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Bob Dylan 970415 in Northampton, Massachusetts

Subject: Smith College, 4/15/97
From: Seth Rogovoy (
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 00:13:08 -0500

I understand set lists have already been posted, so I'll dispense with
that formality and get right to the meat of the issue and the show itself.
This is the first show I've seen on this swing, and the first since last
spring's show in Springfield, Mass. GIven the big picture -- I'm talking a
20-year stretch of Dylan shows -- this one definitely ranks up near the
top. I can see, however, that for those who have been going to many shows
the last year or so, this may not rank near the top of this great string
of great shows we're witnessing. Bob's voice was not in great shape, he
had a hard time hitting some high notes. The band is still jelling (that's
a real word, I looked it up), and some songs didn't quite work, and it
wasn't the best set list of the season, by far.

In spite of all that, it was a great show. A personal highlight was "John
Brown," a truly stirring song that I don't think I've ever heard him
perform before live, and frankly I've never paid much attention to it on
record. But it really grabbed me tonight, which says something about the
power of Dylan's performance, that basically he could introduce a totally
new song to me and have me gripped from the top. I have to admit I didn't
even realize this was "John Brown." Thanks go to Mark Troyer for filling
me in at the r.m.d. gathering after-show at Packard's. It was great
meeting Mark there, sorry I missed the rest of you.

Getting back to the show and highlights -- I was NOT looking forward to
the third song. I thought I'd heard it enough to last a thousand
lifetimes. But Dylan did something amazing with it, and it was truly BONE
CHILLING and SCARY tonight. To quote from my notes: "galloping into an
apocalyptic sunset."

I'm gonna just run through my notes now song by song, and I reserve the
right to take liberties with what I wrote and what I remember:

1. Down in the Flood: white cowboy hat, white tuxedo-style jacket.
country-rock. lotsa lead guitar.

2. Lay Lady Lay: pedal steel. Lotsa cowbell. very country gentleman in
sound and appearance. freshly clean shaven. no day old goatee stubble.

3. Watchtower: long solos, galloping rhythm, very serious expression,
scary as shit, dual guitar licks btwn Dylan and Larry

4. Shelter From the Storm: storytelling. kind of taken at "The Weight"
pace and chord progression and overall country-ish sound (I'm referring
here to the song by THe Band, which Dylan seems to have planted SFTS
inside in this version). almost country-2-step. plays blues solo against
the chords, even plays blue notes. vocals crackle and sneer with
character. they don't seem to have worked out this ending. sort of falls
apart before Larry and BB start soloing, then Bob joins in , all three
solo togehter, then it picks up again and ends.

5. Watching the River Flow:  country-shuffle, double-time. with a hint of
the Band's Mystery Train in a guitar lick. totally unrecognizable at
first. long jam at end. great subtle communication among band members,
reminiscent of Dylan and the Band. Here I first noticed an occasional
similiarity between Larry Campbell's style and Robbie Robertson. not
alwyas, but sometimes he had a Robertson-like high-pitched, metallic sound
to his lead playing, also his rhythm in this song was very Robertsonlike.
I liked it, I think it works great against Dylan's playing. why shouldn't
it? It did in '66.

6. Silvio: Rolling Stones meets Grateful Dead. Dylan sings against line.
at the point where the song sort of stops, they seem to borrow/amalgamate
the rhythm hook from Mellencamp's "Paper and Fire."  very Garcia-ish jam
at end, Dylan playhing almost psychedelic lines.

7. Friend of the Devil (A): slides on backdrop. rendered as a country-folk
ballad, slower than I'm familiar with this song. funny though, Dylan
really "sings" it melodically, more than his own songs. great acoustic
picking. a friend who knows better than I do says his picking resembles
Garcia's acoustic picking.

8. John Brown: tells great story.

9. Don't Think 2X: country 2-step. BB on mandolin. bouncy, jaunty version.
Tony plyas slap bass (acoustic standup). whole crowd sings along. Dylan
loosens up a bit (He seemed sad earlier on). he seems to come alive after
the seriousness and gravity of John Brown and with the crowd egging him
on. long acoustic jam which seems to take song into uncharted territory.
Flash a picture of Ginsberg at end.  Crowd rushes stage before electric
set continues.

