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Bob Dylan 990718 in Burgettstown

Subject: 7/18/99- Burgettstown - Review
From: Mike Fallon
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 20:27:50 GMT

I Ain't Got No Home

Last night's show took place on a steamy Western PA evening.  Lots of
tailgating in the lots before the show.  Not much security presence,
other than a few observers stationed in an occassional observation

Paul Simon opened and played a great set.  We had seats in the third
row of the pit and I had expected to be able to stand stage front
during the evening.  The last time I saw Bob at Star Lake in '97,  the
security folks let you roam freely up front as long as you had pit
tickets.  For tonights show,  they had set up metal fencing about two
to three feet from the stage.  Security stood behind the fence with
their backs to the stage and they only allowed folks who had tickets
for seats in the front row and at the ends of the second row  stand
next to the fence during the show.

Anyway,  we were up dancing during the better part of Simon's set.
Hard to believe that people were sitting during the up tempo tunes,
but except for a few, well-known' songs like ' Graceland',  lots of
folks preferred sitting for the show.  

After Paul's last song,  he introduced Bob, who was wearing  the black
suit with the stripe down the legs,  a thin black tie, a white belt
and had what I guessed were black and white snake skin boots.  My wife
said a bolo tie would have been in order with the regalia he wore, but
at least he didn't have one of his pant legs half tucked into his boot
like the last Star lake show.  To me, the contrast between the two
artists was pretty startling.   I thought Bob was short but he seemed
to tower over Paul Simon.  Bob also looked much, much older,  with
what might have been a little extra makeup as he seemed very pale
After a what seemed like a few extra warm-up bars,  Bob sang the
opening line 'Hello darkness my old friend'  It was great to hear his
voice live again.  It has such a 'here and now' quality to me.  

After the 'SoS', which included a harp solo by Bob, they did the
medley, and during the transition to 'The Wanderer',  Bob  broke up,
as perhaps he forgot the words again.  He was not to high in the mix
for the verses,  just during the chorus.  They finished wtih the
"Knockin' on Heavens Door',  with Paul harmonising a bit at the end 'I
hear you knockin',  but you can't come in...'  My friend, Dave, said
it was a tip of the hat to Bob Marley, something to do with 'Bend down

Anyway, to Bob's main set
>   1.   Somebody Touched Me (acoustic) 
Great up tempo opener that had lots of us on our feet.

>   2.   Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic) (with harp) 
Bob delivered a nice vocal then added the harp,  accenting the solo
with some nice swivelling footwork in those boots.

>   3.   Masters Of War (acoustic) 
>   4.   It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (acoustic) (Larry on pedal steel)
>   5.   Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) (with harp) 
Near the end of the tune,  Bob set his guitar down and just played the
harp through the end of the song.  Got a nice repsonse from the fans.

>   6.   All Along The Watchtower 
Larry played some nice licks on this one.  He makes it look so easy.
Bob should give him more room, IMO.

>   7.   Simple Twist Of Fate 
>   8.   Silvio 
I was up dancing to this one and caught a few rolled up balls of paper
in the back,  apparently from disgruntled observers.  I mean, come on.
I feel that for an artist like Bob,  you should be up for every song,
but I did sit for a couple of the slow ones.  Seemed like every time I
looked behind me, everybody was seated.

>   9.   Not Dark Yet (Larry on pedal steel) 
This was the highlight of the show for me.  It was the only song from
TOOM that we got and at this point of the show,  I started to think
that he must have played 'Visions',  "Boots of Spanish Leather' 'Cold
Irons Bound' or any of the others that I was hoping to hear, in the
previous few nights.  I made it a point not to follow the setlists for
the last week or so, planning on getting a couple of surprises.  Well,
maybe next time.

>  10.  Highway 61 Revisited 
Larry played a couple nice solos.  Charlie Sexton played only rhythm
on almost every song except for a few breaks during LARS, which
surprised me.  I was expecting a little more guitar dynamics but Bob
continues playing the single string leads himself.

>     (encore) 
>  11.  Like A Rolling Stone 
>  12.  It Ain't Me, Babe (acoustic) (with harp) 
>  13.  Not Fade Away 

These were all solid, but unexceptional, with the exception of NFA.  I
got the crowd up on its feet again after the acoustic 'It Ain't Me,
Babe.'  Nice electric guitar fills by Larry and Charlie on this one.
The house lightswere up and they left after the tune,  but, while the
crowd kept roaring,  they came back out for the finale.
>  14.  Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic) 

Before the tune started, I coaxed my wife to follow me climbing over
the first two rows of seats to get close to center stage.  They have
the chairs banded together with plastic ties, so you can't slide
between them.  At this point, security was nowhere in sight.  There
was no real stage rush, however.  

