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Bob Dylan 2001.04.27 in Knoxville

Subject: My Review of Knoxville
From: Alan Sims
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 02:48:13 GMT

Hey Everybody,
Now that I posted the paper's review, I'll post a few thoughts
of my own.

Duncan and Brady opened and it was ok. I just don't love the
song, although I've felt for a long time that Bob and the band
need about two songs to warm up and this one does as well as any
for that. I worry that people will think he has lost it when he
starts singing "Twinkle, twinkle little star." To Ramona
followed and it was also in the ok category. I love the song,
but thought this performance was less than stellar. Next came
Desolation Row which was phenomenal. It was probably the best
live version I've ever heard (ask Bill Parr, who was there and
has heard many more than me, but this is what I thought,
anyway). It was sweet, subdued, perfect. Tangled was good, but
not necessarily great. Bob's picking was hardly audible where I
was standing, though he did the usual noodling. By this time he
was really cutting up with his dips and poses. Toward the end he
played an extended harmonica solo which was very good. It was
unfortunately the only harmonica of the night. Searching for a
Soldier's Grave was ok. Stuck Inside of Mobile was very good.
Nothing different about it, but I always love to hear it as I
grew up in Mobile. Positively Fourth Street was good, but not
special. A bit of muffed lyrics as usual, but not bad. Country
Pie was very strong. I don't think the song deserves to stay in
the set list based on its strength as a song, but it was fun.
Not Dark Yet was other worldly! This is where Charlie Sexton's
addition made a noticeable difference to me. The delicate work
on his guitar made the song shimmer. Dylan's vocals were
exceptional, with tremendous feeling and clarity. Cold Irons
Bound was equally as good. Maybe the highlight of the night. It
has a very different arrangement from last summer, with Dylan
singing to quiet music during the verse and then an incredible
wall of sound for the refrain. This was a crowd favorite. Rainy
Day Women followed and I feared this was all we would get as
this was a twin bill with the Black Crowes and it has been many
years since I've heard this as anything other than a closer.
Fortunately, this was not the case. It was actually well done,
with a verse sang late, after much soloing ("ung and able" verse
- my daughter laughed and said, "He got it right").

The encore (or second set) opened with a solid version of Things
Have Changed. The Australian Oscar still rides on an amp to the
rear of the stage. If Dogs Run Free was very good jazz in the
opinion of a non-jazz aficionado. Very enjoyable. All Along the
Watchtower was great and quite a crowd pleaser. I'm glad it's
back. Knocking was excellent, excellent, excellent. Highway 61
was very good and Blowin' was just amazing.

Random facts and observations:

Chris Robinson and Kate Hudson were perched to the side of the
stage enjoying most of the show.

About 10,000 people were present. Some were there to see both,
but the people around me, when asked, usually said they were
there more for the Crowes or for Dylan. Thousands left after
Dylan finished. There were high school girls all around me. I
brought two of them: my daughter and her friend who are Dylan
vets. There were many others. Also, there were very old fans who
did not know the Crowes. I saw a group of about eight high
school boys with matching Dylan shirts. When the Crowes finished
they yelled for more Bob.

I thought Bob looked healthy, though a man who said he was Bob's
age, but had never seen him before, opined he looked unhealthy,
so I don't know. He wore a black over-shirt/coat with black
pants and white piping all over. I think the shirt was white and
he wore a conventional tie with polka dots. One of a kind :-)

I wondered how he can keep both Larry and Charlie happy with all
the leads he takes and with the two of them competing for what's
left. It just doesn't seem to be sustainable for me. I do think
this line-up is as good as any he's ever had. I hope he records
with them.

That's it. I hope some of you find this interesting. I'll see
you in Nashville!

Alan in Knoxville

2001: February - March - April -