Bob Dylan 991113 in East Rutherford, NJ
Subject: new jersey review From: Michael H Skliar
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 01:47:49 -0500 just back from the meadowlands/comntinental airlines arena... great sets from both phil and friends and dylan.. I'm sure Bill Pagel's site (thanks, Bill!) will have the setlist up soon if not by now, so I'll just say that Bob played a diverse and, for the most part, well thought out set of material. Bob's setlists have been revelations lately, and this was another one of them... The rare Visions of Jo. was given a superlative treatement, with sensitive singing.. ditto the version of almost never played 'song to woody". While It's alright ma (I'm only bleeding) had a minor lyrical flub, it was a wonderful arrangement, and a real treat to hear..been waiting a long time for that. Ring them bells was also riveting... the electric set was also wonderful, with Hoochie Cochie man opening things to a fine, rip roring start, followed by a sensitive blind willie, a raucus tombstone blues (great nasty lead break for our bob!) .. the sole possible misstep was the 'why does he play this' song- Joey. Still, an energetic version ,even if he skipped (thank god) about a third to half of the song verses). Not dark yet was restrained and elegant...pillbox a blues hoot, and the encores were as always, fun. as for phil, his band has a magical rappore and it wa an inventive journey thru some varied material, from Come on Get together(the jesse colin youngsong) to dear mr. fantasy, to ,I think, Coltrane's Blue Train, to Help/slipknot/franklin's tower. . Not to mentionCryptical>Other one..! lots of jamming.. think dead '68-70... great stuff.. hope everyone had as good a time as me.. Mike Skliar
Subject: 11/9 & 11/13 WHAT A DIFFERENECE From: NealZim
Date: 14 Nov 1999 06:13:38 GMT I just got back from the 11/13 show at the Meadowlands in Jersey and boy what a let-down!!!!!!!!!!! Poor choice of songs, many (5-6 from Christian era, cover of blues song "Hoochi-Koochi Man", Not Dark Yet) and FLAT MUSICALLY on others (i.e. Rolling Stone, Tombstone Blues, AIn't Me Babe, Visions of Johanna BARELY recognizable) Lesh helped by coming out to play on Alabama Getaway and Rainy Day Women which helped but the only 2 decent songs were Tangled Up and It's Allright Ma. He did Joey, which is 1 he did last year with Joni Michell, so why not do something else from that album, especially with Hurricane movie out soon? 11/9 at Philly was much better, 5 encores all on the money ranging from Hiway to Blowin in Wind.....it was nice to see Man of Peace and Hattie Carol both of which I haven't in my 20-something previous shows......and musically all done as good as the rest of the shows in recent years....maybe 2nite he was just a little fried.
Subject: Re: 11/9 & 11/13 WHAT A DIFFERENCE From: Ellen Friedenberg
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 01:27:06 -0500 I wasn't at the 11/9 concert, but I did attend tonight's show so I'll respectfully disagree with your views. I think the show was great (the fact that I was on the floor in the second row, slightly to his left, admittedly helped me reach that conclusion). I'm not sure what you mean by 5-6 from the Christian era -- but I especially liked I Am the Man Thomas, It's All Right Ma, Blind Willie (electric), Not Dark Yet, Johanna.... I'll confess that I wasn't thrilled with Joey, but I don't like the song. All I can say is, from my vantage point, Dylan sounded really good and looked really good, very animated, playing to the crowd and performing for close to 2 hours. And a very snazzy suit -- long black coat with blue flower embroidery. Not exactly the type of attire I get to see in my office every day, but on him it works.
