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Bob Dylan 991027 in Champaign, Illinois

Subject: Phil & Dylan in Champaign
From: Ken Kleber 
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 02:08:23 -0500

October 27,1999 Assembly Hall--Champaign, IL

Cryptical >
Other One Jam >
Jam (Paul teases Smokestack Lightning) >
Other One (verse 1) >
Jam (Paul and Steve tease Smokestack) >
Pride of Cucamonga >
Other One Jam (Great Billy P. solo) >
Wheel >
Little Feat-esque Jam >
Organ Donor talk
I Am The Man, Thomas@
Times Are a Changin'@
It's Alright Ma@
One Too Many Mornings (Bob on harp)@
Tangled Up@
This Wheel's On Fire
Memphis Blues
Not Dark Yet
Highway 61

Like a Rolling Stone
It Ain't Me Babe@
Great show overall.  Bob blew Phil away in all honesty.  The
expected collaborative effort never happened.  Dylan was the best
I've heard him in quite some time.  Very crisp and clear vocals. 
Phil and Co. very not mixed very well at all.  Much of the music
coming off the stage (specifically Paul Berrere) was inaudible
from my seat in the 6th row.  All of the Dylan band (sans Charlie
Sexton) were quite clear in the hall.

Phil highlights were Pride of Cucamonga and GDTRFB.  There were
tons of lyrical miscues and other assorted flubs.  Not totally
unexpected with a group of recently-formed musicians and the
opening gig of the tour.  Dylan was incredible tonight.  *Very*
clear vocals and an incredible band sound. Highlights were It's
Alright Ma, I Am The Man, Times Are a Changin', Highway 61, LARS,
and NFA.


