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Bob Dylan 2000.07.09 in Noblesville, IN

Deer Creek Music Center, 12880 East 146th St.
Capacity: 24,118

Subject: review of July 9 Noblesville, Indiana -concert/experiences/ impressions
From: Martin Abela
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 00:18:31 GMT

    The final show of my weekend Bob roadtrip was at Deer Creek music
centre in Noblesville, Indian, just outside of Indianapolis.
Savvy local promoters booked the Dylan/Lesh show the night before
the start of a three night stand by Phish.

   The result was a huge gathering of young Dead-heads.  Farms around
the amphitheatre were charging $25 for camping, and filling their
fields with tents.  Young tie-died fans were walking the country
road into Deer Creek, forcing drivers to be extra alert.

   In the parking area before the show, the dead-head contingent
converged on the area close to the fence by the entrance,
forming a makeshift "Shakedown Street".  Vendors set up outside
their cars, or simply on coolers selling various wares.
Premium beer such as Newcastle Brown Ale,  Sid Smith's,
Guinness or even Moosehead could be purchased for
$2 a bottle.  Glass pipes ranging from thumb-sized to
arm-sized were offered for sale, and occasionally in use.
    I overheard one shirtless young man say quietly several
times tha was looking for "Guido - anybody know where
I can find Guido".  I suspect this was ryhming slang for
what he was really looking for.

   Those with munchies could purchase wraps, falafel, pizzas,
or grilled-cheese sandwiches.  More adventurous souls could pick
up "goo-balls", or "potent ganjha cookies" for $3 a pop.
The vendors were also part performers, with cries of
"get it here, ya know ya want it", or "buy it now,
you know you're gonna be hungry later".

   The carnival atmosphere outside was a good preview of
the mood inside the amphitheatre.  Shortly after the announced
start time of 7pm, I sat in my assigned seat in row L off to
the side long enough to see that there were plenty of empty seats up
front. I saw some familiar faces, so I casually moved up,
and sat near the centre four rows from the front.

   People in the first three rows had moved up in front of
the rail, including Edwin, with whom I have been travelling.

   I did notice that security was asking some people for tickets and
sending them back so I was careful.  Bob and the band came out
just after the  "..please welcome.." intro, and started into
Duncan and Brady, which I had never heard before. Sounds like
a great song, with nice harmonies.

   However, I could not listen carefully, since the seats around
me were filling up.  One security attendant brought ticket
holders to the seat I was visiting. I got up and smiled at
him as I made room for the people he was escorting. He
smiled back, which I took for a good sign.  I slipped behind
him, and casually walked up to the front.  The first three rows
were still empty but those seated there were invited to stand at
the rail.  I found a spot right in the centre, and stood behind
a couple of enthusiastic fans.  I expected a tap on the shoulder,
but none came, so I was set with a prime location for the rest
of Bob's show.

   Edwin and I had been hoping for a more varied set list than
the two  previous nights, and we were not disappointed.
For the second song, Bob started into Song to Woody.
"Hello Woody Guthrie, I wrote you this song".. prompted shivers
for me, and great applause from the audience.  Bob's vocals
were perfect, as he sang a careful, sombre version.
It was beautiful, and very moving.  Amazingly, this
song is almost forty years old - older than most
of the people in the audience tonight!

   I had been hoping for Visions of Johanna in the third spot,
since it occasionally shows up there, but as he has all
weekend, Bob played Desolation Row.  He is putting more
effort into this song - enunciating the lyrics carefully,
and accentuating them with varied facial expressions.
Edwin, who has heard this song many times, believes the
versions we heard this weekend are among Bob's best.

   Bob really showed off in Tangled Up In Blue.  He
took advantage of this set-list regular to show off his
guitar work, playing lead, and really hamming it up
on the solos.  As he played, he would bend his knees
smile, and knock his knees together a few times, to
cheers from the crowd.

    He laid his guitar on the floor and picked up
the harmonica for TUIB.  His harmonica playing was
demonstrative, with one arm extended, holding the
looped microphone cord, and the other hand holding
the harmonica up to his face, knees bent, and
moving along with the music.  The audience loved it!

    The serious Searching For A Soldier's Grave was
next.  This song quiets the crowd, since it
deserves careful listening, not dancing. Good thing,
since the I needed a rest after TUIB.  It is a
pleasure to watch Bob sing this, since he clearly
takes it so seriously.

   Country Pie has become the standard opener for
the electric portion of the set. With good reason,
I suppose, since the simple, buoyant lyrics contrast
nicely with "Soldier's Grave". "Love that Country Pie!"

   The wicked electric guitar picking from Charlie
Sexton really got people moving. The group of us
in the front were having a lot of fun, dancing and some
even singing along.

