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Bob Dylan 990212 in Carbondale, Illinois

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 21:09:30 -0600
From: Mark Withrow (
Organization: Columbia College

... (Last month) I had the very good fortune to see Bob Dylan at Carbondale,
Normal and South Bend.

An unforgettable 3 days!  Dylan was in especially fine voice at
Carbondale, where I'd seen him in give a most memorable concert in '78.
Shelter from the Storm sounded so great it was a pity that Bob didn't do
additional verses.  He jumped ahead and clearly didn't mean to, as the
band & he were grooving.  Cold Irons Bound and Silvio rawked but the
stunning acoustic set was the true breath-taking highlight.  All three
non-Tangled songs have permanent residence on my wish-to-hear list: Rank
Strangers to Me, It's All Over Now, Baby Blue and My Back Pages.  He
nailed them all with a strong passionate voice.  The sound was mixed
superbly.  I hadn't expected Positively 4th Street but was touched by
the slow, soulful version that harkened back to the Berlin '96 version.
A focused, bluesy Love Sick continued a streak of very strong TOOM
performances that was to last all weekend. The closers, Blowin' In the
Wind & Not Fade Away provided a perfect end to a superb evening of
music. I think Not Fade Away is a wonderful choice for the finale. It
was a most memorable evening, indeed.

Southern was an intense, focused concert, while Normal was a raucous
party.  Gotta Serve Somebody was even stronger than the night before,
with Million Miles following up in blues-drenched fashion.  The first
sign of another extra special evening was the jaw-dropping She Belongs
To Me.  Yes.  Again, the acoustic set was stunning: Cocaine Blues,
Masters of War and a killer Love Minus Zero/No Limit.  Bob is clearly
focused on and engaged in the very fine music he and the band are making
each evening.  Impressive.  Jaws dropped throughout Redbird Arena as the
cream of Setzer's horn section joined Bob for Ballad Of A Thin Man. 
Easily one of the best versions of this song I have ever witnessed (if
you don't count the one in Eat the Document).  High-fives on stage and
in the audience confirm this view.  The energy and enthusiasm did not
wane during the last third of the concert: Highway 61 Revisited (with
Brian Setzer on guitar), Love Sick, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (with 4
piece horn section and Setzer on guitar), Blowin' In The Wind and Not
Fade Away (with Setzer on guitar).  The horns added a lot to RDW & Bob
was grinning ear to ear!  Tony and Kemper joined Bob in the high-fives
with Setzer, who looked like he was in guitar heaven. The horn players
could not conceal their delight, either.  Such a night!

South Bend was a return to earth after two superb concerts.  Even with a
low goose-bump factor it was a fine evening of music, with the standouts
being You're A Big Girl Now, Mr. Tambourine Man, Desolation Row, The
Times They Are A-Changin', Can't Wait, Don't Think Twice and Not Fade
Away.  The Times was the best I've witnessed, by far--a sad & soulful
rendition. The Notre Dame karma was nothing like the high energy of SIU
and ISU. Old men in blue blazers were everywhere (many of them had their
arms crossed and brows furrowed, even as unconsciously tapping a toe). 
It was an older, quieter crowd.  Still, the people around me were very
pleased with the show. A gleeful woman sat in front of me with her
husband and teenage daughters. It was a delight to see the whole family
digging Bob & Co.  All in all a tremendous three days of wonderful music.  
Bob appeared healthy and happy.

Miles of smiles.



Mark Withrow

1998: May - June - July - August - September - October - November - 1999: January - February