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Bob Dylan 2001.10.19 in Los Angeles

Subject: Re: Highwater tonight!
From: Delia
Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2001 07:48:43 GMT

It was just a great show.  The Staples Center was nearly
full.  It was nearly half an hour late starting, mainly
because security was so tight. They were wanding everybody. 
But frankly, in these times, it's fine with me as long as
someone got a recorder in.

And High Water was to die for.  You know, on the album, the
banjo in the opening makes the song sound somehow ancient
and remote to me.  I like it; but that's just how it feels
to me. Straight from Genesis.  Tonight the tone of the song
and the instruments was much more immediate and menacing. 
The humor in the lines almost disappeared into Bob's deadly
intelligence and precise, ominous delivery.  Straight from
September 11.  Just to listen was an emotionally draining

And that's just one song.


You can always come back, but you can't come back all the way.
"Dan Erickson"  wrote in message
> Great version! Great show! Sugar Baby was a gem as well. Bob made an
> interesting comment while introducing the band tonight. Something like,
> "Madonna was here (Staples Center) a couple weeks ago telling you to
> think globally. I want to tell you to rethink it." Saw UCSB last weekend
> and tonight was a lot better IMHO.

Newsgroups: Subject: Re: Highwater tonight! From: Ze 39steps Date: 20 Oct 2001 07:59:20 GMT Incidentally, from tonight's performance of Highwater, two things became clear: -he is saying "panties" -he is not saying "Bertha Mason" Check out my goddamn website:
Newsgroups: Subject: Re: October 19, 2001 - Los Angeles, California - setlist From: Ze 39steps Date: 20 Oct 2001 07:12:53 GMT Great show, the best I've seen (my 4th Dylan show). I thought the first half was stronger than the second, but a few songs in the latter half, most notably "Sugar Baby" were excellent. "Highwater" was better than the album version. His harp on "Mama You Been On My Mind" was the best I've heard in awhile. His guitar solos on "It's Alright Ma" were amazing, the reason people put up with his hit-or-miss solos (he did a lot of soloing tonight--actually, I've never minded his solos, I think they're funny). I generally prefer the acoustic part of his show, and it was flawless tonight.
Newsgroups: Subject: Staples LA 10/19 yipes! From: Caldecot Chubb Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2001 21:39:13 -0700 As I'm told, I'm not alone in feeling boned by Ticketmaster. Went to within an hour or so of ticket availability and the best four I could get were way across the arena from the stage. Never having been to the Staples Center, I didn't know if that was just regrettable or really dreadful. Contemplated $200/pop scalped seats (legal in CA), but stuck with the luck of the draw. Staples Center, for anyone else who hasn't been, is a brand-new utterly sterile arena, skyboxes piled high. There's not much rake to the seats so if you're up off the floor, you're pretty far from the action. Clean, of course, but how much of a virtue is that? Enough gear in the roof, including a set of video screens that weren't used, to make you feel the Death Star is overhead and far off. But the great thing was, though I could not see much of Bob except when the fellow in front of me handed back his binocs, which he kindly did often, the mix was fine and the music was extraordinary. A lovely start with "Wait For the Light to Shine," a touching "Song for Woody," and some timely deathly ("Searching for a Soldier's Grave") or melancholic ("It's Alright, Ma") acoustic music, particularly, "It's Alright, Ma." The Staples Center, though, just seemed a little too much like a UFO, flat, round, that was not going to quite get off the ground. The crowd was polite, enthusiastic even, but the damn building just weighed too much. Until "TweedleDee and TweedleDum"... From then on it seemd like the band -- drums and four guitars -- was simply not going to rest until everyone had to submit to their authority. Guitar madness, Spectacular playing between Mr. Sexton and Mr. Dylan. Somehow in the forty years I've been listening to Mr. Dylan, he's figured out how the hell to play that thing. It was exhilarating. Others have mentioned the harmonica playing. He was always quite brilliant (I'm told that a Harry Belafonte record that he played harmonica on in what, 1962?, has just been released on CD), but the solo on "Mama You been on My Mind" was beyond haunting, and on "Drifter's Escape" he stepped over into transcendant. By the time he crashed "Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat" to a close, the audience was screaming and we got plenty of encores. I thought surely he'd have to end with "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" but he went on. Again, I couldn't imagine, how can you follow "Blowin' In the Wind" (especially these days)? But "Rainy Day Women" was the excellent answer. Perhaps all of you adepts know this already, but I hadn't ever heard him use the device of going from the one to the five, which I guess he's adopted to keep the songs fresh. "Oh, you masters of (leap up five notes) war..." He did that a lot. The effect was refreshing and elegiac. Songs that I heard him do tough as steel knives ("Most Likely" in MSG with The Band on the Before the Flood tour mid-seventies) were softened by time, bitter still ("I'm not going to tell you why that is...") but almost floating in their new melodic variants. Though I'm sure (and I hope) someone was recording it, the ephemeral quality, the momentary brilliance, the passing chord, the this-night-and-never-again quality of the perfomance was just so movng. Live long, Bob, and kick ass. I wasn't sure what to make of hearing "Masters of War" and "Blowin' In the Wind" in this new time of conflict. He was never one for answers, though, even when the questions were more one-sided. Any thoughts? Well, this is my first post, and I hope I've acquitted myself. The show was amazing, if the venue was not, and the songs resonate still. If anyone has a CD and wants to trade something, I'd love to be able to hear it again. Cotty Chubb
Newsgroups: Subject: Re: Staples LA 10/19 yipes! From: Alistair Hunter Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 06:50:53 GMT Excellent post..... I had great seats at Staples.... the sound was great ... but that was really Bob's soundman... the lighting was super too.... also Bob's guys...... hard to make Stapes an intimate arena.... not exactly like his knock out stuff at the El Rey Theatre... I had no clue what song "Honest With Me" was..... I don't think I've heard it before........ I figured the tile was "4 guitars rule the world!" ... Charlie Sexton and Bob were hot..... but they all were..... the audience did not seem as appreciative...... althought they were all on their feet... maybe it was the hollowness of the venue.... heck I'd see him there again!....... I guessed beforehand that he would close the show with "Blowin' In The Wind"...... the answer always has been....... did not expect the 2nd encore at all.... but "Rainy Day Women" had to be the choice..... well done Bob and all the Bobcats!
Newsgroups: Subject: Staples Center 10/19 (very long) From: Howard Mirowitz Reply-To: Howard Mirowitz Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 12:43:43 GMT I talked my wife, Ellen, into going with me to the Staples concert Friday night by threatening to take our son, the hockey goalie, who had 3 games scheduled on Saturday, the first of which was at 10:00 AM. She absolutely put her foot down. "He'll be exhausted! ... I'll go instead." Heh, heh. I'd dragged her to Irvine last year and she admitted that she liked it. Maybe this time I could push her over the proverbial edge ... I gathered up a few choice CD'R's and other needful supplies and we hopped in the Jeep and headed up the I-405 to pick up LeeAnn Hansen and Becky Dalton, esteemed members of the famed Orange County Dylan Fan Club. They had been at the La Jolla/UCSD concert the previous night. We planned to try to rendezvous at Staples with the rest of the Club. Becky was totally flying, having just won the Sony mother-of-all-freebies, the entire Dylan official release corpus on CDs -- over 50 discs in all -- not to mention coming first overall in the pool for the La Jolla show AND winning $1500 in August at the Hard Rock Cafe show in Vegas! Becky quickly ushered us into her "Dylan Room", where we got to see the actual box from Sony -- an amazing sight. Unfortunately there weren't any back-stage passes included. (Sigh. Just when you finally reach the top you find out you're on the bottom ...) We shared a quick meal of lasagna, salad, wine and Beattie Zimmerman's Banana Bread and we were off, reviewing the La Jolla show and Becky's marvelous luck on the way up. We arrived at Staples around 45 minutes later at 6:15 PM, too late for the soundcheck, but too early to step into the arena. For those of you who have not been to Staples Center, it's the sports venue where the Lakers (basketball) and the Kings (hockey) play. It's located right next to the L.A. Convention Center, where all parking within 2 blocks is either controlled by the Convention Center or Staples, and thus ridiculously expensive, or else part of a hotel, and thus also ridiculously expensive. We paid the typical exorbitant fee of $20 to park the Jeep and just looked at Staples for a while. None of us had seen it before. It's surreal. There are practically no straight walls in the building -- it's a