[Under a beautiful photo of Bob and Joan it reads:]
Singer Joan Baez, left, blends her voice with another musical giant, Bob Dylan, during a concert last night at the Warehouse. About 6,000 persons packed in to hear the Dylan group and Baez. (States-Item photo by Ronald Le Boeuf.)
Bob Dylan was here for eight hours last night, shaking his powerful fist at New Orleans. In his palm, he held 6,000 spellbound people.
Unlike the crowd that threw tomatoes at Dylan in the summer of 1965 when he strapped on an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival, the New Orleansians who jammed the Warehouse last night were an audience that recognizes Dylan's place in their lives and his place as a musical bard. I doubt many of them will soon forget what they heard. Dylan isn't likely to get involved in campaign politics this year. But the parallels between his loosely-scheduled jaunts across the American South during the summer of 1976 and the presidential campaigns of Democratic and Republican candidates seems more than coincidental.
Cynics may protest that it doesn't cost $9 to hear a presidential candidate demonstrate how he plans to save America and that Dylan is in the concert business for the money. But I doubt they would meet with agreement from any of last night's concertgoers. To them, Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue was more spirit-lifting than the most high-flown oratory.
Dylan and his revue made the evening special by performing a handful of song's that touched on America's Southern experience: "The Battle of New Orleans," "Memphis Blues Again," and "The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down."
Others were simply songs about America: "Maggie's Farm," "Pity the Poor Immigrant," "Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat," "Idiot Wind," and the chain-dancing, tour-of-America song, "Dancing In the Streets."
Still others were simply Bob Dylan's newer songs. Songs his friends came to hear: "Shelter From the Storm," "Tangled Up In Blue," "Oh, Sister," "Mozambique," and "Isis."
Solo efforts were added by Joan Baez, Kinky Freidman, Mick Ronson, Roger McGuinn and Bobby Neuwirth. Baez was the most enjoyable addition to the show and it was her spirit as much as Dylan's that gave the evening it's special flavor.
It's impossible to say which segment was the best. It was a three-and-a-half-hour experience that seemed far too brief.
The Warehouse has never housed a more cooperative, polite, mesmerized audience. It seems hard to believe, but the 5:00 p. m. audience remained seated on the carpeted floors of the Warehouse for the show's entirety.
Dylan returns to New Orleans for one last concert on Thursday evening. Tickets for the show go on sale Wednesday at the Warehouse.