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Bob Dylan 2000.11.18 in Atlantic City, New Jersey

Tropicana Casino & Resort, Showroom
1.978 capacity
Shows #110 & 111this year, #1275 & 1276 on the Never-Ending Tour
Early show and Late show

Subject: tropicana shows
From: Peter Stone Brown 
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2000 09:14:59 GMT

Sometimes it seems there are nights when Bob Dylan decides he's
going to out and show everyone exactly why he is. well. Bob Dylan
and the first show at the Tropicana was one of those times. 
Dylan was *on* from the first note of "Duncan & Brady," followed
by an astoundingly beautiful "To Ramona" with Larry Campbell on
mandolin, and then, a "Desolation Row" that rocked with Dylan
finding what he was looking for on guitar and not letting it go
in two different solos that kept building in intensity.  But it
was the singing that made the show.  There were times when he was
sailing and it didn't matter that the set list wasn't all that
exciting, even standard compared to some shows on this tour
because he made both "Don't Think Twice" and the ever-present
"Tangled Up In Blue" come alive.

"Country Pie" again served as a vehicle for Sexton and Campbell
to show their stuff.  Who ever would've thought an absurd song
like "Country Pie" would be an opener for the electric set, but
it works especially when Sexton and Campbell get into the
call-and-response leads at the end.

Then came the show's one surprise, a rearranged "The Man In Me"
with Larry playing gorgeous steel followed by a reasonably
strong, "Just Like Tom Thumb 's Blues," with Dylan playing the
lead-and he hit some funky crazy groove, but as good as it was I
ended up wishing he'd let Sexton loose on this one.

The energy level was then brought down for "To Make You Feel My
Love" which had into which made me thing it was going to be the
superior "Simple Twist of Fate," but this may have been part of
Dylan's plan, "playing the master arsonist" as Sam Shepherd said
in order to make the blast of Cold Iron Bounds all the more
effective and the guitars were cranked and they were loud and
Dylan is clearly having a good time, but then the band
introductions and triple sunburst Strat attack on "Leopard-Skin
Pill-Box Hat."

The energy level stayed high for an excellent "Things Have
Changed" and another great "If Dogs Run Free," masterfully
delivered with Dylan changing lyrics: "My ears hear a *reverie*
of rhyme" and stretching out, If doggggggggggggggggggs run free."

The set ended with a more straight-ahead "Like A Rolling Stone"
than the previous night in Princeton before the rather hysterical
formation lineup.

The songs and even this review don't tell the story-Dylan's
singing tonight was on a spectacular level.

Now the Tropicana is one very crowed and claustrophobic casino
and getting out of this theater was no easy task and once outside
back in the casino you couldn't even stop to talk to people
because the security wanted the line to keep moving.  And
everywhere you went in the casino whether it was on an elevator
there were just tons of people.

For the second show the band appeared in matching sort of maroon
suits with Dylan dressed in a black suit with a black shirt and a
tie that matched the band's suits.  He immediately changed things
by opening with "I Am The Man Thomas," and then "My Back Pages"
with Larry on fiddle.  But halfway through, maybe less than
halfway, there was a loud pop-the kind of sound when a very loud
electric object is unplugged and Dylan's mic went dead and he
kept singing, hearing himself in the monitor apparently not
realizing that the audience couldn't hear him.  This was followed
by a very long instrumental break and I kept wondering if anyone
was doing anything about the sound and if Dylan knew something
was really messed up but then he started singing again and no one
could hear.  And then he started "It's All Right Ma" but no one
could hear and everyone started to wonder how long this was going
to go on.  Then a stage hand said something to Tony and Tony said
something to Bob and then finally the sound came back for the
last verse. But when something like this happens it's kind of
like letting the air out of balloon and it takes a while to get
things back to where they were. However Dylan is of the old
school of performers, those who believe you do not stop the show
for anything.

