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Bob Dylan 2001.11.15 in Washington DC

Newsgroups: Subject: Washington From: Peter Stone Brown Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 08:24:00 GMT Bob Dylan was totally on from the second he started playing tonight at the cavernous MCI Center. Dressed in black, with the band in matching gray suits, they tore into "Wait For the Light to Shine," with Larry standing out on mandolin. This was no warm up song with Dylan trying to find his voice. He and the band were right there from the first note. This was followed by an exquisite "Girl From the North Country," which led into a surging version of "Hard Rain," with Dylan trying a new attack on each verse, sometimes rushing, the lyrics cascading, and then laying back, almost letting each line sing itself. The band was magnificent carrying the song like an ocean in waves that would glide and then pound at the shore, as Dylan sang each "hard" differently, sometimes adding, "Yes it's a hard." A standard, but strong renditon of "Searching For a Soldier's Grave," brought the energy level back a tiny bit, but only to maximize the impact of the first electric song, "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum." The band had the groove right in the pocket with all kinds of crazy guitar stuff going on, with Dylan playing a search but not destroy lead, and finding what he was looking for, and when he found it, you wanted him to keep going but he pulled back and let Charlie take over. It was everything you wanted this song to be live. Then it was back in time for a perfectly played "Tell Me That It Isn't True," with Larry Campbell shining on pedal steel. Larry remained at the steel for "Just Like A Woman," which was heightened by David Kemper playing something very close to the original Kenny Buttrey drum fills. Near the conclusion, Dylan went back to his amp picked up the right harp the first time for a more than decent solo. Both songs were a little laid back after the blast of "Tweedle Dee," but it turned out to be perfect pacing for the maximum impact of "High Water," and where I was Larry's banjo was strong and clear, while Charlie's guitar was the perfect counterpoint providing an ominous sound throughout as the song kept building and building in intensity with Dylan delivering a spectacular vocal. The lights went down and there was a tiny break between songs and what seemed like a slightly different intro emerged into "Floater," and it was obvious that everyone was trying to make sure it was right with a deliberate almost banjo like rhythm throughout, and the instrumental break between the verses turning into something else entirely. Then it was back to acoustics for a charged "Tangled Up In Blue" with the spotlight just on Dylan and Larry until the band kicked in at the end of the first verse. Dylan might have skipped some verses but it didn't matter at all, and did sing the "she lit a burner" verse. He played a good solo in the middle, and then dropped it and let the band take over and from where I was it seemed like he was point with each hand to Larry and Charlie. Then after the last verse again picked up the harp, slowly finding his way into the solo and hitting it, and you were hoping he'd keep the solo going for another verse, and low and behold he did getting a little wilder this time around and bring the song to a strong conclusion. A totally stripped down and powerful "John Brown" followed, which was just about as close as you're going to get these days to seeing Dylan totally solo. The band was there but providing the most subtle accompaniment, all rhythm letting the story totally be the focus, the words, the images hit you as it ended right at the last line, no instrumentals, just the song. A cool "Don't Think Twice" came next and I was hoping Dylan would again pick up the harp but it wasn't to be. However it didn't matter at all because a super-charged, totally amazing "Summer Days" took the already high energy level up a few hundred notches. It kicked off in high gear and never let up with Dylan's vocal incredibly powerful, funny, biting, snarling all at once, making sure he had the room to get in the "Whaddaya mean you can't, of course you can" line at maximum impact. And then there were the guitar solos, with Charlie holding back at first waiting to see what Dylan would do and then playing around what he was doing and it kept getting higher and higher and then Larry stopped playing rhythm and joined in the fun and you had all three guitar players playing lead in one manic, glorious swing, jump, blues pure rock and roll moment of sheer joyous mania, never once colliding or getting in each other's way driving it home to a phenomenal conclusion. Now that in itself would have been enough, but then came a gorgeous and majestic version of Mississippi that simply soared. Now throughout the concert Dylan's vocals had been strong, defined, emotional