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Bob Dylan 970410 in Portland, Maine

Subject: Dylan at Portland,Maine
From: Jeff Cook (
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 07:41:02 -0500

   I don't usually post to this newsgroup but I thought I might share some
thoughts about the show last night (4-10-97) at the USM gym. It was my 3rd
time seeing Dylan live (once in the summer of '89 at Old Orchid Beach and
opening up for the Grateful Dead at Giants stadium in '95) so I wasen't
too shocked when he appeared on stage in his grand 'ole oprey suit and
about a 7.5 gallon hat. This time his hat was white, previously he wore a
black hat (in '89) and that show was a real sad sight. But seeing the
white hat gave me hope that this would be different, and besides he rocked
the house 2 years ago in New Jersey...
   From the minute they started to play I knew everything was going to be
alright. You imagine my surprise when I heard some inspired bluesy-sweet
guitar lines and realized that Bob was playing lead. hold on,take
a moment to appreciate the impact this had on me. I myself play guitar and
have always fancied Dylan as somewhat of a strummer. There is nothing
wrong with strummers as far as guitar is concerned,the world needs them.
And of course as far as song writing, it goes without mention that Bob
Dylan is certainly the most influential song writer of our(or any) time.
But to find out that Bob could play a electric guitar just like a ring in
a bell....whoa!! This was the smallest band I've seen him play with (5
including Bob) and there was a good share of improvisation going on
between them. At one point, during a seemingly Allman Brothers inspired
jam, I couldn't help but keep from smiling...he was pulling out all the
stops,rocking and rolling,bouncing on one foot as leaned forward to dig
out line after line of sweet stratocaster sound. I couldn't help but toy
with the thought "Bob Dylan:GUITAR HERO".  
   He also did a good share of acoustic material, which I was glad to see
also. His rendition of "Friend of the Devil" is very emotionally charge
and the crowd was beaming that emotion back at the stage. He ended the
show with 3 encores and recieved a hug from a girl who ran onto the stage.
Overall a *great* show. Me and my friend were really impressed by Dylan
and his band. Way to go Bobby!!

"one man gathers what another man spills..."           

Subject: Portland April 10 (long) From: Benjamin_Fisher ( Date: 11 Apr 1997 15:16:45 GMT Organization: Brown University, Providence, RI -- USA The was an incredible show. First the bad news though. 1) Bob's voice was relatively weak. The last view times I've seen him, it's gotten consistently stronger, but I think this string of shows with no break, plus appearances at soundchecks, has taken a toll. 2) Bob was dressed like a plantation owner. I'm not sure if that's a bad a thing necessarily but it is kinda odd. Bob was fully into it. It seemed like he was trying to hold the smiles back, but they definitely did appear. And there was a good deal of bopping. I've never seen him more animated. The band was all smiles too. Even Bucky at times. Tony in particular. David Kemper was great, I thought. He adds so much. You'll have to hear it to understand. Having said that, though, I wouldn't mind if he sat out for one or two of the acoustic songs. I'm not sure what to think of Larry Campbell. I liked JJ a lot. I liked how he'd vary the melody a little with almost each verse, and would coordinate well with Tony. I had a hard to picking out exactly what Larry was playing, especially with Bob doing so much great soloing. At one point during River Flow, he really showed his skills though. I'll try to listen more closely to Larry in particular at Durham... As usually the band rocked. They don't have the same cohesiveness yet, but I'm sure that will come. They seemed to be set up on stage differently: the drums and Bucky were both closer to the front so that they were all lined up near the audience. A nice touch. The songs: --Down in the Flood- a little different feel, less of an edge --Senor- spooky, good guitar by Bob --Watchtower (Bucky on acoustic guitar)- this was a solid. --YOU AIN'T GOIN' NOWHERE- has Bob ever played this one live? It was definitely the highlight of the show. Great singing. Bob displayed his quick fingers putting a new signature riff on the song. The band joined for choruses, and it ended with 3 straight choruses, the last of which was just drums and Bob. Defintely as "easy chair" feel. real nice. Afterwards, Tony went nuts. He was clapping with his hands overhead. Exchanging devilish looks with Dave, as if they'd just pulled off a huge coup. Not sure what that was about tho. --River Flow- nice. extended jamming in which Bob was so visibly into it with his playing that he got a middle-of-the-song ovation --Silvio-some mike problems, but great. That spacy part towards the end is really developing. --Friend