Bob Dylan 970815 in Holmdel, New Jersey
Subject: Mr. D. Aug 15 in Holmel, a quick mini-review From: Martin (mgolan@INTERNETMCI.COM) Date: Sat, 16 Aug 1997 01:46:16 -0700 Just returned from Mr. Zim at PC Arts Center in Holmdel (N.J.) and must say this: After hearing tonight's versions of Just Like a Woman, Tambourine Man, Like a Rolling Stone, Blind Willie Mctell, and another I can't recall, if I drop dead the instant I hit the send key, I will die a very happy man. Actually, RMD is corrupting me. It's the first Dylan concert in my life during which I did not keep a setlist, rationalizing that I'll check it with this group, which I am new to, online. Now, too exhausted but too Dylan-high to sleep, I decide I must post a quick note, to sing the concert's praises, and I can't remember what he played to put in my post.. Anyway, I look forward to reading other posts on tonight's concert, but not now, I have to go listen to some music. I'll start with the Real Live version of Tangled Up (Oh, that was the other one, but he used the words from BOTT). We're so lucky to have the D. Martin Golan
Subject: Re: Mr. D. Aug 15 in Holmel, a quick mini-review From: danv (email@example.com) Date: 16 Aug 1997 14:14:16 GMT Organization: Netcom ... the show opened with a superb 'sweet marie'...this song is a great opener, bob was in great voice, really strong. a beautiful 'lay lady lay'. 'tough mama' was quite good...solid 'just like a woman' as always, a highlight 'silvio' rocked! 'tambourine man'....beautiful. 'tangled...' as always...magnificent words cannot describe bob's version of 'cocaine', really nice... 'river flow...' rocking country fire 'blind willie mctell'...stunning! 'pill box hat' rocking blues the show was very strong throughout. even 'like a rolling stone' which the last time i heard it (4/13/97) was a shambles, was truly marvelous. bob played an incredible harp solo on 'my back pages'...so sweet! and believe it or not....'RDW' jammed and brought the house down! the band has jelled and is really tight. david is much more than a time keeper now. larry is great. he adds so much. bucky and tony....well....they are their usual great. the rhythm is very tight and bob, well, all those shows of practicing his leads is paying off. he was burning it up. he is starting to arrive at the place he's been aiming for for the last couple of years. and we were treated to one of bob's humorous asides during the intros...when he introduced bucky he used the old mayor of west virginia line and added something to the effect of...'good to one of those kind of guys in the group'...ha ha ha only downside of the show was the venue. the sound is terrible there. very strange for a venue supposedly designed for music. outside on the grass is the best sound, but it is distant. up close sounds good, but only because you get the stage sound. a beautiful summer night too! ani defranco is a real talent. BR5-49 are truly enjoyable as well. as ani put it, those guys are too country for country radio...if you go (and you should, even you hard core bob was only good in the sixties types) catch both openers....all in all a great evening of music. i took my six year old daughter...her first show and she loved all of it. she says to me, 'that girl is really good', but after about 5 of ani's tunes she says to me...'when is bob coming on?' she's got it over all of us....been listening to bob since she was in her mom's womb...how many of us can say that?
Subject: Holmdel Aug. 15. REVIEW From: Zoner13 (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: 16 Aug 1997 19:32:24 GMT Opening act
Ani Defranco , and then Dylan took the stage. The main problem I had was the size of this place, and all the consequences. We were truly lucky this spring! I had so-so reserved seats, but I was along a row, so people were cutting in front of me every 4 seconds to go God Knows Where. (Can't you hold it for 90 minutes when He is on stage?!!!) I also thought the sound seemed poorly mixed. Perhaps this is the necessary side effect to playing to this big of a place, but I'd really like to hear from people with great seats, down close. How did the performance compare to other recent shows? (This show really taught me a lot about how seating assignment can effect perceptions of a show. Even a bad performance probably SEEMS great if you're right down there front and center.) Anyway, enough of my bitching. Here's the show: SWEET MARIE was a great opener, and the crowd really got into it. More energy than usual for a first song. (Except for Jokerman in '94, which I think is a great rocking opener.) And Lay Lady Lay was really nice. This band is still tight. (And I LIKE Larry Campbell!) And then the surprise of the night, in my eyes, Tough Mama. I knew it was coming, from the playlists, but that sound! It sounded EXACTLY like Planet Waves. (Except for The Voice, of course.) I was expecting a new Dylan arrangement, where I wouldn't be POSITIVE it was Tough Mama until he started singing. But it's a great performance of a semi-forgotten song. It's nice to see Bob pick up old songs and have fun with them again -- not unlike You Ain't Goin' Nowhere, which he didn't play. (Damn!) Then came one of several crowd pleasers in JUST LIKE A WOMAN. I've always liked this song, and could probably listen to it 1000 times in concert. He did a pretty good job, it seemed, but I REALLY wish the sound on the vocal mix was better. The best vocal of the night, I think, belongs to COCAINE, where Dylan almost whispers the song, (can he sense his words have been lost in the mix earlier?) -- and there is a nice echo of The Voice across the crowd. A really great song, and one to cherish on those tapes. It sounds like that whisperlike singing of Lone Pilgrim or Delia. (What EMOTION the old man can still blow out those rusty pipes!) (Another treat was the guitar work at the end of all those accoustic numbers. It was like a hypntotic swirl. Only after awhile do you notice -- Jesus, this is really great. I thought the guitar work was the highlight of the night. Again, I think Campbell and Dylan make a fine combo. Campbell lays a nice foundation that Dylan can experiment in.) Another great vocal perforamance was ROLLING STONE, which really had the crowd rocking. It was about that time when the crowd started yelling out the words along with Bob (always too soon), and he really got into it, playing along. (At one point they filled in the words, "Pawn in, babe," and Dylan just said, "Yeah," and went on.) During Rolling Stone, I finally had to admit that maybe this tour is a departure from what we've been used to (blessed with) in recent years -- the small venues, the intimate sound. This was a rock concert, dammit! With that it mind, I could quit acting like sour grapes every time somebody walked in front of me with a gigantic pretzel and beer. I had a really good time through the other encores (My Back Pages! Wow!), and even went through the charade of dancing around during the last song -- you know, Everybody Must Get Stoned. I am going to Jones Beach tomorrow, and am going to leave all my old memories and preconceptions (Back in my day he played highschool gyms, and we were front row, blah blah blah) at the door, and enjoy one helluva rock concert. I'll keep ya posted. Take care! Zoner