Not So Random Observations

Before BITW,  there  was a young girl handling the water bottles on
stage, and after the song, I noticed a group of 5 to 8 females off-
stage left (facing the stage). They were all dressed in white summer
shorts and t-shirts.  As the band exited stage right, they were waving
and I noticed at least Larry Campbell waved back.   These were most
likely volunteers backstage helping with catering would be my guess.
Not as surprising as those shows in '95 when they let young  women on
stage during the show to dance next to  Bob.  
I estimated the crowd was close to 20,000.
Also, I saw a silver haired gentleman standing alone against the rail
off to stage right who perhaps was Bill Pagel?  He looked familiar.

Catch him if he comes to your town.  He'll be on the road,  heading
for another joint.

Mike 'Pitchman' Fallon

NP- 'Closer to Home"- Old Time Music from Mike Seeger's Collection

Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 22:27:36 -0400 To: From: mark rothfuss Subject: My Review of 7/18/99 ... Burgettstown PA 7/18/99 (Star Lake Amp) This was my third Bob show at Star Lake in the last 4 years, and it was also the best of the 3. Worth the 7 hour drive up, and then some. Actually as I was sitting there watching "the master," it could have very well been my all time favorite. The acoustics were nice, the weather was perfect, the crowd was pumped and Bob was in a great mood. In fact, he's been so consistently excellent lately that every new show I am lucky enough to see, seems a little better than the one before. Which is always suprising especially after Cincinnati last week. I thought any big outdoor show would be a slight let down from the intimacy of Bogart's...but NO SIR! Bob and company were in top form. Let me begin with a few notes on Paul Simon's performance. I'm not a big Paul Simon fan, but I've always acknowledged that he was a good performer. And he is. It was quite pleasant to see him open for Bob. I really enjoyed the rearranged versions of Diamonds, Call me Al, Me and Julio, and Bridge over troubled waters. And their duets were, contrary to what ive read, quite nice. I did not realize how small a guy Paul is until Bob stood next to him. I kept thinking Bob was on stage with a little kid. Paul's t-shirt and ball cap didnt help this feeling much either. Anyway, Sounds of Silence was really tight, well-timed, and in-sync in comparison to many of the tapes i've heard. Perhaps, it was my favorite performace of the night. Bob was much clearer in the mix than Paul, for a change, and he really nailed all the verses and the harp solo. In my opinion, it was Bob's song on this particular night. On the medley, though, Bob sorta lost it and just mumbled along as Paul sung the songs. But Bob regained control in time for the funky new KOHD. I got a big kick out of the free versing at the end...the whole "but you cant come in" thing. After it was all said and done, Paul sort of bumped into Bob, and Bob ripped off his guitar and motioned as though he was gonna hit Paul. Of course, it was all in jest! They seem to be getting along great! Now on to the main event! Mr. Dylan and band appeared on stage after what seemed like only a few minutes and lit in to a rollicking and fun "Somebody Touched Me." Bob was dressed in a black suit and a skinny black tie with a white silk shirt. I really, really love these gospel openers. Bob was clear, crisp and ariticulate and the band was on fire. In addition, the sound system at Star Lake was state of the art which accentuated the brilliance of his performance. Next we got a relatively upbeat version of Mr. Tambourine Man. Bob was already deep down in the groove and played a phenomenal harp solo at the end. The vocals were a little rough but the crowd went nuts! Masters of War, on the other hand, was sung beautifully! Hell, PERFECTLY!! I mean very delicate and very articulate. The menacingly stark style of this tune provided sharp contrast to the lovely, and lighthearted MR. T. Man. "Its all over now baby blue" was okay...kind of a low point. Ive heard better versions, but then again Ive heard worse. It was very, very slow though and sung with a moderate amount of focus. Ok, now for the zillionth time...TUIB. But a little different. We got the "mind was slippin' away" verse and a really intense closing harp solo. He was really singing out on the could hear his voice standing way out in front of the music. So as long as you want to play it Bob, I am very happy to hear it. After 5 acoustic tunes, Bob strapped on his electric axe for a thunder cracking, lightning bolt version of "Watchtower." Charlie remained acoustic and opened the song with the easily recognized riff. Bob actually let out a quick howl on the "wind began to howl" verse. The great new arrangement makes me glad to see it back in the set list. However, Silvio could have stayed on the retired list for a little longer. Nothing new, just the same old barn-burning-crowd-pleaser. Wedged in between the two rockers was a sweet and pensive rendition of "Simple Twist." What can I say? It was just sublime. Very well done! Next, we were blessed with the best live version of "Not Dark Yet" this boy has ever heard. Ive read a number of reviews that say it has been done similar to the album. But at Star Lake it was even better than the album version. Bob was delivering some of the best vocals ever. He would also do little knee lunges between lines to add a little more drama to the song. Within a matter of seconds Bob moved from the gentle and stately beauty of NDY to a blistering and heart pounding HWY 61. He was growling and showing his top teeth like a ravenous wolf! My ears are still ringing!! After the cheers died down I heard the opening lick to "LARS." Ive never been very impressed with the loose and unfocused live versions ive heard, but tonight's was tight! Way more focused than the Bogart's rendering. It was loud and in your face. But very sly and carefully phrased. Bob would scream one "How does it feel" then whisper the subsequent one. He was also doing a lot of that trademark "catch-up" stuff. He'd start slow then quickly fire out the remainder of the verse in a stream of sharp,single syllables. The bright stage lights on the chorus also provided an extra degree of intensity. The crowd went from standing (which most did for the entire show) to floating 10 feet off the ground after this song. The next encore was "It aint me, babe." Lovely verses, rambling chorus! As I saw him turn around, I knew it could only mean one thing...harp solo! Oh, and what a beautiful solo it was. He was hamming it up big time. So for anybody who thinks he forgot how to play harmonica, get a tape...this song alone should "change your way of thinking." Without leaving the stage, Bob switches guitars and launches in to another rocking "Not Fade Away." SOLID!! This song put the audience in the clouds! Now, Bob leaves for an unusually long long in fact that a number of people began filing out to their cars. However, I had faith that he would be back and back he was. This time sporting his white stetson hat. He said goodbye to the thousands of adoring fans with a soft and touching "BITW." A lot of Petroleum distilate (lighter fluid) was burned up during this song...I gazed back at the packed lawn of Star Lake and it looked like ...errr, a "lake of stars." What was supposed to be a "quick fix show", after Bogart's, turned into a very memorable evening. My brother and I stayed up the whole 7+ hours home reflecting upon the raw brilliance of Mr. Bob. And I will probably continue to reflect for weeks to come. Bob is showing no signs of slowing down, which means we are all very lucky! I only wish I could better explain how phenomenal last nights show was, but there just aren't words. I must get a cd-r of this, please contact me if you are interested in a trade. Yours in Bob, Mark Rothfuss
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 03:18:39 -0400 From: Carsten Molt To: Subject: review of July 18, 1999-Burgettstown As the hot afternoon sun beat on the 17,000 plus fans that congregated at the Coca-Cola Starlake Amphitheater, Paul Simon launched into a very energetic set of his catalog highlighting his classic albums "Graceland" and "Rhythm of the Saints". The highlights of his set included "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" and "You Can Call Me, Al." Paul Simon's band was in impeccable form and not a stray note could be found anywhere. As the setting sun began to dip below the horizon, Paul Simon introduced Dylan to the stage. Dylan looked very fit and healthy. He was dressed in his black cowboy suit with white pinstripes. When the duo launched into "The Sounds of Silence", the crowd roared their approval as Dylan and Simon actually managed to sing in fine harmony. Dylan ended the song with a good harp solo as Paul Simon practically beamed along side of him. After a rocking medley of " That'll be the Day" and "The Wanderer", They ended their tandem set with an uneven but spirited version of "Knocking on Heavens Door." After a change of band equipment came those beautiful words, "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Columbia recording artist, Bob Dylan" "Somebody Touched Me" (acoustic) started the set off and i was surprised at how well the bluegrass spiritual sounded in this spot. Dylan's voice was amazing from the first note and the addition of Charlie Sexton gave this tune a real good string band feel to the tune. "Mr. Tambourine Man"(acoustic) was up next and fit perfectly in the #2 position. The moon was rising high in the sky and the stars shone as Dylan's voice and intensity rose "To dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free" never seemed more appropriate. Dylan brought the tune to a riveting climax with a spirited harp solo. "Masters of War"(acoustic) It is amazing how night after night, tour after tour, Dylan still manages to fill some tunes with as much conviction and fire as the first time he sang them. This is one of those tunes. With a slightly slower arrangement than it had this past February, it brought the recent atrocities in Serbia to the front of my mind and i am confident that i was not the only one. "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue"(Acoustic) Larry Campbell sat down at the pedal