Subject: Review: 10/27/99 - Champaign, Illinois From: Josh Miller Date: 28 Oct 1999 10:38:46 -0700 Organization: None First of all, it was definitely a wonderful show. My previous show was the 7/9/99 performance at Tinley Park, and this one was better in my opinion. About Phil: What Paul Simon lacked in terms of spontaneity, Phil Lesh found in an abundance that almost lead to chaos. At times it seemed like he and his friends were not all together, as Ken mentioned with his previous post. He hit a high note and REALLY got the crowd into it when he began playing "Not Fade Away," but I think they lacked energy for a majority of the set. Phil played for 90 minutes and probably sang for less than 2 out of those 90, and that sat rather poorly with me. Sure he isn't the greatest vocalist in the world, but a couple more versus wouldn't have killed anyone. It wasn't all that bad, but I suspect that things will only get better as the tour progresses. About Bob: Bob Dylan's genius shined last night. He began with "I Am the Man, Thomas" which is a song that I have begun liking more and more as I hear it on tapes, so it was good to hear this one live. It seems like it really gets the band swinging. The highlight of the evening for me came with his performance of "It's Alright, Ma," which was delivered with extreme emotion. I have heard the majority of his performances of this song in the past year or so, and I can honestly say that this is the best I have heard it done. It (and just the entire set) was sung SO clear. This is one of my very favorites as I believe no song has ever captured more accurately how it feels to be young in this country, looking upon things for the very first time. The words stung like hot coals when he wanted to throw them at you, and soothed you like the best liquor in the land when he lulled them to you. If the show had stopped at that point, I would have gone home completely satisfied. "Highway 61-R" had a TON of energy thrown into it. Bob was moving around and smiling while playing the tune any chance he got. During a heavy guitar solo, Dylan's head was bobbing up and down as he went back and forth between notes. He would have drawn a standing ovation from any guitar slinger after that one. In the encore after Lovesick, Bob went into "It Ain't Me, Babe." I found myself close to tears listening to his voice, sounding so light and mournful, and thought to myself that only Bob Dylan can do Bob Dylan songs. In their most true, emotional form at least. It was an absolutely wonderful evening. I was sitting next to a doctor who by chance happens to work at the same hospital as I do. Halfway through Bob's set, he turned to me with a mischievous grin and said, "You know, he's going to be in Oxford, Ohio on Friday..." What I wouldn't give to be there too. I admire all of you who are able to follow Bob around the country. Keep the music in your hearts and hold onto it for as long as you can, and for as long as Bob offers it to us. God Bless, -Joshua Miller
Subject: Re: Phil & Dylan in Champaign From: acffh Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 05:30:12 -0500 siting up front for phil, all I could hear was the stage sound, hardly any vocals, but for bob's set, a couple of small, hanging front-fill speakers covered the first few rows with great vocals. Phil's set was adventurous, but not very organized. lots of jamming, but not a lot of direction. Barerre seems kinda lost up there, and neither him or payne sang a lead all night. "Pride" was the total highlight, I never thought I'd hear that one, just like unbroken and johanna, I got my wish! Pride had the monster blues break in the middle. Payne is a hell of a keyboardist, but it takes a group that bleshes to get me going, and I'm afraid the Feat just haven't had the spark since they lost lowell george. Nice to see phil giving them a try, but i hopethat he can gel better with his friends next time I see them. Bob was in good spirits, shaking his legs, kneeling, dancing, and doing the mod-0-fied duckwalk, mugging faces at the crowd, who he could see just fine, since they left the lights on up front for his entire set. Bob was wearing the black pants with the white stripe, black jacket, and a button-type necktie. lyrical quirks included- Times are a changin- "don't run up the hall" TUIB- "Truckdriver's wives" and some alternate line instead of delacroix about his mind blown away or something, I can't ever seem to make that part out. memphis blues "smoked my eyeballs" lovesick- "feel like I've been plowed under" LARS- "stare into the vacuum, the vacuum of his eyes" and "got no secrets, no secrets to conceal" other details of interest include the not dark yet played on 3 sunburst stratocasters, and a sunburst bass guitar, and when bob licked his harp before the solo on it ain't me. just tongued the whole edge of it so it wouldn't stick to his face, I guess. I've added my notes to this list- enjoy 1.I Am The Man, Thomas (acoustic) (song by Ralph Stanley and Larry Sparks) 2.The Times They Are A-Changin' (acoustic) (bob starts shaking his left knee) 3.It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (acoustic) (larry on "zumsteel" lap steel? (sitting down- hey can anyone clarify what those guitars are exactly so I can recount accurately?) 4.One Too Many Mornings (acoustic) Bob on Harp, holding guitar in right hand,(david with brushes, larry on pedal steel? (standing up)) 5.Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) (bob dancing and kneeling) 6.All Along The Watchtower (larry on pedal steel) 7.This Wheel's On Fire (larry on lap steel) 8.Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again (charlie on the big red gibson acoustic) 9.Not Dark Yet (all sunburst axes) 10.Highway 61 Revisited (charlie on lt blue telecaster, larry on pedal steel (encore) 11.Love Sick (charlie on white strat) 12.Like A Rolling Stone (larry on telecaster) 13.It Ain't Me, Babe (acoustic) (Bob on harp) (charlie on gibson, tony with hollowbody acoustic bass, david with the brushes) 14.Not Fade Away Bob has 2 fender devilles charlie has a vox (not mic'd) and a "Fulto...abs" with a mic blocking the name. . . anyone? Larry plays through a vox and a fender Tony's cabinet is an "epifani" david plays Drum workshop drums. sound by electrotec Assembly hall security- old people, but big huge security dudes to keep us from puffing much, lot's of folks had trouble with that. Looking forward to milwaukee and chitown- gotta work on me costumem, was gonna be "tom's thumb's blue" or "visions of johanna, but hew played them at park west, was gonna coat myself in blood, and be only bleeding, but that went down tonight. . . maybe for h-ween I'll be the only one on the scene missing. . .get it? -t
