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Bob Dylan 971213 at the Club Metro, Chicago, IL

Subject: Chicago Metro 12/13/97
From: Raymond Smith (
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 1997 10:09:57 GMT

Since no one else has posted the set list:

Metro, Dec. 13, 1997

1. Maggie's Farm
2. If Not for You
3. Cold Iron Bounds
4. Shooting Star
5. Can't Wait
6. Silvio
7. Cocaine Blues @
8. John Brown @
9. Tangled Up In Blue  @
10. Memphis Blues Again
11. Blind Willie McTell
12. 'Til I Fell In Love With You

13. Highway 61 Revisited
14. It Ain't Me Babe @
15. Love Sick
16. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

This was from memory and I might have gotten Cocaine and John Brown in
the wrong order (someone correct me if I'm wrong!)

Anyway, this was a remarkable show.  Having seen him in such a small
venue, it will be hard to see him in an amphitheater or stadium again!
I am convinced that Rock and Roll is made to be played in small places
such as this.  He really brought a great presence to the music.  It
was right there.  This is as fine a show as I have seen him put on in
over 20 years.

The whole band seemed very tight to me.  This was the first time I
have seen the TOOM material played live and it sounded great,
particularly Love Sick and Cold Irons Bound.  Even the songs that I
have grown a bit tired of live (Highway 61  and Rainy Day Women)
sounded strong, I think because it was all so close - you could touch
it!  I also liked it when the house lights came up during Rainy Day
Women.  You could see all the faces of everyone, even up in the
balcony.  Other highlights were certainly Tangled Up In Blue, Blind
Willie McTell and It Ain't Me Babe.

A couple side notes:

 - I thought the Metro staff handled the show very well.  They were
very polite and even had hot coffee and donuts available  for people
in line before the doors opened.  How those waitresses can manuver
through the packed crowd carrying two trays full of beers is beyond
me.  I have a hard enough time carrying just one from my refrigerator
to my couch! :)

 - Quite a few people were walking around looking to get tickets.  I
have no idea if many people got any or not but it looked like a
seller's market.

 - I believe the balcony was closed to the public and was "VIPs-only".
Everyone up there was wearing some sort of sticker.

 - They were selling cardboard posters promoting the concert at Metro
with the dates and time on them.  They were selling like hotcakes!
($15 ea.)  

