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Bob Dylan 981102 in Syracuse, New York

Subject: Syracuse review
From: todd battaglia (
Date: 3 Nov 1998 10:34:09 -0800

Review of Syracuse, November 2

First, a few random points:
1) Dave Alvin is excellent, so much so that I may buy some of his music
based on his brief set alone. Unfortunately, I don't think many people were
paying attention.
2) Joni Mitchell - now I'll leave the review of her set up to those who know
and like her music.  Suffice it to say that if any one of her songs were
good, then they were all good, because they all sounded nearly identical to
me.  in adition, she introduced one of her songs with some out random
comment about women in Ireland, up until 1972, being imrprisoned for being
single or attractive.  Now, I don't know much Irish history, so I'll defer
the validity of that statement.  But then she said a similar thing was
attempted here in America.  In all my years of schoolin' I ain't 'member
nuthin like dat.
3)  Dylan came close to filling this 8000 seat glorified hockey shed.  It
was probably 75-80% full.  Still, I wish he were playing the Landmark
Theater with it's perfect acoustics and 2200 seat intimacy.  On that note,
concession stands selling alcohol is standard, but beer venders roaming the
aisles? Are we at a ball game?  Where're the hot dogs and foam fingers?
4)  The sound was not nearly as bad as I had anticipated.  The instruments
were clear, and for the most part so was Bob's voice.  If anything, his
voice was mixed a little too loud, because the only time it became unclear
was we he sang more forcefully.  Overall though, not bad.  I hope this was
true from others' seats as well.

Anyway, to the show
-Gotta Serve Somebody
Completely expected by anyone who's been following the setlists.  Nothing
exceptional, but could appreciate the lyrical changes, including the
"husband - bride" verse.  Bob was completely animated from the start
however.  I often worry that when he strings a bunchh of shows together on
consecutive nights, his shows suffer, but no evidence of fatigue tonight.

-Million Miles
The first of *FIVE* TOOM tunes we'd get tonight.  Well done and rocking.

-Stuck Inside of Mobile
A highlight, especially for the show Bob put on.  He danced, he strutted, he
shimmied, he shook.  Either somebody has been giving him B12 shots or he's
been watching videotapes of a young Muhammed Ali, but Bob moved more in this
song than he's done in the previos dozen times I've seen him.  Great guitar
work to boot.

Make You Feel My Love
- Always felt this was a pretty "cheesy" tune, but it gains something live.
When Bob carresses those lyrics, they seem to take on a deeper meaning.
Unfortunately, he didn't do that entirely, as he seemed to sing a little too
forcefully at times.  Speech at the end something like "Wrote that one for
Garth Brooks.  He did it pretty well. Hope I did it as good as he did."

Can't Wait
-Snarling and sneering.  Bob can make this one sound like you've been caught
in the hellfires.  Excellent.

- Mama, You Been On My Mind
Nice guitar intro, Bob steps to the mic, I start to sing along - "They sat
together in the park"..... oops, wrong tune.  Whoever commented in their
review of a recent show about how much it starts off sounding lie Simple
Twist of Fate couldn't be more correct.  Bob fooled around with the harp
during the intro, but never really went anywhere with it.  Beautiful
treatment of the song, however, getting a great response form the crowd.

-Hard Rain
Nothing fancy but very nice. Crowd singing the last line of the chorus adds
a nice touch.

-Tangled Up In Blue
By far the crowd favorite of the evening.  Huge response, crisply played,
even a solid harp solo at the end.

-Don't Think Twice
Band intros were somewhere around this point.  When introducing David
Kemper, Bob says "he's played with everybody from ?????? to Cab Calloway.
Now he's playing with me."

-Born In Time
Always been one of my favorites.  "I pulled you close and got just what I
deserve" has always seemed to me one of the most heartbreaking lines Bob's
ever written.

-Highway 61
Strong guitar work by Bob and Larry.  Not to judge, but Larry really needs a
haircut.  He looks like he should be in .38 Special of the Eagles (Timothy
B. Schmidt - wasn't that the guy's name?).  Bob takes his guitar off about
30 seconds before the song is over to start his bows.

-Love Sick
No big surprises.  I wonder if Bob would find it funny if someone in the
front row lifted up their shirt and had Soy Bomb painted on their chest.

- Rainy Day Women
The masses love it, but it's time to retire this one, especially if you're
not using it to close the show.  So Many other great tunes can fill this
"loud song" spot.  Still, professional as always.

- Blowing In the Wind
I really like this new arrangement.  Definitive version?  Really nailed the
harmonies on the chorus tonight.

- 'Till I Fell In Love With You
Don't remember any specifics.

- It Ain't Me, Babe
Another song I've heard many times but never seem to tire of.  Great
acoustic work, could hear Tony's bass really well.

All in all, no big surprises, but as this was the first show I've been able
to see in a year or so, it was nice to get so many songs from TOOM.  On to
Rochester with fingers crossed.

