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Bob Dylan 2001.11.21 in Mogantown

Subject: Mogantown 11/14/01 Review (Long and just a little late...)
From: Mike the Pitchman 
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001 13:19:36 GMT

I've had this done once and lost half the file, so re-wrote
it, finally finished it and thought I'd post it anyway.
Blame it on the Editor.

'I Been Pouring Red-Hot Iron'  -Woody Guthrie

Every hour or so, tugs behind barges pushed along the
Monongahela River, just about 25 yards outside my office
window, taking coal upriver to the Clairton, PA USX works or
taking coke down to the continuous casting mill in Braddock.
 Those are two towns that have seen some hard times since
the fall of domestic steel began in the late 70's. Back in
the middle 70's, I had been lucky to have seen John Hartford
at a small Pittsburgh club and he was great.  At the same
club around this time, I had also seen Roger McGuinn and
Gene Clark there, as well as Rambling' Jack Elliott.  (Some
Dylan connection there)  The place is long now, though, like
the Invisible Republic.  Lately, watching the river flow has
brought to mind the recent passing of both Hartford, who was
also a licensed riverboat captain and, more recently, the
passing of Ken Kesey,  whose book "Sometime a Great Notion'
set in the woods of Oregon, features a great climactic
sequence describing a log-run down river. Kesey's passing
was somehow different.  Like the song says, 'though I'd
never met him, I felt I knew just the same.'  We had just
gotten back from the Dylan show in Columbus the night of
Saturday, November 10th.  My cousin logged online and read
the news.  We had the acoustics out and I decided to play an
Emmylou Harris song from around 25 years ago.  The song was
'One Paper Kid' and contains the lines:

'he's gone to a place where its legal to dream
no Camels, no coffee, no cold morning winds
it was wrote on a rock
one paper kid is rolling again'

On the Emmylou Harris album 'Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent
Town', the song has a great harmony vocal from Willie Nelson
and a poignant harp solo by Willie's side man Mickey
Raphael. The next song on the record is a Utah Phillips tune
'Green Rolling Hills' about how the 'hills of West Virginia
are the nearest thing to heaven that I know'

'Got Better Things for You'

On our way to Morgantown Wednesday night, we drove past the
mill on the river in Clairton. My long, long-time friend,
Dave, was our Intrepid Driver for the evening, steady at the
wheel,  just as he had been on the road to the Richfield Bob
show back in '78.  My brother, Mark, who now works at the
mill, was riding shotgun, with me in the back, protecting
the cooler.  We got to the Coliseum in Morgantown around ten
past seven, and since I had the floor ticket, they dropped
me off before parking the car.  There was a single line at
the green gate and only one ticket taker at first.  Then
some uniforms opened two other doors and I got my wristband.
 The floor was already pretty crowded and soon the smell of
the Nag Champa was in the air.  At around 7:35, Bob and the
band hit the stage, Bob in white, with the dark piping and
the rest of the boys in gray, except David, in his usual
attire including white hat.  Larry had a nice Martin
acoustic (HD-28 maybe?), Charlie a big red Gibson (J-200?)
and Bob had the negative Martin with the double pickguard
set up.  First was a great 'Somebody Touched Me' followed by
"It Ain't Me, Babe".  Bob had the harp out at the end and it
got the crowd going.  In the three slot was "It's Alright,
Ma'.  A nice version and Bob got most the lyrics just fine,
unlike in Columbus, where he mumbled though a couple lines
early in the song.  Charlie had the dobro out, but only
strummed mostly  and seemed content to pick an occasional
lick.  I'd like to see Bob feature  this instrument a little
more here.  It could really bring some counterpoint to the
vocal. 'Soldier's Grave' had a nice mandolin by Larry. Now
it was time to turn on the electricity.  Bob strapped on the
signature white Fender Strat, Larry got the white Telecaster
and Charlie had a red Gretsch hollow body.  Man, it must be
nice to play a bunch of great instruments every night. 
Larry got the signature lick to 'Tweedle-dee' going and the
crowd roared recognition. Bob picked out a few notes on the
Strat and those notes seemed a bit off key to me.  Next up
was a nice surprise to me, 'Just like a Woman'.   Bob always
likes his waltzes. Maybe the early influence listening to
the Breaux Freres, I reckon. Charlie had a sunburst Strat
and Larry was at the steel.  I first heard this one live in
at the Spectrum in Philly in 1978, soon after that John
Hartford show in Pittsburgh.  I haven't found a tape of it
yet.  There was a nice 'Train to Cry' that night, too. 
Tonight, Bob had the harp out at the end and played his
heart out. "I'll Be Your Baby, Tonight' featured some nice
vocal styling and as well as a little left leg shaking
action. I commented to the girls dancing next to me that
this song could really use a fiddle instead of the steel. 
Personal preference, I guess, but it would really have fit
here in hill country. 'High Water' was next.  This song
really seems to work in concert.  Dark and lyrical.  Charlie
played some metallic- flake electric on this one and seemed
to play a lot of tapping on this, as well as the whole show,
ringing out harmonics, I'd presume. Larry's intro
telegraphed the next song, "Don't think twice' with some
fine fingerpicking at the start then,  discarded the
fingerpicks and flatpicked very sweet solo near the songs