Ray Smith

Subject: Dylan in Chicago, 12/13 (review) From: Mike Stillman ( Date: 14 Dec 1997 22:28:18 GMT Even the most jaded Dylan veterans were shaking their heads in wonder last night. The first of two nights at the cozy Cabaret Metro was an absolute triumph for Dylan and his band, guaranteed to deplete anyone's supply of superlatives. From the very first note of MAGGIE'S FARM, the band played with great precision and power, the musicians listening to one another as well as the leader. Bob was in great voice, dipping easily into the low timbres that are so much a part of his inflective palette, and most amazingly, took one or more guitar solos in almost every song (!), taking great delight in his terse jabbing guitar statements and making frequent contact with the crowd at close quarters. After Maggie, the band launched into a sweet IF NOT FOR YOU, with Bob boldly declaring, "I wouldn't have a clue! If not for you!" while looking directly into the audience with his ice-blue eyes. The new guitarist, Larry Campbell, rarely strums a simple chord, instead playing a variety of detailed arpeggios and colorations of great subtlety, in service to the needs of the song and the band; in short, he was excellent. Next came COLD IRONS BOUND, which opened atmospherically with a low hum but then became a potent rocker. Each of the new songs had all of the detail and layers of the album versions, but took on more power and immediacy, each note being played with meaning rather than as part of the conceptualized sonic tapestry of the album. Though the CD is probably my favorite of the year, it sounds mannered and artificial when compared to these live versions, and that is due in no small part to the drumming of David Kemper. Next was the tour's first performance of SHOOTING STAR, during which I noticed how much Kemper achieved through efficiency of movement, never having to cross a hand over his body to reach a cymbal, each limb in its own quadrant. For the last ten years, since producer Don Was figured out that the snare drum usurped some of the tonal space needed for Dylan's voice, his drummers have played very little snare, and Kemper adapts to this restriction very well. Since being unceremoniously sacked from the Jerry Garcia Band in '93 after a decade of meritorious service, Kemper has become the catalyst of this excellent Dylan band, constantly watching Bob for the slightest of cues and then instantly shifting. Last night, he exchanged several exultant smiles with Bob and Tony Garnier, his partner in the rhythm section. Then came CAN'T WAIT, which took on a bit of a tropical lilt due to Bucky Baxter phrasing his pedal steel like a Hawaiian slide guitar, bathed in pink light. But then the tropical phase ended as Kemper banged a powerful tom-tom riff that caused great drama and tension, and of course the "winds in Chicago, tearing me to shreds" line was very well-received on this cold December day. Next was the Hunter-Garcia composition SILVIO in its usual #6 slot, an uptempo ending to the first electric set. Bob and Larry immediately strapped on their acoustic guitars, and Bucky stood up with his mandolin. Tony Garnier, dwarfed by his stand-up bass, played a few bluesy notes, and then the band launched into COCAINE, which didn't draw the pro-drug cheers that it would have drawn fifteen or twenty years ago, but was still appreciated for the excellent ensemble playing and Bob's two or three idiosyncratic guitar solos that had the flavor of the Mississippi Delta (or maybe the Minnesota Delta). Next was JOHN BROWN. I wasn't familiar with this song, but my friend Fritz Eifrig knew it from the Dylan-Dead rehearsal tapes that circulate among collectors. The last song in the short acoustic set was TANGLED UP IN BLUE, a definite crowd-pleaser, well-performed but not revelatory (ya can't expect a revelation every song, buddy). The equipment crew brought back the freshly-tuned electric guitars, and the band played the Chicago Blues style riff that signaled STUCK INSIDE OF MOBILE (WITH THE MEMPHIS BLUES AGAIN). This is another of those songs that I've known since I was a little kid with a few records back in the 1960's, something that's always been a part of my life, and it was a kick to see Bob standing a few feet away from me, belting it out. He still has plenty of curly hair and that hooked nose, so in profile he looks like the same Bob from that Milton Glaser psychedelic pop art poster that was in so many dormitories and bedrooms in the '60s and '70s. Then came an excellent BLIND WILLIE McTELL, with Larry on the bouzouki, a Greek stringed instrument with a body shaped like a halved pear, which sounds a bit like a mandolin. Okay, it's almost time to get in line for tonight's show, so I'm going to have to cut this a bit short, but the main part of the show ended with TIL I FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU from the new album, which might not seem like a set closer but was made into one with an edgy performance from Bob, stepping right out onto the edge of the stage and looking into the crowd, playing a guitar lick and then raising his eyebrows with a "What have we got here?" expression, and the band pulling out all the stops. First encore was HWY 61 REVISITED, Bucky playing blues slide licks, Dylan making faces at the women in the first few rows. Next was IT AIN'T ME BABE on acoustic. On record, the tender verses are balanced by the "get away from me" tone of the chorus, but tonight Bob sang the chorus with a tinge of sadness that brought new meaning to the song for me. There was a tone of regret that he couldn't be the man that the woman needed, something I never heard from this song before. The old version was about a woman who wanted a relationship with Dylan, but in this version, maybe the relationship has already happened, and Bob has come to new realizations about himself and the fact that he can't be what this woman needs. I thought I was tired of this song, but I wasn't. Next encore was LOVE SICK, with Bucky playing both organ parts on the pedal steel, very effective. Last was RAINY DAY WOMEN # 12 and #45, everyone dancing, you can imagine it. Great show! I gotta go. _.,-*~'`^'*-,._ _.,-*'`^'*-,. '*-,._ Mike Stillman '*-, '*-,.__.,-*' Chicago, IL _.,-*~'`^'*-,._ '*-,._.,-*'`^ '
December Setlists