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Bob Dylan 2000.03.16 in Santa Cruz, CA

Subject: Re: March 16, 2000 - Santa Cruz, California - setlist
From: unclekurty 
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 05:52:35 -0800

The crowd was  more into it. Almost everybody had went the night
before and experienced the 2 shots of wine drink max.  Only in
Santa Cruz. My theory is folks snuck in alcohol tonight. And
security lightened up on smoking. Bob was posing and playing to
the audience. And he talked more.

There is a joint in Santa Cruz called Positively Front Street. In
the local paper they speculated where Bob might hang.  Hanging at
this place was low on my looking for Bob list. But he
said,"Positively Front Steet..I should franchise the name....they
really fill you up". Something like that. Did he eat there? At
another point he said he wished he could play here everynight.

Larry grabbed his mandolin and Sexton had his acoustic and Bob
had his strat and they did Highlands.Big fun. There was plenty of
room to dance on the floor both nights and I thought the sound
was great.

Subject: A DEFINING PERFORMANCE? From: dylan fan Date: 17 Mar 2000 07:30:57 -0800 Organization: None It will take time to process these thoughts. And the response will be carefully considered, written and set down. But last night's performance at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium may have been one of the finest performances of Bob's career. Last night ranks among the legendary offerings from Bob. BOB: YOU KNOW. The show stopped! And you graciously allowed it. This concert deserves IMMEDIATE release in its entirity as a LIVE ALBUM. LET IT GO! Unreal. PERFECT! If there is ever to be a finer concert, only Bob will be able to do it. But it will be hard won. Wait until you hear. THANK YOU BOB! From the guy in front who appreciated every note you played.
Subject: Santa Cruz Masterpiece From: dylan fan Date: 17 Mar 2000 16:34:57 -0800 Organization: None Still can't write about it. Speechless. You have no idea what you are in store for when you eventually hear this show. It was transcendent, magical and euphoric. Have you ever listened to the Halloween show, and Bob's joking with the audience, and there is that sense of joyful playfullness. This wasn't anything like the Halloween Show in presentation; however, Bob was everything he has ever had the promise of being. He was fully realized as an artist last night. "Highlands" was a riot. Bob played that song and the audience as skillfully as any master has at anytime done anything. Laughter ripped through the audience. Bob's eyebrows dancing up and down. Statements coming from deep within his soul with a sincerity and a conviction and a promise and . . . "I am the Man, Thomas." Was that for real? What an amazing opening number, performed with virtuosity and dexterity and skill. Bob squeezes off only the opening hints of a solo. I raise my hands and applaud. I think I'm the only one, at least there in the front. Bob looks over. He's seen me. (The venue is small...he doesn't have to look far.) I'm kinda caught by surprise. He squeezes off some more notes. I respond, along with many more around me. He smiles. He rips off some licks. How many shows have we been to where the songs were good, but deep down inside we knew that Bob was capable of more: better guitar work, more styling in the vocal deliveries. And the truth is, Bob is more aware of that than anyone. He knows when it's not working, and is more attentive when it is working. He cares. He always cares. It's just that sometimes it's not working that great. Like the first night--still a killer show, but different. But that's for another post. Not now. No. Last night Bob not only cared, he was committed. He was present. Every solo, the hands went up and the applause came forth. And he'd look over and grin and smile and take a stance and maybe slid sideways, or drop into a crouch, or bend over at the waist and--with sweat dripping from his brow, hanging from his face--he'd bend and twist and turn and the notes would positively ERUPT from his guitar like Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. It was the invention of rock and roll. It was the real deal. Not a copy. Not a clone. Not an approximation. It very well may have been the absolute finest performance of his career. Every song. Forget whatever you've ever thought or heard. You have never heard these songs delivered with this much fire and passion and zeal. I promise. When has Bob let the show stop--for how long? Two minutes? Three? Five? Right after "Highlands." The house came down. And Bob stood there center stage. The band flanking him on the right and left, awed. And he bowed in true humility and let the praise ring forth. It was deserving. It was real. It was necessary. He bowed again. The applause seemed like it would wane, but then redoubled itself, soaring, a crescendo of unparalleled joy and praise and celebration. He he just stood there and let it ring. Wait until you hear the words he spoke afterwards. I could tell you here. But you need to hear it from Bob. You won't mistake a single word or note from the entire show. The sound was perfect. The lighting was fantastic. The backdrop beautiful. The band, stellar. Larry, Charlie, Dave, and Tony. They are incredible. My friend turned to me and said he could never see Bob again. There is simply no way that "performance" could ever be topped. But there is a way for future shows to deliver something different, special and unique the master of his art and discipline. Newport. Manchester. Santa Cruz. No exaggeration. More later. Ken
Subject: Re: Santa Cruz Masterpiece From: LAWRENCE J HAYES Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 18:25:04 -0800 Here's my take on this wondrous night: The Thursday show in Santa Cruz was easily the best concert of the shows I' ve seen on this tour (I've seen from San Luis Obispo), and perhaps the best show I've ever seen (I've seen every Bay Area show from '95 and a few from the El Reys in '97). This night was a complete contrast to the first night were Dylan seemed a bit tired and a little bored (still a fine show though). It seemed as if every other line he lifted his eyebrows to mid-forhead. He was very pleased with himself tonight. It made you feel as he was having just as much fun as you were. Dylan opened the night with the Ralph Stanley, Larry Sparks number, "I Am The Man, Thomas." For an opening song Dylan was quite animated, but this was just a preview of what was to come. Next came "Song To Woody." You could really see Dylan trying his hardest to put this one across well. I was a very heartfelt performance. By the Time Dylan arrived at "It's Alright Ma" something had clicked. Maybe he had spent the beautiful Santa Cruz afternoon on the beach or in the mountains but It was very apparent that Dylan had enough energy to go for three hours, or more. He was rested and ready to give us everything he had. Most of the lines were followed with a look that conveyed the message: "Yea that was pretty good line wasn't it." It was priceless and it only got more apparent as the concert progressed. "One Too Many Mornings" is a song I would mind if Dylan played every night. This outling was pleasing as any other version I've heard, but then I never heard a tape of this song and said: "That was an average 'One Too Many Mornings,'" they're all great. Every night you check the setlist you always glance over "Tangled Up In Blue" because he plays it 95% of the time. But no matter what, it's always a highlight. It amazes me that someone can perform a song every show and still make it sound as if it was just written, its baffling! The harmonica solo had Dylan gripping the mike stand with his right hand while leaning back on his right foot with his head tilted back. You had to be there to see how remarkable it was. The next two songs were very enjoyable cover songs " Rock of Ages" & Big River" It's fun to not know the lyrics of a song once and a while. Both songs were