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Bob Dylan 970427 in Boalsburg,

Subject: boalsburg
From: Peter Stone Brown (
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 02:47:11 -0400

Bob Dylan
Tussy Mt. Amphitheatre
April 27, 1997

First off, it wasn't an amphitheatre, but a ski mountain with a stage at the bottom.  
Second, if you have another chance to see a show there, don't take it unless you really 
like sitting in your car in the parking lot in the rain.  It took two hours just to get 
out of the parking lot which was longer than Dylan played.  That said, there weren't any 
metal detectors as reported though they were confiscating food so they could sell their 
own, and it rained starting right before Bob who pulled up right at showtime took the 
stage, though it wasn't a hard rain (that was saved for the ride home) merely an 
annoying rain.

Dylan and band came on laughing, Dylan dressed in black pants with white stripe down 
sides, wearing a white cowboy hat, a truly ugly charcoal grey/black jacket and a 
ridiculous old-style western tie, black with white polka dots.  He looked fairly healthy 
for his almost 56 years.  Both Dylan and Larry Campbell were playing through tiny red 
Matchless Lightning 40 amplifiers, Dylan his usual strat and Campbell a telecaster.  For 
the electric portion Garnier was playing a rickenbacker bass.

Dylan took off his hat put it on the drum riser, revealing an incredible case of hat 
hair and they were of into a fairly jaunty Absolutely Sweet Marie with Bob pretty much 
mangling the lyrics, doing the wrong bridge verse first and pretty much forgetting where 
he was after that, but it didn't matter, it was cool and his singing was fairly strong. 
 This was followed by a careful Pretty Peggy O with Campbell providing subtle and 
tasteful Steve Cropper type licks.

AATW (of course) followed--as many times as I've seen Dylan do this--he usually manages 
to make it exciting.  Not this time though.  A pretty routine run-through.  By the way, 
it was Campbell, not Dylan playing the leads with Dylan underneath doing his usual 
search and destroy (just kidding folks I LIKE THE WAY BOB PLAYS) guitar underneath.  You 
Ain't Goin' Nowhere followed.  Campbell again provided the main country lick while Dylan 
did something on guitar--I'm still not sure what--between the verses.  Campbell and 
Bucky who pretty much stayed in the background the whole show (it could been the mix, 
but I was very close to the stage) sang harmony. The acapella chorus ending was a nice, 
friendly touch.  It was nice to see him do it, but it wasn't Basement Tapes mystical or 

Watching The River Flow Followed, pretty much the way he's been doing it the past few 
years, but as Bill Parr mentioned with more of a Sun Records rockabilly feel to it with 
Campbell playing cool fingerpicking lead and Kemper providing a solid train beat.

Sylvio was short and sweet compared to the versions I heard last year at Madison and at 
the Electric Factory shows, with none of the almost psychedelic guitar explorations or 
the impact.  I personally could care less whether he does this or not, but at the last 
shows I saw (with Jackson) it had become something of a showpiece.  Wasn't that way this 

The acoustic set was okay, but nothing special.  By the acoustic set, it was apparent 
that Dylan's voice was pretty well shot, but he gave it a good go anyway.  But it was 
here that Bob as lead guitarist started showing up.  He opened with slow, steady Friend 
of the Devil, and followed with fairly routine versions of Tangled and Don't Think 
Twice, providing some nice runs on the latter and his usual funky four note exploration 
on the former.  He does have a way of playing the same notes over and over until they 
start to mean something, but I'd still prefer to hear him play the harp instead.  
"Don't" ended with a slowed-down blues jam that all band members, Bob included, 
grinning.  Dylan seemed to be trying to stop himself from smiling all night, but ended 
up letting quite a few slip out anyway.

Next came a fairly funky and rocking Real You At Last with Bob letting loose on 
electric, which was followed by a close to magnificent Wheels On Fire.  It was slow and 
almost spooky.  Dylan played his best solo of the night--it was obvious the band had 
worked on this song.  A romping Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat closed the show with three 
encores, a why bother Alambama Getaway, a very nice, acoustic Forever Young, and of 
course RDW.

It was a good, but not great show.  A show of special moments rather than one long 
continuous high.  Dylan appears to be enjoying himself, the music and his band, and 
generally having a good time, occasionally dancing around.  