Like the first show (and just about every show on this tour),
"Tangled," "Soldier's Grave" and "Country Pie" were next.  Then
came "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," one song that I've never
particularly cared for live.  On John Wesley Harding, the song is
pure C&W going right back to Hank Williams, but in concert Dylan
turns it into this bluesy shuffle.  Tonight they did a little
more with it especially on the bridge, but the best moment came
when Dylan finally brought out the harp-the first time I've seen
him play harp on this that I can remember and it was a great

"Tombstone Blues" brought the energy level a bit higher followed
by "Trying To Get To Heaven," and then instead of "Pill-Box Hat,"
a very funky and rocking "Cats In The Well" to close the first

Then something really weird happened, perhaps the strangest thing
I've ever seen at a Dylan concert.  While everyone was waiting
for the band to return for the encores all of a sudden Tropicana
people were on stage and made an announcement that all the people
in the front of the stage had to clear out or the show would
stop!  They said the fire marshals were there and would stop the
show.  The house lights came about three quarters of the way up
and we wondered if the show was going to continue or not.  This
was really bizarre and totally unprecedented, but then Dylan
shows in Atlantic City have built up a rather bizarre history no
matter what casino he plays.

Finally the band and Dylan reappeared and Dylan rescued what was
left of the show with an mighty "Things Have Changed" during
which he kept smiling, prompting my friend Andrew to comment,
"Only he would never crack a smile on "Country Pie," and smile
throughout "Things Have Changed."

The remaining songs were good but standard, but despite a good
performance by Dylan and his band, the sound problems at the
beginning and the Tropicana people at the end kind of put a
damper on this show.

