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Bob Dylan 980117 in New York, New York - Madison Square Garden - The Theater

       Address: 7th Ave. & 32nd St. 
       Capacity 5610 
       Double bill with Van Morrison 
       Ticket prices: $75.00 and $45.00 

Subject: 1/16, 1/17/98 From: ( Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 05:00:03 -0500 Howdy Folks, Here's some thoughts on the first 2 nights in NYC. This probably wont be brief! On the 16th, Van played first (on the 17th, Bob played first). I sure had the opening night jitters on Friday, but Van didn't seem to; he put in an incredible performance. Van's set: Burning Ground Fire in the Belly It Once Was Was My Life Raincheck In the Afternoon Satisfied How Long has this been Going On Vanlose Stairway/Trans Euro Train/I'm a Fool for You Sometimes We Cry This Weight Domino It's a Mans Mans Mans Mans World/Drifting Blues Have I Told You Lately That I Love You Moondance Tupelo Honey/Why Must I Always Explain Cypress Avenue Van The Man was animated and in good voice (though coughing off mike occasionally). His band is simply fantastic. Pee Wee Ellis on saxes (baritone, tenor and soprano) and Georgie Fame (organ & vocals) deserve special mention. Highlights were How Long, Tupelo/Explain, and especially Cypress Avenue. Van's comments during that song: "Someone, in a newspaper, had the audacity to call this pop music...if this is pop music, what the fuck are we all doin' here??" A short break, then Dylan's set: Absolutely Sweet Marie Not Dark Yet Cold Irons Bound Simple Twist of Fate Silvio One Too Many Mornings John Brown Tangled Up In Blue Million Miles Just Like a Woman Highway 61 Like a Rolling Stone My Back Pages Love Sick RDW #12 & 35 Not a bad show by any means, but not a great show either (IM very HO, of course). One major distraction was that the house lights stayed on 50 per cent for all of Dylan's set (lights were off for Van's set). Not Dark Yet, hell, Not Dark at all! It was a weird distraction, I kept wondering when the lights would go off...but they didn't. Management allowed a stage rush during the encores, maybe that has something to do with it, but why have the lights on the whole set? Anyway... Simple Twist was a highlight. There is a thread about Tony's bass playing of late, and he was great on Simple Twist, melodic and creative, virtually soloing throughout the song. John Brown, with a new and very quiet arrangement, was also a standout. Just Like a Woman was in an unusual slot in the setlist, and as always the crowd ate it up. But to me it seems the song needs a fresh arrangement; Bucky carries the whole tune. I like Larry overall, but does he play anything new or interesting on Just Like a Woman? In the pub after the show with Vanatics, I admitted that despite my leanings toward Dylan, I thought Mr Morrison played a better show. And I assured them that Mr Dylan would deliver more impressive performances. One wonderful element of this double bill is that there is a bit of rivalry, or competition between the two bandleaders (not to mention the fans ;-). On to Saturday.... Landing in my excellent mail order seat, I notice that Dylan's band equipment is ready to go: Absolutely Sweet Marie Senor Can't Wait Not Dark Yet Silvio Tomorrow is a Long Time The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll Tangled up in Blue Million Miles Tears of Rage Brand New Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat LARS Forever Young Love Sick RDW #12 & 35 YOW! What a show! Everything clicked. (They nearly turned the house lights all the way off, even.) Senor was very well played, Dylan leaning into every syllable. Lo & behold, in the #3 slot, we get Can't Wait. Fantastic, with a bit of a reggae arrangement. Folks, if you haven't heard TOOM songs live yet, you're in for a treat. The live versions are as good or better than the recordings (which may be excellent blueprints, but blueprints nonetheless). Not Dark Yet isn't quite as good as the LP version...yet. It doesn't have that in-your-ear intimacy, but it's getting there. It sure works a lot better as #4 than as #2...tonights version was much more focused. Tomorrow is a Long Time--the real deal. In the midst of all the bitter TOOM tunes, a genuine love song, beautifully sung (Larry adds some harmony vocals). The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll--Sounded like 100 per cent effort to me. One small detail: Dylan's phrasing of the word "murder" was chilling. This guy is the best actor around. Tears of Rage--very heartfelt singing on this favorite of mine. (Note to Maureen--he screwed up the third verse, par for the (rather odd) course. He started by repeating the second verse, then clearly rolled his eyes and corrected himself in time to get the "heart is filled with gold" line right). Spoken intro to "Pillbox Hat": "Here's a song that was written right here in New York City, just a little while ago..." Band Intro (approx): "Here's someone from right here in New York, Larry Campbell! From the East Bay, Dave Kemper...the former mayor of Bluefield, West Virginia, Bucky Baxter...and of course Tony Garnier on bass..." LARS built up quite a head of steam by the end, Bucky chiming in with