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Bob Dylan 961104 in Spartanburg, SC

Subject: Review Nov. 4, Spartanburg, SC
From: (
Date: 6 Nov 1996 16:05:33 GMT

 Bob Dylan at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium

 Dressed in formal attire, wearing a pale blue dinner jacket and a new
off-white cowboy hat, Bob Dylan played an unbelievable show Monday night
at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium.
 After opening with a new song, Dylan satisfied his fans with rare
selections from his vast repertoire.
 "The Man In the Long Black Coat", recently made popular by Joan Osborne,
set the tone for what was to be a magical night in Spartanburg.
 Using his voice as an instrument, enunciating each syllable to express
the deeper meanings, Dylan played "All Along the Watchtower" with its
piercing lyrics, 
 "There are many here among us who think this life is but a joke, You and
I we've been through that, this is not our fate. Let us not talk falsely
now, the hour is getting late."
 The audience got very excited when Dylan played classics like, "I'll be
Your Baby Tonight" and "It Takes A Lot To Laugh And A Train To Cry".
 Teenagers who mostly came to see the opening act, Kenny Wayne Sheppard (a
19 year old blues prodigy form New Orleans), were introduced to the magic
of another generation.
 Yuppies, Hippies, Businessmen and Generation Xers, all enjoyed an
incredible acoustic set with renditions of "Tangled Up In Blue", "To
Ramona", and "Don't Think Twice It's Alright".
 As the band got tighter and the night got later, Dylan got bolder. With
"God Knows", and "I and I", in classic Dylan form, the definitions between
artist and audience blurred.
 With the realness that Dylan personifies, he summed up the night with the
lyrics of "Silvio",
 "I'm going down to the valley, gonna sing my song, gonna sing it loud,
gonna sing it strong, let the echo decide if I was right or wrong."
 The echo in this circumstance was a standing ovation and a rush of
teenagers onto the stage to touch this folk-rock legend.
 With a triple encore of a ripping "Like a Rolling Stone", an acoustic
"Girl From the North Country", and an electric "Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35",
Bob Dylan showed the timelessness of his music and its appeal to yet
another generation.
Subject: spartanburg report From: Jeff Passe (jpasse@UNCCVM.UNCC.EDU) Date: Tue, 5 Nov 1996 13:56:42 -0500 Observations on last night's show in Spartanburg, South Carolina: 1. The outfit: With his white cowboy hat, gray jacket, and boots, Bob looked like, dare I say it, the Jack of Hearts! He never removed the hat (except for a second to wipe his brow) or jacket despite working hard. 2. No harmonica whatsoever. Here's a new thread topic: Why not? One commentator suggested that his expanded lead guitar efforts have put the harp on the back burner. 3. Long Black Coat started slowly, then developed into a classic performance with Bob using his Highway 61-era enunciations ("Somebody's out there beeeeating on a dedddddd hooorse") I look forward to hearing this song evolve enen further. 4. As I heard the opening of Watchtower I became excited to hear those power chords. It is clearly his signature song. Why else would he play it every time? And it's always good. 5. I liked the softer, countrified version of Positively 4th Street. It took some of the angry edge off the lyrics, becoming a more "sensitive" attack. Rather than feel anger toward the so-called friend, I felt sympathy for the singer. 6. I'll Be Your Baby seemed like Nashville country rock at its best. I could imagine Ricky Skaggs and other guitar greats up there. But the thing is---it was Bob playing those tasty licks! He has really developed into a fine lead guitarist. Not flashy like Clapton or even JJ, but just nice pickin'. I'd be studying the guitar dynamics and, before I knew it, I'd be dancing to his extended jamming. One more example of how he continues to grow as a musician. 7. Speaking of extended jamming, each song gets to be longer and longer, quite different but maintaining the melodic structure. With the band members trading leads, the original versions seem to have been forgotten. Girl from the North Country, for example, had two minutes of vocals and what seemed like eight minutes of marvelous guitar work. It's like the band on stage is a cover band doing Dylan songs! 8. It may be my bias, but the acoustic stuff appears to be more creative than the electric numbers. I'd love to see an all-acoustic tour sometime. 9. The running on stage bit has gotten old. From my perspective, standing next to the stage, the focus of several teen-age audience members, at times, was not on the music, but on whether to run on stage, whether he'll sign an autograph, and who to ask for a guitar pick. It was very distracting. When the music got louder, the teenagers would scream to each other above the music. I enjoy enthusiasm and spontaneity, but I believe the lax attitude about protecting the stage has created a monster. 10. The teenagers screamed for "Hurricane" most of the night. I wonder why. (I'd love to hear it too, but why, of all his repertoire, would they focus on that song? Any ideas?) I saw a high school girl literally crying with joy because she had one of Bob's guitar picks. "He touched it!" she squealed. My question is, what is going on in rural South Carolina that would lead teenagers to act like that for a man in his fifties? Is it the music? His status as a legend? His raw sex appeal? Was it the Unplugged MTV appearance? Is this going on everywhere? (I thought it was just the r.m.d. women that were so ga-ga over the guy.) All in all, a good performance, but the several audience-related distractions prevented me from enjoying it as much as possible. Now, if I can only figure out how to get to Tokyo for the next tour! Jeff Passe