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

Subject: Re: tropicana shows From: Brett Kornfeld Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2000 13:44:01 -0500 Peter, I've been reading the reviews of the last few shows, mainly because I too have gone to Bethlehem, Priceton, and AC this past week (damn what a great week!). Great job, but I just want to emphasize a few points for those reading: First, the Princeton LARS was simply hysterical. I'm only a few years out of college myself and have worked in academia so I'm fairly used to a college crowd. And I appreciate rmd-er Jeremy for getting me in the show. But, it needs to be stressed that Princeton had the lamest group of elitist, by-the-book "lawyer-stereotypes-in-training" of a crowd that I have ever seen. I've seen better looking women and more people out to have a good time at physics conventions. Bob was in full "Don't Look Back"-mocking mode for LARS and I thought it was brilliant! Now as for Atlantic City: I've been to 75-100 shows since '86 and my family and I were having serious conversions that last night's two shows could have been the best we had been to! Peter, in your review you did praise the show, but I'd go several steps farther. Bob was so on last night it was insane. He seemed to get younger right in front of our eyes! The entire opeing acoustic set was unbelievable. Every verse was included in all songs all night as far as I can tell (except the Sugartown verse in TTGTH) and Bob was so crystal clear the whole show. I don't know how he can play so much without damaging "the voice", but thank god he has found a way. In the first set, my personal highlights were "To Ramona", a "Make You Feel My Love" that actually knocked me down into my seat stunned, and a "Tom Thumb's Blues" that was the best I have ever heard - in my opinion this close to the show it was up there with my cdrs of '66 versions. I wish I knew someone who was recording, because I want to volunteer to help distribute this as quickly as possible to everyone who would appreciate it. As for the seond set, I'll get onto the two incidents in a second, but did anyone else hear that "Tommorrow is a Long Time"!?!? It was so beautiful, nothing I can write will do it justice. "I'll be Your Baby Tonight" at the time actually seemed like an epic along the lines of "Sad-Eyed Lady". Bob's phrasing made the song something else. And the second "Dogs Run Free" of the night was just gorgeuos. Has anyone seen Woody Allen's movie Sweet and Low Down? If so you'll know what I mean when I say that on this number, Bob was Django Reinhart. Finally, as if the shows themselves weren't fantastic enough, we had two near-historic moments that if they happened 30 years ago, coincidence might have turned them into a new "Judas" moment. I was lucky enough to have been in the second row (!!) for the second set, and when the microphone went out I could still hear Bob in all his glory. First of all, if they waanted to fix it quickly, all they had to do was swap Bob's mike with Larry or Charlie's. Instead, the crew decided to fix it which took about 10 minutes roughly. I can see why many might think Bob didn't notice, but between the acoustics, the band's reaction, the loud crowd assault, and the physical "pop" of the amplifier, Bob knew. Bob had to know. But Bob was in such a trance, playing so well, and so possessed, especially after the beautiful opening show, that he just didn't give a damn. I'll never know why people think Bob plays for them. He plays to hide from the audience in plain sight. The new formation at the end of the shows is his way of standing completely naked for the audience while keeping his hiding, his distance. And last night, he kept up the incredibly difficult to sing "Its Alright Ma" without losing beat. It makes a nice story to say the sound came back on for "If my thought-dreams could be seen", but really it returned a few lines past "Even the president must sometimes". Just an insane moment. Now as for the second show's encores, I really don't want to provoke anyone and restart old rmd debates so I'll try to be brief. Personally, I'm of the school that Bob deserves us all standing, crowding up front. I defended several of those pushed around by security with my second row ticket stubs, and was appalled at the jackasses throwing ice because they wanted to sit through the show as if they were at the movies. I know many here will disagree, but it is rock and roll! The way Bob was rolling last night, he could have gone on forever. It's a shame that some people get such a power trip when they don a red blazer with a security decal on the front. An unbelievable night! Brett
Subject: Atlantic City review and stuff From: Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2000 18:41:42 -0800 Atlantic City 11/18/00 About ten days before, I decided I couldn't let this fall tour go by without catching at least one of the shows. After reviewing the schedule, Atlantic City made the most sense as it was the smallest venue and provided the opportunity for two shows at once. And since I was coming from Atlanta, that seemed a good way to make the trip really worth it. So after finding some kind folks at rmd with some extra tix, (thanks!) I was off to another show. We got into Atlantic City around 3 o'clock and went for lunch at one of the in-casino restaurants at the Tropicana. While waiting for our food I looked up and saw Tony Garnier walking through the lobby looking quite tired and seemingly searching for a place to eat. Instantly, I decide two things. First, because he is not alone, I'm not going to bother him. Second, if he comes into this restaurant, I'm telling my waiter I'm picking up his tab. (This is always my dream about Bob; Somehow ending up in the same restaurant with him, somehow resisting the urge to talk to him, handing my credit card to the waiter and telling him "That guy's bill is on me. And I won't take no for an answer.") Tony kept walking so it was all moot anyway. After lunch, I figured we should find the theater before getting lost in the casino. Found it easily and headed back down the escalator when who is coming up the other side, but Charlie Sexton. Back in March, I had accosted him in Reno at the Hilton as he moved very rapidly through the casino. I had commented on how great the previous night's show had been in Santa Cruz and how much I was looking forward to that night's shows. He was very polite, but