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Bob Dylan 970419 in Hartford, Connecticut

From: Stephen Armstrong (
Date: Sun, 20 Apr 1997 01:02:48 -0400

I'll leave it to others to write longer reviews of this concert--but to
experience Dylan opening with "Not Fade Away" was a highlight of my
concert-going career.  This was a GREAT show--I've GOT to get a tape of it!!
Sadie--Thanks for the tickets!!


Subject: Not Fade Away: Hartford 4/19/96 From: sadiejane ( Date: Sun, 20 Apr 1997 01:33:46 -0500 You'll have to wait for bill because I don't take notes (nor prisoners) at shows. The stage rush occured when the lights went down and bob came out with NOT FADE AWAY Many highlights on this April 19th including This Wheel's On Fire You Ain't Goin' Nowhere Pill box hat and the first acoustic number: Roving Gambler this was some show this was a heck of a show my last of the tour wow. not fade away. you shoulda seen the look on my face. priceless.
Not Fade Away
I wanna tell you how it's gonna be,
you're gonna give your love to me,
I wanna love you night and day,
you know my love not fade away.

You know my love not fade away, not fade away!

My love is bigger than a Cadillac,
I try to show you but you drive me back,
your love for me has got to be real,
you're gonna know just how I feel.

Our love is real, not fade away, not fade away!

delia ain't dead, she won't fade away....

Date: Sun, 20 Apr 1997 19:56:06 -0400 To: From: "Douglas E. Fox" ( Subject: Dylan Review April 19, 1997 Hartford, CT Bob Dylan in Hartford, CT. University of Hartford Sports Center This is the fourth time I have seen Dylan in concert and I have been a devoted fan for about 20 years. I saw him in Madison, Wisconsin in 1979, at Tangelwood, MA in 1991 and in Storrs, CT in 1992. This concert was the most enjoyable to me because we had such good seats offering a great venue on one of America' true and lasting icons. The University of Hartford Sports Center has about 3,000 seats and on the morning of the show all but 150 had been sold. We had excellent seats in Gallery 1, Row A, seats 4 and 5. Having watched the Set List on Bill Pagel's web page for a couple of weeks prior to the concert and reading some of the reviews from Eastern Canada and Massachusetts, we felt like we were the best prepared we have ever been for any Dylan concert. So it was a bit of a surprise to see him open with "Not Fade Away" when we were all ready for Crash the Levy. But I'm getting ahead of myself. This sports center was a great venue because of its limited size. It was almost like going to a concert at Toad's place as we were some 50 to 60 feet away from the performers and we had a largly undisturbed line of vision. The scene was noticeably more conservative than my last previous concerts 5 and 18 years ago. One could see professors in suits and ties, and parents with their children. Sure you had your occasional ZZ Top type, but this was only about 1% of the crowd. I would say the majority looked like young republicans who were interested in rekindling some memories of their student activists days in the 60's. On the way in we weren't offered any illicit drugs and there were very few scalpers. The thing that I would say characterized the crowd was a great diversity. There were teenagers not born when Dylan was cutting his first albums, students from the university, credit analysts from the Aetna annuity division, a Presbyterian minister and a few folks who were old enough to be grandparents (and a few of these were males sporting pony-tails). We were located stage right where we could see everything that was happening on stage. One thing we found interesting was somebody setting up three or four pails of water with incense burning in them. Was this to create an effect of smoke and mystery on stage or does Bob just like the smell of incense while he is performing? We also noticed a B. B. King poster on one of the amplifiers. This reminded me of something Dylan said in a 1995 Interview with a Newspaper reporter in Florida. Dylan was asked: "Why do you go on the road so much?" Dylan replied, "There's a certain part of you that becomes addicted to a live audience. I wouldn't keep doing it if I was tired of it. I do about 125 shows a year. It may sound like a lot to people who don't work that much, but it isn't. BB King is working 350 nights a year." So I think the poster of B.B. King is there for inspiration when the roadin' get tough. The lights went down, 300 or 400 hundred people immediately rushed the stage and the concert was underway. I mentioned the opener was Not Fade Away and we could tell that we were in for a workin' man's performance. "I wanna tell ya just how I feeeeeeeel." When Dylan is really stretching out the words, it is always a good sign. He was really wrapping