Subject: Re: 11/9 & 11/13 WHAT A DIFFERENCE From: Seth Kulick
Date: 14 Nov 1999 08:16:56 GMT ... I find it hard in general to compare similar shows, since a lot depends on where you're sitting and who's around you. I had better seats for the 11/9 show than tonight's 11/13 show, and there were no assholes around for the Philly show loudly talking through the acoustic set like there were tonight. That said, I thought tonight's show was a very solid, excellent, show, although not quite as, well, transcendent as parts of the Philly show were. To keep it in perspective, though, I'll take Dylan's show tonight over about 99% of the shows I've seen on the neverending tour. I'll leave the detailed comments about the show to others (paging Mr. Brown, paging Mr. Brown), but a few assorted comments: (1) My main impression, as with the Philly show, was how good the band sounds on the electric stuff. For years, the electric set has sounded like an incoherent mess. Getting Kemper and Campbell was a great thing for Dylan, and with Sexton it's even better. (2) While Dylan didn't break out anything new, it was still a phenomenal setlist, and as anybody who has paid attention to my rantings before knows, I have often complained about the setlists. A very very fine mixture of old and more recent stuff, with some great covers. Ring Them Bells acoustic, yeay!!! And who else playing today would cover both a bluegrass song and Hootchie Cootchie Man in the same show? Yeah, Joey I could do without, but so what. Clearly the guy who posted below complaining about the setlist: >let-down!!!!!!!!!!! Poor choice of songs, many (5-6 from >Christian era, cover of blues song "Hoochi-Koochi Man", Not Dark >Yet) and FLAT MUSICALLY on others (i.e. Rolling Stone, Tombstone >Blues, AIn't Me Babe, Visions of Johanna BARELY recognizable) >Lesh helped by coming out to play on Alabama Getaway and has no idea what he's talking about (5-6 from the Christian era? Does that include Ring Them Bells and Blind Willie McTell and I am the Man Thomas ? ) (3) Nice arrangement of It's Alright Ma, but I think he left out a good chunk of the song. The modern Dylan masterpiece Not Dark Yet was beautifully sung, but I think it got a little lost in the vastness of the place - it's just too big for that sort of singing, at least back where I was. Ring Them Bells was beautiful, and seemed to get a good response, and I hope Bob continues to play some more recent stuff in the acoustic set, especially if Larry plays pedal steel. Standing in the Doorway! As for Phil & Friends, I thought it was pretty much the opposite of Philly, where I was bored for the first half and then really liked it. Tonight I liked the first half, and then was bored by the second. It was nice to see Lesh come out to play with Bob, but what a poor choice of songs. I was hoping at for West LA Fadeaway, but instead we got Alabama Getaway, an okay but thoroughly inconsequential song, and the ultimate bathroom song, RDW. -- -------------------------------------------------------------- Seth Kulick "The hypnotic splattered mist University of Pennsylvania was slowly lifting" - Bob Dylan email@example.com http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~skulick/home.html
Subject: Another new jersey review From: TB
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 12:05:04 -0800 It was an incredible Bob Show. I had a fantastic up-close seat on the side of the stage, looking down over Charlie Sexton. I arrived when the Dead Show was just about over (because of a previous engagement). Walking through the venue of Dead culture was the usual entertaining experience- what a trip, figuratively and literally. Dirty cold concrete floors, spilled beer and other liquids, (God knows what), litter and dancing in bare feet, of course. How about laying down on that appealing surface. Why not? This was a wonderful show of Bob the Evangelist and some of the finest musicians in the country. They were relaxed and having fun and it showed. Conversely, I was at the July NYC MSG show, and from my 4th row seat there, I could see that the atmosphere was weird, the band was not settled, and something was strained. Not that they weren't great - they were. But this show was relaxed from moment one. I Am The Man, Thomas was great, vocals clear and the song connected. The band was smiling wide and loving their work. The acoustics in this huge arena were absolutely the best. Every note was crystal clear. Bob's voice was real strong, clear and crisp. I've seen Bob several dozen times since the NYC Chilean Benefit way back when in the 70s, so let me tell you, I've heard quite a few iterations and this was the best! Song To Woody was lovely and flowing, what a rare treat! It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), was incredible to hear, an strong acoustic version with the fabulous sting sound of this great band and Bob's "come alive" vocals, with major phrasing as only the master can do. And then Ring Them Bells - what can be said? Every word, every line, heartfelt and wise. Gorgeous strings and steel guitar; the guys in the band just grinning ear to ear. At that point in the show, the concert was already in the history books. Another interesting thing, the band used such differences in volume during the songs in a way that I hadn't seen before in such a large venue. There were times when the volume went to a whisper and