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Bob Dylan 2001.05.06 in Memphis

Subject: Memphis May 6th Setlist/Review
From: Jim Maynard
Date: Mon, 07 May 2001 05:05:24 GMT

Dylan gave his best performance at this year's Beale Street
Music Festival (Memphis TN).... Last time (1996) a thunderstorm
came over the Mississippi River just before Dylan, and the sound
was not too great after that.

Here's the setlist:

1.  Duncan And Brady (acoustic)
2.  Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic)
3.  Desolation Row (acoustic)
4.  Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic, great harmonica with one hand waving free..)
5.  This World Can't Stand Long (acoustic)
6.  Down In The Flood
7.  Just Like A Woman
8.  Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again
9.  Where Teardrops Fall
10.  Cold Irons Bound
11.  Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35

First Encore
12.  Times Have Changed
13.  Like A Rolling Stone
14.  Highway 61 Revisited
15.  Knockin' on Heaven's Door (acoustic)

Second Encore
16.  All Along The Watchtower
17.  Blowin' in the Wind (acoustic)

Dylan's voice was pretty ragged, but he did a great job singing
most of the songs.  Some were kind of rushed and hard to
understand (cold Irons Bound), but others were slowed down and
Bob put a LOT of feelings into the words and made extra effort
to be understood (Knockin on Heaven's Door, with Harmonies from
the band was excellent.)

I've never heard This World Can't Stand Long (and neither had
most of the 20 somethings that made up 90 percent of the huge
crowd) and being an Atheist, I hate it when Dylan does these
stupid religious songs.... but it was well done and took most of
the pot smoking kids around me by surprise,.... but they stopped
and listened and applauded enthusiastically...

Interesting that he followed this song about the coming end of
the world with Crash On the Levee in the electric set (warning
of a coming flood  :)

Dylan did a lot of Elvis style leg work... and I think I saw a
gyrating hip dance a few times... I think during Just Like A

This was a "greatest hits" set which I and the crowd wanted. 
For the first time Dylan did almost every song I wanted to
hear... excpet Blind Willie McTell... maybe next time.

I was afraid most of the young kids would be at the other end of
Tom Lee Park for the Black Crowes or Sonic Youth, but I saw
almost nothing but 18-20 year olds around me..  Only drawback...
the guy and his drunk bimbo making out in front of me....
eventually they got into the concert and stopped, or left I

The young crowed LOVED Bob.. and tried to sing Happy Birthday
but got drounded out by the band as they started a song...

I'll try to have a more detailed review later, my feet hurt...

Jim Maynard
Web Page--

From: "Jim Maynard"
Subject: Memphis May 6th Review
Date: Mon, 7 May 2001 21:05:15 -0500

Now that my mind has cleared out most of that second-hand
marijuana I inhaled last night.. I will try to give a more
detailed review of the show...

The Memphis in May "Beale Street Music Festival" has become one
of the most popular musical festivals in the country.  This
years festival sold out every night.. over 175,000 tickets... 
Friday & Saturday sold out several days before the festival.

Dylan was scheduled for Sunday night and had some stiff
competition from the Black Crowes and Sonic Youth.  Willie
Nelson performed at 7 PM and Dylan at 9 PM so not competition
there... I was surprised to hear so many young people excited
about seeing Willlie Nelson.. guess he is "hip".  I was afraid
all the young crowd would prefer to see the Black Crowes or
Sonic Youth over Bob, but turns out Dylan drew a huge audience
of young people and I saw a lot of Dylan T-shirts (few males
were wearing any shirts.. but that's a different story...)

The festival had the feel of a Grateful Dead concert or
Woodstock.  The hippie/deadhead/bohemian young crowd far
outnumbered the older preppies, etc...   Lots of tie-dye stuff
and the aroma  of marijuana filled the air.

I wanted to catch the beginning of Willie Nelson's show before I
headed down to the Autozone stage at the other end of Tom Lee
Park for Bob Dylan.  But, I had an outdated map that told me
that Willie would be performing on the wrong stage, so I waited
and waited and no Willie.. until they introduced Mavis Staples
and I knew I was in the wrong place.. but it was about 8 PM so I
decided to head down to the Autozone stage and try to get a good
spot near the stage...

No such luck.  Even during the Billy Lee Riley and the Sun All
Stars show, the stage area was packed.  I had no idea who Billy
Lee Riley was, but I will say that I enjoyed the show.. great
rock and roll from a legend I never heard of, and someone Bob
Dylan admires.  ( I believe I remember now that Dylan invited
Billy Lee Riley on stage at my first Dylan concert in Little
Rock back in 1992.. he said he was one of his heroes and they
did a rock and roll song together)..

