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Bob Dylan 2000.11.08 in Bethlehem

Lehigh University
Stabler Arena, 124 Goodman Drive, 6700 capacity

Subject: Re: November 8, 2000 - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - setlist
From: KReilly 
Date: 09 Nov 2000 04:46:23 GMT

>First Shelter From the Storm since 5/13

"Everything up to that point had been left unresolved." The
accent fell on the last word. Great show!

This was the evening after the US Presidebtial election, 
when it was still unclear who was going to be elected.

Subject: Re: November 8, 2000 - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - setlist From: Linn Carpenter Date: Thu, 09 Nov 2000 04:21:39 GMT This was a wonderful show! Bob and the band were incredible. Fourth Time Around was absolutely beautiful. I loved hearing If Dogs Run Free done live after all the talk about it this past week, and the new arrangement of Trying To Get To Heaven is great, but I'm still not sure which arrangement I like better. Bob seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself and dancing up a storm. Smiled quite a bit. Overall, a truly fantastic show. One particular moment was quite amusing. During Highway 61, I happened to glance over to the section where Peter Stone Brown was sitting and a very enthusiastic young lady had begun dancing wildly right beside where he was seated in a front row. Then she started waving her arms in front of him during Blowin' in the Wind. At least it looked like she was waving in front of him. Anyway, the look on Peter's face was priceless. I thought you were going to bop her, Peter. :-) Linn
Subject: Re: November 8, 2000 - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - setlist From: Ratherbpickin Date: 09 Nov 2000 05:56:39 GMT I posted a review of the show on Bob dtaes. Anyone who wants to read it can see it there. I was utterly amazed more than just a few times during tonight's concert. Absolutely nothing beats seeing Bob and Co. live. My review offers a few speculations and a few quations, but in general it was just great. Can't wait until I get to see him again.
Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2000 02:18:01 -0500 To:, From: (Stephen David Walter) Subject: Star of Bethlehem National turning point aside, the most pressing question confronting Wednesday's audience at Stabler arena had to be: What is up with the John Waters moustache? Exit polls indicate that concertgoers are divided almost exactly in two over this phenomenon, half of them finding it "groovy" and the other half decrying it as yet another instance of our nation's declining moral standards. A tiny fringe minority maintains that said moustache is nothing but a tool of special interests, a mere prop, they claim, for the near-mythical "upcoming HBO special" in which it will be the centerpiece of a Monty Python-esque sketch entitled Bobby D. Demented. Time will tell. A good show, this one at Stabler, much better than the last one here (which took place well before the Great Setlist Emancipation of November '99). Good, not great, with several rapturous moments. I have to say that, for me, it was difficult transition from the joyous run of outdoor shows this summer (five in a row from Scranton through Stanhope) to tonight's forlorn, cheerless, prefab college arena with its largely inert crowd and dismal acoustics featuring muddied vocals toward the rear and the always lovely devil-pounding-on-tin back echo. Not that I'm trumpeting the virtues of the outdoor sheds, but at least they are out of doors, whereas here one is literally swallowed up in steel. Is Dylan never going to stop playing venues of this kind, I wonder? Club shows, not to mention club tours, will always remain a rarity I'm sure, but is there no way he can be persuaded to play theaters or the smaller performing arts centers in the fall and winter months? The concert I saw at the beautiful Newark P.A.C. in '98 was another good but not great concert with another less-than-ecstatic crowd; all these things being equal, however, I still recall the *sound* of that venue with considerable wonderment and glee. Of course Dylan will only be persuaded to play theaters, etc. if he can be persuaded to start playing the larger cities again. The last N.Y.C. shows took place during the Simon tour of summer '99! If only he would resurrect the Beacon or Roseland or M.S.G. Theater-style residencies ... and I suggest that not out of nostalgia but with mind set firmly on the present. Just think what he could make of them now. One can only speculate whether his decision to avoid them has to do with tour logistics, money, or a desire to fly under the radar of the big-city media, but when the closest Dylan comes to a East Coast residency is his now annual fling at an Atlantic City gaming house of choice, one must hope that the decision will not prove irreversible. What a bunch of complainers we Dylan fans are. For all those who would seek to chastise me for ingratitude at this point I can only say, please don't. (I won't even call you a simpleton for doing so.) I take my Dylan wherever and whenever I can, and I am never less than grateful for the opportunity --ever more so, in fact, ever more so. Even at this dump south of Bethlehem where his star burned fitfully yet bright. Even in the face of a soporific crowd, most of whom did not even begin to wake up (and quite a few of whom did not even *show* up ... plenty of room at this inn) until the encore set. From the now-ubiquitous baseball-capped student contingent on the floor to the wide-bottomed fifty-somethings in the seats, there seemed to be very little energy or movement anywhere except very close up to the stage. Judging by the audience near me in the lower concourse, Dylan's people may want to start handing out some of his trademark canes before performances to encourage slothful attendees at least to get off their precious behinds and applaud between songs, since for many tonight that seemed an almost insurmountable chore. Admittedly, I had been spoiled by my experience this summer, where I was witness to some of the most wildly enthusiastic Dylan audiences in all my nearly thirty shows. I am on