Bob Dylan 2000.03.10 in Anaheim, CA
Subject: Anaheim early show short review From: John Fischer
Date: 11 Mar 2000 02:51:34 EST I didn't have a ticket to this show until about 12:30, but lucked out from a kind RMD soul. (Thanks, Ronnie) I stood in the second tier, to the left of the stage, about 20 feet away. Dylan came out in a black suit, with white piping on the pants and black shirt, and spiffy black and white shoes. Dylan opened a little slowly, with Roving Gambler. He warmed up to a beautiful "Tomorrow is a Long Time," one of my favorites, with the last verse delivered exquisitely. Next was an excellent "It's Alright, Ma," except for some flubbed lines early. Great version. A nice TUIB next, though he skipped two verses (both "She was workin' in a topless place," and "She lit a burner on the stove") with some harp at the end. Then, one of the many highlights, for me, "This World Can't Stand Long," with harp interspersed between verses. Absolutely stunning. Then, to the electric portion, a big surprise as I realized he was playing Dignity, a song I was dying to hear. Very nice version. He seemed to get all the verses. Then, a song I did not recognize, "Tell Me That It Isn't True." It was well done. Then, as expected, the first live performance of "Things have changed," probably THE highlight of the night for me. The song was pretty similar to the recorded version. I think he did all the verses, and was pretty animated. Two first time performances in a row!. Then, the best version of Not Dark Yet I've heard. Fantastic, and heartbreaking. Just in a wonderful voice. Band introductions were next. No jokes :-(. Then, Hwy 61, with Larry on pedal steel instead of guitar. Good version, a little slower than some. Encores included Love Sick, Not Fade Away, and an excellent Blowin'. All in all, a great show. Many highlights, particularly Dignity and Things Have Changed. John
Subject: Re: March 10, 2000 - Anaheim, California (late show) - Setlist From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 10:57:29 -0800 Just some thoughts and weak recollections. From the outside the Sun Theatre looks like a building on a studio lot. Apparently it was a Hollywood-themed restaurant that failed. Inside it was crowded but not packed. The scalpers were selling tickets at below face for both shows. The sound was above average, I thought. The first show opened with a decent "Roving Gambler," which was followed by a strong "Tomorrow is A Long Time." "It's Alright Ma" was done a bit too slowly with too much of a swamp-blues feel for my tastes. "Tangled" was nothing special until the harp solo, when things brightened up. For the solo, Bob removed his guitar but didn't sit it down. Rather, he held it out at an angle from his body with his right hand and played the harmonica with his left. He signaled for the band to end the number by motioning a bit with the guitar. Then he sat the guitar down, went back for a different harmonica, and stepped up guitarless to the mic to sing "This World." He basically hung onto the mic stand most of the time, not moving around the stage. He did the same thing at the second show. "Dignity" was a very good choice for a follow-up, I thought -- after setting up a world filled with hate, the search for something worthwhile was made to seem even more important. And the opening "blade of steel" took on added weight, as did the lines about killing and murdering. Unfortunately, Bob had a fair amount of trouble with the lyrics. At the second show, he totally butchered them (ex: "Blind man looking at his last meal...for dignity"). I wondered what I would have thought of these mix-ups if I didn't already know the lyrics. As it was, I found them pretty annoying. I can understand the confusion, though, and I hope he gives it a few more tries in the coming nights. "Tell Me That It Isn't True" was very well-done, and would have been a highlight even if it hadn't been a rarity. It didn't sound much like the album version to me. Rather, it reminded me of one of the upbeat soul-style Basement Tapes songs -- "All You Have to Do is Dream." The song that followed "Dignity" at the late show, a very undignified "Country Pie," was also played in a funky Basement-Tapes style and featured excellent, intricate rhythm work from Charlie Sexton. I think it was his performance that really propelled this song. Bob was in a great mood for the whole second show. He had already laughed out loud rather incongruously a couple times on "I Am the Man, Thomas" (I think you'll be able to hear one of them on the tapes). And when he got to "Country Pie"'s verse about saddling up the goose, he really broke up for a moment and inadvertently spat all over the place. "Things Have Changed" was strong at both shows -- a lot like the album but with a more muscular arrangement. I think "the world will explode" was purposely anticipated by "This World Can't Stand Long." And the song that followed "Things Have Changed" was definitely picking up on the "I used to care" idea -- at the first show, Bob emphasized "I don't know why I should even care" in an excellent "Not Dark Yet." In fact, the early show seemed designed to shift back and forth between "I don't care, I do care, I should care, I'm trying to care, etc." For example, you had someone begging "Tell me it isn't true" in one song, then in the next song, someone snarling, "All the truth in this world is one big lie." (I wouldn't be surprised if he throws in "Most Likely..." at future shows, just for "sometimes it gets so hard to care....") "We Better Talk This Over" was a lot like the album version, which I enjoy. This performance, though, seemed flat to me on first hearing. The most noticeable difference between the album and the live performance was the ending. If I'm remembering correctly, the song ends on the album with a musical fade-out. Live, there was a musical interlude, but then Bob stepped back up to the mic and sang "I think we'd...better talk this oooverrr," at which point the song itself was over. In fact, several numbers ended with little or no music after Bob had finished singing. I'm very much in favor of this style, and I hope he keeps up with it. Finally, some frequently played numbers were exceptionally strong. While Bob had played the first show "seriously," the second show definitely emphasized "I *used* to care." Parts of a good "Desolation Row" were sung in a "well isn't that special" tone, and Bob delivered the final line with a smile and a mischievous sparkle in his eyes. He also had a lot of fun with a terrific "Thin Man." During an instrumental break, he danced around so absurdly that I couldn't help thinking he was purposely trying to add himself to the gallery of odd characters as a sort of visual aid for all us Mr. Joneses. Similarly, Bob got rid of all the wistfulness that frequently characterizes "It Ain't Me Babe." He sang the lover's list of requirements as though it were the most ridiculous set of demands he'd ever heard. I thought this was among the better performances of a song that's been well-played many times over the years. Then he wrapped up the whole thing with a solid "Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat," which fit the tone of silliness and pointlessness he seemed to be aiming at with much of the show. "My Back Pages" (which was marred by a repetition of the "black and white" verse) has Bob singing about having once been "too serious to fool." But in keeping with the "things have changed" theme, much of the second show was very goofy.