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Bob Dylan 961025 in Dallas, Texas

Subject: notes from Dallas & Austin 1 ...trouble in paradise
From: Christine Consolvo (
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 1996 03:16:56 GMT

Well, I'm not quite sure where to start, but it's probably best to
start with Paradise then get into the trouble aspect...

The show in Dallas really started out with a bang. Bob was warmed up
and "on" from the very first note. He seemed, at first, to be in fine
spirits and this show promised to be a good one. And it *was*
good...very good! I enjoy Shelter From the Storm even on a bad night,
but this version was nearly stellar. Actually, each and every song
this night was treated with the respect and focus it deserved. He was
biting into the lyrics and then spitting them back out with conviction
galore! The rush was an early one - before the acoustic set - which
made for a lively evening. The new drummer was obviously trying
extremely hard to get it right, only occasionally getting off-kilter
from the rest of the band. I, personally, could have done without the
percussion on Boots Of Spanish Leather, but that's nitpicking. The
setlist was finally more inventive than on the previous nights and,
for the most part, all of the above elements added up to another night
to remember for it's good merits...

However...somewhere along the way things went badly awry...

I remember saying in my Atlanta review that the power struggle between
Bob & JJ had apparently been solved to the satisfaction of all. Well,
it doesn't appear to have lasted very long. There has always been some
friction, dirty looks, a rolling of the eyes when the band leader
feels shorted or over-ridden in the lead guitar department, but
tonight was a whole different ball game. It was clear early on that
trouble was brewing...At first it was just the looks, then Bob would
sometimes just drop his hands limply, abjectly, from his instrument
and give up. As the show wore on, he began to get a blatantly
disgusted look on his face and glare over at the guitar tech. By the
time for the encores, he had started just ripping off his guitar and
setting it down several beats before the songs were finished. When
leaving the stage for the first time, he did just that and didn't take
even one bow. Simply stormed off the stage with his hands on his
head...All this was very disconcerting, not to mention distracting to
me-and many others-I'm sure. When he came back on, while the tech was
helping with his guitar, there was what appeared to be a heated
discussion going on between them. The tech wound up giving a palms
up-shrugged shoulders gesture. This is what happened each time he
returned to the stage that evening. Finally, during Rainy Day Women,
when JJ was getting yet another look that could kill, he also gestured
with palms up and said, "I'm trying!". A very strange public display
on all sides if you ask me...

In Austin on Saturday, the stage monitors took on a peculiar
configuration. JJ's microphone and monitors had been shifted far to
the left (facing) several feet from his usual position and with his
monitors forming a marked V. After the first few songs it struck us
that they may have practiced during the day. However, while the show
was still quite young, the behavior became reminiscent of the night
before. By the time Silvio was about to end Bob was livid. He, once
again, took of his guitar and laid it down, but this time the song was
not even winding down yet. While he walked over to the side of the
stage toward the tech & guitars the rest of the band was left to
grapple with some sort of ending. Bob just pointed to his acoustic and
it was handed to him. He strapped it on while walking back to center
stage with the tech running behind trying to get it plugged in. Then
Bob started right into Tambourine Man before the other band members
could even get out their instruments. They weren't *too* far behind,
but it was a mad scramble. The acoustic numbers went down without any
incident to speak of. When we recognized the next song as Man of Peace
we were thrilled to say the least! It was a plucky, rocking version (a
definite 10 for danceability!) and everyone (almost) was having a
great time. Then, mid-song, during an instrumental portion, Bob walked
over to the tech and said something to him which sent him dashing
around the stage setting up another amp and guitar and swiftly going
back stage to bring out Charlie Sexton. This was all accomplished in
less than 2 minutes and then Charlie was in place and playing right
along like a regular member of the band! This was not a planned
guest...Again, very strange...I have a clear recollection of both
these shows, but was so distracted by all the derision that I honestly
can't say I enjoyed them like I would have without all the commotion.
I'm curious right now, since its just about time for Bob to go onstage
again in Austin, what will happen tonight in this saga...I couldn't
stay, so that report will have to come from someone else...

Just thought I'd mention it...


