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Bob Dylan 960504 in Richmond, VA

From: dpe2c@faraday.clas.Virginia.EDU (Douglas Paul Evans)
Subject: Richmond 5/4/96
Date: Sun, 5 May 1996 13:03:11 GMT

1. Drifter's Escape--Damn, I really wanted to hear 'Pillbox
Hat'!  Dylan sans guitar.  I'd never seen this before.  He
weaves and bobs around the stage, holding his harp in left
hand.  He blew a few nice, subtle strains.

2. The Man In Me--This was a surprise, and very pleasant.  The
alternates on the set list were "If You See Her" and "Tonight
I'll Be Staying"

3. 3

4. I Don't Believe You--This hasn't changed much since the last
time I saw Bob play it, in '94.  Alternate was "Tears of Rage."

5. Watching The River Flow

6. Silvio--with new verse and semi-accapella chorus.  I do like
the changes, but it might be time to retire this for awhile.

7. Mr. Tambourine Man--the crowd went nuts, but I didn't think
the harmonica bit was up to Bob standards.

8. Masters of War--another brilliant performance of this.

9. Mama You've Been On My Mind--This was sweet and glorious.  

10.  Seeing The Real You At Last

11. This Wheel's On Fire--I was hoping, waiting, praying, and
here it was!  The vocal was "lounge-style" again--no guitar
PLAYED by Bob, but he did have it strapped on.  The harmonica
was understated and amazing.  The highlight of the evening for

12.  Maggie's Farm--It's just amazing, but since this left the
setlist from its everyday spot at the end of '94, I've managed
to hear Bob pull it out every time I've seen him.  For all of
you request-seekers out there, I diligently screamed "Seven
Days"--to no avail.

13.  Alabama Getaway--The Deadhead crowd finally got its due.
The faces at Bob shows have progressively gotten younger since
I started seeing him in '89.  A lot more tie-dye, a lot more
funny smells!

14.  Times A-Changin'

15.  Rainy Day Women 12+35--As soon as it started up, the stage
dancing began.  Four girls waltzed on from stage left,
obviously cued in by staff.  Things got a bit out of control,
with about 10-15 teens ending up on stage by the end of the
song.  Glimpses of Bob through the throng weer great, however.
He grinned and laughed and made a face at one of the young
ladies!  As always, only two verses and then some serious

As for the wardrobe, Bob was in the black pants with buttons to
the top of the thigh.  A big, white belt holdin' 'em up.  His
t-shirt was white(?) and it almost looked like he was wearing a
denim shirt on top of the T.  I'm not sure about that, however,
because I never quite got close enough to see.

An interesting note re: Bob's stage mannerisms during encores.
He did the little pointing thing and nodded and bowed, as
always.  BUT, he noticed a woman with a rose in the front row
and, although he was more than ten feet from her, he reached
out toward her and snatched at the air.  Perhaps a symbolic
acknowledgement of her gift?  It was quite charming.


