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Bob Dylan 990728 in Holmdel

Subject: Holmdel, 7-28--Please bury NOT FADE AWAY
From: Dave Meekings 
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 1999 21:55:21 -0400

Holmdel on 7/28 was my 12th show but my first since ő97, before
Dylan‚s near death chicken incident.  My first surprise was the 2
mile traffic jam entering the complex which, coupled with my
procrastination, made me miss half of Paul‚s set.  My second
surprise was the fact that the complex seemed to quadruple the
size of lawn seating since my last show there two years ago.  My
third surprise was that there was not one empty inch on that
gigantic lawn, it being filled with a sea of high school to
college age people.  I found a place to stand w/ no view of the
stage but w/ good sound. The crowd was in a picnic mood for
Paul‚s set; drinking, smoking, batting beach balls and cheering
at the occasional line that a listener to a classic rock station
would recognize.  I was hoping most of this contingent, which
made up most of the crowd, would beat a hasty retreat to their
beer balls in the parking lot.  But it was not to be.

They were all there when Bob strutted out and began playing the
tightest acoustical set I have ever seen.  „Cocaine Bluesš had a
sweet violin and the girl behind me had to tell every one how
stoned she was.  „My Back Pagesš was brilliant and „Masters of
Warš was great, as good as any I‚ve ever heard, live or recorded.
 And for both songs, a beer chugging competition raged behind me.

Bob‚s electric set has evolved dramatically in the two years
since I had last seen him.  The band is much tighter, more
subtle, and more sophisticated.  Gone were the aggressive chords,
guitar growls and pounding drumming of a few years ago, in was
the sweet and dynamic sound of an accomplished Nashville session
group.  It was special stuff.  Unfortunately, the crowd seemed to
need the guitar growls.  Even Watchtower couldn‚t get them out of
their funk., and by Highway 61, which was a true gem, most of the
crowd was sleeping (no, I am not making this up), rolling a
„c‚mon man, just one moreš joint or passing a beach ball around. 
A Beach Ball!! One guy even screamed out a line from „My
Generationš  and explained to any one alert enough to listen that
the words were from a Who song.

The obligatory applause for an encore roused some of the crowd
and some even tried to sing to LARS.  A completely reworked and
utterly amazing It Ain‚t me Babe put them back to sleep.  Then
the House lights came on and NFA started up.  As if on cue the
entire crowd was on it‚s feet and spinning in an attempted dead
head hippie dance  (which, for better or worse, seems to be a
dying art--these kids can‚t spin like their older brothers and
sisters).  Then when the song ended they left, and I watched a
stunning acoustical Blowin‚ in the Wind through a sea of slowly
marching, hungover co-eds.

And after the house lights finally came up, I followed them w/
mixed emotions.  It was probably the tightest show I‚ve seen, but
I couldn‚t get over the fact that a Dylan show had become the
teenagers excuse to get a buzz.  I felt like a crotchety old
bastard at the ripe old age of 28.  And it makes me sad b/c
Dylan‚s music is so far beyond a beach ball concert. Even his
greatest hits are so reworked they are no longer greatest hits.
His current band doesn‚t try to raise the roof off an arena but
plays a subtle, sophisticated arraignment.  And all of his songs
demand attention and at  to be fully appreciated.

So if any one bumps into Bob in the 7-11, please tell him to put
NFA in the attic, and let the drunken throngs blow up the beach
ball at the George Thorogood concert.