Subject: Dylan 8/15/97 and the fabulous Hormel show spammers! From: Small Change (email@example.com) Date: Sat, 16 Aug 1997 15:27:43 -0400 Organization: New Jersey Computer Connection, Lawrenceville, NJ Exhilarating show! As usual Bob and the band were magnificent. Larry Cambell's electic Bozukie on Blind Willie McTell really sounded clean. I like his fiddle play'in too, especially on My Back Pages with refreshing trade-off with Bob on harmonica. Contrary to earlier reports, I thought the sound was great about 30 rows back. We sneaked up to the tenth row after Ani's set and listened to the first 3 songs before getting sent back. The sound was really bad there and (even though they usually use the first few songs to get warmed up anyway) Bob and the band sounded much better at our orignal seats. The weather under the saucer for the first two acts was fit for damp dish towels, but a nice breeze was blowing half-way through the Bob's set. The three sirens swaying in front of us were real nice addition to the show. The swill drinking stick-in-the-mud people behind 2 row behind us were not having a good time and decided to vent on damsels (3 rows in front of them, and not even in thier view!) throughout the show. I finally turned around and said "HEY, TURN THAT FUCKNOZZLE OFF! NIXONS DEAD" but their brain was bleeding to be a arena heckler so...it continued, even into the encore where they were the only ones sitting down! :-( I just can't see why they think sitting down at a Bob show is considered their right, or give them the right to make everyone around listen to their no-fun screed spewed maliciously. I would really like to see seperate seating for the no-funs in future shows (next to the giant monolith budwizer adverts, which I believe are silently making past, present, and future brains bleed) Really looking forward to the Mann on Wednesday, yeah! Philly's great! I'm going to the brewpubs first to drink some really bitter cask-conditioned beer. This time I'll think I'll pass on seeing the other acts. There were many teenage girls screaming on the beginning of most of Ani's songs, it added a nice Beatlemania atmosphere to the overall show. joe
Subject: Holmdel 8/15 From: Jim Guide (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Sat, 16 Aug 1997 17:13:53 -0400 Was on my way home from work when my car suddenly drove to the Arts Center. Last concert I'd been to was Nineteen Hunerd and Eighty One- Robert Zimmerman. Many very sweet young things on the lawn. Thought wow Bob has really bridged generations, but then realized most of them probably showed up for that Ani DeFranco person. They sure were pretty though. When the lights went down for the main act I was hit with a strange lightheaded wave of something. Does this guy really mean that much to me? I couldn't tell if the saucer of the Arts Center was gigantic miles across, or the size of a dinnerplate. No narcotics or alcohol, neither. For some reason, I've never really listened to Absolutely Sweet Marie. It sounded like it sounded good, but unless I know the song I can't really say. So many of his songs I've been almost indifferent to upon first hearing- & they just keep working on ya untli they're like self-evidently consummate. Lay Lady Lay really needs that messed-up perfect voice he originally sang it in, but it was good to hear it. From where I was he was about 1/3 of an inch big, but I could see he certainly stood like Bob Dylan would stand. Walked too. I was happy to hear Tough Mama starting. They played it just like Planet Waves. The extremely, extremely enticing human next to me really threw it around on "meat shaking on your bones". So it looks like I'm becoming an old letch. Well, Bob is too. Just think of his Wilbury's songs. "Ohh Baby, you're such a tasty treat. But I'm under doctor's orders I'm afraid to overeat". This girl next to me never even glanced at me while the college twit she was with just took it all for granted, just assumed he should be the one with her. Just Like a Woman. Some songs I really can't hear anymore. Silvio rocked. Strong chords with cool pauses. The man reworked the chorus, different phrasing but just as good. It was a quick "silvio" rather than "silllllvioo". And it was "can't buy back the beat.......of a heart grown cold" instead of "can't buybackthe beat ofaheartgrowncold". The drummer, who on many songs was way in the background, banged it up on Silvio. Mr. Tambourine Man- I don't know. Can't really hear it. And the man should've planted his face a few inches further from the mike on the "Hey!" of "Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man". Sounded like a dog getting shot. Tangled Up in Blue was just great. The band was jangling. The man was throwing in tons of phrasing tricks but I could sing along anyhow! I figured his pattern out and just sang it. I felt good then. Cocaine Blues- I was confused. I guess this will be on the new album? Had a nice Delta feel, but it seemed to be an I Like Drugs thing. Someone tell me it's not. I couldn't decode the words other than "Cocaine, all around my brain". Coulda been me, but Watching the River Flow was messed, indistinct. Blind Willie McTell was fantastic, man. They did it full electric. It was apeshit. Someone said he was singing "But I know one thing/No-one can sing/the blues like/Blind Willie McTell" The lead guitarist was hitting clean chords in the coolest way. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat started off nicely. First verse and chorus very funny. But then my attention wandered. Bob's guitar was way up on the mix and it sounded like he was drumming on one note. I couldn't believe they walked off then. I felt we were maybe halfway to the encore. But looking over the lists at 'Expecting Rain' it seems he invariably does 14 songs a night & Leopard was #11. Probably me but Like a Rolling Stone was just flung out there. I've known and loved at least four versions of it, but maybe it's finally on my Can't Hear Anymore list. My Back Pages- 3/4 through he takes out the harp. The band quiets way down and the harmonica achieves true lonesomeness. A breezy summer night, clouds moving fast across a bright cratered moon, and the man's harmonica crying. Rainy Day Women (Everybody Must Get Stoned)- can't hear it anymore, but they did an extended jam which was pretty good. Bob was last off the stage, making some sort of gesture like a drunken pope. Walked off real slow. Within 3 minutes his buses were pulling out. Seemed like only a business at that moment. We got the cash let's go. Drove home in my rusted Colt feeling mostly bummed out. But now the memory of it is pleasin. Jim Guide email@example.com