steel and for the first time, i missed Bucky Baxter. Taking nothing away from Campbell's playing but it lacked the dynamic playing that colored many Dylan tunes over the past several years. Dylan assumed lead guitar duties on the song giving Charlie Sexton his first time to hold the rhythm steady. On past tours, the tunes have lost some momentum when Dylan would begin a guitar solo. The addition of Sexton allowed Dylan to take a lead without forsaking any of the song's rhythm. "Baby Blue" was nicely played and Dylan took a couple of tasty leads during the ending jam. "Tangled Up In Blue"(Acoustic) Another of Dylan's chestnuts that has gone through many changes since it's first airings more than 20 years ago. This version was not one of it's better ones. The band seemed to be confused after the verses whether to jam or not. Dylan smiled widely and laid down some very good bluegrass notes before saving the tune with a harmonica band-aid that brought the band back into a snaky groove on which they could hang until Dylan decided to end the tune abruptly. I should mention that we did get the "She lit a burner on the stove" verse. "All Along The Watchtower" The electric set began with a ferocious rendering of the "John Wesley Harding" classic that raged on and on. Dylan ripping off blistering solo after solo. Dylan played lead on almost all the tunes allowing Sexton to play rhythm while Larry mostly added color and melody parts to the mix. This was a great version with Dylan's vocals again clear and up front. "Simple Twist of Fate" i am pretty burned out on this tune. It received little reception from the crowd who seemed to take the song as a breather after the "Watchtower" rocker. It was well-played as usual. "Silvio" i know that many fans have tired of this song long ago but it seemed to have gained a new sense of direction and purpose. Dylan really leaned into the vocals and guitar playing with conviction. Charlie Sexton took his only lead solo of the night and seemed very unsure of himself at times but he has big shoes to fill so that is to be expected. i remember how terrified Larry Campbell looked the first time i saw him with Dylan. "Silvio" went on and on this evening. Every time it seemed to wind down, the tempo would accelerate to top speed again. "Not Dark Yet" Dylan played the only "Time Out of Mind" song of the evening. I was hoping for "Highlands" but it was not to be.(Sorry, Anders)We were treated to a slow burning rendition of "Not Dark Yet" that allowed Dylan to dig deep into his bag of nuances and give every word it's own feeling of light and shadow. "It's too hot to sleep" seemed like appropriate words for the night. This was probably the highlight of the show for me. "Highway 61 Revisited" Another smoking version of the warhorse got the crowd on it's collective feet again. Dylan roared the lyrics out with amazing phrasing without over singing or slurring any of the words. He laid out blazing lead guitar lines while the band raged on behind him. After several smoking lead solos from Dylan, he ended the tune with a wave to Kemper which stopped the band on a dime. "Like a Rolling Stone" was the first encore and was well played. Larry Campbell and Charlie Sexton sang strong harmony on the chorus. The crowd was very into the tune and while i enjoyed it, Bucky Baxter emotional pedal steel playing was truly missed here. ÎIt Ain't Me, Babe"(acoustic) i was not looking forward to this but it was nicely played and brought a great ovation from the crowd. Dylan put his guitar on his amp and put on a nice display of harmonica playing. He played the crowd excellently during the harp solos feeding on their cheers. Dylan was very animated during the solos and i finally saw the similarities that people make between him and Charlie Chaplin. "Not Fade away" The house lights came up and Dylan brought the house down wailing simultaneously on guitar and vocals sending waves of cheering through the crowd. A great rendition of a great song. The houselights stayed up and the video monitors were turned off but as we turned to leave, Dylan and co. came back on stage again. Dylan was now wearing his white Stetson and slowly the houselights dimmed again. "Blowing in the Wind"(acoustic) While not on my lists that i longed to hear, it was well played and the crowd went nuts, of course. Again the harmony singing was great and Dylan seemed to make a point to sing with Sexton and Campbell and to not drown them out. A song ending bow and a broad smile and Dylan left to a standing ovation. Overall, Probably the best Dylan show I've seen. His vocals were strong and true throughout the show and his guitar playing has never sounded better. Instead of blasting out soaring leads on his harmonica, Dylan seems to play more to color the songs than propel them along as he seemed to do at times in the past.. He seemed in great spirits and was smiling broadly throughout the show. Dylan just seems to get better and better. If you get the chance to see him, you'll understand what i mean. Sorry for the length but when it comes to Dylan, i tend to go on and on. Carsten Molt
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