10. Stuck Inside of Mobile: At first I think the R&B style hook sounds
very George Harrison-ish and I remember that they had been rehearsing some
Harrison stuff. then i recognize the tune. but then that hook repeats, and
I recognize it from the Byrds' "Turn Turn Turn," which makes sense, since
Roger McGuinn got so much of his Rickenbacker soudn and style from George
Harrison. Dylan really sings this well, old style singing. AAAAHHHH mama,
can this REALLLLLY be the end to be stuck in side of mobile with the
memphis blues AGAAAAAAAAINNNNNNN. whole song has a strong R&B lilt to it,
wtih Larry Campbell playing some very Motownish chords.

Dylan introduces band. He says something funny, a fake name or something,
for Tony Garnier. Tony laughs. did anyone catch what dylan said?

11. I'll Remember You: I could really do without this song, although Dylan
sings it with passion. A tribute to his fans? still, not one of his best

12. Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat: Was it my imagination, or did Larry goof and
play the opening guitar line of RDW by accident to kick off this song?
anyway, a great version, a crunching blues, Dylan seems to have fun with
the surreal lyrics and playhing to the crowd up front. great phrasing and
vocal to match. blues-style playing in that his guitar lines echo his
vocal. More very RRobertson-style licks from LC. ends in a blues-rock jam.

Encore 1: LRS -- vocals way out front in mix. over 30 years later the
words of this anthem still have bite. mid-song Dylan walks off stage to
switch guitars. His was out of tune? it seems to have screwed up the
song's meomentumn and it's never recovered. he sings another verse
(although has a hard time getting back in), and it kind of fizzles at end.

Encore 2:  It Aint Me Babe (acoustic) -- crowd singalong on chorus. BB
makes his MANDOLIN sound like an organ! Dylan pretty much plays it

Encore 3: Blowin in the Wind (acoustic) -- only kidding! you know what he
played. he played that crowd pleaser that the Deadheads especially love!

I'd add that in general there was an awful lot of jamming.  My friend who
was with me, who didn't know about the new, improved version of Bob Dylan,
was amazed.

