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Bob Dylan 2000.07.18 in Toronto

Photos by Michele Simpson, published by permission:

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 10:54:58 -0400
From: "James R. Ziegler" 
Subject: Toronto Review  July 18, 2000 (LONG)

This is long.

John, my usual Dylan concert associate, was unable to attend last
night's show at the Molson Amphitheater, so I enlisted Rich, a
non-fan and first time concert attendee.  With the help of Rich's
American Express card, we landed in row J, but actually, we were
closer than that.

We left Erie, PA at 10:00 and had a great drive to Toronto,
getting there in time to enjoy a nice walk around the city, and a
great dinner at the Whistling Oyster.  Toronto is beautiful,
alive, and vibrant.  I only wish I had more time to spend there.

We left our car in the city and took a taxi over to the Molson,
and after fighting through the T-shirt line, we found our way to
our seats.  I haven't been this close since 1994, and it was a
real treat.

Some general comments about the show:  Bob looked a little pale,
like he needed to get some sun.  Other than that, very fit and
very trim.  Dressed in his long black coat, black pants with
piping, and the black and white cowboy boots.  Bob had on a very
sharp matching silver shirt and tie.  Very classy!  His hair was
blowing all evening as a nice breeze swept across the stage all
during the show.  Tony and Charlie both wore gray suits with
black shirts.  Tony's was pinstripe, and Charlie's had little
flecks on it.  Tony's hat was black.  David Kemper had on the
shades and white hat with a black shirt.  Rounding out the band,
Larry wore a black suit with a gray shirt.

All night long Bob's vocals were loud and crystal clear.  There
was a great mix.  Bob's singing was absolutely spot on.  Soft,
strong, gritty, depending on the song.  His vocal performance was

I was really surprised all night long at the number of solos
Charlie took.  Larry Campbell played very few.  Worked out just
fine, but it was surprising to see the shift there.

At 7:05, Bob just appeared from behind the speakers, and then the
introduction.  Before a 3/4 full seating section and 1/2 full
lawn, Bob launched into

DUNCAN AND BRADY:  I had never heard this before, but was talking
about it with some folks before the show.  David Kemper smiled
throughout this one, like there was some inside joke and only he
got it.  Amazing to me the lack of "warm up songs" the last
couple of years.  No feeling his way around.  Bob nails the first

A quick "Thank You" before Bob turned and began talking to the
band.  >From my seat, I was able, all night, to see the
discussions, and make out a few words a couple of times.  Then
Bob turned, Larry picked up the mandolin, and they stepped into

SONG TO WOODY:  which was a treat for me, having never heard it
in person.  Bob sang soft, low, and with conviction, much like
the "STW" on the "Things Have Changed" single.  I think last
night's version was just a tad faster, however.

DESOLATION ROW:  saw Bob really getting into the show.  We saw
shoulder dips, dancing, head bobbing, and the leg was stomping
throughout the song.  On "I had to re-arrange their faces" Bob
made that squinting face, as if he were looking at their original
faces with horror. I was listening closely all night for flubbed
lines, and to this point, he was perfect!  There is just
something magical about hearing "Everyone was either making love,
making love or else expecting rain" when Bob is right in front of
you.  Great version.

Bob turned and talked to the band again, as Larry sat at the
pedal.  I immediately knew, from the big sweep of sound from the
pedal, that we were in for

LOVE MINUS ZERO (NO LIMIT):  Bob did a little soloing here, very
nice as on Desolation Row, but a real HIGHLIGHT was Bob's
wide-eyed look as he sang "the night blows cold and
raiiiinnnnnyyyy."  A classic face.

TANGLED UP IN BLUE:  was next of course, and I must admit, I
have, after a long period of disenchantment, come back to TUIB in
the last year.  Possible lyric flub here, but he was changing up
quite a bit, so it was kind of hard to tell.  Nice lighting, nice
solos by Bob and Charlie, but the killer was the delivery of "One
day the axe just feeeeeeelllllllllll."

Bob slung the guitar to the side and picked up a harp.  He hit a
few notes, and then realized that he had the wrong harp!!!  So
after correcting that, we were treated to a nice knee-bending
harp solo.  He even played through the first break in the song,
giving us a few extra seconds of harp.