they come up to roar. Tangled Up In Blue, I have to confess, is one that I could do without, hearing it a gazillion times. I'm humbly critical of the 90s TUIB for usually being too rushed and the lyrics mumbled. It's an indisputably great song, but beat to death. Well, no more. This was the same basic arrangement, but the lyrics were clear and less rushed, the phrasing was really there, some unpredictable timing that worked. Born again! And then Visions Of Johanna, performed like it was written yesterday. Stunning. The band was looking like they were in their glory, happy and proud, like everything clicked just right on their end, and it sure sounded great. The plug in. Tongue in cheek shouts of "Judas" were out there, of course. And what is this? "Bad to the Bone" - I think. You had to be there. The Blues, in all their glory, loud and louder were here. Hootchie Cootchie Man rocked, what a performance. Inspired!!! Then back down to spiritual business and blues with a careful, deliberate and heartfelt Blind Willie McTell. Time was taken to slow the tempo down when needed, so not to rush anything, and then rock out like no one else can do. And Tombstone Blues, I don't have any idea when this was done last, but it rocked and rolled and was fun. Larry was beside himself smiling, Charlie and Tony were having a visibly great time. What a show! Oops, then Joey. It was a nice try, and it sounded great. But poor Joey Gallo was blew up in a clam bar, long before his time. He was spared the kidnapping and all those years in prison, and didn't have to find a way to the life he never had a chance to leave behind, his early demise cut his life short. But it was a great funeral, anyway! Not Dark Yet was a showstopper. Soft and clear, and powerful and moving. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat was a full blow hooter. Back to the loud and bluesy blues. The place was on their feet, and some twirling. The a break and Like A Rolling Stone came alive and Bob was there, not just on auto-pilot. A then a beautiful It Ain't Me, Babe. Then a rocking Alabama Getaway. Another fun rocker and then a huddle. What's this, looked like an unplanned addition. I would have to think that since the night was so magic, they just want to have some more fun and went to RDW. Now thats another fast forward for me, normally, but again, last night was special. This song became alive, what a rocker! It just took of and you'd think the band just won a contest, to see how much fun they were having. Bob laughing, having long conversations with Charlie. Tony and Larry and Phil smiling and talking to each other and lots of improvisation. I think Bob even introduced a new verse, "Stone you when you try to come back" was the first part, I didn't get the rest. But this was real late in the song. Followed by a beautiful Blowin' In The Wind with tremendous harmony by Charlie and Larry. Bob sang it like he meant every word, this song and all the songs tonight. Bob is on a mission. Wrapped it up with a Not Fade Away, rockin' blues, Larry and Charlie singing loud and strong. A wonderful end to this great "club" show. That's what it felt like all night, an intimate evening with our spiritual director.
Subject: meadowlands From: Peter Stone Brown
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 15:14:38 -0500 On October 17, 1981, Bob Dylan played his first concert at what was then known as the Brendan Byrne Arena which was close to brand new at the time which the out-going governor of New Jersey in an act that appalled and nauseated just about everybody named after himself. No one called it the Byrne Arena and now at the end of the 20th Century where everything is named after a corporation, it is the Continental Airlines Arena (I believe its second corporate name) which is only slightly better than the Pepsi Arena or the National Car Rental Center which doesn‚t even sound like an arena but a parking lot. I am convinced that in the next century we will soon see cities and third world countries taking on corporate monikers as well and soon the only way anyone will know where they are is by what zip-code or area code which will probably be corporate as well. Either way, that particular arena will always be the Meadowlands to me. The huge Meadowlands sports complex is built on a murky swampy bit of Jersey desolation, a sort of non-place rising out of nothing a bit North of the Mordor flames beneath the Pulaski skyway between Newark and Jersey City and between the more or less upscale North Jersey suburbs on the road that leads to the Lincoln Tunnel. The whole area has long been rumored to be a Mafia burial ground and some people insist that Jimmy Hoffa is part of the Meadowland‚s foundation. Bob Dylan‚s 1981 concert at the Meadowlands was a monumental occasion, and I still consider it and probably always will in the top five Bob Dylan concerts I‚ve seen. A 28-song show that found him fully resurrecting his older songs after two years of doing exclusively „gospelš material. He had one of his greatest and most professional bands featuring the stellar rhythm team of Tim Drummond and Jim Keltner and for the fall leg of the tour, none other than Al Kooper himself on keyboards who was only too happy to revisit his original organ parts on „Like A Rolling Stoneš and „I Want You.