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Bob Dylan 990904 in Atlanta, Georgia

Date: Sun, 5 Sep 1999 09:32:30 EDT
Subject: review: Dylan/Simon 9/4/99 Atlanta

After seeing six shows, I've seen Dylan perform a "greatest hits"
set for the first time, and I have to say I loved it. Everything
played was on some greatest hits collection (minus the two covers
and 'not dark yet,' which we all know will be volume 4 whenever
that shows up). But every performance was fabulous! Bob himself
seemed -from where I was sitting- to be having a great old time,
prancing around the stage and striking Guthrie poses with the
guitar. The crowd was obviously a Bob crowd. Simon had most
people on his feet for a couple of songs, most notable "Call me
Al," but Dylan kept 'em moving throughout. (as a side note, there
seemed to be an inordinate amount of teenage hippies at this
show. Moreso than usual. Are we all set for the Phil Lesh tour?)
For a song by song:

-'I am the Man, Thomas" struck me as odd. I occured to me about
midway through that I may be seeing him play something which he
hadn't played before. That was a good sign.

-"Mr Tambourine Man" was unbelievable. A pleading prayer to top
any gospel song ever written or performed.

-"Desolation Row" Yes! All my life I've wanted to see him play
this one. Only about 5 verses, but a cool arrangement.

-"It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" also well done. Several great
vocal gymnastics

-"Tangled Up in Blue" What can I say? Five times now I've seen
him play it. This left all other versions in its dust. Every
vocal opportunity was taken.

-"All Along the Watchtower" a short version which went in and out
of a slighlty swirling minor key forte , gradually building to
crescendo and cutting off abruptly, serving to emphasize the
claustrophobia inherent in the song.

-"Lay Lady Lay" was smugly coaxing

-"Stuck Inside of Mobile" is a really fun song, but the band
seemed a little lackluster here.

-"Not Dark Yet" surprised me a little bit, both by it's prescence
and it's quality. There are a lot of fine vocal and instrumental
opportunities here, and Bob didn't miss a single one. In spots
where there wasn't a major vocal opportunity, he made one up.

Now came the band introductions. Bob was in particularly clear
voice, to the point that I didn't have to wonder for a second
what he was saying. "A lot of people seem to know Charlie
Sexton," he said with a laugh. A laugh! He actually laughed!

-"Highway 61" whatever had been funny was still on Bob's mind, he
nearly cracked up at a couple of the earlier lines. A good rockin
version of the song about a highway I'd be driving down on my way
back to school. Brought the house down!


For the encores, my friend and I decided we'd had enough of the
back, and hiked our way from our 35 dollar seats up to the eighty
five dollar section, where we stood to see Bob up close for
"Rolling Stone," "Blowin' " and "Not Fade Away," all of which
were rocking. Getting up close confirmed by belief that Bob was
absolutely having a blast up there! He was smiling like, well,
like a jester, dancing around all over the place, and just plain
rocking. Neat!

And now, a word about the set with Paul Simon. Simon needs to
tour more. As of now, Simon 99 is Dylan 78. "The Boxer" was a
fine choice. Dylan's "weathered" voice worked much better for the
lyric of the song. Bob playing songs off Self Portrait? What
next? "That'll Be the Day/The Wanderer" Seemed to get a little
bit lost in itself. "Knockin on Heavens Door" was an odd, almost
reggae arrangement which got off to a weak start. Then, towards
the end, Bob started singing Little Richard's "I Hear You Knockin
But You Can't Come In" Excellent!

I didn't manage to catch any of the shows on the first leg, but
the second leg is off to a good start. Don't worry about the lack
of interesting setlist choices (do you believe it, six shows and
I STILL haven't seen Just Like A Woman!), what's being played is
being played well enough to justify any setlist

Review by Matt Stroshane at BobDates.