of the Devil- good, crowd pleaser. Black and white photographs, meanwhile, are being shown on the back screen. Random shots of architecture and stuff would continue throughout the acoustic set. --To Romana- Bob started playing harp before the band even started playing and gave up after the first verse. --Tangled- more up-beat than previously. Kemper's drumming is exactly that from the Jerry Band's covering of the song. --Mobile- Tony's base, which was mixed particularly loud last night really came throgh. --Tears of Rage- another highlight. Bob delivered the lyrics with meaning. The last line of the chorus he sang, "Life is. Life is brief." This struck a nerve--for me at least. Unfortunately, tho, bob was singing softly and the band was a little too loud during the verses. [Intros-- "How bout a hand for my band." then he introduced Bucky, Kemper, Campell, and then Tony] --Highway 61--rockin --Rolling Stone--great delivery by Bob, and good soloing --Hard Rain--extremely well received by everyone in the crowd, an even mixture of crunchy kids and guys with beards and their wives. Great singing, nice "ebb and flow." Another highlight. --Rainy Day- always a great way to end a show. one last note: If You Ain't Goin' Nowhere was practiced at the same soundcheck as Idiot Wind, is Idiot Wind in store? Ben
Subject: Portland Report From: Sadiejane ( Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 10:41:02 -0700 This is gonna be a quickie folks Bob was wearing the white cowboy hat, white jacket with reverse black pleats in the back, black sparkle pants. can't remember the shoes. I think you can probably count on Maureen for better fashion details. Or just give it up and wait for our fashion editor in the southern midwest to take over later in the tour. Bob was on top of things - responding to and playing off of the GA/standing crowd from the start. He didn't need to warm up. You ain't goin' nowhere was pure fun. I think he was responding to the enthusiasm of the crowd (A NEW SONG ON ROTATION!!!). He ended the song with a huge smile, and then laughed upstage with tony as if about some private joke. to ramona was tender, sad, playful, teasing, but always a graceful, lilting waltz. He opened with a harp solo - If I recall correctly - he started playing in fact before the band was ready for him bucky was still strapping on the dobro when he started. I think he wanted to try and establish the harp for himself before the band could drown him out. More on the harp later. Hard Rain came into focus for me too. I've never seen him sing it the way he did last night. I've never heard the word "Hard" spoken/sung so many different ways! It opened deadly serious, not even a breath of sentimentality. From the opening a sceptical cynicism bleeding thru every line. where have you been, my blue-eyed son? where have you been, my darling young one? And then at the refrain he bore down so heavy, making each "hard" heaver and harder than the next - "haaarrrrrrrrrrd rain" As the song progressed it was as if he were ominously circling his prey - getting in closer and closer until the last verse when suddenly he and the band turned on a dime, from darkness to light. From a song about loss to a song about victory. He started smiling and stamping his feet, the audience previously silently watching started clapping and cheering. One of those, cloud parting, sun bursting moments. And I felt suddenly like I had never really understood the song until that moment. He's really dominating on stage - in EVERY WAY. He's playing harder than I've ever seen him - stabbing at his guitar with his pick with ferocious enthusiasm - as though his life depended on it. His solos have become somewhat more melodic but are (as usual) more about exploring rhythm and phrasing than about developing melody. ok. now I don't have time to write more about the other shows. Fred was ok John was simply FABULOUS (great great great CROWD!!!! - love those St. Johners) Bang was an upstanding citizen. I sat next to a local cab driver who hadn't bought an album since nashville skyline and hadn't seen a show in 15 years. He was smiling the whole nite. When every grain started he said to me, "that's the song emmylous harris sings" gotta love it. Portland was even better. And a word about Larry Campbell. Not sure what's going on - during every sound check they are teaching him new songs (You ain't goin' nowhere soundchecked at fredericton) last night I heard Never gonna be the same and dignity. On stage bob's guitar is about twice as loud as his - in both the monitors and the house. He also plays primarily with fingers and a thumb pick (is often delicately travis picking through the acoustic songs) -and even on the fender electric (I've never seen anyone use a plastic thumb pick on an electric guitar before) and so his playing is lighter than bob's. A lot lighter given Bob's recent stabbing attacks on his instrument. Larry seemed to come