š Dylan was animated and in great humor that October night. Starting to introduce the band he said, „I wanna say hello to Mr. & Mrs. Kooper out there tonight. This is uh, their son.š Kooper who was I believe wearing a football or hockey helmet acknowledged the applause. Dylan, wearing his famous Wayfarer shades the entire show had lots more to say: „I‚ve never seen no place like this before,š as 20,000 people cracked up. „I went into the dressing room and my mirror was black.š „There‚s a lot of famous people here tonight. I just want you to know that you may be sitting next to somebody (in his most classic Dylan inflection) famous.š „There‚s a lot of people from Rolling Stone here tonight. After the show, they‚re gonna come backstage and interview me, then I‚m gonna interview *them.* And before „Gambling Man,š which the trio of back-up singers sang, „Isn‚t there a gambling town around here somewhere? What‚s the name of that place? Atlantic City?š But of course it was the music that night that was the most important. Dylan was into singing real high on that tour (the previous June he was into singing real low). Sitting in the farthest corner of the highest balcony, literally a dot on a stage that seemed a mile a way he‚d cut right through you with an achingly beautiful „Girl From The North Country,š and putting such intensity into the bridge on „I Want Youš that every nerve in your body reacted. A slowed-down, spooky solid-rock that could stir Blind Willie Johnson in his grave and a solo till the last verse when the bass and drums kicked in „Times They Are A-Changin‚š that instead of being its original call to arms seemed to summon up everything that had happened in the almost two decades since he wrote it--the war, the assassinations, the hopes and dreams lost, capped by a harmonica solo as eerie and lonesome as he‚s ever played. And so I couldn‚t help but think of that concert long ago as Seth Kulick and I hiked across the parking lot next to Giant Stadium going to what must be around our 30th show together at least. We were sitting in different places but not far apart. Seth with his brother and I was with longtime RMD contributer Arnie and his wife whom we just visited. Arnie‚s been listening to Bob just about as long as I have and he grew up in New York and I grew up outside of New York, and through e-mail we‚ve discovered a shared history of listening not only to Dylan, but listening to same late-night radio shows and the same concerts and being in the same room at the same time and here we were after all this time attending a Dylan show together and I kind of felt like I‚d known him all my life. And again we were sitting in the back of the hall directly opposite the stage though not in the highest balcony pretty much surrounded by morons who talked through Phil Lesh and who talked through Dylan and I couldn‚t figure out why they spent the thirty bucks plus for tickets not to mention another ten to park to go to a show they evidently had no interest in whatsoever since they weren‚t listening and were barely watching and were talking about everything but the music. I just don‚t get it, considering there were probably plenty of people who would have done anything to get a ticket to this show. Bob Dylan‚s second appearance at the Meadowlands seemed to be a summation of this tour where he has pretty much consistently surprised and delighted his fans by pulling out all kinds of songs, not just once a night but several. It could be called the „Anything Can Happenš tour or more accurately the „Holy Shit!š tour because judging by the net that seems to be most people‚s reactions upon seeing the setlists. And so at this show at a place that is fairly centrally located on the East Coast that say people in Washington or in Philly or in New England would not think twice about going to, not to mention all the people in Jersey and New York, at the largest venue on the tour, he really did seem to have his fans in mind. And once again I wondered as have others during this tour particularly is someone keeping an eye on what‚s going on on RMD? Because, at this concert he seemed to be saying, you heard about „Hootchie Coochie Man?š here it is. You heard about „Song to Woodyš and „Ring Them Bells?š Here it is. Of course I could be completely wrong about this and no one will ever know. There is a difference to the acoustic set on this tour. Nothing is being casually thrown out there. Yes, he may forget lines--but I still prefer him messing up to using a teleprompter--he way skip verses (which he‚s been doing for years), but he seems to be treating these songs as something to be cherished. The performances and understated and almost delicate. There is thought behind the singing and the arrangements and not just on Dylan‚s part, but on the part of his excellent musicians, even on the songs where all three guitarists are doing little more than strumming. „Song To Woodyš was so quietly and subtly performed that at first I felt this place is way too big for this to be appreciated. And I had to doubly concentrate having to block out the talkers around me. There was a force and fire to „It‚s Alright Ma,š which started out with just guitars, then the bass than the drums in the best ensemble arrangement I‚ve seen of this song with the borrowed from „Wake Up Little Susieš riff of course being in emphasized, but not in the totally overblown way it was in ‚78. I saw the very first live performance of this song in 1964 and it is one