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Bob Dylan 2001.11.19 in New York City

From: Jimlampos (
Subject: Thoughts on MSG, and beyond. (Long) 
Date: 2001-11-21 01:43:58 PST 

I decided that I'd walk to the Garden, rather than take the
train.  As I stepped out the door, there was the familiar
smell of ground zero burning. Though New Yorkers have gone
on with their lives, no one can forget:  September 11
informs everything that happens in this town.  It's still
too real, there are still thousands of bodies under that
rubble.  So I knew that whatever Dylan did tonight, the
spectre of these events would inform the show.  But as my
wife said:  "Thank God he's still Bob Dylan".  What we got
from Bob on the night of November 19, 2001 at Madison Square
Garden was not sentimentality, or crocodile tears, or big
brassy symbolic gestures, or mushy valentines to the City: 
what we got was music that was profound, honest, and real. 
It was what we needed the most.

To be sure, some lines cut deep, a little too deep
sometimes.  "Folk lose their possessions, the folks are
leaving town".  "I saw a young woman whose body was
burning".  "If the bible is right, the world will explode". 
"Some things are too hot to touch, the human mind can only
stand so much". "There are many here among us who feel that
life is but a joke."  I was impossible not to hear them in
the context of 9-11.  But for each of those moments, there
were others lifted the spirit, and created an unspoken bond
between the performer and the audience that translated to
hope.  Some were purely musical moments, just moments of
pure joy---surprisingly tonight, many of those came in the
harp and guitar solos.  Or when Bob's voice just slid up a
register in Summer Days.  Or just watching Garnier stare at
Kemper for the first few songs, locking in a way I've never
heard them before---each song rock steady, or pure swing. 
Campbell, Sexton, and Dylan's guitars sang to each other all
night, each with its own space--no confusion.  Precision in
note choice, deep in the groove.  The very assurance of the
band--Bob's utter poise and confidence, and the full
commitment of each member to get it right tonight, to really
lay it out and put on a great show.

Many have already written the blow-by-blow account.  For me,
it was the one show that I've seen Bob do, and I've seen
quite a few shows, that was great song for song, note for
note.  There were a couple of flubs here and there---an
early start to a verse of Hard Rain, a blown line in Tom
Thumb---but overall, it was the first show I've seen where I
thought:  "man, Sony just has to press this show and release
it as is.  Bob Dylan Live at Madison Square Garden." Just
like the Elvis album, or the Sinatra album.  Every single
Dylan show I've seen has had extraordinary moments.  And
I've seen him do great shows around here:  Meadowlands in
'99, or Roseland in '94.  But never have I seen a show so
consistent throughout.

There were two moment for me that defined the magic of this
night.  The first one was "John Brown".  This was as song I
didn't want to hear going in.  I've never liked it much. 
But that's why reading the set list in RMD doesn't tell you
anything.  John Brown was just the song we all needed to
hear tonight.  As often happens with a Dylan song, this one
took on a new meaning--or just a deeper sense of clarity. 
The room was dead silent, and the audience hung on each
word.  And he sang them clearly, so there was no mistake
about it.  War is hell.  It's brutal and sickening.  It's
not about flag waving, or feeling proud, or kicking ass. 
Maybe it's a necessary evil, but it's an evil never the
less.  I'm not sure that the rest of the country has a real
sense of just how devastating and horrifying events of Sept.
11th were in New York City,  and I'm not sure New Yorkers
truly understand the depth of horror that both soldier and
civilian are facing in Afganistan.  It was a moment that we
all had to acknowledge---while were sitting here enjoying
this show in MSG---on the other side of the world, the war
that began with the Trade Center attack is still going on. 
And more are suffering.   I remember the Gulf War parade
down the Canyon of Heroes in 1991.  It just like the parades
for the Yankees when they win the World Series.  And now I
really understood that John Brown wasn't an anti-war song. 
All it said was--this is not a game.  It's not about MVP's
and ERAs.  Maybe we have to do this--but let's not let our
patriotism overshadow our humanity.

