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Bob Dylan 961027 in Austin, Texas

Subject: Austin 10/27 (real long)
From: Chris Lyons (
Date: 28 Oct 1996 06:28:42 GMT

Bob Dylan
Austin, TX 
Austin Music Hall

General Info:
Ticket Price: $32.75 General Admission  (Translation: 2000 people crammed
into the twenty feet right in front of the stage!)
Price of a Beer: $3.00

Another wonderful show! While Bob's attention appeared to wander from time
to time, when he was fully focused he transcended everything: his age, our
expectations, you name it. No harmonica. No remarks to crowd. Briefer
guitar solos than many recent shows. Ran exactly two hours.

I was frisked at the door. Bob's flirtation with the Culture of the Dead
apparently only goes so far. Miles Davis circa 1970 on the PA as we waited
for the show to begin. Stagehands blessed the stage with burning bunches
of moxa (oriental medical treatment) right before the Beloved
Entertainer's entrance. Bob wore his dress shirt with black jacket, over
the infamous gold lame pants. Atop his curls he wore a white cowboy hat,
which he doffed prettily following the final encore.  

Down In The Flood - A tad perfunctory - Not for the last time tonight I
missed the rude snap of Winston on the drums.
I Want You - Stately, lovely instrumentation. Bob still warming up.
(Observation, based on this rendition: It seems like there is a rule of
inverse proportion to Bob's singing, which is: The more detached he feels
from his performance, the more strange and far-fetched the improvised
melodies become. When he is really relating to the song, the chosen melody
appears as one with the singing and the words.)
All Along The Watchtower -  Actually entertaining. Beautifully,
authentically sung. A VERY spacey solo section, reminded me a bit of the
Byrds' I See You from 5D.
Queen Jane (Approx) -  Magnificent. Utterly transformed by the articulate
phrasing of the singer. REALLY SPECIAL. 
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues- More rocking than I remember it, it fairly
galloped. Little soloing to on this one tonight.
Silvio - Apparently one of Bob's faves, and becoming one of mine. Probably
the best uptempo piece of the night.

Tangled Up in Blue (A) The centerpiece, one the finest performances I have
seen. The crowd jumped as if receiving electroshock therapy; they chanted
much of the song in cadence with the Leader, who rose above them, eyes
narrowed, feet apart. The band played it as a fast shuffle, almost a
march, if you can imagine it. Bob,  clearly swept up in the groove, began
to spit out the words in an amazing Pretty Boy Floyd snarl. For five
minutes, he was once again the King of Rock and Roll, not just the Poet
Laureate of a Broken Generation. No one who was there will forget this
My Back Pages (A) Really hitting his stride, once more the balladeer.
Powerful and moving.
One Too Many Mornings (A) Not as strong as the preceding. Still very, very
good. All the acoustic numbers seemed to plese Bob to a greater degree
than the electric ones tonight. 

Seeing the Real You At Last* - The band played well. A nice version of a
mediocre song.
Positively 4th St * Mid Tempo but rocking. Superb singing.
Cats in the Well * Excellent, hot guitar playing, a fun addition. 

Like A Rollin' Stone  - Bob sung this like an angel. A great performance.
A guitar player I did not recognize** played on this.
Forever Young (A) - The final epiphany of the night. A towering rendition,
played with fire and passion. (Sidelight: Bob clearly changed the vocal
arrangement, much to the surprise of those who attempted to sing harmony)
Rainy Day Women #12 and #35 * - A total blow-out, Bob only got one verse
out before three fairly gorgeous, very young girls paraded out from the
wings to dance center stage to the song (Blonde on Blonde on Blonde, if
memory serves) All in good fun, though a tad strange finish for a show
with our Mr. D.

In all, a fine evening. I would guess that the band is in a real state of
evolution, away from the all-out rocking attack of last year toward a
somewhat quieter approach. All the best music of the night came during
acoustic songs. The new drummer has a jazzier feel if a bit more
"professional" (like Broadway pit orchestra or something) than the
esteemed Winston. Even the rave-up parts of the electric songs featured
lots of quiet dynamics, which livened them up to this listener.

*w/Charlie Sexton - guitar

** Subject: Unknown Guest Guitarist was... From: Fess ( Date: 28 Oct 1996 10:33:35 -0500 ... Ray Bensen, who has been the leader of Asleep at The Wheel for over 20 years... I wish he'da played fiddle.
Subject: Review: Dallas & Austin From: Christine Consolvo ( Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 16:31:57 GMT Again, Christine has agreed to post this for me... Niagara Falls in the Barrel of a Drum- A BRIEF review by Josh Nelson I am not that hard a person to please....really. In short, the Dallas and Austin shows reaffirmed my belief that Bob is well...a God. The shows were simply great. In contrast to some of the earlier shows with spirited performances of the "normal" songs, these shows had varied setlists. and singing that was, for the most part, simply on fire. Get the tapes! I said in a previous review that the Vegas and Mesa shows were a bit boring...they were. IMHO, the Texas shows were simply levels above them. Let's see..three shows and he played Joey, Queen Jane, Forever Young, Teardrops, Cats in the Well, and the first Man of Peace since 1991. This was not nightly versions of She Belongs to Me, no one was forced to scream out in pain about the harmful effects of over exposure to Riverflow...there was actual excitement about what he was gonna play next...and I loved every minute of it. Thanks Bob, keep it up...Subterranean has been soundchecked and is coming real soon! Who knows, maybe Nothing Was Delivered will be next. I've seen Bob a few times this year (on different tours) so I feel that I have some merit when I say that, in relation to these other shows, his singing the first night in Dallas was exceptional. When Christine turned to me, during Silvio and said, "he's on tonight, right?", I knew that it wasn't just me. And then Joey to the beat of a was as slow as the new Mobile! Austin was great as well. Bobby hating JJ and singing his heart out none the less. Sexton actually adding something! And oh, Man of Peace...perhaps not the greatest version ever, but what a nice surprise. Oh yeah, Bobby's white cowboy hat worn only for the second show was a sight to be seen. Silver pants and a white cowboy hat...go Susy, go. Let me just say that the band now has a new sound. The acoustic sets are faster, and the electric sets are slower. It's, in my mind, more shuffling and bluesy (yes, this is a hideous description, but it's the best I can do). In short, check them out (and scream for Baby Blue). Well, all the best to all. -Josh ps. If you do respond to this letter, please do not simply respond to the poster (Christine). Write to me at

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