himself around a lot of words throughout the concert. He was in the white cowboy style jacket, black pants with a stripe down the sides and the white cowboy boots. The band was made up of three others on guitar and one on drums, but these guys stayed in the background most of the night but the sound was good. After the opener, Dylan uttered his customary two words for the evening, "Thanks everybody." The second tune was "I Want You" in a slowed down country version. Lots of hemp seemed to be blowing across the stage from the front row. Dylan was definitely getting into this song with a long instrumental interlude. It sounded really good. We were ready for Watchtower as the third number as this has been consistent in all previous set lists and we weren't disappointed. Dylan really went into the classic deep knee bend here and then was rockin' back and forth on tiptoes setting up a wall of sound. The incense was really cookin' at this point and it surrounded the performers and added nicely to the effect of this powerful and mysterious song. As he concluded with a great run together phrasing of "thewindbegintahowl" a big cheer went up from the crowd. I really enjoyed number four "You Ain't Going Nowhere." "OOooh, Oh We gonna fly, down into the easy chair." This was a great remake of this tune and came across real clear. There was some more of this run together phrasing "tommowstheday" my brides a gonna come. Watching the River Flow was unrecognizable until we asked some seasoned veterans after the show. Dylan was really leaning into it here and the crowd seemed really into it. I have been trying to figure out the meaning of number 6 Silvo for a long time but seeing it performed may have helped me cracked the code. I have always wanted to find out just what is it that only dead men know? Tonight I heard more clearly the penultimate verse that says, " "One of these days and it won't be long, going down to the valley and gonna sing my song I will sing it loud and sing it strong Let the echo decide if I was right or wrong. So the thing that only dead men know is whether Dylan was right or wrong about everything. I mean everything. His whole view of life. I mean about everything being broken, about there going to be no more water, but fire next time, about the slow train coming round the bend, everything. Again I quote from the 1995 interview: Q: In the '70s after years abroad, I remember the incredible elation I felt coming back to the States and hearing your Christian songs, a validation of experiences I had been through in Spain. I remember the lines, "You talk about Buddha You talk about Muhammad But you never said a word about the one who came to die for us instead ..." Those were fearless words. How do you feel about those words and the songs your wrote during that period now? A: Just writing a song like that probably emancipated me from other kind of illusions. I've written so many songs and so many records that I can't address them all. I can't say that I would disagree with that line. On its own level it was some kind of turning point for me, writing that. So only dead men know if he was right about that and everything else he has ever said or espoused. When asked about his view of life he usually points back to the songs and says its all in there. Like go figure it out if you want. Roving Gambler was number 7 and was another surprise. I don't know anything about this song, who wrote it or anything. But the title sure fits Dylan well. Masters of War was used to initiate the acoustic set and was done very quietly. I could really hear him asking, "Is your money that good?" The acoustic set was very tightly performed and the guitars were really humming together well here. A defining moment was reached in number 9, Tangled Up in Blue. More great run togethers, "Mama's banquetwasnt bigenough" with each refrain of "Tangled Up in Bluuuuuue" a cheer when up. The mandolin came out here and added to an outstanding acoustic blend. There was a new riff in here that was repeated over and over again making this into almost a new song. But after really leaning into the guitar portions he moved to the back to pick up the harmonica and the crowd really went wild. The crowd then began intuitively sensing the nearly mythical power and significance of Dylan picking up this instrument. So as he was ready to put his concluding touch on Tangled Up in Blue with the harp, he put his right finger into his right ear so he could hear what he was doing with this instrument. And the crowd that had been putting up a deafening din though most of the song (and most of the concert for that matter) now grew totally quiet. And for 30 seconds of bliss they were serenaded into submission. He really is "a man of the mountains, he can walk on the