Todd Battaglia

Subject: Syracuse Review... From: (Anthony Fappiano) Date: 4 Nov 1998 02:27:22 -0500 Well, last night's show was the best Dylan show I have ever seen. It was my fifth and after mail ordering I was very contenet with my seats. We were about 20th row relatively centered. We didn't get there in time to see the first opening band, but we were seated about ten minutes before Joni's set. She opened with Big Yellow Taxi and about halfway through the song noted that "Bob Dylan wrote this next verse" She then proceeded to immitate Bob and actually did a damn good job. Very humorous moment. The rest of the set had a Holiday Inn lounge act feel about it although she seemed to get the crowd into it from time to time. One downside was the lack of intensity showed by the crowd. I have never seen so many balding middle aged men with BMW keychains in my life. Not to say this is always a bad thing, but most of these men were in a bad mood for most of the show and some even threatened me when I refused to sit down during the show. Not that I was discouraged. I am prety sure though, that I was the youngest person in the entire first section of the floor seating. The crowd for the most part, was dead, but they were knowledgeable for the most part. There was one one guy who was upset because Bob now played an electric guitar with a band. I smiled at this guy. What else could I do besides smile? 33 years after Newport, and this guy's pissed becuase Bob has gone electric....There's really no point in arguing with someone like that. The set started around 9:40 and I knew I had my work cut out for me if I wanted to stand and dance for the entire show....but I love a challenge. the set: 1. Gotta Serve A really good rendition. It became obvious right from the beginning that Bob was very happy, and if I'm not mistaken, very stoned. He was grinning and rasing his eyebrows at the first few rows. The duck-walk was ever so apparent on this evening. IN the past when I've seen Bob, he's hardly moved two inches all night. But tonight he was reallly happy and very energetic. The crowd sat all around me, but I jammed in the aisle anyway. The BMW men frowned. I laughed. 2.Million Miles Sounded good to me. Heard every word clearly and Bob really seemed involved. The crowd sat, and I danced. Again the BMW's frowned. I grinned. 3. Stuck Inside Wow! Blew me away. Very jammed out. Almost sounded like a Dead show when Bob put his head back and went to work on the strings. His guitar work in this song was his best work of the show. He also couldn't stop duck-walking. I still can't get over what a great mood he was in. 4. Make you feel my love This song has been cheapened by Joel and Brooks, but I have alwasy wanted to hear Bob sing it live since despite the goofy lyrics it has a good melody. Bob noted how he'd wrote the song for Garth and how he hoped that he'd done as good a job with it as Garth had. The crowd remained seated. I heard the BMW keychains jiggle. 5. Can't Wait Bob displayed an excellent sense of anger in this song. You could really hear him getting mad as he spat out each word...This was my favorite TOOM song of the night. 6. Mama, you been on my mind INteresting choice here. I hadn't noticed it on the setlists leading up to the show so I was surprise to see it here. It was nice tune, nothing to get too excited about though in my opinion. 7. Hard Rain This song seemed to lift the crowd a bit. I had an encounter with a security guard during this one because I refused to sit down. I wasn't even dancing (how can you really dance to Hard Rain?) I was just standing and enjoying. The guard told me I had to sit down. I enquired as to where on my ticket it said that I had to sit down. They said that common courtesy dictated that I sit down so the people behind me could enjoy the show. I told them common courtesy dictated that the people behind me stand up so that Bob could enjoy the show. They got tired of my double talk and left me alone. My grin was enormous. 8. Tangled By far the crowd's favorite song of the night. Normally I get tired of hearing this show after show, but there was something about this version. Maybe it was cause it was the best damn tangled I've eevr heard. I don't know what it was about this particualr version but it jst ignited me as well as the rest of the crowd. Ordinarily, I keep my dancing on a tasteful level, but I let it all hang out on this number. I was literally bouncing up and down for the whole tune. I think even the BMW's smiled. 9. Don't Think Twice Good version of a great tune. I've heard better but still enjoyed it. The rush of Tangle dwas not enough to keep the crowd standing and they returned to their seats for this one. Security lightened up considerably after Tangled and I was not bothered for the rest of the show. 10. Born in Time I thought this was a strange thing for Bob to follow up with, but I'd never heard it beofre and it sounded pretty good. 11. Hwy-61 Remakrable version of this clasic tune. Crowd go into it a little more, particualrly the kids up in the cheaper seats. Bob really moved around for this one cracking smiles on a regular basis. I considered myself lucky to have heard such a good set and prepared for the encore. encore: 1. Lovesick Pretty standard version. A small group decided to rush the stage at this point and a few were succesful. The BMW's really frowned when they saw that. Normally I'm opposed to stage rushing, but I love to see the BMW's when they get flustered. Suddeny all of their executive power isn't worth a damn thing. The main problem for most of these guys is that they have trouble distinguishing between a polo atch and a Bob Dylan show. They're nice enough people, they just need to lighten up. 2. Rainy Day woman the danksters loved this one (yes there are a few danksters in Syracuse!). But I've heard this one too many times. It just doesn't do much for me. Still, it didn't sop me from dancing up a storm. At this point, I met the nicest lady I've eevr met in my ife...more on that later. 3. Blowin Excellent! Really loved hearing this for the first time... 4. Til I fell in Love Pretty good, but this song bores me. I couldn't get in to it. 5. It Ain't Me Babe I was dissaponted to not hear Forever Young, but this was still pretty good. This was really a fantastic show on every level. In the middle of Rainy Day woman this woman approached me, tapped me on the shoulder, and gave me five original photographs three of Bob and tow of Jerry Garcia. This was absolutely incredible...And before I even had chance to thank her, she was gone. But what a moment. I've been to 50+ rock and roll shows in my life and this wasa far and away the coolest thing that anyone has ever done for me. So if you read this, I just wanna let you know that I couldn't have asked for a better thing right at that moment. I'm not sure, but I think she gave them to me because she appreciated the fact that I was dancing for the entire show. As she walked away she gave me the thumbs up sign and I now have a fantastic memory to go along with with a fantastic show experience. Thanks everyone! -.F.

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