'Tangled Up in Blue' started with Bob and Larry in the
spotlight for the first verse, then the drums and band
kicked in and everyone love this.  (I still need to work out
the intro riff.)  "John Brown' was great as was 'Summer
Days'.  Charlie really was having a hard time holding onto
his picks.  He was dropping them all night.  The band was
having fun on 'Summer days' as even Tony got into it, 
spinning his acoustic bass a couple times. Then, 'Sugar
Babe'  with a roar from the crowd at the 'bootlegger' line.
Being West Virginia mountaineer country,  I had the gut
feeling they were cheering the traditional meaning of the
term here.  'Drifter's Escape' had a twin Strat workout,
with a driving Hendrix- like "Killing Floor' shuffle rhythm
from Larry.  Bob played a little solo here, just him and
Charlie on backup. "Rainy Day Women" had the group of
tie-dyed college-age kids a couple rows up from me and off
to the right high fiving.  They had been pretty much puffing
up a storm all night with some pretty strong smelling weed. 
Maybe some recent fall 'illegal smile ' harvest.

Then there was a semi -formal Formation, with some smiling, 
pointing and raising of the guitars. They walked off then
were back after long applause and lots of upraised lighters
in the crowd, and kicked off an appropriate 'Country Pie'. 
The big cheers as the "Like a Rolling Stone" melody began to
be recognized by the crowd.  The acoustic number for this
encore was a very fine "Forever Young" during which Bob sang
the ends of the lines in his ascending note style, hitting
the highest note on the last word of each line.  The song
got a great response.  More great electric guitars for
"Honest with Me".  Larry played slide on an old Kay guitar,
that had an aluminum foil type pattern in the middle of the
guitar in the shape of a parallelogram. Needless to say, his
slide solos were very mathematical.  Then they did a very
sweet 'Blowin' in the Wind'.  The crowd gave out a cheer at
the line "how many deaths will it take....." The band did
another formation and went off, but came back for one last,
mid-tempo "All along the Watchtower'  Larry played some
great lead breaks on this one.  Big crowd reaction for this
song, too.  Then, a last bow and they left the stage. Then,
I saw Bob hanging back a bit back stage.  Someone passed him
his cowboy hat and, amid the enthusiastic applause that had
not yet subsided, he came back out on stage, raised his hat
to the crowd, acknowledging them and finally made his exit
for the evening. I hadn't seen him come back alone like this
before, and it  was a nice touch to a ending another great

Mike the Pitchman

NP: 'Ozark Frontier'-Southern Journey Vol. 7 (Rounder)

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