playful and done perfectly. After a short conference Dylan pulled out "Highlands." My brother and I had discussed this as a possibility since Neil Young is so popular in Santa Cruz. We even thought Neil might show up on stage but fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on were you stand) he is on tour with CSNY. I've always liked this song but I didn't consider it on par "NDY" or "Standing in the Doorway." This was definitely the song that put this concert over the top. It was perhaps the most enjoyment I've derived from a single Dylan song in concert. Every line was delivered with such smugness and conviction that it made my bust my gut laughing after every punch line. The personal looks were there too. Interaction with the audience was at a paramount by this point of the show. Dylan teeth were visible thought his big smile at the completion of every stanza. I really can't describe how great this performance, maybe Paul Williams should hear a tape and comment, it's one of those kinda performances. After "Highlands" was over Dylan could have played "Blowin' in the Wind" six times and I would not have cared. A fine "Stuck Inside of Mobile" followed, but I was still reeling from "Highlands" to fully eat this one up. I've heard lots of performances of this one and this one is at least as good as any. A funny thing happened right before "Mobile." There is a local restaurant on Front St. called "Positively Front Street". Just as the Band started the intro to "Mobile" Dylan interrupted them to talk to the audience. It went something like: "I ate (or saw?) at a restaurant called "Positively Front Street". We should franchise it, You can get full eating there!" (I may have missed another comment) Later in the concert he also said "I think I can speak for everyone when I say I wish we could play this place every night" This comment was obviously followed by a minute of thunderous applause. "Big Girl" was soft and done very tenderly to lull us into a false sense of quietness before the eruption of "Highway 61" which was, as usual the song Dylan gives everyone in the front row stares and glances. The encores were similar to all the other versions I've heard of these songs except for "Maggies Farm." The arrangement was the one Dylan used in '97 to open shows. By the end Dylan had worked his way into one of the best three note repetitive solos I've heard. Nothing to technically brilliant but when you got Dylan leaning over pushing his solo farther than anyone but him could get away with and smirking and shaking his head, and splitting his legs you just can't help but throw your fist in the air and thank God you were so lucky to witness such a great, great concert!!! -Adrian Hayes
Subject: Re: Santa Cruz Masterpiece From: phillip dokes Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 21:20:23 -0500 (EST) Beautiful post written on the wings of rapture there Ken. I'm happy for you and jealous of you at the same time! Only one thing i would have to correct. Tell your friend that the WORST thing he could possibly do is to not see another show. Bob has NO limits and can always top himself the next night. (Hell, Reno's only about 4 hours drive away from Santa, isn't it? I sure hope you're going to that one too! :^) Every show is a shot at wonder... It's so staggering ya know...after all these months of relative silence, some of us wondering for awhile if there was even gonna be a U.S tour this spring. He comes back and seems not only to be continuing, but genuinely building on the accomplishments of November. And after that he's off to distant lands to W-O-W all the folks over there that have been hungerin' for a tour for the longest time ( I am so happy for you all!). We are so spoiled in this country, and on the east coast more than most, with the incredible luxury we have of seeing shows. To be alive in this time with this artist out there still not just carrying it on by rote...with this mature artist that is still growing...WHAT did we do to deserve this?!?!?! You can have your Shakespeare and Mozart and Picasso and whomever else you wish kids (and i immensely respect all the applicable names, no offence to anyone)...but there is nothing I've found so fine as this. (Hope i haven't bored anyone out there, but i'm in a raving kind of mood tonight so what can one do but? (See what ya gone and did Ken!!! :~)) All best to all~Phil
Subject: Santa Cruz Review, Part One From: dylan fan Date: 21 Mar 2000 09:27:06 -0800 Please forgive the long post. And let me forwarn you, this Part only goes to where Bob is about to begin the show. It's not that I'm trying to be dramatic or long-winded. Truth is, I'm at work on break and only have a short time to write. This report will have to be in installments. And, the truth also is, these shows in Santa Cruz were mind-boggling. The first was not the best show Bob's ever done; however, the second may very well be one of the absolute finest performances of his entire career, as if it all came together that one night, that one, incredible, magical and transcendent night. If we could ask Bob himself, I KNOW that he would agree. That second concert is worthy of release as a live album, and it will blow you away. I've heard hundreds of performances, many of them good, quite a few great if not incredible. I have NEVER, NEVER heard or seen a show like this. Thanks to those who have already written. It is for the sake of history that I feel compelled to write this. Not for its own sake, but to try and record in these awkward, ill-formed words what I have yet to read. No one yelled "Judas" on the 16th. But the night was as memorable. And the music all that it ever could be. People are still dazed today, coming up to a week after the show. Because Santa Cruz may have played a part in the performance, I've taken most of the time in the first part to set the stage, as it were. After all, the second show was the first night on the tour that Bob did not have to travel anywhere. It was a day of rest for him, and that may have played more than a small part in what happened that second night. Please excuse the length. And again, I apologize in advance if I have taken up an inordinant amount of your valuable time. Ken Santa Cruz, March 15 and 16 Wednesday and Thursday's Shows Santa Cruz is often an amazing place for those who have never been there. It is one of those rare cities that actually has a "vibe." Maybe it is owed to its location, being situated on the Pacific Ocean just an hour's drive south of San Francisco or thirty minutes over the Mountain Range from San Jose. Maybe the feel of the town is due to the University located there-a university that does not assign grades, but allows the teachers to conference individually with their students and give them a "pass" or "fail" mark. Maybe the tenor of the town is owed more to the surfing culture that has been there for ages and ages. Nevertheless, whatever the reason, Santa Cruz is a singular place where one can stop and relax and enjoy the beauty of life. Flanked by the Santa Cruz mountains, it offers tranquility and respite from the busy pace of the nearby Silicon Valley or San Francisco. The air is clean and pure. The people genteel. The Civic Auditorium is a small venue, nestled on Church Street, just a stone's throw away from the beautifully designed Pacific Garden Mall. (The PGM is not a "mall" as thought of today. This is more akin to a downtown thoroughfare, perhaps close to a half-mile or more long. A city street filled with shops and trees and benches-an outdoor thoroughfare for visitors, shoppers and friends.) I don't know for what the Civic was originally intended. It is an odd place: a gymnasium floor just barely the size of a basketball court, held in place on three sides by rows of terraced wooden seats rising rapidly to near the roof. The fourth side is a stage equipped as a Theatre-a hemp house with a pinrail stage right, overhead batons and backdrops. A small stage to be sure, what one would expect to find in a high school built