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Bob Dylan 961017 at San Luis Obispo, California

Subject: Bob Dylan's Performance in SLO: A Review
From: Cindy Winkler (
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 14:49:20 +0000
Organization: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

So, after weeks of anticipation, I finally got
to see *the* Bob Dylan, *live*, in person!!!
I had never seen a famous celebrity before, except for Michael Dukakis
when he was running for president, and Dianne Feinstein when she ran for
governer.  This is the first time I have posted to this newsgroup, so
let me say something about myself.  My name is Cindy Winkler, I am 20
years old, and I go to college at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.  I listen
to  rock oldies music, (I *love* the Beatles!), but, even more peculiar
for someone my age, I like folk and country oldies as well.  (You know,
Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Kingston Trio, etc.)
	Of course Bob Dylan is someone I have idolized for years.  I love guys
who are vagabonds and are sassy and play guitars and harmonicas at the
same time, and "sing" with voices that sound like a kid whining, and who
don't comb their hair, well, you get the idea.  
  So, I spent the time when I first bought my ticket to this Dylan
concert at the Rec Center, reading about him and listening to his
songs.  I WAS SO HAPPY!!! All the other acts that played there so far
*SUCKED*.  FINALLY, here is someone playing at Cal Poly, whom I
*actually like*!
	I rented that movie "Don't Look Back".  I just fell so much in love. 
He was GORGEOUS!!  He was sassy and rude too, but that's okay.  He was
my fantasy.  It seems like every song that I like was written by Bob. 
Like, "My Back Pages", "Mr. Tamborine Man" "Blowin' in the Wind", "Don't
Think Twice" the list goes on and on and on.
	I would constantly sing Bob Dylan songs all the time, driving my
boyfriend nuts.  I just wanted to prepare myself for the big moment to
	So I'm standing in line at the Rec Center for two hours, looking at all
the middle-aged hippies, and a few young ones too.  I was kind of close
to the front, but not as close as I would have liked.  Finally I came in
to the gym, and there was this stage with a drum set on it, and a whole
bunch of guitars on a rack.   I was jumping up and down with glee.
	Now, here is where I made my mistake.
	I was *so* greedy.  I wanted to be as close to Bob as possible, so I
decided to stand in front of the stage, rather that sit in the bleacher,
where I would be further away from he who has messy hair and "sings"
with a snarl. I will explain why this was a mistake later on in the
	First, they had this guy, Kenny Wayne Shepard and his band as the
opening act.  It was okay, just rock/blues stuff.  Funny how Kenny's
hair made him look like Cousin It.
	Then after *that* we had to wait and *hour* for Bob and his Band to
there was this guy, whom I swear was on crack, who was absolutely
spastic.  He danced continuously non-stop throughout the entire show. 
Marijuana was everywhere.  And there where NO POLICE!  Or if there was,
they weren't enforcing anything.  I didn't smoke anything.  I don't need
to be on drugs to enjoy Bobby's music.

	So then the lights dimmed, and some of the Band members came on stage,
and the announcer said "Presenting world famous recording artist, Bob
Dylan!" and everybody cheered, and lifted their hands clapping, so I
couldn't see.  I squealed at the top of my lungs when I caught my first
glimpse at Bob.  A whole bunch of people were pushing me in all
directions, and this bitch yelled at to get off her or to stop screaming
or something like that.  My God!, I just want to be able to *look* at
Dylan!  So, I tried to worm my way around to the psycho was just talking
about, who was dancing like there was no tomorrow, and there were some
shorter people, and while I still could not see Bob all the time, the
view was much better.
	My feet started to hurt really bad by that time.  I was wearing my "Bob
Dylan" boots too, instead of my tennis shoes.  Ow!  At that time, I
really wanted to sit down.  I wished I had sat in the bleachers.  At
least then I could *see* Bob, and my feet wouldn't hurt so much.  I was
hoarse and thirsty from all that screaming, and I needed to go to the
I just don't know how all the other people had so much energy.
	Since I had been preparing myself to see Bob Dylan, I guess
subconsiously was prepared to see the *young* Bob Dylan.  When I did see
Zimmy, half of me was excited that He was actually there, and half of me
was dissapointed that he was so, well, old.  I mean I wanted to see Bob
when he had perfectly smooth skin, nice curly hair, and was thin and
lithe, always making jokes and witty remarks, like in "Don't Look
Back".  But the Bob I saw, well Bob *Dole* looked friendlier.  Dylan
seemed to look like "Well, another night, another concert.  I guess I've
got to play this shit."  Like he seemed not to want to be there.  He
seemed to loosen up later on in the show and he actually started to
*smile* :)!  I wanted to be up close to him and blow him a kiss.

