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Bob Dylan 990727 in New York City

Subject: msg 7/27/99
From: Peter Stone Brown 
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 02:53:33 -0400

It wasn't that easy to go to Madison Square Garden with the Tramps show
still in my mind, figuring that Dylan would resume the typical Simon
tour setlist.  At 8:30 most of the crowd had settled in and the lights
dimmed and Dylan and the band started off with a pretty strong "Cocaine"
with Larry playing slide on his acoustic.  Unlike Tramps, I could see
everybody at once on stage.  The one downside of Tramps was trying to
find a comfortable line of sight between various heads and shoulders and
of course the minute you found one someone would move and you'd have to
start all over again.  

"Tambourine Man" followed with the crowd going nuts when Dylan picked up
the harp and then a more than masterful "Hard Rain" with Larry and
Charlie singing harmony on the chorus.  On the second chorus Dylan all
of a sudden became really alive and started leaning into it and
continued that way through the night.

A more than fine "Love Minus Zero" came next with Larry on steel, but I
started feeling ok, this is what I thought it was gonna be a good Bob
Dylan concert.  Throughout this song and just about all the others
Dylan's left leg seemed to have a mind of it's own, bringing to mind
early Nat Hentoff and Shelton articles where they'd talk about how he
couldn't sit still talking and his leg would always be moving.

"Tangled" took things up a notch with Dylan starting to play around with
the phrasing and repeating lines somehow almost getting two lines into
the space of one.  When he turned around to get his harp doing a little
Dylan dance over to where his harps were on the amps behind him the
audience sitting behind the stage erupted and Dylan acknowledged them
with more of his dance and played the first few bars of the solo to

The lights went down and when they came up Dylan's acoustic was replaced
with his strat, and Charlie still had his his cherry red Gibson J-200
and Larry had a mandolin.  They started playing something unfamiliar and
strange and I was trying to figure out what it was.  Dylan kind of
mumbled the first line but I caught the second and Oh My God, it's
"Highlands!"   Once I got over the shock of him actually doing it I
quickly followed along.  As various people reported about the Chula
Vista version, he did the whole thing, making little changes here and
there.  Hard boiled egg became soft boiled eggs and stuff like that. 
Without the "Charlie Patton guitar riff" that haunts the studio version,
the song had a different feel (but what Dylan song performed by him live
doesn't have a different feel than the studio version) but Larry's
mandolin the territory of Sleepy John Estes when the great blues
mandolin player Yank Rachell accompanied him -- Tennessee blues instead
of Delta blues.  I'm not sure how much of the audience knew what was
going on.  Many did. The Neil Young line received a burst of applause
and seemed to draw a lot of people into it.  The guy in front of me
appeared to me checking his answering machine on his cell phone.  And
there was a certain tension in seeing if he'd make it through the whole
song, but he did, and then wondering if he'd take a guitar solo, and for
once I almost wanted him to take a solo but after the last line he
signaled the band and brought it to a quick conclusion.

There wasn't much he could to follow that, but rock and rock they did
into a blistering "Watchtower" with Dylan resuming his thing of
repeating lines, "And the wind/And the wind began to howl."  

"Just Like A Woman" with Larry on steel came next with a pretty good
harp solo at the end which ended with a trick ending where after the
between verse riff you almost thought he was going to play a whole other
solo, but he just blew a few more notes and they ended it.  

Sylvio followed with Charlie singing strong gutsy harmony and they left
the stage.  There were no band introductions and there were no jokes.

"Like A Rolling Stone" with Charlie stepping out on lead, and "Blowin'
In the Wind" were the encores.  Then Dylan said, "I'd like to bring on
someone who I hate to say it has been around as long as I have" (or
something like that) Paul Simon.  And Simon came out to a big round of
hometown applause and into "Sounds of Silence."  

Having seen both bands back the duets, Dylan's band was easily the more
sympathetic one, and once again "Sounds of Silence" was the standout of
the duets, with Tony bowing the string bass and the band paying
attention to the dynamics.  The "I Walk The Line"/"Blue Moon of
Kentucky" medley was easily superior to the "That'll Be The Day"/"The
Wanderer," but not by all that much, though Larry played killer fiddle
on "Blue Moon."  While a lot of people have commented that Dylan is
restrained on the duets (and he does let Simon pretty much take the
leads) I had the feeling at this concert that for whatever reason he is
just being really careful with his singing, almost to the point that he
seems uncomfortable.  While Larry and and Charlie provided really nice
falsetto oohs for "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," this version remains
pretty much of a joke stripping it of whatever spooky feeling it
originally had.