I got as close to the stage as I could... not as close as I
wanted, just in front of the left tower of speakers.  As the sun
went down over the Mississippi River, the crowd grew with
anticipation of Bob Dylan... 20 minutes to go....  classical
music filled the air creating more anticipation.... I was
surrounded by very young people... 18-20 year olds.. many of
them drunk or high it seemed... some newbies asking about Bob
(what is he like, etc..)    The the music came to a climatic end
and the lights went down... "Ladies and Gentlemen please welcome
Columbia recording artist Bob Dylan"...

The crowd went wild.  I was pressed on all sides as everyone
tried to get as close to Bob and they could...they wanted to see
him up close.  DUNCAN AND BRADY started things off on a somewhat
low-key note.  I never heard the song, and few others knew what
he was singing.  His voice was ragged making it difficult to
understand the words.. but it we made out the lyrics which bob
emphasized ("I've been on this job tooooo loooong!).  Bob warmed
up quickly to the crowd and started cracking a smile early....

MR TAMBOURINE MAN was recognizable to everyone and was met with
a loud roar of approval.  Dylan's vocals became clear and strong
and people tried to sing along... but Bob made it tricky to
follow along with a very different version. (I overhead a young
guy after the show complain about not being able to sing with
bob because he changed his songs so much.. I wanted to say "if
you want to hear songs exactly the same as on albums, go to the
Backstreet Boys or Madonna...) Dylan did a lot of lead acoustic
guitar picking on this and all the other acoustic songs....

TANGLED UP IN BLUE got the crowed more fired up.  Seemed like
everyone recognized it form the opening chords. I have grown
tired of this song because Dylan has sung it in every show I've
been to, but this was better than the others... he didn't rush
it too much and put more emotion into the words... I usually
want the song to hurry up and get over with.. but not this
time.. then he went back to get his harmonica and with one hand
holding the mic and harp and the other waving to the side played
a great harmonica solo which the crowd loved as usual...

One problem I saw already.... a young guy and his drunk bimbo
girlfriend were making out right in front of me making it
difficult for me to see or concentrate.  They carried on for
several songs.. I would have moved but there was no place to go
and I didn't want to miss anything so I stayed put hoping they
would leave or stop....  which they eventually did...  I don't
understand these young'uns...would they rather have sex or
listen to Bob ??? I guess they wanted to do both.... I just
don't think of sex when I listen to him :)

I have never heard THIS WORLD CAN'T STAND LONG.. .but recognized
it immediately.  I'm an atheist and don't appreciate these
gospel songs much. They are too preachy and often plain stupid. 
But I must say I did *somewhat* enjoy this old Roy Acuff
tune.... the main chorus being "this world can't stand long..
it's too filled with hate"  which I can agree with. I didn't
care much for  the "don't wait too long" part.. wait too long
for what???  I don't get that "born again" stuff... and I don't
think the stoned kids around me cared much for it either... they
were waiting to sing "everyone must get stoned." But Bob and the
band sounded great...very much like a bluegrass band.. and they
harmonized on the chorus very well.

CRASH ON THE LEVEE opened the electric set.. they crowd tried to
sing happy birthday but were drowned out by the guitars before
they could wish Bob happy birthday... hope he heard it.  As Bob
sang the song I realized why this song would be a great
companion to This World Can't Stand Long... "a crash on the
levee.. a flood....destruction of the world...)

The crowd roared when we heard the distinctive chord intro to
JUST LIKE A WOMAN... the couples in front of me started hugging
and kissing... yuk... anyway, Bob really sounded great on this
song... (you make love just like a WOOOMAN.. but you BREAK...
just like... a Little giiiirrrrrllll)....  I think it was on
this song that Bob really wiggled his legs and would you believe
it... did the Elvis pelvis thrust a few times!  It was too funny
to be sexy... kind of like watching the old man in the audience
with his chicken legs and knee long shorts dancing around like
he was 18 again... but very moving all the same...Bob was
wiggling and Jiggling and thrusting his pelvis at the pretty
girls in the front I guess....

I wanted and finally got to hear STUCK INSIDE OF MOBILE WITH THE
MEMPHIS BLUES AGAIN.  I've seen Dylan eight times in Memphis,
and this was only the second time I go to hear this song.  The
crowed cheered the Memphis Blues chorus of course...

Then to slow things down a bit.. one of my favorites off of Oh
Mercy.. 'WHERE TEARDROPS FALL .   Not many recognized it or knew
it... but they were listening carefully to the words and the
lovely melody... relating to the shedding of tears...

A loud wall of sound preceded COLD IRONS BOUND.  I have not h
eard this song off of Time Out of Mind live, but have been
reading about it on the newsgroups.  It almost sounded like a
Pink Floyd song at first... lots of loud guitar noise... but
making it very difficult to hear Dylan... and Dylan sings the
song kind of fast and strains to yell the words... it was not
easy to hear the words and if you didn't know the song you
wouldn't know what it was.  But we were all enthralled by the
noise the band was making.. while we tried to make out what Bob
was singing...  Not my favorite song on TOOM... i like the
words...very powerful and moving lyrics, but the sound is like
fingers on a chalkboard to me....   I'll have to get used to
it...  It's a very painful song to listen to.. but I guess it is
supposed to be painful..."I'm 20 miles out of town and cold
irons booounnnd).

The drum beat of the unmistakable RAINEY DAY WOMEN (Everybody
Must Get Stoned!).  The crowd was ecstatic... now they could
light those joints up and sing their anthem.. even if they
didn't realize that the song had nothing to do with what they
were smoking!  Dylan still loves this song.. I would be sick of
it if I were him.. but the message of getting "stoned" for being
true to yourself and your beliefs seems to be an important part
of his contribution to music and performing.  He even make up
new lyrics, but I cant remember them.. something in the last
verse about not ducking fast enough...

Now the formation....Dylan runs to the back of the stage and
runs back out with a black hat on... pulling his collar up and
prancing around... very funny...  then they leave, with
thunderous applause... anticipating the inevitable encore....
after what seemed like an eternity they return to the stage. 
Then I noticed the shinny statue behind the band... Bob's Oscar!
Had it been there the whole time??? I don't know... but there it
was... and of course the first song of the encore would be
THINGS HAVE CHANGED.  The crowd recognized it.. maybe from the
Academy Awards.. maybe they actually saw Wonder Boys.. but they
loved the autobiographical song of the 60 year old gray haired
legend on the stage.  Things sure have changed for Dylan....No
longer the "spokesperson of a generation" long passed its time..
not longer the rebellious rock star selling millions of albums
with songs on the top 40 radio stations.. or leading protest
marches, the young punk was not an old wise owl.  He had been
through it ALL.  There was nothing he has not endured or
experienced in his life.  No longer interested in being "hip" or
"cool" or changing history.... just "standing in the gallows
with his head in the noose" waiting for all hell to break loose,
but  "you can't win with a losing hand."

Somebody with too much in his bloodstream was shouting "Rolling
Stone" all night and  finally got his wish ....the other song
they were waiting for... LIKE A ROLLING STONE.  The lights came
on over the crowd and every arm was raised cheering the anthem
of their parents generation... "how does it feeeeeel?  To be on
your owwwwn... like a compleeet unknown.. like a ROLLING STONE!"
 They were dancing and hugging and loving Dylan's signature
song.. one he will always be remembered for and not someone else
doing a cover of it.. not one has topped the original one yet...
not even Hendrix!

That Old Man was not tired yet.. the band fired up even more...
HIGHWAY 61. Charlie breaks out on the electric guitar and Bob
tried to match him.... we get a two (three counting Tony on
base) guitar formation..... one legged bob ... smiling and
enjoying performing rock and roll.

My ears were ringing... they soothe my eardrums with KNOCKIN ON
HEAVEN'S DOOR.  Charlie and Larry step to the mics and begin the
harmonious vocal introduction... Bob steps up and calls out for
Mama to wipe the tears form his eyes.. he sees the dark 
clouds.... I wonder does he really feel like he's Knocking on
Heaven's Door ?   Charlie would put his hand to his ear and left
is eyes in anticipation of "Just like so many times before.."
and shake his head.. very funny!  I was impressed by not only
Charlie Sexton's guitar playing, but how well he blends in with
the band and Bob... he seems like part of the family now... and
he seems very comfortable playing side by side with Bob Dylan. 
(I hope Charlie Sexton makes a solo comeback someday.. but not
until Bob is no longer touring!)  As Bob said in the Biograph
notes..if there was any justice, Charlie Sexton would have been
a superstar.  But he's still young and talented and hopefully
reap the rewards of his hard work and ability... and Dylan
surely helped his growth as a performing artist.. the "next bob
dylan" ??

OK... there has not been any introduction of the band... and
they do the formation... bob grabs the hat again and comes back
to join the formation.... they stand and leave...