The second moment of epiphany was during "Sugar Baby".  How
can such a cold song exude such warmth?  At one point, my
wife pointed up at the VIP suites and said:  "I've never
seen that in the Garden before.  All the faces pressed up
against the glass in the skyboxes."  Usually they're in the
lounges watching the show on TV, having dinner, making
deals.  And usually security is milling around bored, and
usually the beer guys are making their rounds.  But during
"Sugar Baby", the entire room was transfixed.  What was it
about this song? What makes it work?  I still don't know.. 
But when he reached the line: "love, not an evil thing",
there was applause throughout the arena..  Not the kind of
prepared applause that the "New York City" line gets in Tom
Thumb's Blues, but genuine applause, because the line hit
home, and it was true, and it was something that we needed
to hold on to.  Dylan sang it with such grace and warmth,
that you knew he meant it too--this was not a random lyric. 
 And out of all the bitterness and resignation in Sugar
Baby, this line just came floating out like a prayer.

The entire show, better than two and a half hours, was
masterful.  The last time I've seen him do such a long show
by himself was in New Haven in '78,  or Boston in '81. 
While both of those shows, particularly Boston had their
sublime moments, there was a real element of struggle then. 
Struggle with arrangement, or the voice, or the song, or the
band,  or the PA--just the typical problems of trying to put
on a good show for a live audience.  But at the Garden
Monday night, there was no struggle.  There were no doubts
or questions or hesitations.  The years on the road, the
string of one-nighters, the evolution of the most
sympathetic band he's ever worked with, all came together at
the Garden with a real sense of purpose.  The purpose was
simply this:  to make good music.

Walking home after the concert, we ran into a friend on 29th
Street.  I didn't know he was at the show.  He wasn't really
a Dylan fan, but went out of curiosity.  He wasn't very 
impressed by the show, until Dylan lit into Rainy Day Women.
 That song and the encores blew him away, and at that point
he saw why Dylan was Dylan.  The funny thing is:  when Bob
started Rainy Day Woman, I looked at my wife and rolled my
eyes, and she laughed.  We certainly didn't need to hear RDW
again, but still; the jam was fun, and the band intros in
the middle of the song along with his little aside about NYC
all made for a nice little moment.  It even got us hardened

Meeting my friend on the street drove the point home: 
people come to Dylan shows for lot of different reasons. 
There are the true believers, the cranks, the
scene-miesters, the jam-banders, the kooks, the hipsters,
the industry slime, the truth-seekers, the curious, the
initiates, the-old-weird-America heads, the jazzbos, the
completely random elements, and as another friend of mine
said of the girls dancing in the aisles:  the
anti-Brittany's.  All these various elements and more come
together to see what this legend is all about: and Dylan's
got to please them all.  He's got to send every customer
home satisfied.   I remember walking out of the Grade
Theatre in New London in '98, thinking that it was a great
set list as he played six songs from the newly released
TOOM, and threw in "Love Minus Zero" and "Wheel's on Fire"
for good measure. Then I heard the person next to me say: 
it was great that Bob was doing a real greatest hits show. 
Well, there you have it.  The show worked on all levels.

Personally, I've stopped reading the setlists on RMD.,
because they've taken away some of the enjoyment of the show
when I actually see it.  About a year ago, my wife and I
drove up to Lowell to see Dylan.  I hadn't seen him yet in
2000, and wanted to catch the swing.  It was a good show,
maybe even a great show.  But I realized that when he hit
"Country Pie" and I wasn't blown away, or when he played "If
Dogs Run Free" and I didn't lose my mind:  something was
wrong.  These were deep catalogue rarities, played for the
first time ever in early 2000.  These songs were never hits:
 they're for the real fans.  Hell, they were as unlikely
choices as Black Crow Blues or Black Diamond Bay.  But by
the time I saw him in Lowell, I had already been seeing
these songs turn up in the setlist nightly for most of the
year, and I had already heard the tapes from some of the
concerts.  So I wasn't surprised at all--it was a ho-hum
affair.  And I realized right then that I was missing
something:  I was missing the surprise of the moment. 
Following Dylan too closely has its perils.  One can get
lost in the trivia of the setlist, or the suits, or the
how-many- times-has-he-played; and miss the music
altogether.   Dylan is about the musical truth of the
moment--the truth of whatever happens in a certain hall with
a certain audience on a certain night. Then you move on.  On
that night in New York City---he played a certain kind of
show.  He kept the lid on:  it wasn't the blowout party of
the Meadow lands in '99, or the wonderfully sweet and 
sentimental performance he gave us in MSG with Join back in
November '98---it was serious affair played with conviction
and concentration.  If you could sum up the theme, it would
be this:  "People are crazy and times are strange".  Indeed.
 But tonight, Dylan and his band transcended all of that.