Subject: Re: 8/15 New Jersey From: Motie2 (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: 17 Aug 1997 03:30:20 GMT Thoughts about the concert at PNC Arts Center 8/15, tenth time seeing Dylan: Bob was wearing light colored pants!!! Nothing like a brush with the grim reaper to revitalize a man. He was so much older then; he's younger than that now. I've seen him play more screaming grinning deathshead full bore pedal to the metal rock and roll, but not better. Dad is still way out ahead of Jakob, (no surprise there, notwithstanding Jakob's amazing performance with the Wallflowers on the same stage a few weeks back.) The Bucky Baxter Band still kicks ass, and Tony (on bass) astounds. When Bob and Co. were playing as a band unplugged (amped, but acoustic instruments) they were even hotter than when they were electric. Blind Willy McTell was done as a stomp.... and the best riff of the evening. The story on Ani DiFranco, whom I had never heard before is: "the men don't know, but the little girls understand." They started screaming when she came onstage, knew all her material, greeted each song with delight. And I've never before seen anybody switch guitars before each and every song. Her deal seems to be the strong but sensitive and intelligent young woman who tells the world (and probably men) to fuck off when it/they should. Good for her. I prefer Sarah McLachlan. Lo and behold. Can't wait for the new Bob album 9/30..... Gordy
Subject: HOLMDEL LOCAL COLOR- FROM 8/15 From: Marvincat9 (email@example.com) Date: 17 Aug 1997 14:11:29 GMT For those who enjoy a little local color from the shows, I offer my observations: The show was mesmerizing, but then again, I'm a follower since the early sixties who firmly believes "he was never known to make a foolish move". The set list was great, and the crowd (full house or very near) was really into it. It was great standing there after all these years, singing along with Bob Dylan to Just Like A Woman, Mr. Tambourine Man, My Back Pages, and Like A Rolling Stone. Thirty-two years after "Rolling Stone", I got chills shouting out "how does it feel" with Dylan and a cast of thousands. The weather was cool and the sky was clear- it was a perfect night in New Jersey-,just up the road from Springsteen's old stomping grounds. His voice is gravelly and rough- but of course that never was important. His guitar playing (some say-not me) could have been better- but of couse that never was important. He was dressed in shiny white pants, shiny black shoes, a blue coat and a black western tie, which was either untied or poorly tied. He wore a large bright white hat for the final song, Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35. During that song, incidentally, he sang only the first verse, and it was instrumental from then on. Many in the audience didn't recognize Cocaine Blues, Blind Willie McTell or Watching the River Flow, which was played like a Dave Dudley truck driver song. As noted from previous post-illness postings, Dylan seemed stiff. Not formally stiff, but physically stiff, like it was really an effort for him to move around. There may be something wrong with his legs. From a personality standpoint, he was as outgoing as I've heard him lately, repeatedly thanking the crowd, introducing the band, and making several statements, none of which I could comprehend. At the conclusion of the show he bowed a couple of times, and he made numerous good-natured pointing gestures to the front rows. I saw him in Monmouth about a month before he got sick, and, truthfully, I think he looks much worse now. I believe the illness took a lot out of him, and he shouldn't have done this tour. By the end of the show he seemed a little disoriented, not in a drug or alcohol way, but just in an exhausted way. A girl got on the stage and hugged him near the end of the show, and did a little bouncing around, but she was quickly escorted off. BR5.49 is a talented group and fun to watch. Ani Difranco plays the guitar well, although somewhat frenetically. I don't like her, personally, and her set was much too long. The entire place fell silent when Dylan briefly played the harmonica. Then applause broke out so loudly you couldn't hear the conclusion. He obviously did it as a token gesture, and a nice one it was. Could it be he doesn't have the wind to play it anymore? All in all, it was another wonderful show from Dylan. We are all very lucky he's still around and still allowing us to see him. I wouldn't be surprised if someday, suddenly, he just gets tired of touring and quits. Catch him if you can- you won't regret it.
Subject: HOMDEL PART ONE From: (TIMHRK@AOL.COM) Date: Sun, 17 Aug 1997 15:23:42 -0400 When the sun went, his eyes were sleepy. There were no dreams, no dreams to haunt him. F Scott Fitzgerald, The curious case of Benjamin Button, page 180, The short stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald. HOMDEL NEW JERSEY AUGUST 15 1997 SET LIST ABSOLUTELY SWEET MARIE LAY LADY LAY TOUGH MOMA JUST LIKE A WOMAN SILVIO MR. TAMBOURINE MAN @ TANGLED UP IN BLUE @ COCAINE WATCHING THE RIVER FLOW BLIND WILLIE MCTELL LEOPARD SKIN PILL BOX HAT LIKE A ROLLING STONE MY BACK PAGES RAINY DAY WOMEN #12 & #35 I always look forward to Bob Dylan in concert, but this time, considering that the man almost died this year, the show had a special connotation. Not only did it seem dubious that it would take place a couple of months ago, but given his age and the age when most rock stars die, I always got to wonder, will this be the last Dylan show I see? Sooner or later, there won't be live Dylan, ya know. The other aspect is that although I have seen two shows of some tours, this is the first time that I would be seeing the man twice in the same year, but two different tours. Would this make a difference in the performance? In the Set List? In his overall mood? But there was even a more exciting, personal aspect to this particular concert. I was going with my long lost cousin. Actually, my first cousin once removed. Annalise. She's about 24, and the we had met in 1982, at her father's funeral. It's a sad story, since he died young, and when she was young. I barely remember her as a kid there, and she did not remember me. She also didn't remember that at the funeral, a friend of her father's played I Shall Be Released on the guitar during the service. I talked to the guy afterwards. I didn't know my cousin liked Dylan. Oh no, he said, he loved bob Dylan, especially that Greatest Hits II record. It was his favorite record he said, and of course, he was playing that version. I always thought that was cool. And, I always associate that tune with his funeral. Fast forward to this year. Annalise - she will neither confirm nor deny that her parents gave her that name after The Weight by the Band - had written my mother, who always stays in touch with everybody, that she would be attending graduate school for poetry and living in New York. So, I soon contacted her and we had a reunion. What was very strange, unique at least, was that here were two people who were related by blood, who had no interaction and lived completely different lives and from different generations, and hell, from very different parts of New Jersey, yet, as soon as we met, there was this familiarity that only comes from being related. It was just a cool feeling. Also, it