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Bob Dylan 970831 in 970831, Kansas City, Missouri>

Spirit Fest, Liberty Park.

Subject: notes from kc...
From: Christine Consolvo (
Date: Sat, 06 Sep 1997 04:19:15 GMT

Well, there was certainly a feeling of deja vu as I ran to secure my
spot against the barricade, dead center in front of the main stage at
the Spirit Fest at high noon on Sunday. The show I saw there in 1992
loomed large in my mind... It was fortunate that there would be no
music performed there until at least 6:00 pm (the TBA never was) so
that once territory was plotted, one could easily leave it for long
periods (with a little help from your friends) to escape the
relentless sun and 94 degree temperature . BR-549 turned out to be the
only other act on the main stage and they came on at around 7:00 (?)
and played for a little more than an hour. It was good to have that
small amount of  "warming up" before Bob arrived on the stage. 

The moment BR-549 left the stage people began proceeding up front,
filling in the spaces. The crowd had been standing loosely before then
and it only made sense to use the space there in front of the stage to
it's capacity. I was at the Main Stage the night before to see J.Geils
Band, Jimmie Vaughn (Larry Campbell caught this one), Robert Cray &
the Memphis Horns and B. B. King. A security guard told me on Sunday
that there were 75,000 folks in the audience for B. B. so I think it's
safe to assume there was about 100,000 who came out for Bob judging
from a comparison of the night before. 

Bob came out sporting the signature black. This time, because of the
heat, he wore no necktie and had the top 2 buttons of his shirt
undone. I need to amend an earlier review where I said his pants had
"odd shaped, mostly three-sided" buttons down the sides. I could see
this time that the buttons alternated between the shapes of hearts,
spades, clubs and diamonds. I guess this fits in with the comment in
Chicago about Roving Gambler being the "autobiographical portion of
the show". :-) Also, he was wearing the white hat for the entire show.
A friend pointed out that it was one much like gamblers used to wear
(at least in old movies). A theme is definitely forming now.....   :-)

Again, he was completely warmed up and on a roll for the very first
tune. Because of this, Absolutely Sweet Marie has become a highlight.
By the time he launched into Stone Walls & Steel Bars I was entranced.
I had forgotten to even wish for another outing of this one! He likes
this song.....and did some prancing in place. Following was yet
another unforgettable rendition of Tambourine Man. If he likes Stone
Walls, he *adores* this one. Heart & soul was poured out and over it
like molasses. It covered every inch, every syllable, every breath,
every movement, every glance.....well, you get the idea. His
expressions ranged from haughty to pained to macho to wistful to
impish....and on and on he went. As he sang the line "the ancient
empty street's too dead for dreaming" he began nodding with each word
then turning his head slightly, nodding again, turning and so on left
to right, his eyes as big as saucers, until he had firmly acknowledged
the whole of this huge crowd. It happened very quickly, but the
audience didn't miss a lick and in turn came right back with a roar of
approval in his direction.

I must backtrack to the evening before. After returning to our hotel
room after seeing B. B. King's show and ordering another in a long
line of pizzas, we rang up a friend who had come over from England to
see the shows. He'd had to stay in Minneapolis and would be leaving
for the airport and home early the next morning. It was time to wish
him a fond farewell. Since we had been at the festival when the news
broke, he was the one to tell us about the death of Princess Di. We'd
have been shocked and stunned on our own at learning of this tragedy,
but to hear the sadness in the voice of a dear friend brought it even
closer to our hearts. We sat up until almost 3:00 am watching BBC
coverage on network television.

Again I'm projecting here, but when Bob started into Tears of Rage the
next evening, it was impossible not to wonder if this selection could
be related to the accident. Upon later reflection, I don't think it's
too long a stretch to imagine that he would identify greatly with such
a victim of fame. Whether he intended it as this or not, it was
delivered in such a woeful manner...really heartbreaking. "And now the
heart is filled with gold, as if it was a purse, but, oh, what kind of
love is this, which goes from bad to worse?" Indeed.

How in the world can he continue to reinvent a standard like Rolling
Stone? It boggles the mind. Perhaps it's just that his enthusiasm for
it recently is infectious....I don't know. He introduces a brand new
emotion and intonation to it at each and every outing. How does it
feeeeel? It feels like magic, Bob.

Just thought I'd mention it...