Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
First Union Center
November 21, 2002

[Mary], [Peter Stone Brown], [Nick], [Willy Gissen], [Brian Slattery]

Review by Mary

it was a foggy night, one hell of a foggy night but the light was there
somewhere.  we just had to drive and i was in charge.  yes, sir-re-Bob. 
the chick was the driver.  freaky. yes because the dudes car called an m3
or 3mbmw or something like that caught fire in his drive way the previous
night. a verry weird occurence to say the least.   so i was the captian of
the ship.  never panic was the call.  i can handle it. So we hopped in the
Coupe De Ville and off we were.
 you just relax, and enjoy the show.  was my motto to the first mate. So
 we ventured off to the show after some vittles, and brews.  i knew it was
 a matter of time before he could keep still, and he wouldn't shut-up
 during the whole show.  shut up!  shut up!  these controling men in my
 life can only control so much. " trust me" i said quietly.  "i'll get you
 to the show on time"  TeeeHHeeee.
The incence wer lit.the guitar tech tuned all the  guitars,and the show
had begun before we knew what hit us!

Bob was in White tonight.  OOOH Momma!  What a sight!
any way, Maggie's Farm was the opener, but "I'll remember You" just shook
the daylights out of me.  brought me to tears,  i mean that.  tears!  my
dear sweet Friend.  I'll remember you.  HIghway 61 was "Kickin'!" The wipe
out gang blew the roof of the place. The dude with me was busy takin walks
and gettin beers, and talkin a lot.  i'm trying to tell him i,ll listen to
you anytime, but right now i would like to listen to what Bob has to say.
Thank You.  ok "Accicdnetly Like A Marytr" Bob and the Boys' did with so
much feel to moved my soul.  Things have Changed wiped everyother
person off their seats.  I turned around and everyone was up.  Everyone! 
The Place was COOKIN'!  Brown Sugar was meltin all over the place.  Sorry,
Mick.  Better than you guys.  Bob knows how to build a fire.   Then....
Never Gonna Be the Same Again just lifted me off the floor.  I tell you no
lies.  This Man is Magic.  "Never Gonna Be the Same Again" was
breathtaking, yes, tearful, sad, as though he was resently hurt by a loved
one.  He could have looked into the soul of any one of us tonight.
.....You give me something to think about, baby....Don't worry, You taught
me how to love,  You taught me,oh,so well."  Thank you dear sweet Bob. 
After this song was over, some dude came over to me and said "Thank You"
to me.  Whhattt!!  "i think he was singing to you, lady"Oh, dear.  Do you
really think so.  "Man, He was lookin' right at ya!"  oh, dear.  silly

"It's Alright, Ma" was as straight as can be.  "That he not busy being
born,  Is busy dying."  Then, Girl from the North Country" was the
brightness of my day. (being i had a particually shitty day, but that's
another story.)   Sooo Sweet.  One question, Bob.  Why are you so good to

On with the review.  The Band had great fun with this one as did the
audience.  We were feeding off of each others feelings but They controlled
it. in a good way, with Cold Irons Bound.  Shelter from the Storm was so
inviting.  "Come in, she said.  I give ya shelter.... from the Storm" 
Warm.  This man had the place in a frenzy!  I love Neil Young and I love
this song.  Love to play it myself.  Bob and his Greatest Band in the Land
is serving it up so well.  Back to the keys for "Honest with Me" and then
" Just Like a Woman"!  Oh MY GOD!   ok.
  i can't stay in here
ain't it clear that- 
I just can't quit...  i guess you had to be there.  i wish you all were
there.  "HIghwater( for Charlie Patton) had me dancin like, well pretty
girls like to dance.  The way Bob does Warren's Mutineer is done with the
utmost respect.  A Great Song.  Grab your coat, let's get out of here. 
Bye and Bye had the crowd in a sway but the meaning of it seem a bit
unclear.  I've listened to this song over and over and one person
explained it somewhat to me, which made it seem sinister in a way.  Wanna
show you how loyal and true a man can be.  An eye opener. "Summer Days" ! 
Well Summer Days may be gone but, it's tremendously hot in the venues.  I
couldn't help myself.  I turned around and no one else in the place was
standing still either.  The Place was-a-JUMPIN' !!! Everyone was Smilin! 
Bob. Charlie. Larry. Tony.  the Drummer.  Good Drumming by the way.  The
Crowd.  Smiles everywhere.  Blowin' in the Wind, and All Along the
Watchtower were melt down for everyone.  i wish i had better writing
skills to discribe this show, in a simpler  way,but i'm no Mr. Brown. 
Just a simple country gal who will probably be at the next show in this
neck of the wood.  If he cares to come back here.  Please Do, Bob.  You
are always welcome to come here.  As i took my first mate home,  he kept
saying to me. "I love you mary, man, i'm gonna tell your husband he has
the best wife in the world." Silly boys.