that I always want to hear, one that has great personal meaning for me and one that I consider one of Bob Dylan‚s all-time greatest works. His own „Howlš set to music. He flubbed the lyrics (and laughed) at that first performance in New York City what seems both like centuries ago and yesterday, and he flubbed them last night and I didn‚t care then and I didn‚t care last night. Last night‚s version, the version he did at Meadowlands in ‚81 and that very first version were all great and all for different reasons. And the version last night was not the speedy let me get this over with as fast as possible version that I‚ve seen at other shows. And then the slow steel majestic intro to „Ring Them Bells,š started and I was happy, not only to hear it again, but happy that my friends Arnie and Seth and Dylan and Daniela could hear what I heard in Baltimore. „I‚m in heaven,š Arnie said to me as it ended. And so into „Tangled,š but then another surprise, another acoustic song, „Visions of Johanna,š which worked much better than it did in the number three slot in Baltimore, where perhaps Dylan wasn‚t quite warmed up enough to sing it quite the way he wanted to. And then „Hootchie Cootchie Man,š written by Willie Dixon, but as every Chicago blues fan knows, Muddy Waters‚ signature song. And the band was tough with Charlie Sexton obviously into it and lovingly showing that he‚s undoubtedly spent countless hours listening to and mastering the sound of who knows how many great Chicago blues guitarists and Dylan did Muddy proud, singing it straight, singing it true, lining out those images that stretch from the Delta all the way up Highway 61 to Chicago, that poetry of the blues, as musicologist Sam Charters once called it. The only thing that might‚ve taken it higher was if Dylan had played the harp, and while the last thing I would every try to do is guess what goes on in Bob Dylan‚s mind, maybe he just felt (he is a musician after all) that he could never do Little Walter justice (even though he came fairly close to getting the Little Walter sound in a few fleeting moments at the end of „Are You Ready.š And then even deeper into the blues, all the way down to Georgia for „Blind Willie McTell,š one of his most remarkable songs. At once, a tribute to that remarkable blues singer, but at the same time a history of the South and a history of the world, all the way from New Orleans to Jerusalem indeed. And I thought of Seth a few sections away finally after two years of trying and missing seeing this song at last and next to me Arnie just couldn‚t believe it was happening. And then, even more blues. „Tombstone Blues,š with Sexton again stepping out, raw mean and nasty, Dylan‚s own „Hootchie Cootchie Manš updated with John the Conqueroo updated becoming a dreamlike John the Baptist talking to the Commander-in Chief, where the delta has been replaced by the old folks home and the college. And hearing it, I remembered way back when Highway 61 Revisited was still pretty new and Muddy and Wolf and Little Walter were also on the turntable, listening to that song in some long lost NYC apartment and a friend of mine saying in reference to the Chicago guys, that stuff is great, but this („Tombstone Bluesš) that‚s our blues. From there it was into a shortened version of „Joeyš a New York City song if ever there was one. No, not one of his greatest though one of his most controversial. Maybe he had the rumors of who‚s supposed to be underneath the Meadowlands in mind. At one point he totally spaced on the lyrics. It didn‚t matter. And yet another blues capped the night, a joyous rocking „Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat.š The encores were, well.... the encores. Phil Lesh came out for „Alabama Getaway,š (time to hit the bathroom) followed by „Rainy Day Women,š (I though to myself two parking-lot songs in a row) and the last was the only song all night where the talkers finally shut up and yet they came back for „Blowin‚š and „Not Fade Away.š And the houselights went down and stayed down for a long time and we wondered whether he would actually come back, but it was almost midnight and he‚d played for two hours. And so, did this match that previous time at the Meadowlands 18 years ago? It doesn‚t matter. It‚s another time and in a way another place. Will this show stay in my mind for almost two decades the way that concert did? I have no idea. I do know this much: Bob Dylan was being very generous to his fans last night. -- "Where the angels' voices whisper to the souls of previous times." --Bob Dylan Peter Stone Brown e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.tangible-music.com/peterstonebrown/
Subject: 11/13/99 Review From: A1pump