Then Bob turned and talked to Tony for quite a while, then the
rest of the band.  Larry picked up the mandolin again, and they
launched into a wonderful, bluegrass

THIS WORLD CAN'T STAND LONG:  never heard it before.  Great
lyrics.  "This world is too full of hate."  Then "The world is
more wicked every day, The Lord won't let it stand that way."  I
love the verse that went like this, "This world's been destroyed
before, because it was too full of sin, and for that same reason,
it will be destroyed again."  What a wonderful song, with great
harmonies by the guys.  This was a real highlight for me. 

As they plugged in the electric guitars, the back curtain opened,
going from black to white.  I don't know why, but it happened.

COUNTRY PIE:  as expected, kicked things off.  Charlie Sexton was
absolutely smoking on those breaks; he had a killer riff that he
kept nailing all throughout the song.  This was Charlie's song,
with Bob adding a killer "countrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyy pie."  This
ain't the album version!

Quickly, Larry had a seat at the steel, and, much to my surprise
since it has not been played at all on this tour, was

LAY LADY LAY:  Bob had many eyebrow lifts here, and kept his leg
stomping pretty steadily.  At this point in the show, you could
really see Bob sweating.  That was fitting, however, because the
next song was so hot.

GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY:  was kicked off with a big hit on the drums
and nice bass line from Tony.  This was really heavy, and
featured a nasty Bob growl on "Yeah . . . ."  Great lyrical games
here.  "Might call you Madonna, Might call you Cher."  Great! 
Then my favorite new line of the night, "Might be in the corner
eating from a garbage pale."  Very nice.

Bob turned around and talked to Tony, then turned to David, and
with his eyes fixed sharply on the audience,

SHE BELONGS TO ME: was delivered smoothly.  Bob had a nice solo
here, which was complimented by the guitar posing and foot
stomping that has come to be expected these days.  When this song
started, I was disappointed, having already heard "Love Minus
Zero," but by the end, it was great.

Bob gave Tony a wink at the end of this song before thanking the
audience once again.  Bob paced around on stage for a seeming
eternity, and during the next song, had trouble with his guitar,
which came unplugged.  But nothing, the wait, the glitch, nothing
at all, could detract from

DRIFTER'S ESCAPE:  if you have heard it live in '95 or '96, you
would be amazed at how it has changed, and gotten stronger.  This
song was JUST SO HOT!  The guitars were blistering, and Bob
finished it off with a much too short, but very energetic, harp
solo, with guitar at his side and his hand raised, as he posed, I
kept thinking "with one hand waving free."  Yes indeed, this
Tambourine Man cast a spell tonight!

Bob then introduced the boys as "The finest players on the
continent," and messed up the nightly David Kemper joke, saying
"he only lies unless he's in bed."

LEOPARD-SKIN PILL-BOX HAT: followed, and again, the speakers were
smoking as Charlie led the way with several solo shots, and Larry
got a fine solo at the conclusion of the song, which came much
too soon.  Bob looked at Charlie mid-song, and gave him a little
nod.  After that, it was like Charlie was unleashed to do his
master's bidding.  He attacked the guitar, spitting out notes in
a riff that built with intensity as the song moved on.  Bob had
the leg stomping, shuffle stepping, head bobbing look going on.

The came THE FORMATION.  I was hoping to see this.  They just
lined up, guitars at their sides, and stood for a good thirty
seconds.  Larry Campbell was the first to break the formation,
and then they were gone.

THINGS HAVE CHANGED:  as I was hoping, opened up the encore.  It
was faster than the album, but Bob nailed every single word. 
Much posing here, especially as he stepped to Larry's side of the
stage and they played during a break.  This was a real highlight
for me.  Great version, really making the song come alive!!!  A
quick "Thank You" led into the drum crash and

LIKE A ROLLING STONE:  which I must admit, as often as I skip
over it when listening to shows, when you are there, and the wind
is blowing Bob's hair, and he is slide stepping and side stepping
and toe pointing and duck walking, I love it.  Charlie had a nice
solo, but Bob really took control of the end of the song, getting
one of his little three note riffs going, but this one really
worked, and even as the band stopped, Bob kept it going just a
little longer.  Nice touch.