Subject: concert review From: HuhnyB Date: 30 Jul 1999 16:35:51 GMT On the Bob Dylan/Paul Simon Concert, Wednesday, July 28, 1999 Paul Simon was just amazing. He performed first, without any introduction. All of a sudden a short man appeared in a pair of jeans, a gray tee shirt and a cap. My first thought was, "Is that Bob or Paul?", but of course based solely on his casual and comfortable attire, graceful stature and movements, and apparent ease at the sight of the PNC Bank Arts Center audience, I realized it most certainly had to be Paul Simon. The audience roared its adulating love and appreciation for Simon, myself included, though I was present at the concert more for Dylan (I have only Simon and Garfunkel Greatest Hits and Simon and Garfunkel Live in Central Park; so although I do know his songs, I don't know his solo songs and really am not a devoted fan of Simon as I am for Dylan). Because the weather being warm with a constant cool, relieving breeze in the lawn section of the amphitheater, I assert that the evening was beautiful for such a concert. Perhaps what endeared Paul to me was the idiosyncratic swaying of his arms and making motions with his hands while he sang, for I've never been to a concert where the performer stops playing his guitar in order to gesticulate. If he was not taking time off from playing his acoustic or electric guitar to elucidate the lyrics to a song via his arms and hands, he was moving his body around, inadvertently telling the audience that if this music he and his band were playing was not running through their veins (which it was), that it certainly was bursting through his blood. Between his choirboy, pristine voice unchanged by age and time, his grace, and the undeniably infectious music, Paul Simon's performance has made an unindelible mark upon me. He opened up with "Bridge Over Troubled Water", and although I wasn't particularly find of the song, now I am; I don't know what it was (maybe the guitar as a substitute for the piano), but it was just beautiful. Now, I don't remember all the songs he played, nor do I know all their names, but I know he played the upbeat, how-can-you-not-dance-to-it "You Can Call Me Al", "Slip Slidin' Away", "Still Crazy after all these Years", "Mrs. Robinson" (which I didn't recognize at first), "Graceland", "Late in the Evening", a song about diamond shoes, and a song from "The Capeman". He came back for an encore and repeatedly thanked the audience very graciously, often opening his arms in a wide "V" shape as he did so. Then, of course, the time came for him to introduce, "with pleasure" I believe, Bob Dylan. Contrasting sharply with Simon in almost every way, he half sauntered, swaggered, and stumbled onto the stage (in such a way that only Dylan can do) in his black suit, with his uncontrollable hair matching his persona. If my memory serves me well, they played four songs (hard to believe?!): Sounds of Silence, a country song I don't know, The Wanderer, and Knockin' on Heaven's Door. Their set together just absolutely enamored me- it was bloody amazing! "Sounds of Silence" was phenomenal. I was expecting their opposing voices to off-set one another, but I personally found their voices complementing one another. I think it just gave the song a whole different feel and twist to it, and I love it when artists give their work a new injection of zest! "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" was given the raggae/Clapton-ish rendition as well that I much enjoyed. Their set together was nothing short of worthwhile. Where Dylan left his darker, bluesier mark on "Sounds of Silence", Simon contributed his lighter, African-influenced touch to "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", and both left an equal mark on The Wanderer and the country I song of which I don't know the title. During his own set, Dylan rarely recognized the audience's presence, if he did at all, save for when he introduced the band and thanked the audience before he left. If one were to set up an archetype for each performers relationship with the audience, Simon would be bowing and saying "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you dearly", and Dylan would mumble a "thanks". Though I myself don't mind Dylan's aloofness (hey, just because he performs necessarily doesn't mean he has to show us affectatious gratitude), it was nice and almost heart-warming to hear Simon's soothing voices gratefully thank the audience. Of the two times I've seen Bob, both left a positive impression on me; however, his set this concert I am sorry to say was subpar, in my opinion. Perhaps he was feeling uneasy sharing the bill with another legend, perhaps he wasn't feeling up to performing that night, perhaps he was road-weary, or perhaps he was feeling ecstatic and full of energy and I just happened to not like his performance! Either way, I found something was lacking in his performance. Granted Dylan never seems to come across as the quick-to -please performer that Simon is, or even Paul McCartney for that matter, he appeared moreso to be rather, well, blah. Throwing the beautiful lyrics of his beautiful songs out of his mouth like a hot potato, he just mumbled and his voice seemed more raspy and nasal than usual (and that says a lot!); also, there was no organist, and I believe an organ would have really added a lot. Not to say I didn't enjoy the concert, because I did. I love Dylan's music and I always will; however, I just think that for some people it could have turned them off majorly from Dylan's great works. On the upside, he delivered his trademark leg movements and soulful harmonica playing. I don't remember all the songs he played, but it went something like this: Cocaine Blues, Masters of War, To Ramona, Tangled Up in Blue (FYI: he repeated a stanza), Blowin' in the Wind (as an encore), Like a Rolling Stone (encore), My Back Pages, Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, Highway 61 Revisited, Not Dark Yet, and It Ain't Me Babe (encore). All in all I enjoyed the concert very much, and I am so happy that I was exposed to Paul Simon's music. Having known his hits, it was great chance to get to experience his music even more, and there's nothing like the atmosphere of a summer evening outdoor concert to bring about that. It's funny how I came more for Bob than anything, but Paul stole the show for me! Kudos to him and Dylan for making the concert a memorable and unforgettable experience!
