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Bob Dylan 971102 in Columbia, South Carolina

Township Auditorium

       Address: 1703 Taylor St. 
       Capacity: 3200 

Subject: State Newspaper review of November 2 show From: Bentz Kirby ( Date: Mon, 03 Nov 1997 21:35:07 -0500 The State Newspaper reviewed the November 2, 1997 show in Columbia SC. It does not appear to be available on site, so I will reproduce it here. The reviewer is Michael Miller who has been a long time Dylan fan. I know him from College (1974 era) and know that he has been one since way way back. The review is basically like this: DYLAN ROLLS INTO TOWN By: Michael Miller, Staff Writer The Bob Dylan health and happiness traveling minstrel rock 'n' roll show stopped by the Township Sunday night. It was Dylan's third visit to Columbia since 1988, and it was nice to have him back in town. There's little fanfare, pomp or circumstance to a Dylan show these days, just hot playing and a fascinating walk through his song-writing history that demonstrates how easily his work adapts to new interpretations as it withstands the test of time. Like a favorite uncle who stops by the house every now and then, Dylan walked on stage wearing a long, black coat and one of those cool Colonel Sanders auctioneer ties. Strapping on his electric guitar, he jumped right into things with "Maggie's Farm" and kept things rocking with "I Remember You." The twin guitar attack of Dylan and newcomer Larry Campbell created a swirling barrage of power chords and winding solos while Bucky Baxter's pedal steel sang subtly in the background. It all made for the kind of loud, invigorating jams that have attracted lost and lonely Grateful Dead fans to Dylan's shows. With the release in September of his 41st album, "Time Out of Mind", Dylan showed how beefy his new stuff can be. "Cold Irons Bound" was an absolute showstopper, diesel-driven by David Kilmer's powerful drumming and Tony Garnier's powerful bass. All in all, a rock-solid show from Dylan and friends. Ok, so he forgot the words once during "Tangled Up In Blue," and the band had trouble figuring out how to end a couple of songs. But for a singer and songwriter who is credited with changing the course of pop music on numerous occasions, it was a fine night. And man, he sure looked great. Thanks for the visit, Uncle Bob. That's all folks. -- Peace, Bentz
Subject: Re: State Newspaper review of November 2 show From: Uniteire ( Date: 4 Nov 1997 03:03:14 GMT I was at the concert last night here in Columbia and the MAN was AWESOME. This was the first time I have seen Dylan even though I have been a fan since the sixtys. He sounds better now then he did a few years ago, but of course not better then the early years. I was glad to see all the young fans there. The MAN still knows how to rock. Only disappointment was not hearing "Dont Think Twice, it All Right"
Subject: Review of Columbia Show, Nov. 2 (well, that's how it started out, in any event, then I got carried away!) From: Gert Webelhuth ( Date: Tue, 04 Nov 1997 12:00:48 -0500 Hi everybody, here is a short report of my impressions of the Columbia, SC show on Sunday. After the large rmd gathering Saturday night, there wasn't a comparable rmd presence on Sunday, presumably because people had to be back at work on Monday. Like everybody else, I was blown away by the Asheville performance on Saturday night. So, I was in great spirits when I arrived in Columbia after a three and a half hour drive through the wonderful mountains displaying beautiful fall colors. When Bob entered the stage Sunday night, the hiatus from the last night had been so short that to me it felt like we were just continuing last night's concert after an intermission. The cool thing about Columbia was that they had an orchestra pit which is a little lower than the regular seats behind them so that people can stand in the orchestra pit and still not block the view of the people sitting in the first rows (I imagine). In any event, I only had a ticket for the balcony but in the total absence of security was just able to walk into the hall down below and make my way to the orchestra pit. There were three security people hanging out in that section and they said that we could stay in the orchestra pit without problems, which we did. So, I was no more than a couple of yards from our hero during the whole concert. The security guys were very friendly, were chatting with people, and people did not give them anything to act on. [Those who were at Asheville will remember that security there was ass-tight until the last two or three songs of the encore when finally the gorillas were pulled off and we could make our way to the front of the stage. If the guy with the case on his arm who I climed over on my way to the stage reads this - my apologies! I meant no harm! :-) ] One disadvantage of being right in front of Bobbie was that while we could hear the instruments, we couldn't really hear his voice very well. So, while I can comment on his movements, his facial expressions, etc., I can't report very much on how is voice sounded or the use of pronouns in TUIB. Perhaps because I was still on my emotional high from the night before and because I thought the setlist in Columbia was so exciting, I felt that Columbia was even a better show than Asheville. Look at Bill Pagel's setlist, reproduced below: 1. Maggie's Farm 2. Pretty Peggy-O 3. Cold Irons Bound 4. Born In Time 5. Can't Wait 6. Silvio 7. Stone Walls and Steel Bars (acoustic) 8. Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) 9. Tomorrow Is A Long Time (acoustic) 10. Friend Of The Devil (acoustic) 11. Make You Feel My Love 12. 'Til I Fell In Love With You (encore) 13. Like A Rolling Stone 14. My Back Pages (acoustic) 15. Love Sick 16. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 He started out strong with Maggie's Farm and got everybody to wake up. Then the beautiful melody of Pretty Peggy-O, followed by the harsh and hard-hitting Cold Irons Bound. I may be the only rmd member who actually loves Watchtower, especially in the concert hall where you can feel the rythms, but I must say that Cold Irons Bound is a respectable alternative. So, my vote is to alternate between Watchtower and Cold Irons Bound from night to night! :-) Then another slow one and beautifully sung. I really connected with Bob on that night and had the feeling that he was very emotional and melancholic. I am basing this most on the acoustic set, followed by the two electric love songs which ended the regular set. Stone Walls has a haunting melody and I am glad that I got to hear it. I hadn't heard it live yet and has hoping that after two Rovin' Gamblers in that slot this year, I'd finally hear Stone Walls and was not disappointed at all. It's a wonderful country tune (I wasn't able to make out the words.) Then another TUIB with a jam that is worth admission alone (I believe it was Bill Parr who said this first and he is absolutely right - that was the highlight of the Asheville show for me and the highlight of the Columbia show until then). Given that he had played Tambourine Man in final slot of the acoustic set of the previous concerts, I expected another one but couldn't believe my ears when I heard the melody of Tomorrow is a long time. Since I had not seen that on any setlist in recent years, it took me three to four lines to recognize it (remember, I also couldn't hear the words very clearly) and was instantly mesmerized. The music is so haunting, the story is so sad ("I can't see my reflection in the waters" - remember the waitress scene from Highlands where he says that he can't draw her and when he draws her it's only a few lines on a napkin which she claims don't look like her. Just like he can't connect with the waitress in Highlands, he can't connect with himself in "Tomorrow" after he's been left by his own true love and is unable to even recognize himself visually). Well, Bobbie completely destroyed me with this performance and I was sobbing "just like a woman" in front of the stage [I am an overweight 36 year old male and no doubt look stupid in that condition if not generally, but on those occasions at least I don't care!] So, when I finally thought the acoustic set was over and the lights had gone out and I expected Bobbie to be wearing the electric guitar, I couldn't believe my eyes, when he told the band to go for another acoustic song. And he played one of the most tender Friends of the Devil that I have heard. I've heard it several times in concert and always like it, but again, this night's performance just was special. I had the feeling that Bob was playing his heart out for his frined Jerry Garcia during this song. At one point during the jam, he went to the back of the stage, facing away from the crowd, put one leg up on a stage prop or something and just learned into his guitar and played it for all it was worth. The whole band, in particular Tony, were looking over at him as if to see whether something was wrong with him, but then they realized (I am projecting here) that what was wrong with him was just that he wanted to get this song right at any cost. [So, here I was again, sobbing!] Then we went back electric and were confronted with "Make you Feel My Love," which I am told was the first live performance. Well, I was in the Highlands by this point anyway and can only tell you that I just stood there in awe for the rest of the concert and kept streching my capacity to feel alive and happy. I was floating in the melody of Make you feel my love and surprised that he ended with Till I fell in Love with You, since I had expected HW61. The encores threw me back and forth, too. I have always interpreted Rolling Stone and Back Pages