Quick switch to the acoustic gear, and there was one song that I
wanted to hear and one song only, on the first note, I knew I had
my wish.

DON'T THINK TWICE:  Before the song Bob talked to Tony, and Tony
held up some fingers for David Kemper.  Someone managed to knock
a balloon on to the stage, and Charlie kind of watched it as it
drifted to the side of the stage.  Tony abandoned the upright
bass for this number, and played the acoustic bass.  I was
completely lost in this moment, in this song, trying to drink it
all in in the few moments that I knew we had left.  Bob made a
stunningly fast removal of the guitar, and picked up the harp and
blew away, sans guitar, just leaving me mesmerized.  I know that
this is a standard, but man oh man, I just love it.  This was a
wonderful version.

HIGHWAY 61: was blistering hot, and is still fun even after all
these hearings.  Charlie had a great solo, and the entire
audience, which now filled basically the entire amphitheater and
3/4 of the lawn, was on their feet and dancing.  This was hot,
and a great getaway song.  Long jamming.

Then it was decision time.  Do we stay or do we go.  Bob said to
Tony, and I could see this clearly, "Do you want to do another?"
and Tony nodded, so Bob nodded.

BLOWIN' IN THE WIND: was the best of the live versions I have
heard.  Maybe it was the weather.  Maybe it was the harmonies. 
Maybe it was the wind.  Maybe it was the guitar posing even on
BITW, or maybe it was everything combined, but this was

Then came the second FORMATION of the night, with Larry, again,
leaving first.

This was a remarkable show.  I don't think Bob flubbed a line all
night.  If I am wrong, someone let me know.  Security was not
really tight, so I was able to take a roll of film, which I am
eagerly anticipating getting back.  I hope that someone got a
good recording.  This show deserves to be heard.

Aptly, as Rich I and I pulled into the parking lot here in Erie,
"Lay Lady Lay" came on the radio.  This was the first time I have
heard Dylan on the radio in at least a year, and it was so
fitting that "LLL" should appear then, after having heard it just
a few hours before.

A great night.  A great show.  A tip of the cap to the Deadheads
sitting in front of me and the BobCats sitting behind.  Hope to
see you down the road someday.

And of course,  Thanks, Bob! 