They have to come back.... bob has not introduced them yet!  The
crowd yells and shouts... begging for more...  oh boy they come
back out...  grabbing electric guitars.. and the crowd goes wild
when they recognize ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER... not as fast and
hard as usual.. but very powerfully performed.... the message
once again is the wickedness of this world.... there must be
some way out of here... but where?

The answer was BLOWIN IN THE WIND.... as we never heard it
before....  dylan sung the words softly and tenderly...
emphasizing the last syllabes of each line with a higher note...
how many times... must the cannon balls fly.. before they are
forever banned  (maybe dylan is thinking about the start of a
new cold war with the Shrub in the White House and the military
industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about gearing up for
Star Wars "Missile Defense")....  how many years must some
people exist.. before they are allowed to be free... cheers from
the audience and heads shaking in many years...
how long will it take... when will people understand...  the
answer is Blowing in the wind.. Bob Charlie and Larry sing the
chorus in loud harmony.. and the crowd agrees.. but we wonder,
what does it mean. ??? Was the Pope right?  was it the 'holy
spirit"?  or is it our common humanity... and ability to change
the course of the world if we wanted to.. if we did our part to
make a difference.. if we stand together.... tell us the answer
Bob.... there is not simple answer....  For Bob Dylan.... he has
spent his whole life asking the question and searching for the
answer.. and he has returned to where he began... the old time
music... God.... The Bible.... folk
music...blues... NOT politics, not a political party... don't
follow leaders....

Maybe the answer is in a song he never performs and one I want
to hear in concert.. TRUST YOURSELF....

Still no band introductions... did that mean they would do a
THIRD encore.. we waited in hopeful anticipation.. cigarette
lighters signaling Bob to come back......  Lights on.... and
Yankee doodle dandy playing ????   Guess that meant something...

It was a long walk back up Beale Street to my bus stop.  I
didn't hear any conversations about Dylan.. but I wish I could
have heard what they thought...  I thought it was one of Dylan's
best performances in Memphis. Great selection of songs.. even if
 it was mostly "greatest hits".. but these are songs we all want
to hear.. especially those newbies who needed a good
introduction to Bob Dylan... he was the poet/singer composer of
Blowin in the Wind, Knockin on Heavens Door, All Along the
Watchtower, Like a Rolling Stone.. who still found more hope and
directions to life's road in the old time music of Roy Acuff,
Woody Guthrie, Hank Willliams, Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley....
  a distant place from modern rock and pop culture.

Jim Maynard
Web Page--


Subject: Re: Memphis May 6th Setlist/Review
From: Jim Maynard 
Date: Mon, 07 May 2001 05:22:23 GMT
Organization: RoadRunner - Midsouth
X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2919.6600

I left out a few things...

Dylan never introduced the band! Guess He forgot... I kept
hoping this meant they would come back to perform a third encore
but they didn't.

Bob walked back and put on a hat at the end of each set during
the formation... he would put it on and then take it off... then
put in on during the second formation.. and took it off... it
was very funny...

And the fake oscar showed up behind the band on top of the amps
again... just before the first Encore and "Things Have
Changed"..  or maybe it was there from the start and I didn't
see it...

I inhaled a lot of marijuana (not mine) and must go to sleep


Subject: The Weekend Trifecta: Atlanta-Nashville-Memphis (long)
From: Joe Cliburn
Date: Wed, 09 May 2001 12:55:55 -0500
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.72 [en]C-gatewaynet (Win98; U)

Obligatory Mental Health Warning
This is NOT strictly a concert review. It is a looooong shaggy
dog story about an experience that I'll probably never get to
repeat (or live down). It is rambling, idiosyncratic & one
humongous "IMHO". It's probably about as coherent as
_Tarantula_, so if that makes sense to you, this will. If you
want well-reasoned commentary, you're in the wrong place, my
friend. If you want a setlist, check out Bill Pagel's Boblinks.
He was on the scene, so the setlists are absolutely right. This
is about a bobsessive road trip through the heart of the Deep
South, a long happy experience, and something that I hope
inspires other people to make their own "once in a lifetime
experience" happen. (I say this every time I go off chasing a
pack of wild geese, but hey ... You've been warned ;-)

Statistical Summary
5 days
3 cities
3 Dylan shows
1,226 miles
50 total songs
23 different songs
8 songs new live for me
1 incredible experience

Inspirational Quote
"I'm a rolling stone, I'm alone & lost.
 For a life of sin, I've paid the cost.
 Take my advice, you'll curse the day
 You started down that Lost Highway."

                            - Hank Sr.