bunch of immense slanted ovals stacked on top of each other, sliced at odd angles by tilting glass wedges, with giant TV screens and neon signs sticking out here and there at odd angles. It looked like the offspring of mating a 25th Century shopping mall with the alien spaceship from "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind". Across the parking lot, on the back walls of the three parallel wings of the Hotel Figueroa, a gigantic 20-story high, stark black-and-white tryptich loomed over us, depicting the three immortal L.A. Laker centers -- Wilt The Stilt, Kareem and Shaq -- Nike's way of telling us to "think different" ... an appropriate state of mind for a Dylan concert in the world's capital of mass entertainment. Since we were early, we decided to head for the sports bar at the concourse level of Staples and ran into a line of people waiting to go through security. This was not a perfunctory thing -- it took about 1-2 minutes per person, a full body scan with metal detectors, emptying all pockets, etc. We wondered whether anybody would be able to get any recording equipment past that intennsive check, although none of us tried. (I did manage to sneak in a plastic bottle of liquid refreshment hidden in Ellen's purse, though. Har de har har.) After hanging around in the bar for a while, we entered the Staples concourse through the back door, and shortly ran into two other Orange County Fan Club members, Ronnie and Pam. Ronnie's boyfriend was working as part of the stage crew, and somehow they had heard from him that a banjo had been seen being carried in with the other equipment. We all looked at each other and -- our eyes locked as our minds snapped in unison: Highwater! Could it be true? Only time would tell ... We spent some time at the souvenir stand: "limited edition of 1000" concert posters for $10, T-shirts for $20 to $30 ... of course we all sprang for our own mementos, even though we sort of knew that they had way more than 1000 posters, and that they'd all be available out on the street and in the parking lot after the concert for $5 and $10. Ellen commented on the number of women she saw wearing leopard-skin pill-box hats, and was roundly congratulated by the rest of the group for her budding Dylanological prowess. When we finally decided to find our seats around 7:45 the arena was practically empty, with the usual classical music playing -- Wagner's "Ride of the Valkries" from "Apocalypse Now" was kind of jarring. We guessed that the security checks were taking so long that people weren't able to get in. As 8:00 came and went, and the audience continued to trickle in, we knew the concert wouldn't start on time. Our seats were about halfway back, 5 rows up from the floor. Not great, but a good view. As we waited, we decided to take out our binoculars and see if we could spot the banjo on stage. All the instruments were tilted up behind the amplifiers and stage monitor speakers, and all you could see was their necks, so it was hard to tell. Periodically a roadie would pick up one of them to tune it -- he would turn slightly -- and one of us would shriek out "I see it! That's the banjo! .... arggh, no, it's Larry's mandolin ...". There wasn't enough light to see clearly and we were just a little bit too far away. Frustrated, we suddenly heard a cheer go up, but nobody was on stage. That's when we remembered where we were: Hollywood. One of the big advantages about goinig to concerts and other public events in L.A. is the game of celebrity-spotting. Obviously some Dylan fan like Jack Nicholson or Tom Hanks had been recognized by the crowd. Staples, inside, is like a hugely scaled-up version of Shakespeare's Globe Theater, which had several stories of balcony seats for the wealthier classes rising above the floor where the plebeian "groundlings" clustered. At Staples, in addition to the floor seats, between the second and third stadium tiers, there are three tiers of "sky boxes", which are individual balcony sections rented by wealthy individuals and corporate sponsors. Each sky box is an enclosed room, like an apartment, equipped with several large screen TV's, a wet bar, catered refreshments and seating outside the apartment, overlooking the arena. Huge Lakers and Kings championship banners and the retired numbers of their heroes' jerseys hang from the rafters above. We aimed our binocs at the sky boxes to see who else we could recognize. Was that Steven Spielberg? hmmm... We saw that Jakob and Sam Dylan and their kids were down next to the left side of the stage. 