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Bob Dylan 971031 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

 October 31, 1997
 Tuscaloosa, Alabama
 University Of Alabama
 Coleman Coliseum
       Capacity: 15,547 
       Ticket prices: $22.00 

Subject: Tuscaloosa October 31, 1997 From: Bill Parr (William_C_Parr/ Date: Sat, 1 Nov 1997 09:46:39 -0500 Tuscaloosa October 31, 1997 - A show to miss, if you're going to have to miss one on the current tour. . Dylan - visibly tired. Struggling gamely to get through it, not cutting the setlist short or anything. Little visible emotion or passion. A few guitar moments on Like a Rolling Stone and on Cold Irons Bound, a couple of nice vocal moments on Love Sick which still didn't come near Starkville, Jackson or Mobile. After Dylan introduced the band, he made a comment which for me summarized the show: "Had a busy day, you must be tired, we are too." Baron hassled two folks who were standing at the rails, shortly after the start of the show. Running across the stage, IN FRONT OF BOB to reach them. Never did find out what the problem was. One nice moment vocally "I can hear that lonesome whistle" on "Tonight I'll be Staying Here With You." Dylan did some nice work phrasing on that one. Sometimes you win big, sometimes you don't. I'm glad I was there. But this one just didn't compare with the three shows I'd seen previously on the tour. That's all, Bill Parr
Subject: Tuscaloosa, AL show (long) From: Allegra640 ( Date: 1 Nov 1997 17:19:38 GMT Organization: AOL I was very disheartened to learn that only about 2,500 tickets were sold for the Dylan show in my hometown of Tuscaloosa. The day before the show the "Tuscaloosa News" published a very negative piece regarding the University students' reactions to Dylan's appearance for the Homecoming show, which upset me a great deal. There was even one student's comment which proclaimed, "He's too old, he should retire!" Very bad taste the day before the show. Perhaps it's possible that Bob read this piece and perhaps this was part of the reason that he "wasn't into it" Friday night. As Bill Parr said, Bob did look exhausted. He truly looked like it took all that was in him to complete the show. As I was right up near the stage, I could see quite clearly the toll that this show (tour?) was taking on him. It made me feel so very sad inside. Some people seem to think that Bob is just a "performing toy," wind him up and watch him go. Now, I'm the first to admit that I love a performance where Bob is grinning and giving it his all, but last night (for the first time) I saw him as a weary, vulnerable man. To be honest with you, he also looked as if he wasn't feeling very well physically. Maybe it's time that Bob laid down the "axe" for awhile, and took some more time off, after all, it wasn't too long ago that he was so seriously ill that he "thought he was about to meet Elvis." I know that Bob loves touring and performing, but in my opinion, he needs to cut back just a little bit for his own well-being. I'm not even remotely agreeing with the ignorant sorority girl quoted in my hometown newspaper in saying that "he should retire," but I feel that maybe a few months break would really be beneficial to him physically and emotionally. I would really hate to see the hardships of "the road" claim the life of my hero. He's not in his 30's or 40's anymore. As I was watching him up there on that stage last night, my heart went out to him; doing the same show night after night after night, the "we're tired" comment, the way he wiped his brow several times in (what looked to me to be) resignation. Take it easy Bob, we love you dearly and don't want anything to happen to you. Don't push yourself with this grueling tour schedule, take a 2-week trip to the Carribean perhaps. Just look after yourself, I can honestly say that even though I'm 31 years old, I'd like to see you outlive me, hell, I'd like you to live forever for that matter. Peace, Tracy
Subject: Re: Halloween in Tuscaloosa From: Gary Stuart Wiersma ( Date: Sat, 1 Nov 1997 12:18:57 -0500 My seventh Bob Dylan concert , and one I am glad I did not miss. From the beginning of 'Maggies Farm" to the end of "Rainy Day Woman" it was a really good one. He showed emotion in his singing and playing, and did a lot of my favorites, although he has done the above two at every other concert I have seen! A fine version of Tangled Up in Blue....but....where was the harmonica ?(all night for that matter...does he not play much any more at all?) The highlight was a truly magnificent and completely unexpected "Blind Willie McTell". Worth getting a tape of this show just for that. Anyone with a tape please let me know. A great evening with the voice of our century. If you have the chance to see him on this tour please do not miss it...
Subject: Tuscaloosa Show From: Gary Alan Sims ( Date: Sat, 1 Nov 1997 23:54:33 -0500 Hey Everybody, I know two reviews of the Tuscaloosa concert have been posted, so I'll try not to be redundant. The two views were about as diametrically opposed as I've read. I guess beauty is in the eye of the Bob Fan. I agree with parts of both reviews. Dylan did look tired, but much more healthy than the last time I saw him (Huntsville, last spring). He did seem miffed by the lack of crowd response, as witnessed by the comment that Bill Parr noted. I tend to think the crowd was about normal, but it was swallowed up by the venue (3000 people in a 12,000 seater), so it may have seemed more dead to the folks on stage. A few comments on the songs: I thought Maggie's was good, very clear vocals from the beginning, though I agree, I've heard it enough times that I would pick something else. It does work well as an opener, though. Cold Irons Bound: Very true to the original, sound very menacing, just like the record. He seemed to like spitting those lyrics out. Can't Wait: Much more air than on the disc. Seemed a little less dark done this way, almost a lilt to the music. Strange juxtaposition to the lyrics. Stone Walls: This is the first time I've heard this, and I would just as soon he pick another. Tambourine Man: I've heard this a bunch of times, and never get tired of it. This version was good, but not great. Same was true of Tangled and Like a Rolling Stone. Till I Fell: Very true to the original, good. Blind Willie McTell: This is the first time I've heard this in concert. I've looked forward to it, and played it on the way to the show so my daughter would be able to recognize it. I was disappointed. It didn't have the charm or the mystery of the recording to my ears. I wish he would pick a song each concert for the piano. This would be great with nothing but him and a piano. As it is done here, I can take it or leave it. Love Sick: Not an initial favorite of mine off the album, but it is growing on me. The concert version is better than the album. This was a highlight for me. Different kinds of reactions: Me: (12th concert over 21 years) Good, but not great Daughter (14 years old, 4th Dylan show) "Magical" "I can't believe I'm in the same room with *HIM* Wife (not a Dylan fan, along for the ride,2nd show) Fun. Enjoyed watching the people. Liked some of the songs. Voice was not clear. People had fun. He looked like an old man. (but she asked if I thought we could get her a ticket for Knoxville!) Brother-in-Law (3rd show) Good, seemed like he had fun (I didn't see that) Good guitar playing Sister-in-Law (3rd show) Good, but he seemed more tired than the last time. Sister-in-Law's sister (1st show) It was great. I was glad he played some songs at the end that I knew. Like A Rolling Stone is my freedom song. Other notes: No Hat, no harmonica, Wyatt Earp tie still intact, but brown(?) jacket with sparkles replaces other cowboy attire. Hair, wild as ever. Security, very tight on stage rush with some of us, and not with others, let people take flash pictures, though. Best costume of the night: Two girls in yellow rain coats with the numbers 12 and 35 emblazend on the front of each. Very cute. Lots of other costumes. Crowd dominated by college students, even though the older alums were in town for homecoming at U of Al. A sea of travel trailers outside the show. Not many of them seemed to have bothered to come inside. Controversy: Apparently a number of students complained that they would have preferred to have Jakob Dylan. That's all I can think of that may interest folks. If anyone has a tape for which I could trade blanks, I would appreciate it. Same for Knoxville after it happens. Thanks. Peace, Alan in Knoxville
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