Review by Peter Stone Brown

The first time Bob Dylan played the once upon a coal mining town of
Wilkes-Barre, PA was just a little over 10 years ago, November 1st to be
exact, at a fairly small theater called the Kirby Center.  That was back
in the wondering what was going to happen days of the Never Ending Tour
when he was just starting to get back whatever it was had seemingly
vanished the previous year.  Two songs that night stick out in my mind
because of Dylan's guitar playing, "Don't Think Twice" and "Watching The
River Flow."  Things have changed a lot since then.

An annoying rain was falling after an annoying ride through Philadelphia
which for some undetermined reason seemed mired in traffic in the middle
of the afternoon and just as we hit the Northeast Extension of the
Pennsylvania Turnpike, one of the worst roads ever built, the rain started
and it was the kind of rain that required constant switching of wiper
speeds from slow to fast to intermittent and back again.  And it was also
the kind of rain that got the roads just wet enough for good hydroplaning
action and never wet enough to get any real speed happening.  

The First Union Center was right off the interstate so we never had to
actually go into Wilkes-Barre proper and instead went on a wild goose
chase in search of our restaurant meeting place passing endless malls,
MacDonald's and Home Depots.  Of course the restaurant was where it was
supposed to be right around the corner from the arena.  We finally arrived
at the arena minutes before the scheduled show time to find it nowhere
near full though by the end of the night floor revealed few empty seats.

After the announcement, Dylan appeared in a grey suit that turned white as
soon as the stage lights went on, and went right into a "Maggie's Farm"
that seemed every bit as strong as the one six days before in Philly.  He
seemed a bit looser than he had at the big city shows, New York and
Philly, his left leg never touching the ground for most of the song, and
on the last verse really emphasizing the line "I get bored."  

The second song, "I'll Remember You," was something of a surprise and this
was probably the best version I've seen Dylan do, free of the extra
excesses of the album.  A charged up "Highway 61 Revisited" came next with
superb guitar from Charlie Sexton, playing a blue Telecaster.  For
whatever reason, my seats were at the perfect angle to really watch what
Sexton (who stood out all night) was doing, and his first solo was
reminiscent of Robbie Robertson - not what Robertson played on the song on
Tour '74, but what Robertson might have played if the song were performed
in '65 or '66.  One of the things that makes Sexton particular interesting
is the way he alternates between fingerpicking and using a flat pick in
the same song, and sometimes during a solo.  Larry Campbell took the
second solo, which was a bit more refined, but just as exciting.

Then came the night's transcendent moment, the one song I'd been hoping to
see, "Accidentally Like  Martyr," and it was beautiful, Dylan singing with
real care, watching his vocal and watching the band as well, and putting
everything he had in him on the table when he sang the line, "time out of

"Things Have Changed" kept the momentum going, and again Dylan was really
putting out, almost shouting out, "all hellllllllll to break loose," then
"jitterbug RAG" and then on the last verse, "I used to care, YESSS, but
things have changed."

