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Bob Dylan 961110 in Mankato, MN

 Subject: Mankato ramblings
From: Chris Bjorke (
Date: 11 Nov 1996 22:19:50 GMT

The following may be a little incoherent. I just woke up after driving 
about six hours overnight from seeing Bob in Mankato.

As for the concert, it was absolutely amazing.  It really is hard to come 
up with the right adjective to describe this show. The best description I 
can come up with is that Bob was as Bob as he can be.  People criticize 
Bob for being only an incoherant shadow of his 1960s self, but any rock 
star would sell his soul to be as much Bob as Bob was last night.  To put 
it another way, Dylan sucessfully combined the personas of rock legend, 
poet, wandering songster and prophet under one white, ten-gallon cowboy hat.
He sang and played as if he meant every single word and note, like all 
his lyrics were coming right from his soul at that very moment.

And, it looked like he was enjoying the hell out of himself.  He was 
strutting around on solos, talking to bandmates and making eye contact 
with the audience. He even smiled once or twice!


A completely laid-back and almost country version of "Tom Thumb's Blues." 
A driving acoustic "Tangled Up in Blue." And, my favorite, "Like a 
Rolling Stone." Somehow he stripped this song from all of the nostalgia 
and seemed like he was singing right at the audience, asking them 
how it feels.

Toward the end of LARS (the first encore) some twenty-something guy 
jumped up on stage and put his arm around Bob. After that, for the rest 
of the encores, about 20 or 30 people, mostly young women, ran up and hugged 
and kissed Bob. Somehow he was able to keep playing. It looked like some
of them were going to crush his guitar while hugging him.  A couple guys 
even kissed him, but security was a little better at keeping guys off the 
stage than girls.  During the last encore (Rainy Day Women), at least four 
or five girls were on stage, dancing, hanging onto Bob and stealing his 
cowboy hat. Bob only bothered singing the first verse and just jammed on 
the rest.  It was very weird and rowdy. It was like a big party around 
Bob and he seemed to be enjoying all of it.

I know this is long and rambling so I'll try to sum it up. If you weren't 
there, you missed one hell of a party.