As for the band, the recent changes are definitely for the better.  Kemper is a much 
more sympathetic drummer.  Gone is the thunderous bombast of Winston Watson's often 
over-powering drumming.  Kemper has a much better clue to the roots of Dylan's music, 
following his quirky changes closely and playing what's necessary and rarely what isn't.
In Larry Campbell, Dylan easily has his best on-stage guitar player since 1974.  GE 
Smith could play, but he was a hack and a ham, and rarely played what was right for a 
song, preferring to show off speed and dexterity over taste.  Jackson on the other hand 
had a contagious enthusiasm and was a risk-taker, but ultimately he came off as 
second-best.  In Campbell, Dylan finally has a professional guitarist who knows what to 
leave out and who has that all-important understanding of the roots of the music, 
whether country, rock or blues and what the appropriate guitar lick and/or style is to 
play to accompany that song and do it in a way that puts taste and the song first.  It's 
about time.
"I was just too stubborn to ever be governed 
by enforced insanity."  --Bob Dylan
Peter Stone Brown 

Subject: Tussey Mountain List/Review From: PBLACKCAT Date: 28 Apr 1997 10:33:31 GMT Saw the show last night at Tussey Mt. PA. Here's the list: 1. Absolutely Sweet Marie 2. Pretty Peggy-O 3. All Along the Watchtower 4. You Ain't Goin Nowhere 5. Rovin' Gambler 6. Silvio 7. Friend of the Devil (Acoustic) 8. Tangled Up In Blue(Acoustic) 9. Don't Think Twice (Acoustic) 10. Seein' the Real You at Last 11. This Wheel's On Fire 12. Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat 13. Alabama Getaway 14. Forever Young 15. Rainy Day Women All in all a great show. It was outdoors and very small. The stage faced a ski slope. We were able to get right in front of Bob for the entire show. It started raining before he came on and continued to rain pretty hard at times throughout. Bob seemed to be in a great mood. Very animated and smiling a lot. I have ssen him every chance I could since Shot of Love came out and I must say this was the most I've seen him smile. His guitar playing took me by surprise as well. He played a lot of lead last night. He played a lot of lead on acoustic and it really sounded great. The new jams seem much better than the old jams of mostly chords. Not a very good desription as I play just a little guitar. Sorry! Sweet Marie was a bit off when he came out. The sound system wasn't quite right so his vocals weren't coming through. Peggy-O was great. He was clear and seemed pretty happy looking out at all the wet people. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere was really wonderful. I was hoping he would play this. The crowd enjoyed and it became a sing-a-long which Bob seemed to appreciate. Pillbox Hat was a rocker...very bluesy. Was also excited to hear This Wheel's On Fire. A great show. Can't wait for the new album.... --Chris
Subject: 200 miles to Boalsberg From: Brent Ewig (bewig@ASTHO.ORG) Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 11:30:52 -0400 because of the lengths i went to to see this show, i think it is only fitting to provide a show review. on my map, boalsberg, PA looked like the closest venue to washington, dc that bob was playing on this leg, so it looked like a road trip would be in order. however, my best stand-by-dylan-road-trip buddy got called off for work (on a sunday!) because his employer was bringing together all the living presidents in philly to announce some new volunteer drive. whatever...i was boalsberg-bound. i asked about ten friends if they wanted his ticket, and without repeating some of the horrible anti-dylan things they said in declining, i finally found a back-up...who called in sick (with a hangover!) at the last minute, forcing me to rent a car and go it solo. so, after filling the car with lots of mountain dew and several tapes i was on my way...just me, my thoughts and a fine audience recording of a spring '96 show on the deck. The boalsberg venue was called the tussey mountain amphitheatre, located in the approximate geographic center of pennsylvania. it turned out to basically be a stage erected at the bottom of a ski hill surrounded by a flimsy orange snow fence. i arrived early, made a few friends, and slithered up to the near right side of the stage and waited for our hero to appear. he did, wardrobed in the previously described black tux w/ white pants stripe and carrying the white cowboy hat (which stayed off until the encores.) as the band took the stage a cool drizzle began to fall, but after reading previous show reports posted here, nothing was gonna dampen my expectations. and bob delivered... 1. Absolutely Sweet Marie - The fist line came out pretty muddy, sounding something like "well your railwooooo ehhhhh, i just couldn't wooooo ah," and i thought, "uh oh, this could take till watchtower to fix." but alas, by the second verse things were in stride and before long the fabled dylan lead guitar solos were in gear and he was cooking from the get go. overall, a fine opener that's still ringing in my head. 2. Pretty Peggy-O - never heard this one live, and had heard that some people really don't care for it, but i thought it was nice. 3. All Along The Watchtower - acoustic strumming intro and bob really hammering some solos. about here i notice that larry campbell really does watch bob with incredible intensity, almost like trying to learn each single note. however, every once in a while larry just gets this look on his face of total amazement, like "how do you expect me to ever learn this that well?!?" 4. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere - ho-down version, with some audience sing along and superb acapella finish. 5. Watching The River Flow - at this point i notice that before several songs the whole band huddles around the drum kit for a little pre-song conference, at that tony is usually setting the tempo for each song by clapping and nodding a beat to the drummer (forgot his name). river flow is not a favorite of mine, but bob is singing strong. 6. Silvio - this one really gets the deadheads shaking their bones. 7. Friend Of The Devil (acoustic) - (speaking of deadheads) i was really looking forward to this but didn't particularly care for bob's phrasing of the vocals, however the awesome guitar work and larry fiddle combo more than made up for it. very long and nice. 8. Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) - spectacular...but no harp. 9. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (acoustic) - best version i've ever heard. i've always thought bob sang this kind of understated and straight. but this time on the last verse he hit a kindof blood on the tracks era bitter/sarcastic tone with, "but goodbye is too GOOD a word BABE, so i'll just say fare thee WELL / i ain't saying you treated me unKIND, you coulda done better, but i don't MIND / you just kinda wasted my precious TIME, but don't think TWICE, its alRIGHT." w/a sort of high whine on each capped word. 10. Seeing The Real You At Last - good enough. 11. This Wheel's On Fire - slow, bluesy. 12. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat - blown away. intro is so bluesy i didn't know what it was. here bob really gets into what i'm gonna dub the modified bob-walk, which is where he does the knee-bend, heel up, machine gun guitar hold and looks like he could go into a chuck berry duck walk at any moment, but never does. i also notice bob has a great clint eastwood-esque squint-stare that is only broken by the very occasional smile. (encore) 13. Alabama Getaway - deadheads delight. 14. Forever Young (acoustic) - wow! bob (with hat on now) just lays into it, "may god bless you and keep you always, may your wishes all come true..." people were literally crying this was so beautiful. 15. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 - still fun, even in the rain. lots of jamming and i'm still buzzed from all the second-hand from the kids around me who clearly are taking this song literally. a quick "thanks evr'ybody" a short bow and that's it. a spectacular performance and for all 200 miles return trip i feel like one of the luckiest guys around. no bob, thank you.
Subject: TUSSEY MOUNTAIN SHOW COMMENTS From: Chad Newton ( Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 16:49:30 GMT TUSSEY MOUNTAIN, PA -Review (I was 10 feet away!!!) Incredible performance by Bob, he was doing something close to smiling during some of the songs and would do some small body movements that bordering on guitar poseur parody while soloing. His lead guitar work was really impressive, anyone who has any doubts about his guitar ability is first a idiot and second should see him in concert. Silvio rocked, although he left out the "going down in the valley and sing song" verse. Does he do this lately? Tangled great as usual, I'd like to hear the different version on "Real Live" once, though. Only a few problems: 1. No Harmonica, but Violin was great on FOTD. 2. Drunken/High Dead Heads yellin for that "Everybody Must Get Stoned" song 3. The parking lot was a NIGHTMARE, it took 90 min to get out. But enough bitching, I saw Bob and it was awesome! Chad Newton
Subject: Writin' Tussey Mountain Parking Lot Massacre Disaster Blues From: Andrew Russ ( Date: 28 Apr 1997 18:55:04 -0400 "A Stormy Season of Fun" (Fine day for a picnic) Bob Dylan -- Tussey Mountain Amphitheatre, Boalsburg PA April 27, 1997 Absolutely Sweet Marie Pretty Peggy-O All Along the Watchtower You Ain't Goin' Nowhere Watching the River Flow Silvio Friend of the Devil (acoustic) Tangled Up in Blue (acoustic) Don't Think Twice, It's Alright (acoustic) Seeing the Real You At Last This Wheel's On Fire Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat ------------ Alabama Getaway ------------ Forever Young (acoustic) ------------ Rainy Day Women #12&35 Well, the ads said the show starts at 3:00 PM, and i lived just ten minutes away at Tussey Mountain Amphitheatre (and Ski area) (motto: "Four Seasons of Fun"), so i figured i'd drive over around 2:30 and get in and see everything. The ads also said "Gates open at 1:00 PM. Come join us for a pre-concert party!", which in retrospect was maybe a hint i should have started over much earlier. As things went, i had a late lunch and it was about 10 of 3 when i was finally in my car and headed down Atherton Street (Business Route 322). Boalsburg is about 3 hills over from where i live in State College, and the directions i had (i called the number in the ad to get them since i'd never been there before) were to drive east on 322 (Business) until i saw the sign for Tussey Mountain, then follow those. Well, i got over that third hill and traffic was stopped, backed up about as far as i could see, and then way at the end i could see a police car or two with flashing lights. I sort of figured traffic might be slow, but not stopped to a dead halt, plus i was told the turn off was on the other side of town, and i still hadn't even gotten into town. Then when i saw that they were putting out some orange traffic cones, and the fact that i'd traveled about 3 car lengths in 15 minutes, and i figured this wasn't just backed up concert traffic, but maybe some wreck. Several other cars in line had turned around and headed back west. Either they weren't going to the Dylan concert or they knew another way to get there. The gaps in traffic opened up by those people also created most of my forward movement. So i figured if i wanted to see this show at al, i better go look for the long way in. So _i_ turned around and headed west and took the next right, 322 (main) to state route 45. 