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Bob Dylan 2000.10.31 in Evanston, IL

Northwestern University
Welsh Ryan McGaw Hall, 8117 capacity

Subject: Halloween @ Evanston
From: stuart levitan 
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2000 01:08:28 -0800

(an excerpt appeared earlier)

Boy, what a difference two days makes. Bob was definitely on tonight, far
more focused and energetic than Madison. This was the whole package, with
strong vocals and guitar throughout. Yowza!. Six songs not played in
Madison, all killers.  Sold out show (they opened new sections on the side),
very appreciative and well-behaved crowd. This was my seventh show in the
last year and a day, and was one of the two or three best.

Bob even did two songs from the 1964 Halloween Concert at Philharmonic Hall.

The jazzy If Dogs Run Free a highlight again, along with the North American
debut of the sweet new arrangement of Tryin' To Get To Heaven, which really
had people guessing. And a great new arrangement of Girl From The North
Country, which had a DEFINITE touch of Boots of Spanish Leather to it; in
fact, a number of people called it as Boots before the vocals started. And
what vocals they were, all feathery and light and lovely. One quibble - why
the hell didn't he sing this on Sunday in Wisconsin??

Bob was like a champion athlete, on his toes all night, ready for action.In
Madison, he danced like he had to pee; here, he had the channelled intensity
of an edgy shortstop, the caged force of a fighter. But not prowling or
doing that herky-jerky wiggling thing. It was motion without movement (and
vice versa).The left heel of his amazing black and white boots barely
touched the ground whenever he was taking a guitar break; a couple of times,
he practically knocked his own self over from the intensty. Sometimes he'd
dance for the length of his guitar breaks, in motion all the while with his
toes and knees, and never move his feet. Then
close the break with a little swipe of his right foot, and back into the
vocals. Yes, he was actually conducting the band with his feet.

We even got a little duckwalk.

Other notes - so what's with the yellow lights on TUIBluuuuuuuuuuuue? Still?
A great guitar break, which Bob ends with the Rock Guitar Pose, circa '65.
Very hot Charlie work in Country Pie. Trying To Get To Heaven another
beautiful vocal, filled with sorrow; you can tell by the look on his face
that he really means this one.

All hell breaks loose on Memphis Blues; Bob's left foot a good two feet off
the ground during parts of his solo. Dancing like the Devil with his knees,
his feet never move. Scorching. Bob smiles. Same thing on Wicked Messenger -
scorching, with intense podiatric action. The souls of his feet, I swear
they were burning! And the best one-armed harp you've heard in a while.

Didn't think possible, but things went a notch higher on Leopard Skin.
Completely blew the roof off the sucka.

The Formation. Bob's face was of a void, totally expressionless. I mean,
nothing registering. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Amazing. He fiddles with his hair,
adjusts his open collar, and just ... just ... stands there.

Things Have Chaaaaaaaanged. Another great vocal, with a couple of big smiles
for good measure.

LARS. Not my favorite version, a pounding almost plodding outing. But still
a remarkable effort. 35 years man, 35 years. Thunderous applause (very good
crowd throughout)

Dogs Run Free. Another beautiful, feathery vocal, Bob as Cool Jazz Hipster.
This has Grammy Vocal of the Year written all over it. Something new -
audience clap-along for the ENTIRE song. Don't really think I would
encourage this - fingersnapping would be much more appropriate.

Watchtower explodes. "The wind it began, it began to howl." Some good eye

I Shall Be Released - very strong vocals. Gives full import to ALL the words
: "Shouting .... out .... that .... he'd .... been .... framed," all drawn
out. Nice counterpoint harmony from Larry and Charlie. Bob stock still,
still on his toes during guitar break. Then a subtle sweep of his right
foot, and back into verse. Very cool - now he's giving band signals with his

Highway 61 - big emphasis on "I got to run." Bob so into it he actually
skipped! No jive - he skipped!

BITW - here's what he does after each verse: steps back and goes down on his
left knee for a little guitar work. Yep, he's as overcome with the majesty
of this effort as are we.

I really do hope the Powers That Be are taking proper steps to preserve
these performances in various audio and video formats. These are some
keepers fer sure.

