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Bob Dylan 2000.03.17 in Reno, Nevada

Subject: March 17, 2000 - Reno, Nevada -- Early/Late Show Comments
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2000 01:43:57 -0800

I just got back from Reno, and the early show was definitely the
best of the dozen or so performances I've seen since they
switched to the acoustic opening. I'd have to go back at least to
the May '98 Anaheim show for a performance that was so
consistently excellent.

I thought "Duncan and Brady" was the best opener I'd seen since
"Hallelujah, I'm Ready" last June, and I wondered if Bob chose it
because it contains a line so close to "shot a man in Reno just
to watch him die" (though it doesn't actually mention Reno).

After the song was over, however, he said (inaccurate
paraphrase): "That's my Irish song for St. Patrick's Day." Then
he went on to sing "Danny Boy" -- just those two words, in a
joking tone.

"Masters of War" was stripped-down and opened with a nearly-dark
stage -- a weak spotlight on Bob and the barely illuminated faces
of the rest of the band gave the whole scene a muddy sort of
sepia-tone. As the song progressed the music built and the lights
gradually got much brighter.

Before "One Too Many Mornings" (I think), Tony was talking to
someone at the side of the stage, saying something like, "Yeah,
it's OK, come on out." At that point, a slimmed-down Garth Brooks
took the stage. Actually, it was the fiddle-player from Asleep at
the Wheel, but with his black hat and cowboy gear, I wouldn't be
surprised if he was in fact a subliminal inspiration for "Make
You Feel My Love" at the late show.

Anyway, this nameless fiddle-player seemed a bit reticent and
stood behind Tony for the first song. Then, it seemed like Tony
coaxed him to take a more prominent position next to Charlie. If
I remember, the fiddler stayed on stage through "This World...."
and then left without Dylan mentioning his name. "Rather rude of
you, Bob," I was thinking. But during the band introductions, he
did say, "And playing fiddle with us earlier was Jason Roberts."

Roberts' contributions were significant on all but "Tangled,"
where he played a few Desire-like passages but otherwise seemed
to spend a lot of time sort of strumming or picking his fiddle,
which I couldn't really hear. In any case, "Tangled" was
exceptionally good (as it was again at the late show).

Although I haven't seen a setlist, it seems like "Watchtower" may
have been played because a guy in the audience had been shouting
for it constantly. After a good "Lay Lady Lay" that seemed to
include more complete lyrics than usual, there was a pretty long
pause. Charlie disappeared in the darkness at the side of the
stage, and Bob turned away from the audience and clasped his
hands behind his back, like he'd been assigned "A Person Waiting"
in some party game.

Eventually Charlie came back with a big black guitar (I think),
which contributed to a ferocious "Watchtower." It featured a long
musical break early on, perhaps to give Dylan more time to
remember the words.

Finally, "Like A Rolling Stone" was more forceful musically than
I've ever heard it before. This may have been partly because
there was an extra rhythm guitar on stage -- Ray, the tall lead
singer of Asleep at the Wheel -- though my memory as to which
song he played on is fuzzy. When it was over, he and Bob clasped
hands exultantly in a modified high-five.


The second show was solid, but except for a brief run from
"Tangled" through "Tell Me...," it didn't reach the same heights
as the first show.

"Roving Blade" was very well done -- fairly slow and emphasizing
the sad fate of the thief more than his bravado, I thought. I
don't know the words 100%, but it seemed that Dylan was going out
of his way to get them right and enunciate clearly. The
instrumental breaks were kept to a minimum. It got a very good
response from the crowd, too, even though I'm sure many (around
me at least) weren't familiar with it.

When it was over, Bob laughed and again said something about
playing a song for St. Patrick's Day.

"Leopard-Skin Pill-box Hat" was even better than in Anaheim, but
it was a close-call as to "Tell Me That It Isn't True" -- while
very well sung in a crooning style, it had lost a lot of the
funky bounce it had last week. It was more like a soft country
ballad with just a hint of soul.

"Man in the Long Black Coat" was like a number of other
good-but-not-great versions, I thought. I did notice that Bob
really stressed the "people don't live or die" part and changed
the words a bit to "people just seem to float."


Overall, then, I'd say this evening offered about two wonderful
hours of music spread out over three. And this week has featured
the widest variety of songs a person could reasonably hope for.
Even after 7 shows, I wish I had the time to see more (though I
am pretty sick of driving).


1. Duncan & Brady
2. Mr. Tambourine Man
3. Masters of War
4. One Too Many Mornings
5. Tangled Up In Blue
6. This World Can't Stand Long
7. Country Pie
8. Lay, Lady, Lay
9. All Along The Watchtower
10. Simple Twist of Fate
11. Highway 61 Revisited

12. Love Sick
13. Like A Rolling Stone

14. Girl From the North Country
15. Not Fade Away

2000: March
1999: Jan - Feb - March - April - May - June - July - Sept - Oct - Nov