and to the point, but somewhere in the middle of this song on the second part of one of the verses, he just pulled out all the stops and started singing higher in that way that cuts right through you where his voice sails way above the band and takes you somewhere else entirely. It was completely magnificent. Then wham! They were into a totally rocking "Wicked Messenger," and again when Dylan goes for the harp on this tune, he's right on it, no pausing, blowing a couple of notes first, he knows exactly what he's gonna do and does it. "Rainy Day Women" closed the initial set and for whatever crazy reason, Dylan is really singing this song on this tour as opposed to a few years ago where he'd maybe sing a couple of verses and have it basically serve as a jam. In fact, except for one changed line, he is actually singing the original lyrics from the album and not making them up as he goes along. The encores started with a strong "Things Have Changed," a fairly standard "Like A Rolling Stone," a nice, moving "Forever Young," and then kicked back into high gear for "Honest With Me," bringing the level down a bit for "Blowin' In The Wind," and then returning for a searing "All Along The Watchtower." What was known as the formation appears to have blown away in the wind, as Dylan no longer just stands there and stares back at the audience. On this night, he (and the band) took several bows. There was absolutely no doubt, though he let the songs do the talking that Dylan was totally aware of where he was and what went down. But interestingly enough while the cops decided to search our car going into the venue lot looking under the car with mirrors on sticks and popping the runk -- we considered it longhaired profiling when considering who the act was maybe the should have been looking for someone who looked more like Timothy McVeigh - there was no search (that I saw) entering the venue itself. Hopefully this show was captured my more than a few people. DC was a brilliant concert in every way. Madison Square Garden should be spectacular. -- "The game is the same, it's just up on another level." --Bob Dylan Peter Stone Brown e-mail:
Newsgroups: Subject: Re: Washington From: Gary Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 06:00:17 -0500 (EST) It was a magnificent show.Bob`s using a hand held harp mic instead of the vocal one and it makes his playing sound so rich.This band is just perfect for him,or anybody for that matter.Charlie had some lines that cut through that made your teeth curl.Larry Campbell is MVP.It felt so quiet during John Brown,people into his vocal and the story the song told.I love those harmonies and Summer Days just swings!!!Mississippi is so good live,as is all the new songs,hope I can get some tickets to Philly. Thanks ,Bob.
Newsgroups: Subject: Washington, DC - November 15th (a report) From: Will Pfefferle Date: 16 Nov 2001 04:17:47 -0800 Report from DC: Wait For The Light To Shine: Gorgeous, joyous. Bob seems to love singing with the boys. Bob's got on one of the many black suits, and boots with white flames. "He looks too thin," a nice woman near me says a couple of times while eyeing him through binoculars. "And he's not any more handsome," she follows. Girl Of The North Country: The standard treatment, which is still awfully good. Although I love it, when I hear it I usually figure I'm not going to get Boots of Spanish Leather elsewhere, and that makes me blue. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall: First time for me to hear it live, and it's remarkably good. Searching For A Soldier's Grave: The crowd at the MCI Center in Washington DC is the typical mix, 30-40 year old Deadheads, 50 year old corporate types, and scads of college kids. The fellas start this and nearly everyone around me wonders what it is. A nice guy in a business suit says, "This is from his new CD; I've got it in the Audi." (I swear I'm not making it up.) Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum: Of all the new songs (and what a nice collection we get), this is the one that seems to go over the best. Some poor SOB in tie-dye wrings his body in unusual and terrifying shapes as he moves to the beat. I'm thinking, "Try breaking the tablets in half." Tell Me That It Isn't True: This is the biggest surprise for me of the night, and while it's gentle and pretty, it doesn't seem like it fits right here. Just Like A Woman: People do love to hear songs they know, of course, and it's too bad. This was done nicely, but not particularly different or more engaging than any other modern version of it. Bob's phrasing (which as you must know, either charges ahead of the music, or lays back Willie Nelson style), wrings much out of old favorite lines, and folks respond well to this. High Water: Oh man, I have been a big fan of the song since I heard John Howells' "pre-release," but this is stupefying and tremendous. The version is dirtier, darker...and