3 May 2001 (I-65 near Evergreen, Alabama)
I really didn't get stuck inside of Mobile -- the traffic was
pretty smooth -- but I would end up 4 days later with the
Memphis blues again. And that's the truth. I-65 around Evergreen
is the "Hank Williams Memorial Lost Highway". It was there that
the pink Cadillac blew by me (blue bayou, too). Okay, it was a
Mary Kay Cosmetics lady, but we're obligated to take our omens
wherever they fall. Good omen.

Thursday was a road day. My only mission was to find a cheap
motel (with the neon burnin' bright), meet shortpantsromanceuk &
plot out our invasion of Tennessee. And that's how it began with
a plate of baby back ribs, some coconut shrimp & two denizens of
the ether trying to figure out if the other guy was an axe
murderer. Fortunately, we were disappointed. The motel turned
out to be "the home across the road", but we didn't mistake it
for paradise anyway, just a place to crash near the MARTA

4 May 2001 (Atlanta Midtown Music Festival)
After a MARTA ride to downtown to show the Englishman the sites
(his reaction: "Fab!"), we made it up to Renaissance Park &
found the Jose Cuervo stage. Drivin' & Cryin' was the first act
we caught, a strange mix of metal, alternative & country. Their
hit (I'm guessing at this) was "I'm going straight to hell, just
like my mother said". Plenty of skunkweed going up in smoke down
front. Just a time to visit, whatever & slowly slink toward the

The first "main act" of the evening was Patti Smith. Jeez. This
girl's a world-class spitter. She let us know in no uncertain
terms that she wasn't gonna be "f**king exploited up the a**" by
her agent, promoter, the festival, web sites, you name it.
Turned in terrific performances of "Gloria" & "Because the
Night", which were the only Patti songs I knew anyway. Attacked
the onstage camera man, yanked guitar cords out & spat. We got
to about the equivalent of 8th row by the time she went
sweetheart, smiled, thanked us all & spat one last time. A very
good performance.

We were below Nag Champa level & so close that Bob & the band
were knees-up visible only. Since the setlist has been posted &
more rational reviews will be seen, I won't belabor every song.
"Duncan & Brady" opened -- my first live encounter with this
one. Fun. And "Mr Tambourine Man" was next. Bob knows when I'm
there -- he plays it almost every time for me. This go-round the
lines were parsed in new & different ways. During "Desolation
Row", I thought, "the Old Man's really into this". The
obligatory TUIB gave us the first of three harp solos. Then
"This World Can't Stand Long" (another live first for me) closed
the acoustic set, with Larry on mandolin. (The mandolin came
unplugged at first & never got into the mix properly.)

Bob set the ghost of 'lectricity howling with a rave up "Down in
the Flood", followed by JLAW with Larry on pedal steel. "Stuck
Inside of Mobile" followed with a great Sexton solo & the second
harp solo. Then, another first-for-djeaux song -- "When
Teardrops Fall". This was kind of sketchy at the beginning, a
bit loose IMO, with Charlie finding the high tinkling riff &
Larry back on the pedal steel. "Drifter's Escape" followed,
featuring the third harp solo. This is the crunching,
might-be-Wicked-Messenger arrangement, which I love. I'd kill to
hear Bob segue Drifters & Messenger! Larry stepped over to the
lap-steel-on-legs & the electric set wound up with a rewritten
RDW12&35 replete with 40 or 50 thousand folks howling "everybody
must get stoned". More Georgia skunkweed rose into the smog.
Band introduction was made.

Then the Line Up. Bob ducked back to get a black cowboy hat
which was worn only for line ups. The band stood like little
boys lost until Bob gave a nod & they trotted obediently behind
the amps.

Encore break gave us time to squeeze up to the rail. "Things
Have Changed" was everything I expected. It was then that we
noticed the Oscar standing proudly on the Bobster's amp. Cool. A
fine LARS followed, again with much audience participation. A
jazzy "If Dogs Run Free" was done acoustically. Bob seemed to be
on another planet (and in another key), but it all worked in a
snap-your-fingers kind of way. AATW was next, a bit different
from the version I heard in '99 (last time Bob ventured south of
St. Louis). "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" featured Larry & Charlie
on the "oooh oooh oooh" harmonies, a treat. H61R was next, with
Sexton just ripping out all the stops. Then, the infamous
revised standard version of BITW closed out the show.