out the most in St. John- and retreat the most in Portland. I think also that he is having trouble finding a persona for himself up there - whether he's intimidated, or still unsure of the signals is unclear. You can see a lot of communication going on - which makes the shows even more fun to watch. see the wheels turning everywhere - Bob is very clear - giving tony the nod when he's ready to turn a song around to close and when he wants larry to take a solo (not very often). Perhaps he could be more aggressive than he's being - it's as though he's interpreted bob's signals as "when he gives me the nod I'll step forward but if he doesn't I'll stay in the background". I think bob would be happy to have Larry *at least* challenge him to some duels (as JJ and many other guest guitarists over the years have done). I hate to try to interpret too much. So many times we read too much into what we see going on onstage. Sometimes we're right - but we're often wrong. I'll tell you one thing. When Larry does step forward and take a solo, or expand musical ideas in a duet or trio (bucky/bob/larry) - it's fucking great. Even if you can't hear it that well. If you're up close - take a look at what he's doing. And then go complain to the sound guy. ABOUT THE HARP... I think the lack of harp playing has a lot to do with the position of the drums on stage. the set up has changed a lot from last year. The drums are off center, more between Larry and Bob - and not as high as they were with no plexi barrior. Bob uses the front of the drum platform to lay down his guitars. The speakers which he uses to set up his mics are next to the drum platform and directly upstage of bob. Bucky has moved to the floor (he used to be on higher up on a platform I believe) and forward. [BUCKY! I have a theory that Bucky's playing is beginning to lead the sound of the band now that there is a sort of hole where JJ was. He has become the melodic center more than ever.] Tony is still between bucky and bob, but farther back. He starts every number and keeps his eyes on everything that is going on in front of him. I think he works harder than anyone up there - Tony is THE MAN. oh yeah - this was about the harp. Bob can't hear it. He cups his right ear a lot - (the drums are to his right) but clearly can't hear well enough to really feel comfortable. In Bangor he was playing harp on some number - can't remember which and just started playing quieter and quieter until the band THE DRUMS quieted down - but by then it was a bit too late - had gone on too long and what we were left with was a sort of ghost of a harp solo. I like a lot of David's work fine- but I just wish they would get him the hell off stage during the acoustic set - or move him to congas or something. Someone needs to tell him to play lighter at the least. He's really heavy on the pedal - which is fine for the electrical numbers and acoustic songs like TUIB but just doesn't work for me on things like love-zero or hattie carroll. all this aside. I love his silvio. He does this really cool heart beat thing during the turn around to the refrain. AND ANOTHER THING. The more bob plays to the crowd, the less interesting his singing and playing gets. it's a fact. There is a fine line between using the feeling of the crowd (or specific people in the crowd) to color your own performance, allow the reactions to bring new ideas to your reading of a song - and letting the interaction with the crowd becomes it's own event - an end unto itself. That's when win but the song loses. Tangled up in Blue last night - it was like - c'mon bob - where is the fucking narrative? It's not just a jaunty little romp on stage. It's a story. He didn't really start telling the story until he started focusing away from us at the end of the song. Then it suddently got interesting (at least to me). Sometimes (like during tangled up) he'll just start mugging at us - scan the front rows with his eyes wide in the attempt to make eye contact with someone so that he can get a reaction. I had the distinct feeling last night that he was trying to get me to crack up during one of the songs (I was standing right in front of and below him at the edge of the stage) It worked a few times - but it made me really mad! I don't like being manipulated like *that*. If he's gonna move me - I want it to be because the song is funny - not because bob thinks *he* is. So when his solo got a little dicey, his fingers stumbling on a few of the wrong frets, I made a big sour face at him (a "peuuw it stinks face") - and he got it. He raised his eyebrows at me and then went back to work on the solo. It got better and he looked at me again as if for approval, I nodded and he cracked a quick grin. okay - maybe I halicunated the whole thing. think what you want I don't care. I don't have time to spell check this sorry. this was going to be a quickie. gotta go! xx sadiej Delia ain't dead, she ain't goin' nowhere....