Subject: Atlanta Review (w/ accompanying story about C. Sexton) From: Joe_Cox Date: Mon, 06 Sep 1999 08:43:45 -0700 Now that I'm officially settled back in from seeing the Atlanta show Saturday night, I figured I'd do the usual review bit on here and give everybody some clue as to how the show was. Atlanta was a long drive (about 4 1/2 hours or so) and I have to admit that Chastain Amphitheatre is not my kind of place for a show. I much preferred the atmosphere at Bogart's in Cincinnati. Chastain is about the most yuppified place I've ever been in; lying as it does just outside of Buckhead, right in the guts of some very pricey real estate. The crowd brought their dinners and the over 45s sat back for a nice warm evening with a belly full of dinner and some relaxing music. Which is NOT what I like to see. Speaking of dinner, on the way in, I passed by a barbed wire fence which overlooked the busses and the dining area for the evening. I stood there with my traveling party for a few minutes, just seeing who could be seen. Paul Simon walked through at one point, already wearing his performing clothes for the night. We also saw Tony Garnier and David Kemper, but that was about it. Paul Simon led off, of course, and performed his extremely standard setlist. The second time around for me on Paul's set and frankly while it still has its moments for me, I grow tired of it. Thank God that Bob is as flexible as he is with the setlist! About half of Simon's songs are really great ("Me and Julio", "Boy in the Bubble", "Call Me Al", etc) and the other half are very pedestrian and uninspiring. Honestly, "Trailways Bus" just doesn't make me think that it was worth the $86 I paid for my ticket. Simon was very into his set, dancing around more than the other time I saw him, shaking some hands at the end, and having a good time. Of no small entertainment to me was the fact that about 2/3 of the way through Simon's set, I look up and who is walking through the crowd but CHARLIE SEXTON! Of course I looked down at my fellow travelers and once we all slipped our eyes back into our heads, we confirmed that it was Charlie. He sat down right beside the soundboard and just watched Simon's set. An ink pen was procured and I went down, with a friend of mine, to get an autograph from Charlie. I'm proud to say that he was extremely courteous and kind. He signed autographs for the both of us and we chatted with him for a few seconds. He seemed very genuinely touched by our interest and appreciation of his work. Strangely enough, nobody else either recognized Charlie or had the audacity to go and bother him :), but I guess that's just the way it is. After "Still Crazy", Simon brought out Bob (despite the fact that I heard a fellow in my row yelling for Bob after "Call Me Al"!). They were their usual jokey selves, at least until the music rose up. The Boxer I definitely was looking forward to this. While I considered "The Sound of Silence" to be the most palatable part of the duets, hearing these two men sing this song promised to be unforgettable. It works pretty well, with Bob croaking very low under Simon, but still being very vocally present. After a couple of verses, Bob reached into his jacket and whipped out a harp, playing a pretty terrible solo. It was a very solid performance, but it seemed like it ended a little early maybe. I'm not sure that the duets have really improved that much in terms of quality (those two voices are kind of like water and oil), but the vibe was much better and I at least felt like they both were giving the song their all. That'll Be the Day/The Wanderer After watching Bob just totally give up on this song in St. Louis and just make a bunch of really funny faces, Saturday I found out that things aren't that much better when he really does sing it. Basically this song is just an excuse for Paul and Bob to have some fun and rock out a little bit. In the midst of "That'll Be the Day", right after the line "...that if we part, that I need you", Bob and Paul exchanged "I need YOU"s, much to the amusement of the crowd. Paul Simon also improved the "I tell 'em I'm Bob Dylan" line into "The Wanderer". This wasn't a terribly good performance, but they had fun and Bob at least made an effort, unlike St. Louis when he just stood back and made Paul sing. Bob was pretty animated during this song, both with expression and dance, which really set the tone for the whole night. Knockin' on Heaven's Door When this one opened and Simon's band came in, my friend next to me yelled "Oh my God, it's Budokan". I really enjoy this arrangement and it seems to me that maybe the duets are a little easier with Paul's gargantuan band backing the fellows than they are with Bob's boys. As is standard, the "I hear you knockin'" was retained. This