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 15:39:03 -0700 (PDT) From: ivan Subject: my review of Bob Dylan concert in Toronto- July 18,2000 To: I had been following the news on so I knew Bob would be performing before Phil Lesh. At 7.03pm Bob sauntered casually onstage with the band, looking great in a black suit, black and white snakeskin boots, and a dark grey shirt. I was worried Bob might be a little cranky about the fact the sun was still shining and people were still scrambling to their seats, but I was wrong. He picked up his sunburst Martin and launched right into a fine version of Ledbelly's "Duncan and Brady". Bob looked very serious, as though he had a message to deliver. The rumour was that Gordon Lightfoot was in attendance, and that pleasant surprise plus the fact Bob was now in the largest city in Canada -- home of Robbie Robertson -- after just playing a lot of smaller US towns convinced me he was here to really groove and show his best stuff. The old folkies were in heaven during Song to Woody, cheering loudly when he sang Woody Guthrie's name. Bob looked very relaxed at this point but I felt something big was going to happen. There was a palpable feeling of expectation in the air, not to mention the sweet smell of burnt offerings to music's reigning King. Bob kicked it into gear on Desolation Row. This ode to doom has never been a big favorite of mine, but he snarled it out in a caustic blues voice that shook every body in the house. He leaned sideways and looked into the microphone like he was mad at it. Bob wasn't satisfied with that, and took it up yet another notch by launching into an extended solo that left Larry and Charlie looking on with respect and delight. Lots of people around me were surprised to see Bob play so much lead....but the best was yet to come. He broke a few female hearts with Love Minus Zero, which featured the tastiest Bob solo of the night. Although the tune slowed things down a bit, he made up for that with the hippest version of Tangled Up In Blue I've ever heard. He changed the lyric at one point but I didn't catch where the boat moved to from Delacroix -- it didn't matter because Bob was too busy rocking and wailing on the harp. Once again he slowed things down with This World Can't Stand Long, as Larry showed his versatility on the mandolin. Bob strapped on his familiar Fender Strat for the expected first electric tune - Country Pie. Larry put in some tasty work on the lap steel (Charlie was in his shadow most of the night). We got Surprise #1 as Bob dusted off Lay Lady Lay, and gave it a real brothel treatment. Some may argue with me, but in my opinion Bob was looking to get some action that night. His whole attitude was one of yearning; he needed a lady that night --- and I would bet my life that he got one. He leered his way through the lyrics, really smirking as he sang about laying on his big brass bed. The biggest surprise of the night was Gotta Serve Somebody. He hadn't played this all month, so I was shocked to hear it. As aigious seeker it moved me deeply to hear a tune from Bob's Christian days; he gave it a raunchy street feel and sang with a fierce spirit that defied anyone to mock him for this phase in his eclectic career. Bob wasn't done yet, and killed us some more with She Belongs to Me and an ass-kicking Drifter's Escape, during which he posed with guitar pushed to the side, one hand on the harp, punctuating a few notes with a shake of the hips. He let Larry and Charlie loose on a boisterous and fun-spiritied Pillbox, and left us reeling and wanting more. They were back within 30 seconds and did a familiar encore of Things Have Changed, a wicked Rolling Stone, more harp histrionics on Don't Think Twice; he stopped playing near the end of Highway 61 so the audience could appreciate how hard Larry and Charlie were sweating in the cause of rock and roll. And the Nashville harmony treatment on Blowin' in the Wind was one of Bob's his finest interpretations. The song was bittersweet to us, not because of the lyrics, but because we knew it was the last tune we would be graced with from the world's greatest artist, sharing a special moment with 12,000 lovestruck disciples on a beautiful night in Toronto. Ivan Petkovsky =====
Subject: Sin and Redemption in Toronto: review July 18, 2000 From: Martin Abela Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000 05:48:06 GMT Showing typical jaded big city attitude, we arrived at Toronto's Molson Amphitheater late. We were on the grounds of Ontario Place, the lakeside park which was the setting for last nights concert. However, we spent some time at the bar, then lined up for beer at the amphitheater, so we were not in our seats for "Duncan And Brady", and "Song To W". A sin of sorts for a big Bob-fan like me. Throughout the night I was reminded of the concept of sin and redemption, thanks to our favorite singer. I attended the concert with Frank C. and Marie. Frank has seen Bob many times, but Marie was a Bob-virgin up until tonight. Frank had not seen Bob all year, so all three of us were excited about the show. Due to our thirst, and Bob's penchant for punctuality on this tour, by the time we took our seats Bob and the band were well into "Desolation Row". It is an exciting way to walk to our seats - through a crowd of happy, dancing, people. Normally when I write a review, I make detailed notes during the show. Tonight I made a conscious decision not to make notes, but just to relax and enjoy the show. That would have been fine if the show was substantially similar to the three I saw on the road a couple of weeks ago, but it was not. So no detailed review this time, but I do want to share some highlights of my memories of an amazing night. While playing the harmonica on "Tangled Up In Blue" Bob did not move or dance much - but he did genuflect. He bends down almost on one knee, stares out at the audience, and plays. Is he showing