perhaps fifty years ago or more. I don't know when the Civic was built, but it is very comfortable and intimate. Someone said it could hold eighteen hundred people, or perhaps two thousand. That would be impressive. Nine hundred in the seats and on the floor would be its appearance. Two thousand had to be a work of magic, the venue appeared so intimate and friendly. Wednesday was a glorious day in the Bay Area, one of the first free from wind and rain. The sun was out and Santa Cruz was balmy. I arrived in line about 3:45 to find a peaceful and tranquil gathering stretched partway down the front of the auditorium and down the block past the firehouse. About a hundred people were already there, and I took a spot on the low brick wall next to the fire station. This was a place one could get up, wander away, grab some food or drink, and wander back and find everyone more than pleasant. You can't loose your place in line in Santa Cruz. And the food nearby! Try the Planet Fresh Burrito for a sampling of California Beach cuisine. Your choice of filling (shrimp and black beans), vegetables, and six different types of burrito shell (I took the spinach). I took me two hours to eat it. Mammoth and magnificent. We were warned that backpacks and such would be searched. A bit of a surprise, considering the venue. Also, we were told that the venue was non-smoking. It was asked that cigarettes not be used inside. This elicited a bit of a smile. After all, this is Santa Cruz, an area where locally-grown marijuana is a significant cash crop. (BTW, Santa Cruz is-to my knowledge-the only town in the state that has banned cigarette smoking outside while waiting in line for a movie. One must step away to enjoy their smoke.) Seven o'clock and the doors opened. By now the line in front of me had swelled to perhaps three hundred people, friends of friends in line. Not a bother nor concern. They let people enter in bunches to help control the crowd movement. Eventually our turn came. I handed in my ticket with no complaint, brushed passed those milling about in the lobby and jetted through the inner doors. What a surprise. I was able to get a spot on the floor about twelve feet back from center stage. Many of the people who came in ahead of us had taken the seats on the sides. Great! And not only were we able to gain a great position on the floor, but we had r o o m around us all night long! I actually had to walk over a couple steps to Jon to whisper song titles and such during the show. What an incredible crowd. Young (children), teens, people in their twenties and well into their sixties. People wearing tie dye and people wearing slacks. Long hair, short hair, no hair. It didn't matter, we were all there. And it wasn't long until there was that hazy pall of no-smoking hanging in the air, co-mingling with the lit incense that adorns the stage at every Bob show, and is a sure a harbinger of his imminent entrance as the dimming of the light and the announcing of his welcome. Little time will be taken here with Asleep at the Wheel. They are a wonderful opening act, and an accomplished band in their own right. Hats off to their superb playing, especially the beautiful pedal steel player. The second night I saw her plugging in her instrument and had to speak to her and tell her how wonderful she played. Ray Benson, the front man of AATW (look familiar?), is a consumate showman. He reminded more than a few people of The Hawk. Fun, fun set. And how many times does one get to hear Red River Valley, or Tumbling Tumbleweeds in concert? A funny Hot Rod Lincoln that's seen far too many outings and some standard schticht and a heavily repeated set list were the only mars on an otherwise great performance. The calls and cheers were more than well deserved. These guys (and gal) are great! While AATW is backed by a flat black drop, the set undergoes a significant change for Bob. The first hint that we're in for a treat are the lighting trusses suspended over the stage. Here's a small touring combo-one expects the aluminum par cans, but there are also ten High End Studio Color and eight High End Studio Spot instruments. I love the look of the stage: low slung amps here and there, a lot of open space, three mics·and there, on top of that second yellow amp, the one just a little taller than the yellow amp next to it-old looking amps, tube amps (?), the kind of amps people used years and years ago it looks like, on top of that amp, a tray with a goose neck light hovering above it, and next to it, another mic laying on top of the amp. And on the front of the amps, long mics taped to the grills. And there, standing Stage Left by the onstage monitor board, Larry Campbell laughing with the sound man. And there, on the stage-one on the right, the other on the left-mics. Is the show being recorded? And at the back of the stage, a black scrim, and behind it, flanking the entire stage, a gorgeous backdrop of swagged material drawn into rows of crescent arches, side by side, of rich, luxurious fabric. The lights dim. The Studio Spots erupt into syncopated flashing strobes, brilliant white light dancing about the stage. The crowd rises again to its feet, and the roar begins. The moment we've been waiting for. Bob's about to hit the stage. (PART TWO TO FOLLOW)
Subject: Re: Santa Cruz Review, Part One From: Paul Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 12:37:03 -0800 Better look again, the NES at UCSC is out the door. And it is not utopia -- I never saw a town more polarized in so many ways, anywhere. I went to the Nampa Idaho show last night and it was incredible too, you are not unique in this.
Subject: Santa Cruz Review, Part Two From: dylan fan Date: 21 Mar 2000 20:49:18 -0800 First, thanks to all those who have written. I appreciate your kind comments. The following section is long. Again, I appologize in advance. I've never felt compelled to write like this after a Bob show. (That's probably a good thing!) This part of the review takes up Wednesday night's performance from when Bob hits the stage to just after the show. When I have the time in the next couple of days, I will write final thoughts about Thursday night's show. As I've mentioned before, I thought it was a stellar performance, and one for the books. Thanks for your patience. Ken Santa Cruz PART TWO Bob's entrances are always, by my experience, met with great anticipation. The heart pounds and people bounce on their feet. Cries of appreciation and approbation swell. Hands pump the air. This isn't any regular loud music show. This is Dylan. The Artist. The Master. One of the primary inventors of rock and roll. The lyrical genius. The Sage. The Poet. The King. And he hit the stage. He was dressed fine, with black pants with the single white pinstripe down the side. White cowboy boots. A black vest covering a dark dress shirt and tie. A black jacket. Hair akimbo, face taught. Slim, in shape, wearing an acoustic guitar. And the notes began. "Oh, Babe, It Ain't No Lie." Only something was wrong. One could see it in Bob's eyes and facial expression. He wasn't happy. It couldn't have been the sound. It was wonderful. The music was clear and up front, and the vocals were sharp. Earlier we had listened to the sound check as the crew made everything right. And there sat the sound boards in the house, in the perfect place, taking up a good section of the floor--maybe fifteen or twenty percent of the available space near the back. The monitors were well placed. There were curved columns of speakers hanging above the right and left sides of the stage. Smaller speakers were located stage right and left, pointing in to the crowd gathered at the front of the stage. Still, something was wrong. Bob bent in to his guitar and noodled. You know the sound--a few brief notes tentatively strung together, the beginning essence of a solo. A few of us applauded, but there was a feeling, a vibe if you will, that things were not quite right. We knew it. Bob knew it. He pressed on. Truth is, he looked downright grumpy. Many