Date: Sun, 5 May 1996 14:49:51 -0400 Sender: The Bob Dylan Discussion List From: Ralph Munsey User Subject: Richmond Show 5/4/96 My husband and I arrived in Richmond around 12:30 PM. As we pulled up to our hotel, to our surprise, we saw 2 tour buses parked outside. (one black and one purple) After seeing the trailer behind the black bus (I had heard Dylan had a trailer attached to his bus for his motorcyles), I knew that Dylan must be staying at our hotel!! This has happened to me before one time in D.C. when he played Wolftrap - I must have a knack for picking hotels!! My husband and I toured around town, and when we returned, both buses were still there. We went up to our room which happened to overlook the buses!! We saw the band: Winston, Bucky and all of 'em get on the purple bus and leave. The black bus still remained. A girl and guy were at the black bus with Dylan's dog. ( a really, really big dog- that's the best way to describe it) They opened the trailer to feed the dog, and then they got in the bus. My husband and I went across the street for the rmd gathering and while waiting on others to arrive, we saw the girl and the dog go into the hotel. It was kind of funny seeing this big sloppy dog going into this fancy hotel. (a quaint European style hotel) Anyway, that was that. We didn't see anything else after that. Rmders started to arrive: Wayland (Jokerman), Charlotte, Jeff, Kim, Charlie (whatwasit), Robin J. and Christine C. [Sorry if I butchered any names] It was great to meet these people. We all went to the show, met some more people behind Wayland and his wife. (Sorry, I can't remember your names) We really enjoyed Aimee Mann. She stated, "This is your entertainment while you are finding your seats", a sad, but true statement. The place was pretty empty. Bob started out with Drifter's Escape... Robin J. took great notes and got a setlist from the stage, so I'll leave those details to her. I have attended only 8 shows, but this had to be the first one where people just didn't want to stay seated. I was in the 13th row. I could not see unless I stood. I think it's okay to stand/dance during some songs, but every single song?? I didn't want to block the view for the people behind me. I tried to sit in the aisle, but security would't let me. People behind us even offered money to the 3 guys in front of me to sit down. It was frustrating at times. My husband is usually very, very easy going, but he lost it. I was surprised. I think what ticked him off was their attitude. When you asked them to sit down, they would respond, "Fuck you". I guess row 13 was not so lucky for us. I thought Bob looked tired. I did see him smile when he sang RDW when all of those kids (Jr. High looking) were on stage. The whole scene looked silly to me. Afterwards, just about everyone went back to the bar, and we meet another Christine, Ray Webster, Bill Pagel and Dean. Thanks for coming. It was a big gathering, and my husband and I really enjoyed it! Joy
From: Robin Jatko ( Newsgroups: Subject: Richmond 5-4-96 (Rmders Unite!)(Endless) Date: Wed, 8 May 1996 22:00:08 -0400 (The set list is at the bottom, for those who prefer to skip the peripheral stuff) The Thursday before the Saturday night show, I get an email from WhatWasIt (as in "What Was It You Wanted?"), who is Charlie, who I've never met, although we both live in Baltimore (at least for now). And, get this! He asks me if I want to go to the Richmond show, tickets on him! Tough decision! So, after exchanging more email--which was somewhat inane, on account of we work only a few blocks from each other--we arrange to leave Saturday morning, which we didn't, because Charlie was out having a good time Friday night and he overslept. So we left in the early afternoon and got to Richmond 4 hours or so later. At 4:30 we were in the historic part of town--very charming--looking for a place to stay. There was this beautiful small old hotel right across from the pub where we were meeting the other rmders, and Charlie suggested we stay there. I explained to him that it looked very fancy, and that I wasn't a particularly fancy person (while thinking longingly of the $29.99 EconoLodge signs I had seen on the outskirts of town), but then I figured, hey, the tickets were free! So Charlie and I went into the lobby, and Charlie asked the desk clerk how much the rooms were, and the desk clerk told him (gulp), and he looked at me, and then we had to go into the corner of this tiny little lobby for a conference. After much whispering, we decided to share a room, so we signed in etc and went upstairs, whereupon we got ourselves ready to meet the other rmders across the street. But first Charlie had to go around the corner to the bank machine, and when he went into the bank lobby, I waited outside. I'm gazing this way and that, and then I turn around and right there, parked across the street from the hotel, is Dylan's black bus and trailer--the exact same bus and trailer that I had gawked at behind the gymnasium at Drew! So Charlie sees it too, and he tells me that Dylan must have stayed at our hotel. I was so excited that I was ready to go back in the hotel and start banging on the doors! ;-) (PS. As we checked out the next day, I prompted Charlie to ask the somewhat stuffy hotel clerk if Dylan had indeed stayed there. I had previously explained to Charlie that it would be probably best for all involved if he dealt with the general public, on account of my NY manners often being misunderstood in the outlying regions. Anyway, this is the exchange (somewhat paraphrased): Charlie: "So I heard a rumor that Bob Dylan stayed here last night?" Clerk: "That's what people are saying." He smiled. (Long pause where I'm dying to jump in, but don't.) Clerk: "I didn't actually see him." Another smile. "They brought him thru the kitchen and out the service door." Big smile. "He stayed right above you." Much happiness on my part here.) Anyway, we went to the pub and met a whole bunch of rmders. I finally got to meet Christine C! What stories she has! And I met Jeff R again and Kim, Joy and her husband (I forgot his name-sorry!), Wayland and his wife (oh dear, I forgot her name, too)...I had a great time in the pub, and the best was yet to come! We climbed into Christine's truck and we were off! Christine had driven the day before 17 hours alone, she told me. What a woman! At long last, we arrive at the show. We missed Aimee Mann, because we couldn't bring beer into the amphitheatre with us, and it was no contest. The show was supoosed to start at 7:00, but Aimee Mann came on late, and it was 8:30 or so before Dylan came on. He was wearing slightly baggy black pants with silver buttons down the side (below the knee), a black t-shirt, and a light blue satin shirt-- open, not belted (thank goodness!). He had on the usual black Cuban-heeled boots that he has worn since the 60s--surely not the same pair! ;-) Tony Garnier was the only Man In A Hat; Bucky was still hatless and blond; Winston, as ever, looked like the Muppets drummer; and JJ Jackson--who from a distance looks a little like Eric Clapton in his short-hair-goatee-wire-frame-glasses incarnation--was a little less "comfortable" looking than at Drew. His shirt was tucked in this time ;-) 1. Drifter's Escape Dylan came out guitarless and wandered around the stage with a hand-held mike. JJ sang backup--I think Bucky did too, but I couldn't see him at this time. The song rocked, as it always does for me, and Dylan played an extended harmonica solo. 2. The Man In Me Dylan put his electric guitar on, which I much prefer to the guitarless Dylan. There was no harp solo, but I'd never heard him to this song live before, so I liked it just fine. 3. AATW Same as it ever was. Extended guitar solo, but no harp. 4. I Don't Believe You Again no harp solo. All these songs are being played as real rockers and the audience is happy, but he hasn't really gotten into his groove yet. 5. Watching The River Flow No harp solo. This was played at a fast pace--it was a pleasure to hear. 6. Silvio Still no harp! But JJ gets a nice long solo at last! I sure hope Jackson doesn't get sick of the #2 spot--or just plain bored!--and move on. This song rocks, and I like this version better than the released one. 7. MrTM (a) On my! This was amazing! The first verse or so were just fine, and then suddenly he gets into it, the way he does, and the song just takes off! There were excellent guitar duets with JJ--Bucky was up front with the mandolin--and a long, wailing harmonica solo, but it was the vocals! Fantastic! 8. Masters of War (a) Bucky is still up front, where he seems to enjoy himself. No harp solo. This has the same ominous sound as at 12-14-95. Very nice indeed. 9. Mama You been On My Mind (a) Bucky is still there. I liked this a lot--great song!--and Dylan was blowing that harmonica something wild! But some misguided fans felt that we in the audience would prefer to be entertained by their clapping along in unison with the song--they were wrong. It would be most helpful if it could be explained to them that this is not one of Mitch Miller's singalongs, nor is this a hootenanny...ah, well. The song was great, what I could hear of it. 10. Seeing the Real You at Last JJ got another long solo--very tasty, as usual. No harp solo. Dylan fluffs his hair, Marguerita! 11. This Wheel's On Fire Dylan wanders around the stage during much of this song, holding the mike in his hand, with his guitar under his arm like a shotgun. This was my 2nd favorite song of the night. BB and JJ sang backups, Dylan's vocals were fine! And we got two separate excellent harp solos! (Up to this point, Dylan said not a word. He now minimally introduces the band.) 12. Maggie's Farm This was a fine fast rocking version, as usual. He takes a few small bows, and there is some pointing at the audience, but not much. encore 13. Alabama Getaway JJ & BB sing backups. No harp solo. It rocks, but the song bores me, nonetheless. 14. The Times... (a) Bucky's back with the mandolin. This was a fine version. Dylan played great acoustic (no surprise there), then put down the guitar to play a very long and inspired harmonica solo, while he wandered around the stage. 15. RDW (Yawn) The crowd loved it, and they let 4 teenyboppers on the stage, and then both male and female teenagers started jumping on the stage and dancing. It was a little scary--there was about a dozen kids swarming all around him and one girl kissed him twice--he didn't seem to mind that! But with the way he lurches about, and the way the kids--who looked kind of goofy and clumsy--jumped about, I thought he might get knocked over. And while at first he seemed to like it--they *are* enthusiastic!--he looked a little freaked when they started crowding around him (By that time I was about 15 feet from him, stage center, standing on a folding chair) But security finally decided to hustle him out of there. Phhhewww! Anyway, all the rmders hung around by the front of the stage, and I got a stage hand to pull Dylan's cue sheet of the floor and give it to me. Christine C got his water cup and the two of us drank it! The guys teased us about that, but we didn't care, being shameless and all. Thanks, Christine! Bill Pagel and Dean and Ray Webster and another Christine were there, and we all went back to the pub and met most of the same rmders who had been there earlier and we stayed until it closed. I had a fantastic time, although there was this live band who made us sit thru "play That Funky Music, White Boy" twice! Thanks, Charlie!
Date: Tue, 7 May 1996 03:56:22 -0400 From: WhatWasIt (whatwasit@AOL.COM) Subject: Richmond, VA Review *** Blowing in the Wind *** The Classic Ampitheatre at Strawberry Hill, Richmond VA Saturday May 4, 1996 7:00 PM, Bob Dylan with opening act Aimee Mann ====================================================== The Classic Ampitheatre at Strawberry Hill is an outdoor venue, with reserved seating for about 4000 under an overhanging roof. Extending beyond this is an uncovered grass slope available to general admission ticketholders. Immediately upon entering the admission gate, a long sand-covered strip runs along beside the ampitheatre with various concession stands, merchandise sales and beer sellers distributed along both sides. A large white building sits along the opposite side of the sandy strip as the ampitheatre, and on the side of the building a set of very large promotional signs advertise the Classic Ampitheatre's upcoming events. The signs all appeared to be original pieces, done in black and white on 5-6 foot plywood squares. One sign had a simply painted Bob from the waist up, holding a guitar. Written beside the picture was "Bob Dylan with Aimee Mann May 4". All along the sandy strip, Dylan fans milled about before the show began. There appeared to be a slightly higher than average percentage of Deadheads in the crowd. The evening was warm and slightly humid; a mild overcast sky sprinkled a few tiny raindrops before the show only. A hint of a breeze now and then. It was still daylight during Aimee Mann's set, and darkness gradually set in during the break between her act and Dylan's. It was almost dark when the lights went down indicating that Dylan was about to come onstage. The reserved seating area was about two-thirds full, and the grassy slope was about one-third full with the fans spread evenly over the area. Over the PA, an announcer broadcast "Ladies and gentlemen; would you please welcome Columbia recording artist - Bob Dylan!" as the band members took the stage. The lights came up and Bob kicked into "Drifter's Escape". There appeared to be some equipment trouble disturbing Bob during the first minute or so, but it was not evident from the sound. After overcoming this, Bob settled into a great performance of Drifter's with strong, sharply delivered vocals. Several veteran fans felt it was better than Drifter's done last year, and there was a new twist - at the end of some verses, the band screeched to a complete halt as Dylan and JJ harmonized the final line and held out the last note. Then