"Brown Sugar" may have been the most fun version of the four shows I saw,
and Dylan was clearly having fun especially on the line "How come you
taste so good." 

Then came another sort of surprise, "Never Gonna Be The Same Again," and I
started wondering when was the last time Dylan did two songs from "Empire
Burlesque" in the same night, and also wondering if he'd been told about
the not-so-complimentary thread on the album on RMD.  Every once in a
while these things happen.  In any case, it was the arrangement of the
song he's been pulling out ever since Worcester, but where the one in
Worcester seemed constantly in danger of imminent collapse this one held
together a bit better.  There was one lyric change in the song (I think on
the last verse) where he sang the line, "Your touch was like a baby/Your
heart broke like the wind."

Then it was back to the piano for an "It's Alright Ma," that was good but
did not have the anger or the nastiness that was quite present in New York
and Philly.  In fact, the political implications and overtones of those
shows were barely present in Wilkes-Barre.

A rather exquisite "Girl From the North Country Followed," but
unfortunately it served as a cue for the chatterers to start chattering
and the beer drinkers to get up and get beer and food.

"Cold Irons Bound," came next and again Sexton really stood out, this time
playing a black Epiphone hollow body, and then it was back to acoustics
for "Shelter From the Storm," which started out pretty strongly.  However
Dylan sang the "Silver bracelets on your wrists" verse twice in a row, and
totally flubbed his cue for the repeat of the first verse, but did play a
rather awesome two verse harp solo, but he did make the line "if only I
could TURN BACK THE CLOCK" stand out wonderfully.  

From then on the rest of the show was, well, a show on this tour, which
means pretty damn good.

Of the cover songs I've seen, "Old Man" just seems too much like a cover. 
"Just Like A Woman" cried out for a harp solo that didn't happen, and
Dylan's two-verse guitar solo never found what he was looking for.

"High Water" was interesting because Dylan was putting more emphasis on
the actual verses rather than the "rough out there," "bad out there"
parts, as in "Water pourin' into Vicksburg, don't know what I'm gonna

"Mutineer" again was just beautiful, and if there's one song on this tour,
that seems to truly be the special moment and performed well consistently,
this is it.  Dylan has truly made it his own.

"Bye and Bye" on the other hand never really seemed to get going and it
felt like it should have been done earlier in the set.

"Honest with Me" found Dylan rushing through the first part of each line,
barely making it fit only to stretch it out at the end and considering
he's done this song every show, at one point he totally blew a verse, but
ultimately it didn't matter.

"Summer Days" didn't seem to have the energy, particularly in Dylan's
vocal of the other versions I saw on this tour and only took off when they
hit the guitar solo.

While Wilkes-Barre did not have the emotional intensity of New York and
Philly, in some ways it was more of a fun show, and the energy level
stayed higher for a longer period.

There is no doubt in my mind that Dylan made a smart move in revamping the
show and switching to keyboards for many of the songs.  And of course
throughout this tour there have been surprises, big and small.  Hopefully
the rumors surrounding this tour are just that - rumors.

If there's one change that's needed, it's that the pacing of the setlists
with the switching from electric to acoustic to piano needs to be refined.
 At times, for all the shows I saw there were parts particularly later in
the sets where things dragged when they shouldn't have and songs that
should have been high points were just okay.

Outside the arena, the rain had stopped, but started up the minute we hit
the PA Turnpike for downhill ride to Philly.  And in Philadelphia where
today the mayor announced a projected a $612 million budget deficit and
the loss of a couple of thousand city jobs, a hard rain was falling.


Review by Nick

Great show! Bob and Band were great. P.A. sound and acoustics of a probably
less than half-filled hall (what's going on Wilkes-Barre?) were no where near
as good as Philadelphia - 11/15/02 show.  Well, at least where I was seated.
The floor seats may have received better sound. Very attentive and appreciative
crowd. Sat between two families, which always makes me happy to see young
people at Dylan shows.

Selfishly would have liked something other than "Maggie's Farm to open, since
that's what opened Philadelphia, but one of the other thrills in my
daughter, is named I'll take it. 