sweet arpeggios. Forever Young featured two great guitar solos by Bob. Another awesome Love Sick, then open up those houselights, everyone stand up and get down; it's time for RDW. I even spied some rather highly placed Vanatics boogieing like mad in their posh box seats. Oh yeah, after all that it's only intermission, another show to go: Burning Ground Fire in the Belly It Once Was My Life Raincheck In The Afternoon Satisfied Vanlose Stariway/Trans Euro Train A Change is Gonna Come Summertime in England Domino Man's World Have I Told You Lately that I Love You How Long Has This Been Going On Days Like This Cypress Avenue Yikes, I may have some of the song order wrong towards the end, but I think I got them all in. Which means I was enjoying myself so much I didn't even write down the songs! Van had a few laughing fits tonight--perchance he had a drink before the show. But it didn't affect 90 per cent of the tunes, I think his looseness was a plus. He may have been laughing a bit, but when he got to the intense parts, he was really intense. Pee Wee singing doo wop harmony on "It Once Was My Life" especially seemed to crack Van up. The whole band looked loose...Pee Wee walked on and off stage and danced occasionally too (that is, when he wasn't switching between baritone and soprano in the same song and playing tremendously). (note: Speaking of dancing, I haven't even mentioned Dylan's dancing, which could be studied on it's own at this point. I'll just say that during one song the 17th, Bob Dylan did a brief combination duckwalk/moonwalk.) During "Satisfied", Van said 'Its funny, upstairs they're saying "I can't get no Satisfaction" but down here were saying "I'm Satisfied"'. Yes, the Rolling Stones were playing in the same building. Somewhere during "In the Afternoon" Van shouted out "Bluebeat!" apropos of nothing, it seemed. Later on I realized the arrangement of "Domino" does has a touch of ska to it, that quick choppy rhythm guitar. "Domino" ("this was a hit 500 years ago" Van quipped on the 16th) was great both nights. During the quiet part of Vanlose Stairway/Trans Euro Train, Van yelled out "Sam Cooke!". The version of "Change is Gonna Come" that followed was exquisite, a real highlight, as was "Summertime in England" (featuring the 2 horn players slowly marching along the edge of the stage at one point). During one of the long songs (which one? sorry my memory is not 100 per cent on this, would love some clarification on the quote) Van said something like "For all you people who write about me on the internet, here's some truth". It was wild hearing Van acknowledge the internet community...though he didn't seem to have a very high opinion of "us"! The version of "Cypress Avenue" was even more intense than last night's..."It's Too Late To Stop Now!" Indeed. Did you get healed? Lights up, back down through Penn Station to the L train. No guest stars, no Van/Bob collaborations; but I honestly don't mind. Two down, three to go-- if they top Saturday's show, it'll really be something. I'll keep you posted. Thanks ev'rybody, Rich Shaffer
Subject: msg 1/17 From: Peter Stone Brown ( Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 06:07:22 -0500 I was wondering what it would be like when the two people I consider to be the most intense and greatest singer-songwriters of the last part of this century would bet together. When I got inside and realized the stage was set up for Dylan to open the show, it was something I wasn't mentally prepared for. Compared to the much more intimate Troc shows of a month ago, Dylan seemed lackluster. I wondered if he'd been up real late the night before with Keith and Ronnie. Sweet Marie was okay, but not as intense and rocking as Maggie's Farm at the club shows (and if I had a choice of the two songs, normally I would pick Sweet Marie.) When he went into Senor, I though oh no, he's not gonna do Not Dark Yet, but Bob had some surprises in store. Now it didn't help that there some real assholes sitting around me who decided to converse the entire night. I felt like asking if they were millionaires. I really cannot comprehend how someone can pay almost $100 for a ticket (after ticket monster service charges) and talk through a show. Anyway, Can't Wait was third, a bit of surprise, kind of a quick version, followed by Not Dark Yet. As has been pointed out elsewhere, it's not quite there yet. I kept thinking this should really be affecting me, but it isn't. Part of the reason may be is that Dylan sang it in a lower key than on the album, and just wasn't able to emote as powerfully. Sylvio as usual rocked hard. A pretty exquisite Tomorrow Is A Long Time followed with Larry providing nice harmony on the chorus, and this was followed by Hattie Carrol, also very strong. Then came Tangled Up In Blue which had a lot of tangled up verses. Bob sang verse 4 (topless place) 2nd and then worked his way back to verse 3 then 2. There was one great part (I think when he finally did verse 2) when he delivered this really amazing "And" I believe on and they drove that car as far as they could, he just held it like AANNNNNNDDDDDDDD and it was one of those great Dylan moments. The rest of the show was okay with Love Sick the standout