8:30. The concert still hadn't started. By now Staples was practically full to the rafters. All the sky boxes were occupied with people hanging over the balcony railings. The crowd was getting restless, clapping and yelling whenever a roadie's head poked out from behind the side stage entrances. Suddenly one roadie came out with the nag champa and a big cheer went up. Then the opening chords of Copeland's "Rodeo" rang out on the sound system and the lights went down ... we waited ... WOW! The stage lights came up and illuminated Dylan and the band wreathed in swirling clouds of incense, lit by spotlights trained on the stage. And they began to play "Wait For The Light To Shine". Dylan was wearing a black suit with white piping around the lapels, and a matching black and white acoustic guitar slung down, pointing at the front rows like a grenade launcher hanging from the shoulder of a Delta Force ranger about to hit the Taliban HQ. Larry was cooking on the mandolin and we were off on Dylan's magic swirlin' ship. Before we could catch our breath some strange chords sounded and we all wondered ... what song is this? Then Dylan started singing -- "I'm out here a thousand miles from my home" ... it was "Song To Woody"! His voice was masterful, powerful, rock solid. We all whirled around and looked at each other in awe. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd ever hear this live at a concert. I lturned to Ellen and tried to explain with my eyes what this meant. Dylan sang "Here's to Cisco an' Sonny an' Leadbelly too" and the crowd cheered! You could feel a sense of history begin to gather itself and descend over everything as Dylan's lyrics linked him to every wandering minstrel and troubador who ever made a living by singing the themes of his times in verse and song. Dylan ripped out a tremendous acoustic lead, and as the song ended, Larry and Charlie came in to round out a perfect 3-part guitar harmony. Whooeee! No time to think. The spotlight narrowed down to shine on Dylan alone as he began strumming the opening chords to "It's All Right, Ma". The crowd cheered every famous line. At "Others say don't hate nothing at all/ Except hatred", Kemper cut in hard, and the song began to drive with a sinister, rockin' beat as the lights came up on the whole band. Dylan's voice curled around the verse: "even the President of the Yew-nahted States/Sometimes must have to stahhhhnnnnd ..." -- he came to a stop --- and then he ripped out the last word: "Naaaaked!" And the crowd surged to its feet, roaring. Whoa, gotta slow down. Larry's mandolin began to pluck out the familiar tune to "Searching For A Soldier's Grave". The band's harmony was beautiful, in a kind of crystalline perfection, like a diamond turning slowly in the light of the setting sun. Dylan's guitar was loud, at times overpowering the other instruments. And it continued to be turned up loud throughout the rest of the concert. Time for a song from "Love & Theft". The boys reached for their electric axes and we got: "Tweedle Dum And Tweedle Dee". This was lively, but the acoustics of the huge arena made it sound a little like the boys were playing in a big echoing warehouse. Kemper rolled out a nice tom-tom beat as Charlie whanged out that nice little looping, ringing riff -- "duhduhdeedleduhduhdeedleduhduhdeedleduhduhdee" -- looking at Tony, grinning like a maniac. And at the end, Dylan pulled off another little vocal twist: "Said Tweedley Dum ..." -- full stop -- "To Tweedley Dee." The next song's sliding, triple-repeat intro -- "whah-dee-da-daah, whah-dee-da-dah, whah-dee-da-dah da-da-dah" -- let us know that we were in for "I Don't Believe You". This started out as a fairly canonical rendition, but when Dylan got to the end of the second verse he went somewhere else entirely. He let out with: "Am I still dreamin' yeeeeeaaaaahhht?" and the crowd responded with a yell like Shaquille O'Neal had just slam dunked a game-winning basket. And then Dylan walked to the rear of the stage and came back with a HARP! And he took that harp and just god-damn grabbed the audience and twisted them right out of their seats. A long, rockin', rollin' solo, moving all over the instrument's range, with slow, sexy parts, loud wailin', and fast chuffin' honkin'. This performance was as good or better than any I've heard, including the studio version. What could be better? Larry went to the back and came back with ... THE BANJO ... YEAAAH! Highwater!! This was, as LeeAnn already wrote in another post, a tremendous effort. The song projected, even more than on the studio version, that deep, sinister, looming aspect of impending doom that we've been discussing on rmd. On the studio cut, that feeling seems to come from the soft, low "hooo-ooo-ooom" voice-overs at the end of each verse. This night, without that voice-over, Larry's relentless banjo and Tony's growling bass carried that load. Before the last verse, the band inserted an instrumental break that dropped down gradually to nothing but Kemper's drums; super