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Bob Dylan 2000.07.29 in Columbia

From: "Peter Stone Brown" 
Subject: somewhere in Maryland
Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 01:19:05 -0400

The last time Bob Dylan played the Merriweather Post Pavilion was
on June 14, 1981.  That was a pleasant, Sunday afternoon concert.
 It was back when the Gospel singers were still opening his shows
and not long after he started bringing the songs that made him
famous back into the picture.  The show wasn't that long, but it
had quite a few surprises including songs from his
not-yet-released new album, "Shot of Love," such as "Dead Man,"
and "Lenny Bruce," as well as covers of "We Just Disagree" and
"Abraham, Martin and John."

There was a big time Deadhead scene in the parking lot
accompanied by lots of cops and undercover cops.  We spent
sometime before the show watching a guy get handcuffed his car
get searched, and the very obvious undercover cop who fingered

Once inside the ground of the Pavilion itself, it was a lot

Now some people probably wonder, why go see Bob Dylan three
nights in a row or as many times as you can?  Of course one of
the reasons is it's never the same show, but another reason is to
catch that one performance where he really does it, captures that
thing that only Bob Dylan can do, that magical moment in all its
glorious essence.  And then maybe you don't have to see him
anymore for a while, or maybe you already have tickets for
another show, or he's playing close enough and you hope he'll do
it again but even better. And sometimes he does and sometimes he

In Columbia Maryland tonight, he definitely did.  And sometimes
you know from the moment he hits the stage how it's going to go. 
And tonight the audience also played a part and it's really not a
matter of dancing or standing up or not standing up, it's a
matter of being into it.  And tonight 's audience collectively
was far hipper than the one the night before in Camden, who
might've as well have been at any event.  Tonight the crowd knew
when there was a great guitar solo happening and they also knew
when it was a special song.

And again tonight Bob Dylan and his band hammered home the point
during the first part of the show, that they may be playing
acoustic guitars, but they are rocking and rocking hard, as he
tore into "Duncan and Brady," followed by a very nice "To
Ramona," with Larry on mandolin.

And then, "Desolation Row," which had just been incredible every
show I've seen this week, but before the first verse is out
there's this low but loud rumbly feedback noise, and Dylan's mic
cuts out, but they get it together really fast and he continues,
spitting out the words and he's into his guitar solo looking for
whatever it is he's looking for and then he finds it, and he's
going on and on, riding this solo like a rodeo rider and it's
like holy shit! What a solo!  And the crowd is going crazy.

And then back one album into "It's All Over Now Baby Blue," with
Larry on pedal steel, and it's not as fast as it once was, but
it's not as slow as it once was either, and there's slow subtle,
majestic groove building, and the steel is ethereal, heavenly and
they're really taking the song somewhere it hasn't been before
but they're not quite there yet.

"Tangled" was "Tangled" with Dylan once again tangling up the
order of the verses.

"Searching For A Soldier's Grave," was once again awesome.  It's
as if whatever Dylan's been looking for over the past few years
performing these old country songs, he's really found it in this
one.  The feel was perfect, the harmonies astounding, taking you
back in time every one of those fifty-plus years.

And then, the night's first big surprise, "Watching The River
Flow," but not the speedy country-rock version he's done for most
of the '90s.  This version was more or less the way he originally
recorded it-a rollicking blues and they are playing for all it's
worth and Sexton on guitar and Campbell on lap steel are soaring.

And then out of nowhere comes "Every Grain of Sand" and Sexton
and Campbell have this guitar duet thing happening, and then
(sigh) "Maggie's Farm," followed by a truly inspired "Dignity."

And then once again it's hard rock time for "Cold Iron Bounds,"
and they take it even further than they did in Camden getting
FUCKING LOUD in the process.

And again the closer was "Leopard-Skin Pill-box Hat."

The intensity and volume continued through the encores with
"Things Have Changed" standing out, and Dylan singing "Like A
Rolling Stone," like he really meant it, followed by "It Ain't Me
Babe," and a thoroughly nasty "Highway 61 Revisited," with the
guitars reaching ear-splitting levels.