Subject: Northampton Review From: Benjamin_Fisher ( Date: 16 Apr 1997 18:51:39 GMT I've enjoyed the shows on this tour thus far but I don't think they've matched the level of playing of last Spring... until tonight. I wasn't at Wayne, but for me the band really came together tonight. Larry was visibly more comfortable than ever. He even voluntarly jumped in on a chorus of Rainy Day. Kemper was given the first mention as Bob introduced the bands, and I think he deserves the honor. Bob said something to him during Rainy Day, and after that he started letting loose after each line of the song. Last year my favorite show (and favorite show ever) was in Springfield, 15 miles south of this show, so it boded well. The building was even similar looking though much smaller. And Bob started the show the same way--after the standard Flood, he played Lay Lady Lay. Kemper played a rat-ta-tat during the lines like the recorded version. Watchtower was the first of this tour that has matched the high energy of last year. Larry soloed more than previously. Bucky remains on acoustic guitar for this, just playing chords. I don't know how he doesn't get just a little bored. Shelter was incredible. No more Bob-and-steel guitar intro. Bob danced through much of the jam. A birthday treat for Mark. River Flow is sounding more and more like Don't Think Twice to me, but I think that's mostly Don't Think Twice's fault. Silvio. yellow AND pink lights to start off, which seemed to bother Bob; although it seemed to me he should've stopped looking at them. Lights don't respond the same way to looks as band members. More jamming by larry on the spacy-bass-y part. Friend of the Devil. larry on fiddle. during this one bob spotted a very attractive young woman on the right balcony and proceeded to sing to her for much of the rest of the show. After the end of the set, pointed to her. If I was looking at the same girl (just to know what Bob was thinking, of course), then she didn't seem too responsive. Oh yeah, and she seemed to be sitting with her dad who was Bob's age. John Brown. a tour highlight. Last night's crowd was the oldest I've seen yet. 75% boomers, many of whom, it seemed to me, came to see some good ol' folk war protest. Crowd-pleasing Bob delivered: a new arrangement of John Brown. The signature riff was absent until the very end and it was slower. Bob really worked to tell the story and got some applause after some killer lines. (By the way, with respect to the mix of kids and adults, I heard one of the women in charge of searching say that only the "criminal element" need be searched. Damn longhairs.) Don't Think Twice. Particularly good guitar work. He started off just playing on the low notes, (I might be confusing this with It Aint Me Babe) but you could really see his improvement. YOu used to just kinda hope he'd hit the right last note of each line, but he never missed this time. When he wants to fire up the crowd he plays triads and bar chords it seems. Mobile. much improved from Portland's version. When the band hit the F#m chord just before the "wo mama" the beat kinda changed and it had this really cool heightened-apprehension affect. Hard to explain but great. I'll Remember You. a hard beat. great song. great delivery. Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat matched the great performance at Waltham. Super jam. Rolling Stone. bob had guitar problems towards the end which hampered the song a little. It Ain't Me Babe. standard but great. no harmonica but fine jamming. Rainy Day Women. a scary looking bouncer appeared at the left, and helped balk the attempt of a kid to personally greet bob. Is this a change of policy? The guitar roadie apparently doesn't like being begged for setlists. Some guy made a valient effort asking for one, but with only one left, the roaddie with this look of moral indignation in his eye gave it to some guy who was just leaning against the stage not looking. Clearly the roadie was making a statement. this kinda pissed me off. If the guy wants a setlist that bad, why not give it to him? Heck, next time I may be that guy. A little kid walked on stage after show and was first told to get off. Then the decision was overruled and he was given drumsticks and a harmonica. Outside the show I congradulated him on his parting gifts and his mom got scared and told him to come near her. I guess I must be part of the "criminal element."
Subject: Sadie's Northampton Report (minimal Dylan content) From: Sadiejane ( Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 13:11:15 -0700 ok. The disclaimer is there in the subject heading. Proceed at your own risk. It felt like the first day of spring. Nothing but blue skies and crisp New England sunshine. Crew and Bob entourage members were wandering through the bustling town of Northampton, that Harvard Square of the West Country, like coal minors getting there first look of daylight after a 72 hour shift (the equivalent of a 9 day run?). You could spot them, walking aimlessly, stopping in front of the storefronts and gazing vacantly into the windows as if to say, "do I want to go in here?" then turning around toward the street as if to say, "do I want to cross here?" and then vacantly continuing on their way down the sidewalk. Ray and I found ourselves a patch of grass behind JMG hall, and soaked in the