his respect for the audience? Is he praying? Or just having a good time? Bob played "This World Can't Stand Long" for the first time in several weeks. I love this song, after having listened to it so many times on the Anaheim "early show" bootleg. I was thrilled to hear it live. The band played a great version, full of life. As an avowed atheist, I get a particular joy from hearing Bob play religious music. Of all the people I know who do have religious beliefs, only Bob comes close to communicating his faith to me. His music is always powerful and expressive. His songs about religious belief are certainly no exception. "Lay, Lady Lay" is a very popular, classic song which does not show up in the setlist very often. This is a big crowd pleaser. A lot of people were singing along. Bob occasionally would change the rhythm of the lyrics, where we expected to hear him sing "Lay Lady..." and I could hear dozens of people softly singing along. Big surprise with "Gotta Serve Somebody", which sounded substantially different then the version he was opening with in 1998. A heavy, funky, bass line throughout the song. And the lyrics! New lines - "eating from a garbage pail" - perhaps a reference to Toronto's persistent homeless problem? And the incredible mention of two celebrities "you may be Madonna, you may even be Cher"!!! I am not 100% sure about these lyrics, since I did not make notes, but I am sure tapers will have posted the exact versions by now. We had a good laugh over it though - it was a funny line, and a very surprising reference. It amazes me that Bob can sing wonderful spiritual music, to rousing ovations in our very non-sectarian world. Most Christian singers are preaching to the converted - playing primarily to audiences who share their beliefs. As far as I know, only Bob gets atheists like me up there dancing, clapping, and thrilled to hear lines like "we alllll got to serve some-bodeee" A great perfomance which I will never forget. There were other moments which were special. During one song, the band took turns playing lead. For about ten seconds each we would hear either Bob, Larry, Tony or Charlie, without a pause in between. It was like they were playing "hot potato", passing a little bundle of energy quickly amongst the circle. This was very well-done. An effective demonstration of how well this band plays together, and how hard they must work at rehearsal. The audience was enthusiastic with their applause - perhaps understanding that this was an exceptional performance from Bob and the band. During both "formations" the crowd clapped and cheered loudly the whole time. If Bobntention tonight was to play a rousing concert, and make 18,000 people sing dance and have fun, he succeeded. And if he also wanted to make at least one atheist think about God, sin and redemption - he also succeeded. -Martin Abela on I90 between Buffalo and Canadagua, New York. July 19, 2000 -- -Martin Abela "And she takes your voice And leaves you howling at the moon" Homepage:
Subject: FrankC review of Toronto July 18, 2000 HEAVY!! From: Martin Abela Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 01:31:33 GMT I am posting this for my friend FrankC.. Please send your feedback to him at: HEAVY....HEAVY.....HEAVY........The bouncer personally escorted myself,Martin(my dear friend, without him i would not have been there) and Krazy Marie( the Bob-virgin) to our seats as Dylan played Desolation Row. Dylan's only show in Canada was cincidently the same day that the TSE 300 closed just inches below the Dow Jones. something is happening here but you don't know what it is do you MR. JONES?????????? I do not pay too much attention to the set list as much as I do Dylan's brush-stokes on my own emotions. For me personally this was an excellent performance. Dylan is just getting started. He played and sang like a 20 year old...breath.......breath ...........breath....that boy can hold his breath........................................ longer than anyone. There is something to be said for that, just ask any Buddhist.I envisioned Dylan playing over the age of 100 that night in Toronto July 18, 2000. Ladies and Gentlemen......... the ONE and only survivor of the 1960's generation.......... the only one left..........the artist who continues to change it all........ please welcome THE recording artist....... BOB DYLAN.(date 2042). Yes I will be there for that...... keep holding your breath Bob. The next 60 seconds could seem like an eternity........ that line struck me....when I left the show go sit in a dark smokey bar to process it all, I looked at my watch and it had stopped at 8:10pm................ I wonder if................? The main message that I picked up was a heavy, heavy warning about the world and our own behaviour it. I could feel the weight of a huge heavy finger pointing out of the sky at me saying..."there's alot of shit happening in the world so make the right choice.... it could be the devil or it could be the lord.... now your gonna have ta serve somebuddy.... it's easyto be good but it's easier not to..... be careful!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it was sort of spooky...... The big finger appeared again during Blowin in the Wind. The wind was blowing a soothing cool breeze through the whole show anyway.... I do not know of another musical artist (maybe Billie Holiday) that can take an old song like that that we've all heard @#$%^&* times and create a new profound meaning........... maybe not new but...... old..... I could feel the goodness of it. It's almost evangelical......yes it is rock'n'roll evangelism, I love it. Every song had something slinking through little music-boxes, fairy tales, swamps, vaudeville, porches, cowboy campfires and all the way back to tomorrow....... I was left whispering to myself..... "please Bob, just one more song...... please...." -FrankC
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