Subject: 'Nother Spartanburg Report From: Wayland Massey (goheels@GTE.NET) Date: Tue, 5 Nov 1996 17:42:16 -0500 Thanks to Jeff Passe for his thoughtful comments on Bob's Spartanburg show. I thought I'd chip in too. My live show experience started recently and is very limited and I was tremendously impressed at the quality of this performance. First, the fashion report: Shoes: I imagine he was wearing shoes, I couldn't see 'em, can't describe 'em. Pants: Black with silver threads. Shirt: White, not much was revealed. Coat: Light blue (Carolina Blue) loose fitting, buttoned about half-way up, with black (velvet?) collar and black piping on the pockets. Hat: Stark-white Stetson (I have no proof it was a Steson, but what else would it have been?) not too big, not too small. Black cording at the base of the crown with one or two small dark feathers on the left of the crown. The crown was creased in the "Cattleman" style and the brim was creased in the "standard" style. (See Jane and Michael Stern's "Way out West" for further reference material on crown and brim creasing.) The music (notes I took during the show): "Crash on the Levee": no warm up needed. Slightest smile from Bob. [on reflection, maybe it was a hint of a smile]. "Man in the Long Black Coat": Heavy tom-toms, like Lanois. Some lead-interplay with J.J. and Bucky. "Watchtower": Shoulder jerking and head-thrusting, chicken style. Guitar lead is like his recent vocal style-short bursts. Good solo. "Positively 4th Street": Slow (Tony showing drummer the tempo). Full of emotion, but not anger [regret? disappointment? more a sense of being let down.] Very nice song. "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight": Spirited. Bob with back to audience. [Not, apparently, talking to drummer] At times, Bob & JJ in close proximity interacting musically. "Silvio": Bob seemed bothered by back-of-collar hair, but recovered. Good vocal harmony. Slowed at end for "Dead-like" jam. Acoustic: "Tangled Up in Blue": Just great playing. JJ spit an arc of water(?) toward back of stage. Great vocal by Dylan. [This song was marred by sound problems during instrumental passages. I thought JJ had spit on some vital piece of equipment, but problems were solved, did not recur.] "To Ramona": It's a Waltz Across Texas. They miss Flaco Jimenez. Very expressive singing. High five to drummer when it ended. "Don't Think Twice": Very good. Sorta like chamber music. Everybody helps the drummer. "God Knows": very nice instrumental and vocal. "I and I": I had chills for most of this one. "The Real You at Last": He'll give 'em that hip and take it back. Encores: "Like a Rolling Stone" Good BD guitar. Too many kids. "Girl from the North Country": More very good ensemble playing. "Rainy Day Women": There! Wasn't that just like being there? It was great to see Jeff (with Joe and Eileen) and to meet Rich Lerner (with Mandy) and Dave Keller-who came from Chicago by way of Atlanta, before the show. Wayland
Subject: Spartanburg,SC.(Revisited) From: Keith Lane Wigington ( Date: Tue, 05 Nov 1996 22:17:15 -0500 Organization: North Carolina State University X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.0 (X11; I; HP-UX A.09.05 9000/712) What has become an increasingly interesting tour pulled into this small college town Monday night and continued the trend of shows getting stronger with each performance. The venue is a somewhat sterile newer auditorium with good acoustics, but the crowd was as fired up as any Dylan show I've been to outside NYC. Standing for the entire show, the audience trusted Bob to be the captain of the ship and each choice was greeted with genuine enthusiasm. Bob and band took the stage at around 8:35 with Bob still sporting his new cowboy hat(I think it looks good on him-reminds me of Bill Monroe). From the begining of yet another "Down In The Flood" the band and Bob were spurred on by a joyous reaction and the performers and the spectators feed off one anothers energy. "Man In The Long Black Coat" benifits nicely from the slower, more groove oriantated approach of the new lineup. The first number to ring divine bells was "Positively 4th Street" which is played now just like David Kemper (the new drummer) learned it with Jerry Garcia. A deliberate bass riff and adventerous phrasing from Bob made this song hit with surprising power and emotional contact. "Silvio" keeps getting further out there with a jam at song's end that is reminiscent of the Dead's "Spanish Jam". With a more powerful approach to the acoustic set, "Tangled Up In Blue" rocked the house until at the midway point sound trouble threw off the timing a little. "To Ramona" has more of an immediate impact, while "Don't Think Twice" has never sounded better (I was acctually glad to see it again). What followed this amazing set was an adventurous song selection that was a little over the head of most folks out there. "God Knows"(again), "I and I", then "Seeing The Real You At Last" would usually have me singing the praises of such wonderful nostalgia-fighting selections, but with such a generous crowd I for once wished for some more universally appealing selections. Certainly the trilogy was very well played, but it landed in that zone of being not rare enough for us obsessed and a little too in depth for the average concert goer. At any rate, the encore pleased all in attendance with a blistering "Like A Rolling Stone" that had all the conviction in delivery that one could hope for. "Girl From The North Country" seemed to be reborn right then and there with Bob and us finding new places and feelings of one of his best songs. Once again there was no harmonica played at all during this show. However, the only place I missed it was at the end of "Tangled", and Bob is singing sooo good that it is only after analyzing the show does this fact seem important. I do feel that Bob let a great opportunity slip away by not rewarding this crowd with "Visions Of Johanna"(which was on the set list for the second straight noght) or something of such stature. Oh well there's always the next show!!! Keith

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