certainly didn't slow down to chit chat. I let this encounter pass with only a nod of the head and a grin. He may have returned the nod, but if he did it was nearly imperceptible. Regardless, the show hadn't even started and I was already pretty happy. Played some blackjack. Lost. "Death by shoe", my old gambling buddies and I call it. The whole damn town offers nothing but six deck shoes. Not great for the card counting player. Walked the Boardwalk. When did winter get here? Had my hopes dashed several times by multiple figures hiding from the cold in their hooded sweat shirts. As we're seated waiting for the first show a weird thing happens: Charlie Sexton enters through a side door between the orchestra and the mezzanine and walks straight through the theater with a roadie close behind. I'm not even sure if anyone else noticed. The first show starts and we're about halfway back in the mezzanine. Unfortunately, we miss the rush for the stage and then, with all the security moved in, it just seems too late to make the move. Regardless, the show is great. I've been attempting Desolation Row on the guitar myself recently, so that is great to hear. Bob really nails the vocals, in my opinion. The Man in Me is a great surprise as is the new arrangement of Cold Irons Bound I've been hearing so much about. This is my first listen of If Dogs Run Free as well and what a pleasure. The encore is only three songs, but it's hard to get too bummed about it when you've got an entire concert still to go. We met some friends who were joining us for the second show as we exited the theater and grabbed some not too bad buffet food for dinner. I was pretty sure I wouldn't see any of the boys in the band this time. Our seats for the second show are better. Sixth row, although all the way to the side. It's clear everyone is milling about waiting to rush the stage as soon as the lights go down and the security does a pretty good job of getting people into the seats. The instant the lights go down though, it's a mad rush and we settle in about three people back of the stage, right in front of Charlie Sexton and we are psyched. I immediately notice that they have all changed clothes, and I'll be damned, they're all in the same suit. If this has been discussed here before, I missed it and was very surprised by this. It was great how the maroon suits with funky balck stitching were all tailored with the player's individual styles kept intact. A long coat for Larry. Tony's and Charlie's were more traditional, but a very clean, sharp edge for Charlie, as is his style, while Tony's is a little more rounded. Kemper's got one on, but it's tough to see through the drums and he takes the jacket off fairly early on, anyway. Halfway through My Back Pages, there is a very loud bang sound and I have to say that for the briefest of moments, I saw intense fear in the eyes of those on stage. Made me a bit nervous as well. That quickly passes, but it becomes clear that Bob's mic speaker is down. (Apologies for lack of technical knowledge here.) The problem was compounded by the fact that Bob' s feedback was working fine, so he had no idea most of the audience couldn't hear him. As Bob continued through the song, a very cool thing happened that I would have liked to have seen on a larger scale. Everyone, (or everyone around me? I don't know) sang the chorus out loud, since they couldn't hear it. I thought it was very cool, although was hoping the whole place would join in for the whole song. There were some shouts after the song, but they just jumped into It's Alright, Ma, still not knowing there was a problem. Partway through this song, a roadie tells Tony who then tells Bob. He just keeps on keepin' on and I love him for it. Tomorrow Is A Long Time is a personal favorite of mine. My first live hearing of Tombstone Blues is very enjoyable as is Tryin' To Get Heaven. Drifter's Escape? Another favorite of mine and it is absolutely fantastic. Charlie nails the bolt of lining and Bob's harp at the end is so damn fun to listen to and watch. Where does he get those moves? I don't know, but they are great. Cat's In The Well: you've heard the expression "Blow the roof off the dump"? Man, oh man, did Larry and Bob go for it at the end of this. What a blast! As we waited for the encore, something seemed wrong. It was taking too long. Finally some guy comes out and takes a mic and I know he's going to say something I am not going to like. "Sit down. blah, blah, marshal is here. yadda, yadda, yada. end the show right now." So we sat down. That was a hell of a way to kill a mood, but the encores were still good. Always love that " Highway Sixteeee-waaaaan!" What a blast. Thanks, Bob. See you next time. And I'm still hoping to buy you dinner sometime. Aaron Foster
Subject: DYLAN : Atlantic City View From: Duncanehume Date: 22 Nov 2000 19:40:49 GMT As we rolled into Atlantic City we passed a huge sign proclaiming Bob's presence at the Tropicana. 'An evening with Bob Dylan'. A very plush venue paid for by gamblers with losing hands. There was no balcony, just a gently rising floor, making the 2,000 seater look bigger. We'd come a long way for these two shows and our efforts to secure decent seats had worked very well. 2nd row center for both shows. With the usual pre-show drinks behind us, we headed in to see where Bob was taking us tonight. Another show. Another piece of the mosaic. In today's wired world we all knew roughly what to expect. Gone are the innocent days of waiting for the latest issue of the Telegraph to plop on the mat with its priceless enclosures. Brown envelopes torn open in eager anticipation of finding out what he played 6 weeks ago. These days it's up early, on to Bob Links and last night's set list appears. Things have changed all right. I'd tracked the set lists more closely recently, knowing I was going to the Atlantic City shows. 