of us turned to each other and laughed. "Grumpy Bob!" we seemed to smile at one another. "Ain't it great! There he is!" The song grew, then it folded gently. The applause began, but Bob and the gang weren't waiting for it. They immediately launched into "Mr. Tambourine Man." And my mind began to wander. What happens when the consummate artist of his craft himself knows that things aren't firing on all cylinders? One may guess. The applause is received, but it sounds a bit hollow. The people are applauding for a number of reasons, but the artist himself knows that the music isn't reaching its apogee. He knows that the fame and the trapping and the lights and the familiarity and the legend and all the rest are at play. He knows that he can cough during a song and people will request it. He knows that his discards are valued by many and are considered better than other people's polished offerings. He knows all this, yet at that moment of this performance is feeling the lack of the full presence of the music. It's that "Thin Wild Mercury Music" thing that's missing, or can call it whatever they want. Bob's troubled, now. Still, he closes his eyes and he sings the song and we're on the beach at the ocean's edge, dancing with one hand waving free, and we're longing for that freedom, we're wanting to dance and take that trip on the magic swirling ship. And Bob wants us to go--he wants to go--yet the transport lays rocking, knocking against the wharf's deck. The song ends and the stage lights dim. Now the hues are rich and deeply saturated. Indigo and green, dark colors as the acoustic strains of "Masters of War" begin to be heard. It's hard to cheer such a song, but people do. And I wonder what Bob thinks of that. Do some cheer their ability to recognize a tune? Are we sometimes yelling aloud just so others will turn and think, "Wow, they can recognize that song after only a few notes." Does the roar of recognition mean anything to Bob? Bob leans in to the mic and begins to sing, low and ominous. The song has presence, but one can tell that Bob's not in the "happy-happy joy-joy" mood. It's not going to be that kind of night. His eyes are troubled. He sees something, and he's trying to tell us what it is. I'm leaning forward. I want to listen. I want to know. Maybe I need to change my way of thinking. I have waited all day to see Bob, the One. It was an almost surreal wait, time slowing down, practically standing still. The faces in line, the imagined hopes, the expectations. What were we expecting? We were there to see Bob, to see BOB! And there he is, playing. Only the feeling is different. Different than what? I can't tell. Bob's leaning in to the mic again, growling. The song stings. It ends, and how can one clap? It wasn't just a song. It was a statement, a polemic, a vision of darkness. The applause rings from the crowd, each time louder than before. We could see Bob was struggling, grasping, reaching for every note, squeezing them off with difficulty. The ease we've seen him play with before was not there. Was the neck of the guitar damp? Were the strings old? No. None of those things. Many around me are entranced. I'm the same. Something is happening, and I do want to know what it is. Larry on the right, Charlie on the left. Tony to the left and slightly behind Bob. Larry and Charlie exchanging looks. Larry's trying hard to connect. Bob's ignoring them, pacing between the two. "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" begins. Unrequited love, sung with sorrow and loss. The acoustic sounds continue, limping forth. No doubt it sounds great, but the visuals onstage are troubling. I start thinking, can he pull this one out of the hat? They played last night in Visalia; "Country Pie" was played last night. Maybe he'll play it next. That will energize the set. It's alright, indeed, but it's not on fire. "Tangled" came next with a fitful start. Bad sign. Bob flubbed a couple words in the first verse, yet the song pressed on. The crowd, of course, answered the opening notes with ecstatic applause. The second verse, fine. Bob changes the lyrics in the third, and I laugh out loud. Others around are laughing also, and we're looking at each other, faces beaming. Bob's coming on. Then the topless verse is skipped, and he's on Montague street. Then she's lighting a burner on the stove, and the song is flopped about with a carelessness that's almost hurtful. Dismissive? Notes are played, but the conviction isn't there. And the song is sung with a sadness, a very deep sadness. The applause again, and again the band pays no attention. They're on the way with "Pass Me Not, Oh Gentle Savior." I stand transfixed. I start to wonder. Why is Bob singing this song, and singing it now? A thought creeps in that there is a reason and a purpose for it being here, but rather than think about it now, I listen and Bob cries out to Christ not to pass him by. Oh babe, it ain't no lie. Many of the people around me are almost stunned. They're listening to the gospel in Santa Cruz, a town known more for its libertarian and leftist leanings than Christian presence. When going to school here, rumors were heard about cults and witch activity being conducted in the mountains and under the ground in the caves that dot its hills: "On Halloween, people keep their children indoors; the remains of butchered animals are routinely found the following day. " It's all a laugh, a hoot. There are many churches in town. In fact, the entrance to the city is adorned by a beautiful white church with high spire rising from the redwood trees up on a hill. And the people of Santa Cruz are good, kind people. Generous to a fault. And the auditorium we are in is located on Church Street. Only this is a different kind of church. And when the song ends, it is greated with polite applause. I look to a couple on my left. They aren't angry. They aren't happy. They aren't puzzled. They just stare, waiting for the next song. I wait also. Each moment is charged and filled with expectation. The electrics are strapped on, and "Hootchie Cootchie Man" blasts forth. "I'm heeeeeeerrrre, ev'rybudy knows I'm heeeeeere," he growls, and we all smile and grin. But the guitar solos still lack. The noodling still happens, and Larry and Charlie take over the slack. Bob is allowing them a bit of reign, but it's not terribly loose. The song ends, and "Positively 4th Street" begins. Unrequited love again. Heartfelt pain and sorrow. Looking for something that's missing. Searching for the fullness of love. Having it taken away. Looking for the pieces to fit. The show has taken a different course. We're following along, all too happy to be there right then with Bob, but some of us know that he's reaching, and what he's reaching for is just out of his grasp. But we applaud. We encourage. He has our permission, but something's holding him back. It's Dylan. Not bad Dylan, not sloppy Dylan, but Dylan who knows that better nights are to be had. The music sounds great, the sound is clear, everyone is playing in the same key, the audience is more than appreciative. Still . . . "Drifter's Escape." I'm glad to hear this one. Again, I lean in to the words as they peel forth, verse after verse after verse. And the lightning strikes and the building comes down and the Drifter did escape. But Bob seems to be singing about someone else now. He's telling us stories. He's leading us on. He's woven the evening around us and is drawing us in. He's still not happy, dammit, even though he's smiled a couple of times. He's shuffled a little bit here and there, and has raised himself up on his toes. His left leg has been constantly in motion, moving in and out, his foot bent at the toes and heel raised, twisting about, moving, moving, moving. Reaching. Pumping. Agitated. Then those new sounds. Those new sounds from just a couple weeks ago. And he's leaning in now and singing that he's on the last train and standin' in the gallows and that all hell is about to break loose and that people are crazy and times are strange. A lotta water's passed under the bridge and he's only passing through and that if the Bible's right the world is going to explode, and that all the truth of the world is one big lie. And he's meaning it. It's sung with force and conviction. And he's not altogether happy. Maybe because the world sucks and that's that. Maybe because when one gets on in life, it just gets harder and harder to pretend that everything's a-o.k., that everything's fine. 