was great since I could connect with my cousin through her, and she could connect with her father through me.Well, we've become fast friends. Also, there was this great camaraderie since we are both writers and readers. When she told me that she liked the Wallflowers and had not known that Jakob was Bob's son, I knew it was my duty to expose her to the real deal. Plus, how can anyone be a writer, especially a poet, without encountering Bob Dylan. That just ain't right in my book. Dylan be the MAN. IF it wasn't for Dylan, I would never have picked up Rimbaud, Ginsberg or Melville, or at least not pick them up when I was a 13 year old reading science fiction and cutting lawns for $5.00 per then buying Dylan records at EJ Korvettes, when they went on sale for $2.50. Luckily I fulfilled my obligation on Friday, August 15th in Homdel New Jersey, at the Garden States Arts Center. Sorry, I refuse to call it the PNC. If you never been there, it is a great out door amphitheater, although I've always preferred the lawn seats, which is what we had, and Dylan has always put on great shows for his loyal Jersey fans. I caught Dylan here in 91, and I will always remember the opening number, a rockabilly version of New Morning, and later in the show, a great version of Folsom Prison, the Cash tune. But that was then, and this now and we've all grown. Annalise's boyfriend, Rich came with us, and although he likes Dylan, he's actually an Ani DeFranco fan. We were eating turkey sandwiches in the parking lot during the BR-549 set, which sounded a wee too country for my taste. Otherwise, the weather was perfect late summer cool and the crowd seemed pretty nice, although I wish they were more attentive or something. Again, there was a nice array of generations there. College kids were talking about orientation next week and baby boomers were talking how much they paid baby sitters. In fact, several parents had their infants and toddlers. One of them crawled up to me and said hi. I held out my palm and the child slapped me five. "Stay for ever young buddy," I said as the mom scooped up the kid. "That's a Beautiful baby," said Analise. The mom said thanks and smiled. There was a nice mix of age groups, lots of baby boomers but also, more and more young folk. Teenagers and twenty something's. Retro hippies and yuppie wanta bees, just all kinds of folk, really, out to have a good time on a summer night. I passed a neat scene where this one young woman was on her back while one girl massaged her right hand, another girl massaged her left hand, and another girl, her knees nestling the nape of her neck, massaged her temples. I made a mental note. Next concert, get accupressure before the show. It wasn't quite dusk when DeFranco took the stage, her acoustic guitar backed up by simple bass and drums. A trio, how nice. Ani Deefranco impressed me. Thought provoking and entertaining and a welcome addition to Dylan. She plays raucous folk music, a kind of angry Michelle Shocked or some inspired marriage between Courtney Love/Hole and Suzanne Vega, and she certainly owns more than a few Patti Smith records. She had some great songs, with some well placed vulgarities. Played some neat guitar as well. Sort of Joey Ramone meets Richie Havens. Or lets just say she strummed as quick as Joey but utilized those distinctive open tunings of Richie. She also worshipped at the altar of Joni Mitchell's Heijera. But she's her own artist and I believe I will pick up some of her records. She had a significant following at the show, lots of women squealing at her songs and her interesting stage patter. Very compelling, very good set. A well deserved audition. Rich, the resident De Franco fan, dug it a lot and sang along. By the way, her T-shirts were cool too, and I only bring this up because Bob's T-shirts were kind of lousy looking. Better tour shirts next time BOB! OKAY! Anyway, Defranco's Dylan's best opening act since Patti Smith of 95 and Ole Bob should have done the right thing and if not done a duet with her, brought her out to sing back up or something. Well, Defranco accompanied the setting sun, after twilight faded and dusk became night the Columbia recording artist announcement came on and Bob once again hit the stage. Those fucking bastards at PNC didn't have the video on so we were denied the pleasure of seeing Bob on the screens. But he looked pretty good, in a black waist length jacket and grayish slacks. Boots of course. You get a really decent view from the lawn seats. Sweet Marie had a nice country rock lilt to it, and owed more than a little to the version the pre-throat-lump George Harrison treated us to at the Anniversary show. Dylan was in a good voice, and I have to admit, I experienced a wonderful thrill of pleasure hearing it again. I mean, it's always great when he hits the stage and tears through the opener, but I couldn't help but think, I am verifying that he is okay. Did my heart good. Welcome back Bob. Unlike Joey, he gained not lost a little weight. But it looks healthy. The band was in fine form, although the drums were mixed a bit high. Garnier was leading us through, and as he did through the whole show, his tasteful bass stylings proved to be the secret leader of the band. Bucky was on pedal steel, which he played during the electric numbers, and he gave that white gold mercury sound of Blonde on Blonde to this number. Hey, it's one of my favorite songs, and when Bob sang To live outside the law you must be honest, it was like, he's back, he's bob. Let's get down. Unfortunately, a bit of personal nastiness then ensued. As I enjoyed myself, reveling in this great opening tune, I heard this irritating rattle. Some moron was playing the tambourine. It sounded like a loud and retarded rattle snake. I couldn't believe it. As the opening strains of Lay Lady Lay emanated across Holmdel I marched over to this hideous looking woman, grossly overweight with the worst looking crew cut ever and I said, "Hey stop playing that fucking tambourine. You're ruining the music." "Why don't you move so you don't have to hear it." "I am all the way over there and I still hear it. Go out in the parking lot and play your tambourine." "I want to play it." "We don't want to hear it." I am beginning to shout. "I paid to hear bob not you." "I paid too." "Stop playing it. It's annoying and inconsiderate." We exchanged some fuck yous and she tried to provoke me further by rattling that tambourine like some evil mad gypsy. I could have clocked her and stopped her, but if she tried to sit on me I knew I was dead. Actually, I just had to walk away cause I was getting pissed and upset. I have never seen anything like this. What the hell is wrong with people. Who the hell brings a tambourine to a concert? It was loud too, and she was not even playing in time. I mean, if you can't play the tambourine, you may want to not play music at all, ya know. But, like why do you want to do such a thing in the first place? This is not a football game for Christ sakes. It wasn't New Years Eve. I swear, I have never seen such a thing, not at Ramones shows, not