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Bob Dylan 971026 in Mobile, Alabama
Mobile Civic Center Arena

   1.   Absolutely Sweet Marie
2. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You
3. Cold Irons Bound
4. Just Like A Woman
5. Can't Wait
6. Silvio
7. Stone Walls and Steel Bars @
8. Tangled Up In Blue @
9. Mr. Tambourine Man @
10. 'Til I Fell In Love With You
11. This Wheel's On Fire
12. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again

13. Like A Rolling Stone
14. One To Many Mornings @
15. Love Sick
16. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

From Bill Pagel

Subject: Review of Mobile show October 26, 1996 (Stuck Inside of Mobile with the TOOM Blues Again . . .) From: Bill Parr (William_C_Parr/ Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 09:07:03 -0500 Some thoughts about the Mobile show October 26, 1996: October 26, 1997 Mobile, Alabama Mobile Civic Center Arena We gathered about 4:00 outside the venue to get in line. A general admission show. Not many folks showed till about 5:15, and then the crowd swelled. We heard portions of the sound check, very muffled through the glass doors. (Ah, yes, the art of just barely opening the glass door so you can hear the soundcheck, but security doesn't come by and tell you to close it.) Several items from TOOM (see below) were soundchecked. I heard no vocals at the soundcheck, but was only able to listen intermittently. It's 6:30 and the gates open! The mad rush, . . . .and I'm against the barricade. About two people to the (stage) left of "microphone stand central." Not bad. So we wait, and talk, and wait . . . Lots of folk of widely varied ages present. Lots of friends. Fun memories of Dylan shoes are shared. The lights finally go out, and Dylan and the band (love to say it that way!) take the stage, the announcement "Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome . . . " sounds out, and the cheering gets louder, as the band breaks into 1. Absolutely Sweet Marie The lights are of course now on. Where does Dylan get these clothes? His suit is shiny, as if it had glitter all over it. White piping on the shoes (not boots). (Oh, this is sad. Just listening to CNN in the background and heard the confirmation about Johnny Cash having been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and cancelling the rest of the current tour. Just caught Johnny's show Thursday October 23 in Knoxville, and now this.) Back to Dylan. The way he says "six white horses" -- the soul of it. Then, he glares, as if angry, at Larry Campbell. Don't know what the problem is. Or if there is a problem. LC does play some lead on this first song (and much more later in the show). Dylan says something like "Thank you, thanks everybody" but it could have been "thanks Alabama." Unlike the lyrics, which are crystal clear all night, every time Dylan SPEAKS tonight (instead of SINGING) he mumbles. 2. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You Bucky plays so nicely on this one. I really appreciate the music he provides. So much of the really sweet sound of this band is due to Bucky Baxter. Hang in there, Bucky. Stay well, and keep on playing. Dylan is already sweating. Some really good Bob Dylan / Larry Campbell trades of guitar licks. Good interplay. Tony Garnier is into it with the bass. Rocking back and forth. The guy can't stand still (and doesn't seem to stand still often tonight). Smooth ending to this song. 3. Cold Irons Bound Nice staccato guitar sounds. The whole band becomes a unified rhythm section. This song is really well suited to the current band's capabilities. Great in performance. And I had thought Dirt Road Blues (which I still hope to hear this tour) would be the best one for the current band. This one also suits them well. More Bob Dylan / Larry Campbell guitar interplay. Bob still occasionally gives LC these stares. Perhaps they aren't angry or disapproving, but just because Bob is checking in with LC and is concentrating very hard at the same time. 4. Just Like A Woman Good choice, Bob. When Bob sings "makes love, just like a woman" his voice just keeps on drifting up as he sings "love." He's smiling a lot during this one. Dylan plays some lead at the end. Four note noodling. None of that piddling two or three note stuff. Nice coordinated end to the song. 5. Can't Wait Dylan and the band are obviously proud of playing this song. It goes over well, and they feed off the audience's strong positive response. "I can't wait" - Dylan's current voice is extremely well suited to expressing the agony in the lyric. "Control myself but it isn't true" - another phrase, achingly delivered. Could Dylan have delivered this lyric in 1965 or 1966 - I think not. The song ends, and the band breaks into (predictably): 6. Silvio Okay, it's not a surprise, but it's always enjoyable. Larry Campbell is playing some leads again. David Kemper - I really notice his drumming on this one. Louder than on the earlier songs, more insistent. Kemper does a good job on this song, as he does all night. 7. Stone Walls and Steel Bars (acoustic) Bucky Baxter on mandolin. What he plays doesn't look difficult (but then again I don't play guitar or mandolin, so what do I know about difficulty? Piano, I could evaluate better). But it's very effective sound. Keep on keeping on, Bucky. Disciplined performance on this one. Dylan's in control. Not a lot of surplus notes - no sounds getting wasted. "Thank you very much" (At least that's what I think he said.) Bob, you can play this one any time. Play what you like. His selection of covers is so good. 8. Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) Paul Williams is right. Repeat after me. Paul Williams is right. Dylan continues to reinvent his songs in live performance. (And his lyrics, too! I need to sit down and listen to some of these recent TUIB performances and see how widely the lyrics vary. My perception was that pronouns were dropping, phrases a'flyin' Dylan was a-smilin' about those shoelaces...) Dylan's feet seem to be slipping on stage. He's very visibly continuing to perspire. The lights at the front of the stage, ground level, come on. This must be blinding for the performers. It's really nice - as bright as it ever gets during a Dylan show. Then, after a few seconds, they're out again and we're back to that typical Dylanesque lighting which Hume talks about. 9. Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic) The intro to this song sounds like Blowing in the Wind. In fact, I write BITW down in my setlist/notes notebook - and then correct it. The way Dylan pronounces things: "Wandering" -- this word, plus the ways Dylan says "Fate" with his voice first going up, then down, all in (allegedly) one syllable Enough reason to come, just for this. Bob and Larry - at it with dueling guitar licks again, this time acoustic, of course. (See the article in the Mobile paper about it? The reviewer mentioned with some surprise that Dylan was good on the guitar. A very favorable review, overall. WIll try to post it, if it hasn't appeared by the time I get to it later today.) Fashion notes: This shirt Dylan is wearing - white or off white, French cuffs, very shiny. Okay, I'll leave these observations to people who know what "piping" on shoes is! 10. 'Til I Fell In Love With You "God is my shield" - sing it again, Bob. "Fell in love" - Bob's eyebrows go WAY UP on this one. Obviously deliberate. He's making lots of eye contact with those of us in the first row. Bob is smiling, his gaze pans to the left and to the right, repeatedly. He continues to sweat as his head shakes back and forth. "Thank you." 11. This Wheel's On Fire Yes, that's right. The look on Bob's face somehow makes me think that he might just be thinking "Hey, I wrote this song!" (Thinking back on Dylan's comments about sometimes coming across something he wrote or co-wrote decades ago, and really appreciating the work.) Larry Campbell - playing some interesting guitar. Dylan continues to sweat. Is this some sort of new, bizarre weight loss program? "Your favors done" - Dylan's voice is REALLY cracking on this phrase. The voice is strong, but cracks. Bob and Larry continue to work together on guitar. Bob smiles at the end of the song. Then, Bob says "We have a special request tonight. About 200 people wanted to hear this." And of course they break into 12. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again Tony is beaming and bouncing. I make a note in my little spiral setlist book - "Shakespeare's not in the alley - he's on stage, singing and playing lead." Our smiling guitar hero continues to sweat, then he and Larry trade guitar licks. Good enthusiasm. Larry is playing, more engaged than I've seen since at least Huntsville, May 3, 1997. "Can this really be the end" - the voice is cracking, noticeably, again. Encores now. The band leaves the stage, everybody cheers for a while, they come back, and . . . 13. Like a Rolling Stone Ah, yes, the national anthem. Bob stretches the word "re-a-lize" out so far I'm sure that it, his voice, or I will break. We all three survive, intact. Bob smiles. Bob continues to enunciate perfectly. (How can he sing with such crystal clarity, and then mumble band introductions and simple thank yous???) "Ain't got nothing" - sung choppy And, now, for the highlight of the night (for me): 14. One Too Many Mornings (Acoustic) Oh, Bob, keep this one for a while. I was so transfixed by this performance that I have nothing written down on it. It was beautiful. The agony of this song. Retreated back from the "punk" of the Hard Rain times. But with an edge. Beautiful, romantic. Sing on, rave on, Bob Dylan. We'll be there. 15. Love Sick The way they keep the sound volume at a level and then suddenly explode on this is wonderful. Listen to the tape. TOOM is, largely, better live, thus far, than on CD or tape. Snaky playing. 16. Rainy Day Women, #12 and 35 A nicely performed close. Bob and the band bow. THings have been thrown on stage all night. Varied things. Candy, clothing, a rose or two, . . . Tony and Bucky are really smiling as they leave the stage, after Bob. I think they're proud of the job they do. So, overall impressions: 1) One Too Many Mornings (acoustic) is, for me, easily the highlight of the show. Wheels on Fire a close second. 2) The TOOM songs do well live. 3) Dylan's voice was strikingly strong, but cracked noticeably several times. He uses it (the voice cracking) as part of the performance, especially on the TOOM songs. And a summary: Go catch the tour. If you haven't already committed, get a ticket, gas up the car, and hit the road. You won't regret it. See you on down the road, perhaps in Tuscaloosa, perhaps in Knoxville. Bill Parr Postscript: The after the show gathering (or, at least, one of them) was at the Radisson - Admiral Semmes. About 20 folks, some of whom had been at the 1976 Mobile show and taken pictures. Lots of good friends, old and new. A good time was had. A newspaper columnist (Roy Hoffman) from the Mobile Register was also at the bar, and hearing our conversation came over, struck up a conversation, and probably interviewed half of the group, taking copious notes. I'll be interested to see what comes of it. He quickly moved away from the show itself and wanted to talk about "the culture of" We were able to work in some substantial mentions of John Bauldie and The Telegraph. Well, that's it for Mobile. Who is coming to Tuscaloosa? William C. Parr Phone; 423-974-1631, email Slow Train Coming Home Page
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