Tonight was one of those shows and it also left no doubt how
great this band is.  This is by far the best of any of the
"Never-Ending Tour Bands," and easily one of the best bands Dylan
has had.  Now that Charlie Sexton is stepping out more and more
on lead guitar, the music is going somewhere else, reaching new
heights.  The guy is a maniac and he'll do whatever he has to do
to get the sound he wants out of that guitar and he knows exactly
what he's doing.  He brings back to Dylan's music that wild edge
that was previously only provided by Michael Bloomfield and
Robbie Robertson.

What a night!

"Where the angels' voices whisper to the souls of previous times."  
--Bob Dylan

Peter Stone Brown

Subject: Re: somewhere in maryland From: Stombreeze Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 12:25:31 GMT Great review Peter. I couldn't agree more -- It was indeed a special show. I wanted to let you know that Bob played Merriweather in July in 1988 and 89.
From: Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 13:57:39 -0400 To: Subject: columbia, MD review The Merriweather Post Pavilion is a much nicer and mellower venue than any of the other outdoor venues where i have seen Bob Dylan. I was somewhat worried by the VERY large Deadhead contingency in the parking lot and thought Dylan may be playing to a half empty venue. But by the time he took the stage the venue looked pretty full from my vantage point in the front of the lawn. 1. (Acoustic) Duncan and Brady- This was a great way to open the show. Dylan's vocals were strong from the first note and stayed so for the entire show. This was as rocking as acoustic music can get. 2. (Acoustic) To Ramona- Although this isn't on of my favorite songs, it was well played. Larry's mandolin was very prominent on the extended intro. 3.(Acoustic) Desolation Row- during the first verse, there was a loud feedback sound that and Dylan's microphone goes out. After a few seconds, it comes back on to reveal a fiery vocal performance. Dylan also played a very rocking solo. He was experiencing the song instead of merely playing it. 4. (Acoustic) It's all Over Now, Baby Blue- A bit faster than the versions i have heard before. It started much like the versions of last summer but the band found a delicious groove that fit Dylan's vocals superbly. Larry Campbells guitar shimmered beautifully here. 5. (Acoustic) Tangled Up In Blue- Although he skipped a verse or two, the band was really cooking on the tune and Dylan was definitely loving it. It is hard to explain how hard Dylan and Co. were rocking out. When the magic is as present as it was here, no electric instruments were needed to set the entire venue into ecstacy. 6. (Acoustic) Searching For A Soldiers Grave- Dylan was at the height of his power by this time and had the crowd eating out of his hand. Dylan's vocal were full of energy and passion raising the energy higher and higher on each verse. 7. Watching the River Flow- The electric set started not with "Country Pie" as was expected but with a very powerful rendering of "River Flow". This was not the loose as a goose version of the last several years but a full steam ahead version that recalled the original version in it's arrangement but far surpassed it in its execution. 8. Every Grain of Sand- The biggest surprise of the night and it was sung ever so sweetly. Charlie Sexton and Larry Campbell were weaving tender guitar tapestries for Dylan to ride upon. It featured a very nice instrumental break that soared elegantly without a misplaced note to be found. 9. Maggies Farm- i am pretty apathetic about this song but the crowd had a great time dancing to it and it continued the high energy vibe of the show. 10. Dignity- The vocals rang strong and true as this was a very inspired version. Dylan had been wiggling his legs and been striking guitar poses the entire show and this was no exception. 11. Cold Irons Bound- For me, this was definitely the highlight of the show. After a long spacey intro, The band turned on a dime and charged headlong into a version that bore little resemblance to the album version. This new version roared with intensity and conviction. I have never heard Dylan rock this hard or sing so loud. This is the reason that we go see concert after concert. When Dylan is at the height of his powers, there is nothing else like it. 12. Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat- Another rocker but after "Cold Irons Bound", anything would be a let down. This was not the best version of "Pillbox Hat" but it wasn't bad. It just paled in comparison to the high level of intensity that the rest of the set had established. Sidenote: After "LSPBH", Dylan and the band assumed the formation. The audience went wild and the ovation grew louder and louder the longer they stood there. It was strange to see but Dylan in particular seemed to be enjoying it with his hands on his hips. 13. Things Have Changed- The first encore sounded very much like the recorded version and Dylan was clearly into the lyrics. 14. Like a Rolling Stone- Dylan sang this chestnut with a lot of conviction and the crowd loved the chorus sing-a-long. There was a unique instrumental passage that was led by a rocking solo by Charlie Sexton. 15.