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Bob Dylan 990625 in Chula Vista, California

(Lyrics to Highlands.)

Subject: Highlands in San Diego
From: John Fischer
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 23:27:58 -0700

Hello everyone:

Just got back from the show in San Diego.  Great show - the best
I've ever attended.  5th song was "Highlands!!!"  He played just
about the whole song, with at least one lyric change, as far as I
could tell. Brilliant performance and easily the highlight of the
two Dylan/Simon shows I've attended this week.  His voice was in
great form.  Another highlight was "It Takes a Lot to Laugh."  
Big changes in the setlist from the Hollywood show - many more
than I expected.

The setlist (as I remember it - after the ecstacy of "Highlands,"
my memory is a bit foggy)

1. Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie (acoustic)
2. My Back Pages (acoustic)(harp)(L. Campbell on fiddle)
3. Don't Think Twice (acoustic)(harp)
4. Tangled Up in Blue (acoustic)(harp)
5. Highlands (!!!)
6. All along the Watchtower
7. I Don't Believe You
8. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
9. Highway 61
10. Like a Rolling Stone
11. It Ain't me Babe (acoustic)(harp)
12. Sounds of Silence (duet w/ P.Simon)(harp)
13. I Walk the Line/Blue Moon over Kentucky (duet w/P.Simon) (L.Campbell
on fiddle)
14. Knockin' on Heaven's Door (duet w/Paul Simon)

John G. Fischer

PS - Standard grovel for a tape of this show (and the Hollywood Bowl
show).  I have a large list of CDRS I can burn in trade.