late afternoon sun, savoring the mounting anticipation. I practiced my kazoo playing - and Ray joined me singing on "Ain't Misbehavin'". I can now do pretty much all of Billie Holiday Vol. 1 on Kazoo. I've still got to work on my "hand over the little sound hole" technique though.... At about 5:00 we saw the band go in (they had been soaking in the sun on the back steps of the hall) and we circled to the front to hear the check which we could also watch thru the windows on the front doors of the venue. Bob was not around. And Tommy played in his place. Jules, who runs the on-stage soundboard, stepped out to sound check the harp. Bucky tuned his pedal steel.... I'm sure I left out a few songs and the following are also not necessarily in the right order.... Most Likely You Go Your Way Dignity Subterranean SERVE SOMEBODY!!!! Boots of Spanish Leather/Girl of-from the No. Country Desolation Row SERIES OF DREAMS!!!! Larry got out the violin and they played a few bars of some country song which Ray and I didn't know - Ray made up some corny lyrics for it though and had me howling with laughter. They segued into some bluegrass tune too - just for a few minutes. Series of Dreams sounded GREAT- I think that David has a feel for the song that just might make it really fly. I've never heard a version of it that won me over completely (including the outtake from the bootleg series). I think it is such a worthy song - so deserving of another shake down. From the sound of it - very dry and tight lots of methanyesque guitar lines and drum pedal and bass - it sounded like they may be really getting this one ready for a test drive. I think youall may just see it in Providence. Ya never knows. After the sound check ended some of the crew came out of the front door- one of them heard my name was Sadie and wished me a happy birthday which made me think, "Oh gawd! They're reading RMD!" And was filled with a momentary panic, "jeez - they might actually show some of my posts (with their oh so occasional critical commentary to a band member or two or three....." In an instant, every possibly incriminating posting I ever made flashed before my eyes, like a sinner at the gates of heaven, looking over his shoulder wondering if he takes a few steps back would anyone notice..... Well - if you're reading this - now (on your day off) - I want you to know that I know you know I know your watching. Thanks for the best wishes on my birthday. I'm still holding the line at 25 ;+} The show. mmmmmmmmmmmmm Didn't see Seth Rogovoy again. I think we're breaking records for most frequently at the same shows but never meeting RMD'ers. I just couldn't make it to the post show gathering. Long drive home. Yessssserrrreeeeeee. The show? Was I going to write about the show? Bob. He was wearing the white jacket with the black inverted pleats. Black jacquard slacks. Black shiny cowboy boots. cowboy hat. His boots were realllllll shiny. you saw the setlist. sorta humdrum given the more recent variety. But I'm never one to argue about the choice of songs. He could play watchtower 15 times and as long as the performances were varied - I'd dig it. ok. So I know - I said I'd say *something* about the show, right? I had front row seats - but how was I to know that they'd be the far far side obstructed view type. So we stood the first half of the show, Ray desperate to get his first good look at Larry C. who was hidden from view behind the Stage Right bank of speakers. The crowd was very subdued and unresponsive. I think it was a pretty serious Dylan crowd and I quite honestly missed the deadhead factor. There were two of them right next to me who got up to dance during Silvio. Other than that - my friends and I seemed to be just about the ones moving to the music at all. Baron was clearly concerned that there wouldn't be a rush after the acoustic set, and came down during DT2 to let security know to let us thru. Then he came over to me and said, "Can you help get the crowd up for the rush?" Baron, honey. Your wish is my command ;+} Us RMD'ers are very well trained eh? All graduates of the "The Dylan People's Obedience Training School" ahhhhhhh the show. THE SHOW. Larry Campbell. Man - he is really emerging. He injects all sorts of crosspicking and light double time rhythms in the left hand and is becoming quite adroit at turning bob's 2-3 note one liners into whole conversations. He is equally at ease with Acoustic Folk-rock (John Brown), Memphis blues (LeopardSPBH) and country swing (River Flow) and Greatful Dead jazz fusion (FriendOTD). You heard it hear first folks. Larry's guitar was mixed higher than Bob's tonite. It was a first. I gave Larry a standing "O" at the end of the show, which ain't easy when everyone is already standing anyway. But I rose a bit higher than my usual and even caught his eye and sorted squinted up at him in appreciation. He smiled down at me. Did I tell you that he is coming close to overtaking Tony as the best looking guy in the band? Not an easy thing - Tony has such elegance, such savoir faire, such subtle grace. (Bucky is very shy and retiring - a blossom perhaps yet to unfold? - David is too far back and mostly hidden by cymbals-and Iām nearsighted) But Larry - he's got something - an earthy, strong and silent, animal magnetism thing going for him. I'm not going to say anymore. Any