	The songs that Bob sang that I knew were:
If Not For You
My Back Pages
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
Maggie's Farm
Rainy Day Women, #12 & 35 (A silly title, why can't it be called
"Everybody Must Get Stoned"?
He also sang some songs I didn't know.
Personally, I prefer Bob's accoustic songs.  There are enough rock'n
roll bands already.  Bob should stick to "folk" music.  There were both
electric and accoustic sets.  My voice was so hoarse, I couldn't cheer
anymore, but nobody else seemed hoarse. ;(
	Also, the audience members seemed to like Bob as a rock star as well or
better than as a folk singer.  Ah well.  I had a hard time believing the
old wizened man really was my Bobby.  His voiced sounded weirder than
what I'm used to.  I mean, Bob always had a whiny voice, but this was
*really* high-pitched and whiny!!!  I could barely understand a word he
said, but he's been singing these songs so much, he was probably really
bored.  He looked at us college kids like he hated us.  All squinty eyed
like "Damn you for making come here!"  Bob probably wished he was
somewhere else.
	Like I said though, Bobby loosend up and he introduced the members of
his band in a barely recognizeable voice, and said he hoped we were
having a good time, and his voice was friendly.  I was having a *very*
good time, except for the HUGE CROWD OF PEOPLE and MY ACHING FEET!!!
	Bob was called back for three encores, but I think he and his Band were
just fooling with us.  Of course they wouldn't really leave until they
played "Rainy Day Women".

	When the show was over, and we left I went to the telephone at Mott Gym
and called my boyfriend to pick me up.  All in all, the performance
itself, while it *could* have been better (More old greats, songs I
knew, no electric instrument, no Band,just Bobby, his guitar and
harmonica) it was an excellent show I am glad I went.  The rude people,
the tall people, the *stoned* *high* and *wacko* people, I could do
without.  Better seating would have been nice.
	I think there is something in my brain that can't handle me seeing
celebrities.  I mean if I see someone on TV or in magazines, I know who
that person is and what he looks like, but famous people only seem to
exist in a two dimensional world.  When I *saw* Bob in person, well not
only did he not look like how I imagined, well my brain didn't
comprehend that was *really* him.  I seemed to think he was an android
and there is a recording of Bob singing.  Maybe some of the weed fumes
got to my head. :)

Hope you like me sharing my experience!