Date: Fri, 3 Nov 2000 09:25:38 -0600 (CST) From: (Mike Stillman) To: Subject: (fwd) McGaw Hall, 10/31/2000 Review Spooky! I just returned from Dylan's Halloween show at McGaw Hall in Evanston, Illinois. It was only the second show on his college tour. After taking almost a month off the road after Europe, it bodes well for the rest of the tour that he is playing so well this early on the tour. This wasn't a great show, but it was a very good show, somewhere around the 80th percentile for shows in the past five years or so. It began with DUNCAN AND BRADY, same as Madison, one of a handful of songs on which Larry Campbell and Charlie Sexton sing backing vocals. This was a fine rendition, with all three guitarists playing acoustically. Then came TO RAMONA, which has been played frequently in recent years, but it's a song that obviously means a lot to Bob, and always performed with emotion. Larry played the mandolin on this song, but gave it back to a roadie before the next...... .....which was DESOLATION ROW with a slightly different arrangement that was new to me, beginning without drums and bass, hushed and dramatic, and not until the first occurrence of the title did Tony Garnier and David Kemper begin to play. I don't know if this arrangement was entirely new; I see about 2-4 Dylan shows a year, so I'm not as encyclopedic as some of you, but I know they didn't play it this way last year. Then came one of the highlights, a beautiful version..... ....of GIRL OF THE NORTH COUNTRY with the band quiet and poised, and Bob seeming to look inward with memory. "Remember me to one who lives there, for she once was a true love of mine." Larry picked the intro and played a wistful, intricate guitar line all through the song, while Bob and Charlie played rhythm and fills. The crowd tonight was very young, probably 80% of them were college age or early 20's, and it was a very intelligent, listening audience. During the quiet songs, there were a lot of open ears and very little chatter. Next was TANGLED UP IN BLUE with the same arrangement as the last few years, rhythm section coming in at the first chorus. But.....there were lyrical variations that I have never heard before! Every other line of the New Orleans verse was different: "Drifted down to New Orleans, working night and day..." and I couldn't quite catch the rest. The Montague Street verse had one different phrase also. Was he doing it this way in Europe? After TUIB came a dose of pure bluegrass, SEARCHING FOR A SOLDIER'S GRAVE. This song was entirely new to me, although I saw it on the setlists during last summer. Larry took a couple of short mandolin solos. Charlie's high harmonies worked extremely well on this tune; he reminds me of Peter Rowan or Roscoe Holcomb with that "high lonesome sound" of mountain bluegrass, even though he's from Texas. All of the songs were short tonight, but well-played. The roadies then took away the acoustic instruments, and the front line strapped on their electrics for a delightful version of COUNTRY PIE! This song is nothing but fun and goofiness...."Raspberry, strawberry, lemon, and lime.... what do I care?" Bob was grinning on this one, and the band absolutely ripped into it, more uptempo than the album version. Charlie played most of the lead lines and a short solo, that according to my notes, "kicked ass." Then came TRYING TO GET TO HEAVEN which was one of the last TOOM songs to be played live, if I recall correctly. Most songs from that album, when played live, are somewhat close to the album versions, but this one had some differences in both the vocal and the music. Bob was reaching for something else during this one, but I'm not exactly sure what it was, or if he was successful. I'll have to get the tape and listen again. My notes, scrawled in the dark with a leaky pen, say something like "mmfrbah8x%", and if anyone here is into cryptography, then I hope they can decipher that and tell me exactly what I was trying to say. There were many in the crowd tonight who were wearing costumes, including Bob costumes of different eras, the current Bob, the young Bob, the '70s Bob, etc. Some members of the audience dressed as characters from Dylan songs: there were a couple of Jokermen, at least one cow, and perhaps the most imaginative, a William Shakepeare with a garbage can lid strapped to his back, who seemed to step right out of STUCK INSIDE OF MOBILE WITH THE MEMPHIS BLUES AGAIN, a strong uptempo tune with its signature riff perfectly on target. Then came NOT DARK YET, as good as ever, but fairly routine, and that's okay. Next was another highlight.... .....THE WICKED MESSENGER, which sounded a little different than I've heard it before. The main riff had an unusual phrasing to it, and Bob took his only harmonica solo of the night, played one-handed with his left hand while his right held the guitar at his side. Not much of an instrumental interlude though. Before the next song, Bob introduced the band, and refrained from making jokes about any of the bandmembers. Everyone was in black for Halloween, except for Tony, who wore gray. The main part of the show ended with LEOPARD SKIN PILLBOX HAT. This song is always fun for me. At most Chicago area shows, there's a certain woman who wears the titular headpiece, but I didn't see her tonight. Charlie took the ending solo, concise and effective. After the band took their bows, then left and returned, we received no less than seven encores, beginning with THINGS HAVE CHANGED. I like this song a lot, as it expresses boredom in an interesting way, which doesn't happen often. The song's narrator used to care, wants to care, but now he finds that he can't care anymore, because the world around him has deteoriated in important ways. It's sort of like a voter who looks at the two major candidates and finds that each of them has major defects that make them unworthy to lead the country, but the entire system is structured so that these two are the only ones who have a legitimate chance of winning, and the voter thinks, "I used to care, but....." Next came LIKE A ROLLING STONE, and it was good to see a lot of young people hearing this song live for the first time. The setlist tonight was well-balanced between the exoteric (Greatest Hits) and the esoteric (Greatest Non-Hits). A large portion of the audience is going to one of the "finest schools", but to their credit, they're apparently not "getting juiced in it" excessively, as there weren't many drunk audience members, just a lot of people listening intently, enthusiastic but not overly so. The next song was one of those esoteric delights that keeps us coming back.... .....IF DOGS RUN FREE, which I don't think had ever been played before until the show in Munster, Germany at the beginning of this month. Bob was on acoustic guitar, and the rest were on electric, with Charlie playing some very jazzy rhythm on a Gibson hollow-body. Larry took a couple of elliptical solos, phrased to suggest more than was actually said. On the New Morning album, this song seems to be a very minor work, but this intriguing arrangement and Bob's more mature delivery makes this song loom a little larger. "If dogs run free, then why not we, across the swooping plain?" Nothing else in Bob's entire repertoire sounds anything like this, and I liked it a lot. Then came ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER which was about the same as all the other times, but with Larry on the rack steel, played standing up, without the pedals. The pedal steel was there, but Larry didn't touch it all night long with this particular setlist. The acoustic guitars appeared again for I SHALL BE RELEASED, with Larry and Charlie on backing vocals, and it sounded to me like Charlie sang a bit higher than the key of the song. I thought about the late Richard Manuel during this one. The penultimate encore was HWY 61 REVISITED, revved-up as always, and finally BLOWING IN THE WIND on acoustic guitars. I enjoyed myself immensely, and so did the kid who yelled "Dylan Rules!" as the song ended. Happy Halloween, everyone!
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