at Dead shows, No where. I've seen fights in the audience, people get rowdy, people shout or boo or sing along or yell out Whipping Post and Hot Tuna, but never in my concert going life have I ever seen some crazy, ugly insane pathetic excuse for a human being display such disrespect for an artist as well as the rest of the audience. This one incident almost ruined the entire evening for me, and certainly colored the concert somewhat. It makes me sick just to recall it. Some other people must have complained, because the tambourine stopped. I should have gone to security or something. Anyway, Lay Lady Lay was pretty good, except I began to notice something about Bob's voice. Oh, he was articulating well enough, but his voice sounded raspy. Well, not raspy in a hoarse sort of way. But Flemy. Since 94, as Dylan improved his singing and phrasing, when he would pull out a Nashville Skyline nugget he revived the vocal qualities of the country yodel of that period. But tonight, it was just not there. I couldn't help but think that Histoplasmosis had some lingering effects. Dylan's voice seems different every show, but I swear I could detect a little more fluid or something. It wasn't like he wasn't doing the best he can, but I just think that his recent illness may have taken a bit more of a toll than we realize and that this tour may not be good for his physical health. But his mental and artistic health seems pretty prime because he was showing his growing predilection for blues licks and that gave an interesting edge to Lay Lady Lay. Then we heard the familiar drums and for the first time in a long, long time the third song was NOT AATWT. Instead, it was my favorite all time song from Planet Waves. Tough Moma. Now, I did want to hear the harp, because he does blood curdling harmonica on the original of that one, but that aside, it was great to hear this song. The band did a great imitation of, well, THE BAND. However, it was a little ragged, which the group was a bit all night. It's kind of a funny song in the weird breaks and it's stop and go funky type arrangement, and I have to admit, the song sort of fell apart at places. Then it was on the money again, and MEET ME AT THE BORDER LATE AT NIGHT. Oh, that Dylan yowl is so singular, especially on the greatest lines. I agree with a previous poster's suggestion that this song Dylan is doing in honor of Defranco. Then Dylan picked out the familiar opening notes of Just Like A Woman. This also had a bit more of a bluesy edge to it. Funny, there were two married couples pushing 50 to the right of me, and two gen-x couples half their age in front of me. Both sets were smoking a little reefer and drinking some beers. They weren't together. Just two different parties a generation apart. And during this classic, they were all making out. Deep kissing and feeling up. No matter how old you are, no matter if you are living with your parents or are parents, a little of the wisdom weed on a midsummer's night enhances romance. Folk rock is the thinking lovers make out music. Silvio came next. Always a crowd pleaser, and the loyal and ever present contingent of Dead heads, who were in force and present through out the crowd, twirled and shimmied and danced to the fast breaks and rocking tempo. Personally, I've heard better Silvio's, but tonight's was all right. Dylan though, whose guitar quoted Garcia in recent versions instead seemed to be playing homage to Duane Allman as he singed away some competent riffs. But the band seemed somewhat shaky on this number, and he didn't fill up the pauses between the breaks like he has in concerts past. But how can you not enjoy a song with those great couplets - I go down in the valley to sing my song, sing loooooooouuuuuuud and sing in strohhhhhhhhnnnnnnng, let the echo decide if I was right or wrong. He also extended this jam out, and the band did seem to enjoy the playing. The crowd, lead by the Garcia faithful decked out in their summer tie dye, erupted as Tony saddled up the stand up and Bucky brought out the mandolin. The song sounded familiar, yet different and Mr. Tambourine was resurrected and reinvented. This time, Dylan played it like a blues number, and the joyousness inherent in this optimistic poem became a deeper meditation on mortality. It was like Robert Johnson reciting Blake. A hellhound chased this Mr. Tambourine Man down to the beach of crazy sorrow. It was probably the best performed song of the evening. You know, I've heard this one done a lot of times, and like most of the classic classic Dylan songs, it's not one I look forward to, but I got to admit, that darn Dylan, he does it to you, he keeps you guessing, he keeps you on your toes and just when you are used to one thing, he does it another way and you find something you had previously overlooked. I thought about that famous piece of Rimbaud folklore, where the 37 year old has been poet returned from Africa, burned out and exhausted, disease ridden and leg amputated, raved with delirium on his death bed his sister Vitale by the bedside and later, after she had read her brother's poetry, said the things he was saying on his death bed were better than his poems. Dylan was close to death two months before and something he learned then, he brought to this song and gave it another dimension I never imagined before. Mr. Baxter enriched this deep indigo, even morbid mood with some of the most heart wrenching mandolin riffs that ever escaped the smoky mountains and dark hollows and reminded us all of our own mortality. After the song, a distinct pause was heard from the crowd, because we had witnessed another sublime transformation of a classic. Dylan had torn apart the pedestal, replaced it with relevancy. "Thanks everybody" he yelled to the thunder of applause and cheers. The mandatory Tangled Up in Blue followed. Sounded a bit rushed, Dylan mixing up the I's and he's so much that the narrative thread was completely deconstructed. Again, it's Truck Driver's wives. How come, the mathematicians remain, but the carpenter's wives are no longer around? Also, the audience didn't applaud when he sang, heading towards another joint. What was up with that? This particular burst of applause I've always found charming. This audience I found less than endearing. There was a good amount of pot smoking in the crowd, so I fully expected the tradition of applauding when he sings heading towards another JOINT would be held up. But nothing! Come on! However, I glanced over at Rich and Annalise who were grooving to this. "I love this song," Rich said. "They used to play it all the time on the radio. I remember hearing it with my parents." Sure, I may have heard better TUIB's, but it's always good to hear. Out of all the classics they get played each show, I think this is one that sounds the freshest, and he really only has the electric version and this acoustic one. It's such an FM song I suppose, and the crowd certainly loved hearing what has become an anthem about love in the time of social chaos. Then the next chords I thought might have been Tomorrow Night or some other dark