Subject: Champaign Review From: Bruce Reznick Date: 9 Nov 1999 22:19:45 GMT I went with the professors, and we all liked his looks. Three math, one physics. Two of us had seen him once before, back in the 70s. I can't add much to the musical commentary or lyrical exegesis I've seen so far on r.m.d. I know this is very late, but that's a function of being older and having other things to do and being in a calling where you usually write 20 drafts of an article. Please remember before you flame me that you can argue if I say something is good or bad, but you can't argue if I say I liked something or didn't like it. You may be right in calling me a fool, but only I can know how I felt. I first started listening to Dylan in college and grad school in the early and mid 70s. What I loved were his images and the flow of the words and the beautiful folk melodies they were sung in front of. And when I had a nasty break-up, those early vicious songs provided a handy template I could emulate to deal with the pain: ("I go into your kitchen/Find an apple full of worms/ And then you say I shouldn't/ Always judge things on *my* terms/" -- based on a true story.) The first time I heard "Tangled Up in Blue" on the radio, I thought it was the best Dylan imitation ever, almost as good as the original! The suggestion that, even in the past, he might have known a mathematician was salve to my grad student ego. I thanked him "and all other artists" in the introduction to my dissertation. I was a postdoc in Berkeley when I talked my friends Jim and Janet into seeing Dylan live in Oakland, winter of 78-79. He was promoting "Street Legal", that bizarre contribution to US race relations which showed that the job of off-key back-up singers can also be filled by female African-Americans. It was an incredibly bad concert. Dylan seemed completely contemptuous of his audience and our interest in his music. The dart-board-random arrangements of his back-list seemed to say to us: "You want to hear my old songs? You really want to hear my old songs? I'll sing them so wretchedly you'll never want to hear them again!" Dressed in what Janet told me was a tuxedo shirt halfway unbuttoned, Dylan took encores unprovoked by the audience reaction. We left during the second one. Topping it off, the lyrics were changed for "Tangled"; no more mathematicians. It wasn't hard for me to lose interest in him after that, especially since I didn't care for his new stuff. I saw him a few times on TV, most recently at the Kennedy Center Honors, where he seemed to fit about as well as Mr. Ed at Dodger Stadium. When CDs came in, I bought compilations or replacements for my old records. But when I heard he was coming to the Assembly Hall in Champaign, a half-hour's walk from my house, I decided to give him another chance. I even sort of knew who Phil Lesh was, so it would probably be best if I didn't talk too much about his half of the show. It sounded to me like part of a musical stew that's been simmering on the back burner for the last couple of decades. The audience seemed roused only when the band stumbled upon a recognizable chunk of something. But then, I'm the sort of guy who wants his water to taste like water and his wine to taste like wine, and the two to taste different. I was impressed by Phil's pitch for blood and organ donation at the end. The Assembly Hall is, nominally, a non-smoking facility. I don't like smoke of any kind. I never did. There was a lot of smoke at this concert, especially in the first half. I well understand that a lot of Lesh fans would want to enhance their experience but I wish they had done it in some other section. As it is, I didn't get high, but had a hangover the next day. (When I was in school, this would have been called a "bummer".) The Assembly Hall is usually very strict about drugs, and there have been concerts in town with a lot of busts, but if there were any this time, they didn't make the papers. Dylan's set had a somewhat visible police presence in the aisles, and much less smoke. But it was all worthwhile. The man came out and sang "I am the man". Drummer in a cowboy hat, stand-up bass fiddle. Dylan live! I was too far back to see Dylan's facial expressions, but it was clear from his body language that he was having a good time. He mournfully gave us the lyrics of "The times they are a-changing". Did the sadness come from being one of the "mothers and fathers" rather than "your sons and your daughters"? It was a game to try to figure out what the song would be, based on the intro. Great band, great performances. I could have done without "Memphis blues", in favor of say "Tombstone blues". Some were disappointed that he didn't sing "Champaign". I was thrilled that the mathematicians were back in "Tangled". I knew Dylan had written some good songs lately, and based on "Lovesick" and "Not dark yet", I should get "Time Out of Mind". After 40 years, Dylan has finally learned a little corny showmanship, and it didn't hurt. (There are worse fates for an artist than being surrounded by people who love him.) I anticipated a symmetry to his show. In fact, I was sure into the third encore song that, after beginning with "I am the man, Thomas", Dylan would end with "It ain't me, babe". I didn't mind being proved wrong when he decided to blow us away and rhyme instead the first act closer: "Not fade away". We walked home in the surprisingly temperate mid-western autumn, uncommonly late for me to be out these days, I thought about Dylan's influence on our culture and I thought about how much happier I am than I could have imagined as a student and I thought about how I was going to have to wash the smoke out of my hair as soon as I got home. And I thought about how, tonight, Dylan had brought the mathematicians back, at least this one. Bruce Reznick
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