clouds, manipulator of crowds, he's a dream twister." Number 10 was "Seeing the Real you at Last" from the 1985 Empire Burlesque Album. Number 11 was "This Wheels on Fire" from the Band Era off the Basement Tapes Album. It had an ominous wind up. Number 12 was the Leopard-skin Pill-Box hat. Leopard Skin Pill-Box Haaaaaaat. Dylan was really working hard on this one. It brought forth a few bottles and joints flying on the stage, as the crowd was loving it. This number brought the show to it first ending, but nobody was leaving and we began the ritual of the usual three times encore. After a few minutes of screaming and yelling the band was back on stage for a great rendition of "I Shall Be Released." I couldn't help hearing here something sounding a bit prophetic in this song. "Any Day Now, Any Day Now·.I shall Be Released." How much longer can Dylan keep this up. After all, we were commenting on our way in that the next anniversary will probably be his sixtieth birthday. And even Dylan knows that "it could all come apart right now like puttin' scissors to a string." Well I hope not. After this song, he gave a polite bow, someone threw a fringe coat on stage and they walked off again. Still nobody leaving. And they came back for Number 14 "Don't Think Twice its Alright" This again was a real crowd pleaser. A lot more of this run together phrasing. "somethin'youwoulddoorsay" was really just one word. "But don't think twice Its allllllllllright." "I'm walkin down that long, lonesome road babe Where I'm bound, I can't tell." I think I'm hearing something important here. This was an extremely beautiful rendition with a long drawn out ending and the crowd reaching the ballistic stage. The band walks off the stage again here and still nobody is buying it. What's going on? Do they all have access to the internet and the setlists? So they come back on the stage and the drums rumble out and set the stage for Rainy Day Women #12 & 35. They'll stone ya had the sense of: "They will attack ya when you riding in your car They will attack ya when your playing your guitar" Some guy got past security here and stood right next to Dylan and pretended to be playing the guitar, trying to copy the licks that Dylan was putting on. Dylan looked up at him but pretty much ignored him. Security was a little thin but several others who tried to get on stage were turned back. At last the guitar impersonator was corralled and put off the stage, but just as he was sent packing two more, a guy and a girl got up. Again security was crawling behind the amplifiers, but when it was apparent that these two just wanted to dance, the lead security guy indicated to leave them alone. They finished out the song dancing wildly. And the girl came over to embrace Dylan and he obliged her. It was apparent to me from my vantage point that we were close to things getting out of hand. Just one or two more attempts here and security would have broken down completely. And the words that Dylan was signing would come true, They will attack ya and then say that you are brave, They will attack ya when you are set down in your grave. But I guess he should not feel so all alone, eveybody must get stoned. All in all it was a great show. And while it seems Dylan swings through New England about once a year, maybe this was my last time to see him live and I enjoyed it immensely. Doug Fox
Subject: Hartford Set List 4/19 From: Date: Sun, 20 Apr 1997 20:24:33 -0500 Organization: Yale University note: my email for replies is "", NOT WHERE I'M WRITING FROM! Saturday, 4/19/97, 8:00pm Tonight Dylan played at the University of Hartford Sports Center in Connecticut, a college basketball court. No one opened for him. Dylan wore a suit like the Colonel from Kentucky Fried Chicken (white with black Texas tie) and black pants with a stripe on the side. He said nothing for the whole show (literally), and bowed at each encore. He had come to Connecticut this time last year, and unfortunately the set and style was much the same: 1) Cover blues song ("Not Fade Away" I think is the title, goes "I'm gonna tell you how it's gonna be / you're gonna make sweet love to me...") 2) I Want You 3) All Along the Watchtower (much like on Unplugged) 4) You ain't goin nowhere 5) Watching the River Flow (sounded like more country-rock) 6) Sylvia ---Acoustic Set--- 7) Roving Gambler (Traditional - in this version the Gambler shot a man a cards and goes to jail at the end; he "Gambled his life away") 8) Masters of War 9) Tangled up in Blue (He used the exact lyrics from the _Blood on the Tracks_ release. He played a harmonica solo and two guitar solos - which both consisted of three notes played over and over, sometimes four) ------------------ 10) Seeing the Real You At Last (a relaxed version) 11) This Wheel's on Fire ----encore 1------ 12) Leopard-Skin Pill-box Hat ----encore 2------ 13) I Shall be Released ----encore 3------ 14) Don't think Twice It's Alright ----encore 4------ 15) Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35 At the last song the house lights went up, and a guy jumped onstage playing ferocious air-guitar very close along-side Dylan for a few minutes, while Dylan smiled amused and ignored him, then the guy went to do the same with Dylan's lead guitarist - as he left Dylan indicated with a few head movements that he didn't want him coming to touch. I've never seen anyone be so close to someone for so long without touching. Next a man and woman jumped on stage and started dancing their air-guitars, but stayed in front of the band rather than approach Dylan. They did this for a long time while Dylan and the band just kept on playing. Where was his paranoid fear of fans? It wasn't until he played the last note that the security team grapped the two fans - but the girl reached out to hug Dylan and he signaled to let her, which she did. The whole time the security was walking around behind the set, and Dylan seemed to be looking at them shouting something now and then, but they never disturbed this scene until the end. He had nothing to worry about, these were not the A. Weberman type - they were more excited about goofing around onstage in front of everyone then they were about making contact with Dylan. That's all, Chris
Subject: Hartford Courant Review--April 19 Concert From: Stephen Armstrong (Steph17895@AOL.COM) Date: Mon, 21 Apr 1997 22:18:55 -0400 The following appeared in the Hartford Courant in the April 20 late edition: Dylan offers timeless air, introspection By Roger Catlin, Courant Rock Critic It more resembled a scene from the '50s as the man in a white tuxedo coat and Texas bow tie got on stage at the Saturday night school gym rock show with the riffs of a Buddy Holly song. "Not Fade Away" proved a perfect, timeless opener even in Bob Dylan's gritty rasp. But it's clear that the young people who dominated Dylan's sold-out show at the University of Hartford Sports Center knew the song from Grateful Dead shows. Dylan seems to have inherited some of the Dead audience since the death of Jerry Garcia, which adds a certain color to the prceedings. But the lost flocks couldn't have found a better touchstone of the '60s than Dylan, whose lyric output that decade has not been surpassed. It was the '60s material that continues to dominate Dylan's electric tours, and so much the better for the audience, which includes a good amount of fellow fogies as well. The Saturday lineup included such tour staples as " All Along the Watchtower", "Silvio" (from 1988, the most recent song) and "Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35". But it also included some unexpected gems as well. "I Want You" and "You Ain't Gong Nowhere" benefitted from the crying tones of Bucky Baxter's pedal steel guitar. "Watching the River Flow" got a big percussive New Orleans backing from new drummer David Kemper. "Tangled Up in Blue" offered the only flash of harmonica plalying and topped a three-song acoustic set mid-show. Although he never spoke to the audience, Dylan, who turns 56 next month, seemed to be having fun, smiling at the occasional line ("Why only yesterday I saw somebody on the street who just couldn't help but cry"), endlessly soloing, maybe even impersonating his own diction. Dylan sets up his shows to include songs with jam possibilities, such as "Leopard-Skin Pill-box Hat", which ended the 12-song main set. It must not be a treat to be a guitarist in his band, though: Larry Campbell's main chore was to humor Dylan's soloing with rhythm until he got the rare spotlight. The acoustic set began with a rare performance of "Rovin' Gambler", a song Dylan used to play in his earliest days, followed by a folk blues take on "Masters of War". Despite all the rocking, he hinted he was in a reflective mood by dropping both of the planned encore songs--"Highway 61 Revisted" and "Like a Rolling Stone"--for the more introspective anthem "I Shall Be Released". It echoed the odd wisfulness in a slower, more dramatic version of "This Wheel's On Fire". At the end, he seemed amused when goofy collegiates jumped on stage to dance to "Rainy Day Women". And he didn't sing another line while they were up there. The Set List for Bob Dylan Saturday was: Not Fade Away, I Want You, All Along the Watchtower, You Ain't Going Nowhere, Watching the River Flow, Silvio, Rovin' Gambler, Masters of War, Tangled up in Blue, Seeing the Real you at Last, This Wheel's On Fire, Leopard-skin Pill-box Hat, (encore) I Shall Be Released, Don't Think Twice, its All Right, Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35. Comments???? Steve