Subject: Re: Highlands in San Diego From: Jackson Eskew Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 23:43:31 -0700 ... Is this for real? Are you serious?! You lucky bastard. ;-) One question: did you have good seats?
Subject: Re: Highlands in San Diego From: Redwords Date: 26 Jun 1999 06:55:07 GMT Organization: AOL ... I too just returned from Chula Vista and the wonderful "Highlands". Our man Zimmy was really into the song (as he was the whole show) "bobbing" up and down, striking Berry- and Presley-esque poses, grimacing as he delivered Highlands' wry lyrics with impeccable timing--borscht belt big time...Tony G. was grinning from ear to ear, hanging on to every line. A fantastic show and for me a real surprise that the songs varied so much from the rubberstamp Anaheim-Hollywood shows (not to say they were anything but great!!!) The man still delivers--better and better.
Subject: Re: Dylan speaks From: CovWoman61 Date: 26 Jun 1999 06:58:13 GMT Dylan speaks again in San Diego: "We are all kind a tired....'Slept in a trailer park last night.....had to be real quiet.....we didn't want to wake the sleeping bags" Yes & he sang Highlands... Hard boiled eggs became singular & one other change that I noted. Other than that non stop perfection. Ronnie
Subject: Re: Highlands in San Diego From: Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 03:39:16 -0700 My mind is also more than usually foggy after the surprise of "Highlands," but here are some of the things I think I remember about the concert. As with "Positively Fourth St." in Sacramento, the least-played song was also the best-performed. "Highlands" sounded a fair amount like the record, but the main guitar riff -- da dada da dum -- seemed to be played at a generally lower pitch, with more full chords and fewer individual notes, so that it contrasted with prominent, high-pitched mandolin runs. Also, of course, there were no keyboards, which to me add a lot to the far-away, dreamy sound of the album version. As a result, tonight's performance was a bit more earthy and forward-moving, and Bob's vocal was sometimes more lively. In all, I think the subtle difference was summed up in a small change to the last line -- instead of singing "that's good enough for now," I believe Bob said "that's gonna have to be good enough for now," in a way that suggested someone who's not quite at peace with his own resignation. Also, a while back, people were discussing the point of the "hard-boiled eggs." Some said it suggested that the artist seemed like a "hard-boiled" tough-guy, and some thought that it might relate to female fertility. In tonight's version, though, Dylan sang the line differently -- "HAARRRD-boiled eggs." And, to me at least, it seemed like the waitress was making a reference to *male* sexuality. Anyway, I have a feeling Bob cut a bit of the song but not a lot (the "girls like birds" verse, maybe?). After it was over, the band fiddled with their instruments and Dylan said, "We're awfully tired -- slept all night in a trailer park." I think he added something about sleeping bags, but I didn't get all of it. In any case, Bob and the band did in fact sound a bit weary -- this was one of the slower, bluesier shows I've seen. As an example, while opening at Concord, Dylan chose to shorten the set by dropping an acoustic song from the encores. But tonight, he dropped the most rock-oriented song, "Not Fade Away," and finished the main set with a gently sung "It Ain't Me Babe." Here his voice was very much like the almost-whisper he used for awhile back in 1995. Bob also sounded wonderfully forlorn near the end of "I Don't Believe You." "Is it easy to forg-gehhht?" was more sobbed than sung, as though forgetting were hardly possible, let alone easy. Finally, "Knockin'" began promisingly as various instruments and the background "ooo"s melded at a high pitch and sounded almost like bagpipes. But then Bob started singing: "Mama wipe the tay badge offa me...." Next, for the second verse, he sang what would normally be the third -- "...I'm staring up...." Then Paul took the last verse -- "Mama, put my guns in the ground..." At the end, as Bob repeated the "Knock, knock, knockin'" chorus, Paul sang in a long smooth line, "I hear you knockin' but you can't come in." While I think that might be overly-cute lyrically, their two voices did sound good together musically.
Subject: Highlands in San Diego last night (fairly long) From: Brian Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 10:02:44 -0700 (PDT) Well, it's the morning after the show, and I can still scarcely believe that I actually got to hear Highlands. It is the song that would have headed my "fantasy" setlist, and the one I would have thought least likely to make an appearance. That alone made this the greatest performance I've ever seen. The show began well, with Bob in typically strong voice. Babe It Ain't No Lie was a rousing opener, and I thought that My Back Pages sounded particularly lovely. But I must admit that I felt a little disappointed when Bob took off his acoustic guitar after Tangled Up in Blue, only the fourth song of the set. The next song began with little fanfare; he didn't lead into it with the long instrumental intro that most songs are treated to these days. Indeed, he caught me a bit off guard. I strained to make out the first line, but by the second, I knew. I turned to my brother, jaw gaping, lump duly in throat. Immediately, the import of the moment (well, to a Bob Dylan fan at any rate) hit me. Here? In San Diego? Can't help it if I'm lucky, indeed! The rendition was, as far as I'm concerned, flawless, save for one slurred line (I believe the "insanity...soul" line) which only emphasized how extraordinary it was that he got all the rest of the lyrics right! It was taken at a quicker tempo than the album version, with the riff less prominant. Bob did throw in some nice licks, as did Larry on mandolin, but there was none of the extended soloing (often at the expense of a verse or two) that we've come to expect. In fact, despite including