Subject: Staying Alive: Sadie's Milwaukee and Mankato Report From: sadiejane ( Date: Wed, 13 Nov 1996 17:32:03 -0500 Organization: home Staying Alive Sadiejane's Milwaukee and Mankato Report I found tears in the United Airlines lounge, sitting cross-legged in a vinyl chair, waiting for the flight that would take me from Los Angeles to two more Dylan shows after a week of business related travel on the west coast. I was tired from the week of fast paced work, and I was reading Paul Williams' new book "Watching The River Flow". Reading the chapter that begins, "Dear John, I love the photo of you and Christian and me in Hartford..." I can't say that I knew John well, but he always seemed to me to be the best example of a Dylan fan. We had a brief email exchange in the late summer. It came as a response to my saucy posting about wanting to meet Larry Lambchop. John teased me mercilessly for what he referred to as "my proposal of marriage" to Lambchop and I suffered his teasing with pleasure. I always hoped that I would be able to meet John. And in fact, had planned to try to fly to England for the next UK tour. =========================================================================== Driving through downtown Racine in the middle of early rush hour traffic on the Saturday of the Milwaukee show, a small brown rabbit darted out into the street and I hit it as it tried to reach the other side. I wanted to stop, but there was a car directly behind me, I swerved, but it was no good. I kept going and saw the poor thing flopping helplessly before the onrush of cars that followed me. I had never run over a living creature before. My immediate reaction was an overwhelming feeling of guilt for not stopping. For being to afraid to stop and see what I had done. It was cowardly of me not to stop even if only to put it out of it's misery. Hit and run. Milwaukee, Wisconsin The Eagle Ballroom November 9, 1996 At the Eagle Ballroom we had what was promised to be seats on the isle just right of center but which turned out to be far left, obstructed view. All night long the ushers appeared to be trying to sort out confusions regarding the arrangements of the seats. There had apparently been some rearranging done sometime earlier that day and the ushers all carried with them xeroxed seating plans which had lots of highlighting and "editorial" marks. I was not the only one complaining of my seats. Paying for a "Golden Circle" ticket which did not allow one a view of even half the stage seemed unfair. At least in Mankato they had the courtesy to tell us on the phone that we were buying obstructed view seating. At least the sound was better than I had been led to expect. I am one of those sturdy (careless) types who plays my walkman at the maximum volume and likes to stand right in front of the speakers. But when Kenny Wayne Shepherd began his set, I was glad that I had an old tissue in my coat pocket. I was pleasantly surprised to find that as soon as Kenny stopped and Bob started that I could comfortably situate myself in front of the speakers, sans Kleenex (Puffs Plus actually). So, I had an ok view of Tony and if I stood far to the front I could get a peak of JJ between the precenium of the stage and the bank of speakers. I was able to sweet talk two of the security staff into letting me dance in front of the house left speakers and from that position the sound was actually very good. Lots of clarity. the vocals right up front. I danced and I didn't bother anyone and then when it came time for the stage rush the two Eagle Ballroom employees practically took me by the hand and led me up personally to the center of the stage. It was *that* easy. Bob gave us consistent, strong performances on both nights. He sounded rested, he looked rested. His costume for that evening and the next was a badly fitting, black polyester cowboy suit with garish silver piping. The hat was OK. A stylish white cowboy which was neither 10 gallon nor 5 gallon but somewhere in between. This outfit didn't do *anything* for me at all. He looked like a country/Western version of David Byrne crossed with a car salesman. The boys looked great though. Tony in his beret, Bucky with his new beard, JJ with his sunburst, hollow body Gretsch, dressed all in black and David looking casually comfortable behind the drum kit. Everyone seemed to be getting along and smiling. Lots of communication on stage. Happy faces everywhere. I love the new Tangled Up In Blue - somewhere in between the electric version from '94 and the acoustic versions from '96. Folk ROCK that you could really dance to (which is what I did). It bounced and bopped and tripped along. "So now I'm goin' back again, I got to get to her somehow. All the people we used to know they're an illusion to me now." sounding triumphant and confident. A man happy to be back on tour. The only awkward moment of the evening was Hattie Carroll. Tony seemed to strain to keep everyone together. Kemper's beat was too heavy for the vocals and I think that it reigned Bob in too tightly. The looseness of natural inflections and speech patterns that usually make this song so effective were lost in the steady drums. I would love to see a percussion set up downstage with conga drums and triangles and stuff. Have Kemper come down and play some funky, light handed rhythm during the acoustic numbers like Hattie Carroll. I was right in front of Bob's monitor from God Knows to the end. I + I was crisp and clean and tight as a drum. I think it was the best song of the evening - bob's eyes fixed on that spot over our heads, communing with us by losing himself in a world of his imagination while we (vicariously) watched on. I think this was for me the most intimate moment of the evening. The only time when I felt that Bob was offering us something rare. The rest of the show felt very well prepared and was very well paced. But time stood still for just a moment during I + I. Then the crowd down front began to get restless. A drunken man waving a home made cassette over my head and screaming "INFIDELS" at the top of his lungs. A young girl, dazed and with slurred speech who kept cycling onto and off of the stage, as she would claw her way up and then be led (or thrown off) by bob's security. I linked arms with the two young women on either side to try to prevent the mass of arms and legs from overwhelming us. "But it's my birthday!" one young woman cried out in distress when I indicated I was not going to let her climb over me. Bob singled out a young blond nearby and proceeded to play to her throughout Rainy Day Women. This was after being groped and fondled and mauled by about 20 or so females who interrupted him all throughout LARS and Girl From The North Country. The first one up on stage danced around him casually and had some conversation with him during what *would* have been his solo. He actually stepped to the side of his mic during the refrain as if to let her sing with him - at which point it became clear that she didn't know the words to the song. Oh well. Her opportunity for stardom lost forever. As the stage filled bob stepped down towards the pretty blond and sang as though to challenge her to climb up to him. Christine Consolvo was on the other side and when I asked her if she had noticed this she replied dryly, "Oh yes, Bob came down and proceeded to blow her mind". I was impressed because the blond (she must have been about 20 years old) only gave in after he had mugged and grimaced and winked and smiled to an absolute excess. After every challenge that Bob gave her, she would