I'll Remember You was a nice surprise and done well. 

Highway 61 never fails whether barnstorming or driving ahead with a mission,
like tonight's version. 

I was hoping to hear Accidentally Like A Martyr or Carrying A Torch, and knew
one should show up. Accidentally Like A Martyr sounded good, though I think
some of the booming sound took some of the sweet touch out of it. 

Things Have Changed and he makes no mistake in letting you know. 

Never Gonna Be The Same had the pauses, which I liked. Nice guitar from Bob
during the silence, though this time it was an acoustic and I believe during
the summer he played an electric guitar for this. People screamed when he sang
for them to. 

Brown Sugar did not get the whole crowd reaction it got last week in
Philadelphia where 20,000 stood in unison within' the first five seconds of the
song, but it still sounded strong. 

It's Alright, Ma had some more purposeful stops in it than I remember from
Philadelphia and the music and words fit together the way they should. 

Girl From North Country, Shelter From The Storm and Just Like A Woman were all
treated very tenderly and seemed to be appreciated by the attentive audience.
At the beginning of GFNC I heard a lady in front of me say he's whispering
which had most paying attention except for a group of chatterboxes taking up a
few rows directly in front and to the right of me. Very soft and captivating
take on this song. 

Shelter From The Storm was extra nice especially when we were treated to the
only harp solo of the night which eventually made it's way to a nice country
sounding end. 

Before we got Shelter, we were Cold Irons Bound and it may have been lukewarm.
I am partial to being blown off my feet when I first heard the start/stop
version at Stanhope in July 2000. 

I was happy to hear the crisp version of Old Man, as it wasn't played last week
in Philadelphia. 

Honest With Me and Highwater, like Things Have Changed, once again showed the
wonderful songs Bob has created during the past couple years, and how even his
new songs can change a bit. It would be hard to not be a fan of these songs
even if tonight, or  any of these nights, were the first time you heard these
songs. I'm not positive, but instead of "it's rough, tough out there", I could
have sworn I heard "it's safe, tough out there" once. 

Mutineer again is touching and I hope the "let's get out of here" line isn't
part of the reason it's been a fixture in the setlist. 

Bye and Bye was a first for me, nothing spectacular as far as I could tell, and
meant soon we would be saying bye.  Of course as with Mutineer I hope none of
these lines are suppose to be telling us something.

One of the families earlier mentioned were at the show because it was the
thirteen year old guitar playing son's idea. I had binocular's with me and sent
them this kid's way most of the night as I think he was amazed by Larry,
Charlie and the amount of instruments passing through their hands. In fact, I
heard a lot of comments from people before the show about the amound of guitars
surrounding the stage. Anyway, Summer Days was one of the many guitar treats
for this kid to experience. It was a great version that as usual kept going.
Charlie once again kicked George's cymbals and I think Tony not only did the
hurt his back thing, but basically did a prat fall that had him almost on the
ground and Larry cracking up. The band did seem to have lots of fun throughout
the night and smiles were on the stage a lot.

Both of the two song that made up the encore were not anti-climatic to me as
others have expressed from previous shows. Blowin' In The Wind prompted the
couple of the other family next to me, who had their seven or so year old
daughter with them, to have a special moment. I remember how pre-9/11 we would
usually be sent away with the wist of hope that something Blowin' In The Wind
might make things better. Now we are told we better keep lookout from the

I'd say this was a very enjoyable show with a different setlist for me.
Philadelphia seem to have a little bit of an audience energy edge and better
P.A./acoustic sound. This show was great to sit back and soak it all in. It
looked like the floor was into it and standing up the whole time. Bob
acknowledged those up front a lot and Charlie also gave those close to the stage
a couple appreciative gestures and tributes while playing.

Hope next time to not have some of the side view cable and floor mounted
obstructions that don't block everything, but slightly get in the way. For some
people those floor monitors on the side corners of the stage must totally block
their view of Bob, Tony and who knows what else. Actually, I should probably
just hope that there is a next time. 