effective, super menacing, like the footsteps of something huge following you into someplace dark and scary. And after the last verse, they slowly retarded the tempo until the song came to a final, crashing end. Unbelievable. Most of the crowd did not appear to realize the significance of the song's live debut, but it was well-accepted. OK, by now we were all just looking at each other with shit-eating grins. He can't possibly top this. Well, the band launched into "Most Likely You Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine" and here was an absolutely definitive performance of this "Blonde On Blonde" rocker. Kemper's brr-umping drums laid the foundation and, unbelievably, the guitars somehow sounded like organs! We peered intently through our binoculars trying to see if Augie Meyers had somehow sneaked on stage without our noticing it. Dylan's voice was dead spot on, he hit all the ups and downs and all the little twisty curly sneering line-enders that made the performance totally nonpareil. "You say you got some other... kinda lover, and --Yeeaaaahhhhsssss ... I believe ya do". Back to acoustic equipment and the stage lights went to deep orange and green as Dylan began to sing "Masters Of War". The lights shimmering on the 15-story-high curtains hanging at the back of the stage made it look like fire and brimstone was cascading down on the band as Charlie's dobro whanged and the damning verses pounded their nails into the war profiteer's casket. At the end, they repeated the first verse, which pulled our thoughts from the graveside and zoomed us back out to the meaning of technology in war, to the distancing from the reality of death and destruction that modern weapons afford; that, perhaps, it is that very distancing, that ability of such weapons to make war seem like nothing but a video game, that actually makes it possible for the weapons industries to get the political support they require to profit from their manufacture. "Mama, You've Been On My Mind": Another classic, well sung, with beautifully intertwining guitar work, and Dylan's vocals beautifully walking a razor's edge between perfect wistfulness and longing, and perfect cracking and breaking. The crowd's excitement surged again as Dylan pulled out his harp for a brief, but passionate solo; all too quickly he stuck out his right arm and waved his hand at the band, and they brought the song to an end. Then, Larry moved over to the pedal steel, at the far right side of the stage, and the stage lights went to deep red. Naturally, with the lighting, what song would you expect? "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" was what we got. This was a nice, slow, country version, with lots of side-to-side knee wiggling by Dylan. Now, having calmed the crowd down, Dylan decided to pump things back up with "Summer Days". The stage lights went to bright yellow, and the band really got into it. Charlie was hummin' on lead, Larry was smiling and crankin' away and Tony was literally dancing with his upright bass, leaning it from side to side, spinning it around and around. And Dylan made it very clear who he's singing about when he's "standing on the table, proposin' a toast to the King". When he sang that verse, he sounded EXACTLY like Elvis, down to the vibrato in his voice. It was uncanny, and the crowd noticed. Everybody was clapping with every line and at the end there was lots of noise. The lights went down and came back up as a deep blue and green that shimmered on the backstage curtains like the deep water of a country lake on a hot Southern day ... and here came "Sugar Baby" with Dylan back to his "Love & Theft" craggy, Louis Armstrong-like voice . A sudden hush quickly spread over the audience as the elegiac lyrics swept through the arena. Dylan seemed to assume the aura of a character in a play, maybe acting out some internally idealized version of himself. It was like watching Hal Holbrook play Mark Twain in "Mark Twain Tonight". Whatever part he wanted to play, he played that part so well; changing his voice to deliver a line here, emphasizing a phrase there. When he wheezed out in an old, cracked croak, "Some of these bootleggers, they make pretty good stuff", he got a big rise from the crowd. And he got another one when he intoned, "There ain't no limit to the amount of trouble women bring". Before this night, I'd always felt that "Highwater" was the highlight song of "Love & Theft"; but hearing this performance, and seeing the way Dylan delivered those lines, I have a completely different appreciation of "Sugar Baby", and I now think it's the pick of the litter. The electrical equipment came back out and we got a very interesting "Drifter's Escape". This version was similar to the one he played last year, which I heard at Irvine, but