when Bob growls "things are breaking up out there," it brings shivers. Floater: I want to like Floater. But I don't. The crowd sort of ebbs and flows in and out of the place on certain songs. A minute into Floater and the place looked like a typical 4th quarter during a Wizards game. Tangled Up In Blue: Greatest hits? I've been thinking that more and more of the years. Of course there's a lot of new material this year, and I'm very appreciative, but this one and some of the other after the encore are getting a little rote for me. I'm sorry, I hate to piss on a song that is so many folks' favorite, but like Just Like a Woman, this is the standard version. John Brown: Beautifully recast, and I thought I'd never want another version after Unplugged. But this is a real highlight for me. The whole "how Bob sings" question comes up among folks who don't see him very much. A young man ahead of me says, "He should clear his throat," and it takes all of my strength not to wrap my hands around his own throat and send him to his great reward. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right: Nice. Summer Days: Another new knockout. Three guitars, just like Molly Hatchet or fill in your favorite boogie band from the 70s or 80s...that's just a joke, by the way. Charlie, who dresses much better now than he did during his Austin/Dallas days, is remarkably at ease in the band. When I saw them last summer in Dallas, he struggled, I thought, to find a place for himself between Bob's...uh...mathematical playing, and Larry's fluid work. But now Charlie is mesmerizing, whacking and ringing out notes and filigrees and WHOMPS out of the various guitars he employs. Does he have more than Larry? Mississippi: I say this just because people hate it. I like Sheryl's version. Please send hate mail to The Wicked Messenger: WOW. Another soaring rocker. Wicked singing, playing, etc. It occurs to me that Tony's a little low in the mix, moreso with the standup than with the electric. Odd, because when I was here in the summer to see the lovely Maddy Ciccone, the mix was bass heavy throughout the night. I love Tony's playing, and could always stand a little more. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35: Hey, people are smoking pot. It's just like the 60s. Or the 70s. Or the 80s, or whenever it was that you were 18. Hey, and Bob says "stoned" a bunch in this song. A handful of folks near me left after the song. Gotta beat the traffic. Things Have Changed: Five people tap me and ask if this is the song he won the Oscar for. I tell two of them that no, he won an Oscar for his soaring score for The Natural. Like A Rolling Stone: Standard. Forever Young: Standard, but very nicely sung, and again, the boys on harmony really lift this. Honest With Me: One time, before I die, I want to hear Bob go into Hwy 61 during this, just one time. Mix is noticeably louder overall in the encore. A guy near me with a hearing aid confirms it. Blowin' In The Wind: More great singing. All Along The Watchtower: Listen, I'm overjoyed at Bob's re-emergence in the mainstream, but while people poured out past me during this tune (rocking, but needing to get to the suburbs), I reflected back warmly to the riotous and indecipherable late 80s, early 90s shows. I remember seeing him one very bleary night in Dallas during the GE Smith days--and don't get me started, I mean I hate him too, how can you not--there was a titanic quality to those nights when GE would go to the red Gibson and lead everyone into Watchtower...fastest versions you've ever heard...Bob leaning in and and ripping through the verses like it was a race. But I also remember a night in 90 or 91 when at a small music hall in Dallas, after a rough, ugly, loud, and incoherent first 60 minutes or so, Bob spilled out a gorgeous reading of "What Good am I?" So who knows? Anyway, this made night #12 or 13 for me and Bob, starting with the life-changing second show at Tempe in 1979. I saw him nearly every year from the late 80s till the present when I used to live in Dallas. This was a great night, but a little odd to see him in such a big room. I miss the 2000 seaters a bit, but if I must share Bob with the world, I'm glad that there's enough folks out there willing to come along for the ride. Best wishes from DC. Will
