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Bob Dylan 961117 in Bloomington, Indiana

Subject: Bloomington notes
From: "Brian K. Lannan" (
Date: 18 Nov 1996 05:55:59 GMT
Organization: Indiana University
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I'll leave the setlist to someone else, but here are a few thoughts on last 
night's show in Bloomington:

The crowd was pretty subdued.  I was in the front row, and the people around me 
and a couple rows behind me were seated through a large part of the show.  This 
show wasn't as energetic as the one he played here last year.

Bob needs to open with Silvio.  And he needs to play it 3 or 4 times every 
night.  I love this song!!!

Some of the lesser-known tunes (Crash, Tonight, etc.) didn't garner a great 
reaction.  It's much easier to enjoy sing-alongs (e.g., LARS), since his lyrics 
aren't always discernible in concert.  Lyrics are a lot of what Dylan's music 
is all about.

The acoustic set was enjoyable; nothing too out of the ordinary, really.  Don't 
Think Twice was a real treat.

The instrumentation wasn't showcased like it was last year.  It was as though 
no one else wanted to even try to step out for a moment.  It was definitely 
Bob's show tonight.


Finally, my friends and I got a nod and a wink from Bob about 3 songs into the 
show.  I keep seeing it in my head, and I've got a huge grin on my face right 
now just thinking about it.