the whole band kicked back in. Dylan wore no guitar and carried a harp in his hand, peppering in a few short leads with it. Dylan put his electric guitar on after Drifter's, and played it through the remainder of the electric sets. After the moment of great anticipation for what will fill the second slot on the setlist, the crowd responded warmly to "The Man in Me". Super performance of a tune that has not appeared very often in Bob's more recent setlists. The band was tight and sounded as if this selection was played every night. Bob continued to deliver clear, powerful vocals. He sang the melody rather truthfully to the original, and appeared to be "into" this one. "The Man in Me" was a highlight of this show to many fans. A routine "All Along the Watchtower" was next. This got the crowd on their feet, and the crowd seemed to have grown a bit since the show began. Good, rocking delivery of this classic that has been played third at every show for quite a long time now. Bob was strong throughout, and he fired out the those great final lines "two riders were approaching... and the wind began to howl!!!" with passion. Bob played decent electric lead guitar. "I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)" followed, and it was a TREMENDOUS performance. Sharp, clear vocals; tight, solid rocking band with a medium-slow tempo that was just right. Bob again sang with some melody, and he put in a lot of those emotional vocal effects; little changes of inflection that you can't really describe, but with his unique voice they help make his singing so real and hit so hard. Absolutely beautiful singing performance throughout; no perfunctory moments. The audience was enthusiastic and rocking along with the band through this one. Many, but not all, were on their feet. Bob launched into a rockabilly version of "Watching the River Flow", which he had started playing at some of the later 1995 shows. Very upbeat, fast tempo. Bob moved around the stage a pretty good bit, in his unique and slightly uncoordinated way, with those subtle bobs and weaves and sometimes a little "slide". "Silvio", Bob's regular selection for sixth on the setlist in these days, received a ROCKED OUT workout. Bob and JJ harmonized on the lines "Silvio; silver and gold, won't buy back the beat of a heart grown cold!" while the band stopped altogether, similar to what they did in Drifter's. Bob and JJ ripped through some powerful leads back and forth and performed a couple of "dueling guitar" simultaneous jams while the band slammed to a halt for them. Some regular show-goers have heard enough of this one, but for a large part of the audience Silvio is such a mind-blower!!! If there was anyone left in the audience who had come expecting an "oldies" show, a gospel recital, or who-knows-what after how Bob came across in some TV appearances a few years back, THERE AREN'T ANY LEFT NOW! Silvo has so many great lines, and they fit the themes of his current tour so well. "Silvo, I gotta go, find out something only DEAD MEN KNOW!" tips the hat to his late friend Jerry Garcia, a tribute which was expanded later in the show. "Stake my future on a hell of a past, looks like tomorrow is COMIN' ON FA A A A A A STT!" - In a recent interview by John Dolan, Bob was asked: When you look ahead now, do you still see a Slow Train Coming? Bob replied: When I look ahead now it's picked up quite a bit of speed. In fact, it's going like a freight train now."! "One of these days and it won't be long, gonna ride through the valley and sing my song, sing it loud and sing it strong, and LET THE ECHO DECIDE WHO WAS RIGHT OR WRO O O O O NGGG!" - ('nuff said). To cool the stage after Silvo, Bob and band members (sans drummer Winston Watson) equipped themselves with acoustic instruments and moved to the front of the stage. Bob and JJ wore acoustic guitars, Tony hugged a stand-up acoustic bass, and Bucky weilded a dobro (I belive that is the correct name; a very small guitar-looking instrument that made a high, plucky sound). "Mr. Tamborine Man" may be Dylan's ultimate crowd-pleaser, and the lyrics are so classic and beautiful that even die-hards that have heard this SO MANY TIMES can't help but be mesmerized again. Especially the way Bob has been singing this song in recent shows, and once again it was spellbinding. After a few slowly strummed measures of intro music, Bob started with the chorus "Hey, Mr. Tamborine Man, play a song for me" with a strong voice to an ERUPTION of audience response. Then during the first verse, he quieted down the crowd with melodic, beautiful singing in a softer, thoughful voice to hypnotic effect. HYPNOTIC is the word to describe the rest; Bob's voice rose strongly above the crowd for each powerful chorus, and he wove his way elegantly and carefully through each verse. "Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, silhoutted by the sea, circled by the circus sands, with all memory and fate, driven deep beneath the waves, let me forget about today until tomorrow..." and thousands of hearts were in their respective throats, and many eyes were burning. Dylan finished us off with a wonderfully soaring harp solo, starting slow and low and building gradually to wailing notes ripping through the open air and everyone's mind. Hard act to follow. But "Master's of War", another Dylan classic, was equal in passion and reached new levels of intensity. Rhythmic and sharply strummed guitars, with almost a thumping sound at each beat, cast a dark spell across the audience. With lines like "And I hope that you DIE, and your death will come soon...I'll follow your casket, in the pale afternoon..." and others, Bob held captive the audience and infused them with his spirit of rage against injustice more effectively than any other artist could hope to do. Returning to the lighter side, an upbeat rapid strumming of acoustic guitars was blended with stage effects - a huge psychidelic pattern was projected over the band onto the tall curtain behind them. The pattern was of blobs like on a microscope slide, done in some shade of grey/black/brown, and it gradually begin a slow spin with the blobs appearing to squirm and shift a bit. Bob sang "Mama, You've Been on My Mind" with a vocal performance that very much captured the feelings evoked by the version on his Bootleg Series album. Lighthearted and bittersweet. Pleasured and Pained. Unhurried. Melodic. DAMN HE'S GOOD. The acoustic sets were marred for some of the audience by arguments over whether everyone should sit down. It seems that all of Bob's shows experience this to some degree. Tonight it appeared that a number of the younger fans wanted to keep standing, creating the domino effect in portions of the audience. Winston returned, and electric Bob and band plugged in "Seeing the Real You at Last". All worked together as one. Charged. Bob fired out the lines with great energy. The tempo was similar to Empire Burlesque original; but not quite as "stacatto" quick singing in the early part of the verses - a more even, smooth rocking beat