Bob Dylan 2000.07.03 in Albuquerque, NM
Mesa Del Sol Amphitheater, 5601 University Blvd. SE.
Subject: Albuquerque Review (Bob Speaks) From: Tatmot firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 04 Jul 2000 17:07:18 GMT The chance to meet Bob fell through. More on that when I figure out exactly why and how. I don't know whether it was "Bob's People" or something on our end. I knew it was too good to be true, so on to this incredible show! We arrived early even though we had good seats, and I'm glad we did. They opened the gates for the cars at about 5:00, and we parked and headed for the walk-in gates. Mesa Del Sol is a brand new amphitheatre with state of the art sound, and that sound is still excellent when you are standing in line. They wouldn't let us in while because the sound check was in progress, and I heard an outstanding "Somebody Touched Me" while waiting. Amazing vocal. I knew we were in for something special. I went to the show anticipating some of the songs that are on the recent set lists that I haven't heard live (or at all, for that matter) like Rank Strangers, Somebody Touched Me, Long black Veil, etc. It turns out that Heike's right. On a night like this, the set list is practically inconsequential. The list seemed to have more of a "greatest hits" quality to it than some of his most recent shows, but Bob is more comfortable singing these songs than he has been since before the Slow Train Comin' tour. Nothing sounded obligatory; not even LARS. The opener surprised me; I had it down to about four songs and didn't expect Elizabeth Cotton's "Oh, Babe, It Ain't No Lie". Bob came out in his black suit with the stripe down the legs, a blue shirt, a white tie and (what IS that footwear? Rattlesnake?) black and white boots. Where did this powerful voice come from? The only version I had heard of this song was from the performance page of bobdylan.com, and this was a much tighter band and a rejuvenated Bob. Then came "Stone Walls and Steel Bars" and again I'm struck by how tight the band is and how I can hear and understand every word of Bob's uniquely phrased vocal. Then the stunner of the evening came along. I couldn't have prepared myself for such a moving rendition of "Masters Of War." This is the first time that the audience took their seats, and the deadheads even stopped dancing. Bob delivered this one like he just wrote it yesterday; it was that fresh and he sounded inspired in singing it. I can't explain it, but I was weeping by the time he finished singing. Again, the band hasn't missed a lick and Charlie's Dobro added a lot. I was recovering during "Love Minus Zero" but his phrasing here gave me chills anyway -- "no success like FALE - yerrrrrrrrr" -- and I finally came down from Masters during the reworked and totally enjoyable "Taaaaaaannnnnnngled Up In Blue." Bob played with the lyrics and the pronouns here but it would take a much sharper mind than mine to keep up with them all and report them back to you. Sorry. The last number in the acoustic set was "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" and I was delighted to see Bob pull out the harp this early in the show. He played a jaunty version of the familiar chorus on the harp, leaning and dancing one way and then the other from line to line. Very animated. The electric set opened with Country Pie, as expected. Not a favorite of mine, but delightful phrasing again. I thought at this point we might steamroll through a few numbers, but got goosebumps instead over a totally unexpected, "If Not for You", "Down in the Flood" and then "She Belongs to Me". Someone posted in an earlier review that the band seemed more adept at backing off for Bob's vocals to shine through, and that was proven to me in these three songs. I would say, though, that if there was a moment where the instrumentation was less than perfect, it was in "If Not For You". I think Bob lost his place on the guitar for a few seconds. Then, BOB SPEAKS! I think I have this word for word. Bob comes to the edge of the stage and announces, "I'd like to say hi to the president of our territorial fan club down here, Miss Linda Lou." Then he can't find her down front. Security has been sending people back to their assigned seats all night. Bob continues: "Looks like somebody hustled her away. I wish she'd come back!" (Big smile). The band rocked the house with "Drifter's Escape" which I would have never imagined would be such a burning rocker -- what a transformation -- before cementing their position as a great rock band with a burning "Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat." After the song, the boys stood, expressionless, facing the audience for about a minute before leaving the stage. Then Larry left first, followed by Bob and the rest of the band. The first encore consisted of four songs, "Most Likely You'll Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)". Again, the kind of phrasing that just tickles your spine. A very professional "Like A Rolling Stone". Bob got out an acoustic guitar and they went for "Mr. Tambourine Man" and I would not have expected this song could move me after all these years, but Bob almost whispers it, enunciating beautifully in what turned out to be a highlight of the evening. Then a rocking "Highway Siiiiiiixxxxxty-one" and again the band faces the audience for a minute, Bob expressionless, but grins all around from the rest of the band. Larry exits. Everybody follows. I think it might be over, but we try. The boys return! We get an acoustic "Blowin' in the Wind" with some excellent harmonies. This morning I contacted a few casual former Dylan fans who I badgered into going to the show and they ALL were moved to tears by this point in the show as floods of memories from their younger days and old friends filled their hearts. This is probably a better way to judge a show (and Bob's power as an artist) than by those of us who still follow his every move. Absolutely Heartwarming. I like Phil Lesh. I really do. There is no way, however, that he could follow Bob on this night. Even the deadheads stayed on their feet throughout Bob's set after Masters, but twenty minutes into Phil's first jam and most of them were seated and chatting amiably with each other waiting for something credible to happen onstage. It did, after about 45 minutes we were treated to a marvelous rendition of the old Traffic standard, "The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys" but it wasn't really worth the wait. A night to remember. Thanks, Bob. "I've paid the price of solitude, but at least I'm out of debt." Tom