    The joyous atmosphere by the rail added to my
enjoyment of the concert greatly.  Women dancing
seductively, with all their attention focused on
Bob.  Edwin, moving and pointing at him.  Christine,
over on Bob's left, with a beautiful grin on her face
most of the time.  Bob returned all this attention with
eye contact, moving along the row, occasionally nodding
or winking at one person or another.  He really
plays off the reaction of the crowd. Being enthusiastic
at the rail does result in a better show from Bob.

    At previous shows, I have seen Bob stare with a grim
look on his face at security people sending dancers
back to their seats. My impression is that he wants to
see people up front dancing, enjoying the music, and
having a good time.

    Next up was another surprise, Positively Fourth Street.
Bob took less care with the lyrics here, occasionally
slurring, or chopping the words out.  He sang this
song rather quietly, with less bitterness than the
original single.

    Since Bob had been making eye contact with
those of us in the front, I wondered if he would
be staring into someone's eyes as he sang the classic
cynical line "what a drag it is to see you".  However,
his eyes were averted, staring down as he sang this line.
Very considerate of him, I think.

    Bob put more enthusiasm into the next song,
Maggie's Farm.  A big hit with the crowd, Bob
reacted by moving a lot as he played. The
repetitive "I ain't gonna...." lines were accompanied
by varied facial expressions.

   After "Maggie's", Bob made a comment (not sure of the
exact word's) about a couple of friend's being here,
since they are playing in town. I understand he was talking
about members of Asleep at the Wheel, who were standing
just off stage. However, they did not come out and

   The highlight of the night was Drifter's Escape.
Bob goes all out on this powerful performance. Each
line of the song, delivered loud and aggressively by
Bob, is alternated with an equally aggressive, wailing
guitar line from Charlie.  When Bob picks
up the harmonica, the same pattern is there.
A harmonica line, alternated with Charlie Sexton's fine
guitar work.  A classic - I hope this is still on
the set list next week when Bob makes it up to Toronto.

     When Bob introduces the band, he has been making
the habit of including a joke at the expense of his
drummer, David Kemper.  Tonight it was
(paraphrasing again - may have the detail wrong):
  "David went to a restaurant today, and asked them
if they served crabs. They said 'sit down right there, we
serve anybody'!"  The punch line was accompanied by
Bob opening his eyes wide, mugging like a vaudeville
comedian.   Can't wait for that HBO special!

   While singing the next song, Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat,
Bob was pointing and smiling towards someone down to his
right. Not sure who, but there was an attractive blonde
woman down that way. Bob seems to have a way with the

      After "Leopard-Skin", Bob and the band stood at
attention, and watch while we cheered and applauded.
Larry Campbell moved first, stepped behind the group,
and headed back stage. The others followed.

    When they came back out for the encore, they opened
with Bob's most recent single (until the fall... right??)
Things Have Changed.   Good response - a lot of people
have heard this, even though it did not even come
close to the top twenty.

    Like A Rolling Stone was played with enthusiasm.
A great crowd pleaser. I glanced back, and I could see
people standing and dancing a long way back, even up
on the grass.  A lot of people know this song, and
love it.

      The sole acoustic song in the encore was
"Girl Of the North Country". Perhaps Bob is dusting
it off for his one Canadian stop on the tour next
week.  A nice song, performed well.

     Joanne, a young enthusiastic Bob fan who had been
dancing next to me, confided that she hoped to hear
her namesake song, Visions of Johanna.  I told her
I love that song, and wanted to hear it too.
I suggested that we would be disappointed, and that
Bob will play Highway 61. About ten seconds later,
Bob wailed out that classic biblical reference "God said to
Abraham, kill me your son".

     I made a believer out of Joanne. She was thrilled
that I called it correctly. She wailed, pointed at me with
both arms as she danced, and then high-fived
me a few times.  I did not have the heart to tell her
that Bob played it all weekend, and the previous night
in the same slot. So I was not exactly Nostradamus, but
I am not above trying to impress a pretty girl. Well, all
in good fun anyway!

    Although he plays Highway 61 a lot, I never tire of
hearing it.  It is a classic song, and Bob puts a lot into
it.  Since it is the last song of the night, I do not hesitate
to expend all available energy and dance all-out to it.
Perhaps Bob noticed - I did the same thing  at Bonner
Springs, and Sandstone, along with tonight.  Whether or
not he did, I sure had a good time.

     That was the end of a great night.  Comfortable warm
weather (unlike the oppresive heat of Bonner Springs),
occasional cool breezes, and an enthusiastic group of
people in front of the rail made for a good time.