was a very good performance, again not terribly brilliant, but good enough to keep electricity in the air. When it ended, Paul Simon departed and we had a very long (35 or 40 mins) break. I Am the Man, Thomas And when the lights came back up- WOW! The band was out there in all their raging glory, strumming rather earnestly on what sounded like "Somebody Touched Me". As the song began and the chords were being played, Bob was walking around calling out some final instructions. When the vocals finally kicked in a collective "What the Hell?" was the reaction. It's a nice song, very Stanleyish, with lots of harmony vocals. The harmony vocals made it difficult to understand, but the part of the lyrics that I think I heard best ran "I am the man, I am the man, see these nail scars in my hands." I also witnessed the first performance of "Somebody Touched Me" and since both Bob and I evidently have a thing for these old hymns, I was very impressed. Dumbfounded but impressed. Incidentally, I'd really love to actually see the lyrics for this song, but I'm pretty sure that it puts to bed the business about Bob not singing songs directly about Jesus, even if he didn't (and maybe he did) mention Him by name. Mr. Tambourine Man A predictable choice and a passable version. There was a big lyric fumble at the beginning of one of the verses, I believe the second one. The thing that stood out during this song, and all the acoustic songs, was how adventurous Bob was being with his lead guitar playing. It wasn't always good, but instead of playing single finger solos, he was playing complex little chunks of notes. Generally, it wavered between painful and sublime, depending on whether he hit the right note last. Then again, as a Dylan fan, I'd rather see a performer gamble and occasionally fail than play with a buttoned down style (Are you listening, Paul Simon?). We didn't get any harp on this one, which probably would have pushed it from mediocre to very good, but still a solid version of this, with the vocals sounding nice, if not always being completely accurate. Desolation Row I love to hear Desolation Row and this version fit the high standards that Bob has with performances of the song. I heard it at my last show in Cincinnati, and while I don't think this version was quite as good as that one, it was still very very good. Bob just nails the lyrics on this one! I like the speed of it too, kind of uptempo and jaunty. Really, I think that speeding up some of his usually crawling songs is one of Bob's wisest moves yet. Naturally, he left out a lot of the verses, but he nailed the ones he used (he sang "The moon is almost hidden" third, I believe!) and played some highly entertaining lead guitar. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue The last time I saw "Baby Blue" live, it was a definite lowlight, but this time, I'd say it was one of the two best performances of the show. Larry did a terrific job on the pedal steel for this one (and everything else he ever plays, I might add!) and Bob was only too happy to deliver a beautiful performance. Again, it's also kind of fast, which suits me just fine. I'm not in the mood for a return to the days of twelve minute versions of this song. This was about as good as it can get, tight music, breathtaking vocals, and a crowd that was in the palm of Dylan's hand. I got chill bumps when he'd hit the end of every verse and I'd just shut my eyes and listen to that soulful call of "It's all over now, Baby Blue." Perfect! Tangled Up in Blue As is semi-customary, Bob lingered a bit long at the back of the stage when this one started up, missed the first time through and then came in. I correctly guessed that this meant we were getting some harp! When the spotlight came up at the beginning of this song and was right on Larry Campbell, I thought it was somehow appropriate. Larry is just brilliant every time out. He's so good that sometimes he goes unnoticed, but he's just near perfect every night. Bob gave a pretty straightforward run-through of "Tangled". I love the lighting on this song, alternating between blue in the verses and clear during the instrumental breaks. Bob sang the Italian poet and left out the topless place, as usual. But this song really came alive when, reluctantly, after song great jamming, Bob took off the guitar, picked up the harp and danced his way up to centerstage. And yes, he was dancing. It's about as Jaggerlike as Bob will ever get, at least I hope so :) He played the best harp bit I've ever heard him play, no sour notes, very up and down, just beautiful. All the while, he was dancing some robotic jig and waving his free hand around, halfway like a conductor. The crowd just loved this and who wouldn't! "Tangled" always has some flaws, but the