Newsgroups: Subject: Re: Washington From: Kenneth Wilson Date: 16 Nov 2001 10:55:40 -0800 Thank you, Peter, for the usual fine review. You don't tell no lies. Bob was all there last night, with some of the most interesting singing I think I've ever heard from him. A lot of the old 60's things have been sounding worse and worse to me as his vocal range constricts, but he was in excellent voice from the get-go and, as we know, when he's really in the mood, he can phrase he way out of any tight spot. And this band just gets hotter and hotter, doesn't it?! I love the obvious delight Charlie and Larry take in playing off each other, like when they trade fours (or whatever it's called in rock'roll) on "Summer Days." Charlie will get off a particularly hot lick and Larry will look over with that great big grin of his. And beside the new. moving formation, the other funny move I noticed Bob made last night at the end of a few numbers was to whip his guitar off in time to final chord. For my money, of the 6 new songs last night, only "Summer Days" and "Highwater" and, intermittently, "Mississippi," matched the "LAT" versions, but I'll bet they'll surpass them eventually, as with TOOM. This was #40 for me last night. I'd been half sick all week and showed up dog tired and not even really looking forward to the show. Then about 6:30 the old adrenalin kicked in, I bought a good seat outside the venue, and found myself next to a veteran of the Isle of Wight show who's also going to MSG this Monday. I always meet someone interesting at Dylan concerts. Ken
From: "SDW" To: Subject: MCI Center, In Show and Concert Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2001 01:37:05 -0500 I am fascinated by the emerging literary genre of Bob Dylan internet reviews. A literary genre, you gasp? Well, it is certainly several leagues above the usual depths of cyber-loquacity, and I have seen enough inspired examples of the form to make me wish for an editorially-inclined Dylan fan to gather the best of them into some sort of an anthology. See, if it gets anthologized, it's automatically a genre: isn't it that how it works these days? Which raises the question for any ambitious reviewer of how best to jockey for inclusion, how to set oneself apart from the pack. Should one go gonzo?--no, most of those just make me edgy. Romantic-poetic-stream-of-consciousness?--no, most of those just row, row, row me right to sleep. How about a radical departure? A parodic, quasi-restaurant review, drawing on all of the best local fish-wrapper clichˇs, with Dylan the brilliant but erratic chef, his band the ever-competent wait staff "attentive but never overbearing"? Or a review composed entirely in blank verse? No. No. A thousand times no. One should not draw on the mundane to describe the extraordinary, the mock-heroic to describe the genuinely epic. There are plenty of juke joints where one can dance the post-modern cutesy; the MCI Center on Thursday wasn't one of them. Best to proceed as usual, then, by one's best letter-home lights, wary of excesses like the paragraph you're reading, yet equally hesitant to shoot oneself in the foot with a harebrained Hemingway starkness. There was a show, in case you were wondering (or, as Michael Gray would insist, a "concert"), and I did go to it, or at least I think I did. If you haven't seen Dylan in quite some time--in my case, in just over a year--the experience is bound to seem rather dreamlike and unreal. No matter how many field recordings you may have listened to in the interim, it takes a while to adjust to Dylan in the flesh as a singer and performer, to get up on to that other level where the game is being played ... especially now, with the rapid shifts from acoustic to electric, the juxtaposition of new material with old, the constant pinballing from up-tempo to down. You might say that a certain adjustment of consciousness is required, an adjustment that cannot be induced artificially, as tempting as it may be to try. To put it another way, anybody can get stoned, but if you want to get stoned to your soul, well, you've got to work at it a little harder than that. And with the "Love and Theft" tour, the demands Dylan's art makes of the listener have only intensified due to the sheer length of the performances, described by a buttoned-down gentleman in the row behind us, who looked like the very prototype of a Senator or Congressman, as the longest since Dylan-Petty in 1986 (and that included the Heartbreakers' sets as well). Perhaps someone could verify? Address all correspondence to the Subcommittee on Dylanological Statistics. Washington is really not all that far from New Jersey, but bear in mind that we Northeasterners have a different gauge for distances than you Westerners and Midwesterners. It *seems* far, especially for a show, less so I suppose if you convince yourself that what you are going to see is actually a concert. Even eastern Connecticut, which we're headed for next Tuesday, seems closer psychologically, though it's probably equidistant, and with Philadelphia, New York, and Uncasville on the docket, I had originally decided against heading this far south and prided myself on keeping my Dylanobsessiveness in check. Until I got lucky. Let me preface this remark by saying that I rarely, if ever, get lucky with tickets. It doesn't happen. But there I was, about a week before the show, at the Ticketmaster site, "just looking," my Dylan-guard still activated, not slipping in the least, oh no; there I was, trawling through the usual round of shitty arena leftovers, when