On to Portland.

Jim Lampos

From: Ellen ( Subject: MSG Show - Great! Newsgroups: Date: 2001-11-19 20:59:30 PST I'm not very good at writing reviews so I'll just mention a few quick observations: The show lasted about 2 3/4 hours, I could be wrong but I believe there were 22 songs including 6 new ones (Sugar Baby, High Water, Lonesome Day Blues, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Honest With Me, Summer Days). I thought Dylan looked and sounded great, and the sellout crowd was having a blast -- so was Dylan from all appearances. The highlights for me were the new songs but really there were no low points - and the musically the band is so in sync with him that each song sounded spontaneous yet well rehearsed. At the beginning of the band intro we got a brief remark - this is not verbatim, but it was along the lines of "most of these songs were written here, the others were recorded here, so I guess you can tell how I feel about this town", or something like that. And of course the NYC line in Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues got one of the loudest reactions of the evening. Plus there was quite a bit of harp -- Just Like a Woman, Don't Think Twice, It Ain't Me Babe (maybe others, I wasn't taking notes). The security at MSG is I suspect "normal" security there now - bag searches, and sort of a frisk with an electric wand. I saw a woman being led off the floor during the show; I think she threw a Tshirt on the stage (which Tony held up as they were leaving at the end of the show). It made me glad that I didn't try throw onto the stage the knitted Bob doll that someone in England made for me. Maybe next time. -- -- Ellen
From: doc rogers ( Subject: Re: MSG Show - Great! Newsgroups: Date: 2001-11-20 06:07:56 PST My two cents: I was unhappy with the mix at the beginning of the show. I could barely hear the bass and drums, the guitars were way too thin, and Dylan's mic was way too hot. I know lots of you will disagree with the last point on principle, but everytime Dylan sang, my ears, at least--which were searching the mix for the bass and drums, would adjust to the sudden explosion of volume (Dylan's mic had to be at least twice as loud as everything else), and then be left hanging. After a few tunes, however, the sound man finally started to sort things out, and by Tweedle Dee, I could hear the bass and drums. Dylan's mic seemed to even out a bit, but it was still too hot for awhile. Those are the negative criticisms, the positive ones are that the show was excellent overall, as we would expect, and with a few songs, these were the best versions I've heard yet, especially Tangled Up In Blue, which had some intense Dylan guitar work. Sugar Baby was sublime, and as another person commented, worked very well after Summer Days. Someone also mentioned that the banjo was too buried in the mix for High Water, which I agree with, but there were positives about that song that made up for it, such as the prominence of Dylan's guitar, and the different phrasing of the guitar fills. Also, although the MSG tickets were closer to "normal" concert ticket prices (ours were $67.50 each, higher than most of the shows on this tour), it's nice to see Dylan charging reasonable prices for merchandise--Love and Theft t-shirts were only $20! The standard price is around $35 now. I even got a cool, thick rain jacket with a huge Bob logo embroidered on the back for $60. That's it for now. --M.A. Rogers
From: edward tittmann ( Subject: Re: MSG Show - Great! Newsgroups: Date: 2001-11-20 11:17:09 PST ... yeah, the mixing at the beginning wasn't good. i thought it was where i was sitting (up above directly on stage right--excellent seats, by the way), but luckily they figured it out soon enough. the rest of it was great sound, total clarity in his voice. the show made me realize something about dylan that never really struck home before: he is the epitome of american music - american pop, rock & roll, whatever. he takes pieces from all of it: country, blues, rock, bluegrass, minstrel, etc., and brings it into his core body of work. the blues he played last night was fantastic: even his 3 note solos showed he has the blues in him--he doesn't need to be a virtuoso. he played a harmonica solo (someone remind me what song...) where he kept the same note for practically the entire time. hearkened back to his early days of long, unpredictably long, singing and harmonica notes. it was really beautiful, and joyous. his country songs also were fantastic, and then he hits the rock & roll as pure as can be. there's no doubt in my mind that he is incomparable to any other musician. and for those who think he should let his band do more solos.... NO. it's BOB that we're paying to see and want to see. the band is doing exactly what it should do, backing up bob and making everything he's doing better. give me a 3 note solo from bob anyday -- i think he's earned it.