bye guys

The Freewheelin' Cindy

Subject: Brief(ish) review: Bob in SLO From: John Brown (KB9KB9KB9@AOL.COM) Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 22:33:02 -0400 Venue: in a gym-- unapologetically a gym, in fact-- basketball courts raised, high-school bleachers protruding from the walls, standing room in front of the stage. I managed to secure a vantage point in the front row, just on the Bob-side of JJ. Lots of waving hair and high-register jamming from Kenny Wayne Shepard, then: Ladies and Gentlemen, will you please welcome.... Bob enters in weird new (I think) outfit, shiny white shirt under shinier black tux coat-- looking like some Maitre D' from hell ("may I offer you, uh, some, uh, wine with that"), not apparently well-rested from the hiatus, although lousy college-gym lighting prob. didn't help. My first thought: "his eyes were two slits... make any snake proud." To Be Alone W/You: Bob's voice strong, guitar playing terrible. Band disorganized. Kemper not to be blamed, was instantly part of the action, looked great up there, he was fine, everyone else sucked. If Not For You: Weak version. Front row congnoscenti starting to get nervous. Watchtower: As inevitable as cancer, and only slightly more enjoyable. Takes A Train: Bob seemed to sleepwalk through it. Although somewhere around here he gave a sweet high-five to Kemper, "welcome to the band" Jokerman: Bob warming up a little, a more restrained version than in the past, phrasing was pretty, some great playing from Tony, quite nice, actually Silvio: problems-- despite JJ's enthusiasm, song fell flat-- towards the end, Bob was air-guitaring the fretboard, no idea what to do, confused, helpless as a rich man's child-- an unmitigated disaster. @ Pages: Rip Van Winkle wakes up and the long slumber is over--!!! a strong version, excellent lead playing from Bob, very well sung, Bob even begins shimmying around in some weird St. Vitus dance-- only drawback: Bob's lazy harmonica solo, which would be the only time he played harp all night. (incidentally, Bob's mic stand had a separate harp mic that looked like a shower head, which he played into-- as far as I could tell, Bob wasn't too impressed with the result). @Masters of War-- wonderful, more like it sounded a couple of years ago than recently with the band building to an acoustic crescendo. A great version. Best moment-- without warning the backdrop behind the band switched to some kind of bizarre pre-Raphaelite painting with an enormous fat guy wearing a beret with his mouth hanging open-- was Donatello a master of war? -- I cracked up, which made JJ give me a querelous look... when I pointed to the rear of the stage, he turned around then looked back at me... for an ugly second, I thought that I had annoyed him with the distraction, or worse, that the stupid image was his idea or something, but, just then, he imitated the guy's slack-jawed expression perfectly!! An amazing moment. @ Baby Blue-- maybe the best version of any song I've heard live by any artist-- Bob's phrasing was fascinating from start to finish, great guitar, terrific. Certain to be part of a collection someday. This was really, really amazing.... and Bob seemed to know it, smiling for the first time, relaxing, back down in the groove. If only they could all be... I know, I know.... Real You: scorching, the lines delivered with wonderful bile, but no real surprises What Good Am I: lovely, the best live version of this song I heard. Very slow, very tender, with Bob rephrasing the "Am I" part to make it sound like a hybrid between a prayer and a cry. Gorgeous. Maggies: Surprisingly fresh and caustic-- largely due to Bob/JJ interplay in which JJ tried to follow Bob on the final line of each stanza, while Bob tried to throw him off: "I'm not going to work for Maggies ma nooooooooooo................ MORE!" Bob's delivery was terrific, the band was cooking -- welcome Kemper, for real now -- and Bob and JJ exchanged a series of white hot licks along the way to a devistating conclusion (on the guitar of course) ** enc: Alabama Getaway: Scorching-- most of the audience knew the song and went nuts. Better than any bootlegged version I've heard. Bob's singing was absolutely 1st-rate. @ One too Many A.M.: as delicate as a song can be. Extremely pretty and contemplative version-- Bob made it sound like he wrote it an hour ago-- I was hoping for a second try on the harmonica though... **enc #2: Rainy Day: An obvious choice, but enthusiastically delivered, and the audience went nuts. Bob seemed to enjoy throwing the audience off on the money-line and seemed in good form. I've sat through a bunch of these in the last couple of years-- this one was about as good as it gets, but, say, "freight train blues" might have been a nice surprise. Overall: after a weak start, an excellent show! Kemper's light-years better than The Animal and, assuming the time-off kinks were largely worked out in the first third of gig #1, strong reason to expect great things over the next couple of months. Okay now, time for a good night's sleep, then I'm off to Vegas. Thanks for indulging, Keith P.S. One for the statisticians: when was the last full-length concert in which Bob played the harmonica on only one song?
Subject: Notes on SLO Concert! From: Melissa Davis ( Date: Sat, 19 Oct 1996 10:28:12 -0700 Ok, what details can I give you? Let's see, the opening act was intense but artful. That kid can play the blues! The lead singer looks like Eddie Vedder and sings well. All right, on to Bob... he had on a bright white satin shirt buttoned to the top, black jacket with silver threads - not quite glittery but near it. Black pants. He looked just great. He flirted some with the crowd in front during the first few songs, Watchtower communicated strongly I must say. I thought he was fresh. He played every song like he had never sung it before, or so it seemed to me. Winston was absent and missed by me. I like Winston. The new drummer changes the sound of the band from a country soul flavor to a crisp rock-n-roll sound. It really worked - they really rocked! Bob played the guitar well and did lots of solos, only falling into a three note plink on a couple of occasions and even they