instead. Tony and Winston pounded bass and drum like the original arrangement for "I'm just glad it's over... and I'm seeing the REEEEL YOU at LA A A ST!". A medium-slow, shifting tempo bass and drum was ominous while preceeding and then surrounding Bob's VERY inspired singing of "This Wheel's on Fire", a reworked version of a classic not played since 1969 until a few shows earlier this year. Dylan created a slightly darker tone with the new arrangement. He and JJ harmonized in places - "Wheel's on fire...ROLLING DOWN THE ROOAAD!....". Dylan was animated, getting down kind of low and turning to either side, stepping back and forth from time to time, and really getting into his vocals. "Wheel's" had the most powerful effect of the show; most die-hard fans considered it to be the show's highlight. Boot collectors should really try to get a tape of it from this or one of the past few nights; not only because of it's historic aspect, but it's truly an ABSORBING and wonderful performance! "I ain't gonna work on maggie's farm no more!!!" Bob wailed after the band kicked into "Maggie's Farm". One of his most often played selections, but it's a great rocker. Some disappointment for the touring fans that wanted to hear "Seven Days", which Bob has played as the set closer in some very recent shows. No complaints for the performance quality, though; "Maggie's" can't get much better than this. After a short break, Bob and band returned for an upbeat, fast paced, rocked out "Alabama Getaway", much to the joy of the Deadheads. Many of them admit that Bob does a better job of it than the Dead; this debate aside, Bob's performance definitely works. An inspired tribute. Many Dylan fans express dismay at the selection, mostly because it robs them of what would have been one more Dylan song performance. But EVERYBODY is on their feet and it's undeniably great fun. Another short break, and they return for "The Times They Are A-Changing", Bob donned an acoustic guitar, but Winston stayed on drums and slowly pounded rhythmic support for a masterful performance. There may be times Bob Dylan sounds as good as this, but he CAN'T SOUND BETTER. Done in a similar arrangement to "MTV Unplugged", Bob's voice came out so loud and strong it just blew right through you. Unhurried and anthematic, carefully articulating every word, beautiful. Words can't describe. The audience joined in during the familiar chorus lines. Bob retrieved a harp and treated the crowd to a great finishing solo. During the next short break, audience chatter centered on whether they would return to the stage; Dylan hasn't been consistent lately with the delivery of a 3rd encoure. There was great relief when the band member's forms were seen returning to their positions on the dark stage. After Winston's introductory marching drum-beats, which were recognized by everyone and greeted with an audience roars, the stage lights came up and the band took off with "Rainy Day Women, #12 and #35". Almost immediately, five foxy young ladies danced onto the stage and began dancing around Bob and the band members. They appeared to be about college age, and had obviously been selected from the audience and quickly prepared for a stage appearance. They danced about, roughly in a line across the stage behind Bob's center stage position between Bob and the drum set. After a couple of minutes of Bob singing a couple of verses, the band settled into an extended jam. Suddenly, a two more girls and two guys came out from the side of the stage and joined the dance. Bob was leaning to one side and looking into the eyes of one girl as they all danced about him. Several more then came onstage, a mixture of guys and girls. It became clear that the path to the stage was to the right (from the audience view) of the right side speakers; more kids were climbing up and circling around behind the speakers to enter the stage from the right. Approximately 16-18 kids were onstage when a stage hand appeared and blocked others from entry. The jubilant jamming and dance continued as the house lights came up to audience roars. Under the full house lights, the rocking show kept rolling. Needless to say, the entire audience was on their feet rocking and gaping at the scene in front of them. Finally, the band slowed down to a close to huge roars from the audience. At this time, the kids on stage began to crowd around Bob and he was completely out of audience view. For that matter, none of the band members were visible. The audience was suddenly gripped with fears for Bob's safety!! Stage hands began to quickly come on stage and drag people away. After they cleared the stage, Bob and the band members were gone. Since it has been reported they played Atlanta the following night, they must have gotten away safely.....(whew!) Richmond was a great show. Although there was no real suprises in the setlist other than the nice "Man In Me" and new "Wheel's on Fire", the performance by Bob and band was superlative. Bob appeared to have a good time with the show, and he gave us some of his cool moves - hand trigger signs out above the audience, guitar held up by the side like a rifle while wailing on harp, and some of the stepping moves only he can make! Many who attended may recall the audience participation during Rainy Day Women as the "memorable moment" to talk about from this show. But it was not. At some point during the masterpice Bob made of "The Times They Are A-Changing", the very slight - almost non-existent - breeze blowing through the ampitheatre picked up rather rapidly to a quite nice pace, cooling the audience and lifting the already soaring spirits as Dylan continued to bedazzle. And then his hair.....which he had been noticeably fluffiing, pulling and adjusting at several moments during the show....his blew straight back up and around his face and stayed back as the strong breeze continued for a few suspended seconds! It was a stop-you-cold scene of a moment; Bob onstage firing out his great lines with his powerful and never-better voice to the slowly pounding beat with that hair pushed back and flying!!! It is a documented fact that more than one female audience member (names withheld) was completely overcome and damn near dropped dead right on the spot! The guys in the audience collectively thought "damn he's cool; why couldn't I have been him?". =============================================================== Thanks to several rmd'ers for helping make this a great trip. Robin, Christine, Jeff/Kim, Ray and another Christine, Dean of the Hwy61 badge, Ray, Bill, Joy/Ralph, Wayland/Charlotte. Had a great time meeting some of you for the first time and seeing some of you again. Tobacco Company was great spot for pre-show gathering. For afterwards, we should next time choose a place with NO band, or at least a GOOD one if there must be one! Looking forward to next chance to get on the road... Charlie
Bob Dylan 960504 in Richmond, VA, by Andrew Burnett
Derby Day/Cinco De Mayo Flash: Bob's Magnificent in the American South (Richmond 5/4/96)