'Cause tonight it's not fine. Things aren't working. Maybe the world's not working. Maybe the bus ride was rough. Maybe Bob's sleep is plagued by dreams. But "Things Have Changed." The song may have been written for a movie, but there is no doubt that it was written by Bob. And it carries his weight and conviction. Then the strains of "Not Dark Yet," and the songs are laying on top of one another, layer upon layer. And it's not dark yet, but it's getting there. And the people are listening, and we want to applaud, but the words are coming almost prophetically now. I've heard many of these songs before, but not this way. They're different tonight. They mean something new. Why is it so hard? Why are they coming out so sad? Why are the words laced with such an ominous darkness? Why is Bob struggling under the weight, as if he wants things to take off, he wants it to be different, but it cannot be. The songs have to be sung this way. They have to be played this way, with difficulty. There is no ease, and it becomes harder and harder to yell and rejoice at Bob being there, because Bob himself is not rejoicing. And then Hwy 61, and the lights are blaring and flipping into our eyes, but Bob is bored. He's tired of this shit. He's not happy again. He looks over to Larry, and then to Charlie. He nods, and Charlie lets the solo rip forth. Charlie's bearing down on the guitar, and Bob's at the mic and singing out, "Where do you want this KILLING DONE!" And it's raw, and Bob turns his back on Charlie and turns to Larry, and the song goes through it perfunctory moves and he's off. It's over. And we know what's next. It's "Love Sick," and Bob's telling us that he's sick of this love, sick of the love he finds here on earth. Sick of it. Sick of it in all its permutations. It makes sense. People are dying from it. Then "Silvio" blasts forth, and the crowd is dancing. Though the show doesn't ignite, it does rise from the ground and there is merriment, but many of us here that he wants to go and find out things only a dead man knows. "It Ain't Me Babe" comes out next, soft and gentle. And Bob is in his toes. The song is a lament. She wants so much, and maybe she deserves it this time, but Bob's not the one she's looking for. She's looking for someone who will die for her and more. And Bob's eyebrows raise up as he simply says, "it ain't me ·" Larry and Bob and Charlie all step forward to their mics and together rip out, "I'm gonna tell ya' how it'sa gonna be!" And "Not Fade Away" blasts into the air. It's powerful, vibrant and alive. Larry doubles over his guitar and tears at the notes, with Charlie on the left bending over and doing the same, and Bob punctuating the efforts, adding another layer of notes as the song lifts and wails and mingles in the air with the yells and the cheers and stomping feet. It's a raucous and rousing close, and the audience screams for more. But Bob and the band are gone. For my musical friend, Jon, my friend who came along to the show that night, the evening was a blast. He laughed and giggled at Bob's faces and dances, and was stirred by the soulfulness of the songs. But I could only wonder. What did it mean? Whatever it meant, we knew that we had seen just the first set, and that tomorrow night was going to be wonderful. How wonderful, we had no idea. Nights like that are all too rare. I couldn't get "Oh Babe it Ain't no Lie" out of my head. A person near to me called it "Bob's Traveling Road Show and Gospel Revue." I laughed and the person went on. "He started off by telling us that what he was going to say was the truth--it wasn't a lie. Then he painted a picture about how life could be, free and tranquil and full of promise. Then came a picture of those who were seeking to destroy the earth and hurt it. Love is broken. Dreams are shattered. We have to wander to another joint. But there, there is the Savior offering His redemption." When I nodded I guess I encouraged the guy. "Things have changed," he went on. "The world's going to explode and it looks like its coming soon. Bob's on the last train and death is near, though it's not dark yet. Promoters are taking the day and setting up their bleachers in the sun. Bob's sick of the love of the earth, the love of the world. He wants to find out things only dead men know. Those who look to him to be always strong and never weak are looking to the wrong person. It ain't me, he tells us. He's already told us who it is earlier. And finally, that his love has got to be real, and he's going to show him how it's going to be." What about "Drifter's Escape," I asked. "I don't know," the guy said. "I haven't been able to figure that out." I didn't even bother to ask about "Hootchie Cootchie Man." But I did know this. It was Bob. And Bob on any night is better than most anyone else on any other night. Seeing Bob is a gift and a rare treat. I could hardly wait for tomorrow.
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2000 02:41:52 -0600 From: acffh To: billp61 , Karl Erik Andersen Subject: Santa Cruz Dylan Show Review- 3-16-2000 Here are my notes and comments on Bob Dylan's Thursday March 16, 2000 concert at the Santa Cruz California Civic Center. Bob's set on Thursday was very different in emotional tone than the one the previous evening. On Wednesday, although Bob had delivered a stirring performance, he seemed somewhat rigid and maybe nervous. Thursday he was totally relaxed, the day on the beach must have treated him right. (Just a guess. . . the Santa Cruz Sentinel was speculating on where he would be hanging out. . .) Starting with a number from the Stanley Brothers, his Bobosity launched the Thursday show into high gear from the git-go with I Am The Man, Thomas. Pablo Wheeler's audio mix was somewhat more forceful than for the acoustic portion of Wednesday's concert, it's helpful to have a show in the same location as the previous night. Sound was good, Bob was in a good mood, audience ecstatic. That's not Times are a changin, that's Song to Woody! Audience now hushed and attentive, soaking up old folk vibrations from another era- it was clear where Bob's heart was, this tribute to Guthrie humanized Dylan, and reminded us to be thankful to be in attendance. It's Alright Ma(I'm Only Bleeding) was very well sung, with wit and sparkle, and some of the folks around me seemed very surprised and impressed that Dylan would pull out such a wordy song. Most of the folks who hadn't seem him in a long time, or who were expecting an incomprehensible Dylan were pleasantly blown away by his vocal clarity and mastery of the contents of his own voluminous catalog. During the One Too Many Mornings, the years melted off of Bob until he was the 24-year-old who toured England in 1966 with the former Hawks- he seemed revitalized, charged up, and young like a kid again. The vintage material allowed time to dissolve, and it was back to the past for a moment. . . I like the way the band takes their time exposing the theme to this song in the current arrangement. It makes for a nice moment between when the lyrics begin, and the tension is released when the title line is finally reached. Tangled Up in Blue was vastly different from the night before, Bob took a harmonica solo with a fat, resonant, reedy sound. Footlights cast shadows on the curtain behind Bob, Larry, Tony and Charlie making them appear huge- the musical giants that they are. Tony's five-string bass is going to blow people's minds who've never experienced the soothing low-frequency wonders of (for instance) Phil Lesh or Mike Gordon doing what they do best. Bob held