodding, and then he was gone. I had brought a large sign requesting the
song My Back Pages, which Dylan has been doing often on his set lists, and
waved it in the air after each song was done.  I was close enough to the
stage and it was still light enough outdoors for Dylan and his band to see
my appeal, but the song was not added to the list. But knowing Dylan, he
may love to perform, but he will not be easily persuaded to change his
pattern of doing what he alone chooses to say or sing.  It might be a fact
that in the crowd, my sign maybe wasn't noticed by the best songwriter in
the history of music, Mr. Bob Dylan, and Don't Think Twice, It's Alright
with me.  Dylan Rocks no matter what, when, or where.  It was a pleasure
to be in his audience and to hear and see him sing.  Thanks Bob Dylan.  


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