No post concert party for us in Atlanta, formally, at least.
Imagine 20,000 folks trying to pile onto the subway & you have
the picture. But about halfway back down to El Ranko Motel, a
troup of black evangelists boarded the train & commenced a
call-and-response hand-clapping gospel sing ("If you got Jesus,
clap your hands!") in our car. Folks were dancing in the aisle.
I informed by travellin' companion that this was an everyday
event in America, which of course it wasn't. It was pure magic
conjured up by the spirit of the pink Cadillac on the Lost

In retrospect, Atlanta would be the weakest of the three shows
we would see. But you couldn't have told us that at midnight on
Friday in Hot 'Lanta. It was the longest show (18 songs) &
featured the three harp solos. The sound system was quite on the
bassy side & the crowd was fueled by too much skunkweed & beer,
IMO. Nevertheless, a good concert & a ton of fun.

The Fifth Day of May (Nashville Riverstages)
Early that mornin', the sun was shinin'... But we weren't lyin'
in bed... Four hours through North Jawja & East Tennessee up to
Music City USA for another show & a rendezvous with the Yahoo!
Small Talk at the Wall contingent. Of course, I had to inflict a
ritual breakfast at a Cracker Barrel on shortpantsromanceuk
("These are grits, bubba, and this is a REAL biscuit".) Powder
blue skies, Tennessee hills & beautiful rivers & lakes. We got
to Nashville a bit after noon & waited for check-in at the pool
with so many now-met-in-real-space people we already "knew" from
the ether. Passing the guitars, hugs all around. Shout-outs to
Mac, Bev, the Pams, Jacki, David from Holland, Julia from
Brazil, Ronnie & Crystal, stray waitrets, EVERYBODY! Y'all made
a great time even special-er!

Ever ridden to a Dylan concert in a stretch limo? Well, somebody
arranged that! We're down past the end of Broadway, I look out
the window & there goes Tony Garnier without his hat. More

There's strength in numbers, especially at a festival. Using the
patented Small Talk rugby scrum technique, we got a fantastic
spot at the first row of steps behind the mosh pit, about 40
feet from the stage. Folks were expecting Small Talk to be out
in force, which was cool. I look up & here comes Arthur Louie,
just glowing & cherubic. I'll just state here for the record
that Mr Dylanpool is a certifiable genius, gentleman & one hell
of a programmer. (How about a post-concert chat about relational
vs flatfile databases?)

We sit through Blues Traveller & The String Cheese Incident. The
sound system is MUCH better than in Atlanta. Of the three
venues, Nashville gets my vote, except for the congested
entrance & exit.

Larry Campbell came out with the crew. Larry was in his element,
laughing & carrying on backstage. His new "touch of gray" goatee
looks just great. Then Larry disappeared & a little while later,
the incense was lit. The band came on from the far right of the
double stage, crossing behind the mixer area to the left
(larger) stage. The ritual announcement ("Good evening, ladies &
gentlemen...) came after Bob & the band were milling around
getting strapped in. Then they were off, amid screams & waves...

"Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie" gave me another first-for-djeaux for
my list. "Tambourine Man" followed, with a harp solo. If
anything better than the previous night, with more cool
phrasing. (It was like Bob was refusing to let it become a
sing-along!) The band & Bob seemed much more "on" for this show
than in Atlanta -- nothing tentative or exploratory, but more
take-no-prisoners. "Masters of War" followed; the best I've ever
heard this one. I got cold freight trains running up my spine.
If a song, heard by the right person, could end all wars, rip
down all hate, this is the performance of that song! Charlie
played a red resonator guitar on this number & FOR THE RECORD,
it was a Dopera Brothers ("Dobro" brand) guitar. Dobros are
available in Hawaiian ("hound dog") & Spanish neck versions. (I
know this was the subject of some controversy here -- he *was*
playing a Dobro with a Spanish neck.) Okay, I could've gone home
then & there as a happy feller, but we get a very very nice TUIB
& I've gotta stay. No harp solo, though. "This World Can't Stand
Long" with Larry on mandolin ended the acoustic set. No mishaps
with the mandolin cord & the harmonies were sweet, sweet, sweet.

Again, "Down in the Flood" crunched open the electric set. If
Atlanta was a rave up, this was a rave up's rave up. No holds
barred. Then, "Positively 4th Street". Bob searched a little for
the first couple of lines, but by the end of the first verse,
the venom, the resignation & the sympathy had fused onto some
point that seemed, like the spotlight, so clear. How can Bob
roll all those conflicting emotions into such a logical thing?
I've been asking that for years & this just proved the point,
answered it beyond words. "Stuck Inside of Mobile" was next up &
the twin lead runs by Charlie & Bob were incredible. Charlie was
crouching & Bob was hamming it up. Fancy footwork! Time was
getting stopped, the clock was running backwards, water flowing
up hill. And THEN came "When Teardrops Fall". Everything that
was tentative in Atlanta was a done deal in Nashville. A
riverboat passed behind the stage during the song, like some
gigantic lighting effect. Beautiful! I'd bet before the show
that w e'd get "Wicked Messenger" & we did. With the second harp
solo. Bob was playing the thing for all it was worth. By then,
the clocks were like Dali's just melting. The continually
revised RDW12&35 with Larry on lap steel & Bob doing the band
intro ended the electric set.