folk song, and I was sort of right except that it was Cocaine, with Dylan giving some great blues picking and a real sad wisdom in his voice, with Larry Campbell doing a compelling back up vocal on the chorus. Cocaine, all around my brain. Dylan did some nifty phrasing, cocaine's for horses and not for men, doctor say it kill but he didn't say when. The audience is singing along with the chorus. People know this song pretty well. Didn't Jackson Browne do a famous cover of this one? But Dylan stayed true to his folk roots by resurrecting this one, yet also showed how these forlorn mediations on death and mortality and the human condition are intrinsic to his art and vision. I couldn't help but think that his recent brush with death inspired the inclusion of this one. The playing, and the phrasing, even with the flemy raspy phrasing, echoed with a knowledge of the roots of this song, and most folk songs. Life is suffering and death is inevitable and joy is fleeting. Cocaine concluded the acoustic set, and reinforced the morbid and introspective tone Dylan was weaving through the show. Maybe it was because the drums seemed mixed pretty loud, but this was the most rocking acoustic set I've heard. But blues rocking. Even the TUIB leads Dylan played were edged with blues notes. Watching the River Flow seemed a bit rushed through to me, and instead of a Sun Session, it sounded more like Live At Filmore. Dicky Betts had replaced Scotty More. Dylan flubbed a lot of lyrics, and you could hear a lot of bronchial congestion in this one. It was still fun and rollicking, but it was like a lot of songs this evening where the band kind of didn't find themselves until mid point, and they seemed a little ragged and shaky at the beginning but saved it by the end. Another array of blues notes seared, and the band began a slow but hard rock melody. Then the voice, a little garbled but still DYLAN, intoned. "Seen the arrow on the doorpost. Saying, This land is condemned - All the way from New Orleans - To Jerusalem - I traveled through East Texas - Where many martyrs fell - And I know no one can sing the blues - Like Blind Willie McTell. WOW! Now, this bothered me about the audience because most of these dolts are looking around at each other like what song is this. I was jumping and howling with sheer joy." See them big plantations burning." He is singing pretty clear, at least remembering the lyrics. "Hear the cracking of the whips. Smell that sweet magnolia blooming. See the ghosts of slavery ships. This was a great version, and the raggedness of the band, the emphasis on blues, that permeated the entire evening really enhanced this electrified reading of one of Dylan's finest songs. The morbid bitterness of the evening seemed complete. "Thanks everybody," and then he does the band intros, which he mumbles through but not without a sincere exuberance. He said something about do you like my jacket, I just bought it at the shore and I think I remember Baxter being introduced as an old man from west Virginia. Then it's Leopard Skin Pill Box hat, blues going a little honky tonk. A chick jumped on the stage and hopped around a little. It was just a concert capper, to let us breathe a little light after the dark night of America's soul was invoked by the previous tour de force.
Subject: HOMDEL PART TWO From: (TIMHRK@AOL.COM) Date: Sun, 17 Aug 1997 15:24:41 -0400 I noticed something when Dylan shuffled off the stage. He, well, shuffled. I mean, his gait seemed a little weakened. I am not saying feeble. He's, well, walking like a 56 year old who was only a month or so out of the hospital. Maybe it was just a stumble over a wire or something, but I noticed a lack of spryness that has never seemed apparent before. He let the crowd brew for a few minutes before returning and thanking the band again. The drum intro signals Like A Rolling Stone for the encore. It's a competent rendition, more nostalgia than relevant anthem. But there was nice guitar wall sound going on, with Larry, Bucky and Bob all strumming away with bob departing the 18 string pack to pick out a tasty lead. The crowd is into this one big time. At one point, Dylan sings, You better Take your Diamond Ring Down - Then leaned away from the mike and the crowed echoed "YOU BETTER PAWN IT BABE." And Dylan screams a hearty YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH into the mike. Always good to see Bob in a good mood. Oh hell, maybe the crowd is not such a bunch of dolts after all. My Back Pages followed. Again, this was a blues version. Crimson flames, tied through my ears, growing high and mighty traps coming out like a soft and mellow delta number. USING IDEAS AS OUR MAPS. Larry has switched to his violin, and it sure sounds sweet. It is always kind of an odd juxtaposition to hear Bob sing this one at age 56, I was so much older than, I'm younger than that now, although the great imagery of this early, beat-inspired thought dream is such beautiful, visionary poetry. I always get the feeling, it's a young folk singer who was becoming disillusioned with social protest and had just read Rimbaud's Illuminations for the first time. I was also thinking of that famous F.Scott Fitzgerald short story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which is about this son born to (IRONICALLY ENOUGH), an owner of a hardware store, who is an old man at birth and an infant in old age. It's a funny story, a departure for the Gatsby author because it dealt with a mystical theme. But it's an interesting meditation on aging, and what it means to be young and old in terms of consciousness, and this song, which has always dealt with similar issues gained another dimension because of the bluesy approach, the morbid theme reverberating throughout the show, and the very introspective mood Dylan seemed intent on expressing. He was singing it, within the constraints of his voice, passionately. Then, Larry does a nice, subtle, fiddle solo that would be the envy of Vassar Clemens. Just, real expert and tasteful. A perfect passage of fiddling. Yet, Dylan, who had taken off his guitar during the solo, went up to the microphone and just seemed a little too eager because he didn't really wait for the solo to complete itself, just sort of cut off the last of the notes, and played his harmonica. I think we all had accepted that OLE Bobby would not be playing harp tonight. It took us by surprise. First, there was astonishment, then a Richter scale smashing explosion of applause. We were all so glad to hear it. Let us not forget, the harmonica is trademark Dylan. He brought that sound to the top 40, and it will be forever associated with folk rock and lyrics equivalent to literature. After the applause, there was a chilling silence as we witnessed the playing. There was a sincere hush, that was more than just surprise, but was inspired by the loveliness and authority Dylan played the instrument with. In 95, Dylan was playing the harp with such a forcefulness, doing several extended solos throughout the show, and in shows before that, the harmonica always made an early appearance and