322 proper had the same traffic jam that 322 Business did, so i took the exit that was right there, state route 45. Drove down that road east until i eventually got to a little dairy-freeze restaurant at the intersection of 45 and 144 (or maybe 145), and i asked there for directions. A guy at the table said to go back the way i came & turn left at the Elks Club once i saw the golf course. So i turned back and sure enough, there was a golf course and a sign that said "Elks Club", so i turned up Elks Club road and wound around some turns and past some people out golfing (it was cloudy, but not raining yet), and there at the end was what looked like a line of cars going into a Bob Dylan concert, so i nosed my way in and got in line. It was slow, but moving, more or less. It was now around 3:40. Drove by a duck pond and a little development that someone was building. People were walking past us cars, heading for the show. A big black bus with a U-Haul trailer came up on my left (driving in the wrong lane, actually). A few yahoos in cars followed the bus on the fast lane in. Eventually i crawled up the hill in my car, and pulled off ont he grass where some woman in a fluorescent poncho asked me for $4 and gave me a red ticket that said "admit one". I already had my ticket for the show ($20 + $2 service charge; general admission), so i asked "What should i do with this." She said "I don't know, just keep it in case you leave and want to come back or something." I wasn't planning on leaving until after the show. I parked in where i was motioned, next to a pine tree, right by the fence. Got out of the car. It had started drizzling, and i had on a gore-tex (or so it said) jacket. I walked up to the gate, past a mound of emptied beer cans and bottles, showed my ticket as i heard "Absolutely Sweet marie" (or some approximation thereof). So i'd already missed the opening act (State College's (or formerly State College's, now Pittsburgh's (?)) The Dirges), and some of Bob's show as well. And there were more people streaming in after me. I walked up past the little souvenir stand (t-shirts only, it looked like) and in front of a Ryder truck. At the front of the truck i stood and had a pretty clear view of the stage. Bob was wearing a suit and tie with striped pants and with the coat buttoned. He looked a bit wet. Bucky Baxter was hunched over the steel guitar, with a really short blond haircut, maybe bleached. He looked a bit like a skinhead Billy Zoom, for lack of better description. Larry Campell (did i remember his name right?) had long black hair and a grey coat. He looked the part of the romantic era poet, sort of. And Tony Garnier (he hasn't changed bassists, as far as i recall) wore a long coat and what looked to me like a little black Mandarin Chinese cap; he looked a bit 18th century. (Actually, i see from the picutre in today's PSU Daily Collegian that Tony's wearing a black beret). I couldn't see the drummer at all -- he was behind one of the pavilion posts. My watch reads 4:05 Anyway Bob and the band did a slow version of "Pretty Peggy-O". (i think it's the second time i've seen him do it live). After that he said "Thanks everybody" for the first time, and Bucky's acoustic guitar started up "All Along the Watchtower". That brought a cheer from the crowd. This was a pretty standard version -- no really sped up or weird line deliveries (unlike around 2.5 years ago when i saw Bob play the Ohio State Fair). Once i heard "Watchtower" i realized i didn't miss any whole songs. Also, a young hippie guy comes up where we are and starts dancing wildly. He's having a great time and gets most of us dancing, if not as much. He was fun to watch, too. He leaves before the end of the song, though. Then he did "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere", and i found myself thinking (agreeing with what someone posted here some months ago, i think) that what Bob is really trying to do here is focus on his musical delivery (his guitar playing is part of that) and create his own country-rock sound and explore that. The song ended with a great harmony chorus by Bob and Bucky. The band (except Bucky) went into a huddle and started "Watching the River Flow", which continued in the country-rock-blues vein. Then came Silvio, which doesn't have the agressive guitar interplay and dynamic changes that it had, say, when he toured with Patti Smith; i mean the song was the same, and there are still loud and soft parts, but they didn't excite the way they did a year and a half ago. Part of that may have been the sound system, which i ought to say something about. There