(Acoustic) It Ain't Me, Babe- There was nothing noteworthy of this overplayed tune until the end of the last verse when Dylan led the band into a scorching 30 second rockabilly jam that sounded unlike anything I've heard Dylan play before. 16. Highway 61- The intensity rose again and Dylan rode the storm of guitars through a fiery version that got the crowd dancing again. Lots of strong vocals and guitar runs by Dylan again. A little bit of dancing and baby steps during the outro jam. 17. Blowing in the Wind(Acoustic) Again, the lightweight "Blowing" closer. The back up vocals by Charlie and Larry were very good and Dylan sang the song well but the magic and energy that had transpired over the previous hour and forty-five minutes had passed. This was one of the best if not the best Dylan shows i have ever seen. We stayed for the first half of Phil and Friends set but it was clear who should have closed the show. To take nothing away from Phil and Friends, Dylan clearly blew him off the stage. The audience must be mentioned since they played a large part in creating the magic between Dylan, the band, the music and the fans. i'd love to hear a tape.... Carsten Molt
Subject: merriwether show review From: Steve Lescure Date: 31 Jul 2000 09:02:11 -0700 I thought I would miss the Merriwether show Saturday nite since i was playing in a tennis tournament in southern Virginia over the weekend. Having failed to sell the tickets, I assumed I would just eat the cost. However, due to a miserable forehand and a shaky overhead, and some fellow teammates exhibiting similarly under-whelming performances, the tournament ended unexpectedly early. After three hours of sweat in the noonday sun, when the last of a series of truly miserable forehand returns fell meekly into the net, I tossed my racquet in the van, filled-up the gas tank, and without even a shower, headed off on a four hour journey to see the show. I assumed that Lesh would open the show, but, well I guess things really have changed, since as I walked across the street to the venue I could hear the opening chords of Tangled. Shit. Walk turns to all out sprint. Don't care to hear Tangled for the thousandth time, but I'm not missing whatever's coming next. I find my seat and watch the show, delighted that there are no idiots dancing around stupidly in front of me, and for the most part, not a lot of talking either. A couple of youngsters next to me pass a joint back and forth between them. Seems like old times. There's one young idiot a few rows in front, thankful not in my line of sight, who dances almost the entire show. I hope there really is a hell just so I can see him there. Someone really should have just punched him in the face. It's amazing that Dylan's shows are so consistent these days given his highly inconsistent past, and this show was no exception. I didn't think it had quite the spark as some other shows in recent years, but I'll take it. Here's a few random observations. I'm one who complains about the setlist from time to time. But tonight he had a great mix. some traditional stuff (Soldiers Grave), some unusual stuff for the hard cores (Watching the River Flow, a bold , new, and very successful arrangement of Cold Irons Bound, and a pithy arrangement of an old war-horse, It Ain't Me, Babe), as well as some standards, like Blowing in the Wind and Like a Rolling Stone. He actually put some bite into LARS, which is a welcome change for the incongruous mellow version he's been doing for a few years. A middle-aged couple put there arms around each other during LARS, which I thought both odd and cute, and reminded me that unlike myself, many people come out just to hear these old popular songs, and Dylan is right to play them. (This same couple looked utterly bewildered thru much of the rest of the evening.) The only problems I had with the setlist was Dignity and Things Have Changed, both of which were performed well, but simply are not very good songs, relatively speaking. Dylan seems to have lost all his harmonicas. I think we should take up a collection and buy him a new set for Christmas. Charlie Sexton was just taking up space when he started with the band. Not anymore. Dylan, as always, continues his weird personal on-stage habits. As a fellow weirdo, I both identify and approve of this behavior. No talking to the crowd, trying to pretend to be everybody's friend, which he no doubt can't bring himself to do, no matter how long people complain about it. After many songs he walked back to the drum set area and did some stretching exercises - i thought he might take off sprinting across the stage at any minute. His hands seemed to be bothering him, he was consistently stretching them out. Lots of hair poofing, almost no interaction with the rest of the band. I like the "formation" quite a bit, a nice formal way to acknowledge the crowd's appreciation. I do find it odd for Dylan, who is still obviously uncomfortably on stage when not actually playing and singing, would expose himself like this. I'm sure this was not his idea, and i bet it doesn't last long. anyway, another very nice show, a show worth a four hour drive after a long afternoon of losing tennis in scorching, exhausting heat. and that says a lot about the show. steve The Dylan Lyric Commentaries
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