record as a strenuous advocate of listening, of attentiveness, as opposed to free-form interpretive dancing, inept sing-alongs or ridiculously inappropriate clapping. But a little combustion? That's needful. Dylan himself has said so. A little less standing or sitting 'round waiting. It couldn't have been past anyone's bedtime, for God's sake. The man to my rear who sang almost every verse so horribly out of tune and *actually waited on Dylan's phrasing* to finish each line does not count. (When he began shouting out for "Silvio," I turned to my party and asked, Should we kill him now, or later? I wasn't far from serious.) The middle-aged mustachioed dork (no offense, Mr. Dylan) on the floor directly below me who engaged in endless Donald Duck-style dancing and repeated bows as to "His Majesty"--all amidst a swirl of young hippie chicks he would be arrested for trying to score with--does not count, either. The songs. The songs! I should write about those too, don't you think? I've written about everything but. "Duncan and Brady" ... spirited as usual, but Dylan overdoes the refrain, I think, robbing it of some of the slyness it had this summer; plays it a little too broadly for my taste. "The Times They Are a-Changin'" ... perhaps it's just my mood--as the nation sits in limbo after having rejected wholesale its best chance at reform--but I'd hesitate to attach much or any overt political significance to "Times," which amounts to a perfectly typical setlist choice at this point in the tour. "Chimes of Freedom" maybe, just maybe. But not this. Which of course doesn't mean that the song can't be heard to resonate in that particular way, just as "Masters of War" seems to embody for so many reviewers a response to whatever local conflict might be erupting at the moment. It would be foolish, however, to ascribe that resonance to the performer's express intention every time the song is played. Here's how the song resonates for me, tonight: the times are changin'; they always are. "The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. ... All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it ... what has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun." People are crazy, times are strange, I used to care, but ... "behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind." That which is, already has been. Until the world explodes. I cannot listen to "Times" now without hearing "Things Have Changed," and vice versa. Both tonight are well-performed, their passion beautifully intertwined. "Desolation Row" ... equally good as the renditions this summer; love this version, best I can remember hearing live. (Would love it even more if we could hear the Dr. Filth verse included.) Tonight he sings "bummed a cigarette" with such despair, as if Einstein's ruin all started with his failed attempts to quit smoking, which so unhinged him that he became addicted to drainpipes in the bargain. I can relate. Really, though, if you think about it, this is a song *about* addiction, on any number of levels. A song addicted to allusion whose characters are addicted to illusion, right down the street, as it were, from the bar at Harry Hope's. "Fourth Time Around" ... what a delightful surprise; when the bouzouki is pointed out my mind immediately leaps to "Chimes" ... but wait ... Charlie on electric ... and then it starts and then I know. A soft and lovely treatment marred by flubbed lyrics in at least two places--that's all right, though, that's all right! keep trying these, don't stop--but brought to a triumphant close with razor-edge enunciation, depth and menace in the final lines: "and I, I never took much, I never asked for your crutch, now don't ask for mine." "Tangled up in Blue" ... dismal. No magic at all for me, and I'm usually won over by this one, at least in concert. Unfocused vocals, musically nothing more than a mechanical routine. Somebody is out there beating on a dead horse, and they're all bored sick of it, clearly. Who wouldn't be? Put it on the shelf already. How about "Tight Connection to My Heart" here, acoustic a la Supper Club? That would be spectacular, but just about anything else would be a welcome change. Even the casual fans must have heard enough "Tangled" by now; they certainly didn't seem too excited by it tonight. "Searching for his Grave" ... another fine performance of this song, which is so straightforward and modest that most people can't find much to say about it, myself included. That isn't to slight it, not at all, merely to say that the song and its performance speak for themselves, eloquently but plainly, which, I imagine, is part of what Dylan himself must like so much about it. By the way, if anyone reading this has not been to any shows at all this past year, next time you do go, be prepared for some very powerful harmony work from Dylan, Campbell and Sexton. In fact, I'm surprised that this development hasn't received much more attention; to me it is truly astonishing to hear Dylan attending so closely to melding his vocals in with the others'--I wonder, has he ever worked so hard at that before? Baez? The Band? This comes close anyway, and is as wonderful as it is completely unexpected. "Country Pie" ... yeah, it's been fun, but they can take it off the windowsill now, it's cooled down right well, I think. How about "Million Dollar Bash" instead? All right, enough with the shadow setlist ... "Shelter from the Storm" ... rapturous moment, indeed. This one blows me down. Don't believe I've heard "Shelter" live since M.S.G. '98--this one's well worth the wait. Slow and mysterious, with an interesting displacement of verses ending with "I offered up my innocence, got repaid with scorn ..." which, if you think about it, makes this a brilliant companion piece thematically to "Standing in the Doorway," another song that has recently graced this spot. Beautifully sung and paced. You'd think he'd been playing this one for months. And for offering that performance, Dylan is repaid with what from the audience? Not scorn, surely, but with an unmistakably tepid response, which, as far as I'm concerned, is worse. It seems possible that Dylan and band notice this somewhat