were speakers up on either side of the pavilion, with whatever wiring & stuff beind them wrapped in clear plastic. The pavilion had a roof, and there were black cloth walls on either side except the top several feet. I think the rain blew in through there and that got the band damp. The rain varied from a heavy drizzle to light rain, and i think it soaked everyone by the end, including me in my gore-tex jacket. But back to the sound system. You know how some tapes (recorded on unclean decks) have this problem with the sound fading in and out in a bit? Well for whatever reason, the sound system at this show was like that -- the sound would suddenly get louder or clearer, then change back. Whether it was the equipment, the sound people, or the cruel rain and the wind, i don't know, but if any of you come across a tape of this show and hear this effect, you should know that it isn't (just) a problem with your trading partner's deck. The sound did get better during the acoustic set and was also generally better in the second electric set than the first. Which brings us to that acoustic set. Bucky and Bob get acoustic guitars, Tony his big stand-up bass, and Larry pulls out a violin. They do a lovely slow version of "Friend of the Devil" which gets a big response from the crowd. I liked the violin playing, and maybe they should do that on more songs. Then Larry picks up a guitar and Bucky picks up a mandolin, which he plays low, around his waist. The next song is "Tangled Up in Blue", which the audience recognizes also. In the middle of the song, after Bob and Tony stumble over a towel that Tony has been using on his bass (i think), a couple roadies come up and wipe up the floor in front of Bob and spread out a big floormat. All through the show the road crew is pretty busy (and visible) bringing up the new guitars and taking down the old ones. I don't know how the lines at the end goe because the guy in front of me sings "carpenters wives" real loud and grins and sings along with the rest of the verse. "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" pumps out next, and i really notice just how _low_ Tony's standup bass can get! It's awesome in that respect. Then the band switches back to electric, and we hear "Seeing the Real You At Last" which gets very little audience response, and "This Wheel's on Fire", which gets almost as little response. The former didn't excite me, frankly, though the latter was interesting. Then they do "Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat", with more serious guitar duelling between Larry and Bob than earlier in the show. The song & show end, and Bob and his band take a bow and head off stage. It's now 5:21 During the second electric set a large number of people are seen moving around on the ski slope above where the fence is. Maybe they are crashing the show. Some people where i'm at spend more time watching what is going on up there than watching the band. But when i look i just see people walking around, so i turn back around and watch the band. Bob and co. come back, Bob wearing a white cowboy hat, and they crank out "Alabama Getaway". The second encore is an acoustic "Forever Young". Nice. Garnier plays an oversized acoustic guitar, not the stand-up. At the end of the song, Tony turns over a page in the yellow legal pad sitting on his amp. Then the last encore is (appropriately enough) "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35". A big green beach ball bounces around until it gets near some of the bouncers by the stage, and then it vanishes. A woman tries to get up at the right edge of the stage but the security wave her back and so she stands partway there, watching. Then the band takes its last bows and get off the stage and get in the busses and take off. I head down and as we get near the entrance gate the two tour busses pull out and cross the parking lot. I slowly move out, get past the gate, and see the purple bus is sitting at the edge of the lot, trying to turn onto the road that leads out of the park. I wait in line at a port-a-john. There's a big cloud of smoke from where someone's engine blew up (or so someone near me says). It very slowly dissipates. It's shortly after 6 when i get into my car and start the engine. In a couple minutes i get on the road. It takes about 30 minutes to go about 4 car lengths to where the bus had to pull out (it is out of sight by now, of course). By 7:00 PM i've gotten to the first bend in the road, a distance of maybe 200 yards. The person i overheard saying "it will take you an hour to get out of the parking lot" _wasn't_kidding!!!!!_ After another 15-20 minutes, i make it down the next half mile or so, beyond the parking area, and out to 322. The one tape i brought for what i thought would be a ten minute trip is well into its second play. Some annoyingly aggressive drivers. I get onto 322 and i see that the police are stopping traffic on the highway to let us get out. I have spent as much time leaving the parking lot as i spent watching Bob play! And i'm all wet. Maybe i should have stayed home and had a concert in my bathroom. In summary i think this was not a great show, and mainly for reasons Bob had nothing to do with. I'm sure he didn't enjoy the weather any more than we did (at times he looked like he was happy to be playing though). The sound system wasn't very good, and Tussey Mountain has some serious traffic problems.