suddenly, like a genie emanating from a bottle, there arose a small number of seats in Section 120, immediately overlooking stage right. Three wishes, three tickets. Obstructed view, I wondered? But ... if not? A chance worth taking? There followed a long pause for measured consideration. Five whole seconds, and I even counted out the Mississippis. And so it came to pass that after a long and at times panicky haul down I95 (mired in traffic just south of Philadelphia), we were seated five rows back from the stage, with proper elevation because the section is cut away, with nary a speaker, rig, or cable to block our perfect view, yet nonetheless feeling a little creepily obsessive for having succumbed to this enticement. That is, until a baseball-capped fellow slid into the row above us and immediately struck up a conversation with a man in a camel's-hair coat (who recalled hearing Dylan in 1963 and sensing that his life had irrevocably been changed, although he didn't get around to seeing him until decades later ... that's what you call a delayed reaction, I guess); anyway, as Baseball Head began to give Mr. Jones an extended primer on what to expect from the current tour, he also disclosed several choice bits of his autobiography, to wit: "got into" Dylan late 80s, didn't start seeing him live until post-histo 1997, but has made up for his poor learning curve by seeing a full 50 shows since then, throwing his vacation time at Dylan like a gambler on a binge, and on this tour will fly up to Boston before returning to his home in, you guessed it, New Jersey. We weren't sure if that should make us feel better or worse about our own fixation, but we opted for better and eagerly averted our focus to the various backstage doings. MCI Center, let me say, is a class act, if there is such a thing among arenas. Six-dollar beers, yes, but enough bars around the concourse that you don't have to wait sixty minutes to buy one. Security present, although largely ineffectual, and I must confess to recurring paranoid fantasies of the roof of the arena crashing down during the concert, suffocation, crushed and trampled bodies, etc. (things have changed, all right, God is arbitrary, and that's just something I'll have to learn to live with). Event staff from the elevators and parking garage overwhelmingly helpful and polite, even to the point of saying things like "thank you" and "good night" that in New York would be completely inconceivable. And the crowd was ... how to put it? I've always loved the Dylan crowds in the sense that they are a Whitmanesque emblem of democracy and because invariably one feels that one is taking part with all the rest of them in some massive, exciting sociological experiment; too often, however, that experiment goes drastically awry, which is why I've always hated Dylan crowds, too. But this group was, well, amiable. I think that's the best word. Relaxed and happy, not the overly inebriated, loud, obnoxious, cell-phone spouting minions of the Evil One too familiar from New York and Atlantic City. So I have to ask you Washingtonians, is this normal?--or a product of recent events? Will the mob at the Garden be warm and fuzzy too? You never know, but somehow I doubt it, and that's all right, mama, any way they do. At this point just let it *be* a mob, right? As this was: with the exception of the topmost level, that joint was packed to the gills. Looking down at the general admission crowd, like fish in a dwindling pool, "all boxed in, nowhere to escape," without room enough even to dance beyond a sort of pathetic wriggling, made me think of GAs past and be glad, so glad, that tonight I could breathe cool air, put my drink in the cupholder, and watch, and listen: Gonna build me Log cabin On a mountain So high So I can See Dilly When he goes On by Seats and boxes slowly filled in. Incense wafted. Security lurked. Guitar tech fiddled. Red-haired chick in tight top and suede pants, who had obviously thrown her panties overboard already, got into position at stage-side for later emphatic writhing. Sound guy stuck thumbs up in the air. Orchestral music swelled (so it was a concert, after all!). Lights went down all the way. Band took their places. Dumbly familiar announcement boomed across echoing space. And out came Dylan, with not a trace of bed-head or blurry aura but instead with fire in his eye and thunder in his voice, and launched into one of the most outstanding acoustic sets that I have ever had the privilege of hearing, kicking off with "Wait for the Light to Shine," thank God, and not "Roving Gambler." "North Country" was gorgeous and unadorned, filigreed only with a descending vocal line, sung, not softly spoken as in recent years it sometimes has been, and "Hard Rain," propelled by Campbell's bouzouki, was just tremendous, nothing at all like the slowed-down, harmony-driven, elegiac renderings of the past several years. Dylan took the vocal all to himself