Date: 14 Nov 1999 19:08:00 GMT Around 5:00 my doorbell rang and I greeted Peter Stone Brown and Seth Kulick. Yes the chicken men drove in from Philly last night. Some coffee, good conversation, pizza, a side trip to drop my daughter off at my mother's and on to the Meadowlands (Continental Arena). Got there about 5 minutes into Lesh's first song. I liked his covers of Get Together and Dear Mr. Fantasy the most. Excellent guitarists ( Warren Haynes should not be overlooked ) and musicians. Although the jams went on much too long and were too repetative for my taste, they seemed tighter and more focused and stayed on course more than some of the endless meandering that casual Dead fans like myself have sometimes been exposed to. It was not my thing and I found myself wishing it would end already, but I must say that most of the audience seemed to really enjoy it. At 9:47 Dylan walked out and the show I came to see started. Opened with I am the Man Thomas followed by a beautiful Song To Woody and it was clear that he and the band were on tonight. Two songs into it and already two songs that I had never seen him do live ( yes I've heard tapes etc. ). He continued this acoustic opening set with It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding, which I haven't seen him do live in quite some time, and is a song i never tire of. Then I heard the opening of Ring Them Bells for my first genuine gasp of the evening ( Song To Woody came real close and was thrilling also. I can't compare any of these songs to the way he did them at other shows on this Dylan/Lesh tour but I thought Ring Them Bells was beautiful and chilling and knew already at this point that this was going to be one of the greatest concerts I ever saw. Special credit to Larry Campbell for his steel guitar on Ring Them Bells. I thought I would miss the mandolin, but this was followed by a wonderful Tangled Up In Blue. Music was fantastic and really got those Deadheads dancing. It was like Bob read the post I never sent which would have asked for him to sing the variation of while his mind was slipping away and most importantly the verse with our fabled 13th century poet. I also would have requested Visions of Johanna which I love and have never heard live. I had mentionten this to Peter and when the notes opening the last song of the acoustic set began and Peter leaned over and said Johanna, I was so happy I wanted to kiss someone. But since Peter was on one side of me and my wife was sitting on the other, I thought better of it. Awesome verion of Visions and I didn't notice any missing verses. I was in Heaven. I think opening the show with ain't it just like the night to play tricks when you're trying to be so quiet but i will take it anywhere in the setlist anytime. Already feeling this concert was transcendent. The electric set began, and as if to answer the thread on the greatest white blues singer (a ridiculous category) Bob did Hootchie Coochie Man, Blind willie McTell and Tombstone Blues. It was , well electic. Though I thought the openiing notes were King Bee. Hootcie Coochie Man was great and included two great leads, Sexton followed by Campbell. They really shined. The singing and playing on Blind Willie was exquisite and went right through you, as to be expected. This is another song I could never tire of. Tombstone Blues was great and gave Sexton another chance to shine, but his lead solo was followed by one of Dylan's that was so good I had to check with Peter to make sure it was Dylan. This was followed by Joey. It was a great version that I really enjoyed. After 11/98 at the Garden and last night, I now see it as one of those quintessential New York songs, just like Tom Thumb's blues. Not Dark Yet was next and Dylan really nailed it. Perfect! Again, I thought I was in heaven. Band intros followed and Dylan introduced David Kemper as the only drummer that never lies except in bed. He dedicated this joke to Tumulty ( I may have hallucinated that part ), his #1 joke fan. He ripped into Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat, a song I never really liked on record but always seem to love live. The band was unreally with Campbell on steel and sexton soaring. The joint was jumping. They walked off to much applause. Like A Rolling Stone was the first encore and probalbly the best verion I've heard since 1974. It was nice to see the Deadhead couples hugging and swaying to this. LARS was followed by a great acoustic Ain't Me Babe complete with harp. Lesh joined them For Alabama Getaway and Rainy Day Women which electrified the crowd and was something that evryone seemed to enjoy. They walked off and then Bob and the band came back for an absolutely beautiful acoustic Blowin In The Wind. They walked off and though I was surprised thay hadn't done Not Fade Away, I thought that might be it. Third encore and of course NFA, sans Lesh. Again the whole crowd enjoyed and was a perfect ending. They walked off at 11:53 and at 2 hours six minutes this was the longest Dylan concert i've seen in many years. A few words in general. I know I've said before (about other concerts ) that this was the best I've seen him since 1975, but is it my fault that the man keeps getting bettter and better? I loved Bucky Baxter and thought I would really miss him but this is the best band Dylan's had since The Band. Campbell, Sexton, Kemper and Garnier complement Dylan perfectly, are great musicians who fit perfectly with all of Dylan's various styles and like The Band, bring out the best in Dylan. To me this was Dylan's answer to the dream setlist and to say it was predictable is absurd. If I hadn't been reading the setlists on rmd this last week or so, I would have gone into shock. This was a Dylan's fan show. Peter said it was like the best of the last week. My wife, a more casual fan thought he was better at the Garden with Van Morrison. I thought it was transcendent. Tho I havew cut down my trading drastically recently if anyone has this or any show from the last week or so, GROVEL GROVEL Grovel ( sorry for the shouting, I got excited ).