Subject: Re: Not Fade Away (what was it like?) From: Patricia Jungwirth (tricia.j@AARDVARK.APANA.ORG.AU) Date: Wed, 23 Apr 1997 14:57:14 +1000 I probably got the subject line wrong, but you get the drift... funny how people can spend inordinate amounts of time typing long missives which give a blow by blow description of their entire day from the moment they woke up till the call for last drinks at the bar after the show... without telling us what the bloody music was like!!! for crying out loud - those of us who weren't there would like a little consideration from you lucky bums ($13/16 to see Bob Dylan at a college gym or hockey rink or basketball stadium!!???) Not Fade Away - what did it SOUND like? comparisons, musical descriptiveness, what was the singing like, did he use the Buddy Holly version? The Stones? Patti Smith? Bo Diddley riffs? who played them? come on guys, you can do it... Roving Gambler - solo? mandolin? pedal steel? what kind of guitar picking? or did he play kazoo and stand on his head? what words? what tempo? anything? helloooooooooo down on my knees, begging you pleeease Tricia J
Subject: Re: Not Fade Away (what was it like?) From: Sadiejane ( Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 15:35:21 -0700 I haven't really had time to post up about either 4/17 or 4/18. But Tricia, you deserve at least some kind of answer. When my friend from down under puts out an SOS - I try to rise to the occasion. I have never heard the Dead, or the Stones do Not Fade Away. Didn't Patti do it as a tribute to Garcia in some of those '95 shows? I would have heard that version. I think I have heard Buddy Holly's version though (I believe my brother had a best of Buddy LP when we were in highschool - this is when I learned that Linda Ronstadt did not write, "That'll Be The Day") - but it's been a while. I knew the minute it started that it was a buddy holly song - just in the opening bars. It was uptempo and punchy and rebellious in the perky early-rock way. I wish I had a tape of it now, I'd give you more detail! The one thing I remember is that it ended on a dime. Bob seemed to enjoy playing with us a bit during the last "not fade away"s which he repeated a couple of times, getting softer and softer. When he sang the last "not fade away" there was one measure and that was it. Sayanara sweetheart. I think we were all expecting a bit of a jam there at the end - but the sudden, screech to a halt, added to the drama of the moment. Roving Gambler (if I recall correctly) had Larry and Bob on acoustic, Bucky on dobro, Tony on the standup and David (as usual on the kit). It was clearly well rehearsed, with bucky and Larry coming in on the refrain with some very nice vocal harmonies. There is nothing quite like hearing bob start a song, and NOT being able to guess what it is. It's a rare occasion (never) that this happens (even "not fade away" I could guess by the opening riff) and so I enjoyed {relished} every minute of this delicious state of not-knowing. Because I was at the rail, I couldn't hear bob's vocals that well in the onstage monitors (he likes his vocals very very low in the mix) and so I couldn't make out the words all that well. but the ones that Ben Taylor has since posted look right. It had a sweet, sad, lyrical, lilting, shake sugaree kind of mood. It was beautiful. DIGRESSION ABOUT THE NEW SETUP: The monitors are standing on either side of the stage, pointing inward, toward the band at an angle. The floor monitors that used to sit on the floor in front of the mic stands by JJ, Bob and Tony have been long gone - since the start of the Maritime shows. I've been told btw that all the changes in the new onstage setup were made by Bob himself, PERSONALLY. If he now can't hear his harmonica because of the bleed from the drums (which are now without a plexi screen and lower and closer than before), and the reduction of monitors, it is his choice. He is not wearing anykind of special inside ear monitor either. As far as I can tell - he is not playing much harp, because he can't hear it. I'm not sure how the soundboard is running his two mics, but they are so close together that (IMHO) it defeats the purpose of having two of them up there. Ideally one could set the levels on one of them higher for the harp and on one lower for the vocals - but they are too close together. You would invariably get the sound of the vocals and the harp coming thru both mics simultaneously because of their proximity. Also, the second mic that is up there is a cheapy - I don't think it is a special harp mic (like the one Van uses). Harp mics are flatter and wider and generally hand held. I've seen Annie Raines, a tremendous blues harpist who plays with Paul Rishell, use one. A roadie said to me of bob's two mics: "one of those mic's