From: Peter Stone Brown ( Subject: new york town Newsgroups: Date: 2001-11-20 14:59:21 PST On November 19th 1961, Bob Dylan was probably sitting at a table in his apartment, guitar on his knee, pen in hand deciding what songs he was going to sing at his very first recording session the next day. Forty years later he returned to what really is his hometown to conquer a sold out Madison Square Garden. Bob Zimmerman may have grown up in Hibbing Minnesota, and maybe Bob Dylan was born there or in Minneapolis, but Bob Dylan grew up in New York City. It's the place he left his home for, the place where there was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air, the place where his head was split open wide, and has been for more than 40 years the place he returns to for inspiration. It's where he "made it," where his first fans were, and for all his claims of not remembering, New York City is one thing Bob Dylan has not forgotten. And so he returned in this scariest of times when there is a new fear every day, to this city that is like no other place in the world, to this city that has been wounded and forever changed, to this city that is trying its best to survive and heal, but will not forget what is missing from its skyline. Riding into the city last night and standing outside the Garden on 8th Avenue, I couldn't help but steal a few very quick furtive glances south. The cloud of smoke seemed lost in the haze of city lights, but I knew the fires were still burning. Inside the Garden, you had to open your coat and spread your arms while some guy ran an electric wand over you and told you what you had in your pockets. This is the way it is now to see a music concert. You didn't like it, but you moved on. Our seats were right at the stage, close enough to read the addresses painted on the anvil guitar cases, close enough to ask the guitar tech about those new black and white Martins, and it took a long time for the house to fill up, for all those thousands of people to be wanded. And some time after 8 pm, long after the scheduled show time, the band in matching dark gray suits took the stage, followed by Dylan in what at first looked like a light gray suit, then a white suit, then a pink suit, and tore into "Wait For The Light To Shine," and the ghost of Hank Williams hovered around that man in the gray pink suit, and the ghost of Bill Monroe and the music he invented flew out of Larry Campbell's mandolin and you could almost see ancient funky tour busses on the midnight highways next to all them rebel rivers and a lonesome Cadillac on their way to Ohio and all that music that came out of somewhere from the South to the North and back again and it was about the music. But it wasn't. Because this singer, whether he admits it or not, always has a message to deliver, and on this night, "Keep lookin' for a sign," came out of that craggy, but still strong voice that has seen too many cigarettes, that has traveled to too many joints, that has lived the profound truth that exploded, and on every chorus, every time it came around, that voice that somehow knows every mile of every road its walked down made sure that was the line you noticed, "Keep lookin' for a sign." And then it was time for the trip backwards and forwards. "It Ain't Me Babe," a song performed on almost every tour, a song that's been performed innumerable ways, the ultimate I'm not what you think I am or think you want song, a song defiant, angry, mocking, sad, tender, that's been rocked and socked, and crooned and shouted, and tonight it was handled with care, almost caressed, and then he stepped back towards the top of his tan Fender Bassman, where the harmonicas lay, and as someone once wrote about Bob Dylan 's very first performance at Madison Square Garden, it's not Bob Dylan till the harp comes out, and as he picked up the harp, he noticed, realized there were all these people sitting behind him and he put to the harp to microphone and blew those first notes right at them and the hundreds of people sitting there knew he was doing it for them, and this is where the singer turns into magician and master performer and he turned back to face the main crowd, with that crazy almost funny way he was of moving forward, knees bent, the notes ringing clear danced around the melody, up and down like a clown on the circus sands, twisting and turning, to a magnificent conclusion. And then it was time for the masterpiece, the song like no other that came before, the song that held all the songs he didn't think he'd have time to write, the song that announced there's a new Poet in town, a song that was terrifying then and perhaps more terrifying now, and even though he's been singing it at other stops on this tour and has been singing it across the world and back for four decades, you knew he had to sing it tonight in the city that's been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard. And then it was back to a different graveyard, another time, another place, where bluegrass harmonies came through on