Thanks Bob! It's always such a special treat!! 



Review by Willy Gissen

A Dylan Diary, Wilkes-Barre

November 22, Wilkes-Barre-This was my final Dylan concert this tour in my
(personally) unprecedented eight concerts in 13 days. What can I say? I
greeted it with a mixture of sadness and accomplishment. It was more
difficult than I thought driving up and down the East Coast, and it gave
me some measure of how difficult it must be for Bob to do it over a period
of months. Touring, I now realize, is not all fun and games. The traveling
is exhausting, and there's the additional pressure of an audience and
critics to appease. I used to note that Dylan sometimes has off nights;
now, I understand why.

Additionally, I've now confirmed from more than one source a rumor that
this is Dylan's last tour for a while, if not permanently. Personally, I
think that this tour has been Dylan's best ever, but it would be just like
him to confound his critics and go out while on top. I thought I could see
his exhaustion on the stage tonight, and he is over 60. And I could see
his reaction tonight when he sang, "I'm painting the town red, I'm on my
last go round."

There's not much new to report from tonight's concert. There was the usual
treat of a special song(s); this time my favorite was from Empire
Burlesque, "I'll Remember You." And it was far from a sellout so I was
able to move up real close to the stage, having a floor ticket to begin
with. It was a nice way to conclude my trip.

I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to Bob Dylan. Bob, thank
you for the role you've played in my life through the journey of
discovering your songs and feeling that somebody understood through your
lyrics. Thank you for not compromising and your honesty for telling us the
way things really are. Thank you for sharing your Christianity with us but
not beating us over the head with it in recent years. You made me a
Christian, Bob; you've saved my life; you've been there when no one else
seemed to care. You've helped me through broken hearts; you've stopped me
from becoming hard and bitter. You've been a rallying point for me, and
you've been part of my identity. But through it all, you've affirmed me
and told me to trust myself. And you've done it in so many times. Here's
five songs and lyrics that have been extra special to me.


Death is Not the End

A Simple Twist of Fate

Trust Yourself

When You Gonna Wakeup

Shelter from the Storm


How long can you hate yourself for the weakness you conceal?

They'll kill him with self-confidence after poisoning him with words.

From darkness, dreams are deserted.

There's only one road, and it leads to Calvary.

And don't go mistaking Paradise for that home across the road.

Thank you, Bob, for pouring out your soul to us. I urge you to keep on
touring, but if you don't, your true fans will remember and understand.

Willy Gissen


Review by Brian Slattery

Well, I was able to get in one more show before the end of this year's concerts, 
and I'm glad I did.  The trip to Wilkes-Barre from my cousin's house in the 
Poconos was an easy one, although the mountains wreaked havoc with my ears, and 
the fog made for an interesting ride through the mountains.  My cousin went to 
the show, even though he's not a Dylan fan, and afterwards he told me that it was 
better than he expected.  I haven't won him over yet but he did ask for the song 
titles so he could check out some studio versions.  So, I will continue in my 
quest to bring people into the fold.

Bob came on at 7:45 and started with "Maggie's Farm."  As I said in the review I 
did for the Philly concert, I won't bore you with details on songs that were 
repeated in the four shows I saw, unless something really stands out.  If you are 
interested in hearing my thoughts on those songs, and I know you are, check out
those reviews.  Anyway, after a solid opener, expecting "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere," 
"I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," or a cover, I was happy to hear "I'll Remember You," 
a great song I have never heard live before tonight.  The arrangement was different, 
of course, but Bob gave it a nice treatment, delivering the words with what seemed 
to be genuine emotion.  Then, expecting "Tombstone Blues," I was surprised to hear 
"Highway 61 Revisited" in the third slot.  It got a good reaction from the crowd, 
and was well-played.  It was interesting to hear this done with the keyboards, and 
was a nice switch from "Tombstone" which I heard in the three other shows I saw 
last week.  