Charlie's "bolt of lightning" was more noticeable, like a high-voltage shriek of pain. In the middle of the instrumental break, Dylan walked over to have a chat with Charlie that lasted at least 30 seconds; then they played a really nice duet lead that brought the entire crowd to its feet. Then Dylan went back again to get his harp -- three times in one night, a new record for concerts I've attended in the last few years -- and ended the song with a brief solo. With the crowd still standing, the band cranked up "Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat". By now, the audience was pretty beered up, as the concession stands had been left open all during the performance, serving not only brews but also mixed drinks (at $7.50 per glass!). So Staples wanted old-time rock 'n roll, and Dylan gave it to them.. "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" was REALLY LOUD, and REALLY ROCKIN', although marred somewhat at the beginning by Dylan seeming to play in a different key and tempo than the rest of the guys. But they pulled it together and Bob got ready to introduce the band. Before he did, though, he had some words of wisdom to share: "A couple of weeks ago someone (referring to Madonna, but I don't think he actually said her name) told you to think globally. I've got some advice to give you. Rethink it." After the band intro, they went into a terrific windup where Charlie, Tony, Dylan and Larry all stood right next to each other with their guitar necks pointing out over the crowd, banging out the final chords in unison, and then they went into the Formation, and Bob gave the teeniest little bow, just nodding his head, and then they were walking off the stage. Well, the crowd was roaring, and the candles and lighters came out. The venue security tried to make everyone sit down, and stop lighting up lights (and recreational smoking materials), but they couldn't hold back the flood, and Dylan and the band came back out for encores, with everybody on their feet throughout. "Things Have Changed" was great, and he even sang the verse about Hollywood which I had thought he might leave out, as he did on the Oscar performance. The crowd noticed that with a kind of surging noise. "Like A Rolling Stone" had the joint singing and clapping for all it was worth. "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" was a masterful, moving hymn to the heroes who died on 9/11, with the new chord pattern, absolutely perfect harmonies and a third verse: "Mama, wipe these tears out of my eyes/I can't see through them anymore". "Honest With Me" kept the energy level high and Larry was whanging away with the bottleneck and a big grin. And, finally, "Blowin' In The Wind", so appropriate in these new and dangerous times, with the whole audience singing along. Another formation, this time no bow from Dylan, and off the stage they went. But the crowd wouldn't give up, the candles and cigarette lighters came back out, Staples rocked with rhythmic stomping and clapping, and Dylan and the boys returned one last time for a crowd-pleasing rendition of "Rainy Day Women" with Larry on pedal steel and Dylan muffing a verse and recovering, making up something about driving a truck, and nobody cared because it was such fun, singing "Everybody must get Stohnnnnned", and waving their hands in the air, and out on the floor girls were sitting on their boyfriends' shoulders and the whole stadium was vibrating and and so happy. So happy. Somehow the band left the stage again and the house lights came on and it was over. But what a concert. What a night. On our way back to the Jeep we didn't even mind that the posters and T-shirts we'd paid $10 and $20 for at the Staples concession stand were being hawked by street vendors for $5 and $10, just as we knew they would be. The extra money we paid seemed to be our gift to Dylan, our tiny way of saying thank you. As we passed through the crowd I overheard someone say, "You know, he's not a rock and roll performer at all. He's a national institution." And it's true. Seeing Dylan in concert is like touring Washington D.C. or the historic district around Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Every song is a monument, every tune is a landmark, every famous lyric an icon of American contemporary expression. You recognize Dylan's tunes within the first three or four notes, before he even starts singing, just like you recognize the Capitol or the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial by the merest glimpse in the distance. And what's even more amazing is that this institution, Dylan as a persona and the corpus of his work, is still under construction; like it says on the back of that other national institution, the U.S. dollar bill: "Annuit Coeptis" -- "Continually renewed". H.
Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 07:43:13 +0200 From: Sven Lewandowski To:, Subject: Staples Center/Los Angeles review Dylan at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, Oct 19, 2001 First of all: I'M DESPERATELY LOOKING FOR A RECORDING OF THE L.A. SHOWĘ!!!! (I can offer recordings of the four previous shows for trade !). The show at the Staples Center in L.A. might have been the best of all six California shows but it was spoiled by the security ! People were not only searched at the entrances but also checked with hand-held metal detectors. So I wonder if there will be any bootleg at all- As I was not only going to the concerts but also visting and exploring the cities I had my camera equipment and my hotpack with me. I tought that such a big venue would have lockers or else I could leave my stuff at the securtity check-in. Some hours before the doors were opened a security man assured me that there will be a check-in. But when they opened the doors I was told that there was no check-in nor any lockers and that there was no way to get inside with all my stuff. So what to do ? The security manager suggested that I could give my ticket back and get a refund ! He was not joking- (how strange it would be - flying from Germany to the US to visit a concert and then giving back the ticket !?). After some fruitless discussion I made up my mind and went to the Holyday Inn hotel near the venue, explained my problems and asked them to keep my things for some hours. First they told me that they couldn't do it but at last I persuaded them that I had no bombs with me and that I was in a real difficult situation. Okay, they took $ 10 but I'm thankful to the gentleman at the reception and like to thank him once again ! So I went back to the venue, was checked and finally got inside. There was no general admission and all seats were reserved. Mine was quite far away from stage but I had quite a good starting position for a stage rush. But things turned out to be very different. In the beginnig everything was fine - somehow I was able to get in the first block and I was standing in the second row for the first four songs. But as soon as the show had begun the security started to get people to sit down on the seats they'd reserved. And much to my surprise: I worked ! I really can't remember that the security has been able to make people sit down at any show I've ever been to in Europe. But the Americans didn't even really try to rush towards the stage ! I mean the security would not have any chance if 150 or 200 people would try to rush forward... But the security did their job and while the band played "Tweedle Dum" even I had no more chance to escape the security and so I had to leave the first block and sit down on my seat. But my seat was at the aisle and in the aisle some securtity stood - right in my field of vision ! So I stood up and stood near the mixing desk (with was at the opposite side of the aisle where my seat was). But almost immediately a security guy came and told me to sit down again. I told him to tell his collegue to sit down too so that I could see Dylan. I worked for some time and then my field of vision was blocked again. I stood up again, the security came and so on- All the time securtity was walking around, crossing your field of vision and they really did their best to distract you and to spoil the whole show. Fuck them - and never go to a show in America where there are only reserved seats ! The show itself was a very good one and if the circumstances hadn't been that bad I might say it was the best show of the six California shows I've been too. The set list was quite inspired and all songs were performed with commitment. "Song To Woody" and "It's Alright, Ma" were very enjoyable - maybe because I was so close to the stage. "Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee" were very well done, fine percussion and Dylan's voice was great. "I Don't Believe You" followed again - now not a real surprise but a nice choice. It was extremly well done with a lot of good guitar work and Dylan on harp again. Then I say Larry reaching for the banjo and I was happy and sad at the same time ! I felt it was a pity that there won't be no bootleg of the show and on the other hand I was glad that he debut of "Highwater" took at the Staples Center - my last American show (and also my 40th !!). I have to admit that I would have been quite frustrated if he'd did "Highwater" for the first time at Denver- (like I'm now a little bit frustrated that he did "Floater" two shows later). But so I got another first live performance of a Dylan song (my others being Love Sick, If Dogs Run Free and Cry A While) What to say on "Highwater" ? It's most probably the best new song on L&T but the live performance was even better than the album version. Dylan's phrasing was phantastic, he really leaned into the song and the song featured also a much longer and much better intrumental part than on the album. The band really seemed to enjoy playing the song and Larry on banjo sounded great. And I think it was a good choice to perform the song electric instead of acoustic like it was to be expected. So the mixture of electric guitars and the banjo created a terriffic and thrilling sound. There is no doubt that "Highwater" was the highlight of the show. But other highlights were to follow. "Most Likely You Go Your Way" was surely another one ! Fine vocals and fantastic guitar work by Larry and Charlie ! "Masters Of War" was good, but the usual choice. "Mama, You Been On My Mind" was no surprise