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Bob Dylan 2000.07.03 in Albuquerque, NM

Mesa Del Sol Amphitheater, 5601 University Blvd. SE.
Capacity: 7000

Subject: Albuquerque Review (Bob Speaks)
From: Tatmot 
Date: 04 Jul 2000 17:07:18 GMT

The chance to meet Bob fell through.  More on that when I figure
out exactly why and how.  I don't know whether it was "Bob's
People" or something on our end.  I knew it was too good to be
true, so on to this incredible show!

We arrived early even though we had good seats, and I'm glad we
did.  They opened the gates for the cars at about 5:00, and we
parked and headed for the walk-in gates.  Mesa Del Sol is a brand
new amphitheatre with state of the art sound, and that sound is
still excellent when you are standing in line.  They wouldn't let
us in while because the sound check was in progress, and I heard
an outstanding "Somebody Touched Me" while waiting.  Amazing
vocal.  I knew we were in for something special.

I went to the show anticipating some of the songs that are on the
recent set lists that I haven't heard live (or at all, for that
matter) like Rank Strangers, Somebody Touched Me, Long black
Veil, etc.  It turns out that Heike's right.  On a night like
this, the set list is practically inconsequential.  The list
seemed to have more of a "greatest hits" quality to it than some
of his most recent shows, but Bob is more comfortable singing
these songs than he has been since before the Slow Train Comin'
tour.  Nothing sounded obligatory; not even LARS.

The opener surprised me; I had it down to about four songs and
didn't expect Elizabeth Cotton's "Oh, Babe, It Ain't No Lie". 
Bob came out in his black suit with the stripe down the legs, a
blue shirt, a white tie and (what IS that footwear? 
Rattlesnake?) black and white boots.  Where did this powerful
voice come from?  The only version I had heard of this song was
from the performance page of, and this was a much
tighter band and a rejuvenated Bob. Then came "Stone Walls and
Steel Bars" and again I'm struck by how tight the band is and how
I can hear and understand every word of Bob's uniquely phrased

Then the stunner of the evening came along.  I couldn't have
prepared myself for such a moving rendition of "Masters Of War." 
This is the first time that the audience took their seats, and
the deadheads even stopped dancing.  Bob delivered this one like
he just wrote it yesterday; it was that fresh and he sounded
inspired in singing it.  I can't explain it, but I was weeping by
the time he finished singing.  Again, the band hasn't missed a
lick and Charlie's Dobro added a lot.

I was recovering during "Love Minus Zero" but his phrasing here
gave me chills anyway -- "no success like FALE - yerrrrrrrrr" --
and I finally came down from Masters during the reworked and
totally enjoyable "Taaaaaaannnnnnngled Up In Blue."  Bob played
with the lyrics and the pronouns here but it would take a much
sharper mind than mine to keep up with them all and report them
back to you.  Sorry.  The last number in the acoustic set was
"Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" and I was delighted to see
Bob pull out the harp this early in the show.  He played a jaunty
version of the familiar chorus on the harp, leaning and dancing
one way and then the other from line to line.  Very animated.

The electric set opened with Country Pie, as expected.  Not a
favorite of mine, but delightful phrasing again.  I thought at
this point we might steamroll through a few numbers, but got
goosebumps instead over a totally unexpected, "If Not for You",
"Down in the Flood" and then "She Belongs to Me". Someone posted
in an earlier review that the band seemed more adept at backing
off for Bob's vocals to shine through, and that was proven to me
in these three songs.  I would say, though, that if there was a
moment where the instrumentation was less than perfect, it was in
"If Not For You".  I think Bob lost his place on the guitar for a
few seconds.

Then, BOB SPEAKS!  I think I have this word for word.  Bob comes
to the edge of the stage and announces, "I'd like to say hi to
the president of our territorial fan club down here, Miss Linda
Lou."  Then he can't find her down front.  Security has been
sending people back to their assigned seats all night.  Bob
continues:  "Looks like somebody hustled her away.  I wish she'd
come back!"  (Big smile).

The band rocked the house with "Drifter's Escape" which I would
have never imagined would be such a burning rocker -- what a
transformation -- before cementing their position as a great rock
band with a burning "Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat."  After the song,
the boys stood, expressionless, facing the audience for about a
minute before leaving the stage.  Then Larry left first, followed
by Bob and the rest of the band.

The first encore consisted of four songs, "Most Likely You'll Go
Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)".  Again, the kind of phrasing that
just tickles your spine.  A very professional "Like A Rolling
Stone".  Bob got out an acoustic guitar and they went for "Mr.
Tambourine Man" and I would not have expected this song could
move me after all these years, but Bob almost whispers it,
enunciating beautifully in what turned out to be a highlight of
the evening.  Then a rocking "Highway Siiiiiiixxxxxty-one" and
again the band faces the audience for a minute, Bob
expressionless, but grins all around from the rest of the band.
Larry exits.  Everybody follows.  I think it might be over, but
we try.

The boys return!  We get an acoustic "Blowin' in the Wind" with
some excellent harmonies.  This morning I contacted a few casual
former Dylan fans who I badgered into going to the show and they
ALL were moved to tears by this point in the show as floods of
memories from their younger days and old friends filled their
hearts.  This is probably a better way to judge a show (and Bob's
power as an artist) than by those of us who still follow his
every move. Absolutely Heartwarming.

I like Phil Lesh.  I really do.  There is no way, however, that
he could follow Bob on this night.  Even the deadheads stayed on
their feet throughout Bob's set after Masters, but twenty minutes
into Phil's first jam and most of them were seated and chatting
amiably with each other waiting for something credible to happen
onstage.  It did, after about 45 minutes we were treated to a
marvelous rendition of the old Traffic standard, "The Low Spark
Of High-Heeled Boys" but it wasn't really worth the wait.

	A night to remember.  Thanks, Bob.         

"I've paid the price of solitude, but at least I'm out of debt."


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