After a new arrangement of "Highway" Bob did the first cover of the night, 
"Accidentally Like A Martyr," one of my top five favorite Warren Zevon songs.  
The performance seemed a little ragged and rough around the edges, but it was a 
treat just to hear it, so I'm not complaining.

Bob followed this personal highlight, despite its few minor flubs and flaws, with 
"Things Have Changed" and "Brown Sugar."  These were both crowd pleasers, and 
appeared in the same slots as most shows, if not all, in the past two months.  
Then, for the first acoustic song of the night, Bob and the boys did a fine 
rendition of "Never Gonna Be The Same Again."  This was never one of my favorites, 
but on hearing it again live, and paying attention to the lyrics, it is, like many 
Dylan songs, a very well-written song that gets over-looked by most casual 
listeners of Dylan's music.

"It's Alright, Ma" came next, followed by a tender "Girl of the North Country."  
I thought we might get some harp in this one, but Bob didn't reach back, although 
I saw him move one over while the lights were out, before they started this amazing 
song.  Again, I'm not complaining, just returning to my personal feeling that a 
harp solo brings a song up to another level.  Regardless, Bob and the boys really 
nailed this one, and it got a fitting response from the crowd.  "Cold Irons Bound" 
followed next, in the spot it shared with "Wicked Messenger" and "Drifter's."  Then, 
as Bob has been doing these past few weeks, he did "Shelter from the Storm."  He 
did the same arrangement as he's been doing, but brought this song to another level, 
at least in my humble opinion, when he reached back for the harp and gave a great 
harp solo before returning for the last verse.  This had most of the appreciative 
crowd on their feet.

"Old Man" and "Honest With Me" were both played well, with a little more jamming on 
"Honest" than the versions I've seen this tour or heard on mp3.  Before the next 
song, I saw Bob move a harmonica closer to where he stood at the microphone, and so 
I expected a solo.  When "Just Like A Woman" started, with Bob on acoustic guitar, 
I was sure we'd get one.  However, like the other night in Philly when I saw the 
same thing before "Don't Think Twice," Bob opted for a jam at the end but no harp 
solo.  The performance was stellar, even without the harp.  I'm curious to know 
what inspires Bob to pick it up or forego doing a solo.  Whatever the case, it was 
a great performance.  I'd have to hear a tape of it to compare to last week's 
Garden version, although that's not really necessary.  Both were done with great 
skill and power.  There's nothing to compare.  There's just two versions to enjoy 
and to listen to in amazement of this master song writer.

"High Water," "Mutineer," "Bye and Bye," and "Summer Days" rounded out the set.  
All were competently played, and it was nice to hear "Bye And Bye" again. I'm not 
sure, but it seemed like there was something going on in between songs during these 
numbers.  Bob kept looking at the cue sheet, and walking back behind the amps.  I 
don't know if something was wrong, if he had to cough, or if he simply needed to 
confer about something, but it was odd.  It didn't take away from the show, but it 
did make me wonder if Bob was a little road weary, or if there was something else 
going on last night.  Given the two months on the road, it isn't hard to imagine 
Bob feeling the effects, especially so close to some much deserved time off. 
"Summer Days" started out a little rough, with Bob missing the first line, but it 
quickly gained momentum and made up for any flubbed lines in the extended jam.  
Then, the lights came up, and Bob and the band left the stage.

They returned soon after for "Blowin' in the Wind" and "All Along the Watchtower."  
Both these songs were performed with the usual emotion and power behind them.
After "AATW" the lights came up, Bob and the boys stood, soaking up the applause, 
then they were gone.  The cheers continued until the house lights came up.  Bob and 
the boys were off to another joint, heading south to Virginia and one last show for 
the year.  I know I'm not alone as I wait for the spring tour to be announced.  
Until then, I have my concert memories and a growing number of live mp3's to hold 
me over. 
If you have any comments about my review or just want to talk Dylan, give me an 
email at

Brian J. Slattery


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