ancient wooden radios that looked like Cathedrals on a parlor table on a Sunday afternoon, the words of a drunken cowboy poet who would sell his songs for another shot of whiskey, that had been all but forgotten till Bob Dylan started singing his songs again. This song about another war, from another place, but maybe it's the same war. Maybe it's all the same war. And suddenly we're back in the present, but maybe not. One time a King spoke in a most meaningful way, "Mr. Dylan has come out with a new record. This record of course features none but his own songs. " And the tribal almost voodoo beat of "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum" began making its spooky voyage to the sun, the guitars echoing songs from long ago, recorded in midnight studios a few blocks away, when the words came in chains of flashing images, like they do on this song recorded in a studio probably a few blocks away where the words came again all the way from New Orleans to Jerusalem, from somewhere down a rabbit hole to a brick and tile company, trusting their fate in police permits and the hand of God. And now we're back inside the rain of "Just Like A Woman," and I think of how I heard Bob Dylan from a few feet a way tell a reporter in a hotel ballroom a few blocks north how this was his favorite song, and that even though it was recorded in Nashville the music was sort of from that other Tennessee city to the west, but the rain, the fog, the amphetamine the pearls and Queen Mary couldn't have been anywhere else but Manhattan, and then I notice that he's answering each line with little licks on that custom-made cream-colored Fender Strat, and there are now throw-away guitar licks, and guitar tone is just right and he doesn't stop and it keeps building and then he's doing that backwards sort of dance and turns around to get the harp and again the crowd behind him goes nuts and again the first few notes for them and he turns around and crouching down he just goes crazy, the Isis harp dance, 30 years later and crowd is going nuts and he knows exactly what he's doing, and then the intro to "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues," and you know why he's singing it and it's a special gift and everyone who realizes is just waiting for that one line. And I think back to the time I first heard it, the first time it was performed on a freezing August night in a tennis stadium somewhere off the E train as a cold wind blew and cops chased teenage boys in and around the musicians on stage who never stopped playing and how that was the song that night that really hit me and then the line came and you had to cheer, but it's time for more blues. "Lonesome Day Blues," that starts off so simply you think it's gonna be nothing except it's the way he sings it. It's always the way he sings that really makes a song matters, and the verses keep coming and suddenly it 's "My captain he's decorated, he's well-schooled and he's SKI-ILLED, and there's no mistaking the snarling sarcasm, the total menace in his voice and suddenly the man on stage is filled with the spirit of every blues singer that journeyed on Highway 61, got cut in bar fights and sang on street corners. And then it's deeper into the blues, the song for the blues man who might've been the scariest of them all, Charlie Patton, "High Water," but it's not only the blues, there's that banjo in there and maybe half a dozen other old mountain tunes, and maybe it's about a flood, but then maybe it's the just a flood, because the words ring out a warning, and maybe in a sense this is the ultimate American roots song but again this is a singer who always brought the news: "Things are breakin' up out there." Then Larry's fingerpicking takes us back to another time, an album cover of snowy streets, when a chain store or a MacDonald's in that part of New York was unimaginable, before the Disneyization of America, and I thought of another time, another concert, my first time seeing him in New York City, in a then pretty new concert hall, where no folksinger had played before, and how he shouted this song as loudly as he could into the mic, and brought that very shiny Nick Lucas Gibson right up to the mic between the verses and it was funny and great and new, and then let loose with a harmonica solo that chugged like a train and could only be described as crazy and now for the third time he's going back for the harp as I hoped he would but didn't at shows the week before and picked up that harp and let loose a solo that went all the way back to that chilly October night, that last solo New York concert where people felt free enough to shout out requests and he'd actually answer them and there was no doubt in my mind that that harp solo was his little gift to New York, but then we're standing on the highway with that kid on his way, with dreams and tales of carnivals he'd been to only his mind and blues singers he never played with, but someday would, and he's in high