The duets kind of brought things down a notch, but otherwise a very good
concert and obviously, "Highlands" made the night.
"Where the angels' voices whisper to the souls of previous times." 
--Bob Dylan
Peter Stone Brown 

Subject: Re: msg 7/27/99 From: Craig Pinkerton Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 04:04:16 -0400 Two "Once-in-a-lifetime" shows back to back?????I'm soooo jealous!!!!!!
Subject: Salman Rushdie From: KReilly Date: 01 Aug 1999 02:56:43 GMT I sat one row behind Salman Rushdie during the MSG show. During the intermission someone actually brought him a tattered copy of Satanic Verses to sign. The guy to my right, who was seated directly behind Rushdie, commented on how great Dylan was. I agreed and said that it was going to be difficult for me to make it through Simon's set and that my friend and I would most likely leave early. He said he'd probably be leaving early as well because he'd come to see Dylan. During "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" Rushdie and his woman-friend got up and danced throughout the song (this made staying worth it for me). But right after the song was over the two guys to my right and Rushdie and his friend all got up and left together.
Date: Mon, 02 Aug 1999 20:01:59 -0700 From: Carsten Wohlfeld To: CC:, Subject: June 27, 1999 - new york, ny - a review Bob Dylan New York, New York, July 27, 1999 Madison Square Garden A review by Carsten Wohlfeld It was an almost impossible task to follow up the tremendous Tramps show with an equally exciting gig a the Garden, but hey, Bob wouldn‚t be Bob if he could manage it somehow. And so there he was, taking to the stage at the sold out Garden (they even sold the seats behind the stage, so there was no curtain behind the band and a scaled down lightshow) at 8.20pm. And even though they opened with my least favourite coverversion, tonight‚s take on Cocaine (acoustic) was actually quite enjoyable with Larry and Charlie singing back up. Larry played acoustic slide guitar and put in a very fine solo. Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic) followed inevitably and was pretty lame at the start but halfway through Bob woke up and it got better, only to end with a quite long harmonica solo. A Hard Rain‚s A-Gonna Fall (acoustic) Very good version despite the fact that he almost sang too loud a couple of times. This spring Larry and Bucky always had trouble to singi along with Bob during the chorus, cause he‚d change the phrasing so much, but tonight all three fortunately could agree on how to sing it. Love Minus Zero/No Limit (acoustic) Wonderful version with Larry on pedal steel. Sung very gently, and just at the right pace, it was just perfect. *swoon* Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) was nothing special apart from the fact that it included the rare ≥italian poet„ verse. Bob forgot the words to the seond half of that verse... And we got yet another harp solo, this time partly played facing the people behind the stage. First standing ovation followed. Then I thought ≥the greatest song ever written is next„, obviously referring to ≥All Along The Watchtower„, but then again, they don‚t do ≥Watchtower„ with David on drums, Larry on mandolin, Bob and Charlie on electric guitars and Tony on double bass (!). So it must‚ve been time for: Highlands I do like the version on the record, but this was soooooo much better. Especially the mandolin and the more varied drum part really improved it and it wasn‚t boring at all (even though Bob seemed to do almost, if not all of the lyrics, it was shorter than on the record). And his vocals were just perfect. It sounded as if he‚s singing the song every night - twice! Bob just never stops to amaze me... All Along The Watchtower Ahhh, the greatest song of all time after all, with Charlie on acoustic. Much better version than Hartford, despite the fact that Bob forgot the first lines of the last verse! The ending as really loud, fast and dramatic and very good indeed. Just Like A Woman Larry on pedal steel. Not exactly a killer version, though it got better nearer to the end and included a harp solo that never really took off. Probably the lowpoint of the show, but then again it is of course almost impossible to top ≥Highlands„ and ≥All Along The Watchtower„. And without band intros (Bob didn‚t say a word apart from one ≥thank you ladies and gentlemen„ and the Paul Simon intro later on). they went staright to the last song: Silvio Featured an all new, improvised first verse (or he was mumbling so bad that I thought it was new) and apart from that it was the usual riff-o-rama and a fun way to end the show. Especially since when you heard him do ≥Highway„ as the last song for like 25 consecutive times. (encore) Like A Rolling Stone 1965 revisited, the twangy guitar sound and all. Great version though still slightly too slow (but too fast for Dylan to sing the ending of certain lines nonetheless). It‚s great to see how much fun the band still has doing the song though. Blowin‚ In The Wind (acoustic) was ≥Blowin„. Then he mumbled something as a way of introducing Paul Simon, I didn‚t get it at all, but then Simon walked on stage, got a standing ovation and they did: Sounds Of Silence as gorgeous as the version I heard in Hartford, even though Bob‚s voice was not as strong/loud this time. Larry on pedal steel, Bob on harp halfway through. Looking forward to hearing that song again tomorrow, which is to say I liked it a lot. I Walk The Line / Blue Moon Of Kentucky Still a very silly idea to do these two songs together and the arrangement is very, um, stripped down, but as long as the two of them are having fun doing the songs, I‚m happy for then. Knockin‚ On Heaven‚s Door was a carbon copy of Hartford‚s version. Love Minus Xerox. All in all a very good show much better in fact than I expected it to be after the very unreal, dream-come-true set at Tramps. Hope he can keep up the pace in Holmdel. Actually, I have no doubt that he will. :-) carsten wohlfeld -- ≥i could bitch, i could moan, say i want to be left alone, but that‚s not really true, because I like my time with you„ (jill sobule)
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