greatness of this song usually tightens it up as it goes and I don't think I'll ever get sick of it. All Along the Watchtower And then the acoustic set was done, Charlie (playing electric on this one, instead of acoustic like this summer) kicks this off with a strange intro, the lights come up late, and it's off. Watchtower was very mediocre. The vocals were fine, but Bob insisted on trying to play lead and all the while I'm looking at Charlie, thinking "He could blow the roof off this place right now." It wasn't bad, it just wasn't very good either. It was also extremely brief. The sound was missing something, really pretty naked, maybe because Larry was on lap steel, maybe because Charlie didn't get to solo. Lay Lady Lay A very nice performance of this. I think this was better than the version we got in Cincinnati. Larry's steel pedal playing is getting much closer to the depth of Bucky Baxter's. Bob sings this song so much better than he did a few years ago. I think this was the official cuddling song for the folks at Chastain, which is pretty understandable, I'd say. Very nice. Stuck Inside of Mobile Did you feel the groan, just from reading the title? :) No, really, I love "Mobile" as much as the next person, but I've just heard it too many times. At least it can be counted on to draw some good dancing and posing out of Bob. The performance of this was pretty good, but this is one of the songs that I could really do without for a while. The guitar work was good, the vocals were fine, but once you've heard "Mobile", well, you've heard "Mobile". Not Dark Yet I'm not prone to raving in my reviews; at least, I don't think I am. That said, this was absolutely and completely perfect. I spent the whole song covered in chill bumps and just shaking my head. This is a million times better than the version I heard in Cincinnati. The sound they were getting approximated the pedal steel, but they weren't using it. The vocal phrasing was the finest that I've ever heard. Bob was strong with it, he was on target, he held lines just enough to make them dramatic, but never too much. This was perfect. If I could create something this perfect, I know that I could die a happy man. From the first line (I really didn't want to hear this one initially), Dylan just completely drew me in. There was definitely something extra behind this performance- I felt like I was watching a miracle or something. If I could make one argument to someone who doesn't appreciate Dylan, I would transport them to Saturday there in Chastain Amphitheatre, and after they apologized, I would forgive them for the error of their ways. This song summarized why I go see Bob Dylan. Someday, I won't be able to see or hear this kind of magic again, and I want to be there for every second of it that I can. God bless Bob Dylan, the last and the best of the troubadours. Band Intros As usual, the band was introduced after the 9th song. When he got to Charlie Sexton, Bob introduced him and then said something like "A lot of people down here know Charlie, evidently." He gave this amused chuckle and Charlie looked quite embarrassed. I know this is a logic jump in the biggest way, but could this have been a reference to meeting Charlie during the Simon set? I saw no one else approach him, and while I realize that it's a very unlikely tale to spin, and there's a good chance that I'm wrong, I went out of Chastain Amphitheatre convinced that Bob Dylan had indirectly referred to me! I know, go ahead and flame me and accuse me of a huge ego trip, but I'm pretty mildly convinced of it. Highway 61 Revisited This one never disappoints. Charlie would be worth having in the band even if he just stood there for the rest of the set and only played on this song. His soloing was so tight that he and Bob traded riffs for about three or four verses and I wasn't sure Bob was ever going to sing again. The best part is that I didn't particularly want him to! I was a big Charlie Sexton fan anyway, and Saturday pretty well clinched that, but all personal biases aside, he played the most rocking, peel-some-paint-off-the-walls solo that I can imagine. When Charlie Sexton is one of the greatest guitar players ever, don't say I didn't tell you so. Bob was very into this song, giving it the usual "highway sixtyyyyyyyyyyy-ooooone" treatment. This song could awaken the dead, quite possibly. Like A Rolling Stone This one did awaken the dead, or at least the codger beside me :). I know some people get sick of this one, but I'm not one of them. More tight jamming from Charlie, a fine vocal performance from Bob, who was singing a little behind the music, as usual. There's no moment quite like when Bob hits the chorus and sends out that emotive "how does it feeeeeeeel?". Everybody was on their feet in