gear, a raging Mustang Ford, and the delivery is stacatto syncopated charging against the rhythm, and suddenly we're on a battlefield alone, the soldier who didn't know what he was getting into, the mother in for the wrong surprise, the hall is hushed and it's all about the words and there's no doubting what this song is about. Then just as the mother is leaving the station with the medals in her hand, the scene shifts entirely and we're into a super-charged "Summer Days" except the summer days are gone. And as he has been all night, Dylan is really singing, nailing each song and the nails are going down hit hard by the three guitar assault and all is quiet for "Sugar Baby," done slowly, carefully, eloquently, and just as you're recovering, wham, into a more than hard rocking "Drifter's Escape," and in the middle out of nowhere comes this very funky guitar solo that takes the song even higher, and it's not noodling and it's not searching, it's just going and going and it's not Charlie Sexton and it's not Larry Campbell, it's Bob Dylan and he's riding it for all it's worth and he is absolutely determined to show everyone that yes he can take that Stratocaster and make it lift up its glass and sing. The familiar intro to "Rainy Day Women" lets you know the show's almost over and you don't want it to be over and the band seems to be jamming on this one more than they did in DC and Philly and it's time for the band introductions, and just like on every other show on this tour, Dylan starts, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I wanna introduce my band, the best band in the land," and then he paused for just a second and he said, "Most of the songs we're playin' tonight were written here and those that weren't were recorded here. So no one has to ask me how I feel about this town." And then he went on to introduce David Kemper as the only drummer who's better than no drummer at all. Make no mistake, it was a highly emotional moment. On the way off the stage, Dylan paused for the people in the back, reached up started shaking hands and autographed a CD or two. The encores were just icing on a very rich cake. "Rolling Stone" was notable for the way he sang "everything everything everything he can steal," "Blowin' In The Wind" and "Forever Young" were packed with emotion and, "Thing Have Changed," "Watchtower" and "Honest With Me" all rocked hard. Donning a black hat as he left the stage, he again stopped to give autographs and acknowledge the people who watched the show from the rear. Bob Dylan came home last night, and while the setlist might look very much like every other setlist on this tour, in everything he did, every word he sang, every little gesture, let the audience know how much New York means to him. -- "The game is the same, it's just up on another level." --Bob Dylan Peter Stone Brown e-mail:
From: Kelly Huckeby ( Subject: Re: new york town Newsgroups: Date: 2001-11-20 15:32:40 PST ... When the fall tour list was announced back in August, I knew, even before the events of Sept. 11th, that the whole tour was leading up to this one concert. Dylan - the Prodigal Son - was coming home. I had a gut feeling that even if the fall tour would end up being forgettable, that the MSG concert was going to be one for the Dylan history books. I ached at the fact that I was not going to be able to be at what I thought was going to probably be one of Dylan's triumphant moments. So, last night as I listened to "Love and Theft" for the millionth time, 3000 miles away from MSG, waiting for PSB's review, Bob Dylan gave, by all accounts, one of the ultimate concerts of his career for the town and people he loves. I can only imagine how the people who were there feel. It must have been an unforgettable moment. Thanks PSB for bringing it alive for those of us who could not be there. Kelly and people he loves.
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 10:28:24 EST From: Subject: 11/19/01 Madison Square Garden Review To: Cc: Monday began as any other in the past week, but soon became quite different as I made my journey to Ground Zero. Not as emotional as I thought it might be - much of it is closed off and while the sound of the big machines is certainly present, you can't see the field of debris very well. This may have been for the best, but you certainly get a feel for the tragedy by reading all the well-wishers' letters, cards, and seeing the signs of the missing. After that, it was back on the A train to Penn Station / Madison Square Garden. There is really nothing quite like seeing Dylan's name in lights outside the Garden. What really threw me for a loop was that the 8th Ave sign said start time was 8PM, while the 7th Ave. sign said 7:30. My ticket said 7:30, so I figured I'd play it safe. After being able to unload two tickets and upgrade my seat to section 3 on the floor, I was ready to go by about 7:20. Bobby and the band weren't ready until about 8:10 (shoulda gone with the 8th Ave sign!) Wait