sounded well rehearsed. :) It was astonishing. I loved Silvio. It Takes a Lot To Laugh was slow, heavy and *beautifully* done. He was able to hush the crowd at will and sang melodically - you should have heard what he did to Baby Blue. Bob had a good time. The house lights were turned up about every other tune and they added a slide show for the acoustic set. Heiroglyphs (sp) make up the new motif for t-shirts and the stage. I have never heard such noise as when he left the stage before the series of encores. The house really began to rock when he returned for Alabama Getaway and there were wide, ear-to-ear smiles on *everybody's* faces for the approximatly 15 minute long rendition of Raing Day Women 12 & 35. The house lights where turned full on and everyone danced their buns off clear up to the seats in the rafters. Incredible space. I have never seen anything like it. What was neat was the lights were the same on Bob as on the audience - so it gave the sensation an audience member that we were being part of the band - we were all the same in the same room, Bob providing a great musical backdrop for a huge dance party. Very cool. And very, very fun. He's a great guy. He mugged, hammed, strutted, cooed with the girls even signed an autograph, blew kisses. Amazing. I must say the college crowd makes for a good audience. They were all nice kids too! It was a happy day, as Andrew would say! ...oh, he played for about 2 hrs, mmmmaybe 15 minutes. For those of you going to Vegas, get ready for a good time! Melissa Davis
Subject: SLO Concert From: Ann Thompson (AnnTho@AOL.COM) Date: Sat, 19 Oct 1996 15:53:39 -0400 Here are some comments on the Oct. 17 show in San Luis Obispo from someone who has seen Dylan only once before (Santa Barbara May 1995) but has loved his music for years. My husband dropped me off to get in line at the gym (it was a definite gym) & while walking around back I saw several huge trucks so I went to the loading dock area and to my delight could hear perfectly the rehearsal going on inside. Bob was doing Highway 61, (which he didn't perform in the concert). I just sat there -the only one around- until it was over. It was so GREAT. Anyway, we waited in line & got good seats. Probably a third of the audience stood on the gym floor, the rest in bleachers. Kenny Wayne Shepherd played about 45 minutes, one encore, all tunes from his CD. Then "Columbia recording artist Bob Dylan" came on wearing a black jacket with sparkly threads, a white satin shirt and black or maybe dark wine colored velvety looking pants. Kind of a strange outfit I thought but at least I was close enough to see well. Now, I am not the experienced reviewer or concert goer that most of you are so I am probably less critical too. I have to say that from the first song (To Be Alone with You), I was on my feet and loving every bit of it and it definitely got even better as it went along. The highlights for me were the great version of Masters of War and Alabama Getaway. He had absolutely no audience rapport. He may have smiled a few times. HIs only spoken comment was "Thanks ever'body" and then a very brief intro of the musicians. Acoustics seemed poor and there was bad feedback from the bass on a couple songs. Anyway, I felt privileged and happy to be in the audience seeing a man who has brought many hours of enjoyment to my life. Go, Bob! P.S. I've only been on this list a few weeks so please forgive my inexperience if this post is too simple or whatever. --Ann
Subject: Re: Bob Dylan's Performance in SLO: A Review From: Ron Chester ( Date: 23 Oct 1996 13:06:54 GMT Organization: EDLIS (Ed Ricardo) writes: > >Great review, Cindy. A fine example that when Bob comes to your town >you have a responsibility to post, even if you have never posted afore. > >It is printed on the ticket, "No cameras, no recording devices, this >ticket constitutes a legally binding agreement that you will post >a review to within 48 hours of attending." Well, I missed the 48 hour rule, as I took longer than that driving back up the coast after the show, stopping at eight used bookstores along the way, as well as a day helping my brother to get settled in new digs not too far from the site of the famous May 95 Laguna Seca Daze. In hopes this will satisfy my contractural obligations, though a bit tardy . . . Guess I'm one of the wizened ones the young 'uns talk about. Though I've been listening to Dylan for 30 years, SLO was only the 7th show I've attended in person. So unlike some, I'm not bored with any songs he decides to perform. Sure, I've never been to a show that didn't include Watchtower, but it's still exciting in the flesh even the 7th time around. And this show did include four songs I had never heard performed: To Be Alone With You, If Not For You, What Good Am I, and Alabama Getaway. Some comparisons of this show to the May 95 shows in the SF Bay Area, which was the last time I saw Dylan . . . The SLO crowd was decidedly more youthful than last year. There were some of us oldsters, including some who were introducing their kids to Dylan. But 85% of the crowd seemed to be Cal Poly students, a fine collection of young freshly scrubbed optimistic happy kids, looking forward to a fun night of music. It was a decidedly cheery atmosphere, in a small college town. The Rec Center probably had the usual gym acoustics, but when you're standing as close to the left bank of speakers as I was, acoustics probably aren't a major factor, as the sound waves enter your left ear directly from the speakers. Kenny Wayne Shepard was a hard working guitar player, who didn't let up for a moment from the start to the end of his set. His long blond hair was flopping around really well, making me wonder what creme rinse he uses. I didn't succeed in duplicating a single word sung by the lead singer. (KWS doesn't sing at all.) As soon as they finished, the bright faces in front of me turned around to ask what I thought, I suppose in hopes of getting a good quote from the old fossil that they could report to their roommates later on. "It wasn't what I came for," I said. To my surprise, they agreed!! I had been expecting to be able to move up closer to the stage after the first set, based on