Subject: 11/13/99: Confessions From: Murcura
Date: 14 Nov 1999 23:12:21 GMT I'm just not a big fan of live music. There, I've said it. Oh, sure, I've gone to my share of concerts, and I've enjoyed many of them, but I've never experienced the trancendence that others have spoken of, where the artist-as-prophet leads his rapt followers to the Promised Land of musical bliss. Actually, I should say I've never experienced this *in person*; there are a number of live recordings which for me are magical: "Tomorrow Is A Long Time" from GH2, "Visions Of Johanna" from Free Trade Hall, "Desolation Row" from Unplugged, and many others. I listen to the early Sixties live recordings of Bob, and I marvel at the attentiveness of the crowds, sitting stone- silent, hanging on every word, until they burst into awed, seemingly spontaneous applause at the end of each song. I wish I could have seen a concert in that atmosphere, but I know it probably is impossible today. This will probably get me labeled as some kind of uptight "Mr. Jones" -- perhaps correctly -- but I simply don't like the "culture" that surrounds the concertgoing experience of the 1980's and '90s. I'm not talking about the casual pot smoking and drinking; I indulge in neither, but these things go hand-in-hand with rock and I can live with them. No, I mean the increased ratio of idiots to fans, the folks who see slow songs (or anything unrecognizable) as their cue to talk -- or worse, shout for somthing more "rockin'." Those who go to a concert just to party, or because it's just somthing to do on a Saturday night. This, combined with poor sound, bored or perfunctory performances, and the fact that I have never once had a decent seat have made me a bit dismissive of the whole concert experience. That said, I have of course been following Bob's five-year renaissance very closely. I thought his Woodstock appearance marked a return to serious, thoughtful performing; others would point to the Supper Club shows. I saw him for the first time since 1986 at William Paterson in April 1997. The tiny venue made it unprecedentedly intimate (for me), and the show was good -- good enough for me to want more, which I got in January 1998 at the MSG Theatre. Excellent show with Van the Man, and I truly enjoyed it. Still, when he came back to MSG this past July, I wasn't compelled to go. As I said before -- and forget the reasons *why* -- I just don't have that internal drive to go see a live performance. It's not there. So when tickets went on sale for 11/13/99 at the Meadowlands I pursued them with less enthusiasm than probably everyone else here. I figured I would take one last stab at getting really good seats, and I'd take my sister, who I'd turned on to Bob and who I'd turned down in July for MSG. I stupidly didn't take advantage of the advance sales through bobdylan.com, and despite being tenth on line, I got Section 237. I immediately thought, "Well, there's 70 bucks down the tubes." I put the tickets under a magnet on the fridge and didn't give them another thought until yesterday. If you've read this far -- first of all, congratulations -- you're probably expecting me to sing hosannas about last night's show, and I won't let you down. I was hopeful after reading about the suddenly fluid setlists, and I knew full well that Bob has been singing great and the band is top-notch. I went in expecting a good show, as long as the seats weren't *too* bad and the sound wasn't *too* muddy. I figured I'd get at least one surprise in the setlist that I could take home with me. Well, how about FIVE knock-me-over-with-a-feather shocks? And I'm not even counting "Hootchie Cootchie Man," "Tombstone Blues," or the two mindbending harp solos! To have asked for "Visions Of Johanna," "Blind Willie McTell," and "Not Dark Yet" in the same show would normally be considered foolhardy, but there they were. No, wait: They weren't just "there", they were incredible! Definitive! Not to mention "Song For Woody" and "Ring Them Bells"! Bob's singing was so controlled, so perfect, so mesmerizing, that I almost can't comprehend it. The band was so perfect, so in tune with what Bob was doing. Kemper and Sexton have truly improved on what I already thought was Bob's best band since, well, The Band. And for once the sound at the arena was not merely acceptable, not even good, but excellent, with every tiny detail miraculously audible through the din. Even the "rockin'" songs sounded clear and true. The only "perfunctory" moment in the main show, "Tangled Up In Blue," was redeemed by some great harmonica playing. Although I wouldn't mind never hearing "Joey" again for the rest of my life, I certainly won't begrudge Bob's playing a song he really seems to like. The covers were all great and not used as filler. Even the old warhorses ("Pill-Box Hat," "It's Alright Ma," "It Ain't Me, Babe") were invigorated by sharp performances and great phrasing. I never thought "Rolling Stone" could ever again sound as vital as it did last night -- someone here has already said it was the best live performance of this song since 1974! "Blowin' In The Wind" has become almost a cliche, but the beautiful new arrangement used last night made it fresh once again. What else? Oh, the leads were stinging and unpredictable, often counter-balanced by Larry's bluegrass-y fingerpicking. A few times I was sure Bob was playing a solo, but I didn't think he could play *that* well! Lastly, back to my lament about noisy, disrespectful crowds: Last night's crowd mostly lived up (or down) to my expectations. The woman next to me -- absolutely plastered -- kept going "Woooooooooooo" at odd, random moments, averaging about 5 per song. Some poor soul, for reasons unknown, almost jumped over the rail of the third tier, nearly taking an usher with him. We were constantly plagued by "squatters" shuffling up and down the aisles, sitting in a vacant seat or on the steps until shooed away by Security. That said, there was a moment, during the long, weird harp solo at the end of "It Ain't Me Babe" when the building was absolutely silent. I've never heard an arena crowd so quiet. It was eery. Thank you, Bob. ***************************** Sean Murdock email@example.com