Chastain, and everybody was enjoying this one. Blowin' in the Wind Unlike St. Louis, here the crowd was so into the performance that they stayed up for the whole encore, including this one. I really do enjoy this arrangement (Hey, I enjoy any arrangement where Larry and Charlie get to sing!) and Bob drilled this one. He sang the three verses straight through without a break and then looked like he might try to sing another (unfortunately, another verse doesn't exist, but I'm not sure that could've stopped him:) ), but instead he played another great acoustic guitar riff, reminding me again of his daring on the guitar. Now if we could get him to be as daring with the setlist :) As usual, a dead on performance, with Tony pulling out the bass the looks so much like an acoustic guitar that I have to make sure it isn't. Very good! Not Fade Away Up with the house lights and up with the volume! I think this is a fantastic closer and I could never get sick of it. Charlie rocked out and sang those great harmonies with Larry, who played a pretty mean solo of his own during this one. Tony came over and lined up with Larry and Bob. I was kind of surprised that Kemper didn't get in on the act somehow, but he seems quite content to play his usual solid drum bit. Bob was still into the show, very playful and always dancing. And with this one ringing in our ears, Bob put on his white cowboy hat and headed on out to the bus. In summation, this wasn't the greatest show I've seen, but it was very very good. The setlist was pretty common, but I was strangely pleased with it, because it seemed like most of the time, he either gave us a small surprise ("Desolation Row", "Lay Lady Lay") or just played the heck out of a song I wasn't that sold on ("Baby Blue", "Not Dark Yet"). Bob was probably as physically demonstrative as I've ever seen him. The harp break in "Tangled" alone was the most dancing that's been seen from Bob Dylan in many years. With a very nice show, a meeting with Charlie Sexton, and a POSSIBLE mention from Bob, you can imagine that it was a great time! If anybody's got the tape, please let me know. I'll be in Nashville on Wednesday and I'll keep you RMDers posted (how's that for my pun of the day? :) ) All the Best, Joe
From: "rmharwood" To: Subject: Atlanta Chastain Park review Date: Mon, 6 Sep 1999 02:21:14 -0400 Hello Karl Erik, ╩ My wife and I went to the Atlanta show and I have written a review I would like to submit to you.╩ Once again, thanks for such a great website.╩ ╩ Atlanta Chastain Park My family moved here to Atlanta 8 years ago.╩ During this time I've had the opportunity to see Bob Dylan live six times in several small theatres, basketball arenas, and a large 70,000 + music festival.╩ Every show's been great in its own way.╩ And there were three other opportunities to see him I missed, so Atlanta has been the best "Bob" town I've ever lived in. The show at Chastain Park was a night to remember.╩Paul Simon was great, but I was glad to be at one of the shows Dylan closed because he definitely kicked the whole thing into a higher gear. This show was a lot different than the previous five.╩ The sound was crystal clear (although the volume could have stood to have been much louder).╩ Dylan used very concise diction.╩ You could understand every word.╩ Although the songs had fresh twists, Dylan stayed closer to the original arrangements than I've ever heard him before.╩ Much more of an accoustic performance than in the past. I won't attempt a setlist review because others will do that, but╩to me, Not Dark Yet, Highway 61, Like A Rolling Stone, and Not Fade Away, are the songs that stand out as being over the top performances.╩ But, there wasn't any song in the set that was less than totally inspired.╩ The three part harmony in Blowing In The Wind was╩beautiful.╩Stuck Inside of Mobile was tight and punched hard.╩ I could go on an on but the bottom line is that every song he performed was the best live version I'd ever heard him do. Note 1:╩ Dylan began his band introduction with "These guys are the greatest guitar players in the world."╩ NOTE 2:╩ Dylan played most of the guitar leads.╩ I know a lot of guitarists don't like his playing because he just uses select notes in each chord, but I think they miss the point.╩ Dylan plays lead guitar like he plays harmonica.╩ And it works.╩ His guitar sounded great.╩ NOTE 3:╩Dylan's deep base voice projects much louder than Paul Simon's.╩ When he sang harmony with Paul on The Boxer,╩ Dylan was almost whispering to keep his voice down even with Simon's.╩ The song came across hauntingly well that way.╩ Paul Simon put on an inspired performance, but Bob Dylan put on the show of his life.╩ What a thrill to be there. Ric Harwood
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