his guitar behind his back for a one-handed harp solo, then kept his acoustic strapped on for. . . Rock of Ages- yet again, Dylan lengthens the acoustic portion of the set beyond Tangled by a song. His acoustic sets have grown stronger and stronger, especially since Charlie has joined the band. Nothing against Bucky Baxter, but the instrumentation just seems, if not more varied, perhaps more controlled. Bucky played pedal steel guitar and the mandolin if I recall, but not the 6-string acoustic. Now that Charlie plays the acoustic (ES-335, big red Gibson, I do believe) Larry can play 6-string acoustic (looks like it might be a Martin?) or he can fill in on mandolin, bouzouki, Pedal Steel, Lap Steel, or the electric. . . I think it adds focus and power to Dylan's acoustic portion of the show to have some of the songs played only on guitars. Also, it's the cowboy thing to do, and if you look at the current merchandise catalog, His Bobness distinctly resembles the Marleyburrow Man. Collect the Highway 61 miles and win prizes, like Zippo lighters, Coffee mugs, and postage stamps from Gambia! But I digress. For Big River, a 4/4 boogie tempo was observed, and an observer mentioned to me that it was similar to Johnny Cash's Sun Studios version of the tune. Larry played on his cream-colored Fender Telecaster, Bob had a Fender Stratocaster, the Sunburst-stained one, and Charlie had the black Strat cranking out the twangy distortion. This was a rare treat, and it was followed by the perhaps slightly less rare, but even more treat-like. . . Highlands!!! When Larry started picking the familiar melodic line on the mandolin, along with Bob and Charlie (still playing the ES-335), I knew what I was hearing, but was knocked silly, and unable to do anything except jump up and down quietly for a moment. Bob launched into the lyrics, and I felt like I was one of the few folks around me who had a clue what we were all hearing. Highlands is the final song on Time Out Of Mind, the Grammy-winning 1997 studio release, and its placement on the album and its length combine to make it a somewhat under-appreciated song. Like Desolation Row, it has no chorus or repeating lyrical structure, except its repeated references to the Highlands. . .His heart's there, His mind's there, and that's good enough for now. If it's good enough for him it's good enough for me. Lyrical changes were handled with grace- In the Boston-town restaurant, instead of asking his waitress to "Tell me what I want," he asks "I said 'What's good today?'" and she continues feeding him punchlines for his straight lines and vicey-versa. Various people in the audience laughed as each line of the song was delivered. He changed a few other lines as well- "Trying to repair the wrongs. . .of the day before" and "Trade places with any of them in a minute if I *only* could." He didn't stumble, and I don't think he forgot a line to the song. It was amazing, uplifting, and serenely beautiful. I could only feel exhilerated to be a part of the event. This clinched the worthiness of my California journey, as if it was in question!?! At this point, Bob had the crowd in the palm of his hand, this didn't really even resemble the atmosphere from the previous night, when all the pointedly insulting songs were played- Bob and the band were basking in the glow of a lovingly appreciative audience, and he made his wry joke of the evening- regarding a local restaurant which is located on Santa Cruz's Front Street- something like-"there's this great restaurant in town here called Positively Front Street. We're gonna franchise it! Fill you up, cheap!" I walked by the restaurant the following day, and half-expected to see a cardboard Dylan cutout in the window saying "Fill you up- Cheap!" Memphis Blues followed, and I generally love the tune and associate it with the Dead. But after Highlands, they could have played Row Row Row Your Boat on nose-flutes and kazoos six times in a row and I would have been happy. Memphis Blues was ok, and rocked out and all that, and everyone who had no idea what that long slow comedy number was about probably got off on it. For me, it was more of a back-to-earth experience. Larry played acoustic, Charlie and Bob on Sunburst Fender Strats. Back to the good old stuff with Your a Big Grrrl Now- Larry on steel, Charlie and Bob sticking with the Sunbursts- Sweet, sweet song- a treat because it's rare, it would still be a treat if it was played more! Bob paused before introducing the band to say ". . .I know I speak for them all when I say we'd love to play here *every* night!" which was naturally greeted with substantial applause and revelry. Larry stayed at the steel , Charlie strapped on the blue Telecaster, and we took a spin down Highway 61. Charlie didn't play as loudly as he had the night before, but he still did some damage. . .he just pointed off with his gun. . . and left us looking for a righteous encore. Lovesick seemed much different in mood than the previous night, although I can't tell you exactly what could have been the difference. Somehow it seemed that Bob was not very comfortable during Wednesday's show, but he was all grinning and grooving on Thursday. Even the normally somber Lovesick seemed almost light. Larry went to the Sunburst Strat, Bob kept his on, and Charlie switched to a pearl-fingerboard white Strat. (I think that's a strat, anyhow, but I welcome corrections!) Maggies Farm was up next, as if to point out to the old hippies who may be in attendance that Bob still had his anti-establishment streak, he still wasn't working for Maggie's Farm, or her Ma, Pa, Brother, or any of that! And he rocks out too!!! Tony souning huge on the low strings of his new bass, Bob sticking to the sunburst, Charlie hanging with the white/ pearl axe, and Larry switching back to his cream Telecaster. >From the exciting to the serious, this show ran the gamut of emotional tones. Blowing in the Wind saw Tony Garnier take up his four-string acoustic hollow-bodied bass, Bob on a sunburst acoustic guitar, Charlie playing the Gibson ES-335, and Larry on his acoustic (I still think it's a Martin) Bob also played a very sweet harmonica solo, his second of the night, and it was eerily appropriate. Bob was blowing the harp, the wind carried the sound from his breath to our ears, it was a scene I'll always remember fondly. . .Bob blowing in the wind. . .sweeping us all into the next song together- you know our love will NOT FADE AWAY!!! The Wednesday show ended with the same song, but it sure wasn't played the same. On Wednesday, Bob played like he had something to prove to a hostile audience. Thursday's Not Fade Away was musically much looser, the notes were played with less tightness and accuracy, but far more feeling. The Wednesday NFA rocked hard, but the Thursday one just had loads more emotional energy- whaddaya call it- soul? Yep. I'd call the Thursday show a gutbucket of a good time, and judging from the late night crowd at Santa Cruz's Saturn Cafe, the show woke up a lot of folks to the high quality of Dylan's current work. All in all, Santa Cruz was one of the very best Bob experiences I've had. I'm looking forward to Rochester, Cedar Rapids, and the summer tour with Phil Lesh and friends- who incidentally were quite excellent at the Kaiser in Oakland on March 10 for a celebration of Lesh's 60th Birthday. Robben Ford has taken over on guitar for Steve Kimock, and the group seems much more solid and somewhat more versatile than they did while opening for Bob on the Fall 1999 tour. Here's hoping that everything works out so we can all get rocked comfortably together this summer!!! PS's to Karl Erik Expectingrain and Bill P Bobdates- please post for all to see and enjoy- thanks, and I'll see you down front! -tom