keenly as, after "Shelter," they immediately go into conference at the drum risers, only to come out several moments later with an extra song (number 20 for the night, inserted here, I'm convinced): "Watching the River Flow" ... I laugh to myself, thinking, they went into conference for this? Not a bad run-through though. Quick and dirty. Cracks me up when he sings "only yesterday I seen someone whose goose was reaaaalllly cooked." Only at a Dylan show can you ride your goose then get it cooked right out from under you. Priapic associations discouraged. "Tombstone Blues" ... straight-edged blues, clean, hard and dangerous, just like a well-honed blade. The contrast between this hard-edged musical attack and the allusive, densely layered imagery is perhaps *the* core dynamic of of Dylan's best work, the grinding, dissonant, glorious heart of it. All of that seems stunningly clear tonight in the steely confidence of this performance, with Dylan's classic delivery turning on that dime between hatred and longing, wild humor and despair. "I wish I could write you a melody so plain ..." the singer wishes, but when Dylan actually *does* that it comes out sounding like "Make You Feel My Love," doesn't it? Of all the melodies, all the songs that he has written, the truly great ones never keep us from insanity by trying to ease or cool--if they can keep us sane at all, it is only by driving us mad. "O may the moon and sunlight seem One inextricable beam, For if I triumph I must make men mad." --W. B. Yeats, "The Tower" "Tryin' to Get to Heaven" ... I can't explain how or why I love this arrangement so deeply. Since I first heard it on a sound file from Europe, I couldn't believe my ears, my heart climbed up my throat. And tonight's version is much more together than that one, lyrics fully in place, Dylan's voice rising gently yet firmly on "high muddy water," stretching out "heat risin'" then sinking down, "... in my eyes." A magician's sense of timing, that's for sure, as when he holds the pause after "close" almost impossibly long before sinking down yet again to rest the entire verse on "door." The throat feeling. Know what I mean? Pure speculation, mind you, but I can't help thinking that there might be more to this new arrangement than we might imagine. There are jazz-like inflections here and there on Time out of Mind; take "Million Miles," for instance. Which leads me to wonder if Dylan did indeed know where to take this song when he wrote it, but then decided to take it somewhere else. In other words, I wonder if there isn't an outtake in the vault that sounds remarkably similar to the version we're hearing now. "Wicked Messenger" ... and this one sends me right around the bend. Much as I love "Drifter's" and the new "Cold Irons," this is my favorite among the three--I love the stretched out vocal lines followed by churning waves of guitar. "Leopard-skin Pill-Box Hat" ... audience finally stirring from its torpor. Encores "Things Have Changed" ... see "Times" above. The Voice IS back; this is never more evident to me than when I listen to Dylan negotiate the fast-paced lyric runs on this song. In terms of diction, control, and out-and-out commitment to the material, Dylan is singing as well as he has at almost any point in throughout the Neverending Tour. Not just to hear him singing with such passion, clarity, wit, and focus--that's not the miracle, I have heard that before. To hear him singing that way so consistently: that's the miracle. We are living in blessed times. "Rolling Stone" ... It's all been done before, it's all been written in the book. I won't add to it save to say that he phrased "rolling stone" once in a way that was new and, well, hilarious to me. "If Dogs Run Free" ... I am more charmed by this song than I have any right to be, after calling it a dog in public the afternoon before he first played it. Well the dog woofs live, what can I say. Dylan is already having a lot of fun improvising around the lyrics, elaborating on phrases as with: "do your thing, you might even get to be a KING", something to that effect; or at the end, after uttering those immortal lines about harmony with the cosmic sea, instead of "cure your soul / make it whole" he sings "it'll pay your bills / ... cure all your ills, If DOGS--RUN--FREEEE." Unreal. Even more so when large red psychedelic amoebas appear on the back curtain and start writhing as we're suddenly into "All Along the Watchtower" ... seems to have found a new roost here, like some ancient bird of prey. Hearing this right after "Dogs" is like looking up some sunny afternoon to seeing turkey vultures circling in the blue. You know there must be a carcass somewhere. "I Shall Be Released" ... vultures wheel but can't block out that light entirely, that light that comes shining from the west down to the east. Final rapturous moment of the evening; along with "Fourth Time Around," "Shelter" and "Tryin' to Get to Heaven," a real highlight of the concert. This is the song that most reminds me of the Band now with its transcendent irregular harmonies--the Band in their country "Rockin' Chair" aspect but also in their blue-eyed soul. Closing my eyes, it honestly feels like Manuel, Danko, and Helm are all alive and well and singing behind the man--it is that trancelike, that gorgeous. Oh the warm feeling. "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Blowin' in the Wind" closed the show in fine form, but that ain't exactly a news flash, now is it? Dreary atmosphere. Good to very good show. Dylan, as usual now, binds those two imperfect halves together into a great experience, a captivating whole. The sun rises and the sun goes down, and there he is too, again, shining his light on some other place down the road or across the sea. He's become a part of our mental weather, like some comet across the sky: at first you follow it instinctively, delighting in its changeable brilliance, and then you think it will never leave. Stephen David Walter "All things counter, original, spare, strange; ... He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him." --Gerard Manley Hopkins
2000: March - April - May - June - July - September - October - November