my experience at Laguna Seca, when many of the younger ones split after the Black Crowes set, opening up lots of room for the Dylan fans. Not so at SLO. The opposite was the case. Between sets, the crush of people in front of the stage increased dramatically. There was a lot of excitement in the crowd, as they jockeyed for position. During the pushing and shoving, I met a Cal Poly English prof who was very excited to be at only his third Dylan show, and the first in a decade. His lady friend, Deborah, was attending her first Dylan show, and seemed a bit ill at ease with the boisterous crowd scene. I wondered whether she was really a Dylan fan, or was just being polite to her professor friend. And then the show, and the new tour, started ("... Columbia recording artist, Bob Dylan!!!!"). Things were a bit rocky to start. Dylan's mike was turned much too low, so his voice was lost at first, with adjustments made by the end of the first song. I found myself missing Winston as the band warmed up, as his more prominent solid beat seemed to hold things together more at the beginning of shows last year. But by Watchtower they were all rocking together, and things were rolling along nicely. The prof was tickled pink, as each song began and another of his old friends began to unfold. And now Deborah seemed to relax, as she began to smile and sway with the music. We were beginning to have a grand old time. My favorites were the acoustic My Back Pages, Baby Blue, and One Too Many Mornings (encore). I agree with Keith's assessment that Baby Blue was special. And I was also impressed with his delivery of the Maggie's Farm line, "I'm not going to work for Maggie's ma nooooooooo......MORE!!!" Very alive and heartfelt. The slide show during the acoustic set was a surprise. There was a large black curtain across the back wall behind the band. Right before the first acoustic number, they opened the curtain, which exposed a screen on which they projected the three slides in the light show. During My Back Pages, the slide was of a floral pattern. For Masters they switched to a large old (European?) painting. On the right side was a group of people (scribes?) who seemed to be cowering or shrinking away from some horror, and on the left was a large round man's face, whose eyes were bulging out, with his mouth open in a round circle, a look of evil. Unlike Keith, I found it appropriate to the song. For Baby Blue, they switched to a slide of hieroglyphic-like drawings of animals. When the acoustic set ended, they pulled the curtain closed, and that was it for the light show, our little peek at the 60's. I was disappointed at the near absence of harmonica. The only harp playing, during Back Pages, was unremarkable. And there was no Las Vegas lounge act crooning (sans guitar) like last year. Dylan had a guitar over his shoulder throughout the whole show. Overall the sound seems to have shifted some from the rocking country sound of Unplugged more toward hard driving solid rock & roll. As the evening progressed, Dylan began to warm up to the enthusiastic reception he was getting. He played more lead guitar than I had expected, and he and JJ seemed to have a good time of it, as they would lean toward each other with their guitars, doing their dueling leads routine. The new drummer was fine, with his work perhaps blending more with the overall sound than with his predecessor. Every time I glanced over at Deborah, her smile seemed to widen. Several times people closer to the stage pulled out of their position, and each time she jumped at the chance to move closer to the front. By the end of the show, she was in about the fourth row of people, with me and the prof not far behind. Her inhibitions had long since disappeared, as she reached to get closer to the master. I was surprised that Dylan did three encores. Last year, he was doing only two. The first time he left, the kids raised quite a ruckus by stamping on the wood floor and bleachers, while cheering for more. The last encore, RDW, was marred by a nasty buzz in the sound system, which persisted for far too long, as JJ and Dylan looked around and at each other in hopes of spotting the source of the problem. I would have preferred it if Bob had just stopped and let them clear up the sound, and then started over. But he just plowed ahead, determined to get through it unscathed. The crowd didn't seem to mind too much. They brought up the house lights for the whole song. And *everyone* was standing and dancing, not just in front of the stage, but in the bleachers on both sides as well, all the way from the the court level to the very top of the rafters on both sides! It really was quite a grand finale, with everyone including Dylan thoroughly enjoying themselves. Dylan was the last off the stage, not the first. He seemed in no hurry at all to leave, even bending down to sign an autograph, and winking at a young girl from Fresno (who enthused about it later). Unfortunately he didn't see the Times album cover that had been passed up to the stage for signing during One Too Many Mornings. Having played over two hours, the show was longer than those last year. It was the enthusiasm of the audience that made this show special, as it energized Dylan and us all. I left full of hope about the younger generation. When I told Deborah it looked like she had enjoyed her first Dylan show, she gushed in agreement, saying it was the best show of any kind she had ever attended, comparing it favorably to the time she saw the Rolling Stones, with Jagger a mere speck in the distance. Afterwards I got to compare notes about our good fortune with Melissa over steak and eggs at Denny's. And the next day, I enjoyed a brunch in oldtown SLO with Heike and her sister and friends. It's always fun to share Dylan stories with other rmders! The biggest prizes from the used bookstores were a nice copy of Michael Gray's Song & Dance Man in a bright clean dust jacket, plus a fine copy of the Barry Miles compiled annotated edition of Howl, signed (with hand drawings!) by both Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti. It was a wonderful trip in all respects! Ron Chester

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