most and possibly all of the verses, the song seemed to fly by as quickly as those bird-like girls. It could have been- must have been- thirteen or fourteen minutes long, but it felt like it was over far too soon. The audience reaction, at least where I was seated (quite far from the stage, but a lot closer than those on the lawn), was interesting to note. For the first couple of verses, the people in front of and behind me took the opportunity to blather rudely, apparently unimpressed by the inclusion of a "non-hit" in the show. But as the song progressed, everyone around me seemed to get sucked into the narrative, listening attentively to every word, laughing and applauding when it was appropriate, but otherwise transfixed. In this way, it reminded me a bit of another debut, the Forest Hills performance of Desolation Row. It helped considerably that Bob spit out the words with unbelievable precision and passion, clearly enunciating each syllable as he is wont to do whenever the mood still strikes him. By the time he sang the final line - modified slightly but significantly to "My heart's in the highlands, and that's gonna have to be good enough for now" - I felt emotionally spent. So did he, apparently, as he made reference to how tired he and his band were ("We slept in a trailer park and didn't want to wake the sleeping bags"???). After that, Bob could have mimed to "Greatest Hits" and I still would have been satisfied. As it is, the remainder of the show ranged from the high of an ethereal It Ain't Me Babe to the low of a half-remembered I Don't Believe You. He remained in brilliant voice, but his guitar playing (which was impressive during the first six numbers) became increasingly careless. Mind you, I'm really not complaining; these uncritical ears loved every moment. The duets with Simon exceeded my expectations, quite frankly. I didn't expect that their voices would blend together so well. I was particularly struck by how disciplined Bob's singing and playing was on "Sounds of Silence". I prefer to hear him taking chances with songs, bending and reshaping the melody on the fly and exploring the fretboard of his guitar (for better or for worse). But it is interesting that he can still stick to an arrangement so beautifully when the situation calls for it. After that, Paul Simon came on and performed an energetic, challenging set which brought many people to their feet. I enjoyed it immensely, but spent a good deal of it reliving Highlands. Talk about a tough act to follow. Brian Vargo
Subject: Review: 6/25/99 Chula Vista From: Jackson Eskew Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 15:04:14 -0700 So, I've been listening to my copy of this show for 3 days now and I'm ready to pronounce judgement. In a word: FANTASTIC. Especially Highlands and LARS. First of all, let me just say that this is my first boot, so I have nothing to compare the sound quality to. But my impression is that it is quite good, and my girlfriend commented that "it sounds surprisingly good." Here's my song by song review: DON'T THINK TWICE, IT'S ALL RIGHT This song starts loosely, with the band slowly picking up the thread. Bob's vocal phrasing grows increasingly pleading yet furious throughout. Overall, a good, solid performance. TANGLED UP IN BLUE Typically good. Features the rarely used "Italian poet" verse. HIGHLANDS As we know, this show featured the first and only (so far) live performance of this song. It doesn't disappoint; Highlands is definitely the best part of the show. As the song begins, the crowd doesn't seem to know what to make of it. This is understandable, as the arrangement is quite different from the TOOM version and many people were probably not familiar with this song. But as the song progresses, Bob has obviously captured the crowd's rapt attention. They're obviously getting a kick out of it, especially the Neil Young verse and the waitress scene. This version is an earthier, more grounded version than the TOOM recording. This can, I think, be attributed to the substitution of TOOM's dreamy, haunting organ for a mandolin. The mandolin work is effective, helping to relieve the monotonous quality that some would say (not me) plagues the studio version. Vocally, this interpretation is not nearly as detached as on TOOM. Bob seems much more connected to this work, saying the line "everything is exactly the way that it seems" with more than a hint of bitter irony. This performance, much more than on TOOM, suggests a real acceptance of the narrator's position in the scheme of things. All this is not to say that this version is better, just that it is different. Like the studio version, it is outstanding. In short, this version of Highlands by itself makes this recording worth having. ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER Pretty standard. Excellent guitar work throughout. I DON'T BELIEVE YOU It's hard to believe this is the same song as that recorded on Live 1966. This version is much mellower, mainly because of Larry Campbell's slide guitar work and Bob's far less angry, yearning vocal interpretation. BAND INTRODUCTION "These are some of the finest players in the country...." IT TAKES A LOT TO LAUGH, IT TAKES A TRAIN TO CRY Larry Campbell and Charlie Sexton play off of each other beautifully on this cut, while the rhythm section provides solid backing. HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED Typically smokin'. LIKE A ROLLING STONE Along with Highlands, this song provides the other highlight of this show. Long gone is the angry, accusatory tone of the studio version. It is replaced by the voice of a far more mature, wiser man surveying events separated by a gulf of time and regret. It's a voice of sympathy and tenderness, of identification and understanding; a voice of someone who has LIVED. IT AIN'T ME, BABE Like LARS, the narrator of this song has clearly grown older and wiser. It's a very light and delicate interpretation, with a good harp solo to finish it out. -- Jackson #1599

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