Bob ducked behind the amps to get his black cowboy hat & the
band lined up. This was the first of two Line Ups in Nashville.

"Things Have Changed" opened the encores again. When Bob reached
the line about "falling in love with the first woman I meet" I
saw a bunch of ladies waving & hollering "Me! Me!" LARS was next
up & it just smoked! It was like the band was drawing energy
from the crowd & feeding energy back to the crowd in a spiral.
"Knocking on Heaven's Door" followed, again, with the harmonies.
It was just crystalline, kind of gold colored. Perfect. H61R got
the mood back into rock'n'roll. Charlie & Bob took off on more
twin leads. They musta picked up another box of stops somewhere
in East Tennessee, because they pulled all of them again. I
thought in Atlanta that it couldn't get much better, but I was
wrong. Wow! I mean, they just whupped this one, took us on a
wild ride! And then, another line up (Bob got his hat again) &
the show was over.

A limo ride is a nice way to leave a Bob Dylan concert. Back at
the motel, a meeting room had been arranged for the Small Talk
faction, augmented with others who didn't want to fight the
downtown bar scene. Guitars were passed around, stories were
told, songs were sung. Somebody cracked out the possum jerky &
somebody else called out for pizzas. And at 3 AM, I'm talking
relational databases with Arthur Louie. It doesn't get much
better than this. Or does it? In any event, it was more magic
from the pink Cadillac...

Nashville was the nicest venue I saw this weekend. The show was
even better than Atlanta. And the setlist was the most unique.

6 May 2001 (Memphis Beale Street Festival)
I'm gonna say this up front: This was the best concert I've ever
seen, bar none. Throw everything else out the window. This was
the best performance I've ever seen Bob Dylan turn in. Bob was
totally into it; the band was totally into it. (Of course, it
was the last concert I've seen, so my old adage about "the best
Bob Dylan concert is always the last one you've seen" holds true
again ;-)

When you get up in a strange hotel in a distant city & walk
across to the lobby for coffee & somebody is sitting in a chair
by the pool playing a Dylan song on the guitar, you know you've
found the right universe. People begin to congregate by the
pool, plotting the journey across to the big river. And by 11
AM, shortpantsromanceuk & djeaux are back out on the concrete
continent, heading west at 80 mph, trying to keep Bev & Mac in
our gunsights. After check-in, another limo arrived to take us
down to the festival. Word on the street is that there's 150,000
people down at the festival site, so being delivered to the foot
of Beale Street in a strech limo is quite an luxury.

War is playing on the AutoZone stage when we arrive, so the
remaining Small Talk platoon makes battle plans & distributes
assignments. By the time Billy Lee Riley & the Sun All Stars
come on, the group is solidly in position about 15 bodies back
from the rail. As they finish, their guitarist asks the crowd to
be sure to sing "Happy Birthday" to Bob. He laughed like, "Hey,
now Bob Dylan is a senior citizen like me!" It was all goofy &
fun. (And the crowd really *did* try to sing "Happy Birthday" to

Again, Larry Campbell was present backstage during the setup.
The champa was lit & a big tour bus arrived. Bob & his band come
up the back steps & move confidently onto the stage. One
sartorial (satorial?) note: No Colonel Sanders tie for Bob in
Memphis. Instead, he wore a yellow shirt with black polka dots
(!) & black collar.

The usual announcement was made & they're off...

"Duncan & Brady" -- hey, this is MUCH better than night-before
last! Then, "Mr Tambourine Man", again just spot-on dead-center
excellent. Then, "Desolation Row", just picture perfect. Then, a
put-this-one-in-your-scrapbook TUIB with a harp solo, followed
by "This World Can't Stand Long" with right-on harmonies & Larry
putting that mandolin right in there where it belonged.

The electric instruments came out & I turned to Mac & said, "It
looks like we're getting the Atlanta setlist". It was as if Bob
& his band were doing it over to get it absolutely perfect
before the tour ended.

