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Bob Dylan 960510 in Erie, PA

Date:    Sat, 11 May 1996 20:55:53 GMT
From:    Susan Juliano (sjuliano@MOOSE.ERIE.NET)
Subject: Erie Concert a Winner!

The last time Dylan played Erie, he sold out the Warner Theater and gave a
performance that a lot of people called disappointing. He stood stock still
throughout the show and, while playing great music, mumbled through most of
the words. It had little in the way of energy and Bob looked stiff as a
stick. It often took more than a verse for a song to become recognized.

Last night's concert in Erie did not sell out the Warner Theater, but it was
a performance to die for. Dylan was loose, coherent, and obviously enjoying
himself. Anyone who skipped this show because of being disappointed the last
time will be kicking themselves until he comes back to town. He was moving,
he was jamming, he was joking and interacting with the crowd. We got on our
feet the instant he walked on the stage and didn't sit down the rest of the

I didn't write down the songs in order, so I'll probably get it all mixed up
and forget a lot, but the highlight of the show had to be a *very* extended
"Mr Tambourine Man". He sang it with spirit, like he was writing the words on
the spot instead of reciting them by rote. Then the band jammed for a long
time. My son, who had only seen Dylan once before on the True Confessions
tour with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, was utterly astounded. "I didn't
know Dylan could jam!" he remarked. Just when it seemed they must be
finishing up with a final verse, they broke into *another* extended jam, with
Dylan making his amplified accoustic do things only an genuine electric
guitar ought to try... and making it sound great. The band kept playing while
Dylan took off his accoustic and strolled towrd the back of the stage. He
came back with a harmonica in his hand and the crowd went wild. Dylan was
playing the crowd like a master showman and we were loving it. He jammed on
the harmonica for another *very* long time, playing wilder than I've ever
heard him (in all of my three Dylan concerts experience ) before finally
ending the song.

The quietest (relatively speaking) the crowd got was for his insistently
performed "I and I." I *think* the only reason the crowd was so quiet for
that one was because not so many casual Dylan fans are familiar with the
song, but it may well have been because of the way he performed it. He stood
to the very front center of the stage and never moved a step away from the
mike. He sang it clearly and directly, demanding that the audience pay

Other crowd pleasers included "Maggie's Farm", "You're a Big Girl Now",
"Don't Think Twice", "Desolation Row", "Alabama Getaway", "My Back Pages",
"Rainy Day Women #12 & #35", "Long Black Coat", "Silvio", and "All Along the
Watchtower". Dylan was definately in a rocking mood and, in a place like
Erie, full of AC/DC tribute bands and punk rockers, it played well.
Personally, I was *mildly* disappointed that he didn't take the rocking down
a peg or two once in a while. I was hoping he would do something like
"Masters of War" or "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue", with less raucus rocking.

Early in the show, security made a big deal about making everybody who got up
get back to their seats. People were constantly being herded out of the
aisles and away from the front because that's the way the management at the
Warner wanted it. Those restrictions relaxed soon enough. I spoke to a
security guard after the show and he told me that that Bob's security people
told them it was OK, and that anyone who wanted to come up on the stage, as
long as they weren't dangerous, was allowed to and they would handle the
actual stage security themselves. Consequently, a lot of the people who
caught on to the change in the rules early enough were able to get right up
on the stage to give Bob a hug or a kiss, to shake his had, to dance with
him. At one point, he had a cute young blonde on either side of him, swaying
and smiling, while he flirted with them. There were a lot of extremely
blissful faces in the crowd last night, even on people who never made it to
the actual stage. What really amazed me was that it never turned into
insanity. People seemed to have enough respect for Dylan that they took turns
and left voluntarily after getting whatever thrill they went up there for. I
don't think there was ever more than four people from the audience on the
stage at any one time. The only exception was after the final encore, when a
lot of people tried to follow the band off stage. Dylan's security turned
them around and got them off the stage quickly and efficiently.

Tell all your friends. Tell anyone who has ever been disappointed in a Dylan
concert. Tell them they'll regret it if they don't see Bob every chance they
get. He certainly taught *us* a lesson, and we loved every minute of it.

Susan Juliano  "We all shine on." -John Lennon

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