Good night,

Subject: Re: Bloomington notes From: "John L. Hawn" ("" Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 14:09:40 -0800 Brian: I had a different prespective of the show. First, let me add that this was the worst seating I have ever had for a Dylan conert. Eighth row, balcony. But the crowd was really into it. Most of the night, the folks who had tickets in side of the balcony were on their feet. I noticed the subdued crowd you spoke of on the other side of the balcony and on the floor seats. Musically though, I thought the band sounded well. Has anyone who has seen the previous shows confirm a hunch of mine -- that the band is beginning to jell on this tour? When Bob walked out wearing his white stetson, I thought, "Ohgawd, izzat Garth Brooks?" Didn't see his eyes the entire evening; the brim never was raised high enough to see his nose. The hat was appropriate, though. Nearly everything had a country flavor. Was that a slide guitar substituting for the organ in "Like a Rolling Stone"? At times, I thought I was hearing the Eagles play Dylan, and at times I thought it sounded like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. But I enjoyed it. The highlight of the evening for me was during the acoustic set. "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" with mandolin! Though the concert didn't showcase anything original or groundbreaking, I nonetheless was glad I was there. After reading the set lists from the other cities, however, I did find it disconcerting to be able to predict which songs would be played in which order. No surprises. Until next time ... John
Subject: Review: Bloomington, IN 11-17-96 From: Klepper (d-klepper@NWU.EDU) Date: Mon, 18 Nov 1996 13:18:33 -0600 I'm no Dave Marsh, but here's my review of Bloomington, November 17, 1996. I'm omitting last names of band members - you know who I'm talking about! By Jeff Klepper Gosh, what's the headline gonna be? Bob Goes Country? Bob Loses His Harp But Finds His Voice? Bob and J.J. Kiss and Make Up? How about: Bob and His Band Deliver Tight, No Nonsense Hour and 45 Minute Set. Yeah, that'll do it. BLOOMINGTON, IN. Nov. 18, 1996. Bob was reserved last night - no dancing, no struts - and so was the sold out crowd of mostly college kids, plus a healthy smattering of gray haired professors, aging hippies and boomers. But that didn't matter because Bob rocked, and the crowd loved every minute of it. Most were on their feet and dancing for much of the concert. Bob looked like a country gentleman in his black, silver-trimmed western suit, boots and 10 gallon white cowboy hat. Is this his new persona, is he applying for membership in the Cash-Jennings-Nelson Country Club? The next thing you noticed was Bob's crystal clear voice. It can't be described, it's great. For about ten years, until 1994, Bob's voice got progressively lower and growly, but starting with Woodstock II, his vocal comeback has been extraordinary. Not since MTV's Unplugged show has he sounded this good. The other wonderful thing was to see Bob and J.J. jamming away side-by-side at every opportunity. This was a two fisted guitar slug-fest. J.J.'s chorded riffs gave perfect support to Bob's staccato leads. In fact, for the first six songs, Bob let J.J. do most of the solo work. Bucky's contribution, while thickening the sound nicely with his pedal steel and laptop slide (and offering a nice chunky mandolin on the acoustic numbers) was, sadly, understated at best. Nice strong drumming throughout from Dave, the "new guy". Tony took nice control of the tempo changes but played a fairly lackluster bass, which was a bit heavy in the mix. The songs in the opening set seemed shorter than usual, straight ahead, almost perfunctory. The opener, Crash On The Levee, lacked the fire of the 95 tour, and was followed by a quick, I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. The inevitable Watchtower served up some nice singing and Dead-like guitar jams, but Bob seemed a little distracted. A lovely Simple Twist of Fate and the rockabilly flavored Watching The River Flow brought things back into focus, clearing the way for a picture perfect Silvio with more Dead-style guitar work. The addition of drums added a strong country back-beat to the three song "acoustic" set. It made the acoustic numbers loud but still mellow compared to the rockers. One wondered if this was part of Bob's new country persona, or whether he just got sick and tired of all the drunken yelling and screaming during his soft, almost lullaby versions during the 94 and 95 tours. While I missed the bowed bass and plucked guitar-mandolin filigree of Woodstock II's Baby Blue, for example, what we got was darn fine nonetheless. And with Bob and J.J. strumming those big Gibson guitars it was more Austin City Limits than Unplugged. Bob took total control of the acoustic numbers. From the start of a country-rocking Mr. Tambourine Man it was Bob jamming away on guitar from the downbeat; he couldn't stop, whipping out little guitar riffs between phrases and letting go with his trademark one note leads and riffs. A strong and powerful Masters of War received a unique tom-tom drum pattern. The final acoustic number, a rocking Don't Think Twice, kicked the concert into high gear - it sizzled like I have never heard before. Bob's voice swooped up and down, leaping up to crack into falsetto on "she wanted my so-UL" and delighting the audience. The final rock set began with God Knows (lots of two-guitar interplay), and continued with I'll Remember You. These songs brought out some of Bob's best singing of the night, one second punching out phrases in a snarl, next moment longingly, like a lost boy. One couldn't help but feel a religious message being communicated with these two songs back-to-back. Then it was back to business as usual with the standard Highway 61 which brought the blues shuffle to the forefront. Bob and J.J. traded short blues licks like nobody's business. Bob appeared, finally, to loosen up a bit during the guitar breaks. A tip of the hat and Bob was gone... ...back for...yes, Like a Rolling Stone, in a speeded up country rock version of his 1994 Unplugged arrangement, with every lyric crystal clear and dripping with irony, fresh as if it had been written yesterday. More two-guitar jamming which unfortunately descended into noodling as it lost its edge, and the song almost petered out, repeating the riff over and over, slowing down to it's final chord. One Too Many Mornings, though shaky at the start (it sounded like he was starting to play Willin') was a fine acoustic encore with the band. The crowd's roar was deafening, till Bob and band came back to conclude with a dancing-in-the-aisles Rainy Day Woman. Set list regrets? Nothing from Oh Mercy. Otherwise very evenly distributed across Dylan's mammoth 34 year out-put. A projected design on a back screen during the acoustic numbers neither helped nor distracted from the music. But...hey Bob, where's the harp? Bob offered no band intros. What we got was a tip of the white hat, a broad smile (directed at someone in the front) and a two handed finger pointing before he walked off for good. Two lucky girls climbed on stage to give Bob a hug as he walked off with J.J. at the end. Bob Dylan didn't speak a word all night, hardly looked past the fifth row, but he sang from his heart and connected in a personal way with every single person in that auditorium. What a guy.
Date: Fri, 22 Nov 1996 13:37:45 -0800 From: Lynda Hawkins (hawkin@SLUVCA.SLU.EDU) Subject: [Fwd: Dylan, Bloomington, IN, 11/17/96] To: Reply-to: hawkin@SLUVCA.SLU.EDU Organization: St. Louis University Dylan, Bloomington, Indiana, 11/17/96 After getting screwed up by the fact that Indiana doesn't recognize daylight savings time we thought it odd that Voodoo Chile was playing upon entering the auditorium at approximately 7:50pm. We had just managed to see Kenny's set in Columbia, Mo. two nights previous so I was not distraught. Show time shortly after arriving in our 6th row seats. Bob enters wearing a black western jacket with what appeared to be a silver lining and piping, and yes, ten gallon hat. Standard footwear as always, black engineer boots. 1. Crash on the Levee-Bob always seems to be feeling his way around, and getting used to his surroundings with the opening song. He appeared early on to be in a no bullshit mood. 2. Tonight I'll Be Staying-A beautiful version instantly recognizable by the opening intro. 3. Watchtower-Standard version. 4. Simple Twist-A gorgeous, impassioned reading, seeming to really get into it. 5. Sylvio-This song seemed to change somewhat from just two nights earlier, maybe more of an acapella chorus. 6. Watchin The River-Bounce, bounce, bounce literally squeezing every syllable. 7. Tambourine Man-A version that appeared to be cut short by Bob with the infamous nod. He just didn't seem to be into his guitar playing. 8. Masters-The acoustic focus really appears to be on this song, bringing shouts and cheers from the audience. 9. Don't Think Twice-I love this countrified, hoe-down version, the Elvis ending just knocks me out. 10. God Knows-Pretty standard fare. I wonder if this song is always included when Bob doesn't really feel like extending himself. 11. I'll Remember You-A definite highlight, perhaps the high point of the night. 12. Highway 61-The reworked version,sorta Highway 61 Lite, purposely perhaps not meant to have the fire of previous arrangements. Maybe a setup for LARS. 13. LARS-A rockin version. I heard tapes from back in October and the current arrangement seems to have a lot more kick. 14. One Too Many Mornings-A personal highlight, would've loved to heard the harmonica on this. I had hoped for this song or Baby Blue and I was not disappointed. 15. RDW-What more can be said about this. I would rate this show a B-. Bob seemed tired and I imagine that's understandable considering three shows in three nights and a lotta miles. I think a good indicator is that Bob's main security guy walked the front of the stage instructing individuals not to even attempt any interaction on this night. No high fivin', no muggin', and no dancin'. A couple people at the stage jumped up and attempted to hand over Inter Department Correspondance envelopes???? One brave lass did manage to chase Bobby out, bear hugging him and not letting go without help. All in all a fun evening. Don Meyer

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