and mastered it entirely; I'm not sure I've heard as fast and fierce a delivery since 1988, and like that earlier arrangement, the effect is not consoling in the least, but rather deeply chilling, as no doubt it is intended to be. I think it was at this point that I had my first vision of the roof imploding. "Soldier's Grave" assimilated the naked terror and loss into a wider fabric of enduring human experience: this, I felt, was the song, or one of the songs, that the speaker in "Hard Rain" would have to know well before he started singing, a song of remembrance and devotion, marked tonight by Dylan's heart-rending, almost weeping vocal on the lines "true and brave." Tonight, as I've said, was a night to count our lucky stars, and one of those was the opportunity to be on Sexton's side of the stage, to witness his fanatical attachment to his instrument, matched only by his positively doggy deference to the master at stage center; he aims to please, this one, and also, slyly, to get away musically with anything he can ... at one point he had Dylan literally in stitches at his antics, which began with him squeezing out sparks on a ferocious "Tweedle Dee" that also saw Dylan drawling out the vocals with abandon, in contrast to the album's restrained, even muted delivery. "One is a low-down sorry old man, the other one he'll stab you where you stand ..." is, I believe, how he abbreviated it this evening. As soon as the electrical fire broke out, however, it was dampened by what was, to me, a bit of an early-to-mid show lull, which began with a "Tell Me That It Isn't True" that was pleasant instrumentally but tepid on the whole, featuring a lot of doubled phrasing from Dylan, which, as far as I'm concerned, is a tool to be used much more sparingly than he is sometimes wont to do. "Just like a Woman" followed in a similar vein, Dylan's voice very strong yet his phrasing uninspired (admittedly, this is one that really has to go over the top for me to enjoy it live); nevertheless, he did manage to pull out some fine harmonica at the end. More thunder rolled in with the second "LaT" song, "High Water," Dylan tearing into the verses like some wild-eyed comedian of the Apocalypse, backed by truly stunning guitar and banjo interplay, but the mood was drowned again by "Floater," much to my chagrin, as this is one of my favorite songs not only on this new one but on any Dylan album. In fact, this was my only major disappointment out of the entire set, and what was strange about it was that there was nothing to pinpoint specifically in the way Dylan and band put it across: competent singing, some interesting musical ideas, but somehow none of it came together in the least; the performance struck me as depressingly sluggish and flat, with nothing of the original's decadence and charm. A most unswinging treatment I'm afraid. Which only goes to show what a precarious balance must have been struck in the studio to create this strangely haunting and delightful song. "Tangled up in Blue" awoke the audience, which during "Floater" had begun to wander about erratically like moths deprived of flame. Ah, "Tangled," so damned happy it's back, just in time for my single run of shows this year. Really, what more can I say? No, but seriously, what decisively broke the lull for me was a slow and mesmerizing "John Brown"--band mostly in abeyance--that at times nearly verged on recitation. A particularly good example of Dylan's genius as a performer insofar as what to me looks stilted and unmoving on the page becomes, in this live incarnation as well as previous ones, a harrowing account from which one simply cannot, emotionally, turn one's face away. An energized "Don't Think Twice" swept us comfortably to the end of the second acoustic set, after which the sweetest hell broke loose. If "Floater" was my most disappointing moment of the night, "Summer Days," with the exception of "Hard Rain," may well have been my favorite, all the more wonderful for being wholly unexpected ... I had heard a couple versions from early in the tour, but they surely did not sound like this, this delirious, full-blown romp where, in one moment, all guitars would churn together and in the next each would dogleg off into crazy bone-whacking lunges, pounces, and plunges. And Dylan was right there with the lyrics--I mean *right there*--spitting them out at subterranean homesick velocity yet never once falling behind; on the contrary, he even spiced up one of the jabs: "What looks good in the day at night is a SCARY thing ..." The show could have ended for me right there; luckily it didn't, even though I could barely absorb the incomparably majestic, soaring "Mississippi" that came next, with Dylan pushing his high register in a way he never tries on the album cut; instead, he's discovered the ideal rendition for a large-venue setting, but one that draws on all the vocal resources he can muster, which could possibly explain why he hasn't sung it more often than he has. By the time "Wicked Messenger" began to pulsate in my brain, all my circuits were on overload, it was too much, too much! ... "make a strong man lose his mind" indeed ... and do I look like Charles Atlas? Just in time, a mellow, loping "Rainy Day Women" (ah ... we're back to *that* now, too!) closed out the set, but was actually easeful and cooling, since mercifully Dylan held back from kicking out the jams with the usual steel-toed boot. Afterward, he stared for a while at the audience whose members he has stringently advised to "get a life"--is that before or after we change our internal world, I wonder, or will one simply flow from the other?