Not a proper review (sorry): Pink-eyed, one-eared and groggy on Sunday morning: sober, headachy, quiet and tired, surrounded by aggressive silver squirrels, Salvadoran soccer teams (orange, green, red), dalmations (white, black) and tiny, maniacally happy children in a park in Northern Virginia -- trying to testify as to Bob; as to Richmond; Virginia; as to last night.

It's a gorgeous morning: 110 miles north of where Bob was last, twelve hours ago. It's Cinco De Mayo, too, but it's hard (for me) to be Cinco de Mayo-ish without being San Antonio-ish; and there's something about a commonwealth that runs counterclockwise to the notion of Cinco de Maya (Nothing wrong w/commonwealths, mind you: born in one, jailed in one, raised child in one: the best seizures occurred in one -- and the air is sweet (this is God's truth) in all spring and summer commonwealths.

Bless Richmond, by the way: had a great day wandering among statues of the Confederate fallen on Monument Street; eating and drinking in not only Shockhoe Slip but also Shockhoe Bottom (any city with neighborhoods named this way is okay by me), where the prom dates (the boys looked like living Confederate heroes) mingled with the polo-clad horse riders galloping down cobblestoned Cary Street for an annual horse race benefit. Stood on the corner, smoked a cigar and watched the southerness go.