10,000 Men and Blue Bonnet Girl stirred my train spotting senses. Seated in the 'Showroom' we were joined by two girls to our right, both clearly thrilled to be so close to the stage. The couple in front of us turned, we chattered. The usual stuff. War stories. How many shows? Where did you come from? 7.10pm and out came the band followed by Bob. We stood up and remained standing for the rest of the show, as did everybody else around us. I've been closer but somehow tonight the air seemed very clear despite the dust and the smoke from the josticks, which drifted across the stage, picked out in the navy blue lights. Suddenly he was there in front of me, so close. I felt almost as if I was intruding, being so near. The girls next to me had binoculars. I couldn't have used them. How close do you need to get? He looked well, maybe a little more gaunt than a few weeks ago. His attempt at a Garnier moustache startled me. It looked more like an adolescent effort. It won't last. A good gust of wind will take care of it. As Duncan and Brady rolled around I relished the thought that even when this show was over we had another only an hour later. People began to fill the void between the stage and the seats in the front row. An elderly couple walked down to the front. She'd spent a good part of the day at the hairdressers. They looked uncomfortable. Out of place. Desolation Row proved too much for her and she sat down on one of the unused front row seats. Her husband valiantly stood for a while before they both moved away. The acoustic set washed over me and before I knew it I was being served a slice of Country Pie. Appleberries included. Later I played guess the intro and confidently told the girl next to me that it was I Shall be Released. My 'cred', if I had any to begin with, was blown with the opening line of Man In Me. I smiled apologetically at my neighbour and decided not to play that game again. Just like Tom Thumbs Blues got Bob singing with his body as well as his voice. Leaning, bending, moving, building, to the New York City punch line. If Dogs Run Free gets funnier with each performance. I'm almost sure he'll crack up completely singing this one-day. But not tonight. He managed to keep his Bob Dylan mask intact. As the closing bars of Like a Rolling Stone wound down, I consoled myself with the thought it was only halftime. Back to the very same seats for the 10.00pm show. From 9.45 we were entertained by the attempts of a lone 'security' lady trying to stop people gathering at the front of the stage. Each time she shamed a few into returning to their distant seats she'd move to other side of the stage, only to see the opposite side had now filled with people she had, but a few moments before, sent scurrying back from whence they came. It reminded me of watching a child trying to build a wall around a sandcastle to protect it from the incoming tide. In the end she scrambled up on to the stage and told everyone to return to their seats. 1% did, the rest ignored her. Shortly before the lights went down the cavalry arrived in the generously proportioned shape of another 'security officer'. He managed to make more progress, though once the lights went down a successful rush for the stage ensued. The band and Bob appeared, in changed outfits, though Bob still wore those black boots with curly white inlays. Very tasteful. The band dressed in their matching purple suits Bob in one of those smart dark suits and red tie. He somehow looked bigger now. I am the Man Thomas kicked off, Bob immediately on. No three song warm up. This was the eyebrow raising, eye popping Bob. They really are bluer than robin's eggs. He glanced back and forth between Larry and Charlie and deliberately sung the chorus a little faster than them, just to keep them on their toes. Towards the end of My Back Pages, with Larry playing some fine fiddle, there was an alarming electrical bang that made the whole room jump, including Bob, who momentarily pulled his head away from the mike. Its Alright Ma started up and Bob stepped up to the mike. I could just hear him but it was obvious there was a problem. The crowd began shout, trying to alert Bob and the boys. Tony eventually got the message and whispered in Bob's ear. Bob carried on singing. I was reminded of the scene in Don't Look Back. The back stage panic during 'Times' when someone had disconnected Bob's mike. What seemed an age passed until suddenly the sound came back, the crowd cheered. Bob never blinked. In true Soy Bomb fashion he ignored the chaos around him, I guess he accepted it. Tomorrow is a Long Time was tender, loving and delivered with care. The band really has these gentle ballads figured out now. I was relieved the mike had recovered for this one. Bob playfully repeated his vocal gymnastics in Searchin' For a Soldiers Grave. Getting slightly ahead of the boys, just to beat them to the punch. The space between the stage and the front row was now full with potential deportees but nobody seemed to mind. Trying To Get Heaven was the lounge bar, Ronnie Scott version. Wonderful. Cats In The Well ended with that great final closing line and after the amusing pose, Bob doing his boxer, hand on hip, eye squint, head wobble routine, they left the stage. At this point the familiar pattern changed. After about a minute, a member of the crew appeared on stage and took Bob's mike from the stand. For an instant I thought maybe Bob was ill or something terrible had happened. He looked serious. He said something like "The fire marshal has told us we cannot continue until the people in the front return to their seats. So if you want the show to continue please return to your seats now". Well that was different! After a few minutes the crowd at the front thinned out and Bob returned to the stage. The longer break had got him pumped up because he delivered a knock out Things Have Changed. He stared in to the crowd who had by now reassembled at the front of the stage and belted out the lyrics with a swagger and a smirk. He loves the wheelbarrow line. If Dogs Run Free again. A grin broke across his face. Someone near me called out for Bob to "mix it up" perhaps asking for more than the 26 different songs in two shows with only 5 repeats. There is no pleasing some, is there? Security managed to clear the front for Highway 61. They crouched down in the front saying this was the last song. "Oh no it's not" I wagered. Thankfully I was right and we got a Blowin'in the Wind as good as any I've heard. Bob closed and adopted the pose in line. He looked into the crowd and someone made him laugh. He pointed, laughed again and left the stage. We struggled to get out of the 'Showroom' past the merchandise table, thoughtfully placed at the narrowest point of the only exit. My pal reflected, "If you'd have told me 5 years ago I'd see Bob perform If Dogs Run Free twice in one night, I'd have said you were mad". "Yep" I replied "Barking mad". Duncan Hume
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