Subject: East Rutherford Review From: Shawn Pulver
Date: 14 Nov 1999 15:36:03 -0800 Here is a review of last nights shows at Continental Airlines Arena. About an hour before the doors opened top the venue, a line had already formed. The gates opened around 6.30 and I was quick to find myself on the floor (the floor was divided into two sections). Phil came on at 7.30 and played a fairly enjoyable set, but still not my cup of tea. Afer his set, I was quick to give my regular "bobby" chants untill he finally came on stage. I was almost directly under Larry, in a perfect spot to enjoy the show. I am the Man Thomas A pretty fun way to start the show, although I was screaming for Roving Gambler. The sound was good right from the start (at least from where I was standing) Song To Woody Although I had seen this on last night set-list, I was really hopeing Bob would bring this out again. Let's put it this way, this was one of the best Bob performances I've ever heard. The arrangement was very slow and you could tell that it was well rehearsed. I couldn't help but think of the significance of Bob playing this song in New Jersey - where he first met Woody in the hospital. The connection of him playing the song here is just a thought. Anyways, it was great. Its Alright Yes!! I was unclear initially what it was, but after a few seconds I was sure about what he was playing. An awesome performance which seemed to be well enjoyed by the crowd. The start/stop arrangment was very effective, as was Larry's finger-picking intro. Ring Them Bells After Its Alright, I was screaming at the top of my lungs for Ring Them Bells. It might have been a coincidence that he played it (or maybe he was responding to my request). Either way, he played it. A long steel intro by Larry and a performance that made for the perfect follow up to both Song to Woddy and Alright Ma. I noticed that there was allot of band discussions between almost every song, which continued through-out the course of the show. Since I did not see the cue sheet, I can't comment if Bob was mixing it up as he went. Tangled Fairly average performance (but how could he keep things at the same level of the previous three songs?) It did, however, feature a great closing harp-solo. Visions I have a few witnesses who were next to me and heard me screaming for Visions after Tangled's conclusion. As was the case with Ring Them Bells, it might have been another coincidence. The band appeared to be switching to electric, when Bob decided to play another acoustic tune. Either way, he played what I asked for and I was very happy. An excellent performance, which I think might have been slightly improved with the presence of steel guitar. Hootchie Coochie Man A fun song, which I must admit am not very familiar with. Bob was in to it, to be sure Joey Seemed slower than he's played it in previous years (Ie in Ne York last year he even commented at the end that "that was too fast.) He missed many verses from the middle of the song (but that can be expted considering the length of the tune) Tombstone Charlie was playing lead and it really rocked to say the least. Not Dark Yet Nice version, although things seemed a little anti-climatic after the acoustic set. Leopard Skin The usual hysteria. Someone threw some Leopard Skin hats on the stage, and Charlie seemed to get a kick out of it. Beats Hwy61 any day. The encores were pretty standard for this tour (expect for Alabama Getaway with Lesh) but I didn't care after hearing the first part of the show. Everything else was just a bonus. Me Babe in particular featured an outstanding harp solo. After Fade Away, Larry was nice enough to give me his guitar pick. He came right to the front of the stage and handed it to me. A great way to end one of the greatest Bob shows that I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Thanks for reading, Shawn.
Subject: Re: 11/13/99: Confessions From: Murcura
Date: 15 Nov 1999 06:28:04 GMT Just a couple of addendums to my rather long-winded lament/review: 1) I'm rarely moved to spontaneous exclamations during a concert, but I found myself muttering "Oh my God" at least a dozen times last night, particularly during "Johanna" and "Blind Willie." Bob was so in command of his phrasing, and his choices were so perfect, it was awe-inspiring. 2) I mentioned the silence during the "It Ain't Me" harp solo, but I didn't really do it credit. When he turned around to grab his harmonica and started blowing, it seemed like he didn't know what to play -- or worse, had forgotten how to play the thing at all. But he found the band again after a couple of bars and launched into a looooong, shape-shifting solo. I don't know how long it was exactly, but when it ended I said to my sister, "That was like a whole separate song!" 3) For those keeping track, Bob told another joke. When introducing David Kemper, he said he was "the only drummer who never lies, except when he's in bed." Has he ever had this much *fun* performing? The jokes, the twitchy little dances, "Joey" for God's sake? It's great to see. Someday I'll talk to my son (18 mos. old) about November 1999 the way some have told their children about May 1966, or 74, or 81, or ..... to be continued. ***************************** Sean Murdock firstname.lastname@example.org