women of RMD who want more details can email me privately. That's the girls and Andy Muir of course. Craig, none of you and your "friends" qualify. Of course there is really no competition with Bob. Bob is in a league by himself. THE sexist man in the universe. Something we learn before we're born, a-priori. I donāt need to waste any bandwidth here on ol' Bob. And I can certainly appreciate beauty in others when I see it. okokokokokokokokokokok. So you were wondering about the show? Shelter from The Storm. Bob spoke almost the entire song. I'm not talking intoning on one note either. He spoke it. Snoop Bobby Bob. The band got into this really heavy funk thing too - and on one or two occasions that Bob did sing - it was to hang out for long periods on flatted minor thirds. I guess Seth calls them blue notes. He continued on the blue note theme in his guitar - it became the motif for the song. It was a dark, ironic treatment - had none of the shadows and light of the '96 version which I love so much. The Acoustic Set - was really beautiful. Friend of the Devil sounded more like a soulful, jazz ballad than a rebellious, campy, road song. Larryās violin pulling Bob and the band into uncharted territory. "Got two reasons why I cry away each lonely night, The first oneās names Sweet Anne Marie, and sheās my hearts delight" the violin sweeping down on us with the most heart aching, melodic lines and dissonances against the guitars (bucky and bob). John Brown was the show stopper though. Bob started by repeating a riff - which glissed from the first fret up to the top of the fretboard and back down. He did it by himself about 3 times before the band came in. Larry on acoustic, Tony on upright and Bucky on Dobro. Without the banjo the song was more menacing, less folksy and Bob sang the lyrics with intense clarity but calmly. When he got the part about dropping the medals in her hand, rather than accelerating and increasing the volume he dropped back and sang it almost tenderly. As if - John Brown did it not to hurt his mother, but because finally, he knew that that was all she could understand. Rather than singing ironically, he sang it sadly. It was a very different reading of that line - with different implications. This song is truly the strongest anti-war song that Dylan ever wrote. Masterās of War pales in comparison. There is nothing stronger than a personal story, a specific story. A boy, who comes back from war with his face blasted off, now a stranger, unrecognizable, stripped of his dignity and his humanity and all they want is to see his medals and ask him what it was like to march under the flag, and not even his mother can look into his face. Bob had us all in the palm of his hand during this one. And then Donāt Think Twice! Why, a few people in the balcony were actually dancing!!!! The usual, uptempo romp. Yes, Seth, Bob's guitar was horribly out of tune for Rolling Stone. And Bob looked clearly disgusted. He first tried to turn it down, fiddling with the pickup dials on the front - and then started trying to turn a few of the tuning pegs. I put my fingers in my ears and closed my eyes and prayed for rain. Bob took the offending instrument off and walked over to Tommy, who was by this time furiously tuning a second instrument. They exchanged a few words and Bob returned to his mic, pulling up on his trousers and wiping some of the sweat out of his eyes. Tommy finished and brought the new guitar over but it was really too late. Bob made a tired effort to get back into the song but seemed completely unenthused and ended it unceremoniously. It Aināt Me, Babe was completely wooden and heavy. No humor no playfulness no fun. RDW was a bit better. FANFuckingTASTIC guitar playing by Larry. Bob barely glanced down at the crowd. A woman put some roses on the floor by his mic stand and he was careful to politely acknowledge them. He seemed to struggle all night. He dropped the ball a number of times with his guitar leads and got lost with lyrics too. A couple of times during Silvio he came in late on a verse, just leaving out the first few words, catching up with the band without retracing his steps. He rushed thru Mobile - instead of the usual 'ohhhhhhhh, mmmmmmmama! Can it reeeeeeally beeeeeeee the eeeeeeeehhhhhhhinnnnnd.' it was 'ohmamacanitreallybetheendtobestuckinside...etc.' And his voice....what voice? It was all texture without tone. Drink lots of water Bob - HYDRATE!!!!! Stay away from Menthol (very dehydrating) and Lemon (a bit too acidic). Just plain water does the trick, carbonated if you like it fancy. Hum alot but whatever you do DON'T TALK (that tires the chords out more than singing) Please. Some vocal rest is in order. It was just one of those nights. A beautiful little venue. Not a great show. I have a good feeling about Providence though (evin if I wonāt be there :+{) - the GA shows seemed to be the best ones on this run. Iām looking forward to reading the reports on Friday morning. Delia ain't dead, but with a little coaching she should be ok in the morning.....
Subject: Re: Sadie's Northampton Report (minimal Dylan content) From: sadiejane ( Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 16:57:25 -0500 Organization: home In article <>, Sadiejane wrote: >Larry Campbell. Man - he is really emerging. He injects all sorts of >crosspicking and light double time rhythms in the left hand and is sorry folks. I meant the right (strumming/picking) hand. not the left (chord playing) hand. oops. sadie