Subject: Santa Cruz review, Part Three of Three From: dylan fan Date: 23 Mar 2000 15:43:47 -0800 This is the last part of the review of the Dylan concerts in Santa Cruz. Again, please forgive the length. In fact, it kept going and going so I truncated the end. Now I know why C.P. Lee wrote a book about a show. Granted, it was Manchester, but for a fact this show this night is a show for all time. I know that these words are only the beginning. Not from me...I'm at an end. I've run dry. But I wouldn't be surprised to read more and more from this night. I wouldn't be surprised to read Bob speaking of it himself. Thanks for taking the time if you read this. Forgive my excesses; I rarely post. And whatever you do, do whatever you can do and catch a show on this leg. It's a living thing. Ken Santa Cruz, Part Three of Three Thursday Night I woke up in the morning with the strains of "Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie" in my mind, got dressed for work and grabbed my concert clothes for the show later that night. I planned on leaving for Santa Cruz right after work to arrive in line around three o'clock. On the way over the hill I listened to the Dylan/Cash sessions. I sang along with "One Too Many Mornings," and thought how great it would be to hear it that night, but knew the likelihood was slim. That would end up being just one surprise in a night of surprises in a "concert for all-time." Everything went well getting to the auditorium, and I found myself at about the same place in line as the day before. As I walked up to the line, another person stepped in at the same time. His name was Paul, and he had flown in from England just the day before in order to see Bob. He had planned his vacation around this tour and was going to be able to see several of the performances. "Did you see the show last night?" I asked. "Yes," he answered. I asked if he had had tickets, and to my surprise he said no. "How much did you pay?" I asked. "Face value," he responded. I was very surprised. Normally I have never had trouble scoring tickets to a Bob show; even if I didn't have tickets in advance, I've always been able to show up in line and get tickets for face value from someone in the line. Last night, though, tickets were as scarce as hen's teeth. According to the guy in line in front of me, a pair of general admission tickets (the whole show was general admission) were sold Wednesday night for $1000. One thousand dollars! People were asking for tickets at $350 each. Two young women were offered $300 each for their tickets, sold them and went home. And here Paul flew over from England without a ticket and got into the show. "How?" I asked. Apparently, he went up to the box office window and asked if there were any tickets available. He was told no, and joined the group of people gathered at the front of the line asking people for extras. Many people stood at the front hoping to score extras from the "will-call" crowd, while others patrolled the line with home-made signs or a single finger raised in the air. I noticed that there was a marked difference in the people asking for tickets. Some were obviously Bob fans. Others were obviously hoping to score an extra ticket or two and then turn it around for a quick profit. Paul stood there for about ten minutes, and then it was announced that there was a group of tickets that were extra that were being released for sale. He was able to purchase Wednesday and Thursday night tickets right on the spot! When the tickets went originally on sale the day of release, they sold so quickly that hundreds of people were turned away from the box office in the drizzle and the rain. Paul just smiled. While the weather the day before had been sunny and balmy, on this day the wind was chill and whipped through the streets of Santa Cruz and through the clothes of the people waiting in line. At times, people moved into doorways to escape the wind; everyone without blankets hunkered down inside their clothes and waited patiently, swapping stories about the night before or different times seeing Bob. For Paul, this would be his 65th concert. We shared moments, and talked about things. He introduced me to a man he said had probably, next to Bob himself, been to more concerts than anyone. I hesitated to ask, having before seen a woman with over two hundred shows under her belt. Paul mentioned how, the night before, a woman was moved from the front of the stage (he believed at Dylan's request) because of her following Dylan around from show to show to show. Whether or not it is true I don't know. The story also seemed to pass around the group of how Mark David Chapman had had his picture taken with Dylan just before the tragedy that was to occur at the Dakota Apartments. Again, I don't know if this was true or not. Regardless of the stories making the rounds, there was an anticipation that was building through the crowd for the evening's performance. I know it may sound strange, but it was as if people knew that the night was going to be special. There was almost a feeling as if it were a privilege to be there. I chalked it all up to the fact that Dylan didn't have to tour that day and was able to spend it however he wanted: at the beach, passing through the shops and used record stores, maybe visiting a fellow musician's home nearby. Regardless of what he did or didn't do, it had the potential to be a day of rest. I was sure we would all be the beneficiaries. The announcement was made down the line about searching backpacks and all; many of us hoped that the powers that be would open the doors early. The wind may have not been tearing us to shreds, but it was hard and cold. Just as my friend, Brian, thought he would go off and get a slice of pizza, I looked down the line. People were surging forward. Most of the line was oblivious to the sudden move. Suddenly, we found ourselves being swept forward, and ended up in the queue half again closer as the night before. The line had moved before the extra two hundred people or so came back to join up with their friends. I looked at Brian and Paul. We were going to be close tonight. Real close. We ended up passing through the front doors. I spotted an open area about ten feet back from center stage. Just as I reached it, so did two other people. I looked next to me. Brian and I just stood there for awhile. "Hey," I said. "It looks like we can get real close there on the right." Close it was. We sat just to the right of center (stage left), a scant few feet from the lip of the stage (or the barrier set up a few feet from the stage front.) We ended up in the front, just off of center. Paul? We looked and looked and never saw him again. Hope you enjoyed the show! AATW hit the stage to great applause. Their welcome was, in part, due to their highly appreciated performance the night before. A few jokes were repeated, but the stellar moment came when Charlie and Larry and David and Tony (I believe it was all four, though I could be mistaken-I know Larry and Charlie and Tony were there-and Tony WITHOUT his hat!) came out with most of small birthday cake lit with candles and some helium-filled balloons. It was Ray's birthday, and Bob's big boys led the audience in a singalong. Ray blew out the candles, then handed the cake down to the front row. He completely collapsed in laughter. The Boys laughed heartily, and the good will and vibe passed throughout the house. We were all on the same page, and it was great. Favorite song of this performance had to be "Tumbling Tumbleweeds." Reminded me of being a kid and listening to my mom playing that "Cool Water" record by the Sons of the Pioneers. Still have it. Pause. Wait. Stage shift. The lights go out. The flashing strobes begin. The announcer announces. The band hits the stage, dons the acoustics, and "I Am the Man, Thomas." The song is greeted with great applause, and Dylan sings the lyrics with passion and fervor. A few notes are tentatively offered from his acoustic-he's turned towards Larry, stage right. Someone raises their hands and applauds, and he turns around and looks. Can't help it. Caught. He smiles and immediately twists off some more notes. The band notices. This run is fluid, like a guitarist whose fingers feel the song and know just what to do. More applause. Another