"Down in the Flood" opened the electric set again & it was even
better than before. How is that possible? Then, JLAW with Larry
on pedal steel & it's shining & I'm stunned. "Stuck Inside of
Mobile" came next & they had to have gotten even more stops over
around Jackson, Tennessee, because they ripped it up again.
Larry hopped over to the pedal steel again & Bob turned in the
last "When Teardrops Fall" of the tour, with Sexton playing that
stacatto riff as tenderly as possible with that much

I'd pretty much resigned myself to getting "Drifter's Escape",
since the show was a mirror (albeit a more perfect mirror) of
the Atlanta show, when that acid-rock feedback intro to "Cold
Irons Bound" started rolling out of Charlie's amp. This was a
new arrangement that I'd not heard, with Tony playing tambourine
instead of bass & Sexton using his special effects rack like a
kid with a new toy. Even though it was a strange arrangement, it
was no less polished than the rest of the show. I'm going
"unbelievable" & they guy next to me says, "No, that's Cold
Irons Bound" :-D The electric set ended with RDW12&35 (Larry on
lap steel) & no band intro. Bob got his hat & the boys lined up,
but held their instruments throughout. There was no real break
before the encores.

"Things Have Changed" came first. Even if the setlist hadn't
changed much, things had definitely changed. LARS was the best
of the three. Excellent! Then H61R got a thorough treatment,
Sexton & Dylan just ripping it up one more time. "Knockin'" was
presented once more, even sweeter on the harmonies & the crowd
got to sing along a little. There was a little break at this
point, so there was effectively a second encore set consisting
of a soaring AATW & BITW with high lonesome harmonies from
Charlie & Larry.

Then the Small Talk entourage made a loooooong march back to the
limo pick up spot & Bob's entourage headed off on the big bus.

Memphis was the best performance of the three shows. The best
sound system. And the biggest river. Fireworks were flashing
between the stage & the bridge. Magic on the river.

The apres concert "gathering" was a pile of exhausted & happy
people in a cheap motel room in Memphis with a bag of Doritos.
Which was perfect, because it was hard to top what had already
gone down. Thank you, ev'rybody.

7 May 2001 (somewhere in the Mississippi Delta)
 After taking shortpantsromanceuk by Graceland for a photo
 session & then on to the Memphis International Airport for his
 long trek home, I headed Mr Truck (now dubbed the "Ghost of
 'Lectricity") south on I-55 for home. About 15 mi S of Hernando
 MS, I looked in the rearview & saw a large black object bearing
 down on me. I had the cruise set to 72 mph & they did too. It
 looked like Bob's bus, so I shot a picture through the mirror
 for the record, laughed to myself & popped in the Indigo Girls
 version of TUIB. I saw a rest area, figuring that it would be a
 good place to move the trash out of the truck & maybe catch a
 glimpse of the bus as it roared by & OH MY GOODNESS, it pulled
 up into the rest area, too. Sure enough. Minnesota plates, it
 looked like, definitely the Bobster's bus, towing a new
 matching black Chevy Suburban. Jeez. I admire the bus, but I
 don't go too close. The driver's checking the tow hitch on the
 Suburban. I figure Bob's heading for New Orleans or maybe
 Florida & leave it at that. After a while I split again, gassed
 up in Grenada & kept moving south. At the next rest area, I
 pull in for a pit stop and THERE'S THE BUS AGAIN! A woman was
 making lunch by the window, the driver was eating in his seat &
 I snapped a photo with my little PalmPix camera.

It looked as if I was gonna have to tell my wife, "Look, it
followed me home. Can I keep it?" So I pulled out again, waved,
tipped my Sun Studios baseball cap & hollered "Thank you, Bob,
Happy Birthday!" The pink Cadillac passed me in spirit again,
headin' south.

Finale Shout-Out
To everybody I met who made it so special (and if I leave you
out forgive me -- I haven't slept a full night in a week) -- all
the Small Talkers, Andrew, "Griffin" (whatever your name is I'll
remember you), Sharon, Brad, Martin, Arthur, the waitret at
Cracker Barrel, Hannahka, Jack (even if I didn't see you, I
Folks, if you gotta travel to a show, find somebody to share it
with. I found the best!

To the Mary Kay lady in the pink Cadillac: You have absolutely
no idea what magic you conjured up.

To Tony, Dave, Charlie & Larry: thanks for the great work. I
know y'all musta gotten tired of so much work in three days, but
y'all kept making it better & better.

To Bob Dylan: I only hope that when I'm about to celebrate my
60th I'm on top of my game like you. Nobody even comes close to
the way you do it, Bob. Nobody. And indirectly, because you were
the common ground for meeting so many new & old friends along
the way, special thanks. Happy Birthday! And many, many more!!

"Obviously, I'm not an IBM computer any more than I'm an ashtray."
                                                          - Dylan
2001: February - March - April - May -