beam, and look at us in amazement. Finally we all gave her a boost up. She gave him a quick kiss, turned and smiled shyly to the audience and then quickly returned to her spot on the floor. She showed an exceptional grace and natural sweetness unlike so many of the other young women that clawed their way up to Bob that night Bob barely played or sang during Rainy Day Women but it looked like he was having a good ol' time. This is when I realized that I really don't want Dylan to simply enjoy himself. Having a good ol' time is not enough for me. Okay - so I'm raining on his parade and I'm being a purist - but when Bob stops connecting with the music...I stop connecting with Bob. I'd probably rather see him struggle on stage and forget the lyrics and glance with aggravation at his guitar, or JJ's guitar or the monitors or the audience. But he appeared to be having too much fun to bother with the music. And this is when he lost my interest. Mankato, Minnesota Civic Center November 10, 1996 In Mankato I got my first ever speeding ticket. Driving 63 in a 50 zone. Mark W. and I had taken a wrong turn (35 south instead of north) and we were running late. The speeding ticket cost us $70.00 and the first 3 songs of the show. When I told the police officer that this was my first ....he hesitated and looked uncomfortable which made me feel a bit better. I don't care about the ticket but I'm sorry I missed Lay Lady Lay and Watchtower. This time my seat was on the far right, and while it was an obstructed view seat I was able to stand in front and dance on the side until the (early) rush. The acoustic set went very well and was identical to the night before but for the second song, My Back Pages. Behind me stood a large, young, pimply faced boy who proceded to scream through the entire set "BOB DYLAN THIS IS BOB DYLAN". I finally turned to him and said, "Tell me something I don't already know" and he didn't appear to understand. He sang (screamed) along to Tangled Up In Blue, shouting the words up hoping that Bob would hear him and acknowledge him "I LOVE YOU BOB AND I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME!!!!". At one point he was playing air guitar (and I had bruises on my back the next day as a souvenir) when Bob came down our way during his solo. This excited him even more, "SEE! I PLAYED GUITAR AND THEN BOB PLAYED GUITAR!" He couldn't quite fathom why I wasn't impressed by his enthusiasm. I turned to him a number of times - to ask him to try not to burn me with his cigarette, to ask him why, if he loved Dylan so much, was he shouting and talking and not listening, and once to tickle him under his raised arm which was continually striking me in the head. I linked arms with my neighbors and we tried to prevent people from pushing us out of the way as they attempted to hurl themselves across the barrier in front of the stage. Everything Is Broken (one of my favorite songs with Tony's Batman theme bass line) and I'll Remember You provided us with a break from the constant screaming and flailing. My other RMD compatriots and I appeared to be the only ones at the foot of the stage who recognized these two gems. I'll Remember You was lush and grand and spacious. Bob stretching every phrase to its limit. This was my musical highlight of the evening. The first girl to get on stage did so just as the band left before the first encore. Tommy, the guitar tech, caught her on his way to the position down stage right where he usually hands bob his electric guitar. He crouched awkwardly at the edge of the stage, guitar in one hand, girl in the other, calling out for help from Dylan's crew. He was ignored and finally let go of the girl so that he could get in place in time to help Bob slip on the guitar. The girl, a small frail thing, danced around before the band started the first encore and then was led off by security to the side. The stage filled with women who were all dancing, groping, kissing, and fondling Bob. The crew would usually toss the boys back, often right on top of us. I was kicked in the face and head a number of times, and my arms and shoulders were both bruised badly by the end of the night. The music was an afterthought, quite overwhelmed by all that riotous chaos. At one point one of my neighbors announced that she was frightened and felt faint. I tried to get help from a crew member but was ignored. I made as much space for her as I could manage and encouraged her to breathe slowly and not to panic. The boy behind me tried to get up on stage, using me as a convenient foot stool, but my neighbors and I (by this time very tired of his continuous screaming throughout the show) thwarted him out of pure malice. Bob was working the crowd, hugging women around him, returning kisses and high fiving the men at the edge of the stage who were being thrown off by his crew. By the end, if Bob took a step in our direction, my friends and I would try to shoo him away. He saw a fight break out next to Christine and came down to see if she was OK - which only made things worse for us. The closer he came, the wilder the crowd immediately around us would get. I never thought there would come a time when I would actually try to discourage Bob from initiating an interaction with me from the stage. What is this about? It's not about the music. I don't want to presume to know what's in the minds of either Bob or his young fans - but their behavior doesn't appear to have any correlation to their appreciation of musicianship, performing or songwriting.[I doubt that these fans have heard of Paul Williams or John Bauldie.] What does this say about Bob's current lifestyle, current state of mind? I'll leave it to Paul to sort out - this is his area of expertise. I am inclined to surmise that Dylan is encouraging this chaos and enjoying it simply because he can - because he relishes feeling truly safe again on stage. I'm hopeful that the shows in the large Northeastern cities like Boston, Philly and New York will continue to play without ONstage rushes. These venues are more intimate and the audiences are usually filled with a greater percentage of Dylan devotees who are there for the music not the spectacle. The shows in Milwaukee were strong (except when that chaos completely carried over bob's ability to sing or play) but they lacked intimacy and depth. And ironically, while they were full of spectacle, they lacked drama. I was clearly too distracted by the activity around me to write a proper report of the music. If I had tapes I could perhaps do better (and I do think that others, sitting farther back, fared better than I and have been able to do more justice than I in their song-by-song reports of these shows). I'm making no apologies though. These are the shows Bob gave me. The shows I took from him. No regrets. I danced alot and had a wonderful time seeing my friends before and after and I didn't break any bones. But I'm going to bring a bicycle helmet with me to Akron....just in case things get rough. Though I'd never say That I done it the way That you'd have liked me to. In the end, My dear sweet friend, I'll remember you. xx sadie p.s. some of you have posted up asking if I ever made it up on stage. All I can say is, I get enough gigs of my own, I don't need to share Bob's. And while I certainly wouldn't refuse an embrace from him were he to offer it to me, kissing and hugging him is something I would only do in a more intimate and private setting ;+} Delia ain't dead, she's headin' for that sidewalk and that sign.....

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