cost $40.00 and one cost $400.00, can you guess which?" I confess to being no expert on mics, though. All I know is what I use, the standard workhorse: shure-sm57/58. The other thing is that Bob's guitar is really really high in the onstage mix - it was so loud in fact, that in Hartford I *almost* regretted not having ear plugs with me. I've never felt the need for them before at shows, no matter how close I was to the speakers or the stage. His guitar was so live that you could hear the glissando caused by his fingers moving on the strings as his hand went from open positions to positions high on the neck. Usually this is inaudible. It was quite pronounced in Hartford. well - I didn't mean to digress so long. gosh - I feel this has been terribly inadequate. Sorry tricia - you'll just have to wait till the tapes starts circulating! xxxx sj
Subject: College paper review of Hartford, 4/19/97 From: Mark Landis ( Date: Sat, 26 Apr 1997 22:11:23 -0700 >From the Wesleyan Argus, 4/25/97: Bob Dylan Revisited: Legendary Folk-Artist Alive and Kickin' at UHartford by Sarah Schorr The crowd in West Hartford took to its feet and welcomed Bob Dylan to the University of Hartford basketball court at 8pm last Saturday. To the left of me on the wooden bench, a fan worried about the acoustics of the small arena. In front of me, a woman with two young children rocked without music. For his part, Bob Dylan, radiant in white cowboy boots, tipped his head and responded to the applause with 'Yes,' and 'thank you.' And as he picked up his guitar the seated, old and young, elbowed, stomped and fled to the front in order to get closest to Bob. When, surprisingly, my Argus press pass failed not only to get me back stage passes but also to upgrade my seats, I, too, pushed past security guards to get to the front. From ten feet away and under red and blue lights Dylan's face looked old, but quite alive. He was at ease opening with the Grateful Dead's 'Not Fade Away,' and he almost smiled as he played. Almost. Contrary to the rumors generated by past tours, Dylan proved that he could still capture an audience. The capacity crowd of 3000 cheered as Dylan swayed, knees-bent, eyes-closed, roaring the lyrics to 'I Want You' and then, 'All Along the Watchtower.' The enthusiasm of the arena peaked when Dylan motioned to his roadie to pass him his slick, black acoustic. In full Johnny Cash style, Dylan sang a country version of 'You Ain't Goin' Nowhere,' the highlight of the evening for me. ('Whoo--ee! Ride me high, tomorrow's the day my bride's gonna come. Oh-oh, are we gonna fly, down in the easy chair!') 'You Ain't Goin' Nowhere' stood out because Dylan danced a bit--by dance I mean one step forward, one step backwards, and then repeat. He paused for a moment to smile an actual smile at the crowd's approval and adoration. It was like the moment (if you know it) on _Bringing It All Back Home_ in 'Bob Dylan's 115th Dream' when he explodes into laughter. ('I was riding on the Mayflower, when I thought I spied some land....(_charming laughter_)....Start again') I think that with Bob Dylan the unplanned moments (the 'dancing' and half-smiles) shape the character that becomes so appealing in his music, and that character was made accessible on Saturday night. I noticed that most everyone seemed to fix their eyes on Dylan's face, waiting for one of those moments. Myself included. So, after the sixth verse in 'Tangled Up In Blue' when Dylan went to the back of the stage to get his harmonica, the crowd responded with a hush and a few unrestrained squeals. The full arena became quieter still as Dylan brought his hand over his left ear in an attempt to block out the band. Everyone was silent. I experienced the same phenomena in a slow version of 'Visions of Johanna,' last year. In the moments of pause I considered the fact that if I shouted to Bob during these breaks he would probably hear me. In that same spirit, the end of the harmonica piece was soon complimented with cheers. And at this point, several audience members attempted the climb to the stage. Dylan nodded the nod he reserves for over-eager fans and they were immediately carried off by very large University of Hartford security guards. It was clear that, despite his good spirit, Dylan treasures his personal space. In a conversation with an usher I learned of Dylan's specific instructions: 'He didn't want anyone to touch him.' During the triple encore numbers of 'Don't Think Twice It's Alright,' 'I Shall Be Released' and the ritual of ending with 'Rainy Day Women' ('everybody must get stoned') he denied various offerings that were thrown onto the stage--wilting flower, fringed jacket and joint. Instead, he grinned and gave a slight bow. When he walked off the stage for the final time, he didn't look back.