Subject: Best Bowling Party Ever (Dallas Review) From: Charlie Smith (WhatWasIt@AOL.COM) Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1996 22:50:11 -0500 Finally catching up on notes from the road.... Dallas, TX Left Jackson, MS for Dallas, oh trying to remember the time,... I think it was about 9:00 am on Friday, October 25, 1996. Drove straight to Dallas using I20. Got to Dallas about 3:00 pm and spent an hour trying to locate the Bronco Bowl using incorrect directions provided by the ticket office. Finally parked there at 4:00 pm. It was in kind of a "bad neighborhood" type of area, I noticed, but the building itself (once I located it) was huge and seemed very nice and new, with an electronic message board sign outside advertising "tonight Bob Dylan... etc." When I entered the front doors, I saw bowling alleys lining both sides of the building; must have been 30 or 40 lanes on each side. Walking around, found bars and restaraunts in a seemingly endlessly long builidng. Finally found the concert hall, located down a long hallwayat the very back. I walked straight up to some doors on either side of the closed ticket office; the doors had signs indicating "no admittance". But, I could hear the band playing so I opened one and went right on in. A short walk had me standing at the top of the isle of the upper levels of seating, and I could see JJ and Tony and David warming up... they were cranking on "Rock and Roll All Night" by KISS, believe it or not! (it's true). They quickly discarded that number and began serious work on "God Knows". I noticed that another person had entered the concert hall the same way I had, and that this person was quietly enjoying the sound check like me. After a few minutes of "God Knows", a security person approached us and herded us back out the door. I delayed this eventual dismissal by pretending that I couldn't understand what she was saying inside the hall (because I couldn't! It was quite loud). Afterwards met the other individual who caught the sound check, and it turned out to be Steve who is on rmd. Hung out with Steve from Dallas and his two friends, then went to the bar where I met Chad from North Dakota. Chad was EXTREMEMLY excited to be seeing his first Dylan show. I provided some stories from earlier shows I have seen, and he became even more fired up. Steve joined us in the bar for some beers, and we all were forced to pay the obligitory $2 for a Texas "id" type card they require for beer purchases. Supposedly indicating that you had proven you were legal age, I chose to accuse the cute young girl tending bar that she was running a scam... her pockets fat with our dollars, and shredding "applications" for a Texas age-id in the trash! But a ticket. I should get a ticket. That would come in handy, around showtime. What a good idea. Better get a ticket. Yeh, a ticket. That's exactly what I need right now. Oh, shit. Box office indicates tickets exist, but up on sides 90 degrees from stage... Run into a couple from Italy, some other friends from NY, NJ, Canada, and London... One of them has an extra which I buy. Hanging out around the Bronco Bowl. Kenny Wayne has started playing, but I don't care. I'll experience his sets for sure at Austin, where it's general admission, and I'll be at the front early. We're eating pizza and talking about other shows and remembering where we've met before. Some are bowling, and it is reported that some of Bob's band members were seen bowling, but I'm not sure which. As showtime approaches, ticket shuffling continues, and most of the others end up closer to the front... I'm on the side, about 45 degree from Bob, and halfway up. A very good seat actually, good view, not far away, and the full effect of the great sound system. Bronco Bowl is impressive for its acoustics, I think, even if it doesn't have a whole lot of character (the concert hall anyway, the rest of it was fine). Spend remainder of time waiting for Bob, talking with other Dylan fans from all over, and downing a few tequila shots right before showtime with a few of our real Dylan fans... Showtime and lights go down and Bob strolls out with band and kick into a fine CRASH ON THE LEVEE. Bob upbeat, vocals strong, sound system very nice right from the beginning. Bob's voice was right out in front of the system, very clear and he was sharp and strong from the beginning. He looked serious as usual, but upbeat and firey. IF YOU SEE HER, SAY HELLO was a real treat, given the inspiration and enthusiam breathed into it by Bob. Uptempo and rocking smoothly, with strong vocals by Bob and nice guitar work during solos. ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER. I think a good measure of how good the show will be is how good Bob sounds on "Crash on the Levee" and "All Along the Watchtower". And he had Crash sounding great, and Watchtower was one of those "wow, that was a REALLY good one (even though you've heard it at all of the shows...". Really good guitar work by Bob and JJ, and Bob's vocals delivered slow and strong. At this point, everyone in the place knew Bob was tearing it up, and the audience was very enthusiastic and responsive, and a stage rush occurred fairly quickly. But the SHELTER FROM THE STORM really set the place into orbit, because it was such a great version. A little faster, and also more evenly rhythmic than previous favorites Brixton 3/31/95 and Philadelphia 12/16/95. Very strong, passionate vocals by Bob. This is one of my VERY VERY favorites, and it's not often performed these days, so it was really special. The tape should be good on this one. After that, I had gotten my money's worth. But it would get better. A great, upbeat JUST LIKE TOM THUMB'S BLUES was next. Everyone was rocking; it was a great audience that was really into it. SILVIO performed its usual work; those not as familiar were blown away. Super version even for the seasoned Dylan fans. Bob continued to perform very inspired and creative guitar. The acoustic set consisted of TANGLED UP IN BLUE, BOOTS OF SPANISH LEATHER, and IT'S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE. All wonderfully done, Bob in fine voice, and David Kemper providing a softly rhymthmic background drumbeat. TANGLED got the crowd really into it, as expected. Boots was great for me, because it's a personal favorite. Bob sang Boots with a slow and patient delivery, with each line sounding like it really meant the world to him. Very well done, breathtaking. At least one seasoned Dylan fan expressed a dislike for the drum work in this tune, but I felt is was fine in the background. Bob's vocal performance was so good on this favorite that I didn't really notice... BABY BLUE was simply awesome; the extremely slow, intense version Bob has been using lately... So far, so great... perfect as far as I'm concerned.. And why not sneak down from my side seat and see what it's like from the floor a little closer? Made my way down to the floor, about 10 rows back on the right side. GOD KNOWS slowly and insistently rocked us back into electric. This is the best I have ever heard Bob do this song, without a doubt, especially the beginning parts prior to entry of the drumbeat. Very powerful, slow beginning, then picking up with the rocking part. Many people after the show were pointing this song out as a real highlight of the performance, and I agreed. The suprise.. JOEY rocks along, with an uptempo, fast pace but eloquently delivered vocals by Bob. I normally don't like hearing a slower song done with a faster tempo, but when Bob sings like that it can work well. Very passionate, and nearly complete as far as I could tell. We'll have to listen to the tape to find out whether all of the original lyrics were done. This definitely fired up the hardcore Dylan fans; it was the "rare" gem of the evening. Dylan returned to familiar ground with an excellent rocking HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED and the first encoure ALABAMA GETAWAY. Both performed their job of assisting the audience in having a most excellent rock and roll party. For "Alabama Getaway" the usual hardcore Dylan response of "we sure would rather have another great Dylan song instead of a simple rocker by Jerry" was heard, but when it's happening the audience as a whole is definitely with it. Returning to his acoustic guitar, and with drumming provided by Kemper, Dylan eased into a beautiful FOREVER YOUNG. Sweeping, wonderful guitar work and thoughtful, passionate singing marked this stellar performance. Bob has never sounded better. I think this was even better than 12/16/95 Philadelphia playing of this song, which is one of my favorites. RAINY DAY WOMEN #12&35 finished out the night, as usual. Great extended jamming; I think Bob enjoyed the enthusiastic audience, all dancing and partying along with the show closer. Everyone was in the aisles, all over the floor and up on chairs, and packed up to the stage. As for the much-discussed friction between Bob and/or JJ and/or the guitar crew, I didn't see it! I was in the left-side seats for the first half of the show, and didn't have a good view of JJ's side, and I guess that must be when whatever happened. I do remember Bob appearing to think something was amiss at one point, and him turning his back to the stage and moving about rather urgently, but that's all I could see... To me it indicated that something had happened, but I don't know what. OVERALL IMPRESSION: Outstanding show... inspired vocals, great setlist, and great sound in the venue. Rating: 9.75 on 10 point scale. After much thought, I raised this one to equal with the great Austin 2nd night, which is the other best show of the fall tour that I attended. This Dallas show was really special. Very well attended by rmd, many from all over the country and out of the country. And it's on to Austin... Charlie

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