stayed on stage and when ever those first notes whistle out the Hohner we applaud the classic audio imagery of America's troubadour with the harp. Ahh, but the days of the harmonica holder are as gone as Jerry or Richard Manuel or Howie Wyeth. Dylan just doesn't play the harmonica like he used to; he still plays it well, he still plays it better than almost anybody, but I think, physically, he just can't play it like he used to. There was a frailty and fragility to this solo. But it was a nice, long solo; not just a brief appearance. It was the guest of honor tonight, and although the time was short we made the most of it. Dylan used that fragility, and it truly completed the death meditation he had provoked all evening. I was close to crying. This was a beautiful solo, and maybe this would the be one I will remember when there are no new set lists to post. The harp playing, more than the song from which it emerged, made us all silent, It touched us all. This was absolutely one of the most poignant concert moments I have ever been privileged to experience. I just think Dylan knows that physically, he can't play the harp like he used to, and he was using that inescapable fact to add dimension and meaning to the playing. The strategy was successful. There was an audience wide gasp when he put away the Hohner and picked up the acoustic guitar, and then the tears and the cheers and the clapping just roared and roared and we all were singing I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now and no one could ignore the absolute profundity in the air. "That was great harmonica," said Rich. "It was like I could hear it in my bones," said Analise. I was rubbing my eyes. "I know I've seen better, but this is one I will remember I think." That was it. Just those few harmonica licks would have been worth the price of admission. The solo was simpler powerful, devastating, damn near overwhelming. The only thing left was to play the Everybody Most get stoned thing and get on down the road. So they leave the stage and return and we hear that high school marching band drum riffs. Dylan's in a white cowboy hat. Hey, no hat tonight at all until now, and his hair looked full, almost afro-ish. But now like the Pied Piper from some beatnik dude ranch, Dylan was wearing the cowboy hat and leading a big PARTY. It's a good version of Rainy Day Woman, and everybody is chanting and cheering and dancing and twirling and it's like his Bobness taken us down a pitch-dark tonight, a rite of passage thick with ashes, we have seen the vision of death, the escape from decay, the pain of love, the repression of the south, the dubious and fragile threat of mortality, danced on that border late at night where faith meets doubt and doubt meets faith and we've returned enriched and wiser and had gone deep enough to know we've been there but smart enough not to stay and out the other side we came, it's like that old saying about to reach new places we have to lose sight of the shore, but Dylan brought us back to the shore and it was time to shake our ass and celebrate that return. It's kind of reassuring, to hear this so overplayed song, concert after concert, after 90 plus minutes of never before heard songs and versions, new twists on familiar themes and lyrics and arrangements. Rainy Day Woman, for better or worse, is something to depend on. Everybody must get stoned is a double meaning of course. Getting high, or literally getting stoned - executed - are one if not the same. It is always nice to hear, even though I usually head out, but it's such a nice night and there's so little summer left. Funny when the song ends, Dylan is the last to leave. He like shuffles along the stage for a bit, doing several bows to the audience. Alas, our brief hope for a spontaneous encore ended and the concert was over, and the lights soon went up bright signaling that it was time to go. On the way to the exits, we pass this fountain. It's a nice enough fountain, but the water is nearly green. Kids are wading through and the cops and security are screaming at them to get out. The water is practically green in this fountain. How stupid are people getting?. I am sure they are now being diagnosed with hepatitis. Between the tambourine elephant witch, the lackluster appreciation of Blind Willie, and overall atmosphere, the audience just bugged me a bit more than usual. I guess reading the news group every day you get to thinking that everybody with any sense had already left town and become a Bobcat, but it ain't so. Otherwise, I feel compelled to compare this show to the Wayne New Jersey show of April. Perhaps, the best way to put it was the Wayne Show was the best or one of the best of that spring tour, for this tour, with a different set list, Dylan deemed to play the best show somewhere other than New Jersey. It was a good show, pretty solid in most aspects. They played well, but they weren't on top of their game. Also, he seemed more introspective. And despite the morbid nature of many of the songs and the deliveries of those songs, Bob was in a happy mood. He wasn't cranky about things. Which leads to me think, why? Yes, maybe Bob & Co. were a wee off. On the other hand, while Bob has gotten through his illness okay and we thank the lord and all that, suffice it to say, he did not pull through unscathed. It has affected him spiritually and physically. The spiritual aspect is certain one of survival, and a deeply profound acknowledgment of mortality,. but the physical aspect is just one of age. Hey, The GREATS, all played well into their old age, and they still had it, and they may not be able to show they have it for as long, but certainly they show they have it AS STRONG. On the way to the car, Rich said he liked Tangled Up the best and the harmonica solo. "That's Dylan, the harmonica." He also was happy to see Ani De Franco. I would have to say, if this was a battle of the band night, Ani would have won, but only by a hair. Analise was equally impressed with the show. "Dylan is America, and I could see that. I also loved the moms holding their babies up to see him.." "Those babies are going to tell their grand kids they saw Bob Dylan just like you are going to tell yours." One more issue. The Absence of AATWT. In a way, I didn't miss it. Time to retire it. On the other hand, that song in its number three slot always seemed to KICK the band into gear, and the band was good, and there were many highlights to this fine performance, that eternal guitar anthem and work out was replaced by Tough Moma, a harder to song to GET perfect, and it lacked the ability to KICK the combo into gear. Hell, it's just a theory. I spent the next day on the beach. The beautiful Jersey shore. I kept thinking about the Harmonica solo, how it reflected that Dickenson line about Death, because I could not stop for Death it kindly stopped for me. I headed for the ocean and dived into the white capped curl of a wave and tried to figure out why Dylan like great literature often fills me with me both Joy and Sorrow and no need to reconcile the all too apparent contradiction.
