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Bob Dylan 2000.11.17 in Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University, Dillon Gym
2.250 capacity
Show #109 this year, #1274 on the Never-Ending Tour

Subject: dylan at dillon
From: Peter Stone Brown 
Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2000 09:27:26 GMT

From the time I left my house till the time I finally arrived at
Princeton, the temperature must've dropped at least 15 degrees.
Dillon Gym is somewhere in the middle of campus and one thing
about Princeton University is that it looks like a college, and
Dillon gym was no exception.  You wouldn't know from the outside
that it was a gym.  We arrived about 20 minutes before the doors
were to open and then the fear set in-they're only letting in
students with the doors divided up between undergraduates,
graduates and faculty or something like that.  And it kept
getting colder and there was one Princeton student among us, but
by the time the doors finally opened, we had all managed to pair
off with students who simply showed their Ids and said, "He's
with me."

We made it up to the stage no problem and stayed there, checking
out the equipment, and noticing curiously enough that there were
mics placed in front of the speakers on each side of the stage
aimed towards the crowd.

Somewhere around 8:15, Al Santos made the announcement and they
were on Dylan dressed in black, with his black and white cowboy
boots and a gold shirt and a gold tie, opening with the now
standard "Duncan & Brady" with Dylan emphasizing the "too long"
in the chorus.  Then Larry picked up the fiddle for a strong
version of "My Back Pages." Dylan was being very serious, all
business, and then at the end he went for the harp, not bad for
the second song.

There were some heavy duty Dylan fans in this crowd, Princeton
students or not.  Standing in the freezing line, some kid next to
me said, "He's gonna do 'Desolation Row,' he does it every other
night." The kid with him asked him how he knew that, and he said
he had ways of finding out, and sure enough "Desolation Row" it
was. It was good, but didn't have quite the punch it did the week
before at Bethlehem.  At the song's conclusion Dylan took off his
guitar and conversed with the band for a second and then before
he had his guitar back on, they were into "Frankie Lee and Judas
Priest," my first time seeing it since he did it with the Dead in
'87.  But this was one scrambled version with Frankie Lee saying
Judas Priest's lines and vice versa and the passing stranger who
burst upon the scene got all tangled up in it too, and the only
thing I'm sure of by the end was that the little neighbor boy did
whisper underneath his breath, "Nothing Is Revealed."

This led to an equally tangled and quite speedy "Tangled Up In
Blue" with Dylan looking at everything but the audience, and when
he got to the she lit a burner on the stove verse which might've
been third but definitely wasn't fifth he said the first line so
fast that it jolted you with a kind of "what the hell was that"
and all the time Dylan is doing his best not to crack a smile,
and then on the guitar solo he find this one funky high note and
kept hitting it and making those strange faces he makes while
looking at Larry Campbell who seemed on the verge of cracking up.
 Another huddle followed, but "Searching For A Soldier's Grave"
came next and Dylan appeared to be waking up.  This is a song he
likes and on it he did this chameleon thing where all of a sudden
he looks 30 years younger and he's leaning back and wailing
standing just like he did in '63 or '64, and then another huddle
and into "Country Pie" with both Larry and Charlie on

An okay "Blind Willie McTell" followed with more scrambled verses
and at the end he called Charlie over to him and they blasted
into "Tombstone Blues," and suddenly Dylan was alive and digging
it, and leaning into the mic, and no more is this the blues
shuffle it had sometimes been in the past, but has the crisper
beat of the original recording, and Charlie is getting the exact
same tone out of his guitar that the Beatles used on "She's A
Woman," and against his best efforts Dylan flashes a real smile,
and Sexton is finally unleashed on guitar.

"Trying To Get To Heaven" came next, and Dylan was totally into
singing it and also very into his rhythm guitar part, playing
with more precision than he usually displays, and then came a
truly amazing "Wicked Messenger" and now the famous phrasing is
coming hard and heavy with particular emphasis on "opened up his

Then a fairly perfunctory introduction of the band, and into
"Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat," which was "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box
Hat," but on this night Dylan seemed to be enjoying the blues
numbers and then the lineup though Dylan had a very hard time
standing still and started joking with Tony.

"Things Have Changed" resumed the intensity and on "Rolling
Stone" Dylan started playing around with the vocal singing the
last word of each line on some absurd high note, kind of like
"once upon a TIME/you dressed so FINE."

"If Dogs Run Free" was great and tonight he got all the lyrics
right - on the other versions I've seen or heard so far, he
always seemed to mix up tapestry and symphony, but tonight it was
exactly like on the record except for one change: "It can pay
your bills/And cure your ills" instead of "It can cure the
soul/And make it whole.

Then Charlie kicked off "Watchtower" with the rest of the band
almost scrambling to join in and all of a sudden there's a light
show behind them, but Dylan sang it like it meant something,
carefully phrasing each line.  A sad, moving "Times They Are
A-Changin'" came next with the third harp solo of the night, and
then into "Highway 61" with the "Georgia Sam" verse sung twice in
a row.

There were times tonight when Dylan truly hit it, but the show
didn't seem to have the same power and urgency did that Bethlehem
had the week before.

"Where the angels' voices whisper to the souls of previous times."  --Bob
Peter Stone Brown

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