grin. The song is sung, and there are more solos. Bob's playing like we all know he can play. Like HE knows how he can play. And he's happy. This is the real deal. And when the song ends to clamorous applause, and the notes to "Song to Woody" begin, I cannot help but smile from ear to ear. The Tie-Dyed guy with his girl center stage is beaming from ear to ear and nodding. The young woman to my right is ecstatic. The crowd is energized. And the show goes on like that. "Song to Woody," listen carefully to this version. Pay attention to the way the notes, so carefully chosen and executed, float about, carried with Bob's tender vocals. He's singing now, and he's on his toes. His body is animated, and his face is alive. Each song, each solo, he turns and looks. The applause is there. And he responds. He responds. The audience is invited in and he takes us where he wants to go. We are on the magic swirling ship. And Bob's not at the helm. No, he's the rudder, and he's bending the notes and shaping the songs and they're lifting and soaring and taking us away. Listen to the end of "Song to Woody." The delicately picked notes at the end will make you smile. I can't give away the surprise. The applause is thunderous. It's such a small house, and everyone is there, participating. "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) is next. And Bob is wielding the guitar in just about every position possible. He's moving, he's playing, and it's not just posturing. His body fits and flows into the guitar and the music pours forth. Each pose and twist and turn comes through the guitar. Not a move is wasted. Not a note in error. Let me repeat that. Not a misplayed note. Unbelievable. Then. "One Too Many Mornings." I almost fell off my feet. It was too bizarre to even mention to Brian. And I swear Bob smiled. Actually, he smiled all night long. He was having a blast. And Larry and Charlie and David and Tony in the groove and the music taught and crisp and fresh like it had just been written that day. Oh, by the way. After Wednesday's show I hung out at the stage and called out to the stage manager if I could get a copy of the set list. I had seen him pick them up and place them backstage. He told me they couldn't hand them out anymore and had to collect them and turn them in backstage. Why? He just shrugged his shoulders. "One Too Many Mornings" is brilliant and beautiful. Bob in the same essential clothes as the night before, looking much like Johnny himself. Dressed in black. It was enough to make one want to weep for the beauty of it, and in memory of one who is going down fast. Bob's sung to Woody, and now Johnny's soon to be leaving. "I'm leavin' tomorrow but I could leave today·" The silent night is shattering from the sounds inside my mind. And everyone knows that "Tangled" is next. And there's that momentary pause that says, "Oh, well," from so many performances, and still the night has been exceptional that one hopes the momentum doesn't slow or stall, and Dylan leans in and sings with a passion and zeal and intensity and rips off the notes like they matter and it's not like before. And the verses are there, right, crisp, full. The topless verse is dropped. I can only smile. It's a forgotten part of the song. It's no longer there. But the other verses are, and they come forth lifted by the three guitar attack of the Bob Dylan band. Then the harp, tentative and first, then the notes coming quicker and held longer, and running the scale of the harp and dancing. The solo's not short, and it's not a breath out and breath in passing of time. It's Bob playing the harp like Bob can play the harp. It's vintage Dylan, with a newly-wrought and beautifully executed song. It rises, twists, turns, and we're heading down the road for the next song. It was a surprise to me. I haven't heard "Rock of Ages" since I was a kid in Church with my mom. Poignant. Touching. "Rock of Ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee." Bob enters into the song and sings it from the inside out. It's his, now. And it's moving, touching and sincere. Then the Cash song, "Big River." Who could have guessed? And there is Bob, drawing the circle tighter and tighter, dancing, singing, playing like a musician with a new life and unlimited licks. It was all too much. The house came down. Bob moves upstage, and Tony and Larry step in, Charlie close behind. They quickly confer, and Bob turns around and approaches the mic and there it is. "Highlands." The sound is spare. Larry stands to the right, upright and looking straight ahead, playing the steady riff. David's keeping time and driving things steadily forward. Charlie's intense, his head slightly bowed. Tony's holding his lower lip the way he does, his mouth closed, his head bobbing. Tony's cool. He's one cool cat, and solid. There's a reason he's here, and he's in the song with Bob. Words will fail this one; suffice it to say that it's unreal. People around me utter only the briefest and most shocked comments. The song is·well·it is transcendent. And ultimately hilarious. The audience rocks with laughter, hanging on the delivery, anticipating the punch lines, and Bob delivers them with the timing of a master! He slays us. And when Bob sings, "I must have made a few bad turns," his eyebrows go up, way up, and he looks and smiles and tells us everything we need to know about his life. There is an acceptance, and all that's behind him now. He's moving on. And he's positively savage when he says, "I'm crossing the street to get away from a mangy dog." Wait until you hear it. You will be beside yourself. We were. The place erupted. And the show stopped. Bob just stood there, center stage, and let it come. And come it did, wave upon wave of celebration and joyous exultation for a show of shows. The band flanked Bob on the right and left and let the applause come forth. Bob didn't even make a move to lift his axe. On this day, the axe just fell. And he bowed in recognition and appreciation of the performance so far. The applause lifted greater and greater. And Bob bowed again. Then again. And the celebration didn't stop, and Bob shared in it. He knew. And it was all good. He said that, speaking for the Band, they'd like it if they could play here every night, and of course the audience went nuts. But it was all good. We were filled to the full and there was still more to come. And come it did. "Stuck Inside of Mobile," "You're A Big Girl Now," a blistering and real and energetic and forceful with purpose "Hwy 61," then "Love Sick" where the lights go to black on "I'm sick of love!" and the four strips laid at the foot of the stage come up and bathe Bob and the band in bastard amber yellow and project Bob's shadow up the back wall. Bob's eighteen feet tall, and the foots fade out, and the regular lights are brought back up on the stage. And the band crashes forth. "Maggie's Farm," and a beautifully wrought "Blowin'" with everyone on vocals and Bob pulls out the harp and blows with passion and fervor and depth. I am sure this song was beautiful when sung live so very many years ago; when I've heard it I've always been touched by it's preeminence in Bob's cannon. Tonight it was not a relic or a reminder. It was present-tense. It was a verb, and it moved us forward. "Not Fade Away" closed the show, and the riotous applause that came afterwards were the final sounds of the evening. People didn't move when the show was over. We just stood there, incredulous. Sometimes the recorded reminder of the night's events don't live up to what took place. There is no doubt in my mind what everyone is in for when this show gets out. Paraphrasing Mr. Williams, "Wait until you hear this tape!" It will all be there, and more. You will be able to feel it, and as you listen to the show unfold, you will smile and be glad that Bob's still on the road, bringing shows like this to the world. He's real. He's alive. And he is at the very top of his craft.
2000: March
1999: Jan - Feb - March - April - May - June - July - Sept - Oct - Nov