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Bob Dylan 990302 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Date: Thu, 04 Mar 1999 12:00:01 -0800
From: "Michael W. Harris" (
Subject: Las Vegas- House Of Blues

    Getting to this show was an exercise in frustration for me. After
making airplane and Mandalay Bay room reservations three weeks in
advance, I was ready on the phone at 10 A.M. when tickets went on sale
on the 13th. I struck out.
 Tickets were gone in 15 minutes. I was lucky, after many more calls to
ticket agencys, to get one from a Vegas ticket service for a reasonable
price. I was informed that they could not get tickets in hand until the
night of the show. This had me worried. I got to the hotel at 9:00,
checked in, and went over to the House Of Blues. The hotel was only
allowing people with reservations in the building at this point. There
was a private party going on in the House Of Blues with the Blues Bros.
so quite alot of people were already inside. Looking for the line to get
in to the Dylan show [at midnight], we saw 8 people against the wall and
got in line. I still did not have my ticket in hand. At 10:30 I finally
made contact with the lady who was getting my ticket from the box
office. She was told at the window that there was nothing listed in the
computer for her! My heart sank. We were sent to another window across
the room. This time it worked! Got my ticket, got back in line, and the
doors opened 15 min. later. I was one of the first people in the room,
and went straight for the floor in front of the stage. There was one guy
at center stage and I got directly behind him, about 12 feet from Bob's
mic. This is where I watched the show from.
     I have never been this close to any performer at a concert. The
band came out under strobe lights and right from the downbeat it was
incredible. Bob was on it right from the start and stayed that way the
entire night. He was very much in command of the situation, and his
vocals and guitar playing were very confident. The band was very tight,
as you might expect. As usual, he was dancing around, posing, and making 
funny faces. The setlist was pretty typical, but still great from my
perspective. "To Ramona" was very unexpected and a real highlight. In
general, throughout the night there were only a couple of muffed lyrics,
and the out of tune guitar notes were down to a bare minimum. As others
have commented, Bob is letting Larry take more command during the solos.
The interplay between the two of them was great, with each being able to
play solos simultaneously without stepping on each other.
    Rather than go through song by song, I'm just going to say that from
where I was standing the entire show was great! The only real bummer was
the shortened setlist. Only 13 out of the usual 16. But to see Bob Dylan
at midnight in a place like the House Of Blues, standing right at the
edge of the stage, looking straight up at him, is a once in a lifetime
   By the way, Bono came out during the encore to sing "Heavens Door".
This was pretty cool, but Bob seems to shy away from the mic when
there's another big name performer on stage with him. He sang the first
verse and kinda let Bono sing the rest, with the two of them singing the
choruses together. Bono improvised the verses at the end, saying
something about Bob's cowboy boots, that Bob had "nothing to gain and
alot to lose", and that Bob was close to his heart. The band was
cracking up at this.
    They closed with a great version of "Not Fade Away", and that was
it. An experience well worth my trouble and one that I'll never forget.

Michael Harris

Subject: Las Vegas Last Night (early in the morning) From: Robert_Fuhrel ( Date: 3 Mar 1999 15:22:09 -0800 OK, I'm ready for the flames and all but here goes my view of last night. I got there at eight pm hoping to see Bob more closely than the last five times I saw him, in spring of '66 in Jacksonville (always thought it was fall of '65 but Richard Batey has kindly corrected that lately), '76 RTRevue in Gainesville, '78 in Lakeland, '95 or '96 at The Joint (Hard Rock, Las Vegas) and Star of the Desert Arena, Buffalo Bill's, Primm, NV, in '97 (lately the years seem less distinct than the shows). Mandalay Bay didn't open to us commoners til about ten pm, but we were allowed to move closer to the doors at nine. Fortunately it was a gorgeous LV night with full moon and plenty of folks to gawk at. Finally got in and waited in line inside the casino but outside House of Blues at 10:45, inside HoB at 11:20 or so. So I'd been standing, having paid to stand and see Bob, for almost four and a half hours by the time he came on, but I was no more than twenty-five feet from him, so it was well worth it! I had bought a poster (inaccurate, it says 8:00 pm!) and had to hold it during the concert so couldn't write down the songs as they happened, but I've got most, and no doubt I should catch hell for forgetting any but someone will supply the complete setlist. Besides, I didn't want to get out of place to buy a drink so I had to rely on the flask of Black Bush I'd thought to bring along. Bob wore a black suit, white accents above jacket pockets and stripes on pants, wild boots, a gray shirt with a narrow white tie, no hat. Looked lean and fit. Opened with Gotta Serve Somebody and went right into Million Miles, then a fine Stuck Inside of Mobile, with interesting, precise and clear phrasing. Bob's vocals were strong all night, in great voice; my only criticism of the sound was that Bucky was mixed a bit low on pedal and loud on mandolin. Can't say the drumming was anything but predictable and competent, not overbearing and not exciting. Bob was into the show, IMHO, from the beginning, and seldom did that lag. I'd never seen him so animated, but then again I'd never seen him so close. Lots of smiles, grimaces, almost winks, nods, shuffles, spreads, almost hops, leg raises, and so on, but always seeming to be enjoying if sometimes almost making fun of his "rock star status" as if gesturing to the jewelry-rattlers in the reserved section "Hey, you forgot it could be this alive!" I had met some folks from LA who have seen Bob over twenty times, and they loved it as much as I, if that's possible. Sorry I can't comment more technically on the music, but Tony and Larry were outstanding, both playing off Bob more than I expected. I guess I figured they'd be the main musicians and he'd play some lead, but he often played as much lead guitar, and especially on acoustic it was very well done. The order of the other songs escapes me, but early on was a fine Just Like a Woman, a fairly humdrum Silvio, an absolutely delightful, surprising, countrified To Ramona (I think the highlight of the show), strong Tangled Up in Blue. Friend of the Devil struck me as possibly a bit off-key but maybe it just has some of those weird chords I've read about lately, but in all the acoustic songs Bob got into some really rocking leads. Hiway 61 was loud but clear, Can't Wait quite strong, Not Fade Away didn't fade away but ended with a bang, and I didn't want to hear it only because I knew it would probably be the last song. There must have been at least one encore song before Bono walked out, never announced, and he and Bob slapped together a Knockin' on Heaven's Door, a bit out of sync at first, but then smoothing out, and eventually Bono singing a verse for the occasion, something like "Bobby Dylan's gone too far; I wear him here, close to my heart; black and white tie and cowboy shoes; he's got nothing to win and plenty (or lots) to lose; here we are in the House of Blues" or something approximating all of that, to everyone's delight, though sometimes he's a quite pompous ass for an Irishman, last night he was most pleasant, and Bob seemed to dig it. At the end of the show and after the encore, Bob seemed a bit dazed for just a moment, no doubt from expending that much energy, and he gave some nice bows and approaches to the crowd but no handshakes or autographs or hugs, except some solid shakes with Bono. Now, I know I must have left out at least one song and commented insufficiently about the others (I was hoping for a few notes on harp at least and a longer show, thinking Bob has a few days off before Spain) but I was still blown away by the strength and clarity of his vocals, the way he can bend familiar phrases and stretch them and yet still manage to fit them into the line, sometimes at the last minute, and his apparent vitality, which should enhearten us all. I hope for all of y'all's sake that someone can write with greater erudition on the performance of the songs, but I was just awed. Had to hold the poster, however, so I couldn't wave and clap as much as I would have liked, but I know Bob knows I was there, and I'll always be glad I had this chance to see him once again. What a pure treat. The man should be officially recognized as a living national treasure. Bob Fuhrel

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