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Bob Dylan 980521 in Los Angeles, California

       Pauley Pavilion
       Capacity: 12,700 
       Ticket prices: $86 
       Ticketmaster phone number: 213-480-3232 
       Triple bill with Joni Mitchell & Van Morrison 

Subject: Re: May 21, 1998 - Los Angeles, California From: ( Date: 22 May 1998 17:16:33 GMT I thought this was a very good show. Bob was strong right from the start, with Just Like A Woman the high point early on. Unlike the last time I heard it (the El Rey), he was anything but subdued, really yelling out the "YEAHHHH" a couple of times in a somewhat jarring but very effective manner. It did seem, though, that the performance lost some steam from about Silvio through most of Tangled Up in Blue. In particular, something seemed to break Dylan's concentration after the first verse of Rank Strangers, which also suffered from overdone hick-style background vocals. But the show picked up again when Bob took up his harmonica. Though I was pretty far from the stage, it looked as though he started playing it while still out of range of the microphone -- like he was sort of teasing people with whether he'd actually do a solo or not. Then he pushed his guitar back and blew (reminding me quite a bit of Bruce Springsteen). Probably not one of his better solos, but a lot of fun. Another good thing about the show -- the time constraints, or something, seem to have caused him to cut back on the jamming on many songs, which I found to be a plus overall. Most of the tunes had a kind of bouncy pop feel -- unlike his co-headliners, he got to the point and then moved on. I thought this was especially notable on an excellent "Highway 61," where the vocals took center-stage for a change. The "Mac the Finger" verse was especially good, with Bob rasping it out one sharp syllable at a time, sort of musically hyperventilating. As for Van Morrison, he wasn't nearly as obnoxious as the last couple of times I've seen him. While he did sing "It's just a fucking job, you know, it ain't Sweet Lorraine" and ended the same song by saying "Fuck it," he seemed to do it playfully -- unlike a few years ago in San Francisco, when not long before (and after) singing the line, "I've got a rainbow in my soul," he told a woman in the audience: "Oh fuck, shut up," "Shut the fuck up." And Mark Isham(?) played several pleasant trumpet solos. Finally, the security people didn't seem to be frisking anyone. Sorry about any factual errors.
Subject: Re: May 21, 1998 - Los Angeles, California From: Jim.Hori@ElSegundoCA.NCR.COM Date: 22 May 1998 11:36:56 -0700 This was an extraordinary evening of music. Van Morrison, contrary to some reports of other shows on this tour, was magnificent, in great voice, and vamping and improvising with joy and imagination. Joni Mitchell hasn't written a memorable melody in years, her lyrical style has veered from the poetic to the pedantic, and she played too many slow songs in minor keys, but there was still something sweet and winning about her. Dylan was in a great mood, playing the rock'n'roller with as much ebullience as he can show, the band supporting him with a thick groove on the rockers, and delicate taste on the ballads. I think now that the reworked melodies are often the result of his diminished vocal flexibility, most noticeable on "Just Like A Woman", but other songs requiring a deft touch, like the surprising closer "Restless Farewell", were just right. That closer, a hypnotically driving "Tangled Up in Blue", and the crisp opening "Absolutely Sweet Marie", were my highlights. I've seen him several times since my first show, the currently being discussed '65 Hollywood Bowl concert, and I will see him every chance I get in the future. Unlike so many of that generation, he is not going through the motions and fading away. Rather, he is as vital now as he was then. .... jimh

May Setlists Tour