Subject: Portland, 4/10/97 From: Coopa (ccooper2@ABACUS.BATES.EDU) Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 14:21:24 -0400 Hello everyone, It's the morning (ok afternoon, but I just got up) after the Portland concert. This was my second Dylan show, so I was very excited to be seeing him. On the whole, the show was good, not great. The band seemed to struggle a bit with the endings of a few of the songs, and Larry Campbell was basicaly a non-entity, playing just rythm. Bob came out sporting a white cowboy hat, and an outfit which my roomate described best when he said it made him look like the Kentucky Fried Chicken guy.I thought it was great. Firtst song was Down in the flood. I was impressed with Dylan's guitar work on this. I remeber him having a much harder time finding a riff that worked for his solos last year, but this was great. it was a simple solo, but it was problem free. An excelent start. Next was Senor. This IMO is a great song, and Bob does a good job with it. this was a very nice performance. Good old Watchtower followed. This was not one of the highlights, althou it was interesting. Bob's phrasing was much different on this that I have heard it before. This was one of the songs which had a poor ending. It just sort of died out. Next was You Ain't Going Nowhere. This was a surprise (he doesn't do this song much, does he?) Campbell and Bucky sang harmony on the chorus, although they were not singing the same notes or phrasing as Bob. I asume that they haven't practiced this too much, but if he keeps playing it, it should get a little tighter in the chorus. The rest of the song was well done. Watching the river Flow was great. Bob was very animated durring the performance, wiggling his head and shoulders around. It was fairly amusing. Silvio had some problems. I remember this as THE highlight from last years Portland show, but this time, Bob apparently decided to try something new with the guitar for the last solo. I know absolutely nothing about guitar playing, so I won't try to describe it beyond that it was just one note, held for a long time, which did not fit into the song, and threw everyone else in the band off. He did this a couple times before realizing that it was not going to work, and turning to another riff, which he played for a minute before returning to the familiar riff, and another iffy ending. This song was the low point of the show for me. Next was the accoustic set. Throughout this there were black and white images projected on to a screen behind the band.They would fade from one image to the next at various points in the song. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to them, as I couldn't figure out the immediate relavence of most of the images (ie Aztec ruins durring Tangled Up in Blue) Friend of the devil seems to have replaced Oh Babe, it ain't no lie, and this dissapointed me, but what are you gonna do? It was a decent performance, although I would say that JJ's guitar holding everything together was sorely missed in this performance. One of the people I was with described the solo's of this song as "painful", but I would disagree. Not a highlight, but an ok version. To Ramona, on the otherhand, Was one of the big highlights of the show. I caught one relavent image being projected on the screen, A young woman wearing a flag, or cloths made of a flag print matterial. Bob took out the Harp for this one. He was just sort of playing it off to the side before the song started, and everyone was going crazy. So bob just walked up to the mike and was blowing the harp into it, not realy playing anything, and this faded into an intro to the song. He played basicaly one run through with the harp, started singing, and then played two more notes on the harp after the line "shut softly your watery eyes" and then the harp was gone. For those interested, it was hand held, no rack. Bob's singing on this was absolutely beautiful. It was , again, one of the highlights of the show. Tangled up in blue was nice to hear, but it would have been better with a harp solo. Some security guards were helping I guy that fainted durring the song right next to me, so my attention was a bit devided. another one of the songs without a strong ending, but still nice. Stuck inside of mobile realy shows off the way in which Bob can use his voice "oohhh, MAMA!" WOW! it was a great version just to hear that. overall, a solid song. Tears of rage was the ABSOLUTE highlight of the show. everything about the song went off without a hitch. Bob repeated the last line of the chorus, and his singing combined with the look on his face as he did it was killer stuff. Ending was smooth as silk, and the singing was tremendous. Highway 61 revisited was the last of the regular set. A rocking, solid version with good vocals. Bob was sweating all over the place at this point. Next was Like A Rolling Stone. the opening of this was a little marred, but it quickly got going. The ending was held for a long time, with extended jamming, and only three (i think) verses sung. Hard Rain was next. Beautifuly done.I think he sang all of the verses, it is hard to keep track. Finaly was Rainy Day Women, #12&35. Bob was really having fun, wiggling and shaking his head at the crowed. It was the usual two verses and extended jam version, but it was great to see bob having fun. At the end one girl jumped up on stage and gave Bob a hug. I hope this post isn't to long and boring for everyone, and it was good to see Bob back in Maine. A decent show, but not as good as last year.
Subject: Portland Maine show From: Alyssa Walk (ahwalk@COLBY.EDU) Date: Sun, 13 Apr 1997 12:41:35 -0400 Hey everybody- I have noticed a few posts about this show in the last few days and I just wanted to share my experience with you all. I am an 18 year old student at Colby College and for the past five years all I do is read and listen to Bob Dylan. He has become a very large and important part of my life. I love him. Anyway, I went to Bangor on Wed night. He was kick ass, I was right up front at stage and Bob looked great. I think he had a cold because he kept blowing his nose, poor guy, but it was really a great show. Portland was better though. Before the show as I was walking inside and I saw Tony next to me going towards the bus, I was like, "you were great last night." He smiled and said thank you. Bob played a mean guitar. And I like Tony and Larry, they really respect the man and they were all so happy after You Ain't Going Nowhere, it was great. Everyone was in good feeling. Bob also looked much healthier with a hat on and dancing a bit. His guitar playing was amazing. I was in front dancing and Larry smiled at me twice and I think Bob winked once. Getting any sort of acknowledgement from Bob is incredible. Anyway at the end of the last encore, some guys I had met at the show lifted me up on stage and I ran and hugged Dylan. I was shaking. I put my arms around his neck, he put his hands on my waist, when I pulled back his face was right in my face, I was like, "thank you thank you." He was like "I have something for you" he pressed his guitar pick into my hand. I walked to the side of the stage and stood with the roadie that changes Bob's guitars, Bob and the band walked passed me and out the door. I was like, "Where should I go I don't want to offend him" The roadie was like, "He likes it, it's flattery." I was shaking, I heard the guys who had lifted me up screaming my name so I went back on stage to get my jacket from them, I tore off Bob's set list from the floor and gave it to the boys. Then I went back stage, the band had bolted out of there, and then I left. So I have his guitar pick and how many people can say that for a split second of his/her life, she was in Bob Dylan's arms. I am so happy. This man has changed the world, changed social conscience, given a voice to so many souls. It was a great night. I didn't realize how disconcerting it would be for me to meet him. I mean actually touching your idol makes you think a lot about what you want in life. I am not really that into being in school and working right now. I want to just be with Dylan and seeing the country. I want a lot of things. But I do have the memory of Thursday night. Thank you Bob. So hi I'm the girl that ran on stage that was mentioned in a few fellow rmd-ers reviews. Nice to meet you all. If anyone has any bootlegs they want to trade, E-mail me. I'm looking for Live in England 1966 w/ the Band. Thanks. People tell me it's a sin To know and feel too much within. I still believe he was my twin, but I lost the ring. He was born in spring, but I was born too late Blame it on a simple twist of fate. - BOB DYLAN