as songs describing the process of someone who realizes that he was brought up by others and was influenced by the groups he was in but who now is consciously making the decision to make it on his own in this world, to fight it out for himself. Neither song takes the quest for independence, the throwing away of the cruches, lightly, in particular, Rolling Stone points to dangers of the street and the burden that comes with being alone without a fallback. In the context of the 1960s, these two songs for me describe the quest for intellectual independence and the rejection of societal and religious dogma that in my view made Dylan the voice of his generation and the expression of the desire for a reformed, a better world (see also, The Times, they are a-changing). I believe that TOOM in many ways speaks back to these songs, reporting the results of Dylan's personal journey. While Rolling Stone conveyed all the opportunities that the road promised (love, redemption, etc.), TOOM sees him standing in the doorway with "nothing to go back to now." While RS and Back Pages resonate with the excitement of trying out new things, now that he has gained independence, of roaming the world like to a rolling stone to find self-fullfillment and redemption, TOOM speaks of dead streets, the dark land of the sun, getting out of the world and to heaven, etc., etc. In previous songs, he would always look into people's eyes (= I's) to find himself, in TOOM, he's not looking for anything in anyone's eyes. Other lines from TOOM that I think reach back to the excited youngster who wrote RS and My Back Pages are: I wish someone would come and push back the clock for me Some things in life it just gets too late to learn, Well, I'm lost somewhere, I must (have) made a few bad turns All the young men, with the young women lookin' so good well, I'd trade places with any of 'em in a minute, if I could Back to Sunday night's performance: here was a man who I felt was playing his heart out for the things that he loved and lost: Jerry, his youth, his loves, etc. In the early 1980s it seemed that the rolling stone had rolled against a solid rock and had come to a comfortable rest against that foundation. I believe that this solid rock has melted away and now we are seeing the stone rolling again but this time aimlessly and a lot more frightened. That's what I see in TOOM and that's what I thought I saw on stage on Sunday night: a man putting side by side the dreams he once had and probably continues to have, in particular his dream to find, simultaneously, harmony with the world, women, God, and himself, and the honest accounting of what happened to that dream: the world is in chaos (dead strees), no harmony with women (standing in the doorway, the waitress, I was alright til I fell in love with you), no understanding of God's plan ("I'm wondering what in the devil could it all possibly mean"; note the uncertainty expressed in "I know the mercy of God must be near"; also "I know God is my shield and he won't lead me astray, Still I don't know what I'm gonna do, I was alright til I fell in love with you." - Contrast this last line with Highlands: "Well, I'm lost somewhere, I just (have) made a few bad turns." Maybe God won't lead him astray, but he also does not seem to prevent him from making bad turns and getting lost!). So, no harmony in the world, with women, or with God. For someone like Bob Dylan who does not believe in diversity, who believes that we're all of one soul, seeing the lack of harmony in the world, his lack of harmony with women and God, must mean that he cannot be at harmony with himself. Apparently, it's been so long that he has felt general harmony that he won't even do sketches from memory. The waitress doesn't understand that Dylan as an artist cannot draw her "pretty face, with long white shiny legs" even though she is "right here in front of" him. What she doesn't understand is that Dylan is a painter of souls, not of faces. It's been too long since "God and her were born." When he finally relents to her prodding and sketches his insight into her soul, she is offended and angry. And he walks out of the restaurant where the street is busy but nobody is going anywhere. People can be busy walking, but walking away from each other rather than towards each other. In the Highlands we would all be united in harmony with each other, the other sex, God, and most importantly, we would feel whole and undivided. He's already there in his mind but at present doesn't know how to get there completely. Well, as usual, I got carried away. To sum it up: the Song and Dance man stopped in Columbia on Sunday and played a few tunes that were pleasant to the ear. I enjoyed it a little bit and am back "at the same old page, same old rat race, life in the same old cage." Best, Gert
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