for the light to Shine kicked things off and once again the volume that lacked in Penn State, but shone through so well in DC and Philly, was right on for a third straight night. Harmonies were tight and the Garden was filled. It ain't me Babe, Hard Rain, Searchin, and Tweedle had the show mirroring the Philly show in set list, performance quality, and audience response. It was the next few numbers that got things going above the Philly level IMHO, Just Like a Woman had me thinking "OK, not bad - didn't really want to hear this one again!" But, the beautiful thing about Dylan is he'll MAKE you want to hear it again. This version SOARED. Larry was wonderful as always on the pedal steel. And Bob picked up the harp at the end and blew it for all it was worth, much to the delight of the 18,000 (?) in attendance, especially the packed seats BEHIND the stage, who Bob seemed to acknowledge after every song. Tom Thumb's Blues was one I had hoped to hear, if only for the last line of the song. This too rocked from Kemper's opening. The guitars were all in sync right away, which helped for a loud drive to the familiar beginning. And everyone agreed it was time to go back to New York City 'cause they believed they'd had enough. Great response from the NYC crowd on this one. Lonesome Day Blues was a surprise - two nights in a row, and I was hoping to be lucky enough to hear it once. Better version than in Philly - the crowd REALLY seemed familiar with the new stuff, more so than in DC. What can I say about Highwater. I've seen it 4 times now, and it only gets better as the band gets tighter with it. I really thought this woud be the Dirt Road Blues of the album - one we would never hear. But, man, does this work well. Charlie's rhythm came through much better than in Philly. The final acoustic set was the same as in Philly, perhaps a different order though. All were done wonderfully, with Don't Think Twice being the highlight in my opinion, even after seeing it the last 2 nights. Summer Days had everybody up and moving again. I have said all I can say about this song in previous reviews, so I'll just say all those words still ring true. Sugar Baby was another fine performance, although I was hoping for Mississippi. DC may have been my only shot at that, but it was well worth it. Sugar Baby did not disappoint. We got Drifter's Escape in place of Cold Irons Bound from Philly, and Rainy Day Women to close things out. Perhaps the highlight of the show for many hoping Bob would adress 9-11 came as he introduced the band. I'll paraphrahse as best I can: You know, most of these songs we played tonight were written in this city (loud applause). In fact, my last album was recorded in this city (I believe this is what he said - louder applause). I think that is all I need to say about this city! (Wild Cheers and applause). Again, may not be 100% exact, but pretty close, and well worth the price of admission. I really did not anticipate him saying anything regarding the city's tragedy and courageousness in rising above it, so this was a nice surprise. Encores were the same as Philly, but the crowd response was better IMHO (and this was tough to do - Philly was a great crowd). Bob soaked it all up, from behind the stage as well. Don't know what the sound was like back there, but by the way they were moving, it must have been fine. Blowin got a GREAT response for "Too many people have died" - as only this city could really understand. It made my visit to Ground Zero earlier in the day that much more worth it. So, three consecutive shows with three stellar performances (DC, Philly, NYC) and one off night (Penn State). I am off to Uncasville for my last show of this tour. Is there really ANY way for Bob to disappoint? Not after Madsion Square Garden. Take Care, Alex Leik
2001: February - March - April - May - June - July - August - October - November -


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Newsgroups: Subject: MSG - live '01 From: karen Date: 6 Dec 2001 08:50:09 -0800 Organization: I didn't imagine it all. I was starting to wonder if MSG was that good or if my mind had played tricks on me that night. Amazing sound, quintessential, magical, carefully constructed words and sounds. Bob's full heart and soul made love to us for 2 1/2 hours and the crowd really was orgasmic. The harp..., the voice, the guitars, the drums, the blending of voices, the emphasis, poignant and hard rocking, swinging and bluesing, hanging on every note crowd, responsive and anticipating his every touch and caress. Bob in all his raging glory. As good as any LIVE album I've ever heard in my life by anyone. Sounding more like an orchestra then a 5 piece band. Searing, genuine, spitting, loving, tender, hugging us, dancing with us, crying with us. Menacing and on fire. Sounding larger than life. The new ones were even better than they were on L&T, if that's possible. Forget the island - this one is going in the pine box with me for all eternity.