We were ready for a magnificent version of Bob and got one: He played for less than two hours (8:45 - 10:30 roughly?) but the Groupie Bobcat Reflex kicked in and time stood still as we listened to that gorgeous, gravelly, messianic hiss/howl. Bob: always compact physically, dressed in molto cool black (were the diamond patterns on his boots or his pant legs?) with an unbuttoned gold or silver lame shirt over a darker tee (sorry, I'm color blind). Bob's bad back is hinted at pretty clearly: he didn't real bow between encores as much as bob between speakers on the stage and give a quick audience-bound nod of his head with one hand firmly in the square of his back. And I love the little claw-like hand-thing that happens with his free hand when he plays the harmonica sans guitar. I've seen it described as a pistol thing, but it looks pretty unconscious -- a darling gesture, nevertheless.

Broke lately, we were in the first rows of the second section but glad of it: the first sections were filled with implacably standing devotees who forced others there to stand almost constantly. There were a few of these folks in the 2nd section: I love to stand at a song opening or closing; or when a song rocks throughout, but I've assigned pathological motives to this sort of inbred American fucked-up social quality where, when we can get away with it (highways mostly, along with concerts and anonymous chat groups), we brazenly screw with other people's minds when there is minimal payback quotient. And then there are the painful-to-watch dates: neither party wants to shock the other by being uncool enough to actually want to sit -- so both stand, agonized (& agonizing) and resolute. And so forty people have to stand because man x and woman y are on their first date. God bless us, everyone!