--picking off the worst offenders with the neck of his guitar. "Things Have Changed" led off the encore set in excellent form, a slightly different approach vocally, I think, with even better timing such as the lengthened pauses in the refrain: "I used to care but" ........ "things have" ...... "changed." "Rolling Stone" was eminently mediocre, but at this point, do I care? Do you? Certainly not when an astonishingly graceful "Forever Young" happens next, in which Dylan sustains such a high, fragile tone on all the verses that it takes your breath away and makes a song of hope and faith seem impossibly heart-rending and forlorn. Then, in true "LaT" sequencing mode, we got our heads snapped back toward the proving ground, Highway 61, for a scorching, razor-sharp "Honest with Me," with much more nuanced and at the same time more powerful slide guitar from Campbell compared to the recorded version. Then the wind on which the white dove sails for years (that's one tired dove) blew the players off-stage yet again; soon, though, the immense, spiraling thunderhead that is the current "Watchtower" loomed in the distance, and I closed my eyes as the wind began to howl. When I opened them it was over, and lo and behold, the roof was still in one piece. I was convinced, after that last one, that if the terrorists hadn't blown it up, Bob Dylan and the best band in the land would surely have blown it off. What a concert. What a show! Stephen David Walter
Newsgroups: Subject: Dylan's D.C. triumph... From: Taraco Date: 16 Nov 2001 22:03:27 GMT Having seen Bob Dylan three or four times in the Washington area recently, in truth I was going to skip this season's appearance, even though I Iove his new album, his "best band in the land" and his recent mainstream breakthroughs. But after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, I felt that well, maybe I should see what he has to say after all. And now on the day after, the sound of the crowd's adulation still thunders in my ears, proof again that at 60, Dylan just might be more important than ever. Even Dylan seemed startled by the sustained roar from one of the nation's most notoriously reserved audiences in a town where encores are often viewed as a time-wasting annoyance. Not this night. And as silly as this will sound, it is more evidence that despite the fears many have of public places, going out is exactly the right thing to do. I've been to several major events since 9/11, including two Yankee playoff games, and each time the feeling in the crowd has been defiant, proud, strong and liberating. If there's anything more thrilling than watching Challenger, the American bald eagle, fly to the pitcher's mound during the National Anthem while New York City fire fighters hold their helmets to their chest, I can't imagine what that would be. In contrast, there were no flags last night at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C., no ceremonies, no special guests, no references at all to the New York tragedy, to the scarred Pentagon across the river here, to the fighting or to the fallen. Dylan said nothing about any of that. Even playing "Masters of War" would have seemed obvious and wrong. But when he swayed solemnly into his third song, "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall," everyone knew exactly what he meant, how hard that rain has become for all of us 40 years later, both here and in the mountains of Afghanistan, and how American anthems can come in many forms, some strident and bold, others guitar-picked and, in the end, all too wise. Again, I've seen Dylan many times, enough to know, I think, when he's into the gig and when he's somewhere else. This entire evening was clearly triumphant, and even the yuppified D.C. crowd cheered him hoarse through three encores and a tear-enducing "Blowin' in the Wind>All Along the Watchtower" finale. In a city of monuments, Dylan represents American music at its best, and proof that its children can remain, even in an age of anguish, forever young. He'd blanche at the thought, but Bob Dylan is one of the things we're fighting for. david "And where are you now, my blue-eyed son..."
2001: February - March - April - May - June - July - August - October - November -