     Bob put on a great show for us, maybe
the best of the 17 times I have seen him.  Perhaps he
can top this when I see him next in Toronto. We shall

Martin Abela
On the road on I-70 between Brazil, Indiana
and Wood River, Illinois
Monday July 10, 2000

-Martin Abela
                  "And she takes your voice
                   And leaves you howling at the moon"

Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 01:53:44 -0700 To: From: Mark Rothfuss Subject: Review of 7/9/00 Noblesville Indiana It only took 3 hours to drive to Noblesville, but it took an hour and a half to get into Deer Creek. When will I ever learn? For some insane reason, there is only one entrance into this large venue and traffic backs up for 10 miles starting at about an hour before the show until about an hour into the show. I mean "no movement at all" traffic. Same thing happened to me during the Dylan/Simon tour last september. I was so extra excited about this show in light of the previous shows on this tour, that this delay cast an unfortunate black cloud over my whole evening. I missed both Duncan and Brady, and Song To Woody (which I was dying to hear in person). And I only caught the second half of Desolation Row. So please keep in mind that my review may be a little biased. Under different circumstances this could have been a real keeper. However, it was reduced to an average show at best for me. Baby Blue...time to put this one on the shelf. He seems to play it at 90% of the shows I've seen (last night was show 31). Its slow, aimless, and for the most part tossed off in rehearsal like fashion. TUIB...good---turns to great when Bob breaks out the harp. Ragged and dirty. The closing harmonica solo helps me to shake off some of my early disappointment. Not an epic performance, but pretty damn good. Searching for a Soldiers Grave...this was my first time hearing this one, and while the soft spoken words were lost in the giant black void of this massive outdoor venue, the vocals and instrumentation sounded sweet from where I sat. I look forward to hearing it again on disc. He should probably save this one for more intimate venues with less neo-hippies. Country pie...good timin' fun. Loved the guitar interplay and the "Ahhhh me, ooohhhh my". Bob dressed in black suit, red tie, and white shoes boogied like it was 1955. He seemed in high spirits tonight. Yet I was still feelin' pretty down. Positively 4th with Baby Blue, I find the arrangement to be a little to formless. These two songs always struck me as angry, passionate songs. Under the current treatment they sound limp. Anyway, as soon as I heard the opening chords I was looking at my watch wishing he would just wrap it up and move onto the next song. The audience was politely appreciative. Maggies Farm....formless---errrr, but in a good way. Loose and rockin'! The opening riff sounds a lot like the infamous Newport "electric" version. He was all over the map on the lyrics, but the band was money lovin' on the sound. Not memorable, but certainly an enjoyable performance. I dont believe you....almost enough to lift me out of my rut. I've been seeing this one a lot lately and Im not complaining. His phrasing was good, the guitars were good, it was all pretty good. Just not great. I guess Im a little jaded having seen some real knock out versions. Drifters Escape...WHOA! What the hell was that?!! INCREDIBLE. Sheer ecstacy. Ive heard all about this version and can attest that it is simply amazing. Suddenly I felt like the whole botched trip was worth it. It was very different from anything else he does. It gave me a feeling just like the first time I ever heard Bob. He is by far the greatest performer of our time and halfway through a song like this you know it. I mean you KNOW it! Bob toyed with the words. He manipulated the crowd. He played the nastiest harmonica break of his career. It was fantastic! In fact, I dare say God-like. And fortunately I just got some cd-rs today which include the current arrangement. Its all ive listened to. Pillbox hat...a slight let down after the glory of DE. But nonetheless it got the job done. It was thumping, bumping, barn-burning blues. Hippy dips and baby boomers danced alike. Things Have changed....a personal first for me. Also, my current favorite Bob song. Ive heard many versions and in comparision tonight's was a bit sloppy. But for those people not in the trading mix Im sure it was great. Everybody seemed to recognize it...or at least appreciate it. That alone made me kinda happy. LARS...pretty good rendering. He seemed to give it a fair degree of attention. I know the crowd loved it. As always the house lights were used to great affect. Girl of the north country...vocals and instruments were turned down WAY TOO low. I had to strain my ears just to hear his voice. Maybe its the outdoor wind, or my seating position, but low sound levels were a problem for me all night. Its hard to really get into a show if the sound isnt shaking your body and ringing your ears. Or at One interesting note on this song though. Bob seemed to give David Kemper a very dirty glare when the drums started going into boogie mode as Bob was just stepping up to begin a new verse. The error was quickly ameliorated. It could have been my imagination. I'll have to hear the cd. HWY 61...was HWY 61. Rip-roaring fun. Nice guitar breaks and surprisingly articulate vocals. I only got 13 out of 16 songs. And the three I missed are some personal favorites. If only Phil was opening like he should have been it all would have been avoided. Blah, blah, blah. Enough complaining. The fact is I got yet another chance to see Dylan and that is something I will never take for granted. He is the master. I could have shown up during HWY 61 and still been better off than having not seen him at all. But lucky for me I have Cincinnati tickets. Im sure that review will be from a far more satisfied perspective. Maybe some kind soul will send me a disc of Deer Creek and I'll finally get to hear those first few numbers. Yours in Bob, Mark
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