Date: Mon, 02 Aug 1999 20:10:15 -0700 From: Carsten Wohlfeld To: Subject: holmdel review Bob Dylan Holmdel, New Jersey, July 28, 1999 PNC Bank Arts Center A review by Carsten Wohlfeld Whenever I go on a trip to see Dylan, I make a list of three songs that I really wanna hear. This time the lis included ≥Visions Of Johanna„, ≥Highlands„ and, the most unlikely of all, ≥Lenny Bruce„, a song I have wanted to hear for a long time. But of cause with every show the chances are getting slimmer, that he‚ll ever play it agan after he apparently abandoned the song after that performance in Durham in April 1997. Anyways, I was more than happy to have heard two out of three within 24 hours even and I went to Holmdel without huge expecations. Nice venue, looks exactly like The Meadows Theater in Hartford and again the show was almost a see-out despite the ridiculous ticket prices. The Mike Dalton Band and one Paul Simon opened the show and at 9.30 Simon annouced that is was a pleasurefor him to introduce BOB DYLAN! Sounds Of Silence opened proceedings and I didn‚t like this version with Simon‚s big band as much as the one with Dylan‚s musicians, though Bob‚s singing was higher in the mix this time and de to the fact that he didn‚t go back to pick up his harp for the solo (he had it in his pocket), he sang all the lyrics, including my favourite line ≥saw 10,000 people maybe more„, which Simons sings on his own when playing with Bob‚s bands. I Walk The Line Less country-ish, cause Tony‚s one note bass and Larry‚s fiddle were missing.Not sure if that was for the better or worse, though. The Wanderer Kind of a surprise I guess, cause verybody expected ≥Blue Moon Of Kentucky„ to follow. Pretty bad version with a funny moment halfway through when Bob and Simon forget the lyrics similtaneously. Knockin‚ On Heaven‚s Door A nice reggae version, kinda like the one Dylan used to do in ő78. The two of them ahrmonized better at the (improvised) ending compared to the two versions I‚d heard previously, but I still can‚t warm to the duet part of the show at all. Almost 45 minutes later it was time for the real McCoy, though: Cocaine (acoustic) Better than at the Garden, Bob seemed to be in fine form right from the start. Maybe that was due to the fact that the two ≥important„ NYC shows were now behind him or maybe it was because he had the ≥warm up„ with the duets, but his singing was loud and strong and Larry played slide again. My Back Pages (acoustic) Not as good as the Hartford version, just because Larry‚s solo wasn‚t as good and when he tried to play a twin solo with Bob the two of them never really matched. The harp solo wasn‚t too good either, but hey, with a lovely song like this I shouldn‚t complain too much. Masters Of War (acoustic) was ≥Masters„, which is to say that is was very, very good. Bob‚s singng was very strong, I‚d say it was almost gentle, if that wouldn‚t feel somewhat inappropriate with this song. To Ramona (acoustic) Larry on mandolin. Pretty much sounded exactly like the old arrangement, so I wasn‚t too impressed. Mostly just because I don‚t like waltzes most of the time. Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) Pretty good version, with nice, playful phrasing. Included the ≥italian poet„ verse again, and this time Bob even remembered all the lyrics on that verse, even though he messed it up later, acuse he went down to that basement two times :-) Pretty hot Bob guitar solo at the end, but no harmonica. All Along The Watchtower was ≥Watchtower„, the ≥We-remember-Jimi„ version. Then Larry moved over to pedal steel and the band began playing what sounded a lot like ≥I Believe In You„, which made me very, very happy. It‚s one of my favourite songs and Bob hasn‚t played it in ages... But then Bob stepped up to the microphone and sang ≥Lenny Bruce is dead„. Lenny Bruce YES!!!!! He did Lenny Bruce and evn though the band wasn‚t really sure how to play it and Bob was struggleing with the lyrics, I was in heaven. Pretty much the same version that they last did two and a half years ago, even though Bob‚s singing wasn‚t as gentle... All three songs I wanted to hear I got to hear within 72 hours... Bob‚s so cool :-) Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again Another song that Bob had tons of fun singing and playing around with certain words and lines. Charlie on acoustic guitar. Not Dark Yet Yet another gorgeous version, even though they (and especially Bob) start it a bit too loud and fast and then tone it down, to make it as smooth andgentle as it should be. Band intros followed and for the first time Bob introduced Larry as ≥on guitar and pedal steel...„. Then Larry grabbed his slide guitar and it was time for: Highway 61 Revistited The usual hi-octane end-of-the-show version... crowd went nuts. (encore) Like A Rolling Stone More 60s-flashbacks which finally won over the Paul Simon fans who took a nap during the first half of Bob‚s set. All together now: ≥How does it feeeeeeeel?„ It Ain‚t Me Babe (acoustic) Ungrateful as I am I wasn‚t too happy with the encores. Maybe it was just because I was still so happy that he did ≥Lenny Bruce„ and that was obviously THE highlight of the show for me. At least wwe got another harp solo. Not Fade Away was ≥Not Fade Away„. Blowin‚ In The Wind (acoustic) was ≥Blowin‚„ and I was on my way out to catch the rather early last bus (and train) back to NYC. The show was good, but hardly exciting, not a big surprise cause the two NYC shows were so good, that it was virtually impossible to keep up the pace without either repeating those two shows or throwing everything ocerborad that he‚s been doing at the dates with Simon. I was not disappointed, but I wasn‚t too impressed either. On to Jones Beach. Thanks for reading! 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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