Subject: Concert Review From: Glyde65 ( Date: 16 Apr 1997 16:18:50 GMT Organization: AOL Dateline: Northampton, Massachusetts 15 April 1997 What happened to Bob? A sold out auditorium rocked and frolicked to the 5 piece band last night in Hamp. However, Bob has lost a few, in particular his voice, harmonica, (it didn't make an appearance) and emotion. In comparison to another local appearance in the spring of 96, Springfield, Mass. where all three were present. Hopefully he chks. out the lost and found prior to his overseas journey....
Subject: NNnnorthampton 4.15.97 From: Debess Rogers-Grabazs ( Date: 17 Apr 1997 00:20:03 GMT Long line out in front of the John Greene Hall - and it was very close to 8 when we arrived - but they waited for everyone to get inside before starting the show. I was walking down the aisle looking for my row, when a security person came up to help me out. It was my very good friend Ria!! She escorted us to our seats - which were IN THE 3RD ROW!!! Oh man, I was just in heaven all night long (I still am!). This crowd didn't want to dance all night, like the audience at UNH on Friday. I danced the first song, then noticed that lots of people around me were sitting, so I sat (kinda). But, we were in a direct line of vision to clearly see everything on stage - everything! Dylan was wearing a white linen jacket, with a couple vertical slits front and back, which when spread open were black inside. Black tight velour-looking pants. Black cowboy boots. White cowboy hat. All the bandmembers wore boots except the drummer, who wore sneakers. Campbell had a long blue coat with black velvet collar. Baxter had a extra long red coat with a sky blue shirt underneath. Garnier wore a light brown suit and a black leather beret. They all looked cooool, very stylish... Dylan dances to his music all night long - never smiles - but dances. The cowboy boots' toes curve up in front, so when he stands on the front of his shoe it looks like he's standing on his toe, with the heel lifted, like, inches in the back. Knees constantly bending into his playing. Moving around, playing with the other bandmembers, signalling what he's doing with nods and other facial gestures. And sometimes, sometimes fingers just flying up the frets - it was great to be able to watch him play up so close - he plays the melodies, he plays his electric guitar flat picking the melody and finger picking underneath. He sometimes kept the beat with one foot - sort of letting the new drummer know how he wanted a particular song to go - or maybe just dancing to it himself. Bucky Baxter plays different instruments in accompaniment to the different songs - and I thought I would remember which ones when, last night, but I don't now :-} - predominantly the pedal steel, but sometimes acoustic guitar (John Brown), mandolin (Friend of the Devil, It Ain't Me Babe), lap steel. Tony Garnier played a standup bass for the acoustic set, I believe he used a bow during Friend of the Devil, also played an acoustic bass sometimes. Larry Campbell played fiddle on Friend of the Devil, acoustic guitar sometimes, mostly electric rhythm guitar. Dylan played NO harmonica last night :-( - he is most definately into his guitar playing these days - really really into it! During Like a Rolling Stone, his guitar was out of tune - he tried to tune it as he was playing! but gave up - signalled offstage - WALKED off stage and put on another one (with a beautiful ornate black strap edged in silver studs), came back into the song with his back to us and then turned around and finished. Highlights for me: Watchin the River Flow was done much faster than last year - but still managed to melt me into my seat ;-) Silvio is hot - and they are really spacing out in the middle of it - the only time I get to dance my favorite spaced out dance! Definately shades of Dear Mr Fantasy in the jam. Friend of the Devil was BEAUTIFUL. A wonderful tribute as he tries to play with Garcia's style - tries! and does a decent job too. The violin sounds perfect here and as time goes on and Campbell gets more confidence I can tell this is going to be magnificent. Campbell seems pretty unsure of himself - always watching what Dylan is doing and keeping up as best he can - smiling a lot! Both new band members smile alot. This is pretty cool watching the band transform again in front of our eyes. After the acoustic numbers, I dashed up front. Ria was on the edge of the stage in front of me - but I couldn't have been but 10-15 feet away right in front of him. YOW!!!! I watched his fingers playing, but I mostly watched his eyes. When he's singing he squints his eyes looking off, almost as if he's thinking how he's going to present each and every line. His eyes cast across the audience down front - I caught his gaze a few times - those intense blue eyes looking into mine - oh my! Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat was funky blues - and it was fun! The only song I saw him really letting out some smiles to. After his last encore, he came to the front of the stage and pointed at people down front and bowed his head and walked off. I sighed all the way home :-)...didn't get to bed till 2 Debess