Subject: Holmdel review (LONG) From: Stasia (A_Karel@ACAD.FANDM.EDU) Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 10:43:36 -0400 Rather than write a review of the Holmdel show (8/15) in the days after, I opted to let my thoughts settle. After all, when one gets to see someone as great as Bob Dylan twice in three days, it certainly has an effect on the mind. I came away from the Hershey concert declaring it the best I'd ever been to, and this still holds true in my mind. Throughout that concert I was in a most jubilant state - which most likely stems from Bob's presence on stage. However, come Holmdel two nights later, I was under the impression that I'd feel the same way. And as you may or may not guess, I felt incredibly different. I realized at once that this concert was different - and as I wrote in my notes at the time, there was something missing. _Absolutely Sweet Marie_ just sort of happened; there was something preventing me from enjoying the song the way I had at Hershey. The same thing happened with _Lay Lady Lay_. Only during this song, I was analyzing my situation and trying to figure out what was causing me such discomfort. There were three major differences that I noticed in comparing Hershey and the PNC Arts Center. One, the seats that I had were much further back (Hershey=row 6; Holmdel=Sec. B, row F). Two, the amount of people - definitely twice as many, and too many of them were in front of me. Three, this being the second time seeing Bob (but, I rule this as the least likely). Anyway, on with the show. By _Tough Mama_ things were a bit better, but I was still feeling weird - although that could have been due to the heavy, acrid smell of pot in the air. I think it was during this song that I just kept saying to myself, "Oh Bob, why does it have to be like this?" It was one of those too many other people are fans and why can't I be the only one. _Just Like A Woman_ was totally unexpected and was done just right - not too slow or fast. But all these songs went by so quickly. . . probably because I was silently criticizing the crowd rather than tuning them out and listening. On to _Silvio_, which prompted lots of dancing in the aisles. Not much to say, although my notes say that the last verse was the best. _Mr. Tambourine Man_ began the acoustic set - and in my mind was not done very acoustically, but hey, he's Bob and can do anything he wants to. This song got better as it progressed, but it could have been better. It was definitely a crowd pleaser, with Bob accomplishing more knee bends. _Tangled Up In Blue_ (another crowd pleaser) I had heard at Hershey and only really listened to hear if he used identical phrasing, which he did. Although, my notes say that his voice sounds great - and I sure it did. And now for the moment that I began to feel better. I had already heard _Cocaine_ at Hershey, but was so happy to hear it again. It's such a sad song, but was truly acoustic and done in such a beautiful way. But of course, when I at last have a contented smile on my face, and at a very slow, yet moving point in the song, the stupid guy in front of me (who was obviously high) stands up and yells, ruining the moment. I am not very familiar with the song _Watching The River Flow_, but by closing my eyes and plugging my ears, I was finally able to name that tune. It was a good, rockin' song, and I could tell that not that many people knew what it was. Having only heard _Blind Willie McTell_ a couple of times, I really only knew the line "But nobody can sing the blues like. . . ." And so once again I closed off my ears in order to hear the words better, and that's when it hit me. I had finally, after so many songs, discovered the secret behind enjoying this concert. So I closed my eyes and kept my fingers in my ears and just sort of swayed to the song. I forgot all about the crowd and just listened to the music. Now, over a week later, I see that I didn't need to keep my eyes on Bob all the time (as I had done at Hershey). I knew that he was up there; it was the music that was the important part and not so much the guy singing it. Anyway, it was a very touching song, and afterwards Bob thanked the crowd - but I lost him after that. He started rambling/mumbling about something and I caught a few introductions of the rest of the band, but couldn't keep up with what he was saying. _Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat_ was next, and it was so very, very good. I knew the secret and just listened and everything was perfect. This was the last song in the regular set, and Bob was the last to leave the stage. (So unfortunate that I discover the secret so late into the show! Oh well.) (encore) _Like A Rolling Stone_ could have very easily been the highlight of the show, but it wasn't. Yes, it was so great to hear it and I was just swaying back and forth eyes and ears closed to the crowd. But then, then something terrible happened. I honestly don't know what could have been worse, Bob collapsing on stage or the crowd singing the words in his place. Yes, it was that bad. He was obviously alright with it, but how could he do this to me?? I mean, I don't have any problem with people singing along - I do it all the time - but to have the crowd take Bob's place. . . it just isn't right. _My Back Pages_ was next (though it took me a little while to figure it out) and I was rather excited that Larry was playing the violin. So, you all know the story, I closed my eyes, and so on. But then my dad starts tapping my on the shoulder and I grudging get out of my trance to see this stupid girl up on the stage. And it was just as the song was getting really good. I guess I really don't like audience interaction or something. But Bob looked happy, so everything's okay. Now, I don't remember if I then went back into my trance or not, but it doesn't matter. I think I did, because I recall my dad notifying me again of something big, and this time it was definitely worth the notification. The appearance of the harmonica!!!! Oh how simply wonderful it was to hear/see Bob play it. After a minute of watching him, I went into my trance, for that was really the only way I could hear both the violin and the harmonica. Looking back, I suppose that the harmonica was the definite highlight of the show. Now for a little explanation. After failing to get a set list at Hershey, I was determined to get one at Holmdel. (I also missed getting a poster at Hershey, but bought one before the show at Holmdel.) Anyway, after Ani Difranco had finished - a long, long time ago at this point in the review - I had decided to plan my route to the stage after the show was over. Since I was in the middle of the row, it all depended on getting from my seat to the aisle. Okay, so _Rainy Day Women #12&35_ is that oft repeated last number. Luckily, everyone was standing, so I left my dad and friends and made my way out to the aisle. Easily done. As the song progressed, I slowly moved down to the crucial point of usher-mania. I guess that I should have tried to get as close as possible while the song was still going on, but I waited and as soon as they were done I started towards the stage. I didn't move more than a few feet when this usher is suddenly upon me asking to see my ticket. I fumble to get it, wasting a precious minute. Of course, she tells me I have to go back to my section, and so I act like I'm going to do just that. But I don't dare give up so easily. I make my way down another aisle towards the stage, fighting through throngs of people going in the opposite direction. At last, I get to the stage. I squeeze through the people waiting there, but alas, just as I get there, I see what appears to be the last set list being given out. So much for my planned aggressiveness. Oh well, maybe next time. Last words: It really was a great concert, especially the last half. And it was the first concert that I'd seen outside of Hershey, so it was probably the crowd that annoyed me the most. But, dismissing everything else that I previously said, it was Bob, the one and the only. And nothing can ever ruin that fact. Stasia "This place don't make sense to me no more. Can you tell me what we're waiting for, senor?"