either, but as I already told I like this song because it was perfor- (you might know the story by now). "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" was a quite predictiable choice at the following slot that usually featured a well known song. And "Bby Blue" was a standard song Dylan hadn't performed at this tour yet. Once again we got a great performance - all performances at Staples Arena seemed to be great that nightĘ! "Summer Days" proofed that Dylan had now found out like it that song has to be sung and so we got another great performance. People were dancing to the song - even in the aisles and there was nothing that the security could do against it ! But as soon as Dylan started with "Sugar Baby", that was like always treaten very well, the people sat down again... It was unbelievable how well-hehaved they were ! There's nothing to be said on "Drifter's Escape" and on "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" besides they were also well done. "Leopard-Skin" featured the band introduction but before he introduced the band Dylan told us that he remembers the venue because he was rewarded with the Golden Globe here (or something like that). He said something about Tony too and made his usual joke on David Kamper. The encores featured the usual song with "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" as the changing acoustic song. But after the usual encores the band came back (for the first time on this tour) and did "Rainy Day Women". The audience loved it and it was also a good performance of a song every fan has heard at least twenty times before (for me it was the 25th time). Especially Charlie provided some strange guitar licks that made the performance an unique one. Then they were all gone and the it was all over - at least for me because the show at Staples Arena was my last one and the next day I flew back home to Germany. So now that I'm at home for some days it's time to sum up what the (Californian part of the) tour was like. My aim for this tour was to hear about five songs from the new album, two or three cover songs I haven't heard before and one or two older Dylan songs he never performed for me- What I got was only one new cover. I expected to hear "Hummingbird" but instead I saw some hummingbirds (and learnd a new word in English)- And I didn't hear any old Dylan songs I haven't heard before. But on the other hand I got all eight (!) new songs he performed (so far). I don't think that he performed so many songs of any new album only shortly after it's release in the last fifteen years ! So I was quite satisfied. But still it was a pity that there were a lot of songs he performed every night ("Wait For The Light To Shine", "Searching For A Soldier's Grave", "Masters of War", "Summer Days", "Sugar Baby" and three out of five of the encores). So a lot of slots in the set-list were "blocked" and therefore the varation index was not as high as we like it. So I got 48 different songs in six shows. That's not bad but neither outstanding (better than Germany in spring 2000, but less than UK 2000 and one song less than Germany 1998 - even with longer shows nowadays). The quality of the performances was mostly high. Especially Dylan's phrasing turned out to be very fine (at least most of the time) and Dylan seemed to be very concentrated on his performances. His harmonica solos were better than ever before and he treated the harp as a real instrument not just as a crowed pleaser to be blown when nothing else was left to do. Out of six shows three were very good or outstanding (San Jose, La Jolla and Los Angeles), two were good (Sacramento and San Francisco) and one was rather weak (Santa Barbara) (tell me if you don't agree !!). But all in all it was a very good tour with a lot of highlights although I would not rate any of these shows as one of my top five. La Jolla and Los Angeles were quite near to make it but my top five (out of 40 shows altogether) are still: Bournemouth Oct 1, 1997; Leipzig June 2, 1998; Kšln May 11, 2001 (only from Gates of Eden onwards); Glasgow Sept 17, 2001; Cardiff Sept 23, 2001. But as we all know: the personal rating of a show depends not only on the musical quality of the performance but also on other circumstances, for example the venue, the day, the kind of people that are standing next to you, whether you liked the city, had a good day etc etc. So if there hasn't been a security problem, i.e. a lot of problems with the security at Staples Arena, maybe the show at Staples would have made it into my top five. And if "Mississippi" had been sung with more commitment maybe La Jolla would have made it- Let's wait until bootlegs come out and maybe I'll have to change my mind then. But anyway: I enjoyed my (first !) trip to the USA much more than I expected and I had to give up some of my prejudices but I got news ones by now and some of the old ones turned out to be quite true too. But what was more important to me: One fear didn't turn out to be true at all. Dylan's performances weren't as weak as in Europe in July ! And that was the one of the most important thing too 'cause it would have really spoil everything ! And there was also a change on the list of songs I have heared most often. Since "Tangled Up In Blue" was not perfomed in California "Like A Rolling Stone" now overtook the top of my list (performed at 31 out of 40 shows I've been to). I wish he'd drop it at the next tour - See you in Europa next year ! Cheers Sven comments are welcome, please email to:
2001: February - March - April - May - June - July - August - October -