(It should be said, though: The Richmond crowd was pumped and loving -- and I'd much rather be in an audience that cares enough to stand than a narcoleptic one. In several places it felt like Bob was rewarding a special crowd with a special performance. And I don't mean special education.)

(Along with the very special memory of seeing high school slackers pump their fists in the air and shout ``Dylan!'' as they filed out of the seating area after the concert, I'll always remember the outstanding job the early twentysomething woman next to me did of communicating her absolute misery at having to accompany new boyfriend (or probably never-to-be boyfriend) to a Bob Dylan concert: she sat like a stone throughout it. She never clapped once and signaled with her face that listening to this Bob Dylan guy (gawd!) was a new sort of agony. Only when she went to the restroom could the guy stand up and sway like he wanted to.)

And Christ but I love Bob's hair! Thanks to the lighting and the southern breeze (popcorn, pot, and dogwood blossoms), funky, chunky strands would stray off from Bob's cranium as he struck one of those great faux guitar hero poses. It's not news that he looks like a mendicant prophet (well, he is, for god's sake), but it was beguiling, that mix of being utterly focused and simultaneously utterly hazed.

I scribbled a partial set list but realize that someone with more official ties to the Bob adventure will have posted one by the time I get my act together -- and I lost it totally after song number seven: an acoustic, heavenly Mr. Tambourine Man -- at a point in my life (& Bob's) when I thought it would take much more than MTM to blow my mind.

For two weeks the set lists were setting me on fire: '95 was great, but set lists were static. On this tour Bob's pulling great stuff out from wonderful underdog albums: New Morning (``The Man In Me''), Empire Burlesque (``Seeing the Real You At Last''); throwing in funky masterpieces (``Wheels on Fire,'' ``Alabama Getaway''); and setting old essential things on fire again (``Mr. Tambourine Man,'' ``Masters of War'') -- it's not that Bob hasn't been doing this for a couple of years, but this is the Bob I saw on Saturday night.

High points, undeniably, were being able to rush the stage right after ``Seeing the Real You at Last'' was over and dance 40 feet from glorious Bob and watch him sing, just standing with a microphone, like a lounge act in purgatory, ``Wheel's on Fire''. This and ``Mr. Tambourine Man'' were the two musical peaks for me, aside from the anti-peak of not knowing ``Drifter's Escape'' well and fantasizing that Bob was actually opening up with a new song (knew it wasn't so but a man can dream, can't he?).

Down by the stage, it was a complete rush seeing so many massively young people there, singing with all the venom they could muster to ``Maggie's Farm'' and ``Times They Are A-Changin'''. Stage management was lax, which isn't good or bad: just is. A low point in rock show stereotypes: when the stage guys picked out four or five very blonde, very young women to dance behind Bob during RDW (Nothing against them: they danced wonderfully and cracked Bob up, but did they all have to be 90210 blondes? I love Bob for stereotypes broken, not enforced.) -- shined a little flashlight on each and signaled: you, you and you. Three or four other people slipped up with them (a chair was lowered for the picked teenyboppers), then, with diverted security, another ten (mostly guys by this point, hurling themselves onto the stage, complete with security guy attached to one thigh/knee/ankle) slipped onstage and pogoed to Bob and the boys. One twentysomething woman in a twenties dress gave the security guy a huge kiss on the lips -- he, naturally, let her try to get up on stage -- but she was turned away.

Let me add another favorite moment in the New Blood For Bob Club: god, it was great seeing Bob -- or rather, losing complete sight of Bob -- as these kids mobbed him -- the music kept churning even though Bob couldn't sing because he'd backed up some from the mike. But every time his face surfaced, he was grinning hugely -- as I was.

Bless Bob.

(And Johnny Cash is coming to the 9:30 Club here in D.C. on the 15th! Bless Johnny, too!)

Tour Dates Calendar Expecting Rain