and Bob messing up lyrics, a slight flub on "Tears of Rage," and a sort of amazing mixup on "Forever Young" where he sang the last part of verse 3 on verse 2 or something and then added an additional 2nd part of the verse going back to what it should've been or something like that. The sound (at least where I was sitting) was also a little strange with Bob's voice far out front at first and the guitar sound muddy throughout. On the electric numbers Dylan left most of the lead work in Larry's hands. Now though, I'm wishing I had tickets for an additional night because I would like to see the show with Dylan in the closing spot. Van Morrison on the other hand was totally awesome. It's been something like ten years since I've seen him and this show totally blew away the last shows I saw him do. Doing mostly recent material, he was on from the very first note and just kept taking things higher. His shows these days are half high spirited R&B, half revival meeting, and Van was in a great mood (he is easily as unpredictable as Bob when it comes to moodiness, but he has a tendency to let his moods get in the way of a show), but not tonight. Like Dylan, it really doesn't matter ultimately what he sings, but how he sings it and tonight he was in top form, joking around and having a great time. Morrison has stage presence, but he doesn't always show it and doesn't always use it. He's so short (even shorter than Bob) that sometimes he was amost hidden behind a music stand and he likes to prowl around the stage often disappearing behind the other musicians, and you can hear him but not see him. As Rich so excellent reported, he joked about the Stones playing up stairs, paid tribute to James Brown and Junior Wells, even mentioned the net. His band (and his bands are almost always great) was just impeccable, so professional, so tight, that at the end I wasn't sure if it was the dream bill I thought it was gonna be. And the thing is I love Dylan's current band. I think with this line-up, he finally has everything really in place, the right guitarist, the right drummer, a band that can rock hard, but can also play the acoustic folk and country stuff the way that it should be played, a band that is totally sympathetic musically to his unique needs. But halfway through Van's set, I started wishing Dylan had Keltner and Drummond even though there were times when I saw him with Keltner and Drummond where I thought their arena-rock sound wasn't necessarily right for Dylan at all. Then I started wishing for The Band, not the Band as it is now, but The Band as it can never be again. But then again, if somehow I'd been able to take the show I saw first night at the Troc a month ago, and put it on the stage last night, it would've been a totally different show. I'm not into competition among musicians. It has nothing to do with the music, and the two singers I saw last night are the two who are the most important to me and have been the most important to me for three decades. But last night it was Van Morrison who delivered the more powerful and inspired performance. -- "I was just too stubborn to ever be governed by enforced insanity." --Bob Dylan Peter Stone Brown e-mail:
Subject: 1/16 and 1/17, MSG From: SAKaplan ( Date: 18 Jan 1998 15:49:13 GMT Saw the Friday and Saturday night shows. I thought Van started out a bit slow on Friday night; there were moments, particularly towards the end, that cooked but it definitely took him a while to get going, and I thought the intensity of the performance was uneven. Dylan started out a little shaky on Friday night--I thought his vocals were kind of pinched and tentative on Sweet Marie, and Not Dark Yet, which was the first song on TOOM to really grab me, didn't have the power I hoped for. I thought Bobby had that weird disconnected "Kennedy Center" look in his eyes at the beginning, where he looked very uncomfortable, like he didn't want to be there and was kind of not there as a result. But midway through, I think in the middle of Tangled Up in Blue, he visibly relaxed and started enjoying himself--vamping and flirting with the crowd outrageously and seeming to love the role of rock 'n' roll lead guitarist. The last song of the regular set, Highway 61, was dynamite. As usual, I thought it was the newest stuff that really had his attention and sounded the most emphatically felt. On Saturday night, Dylan opened and came out cooking. It might have been where I was sitting--right next to the sound board guy in front of Section 200, versus on the first night fourth row--but the mix sounded absolutely perfect, and Dylan came out in great voice. I had a slight preference for the song list on Friday night--Forever Young has never been one of my favorites, but it's hard to argue with great renditions of Tears of Rage, Lonesome Death, Tomorrow is a Long Time--overall I thought Dylan really came to play all night on Saturday night from the outset. I also believe he put some pressure on Van Morrison who came out and played a far superior show on Saturday night--it may also have been the privileged position of coming out second and it being Saturday night. Kind of amazing to have so much music power at one location those two nights, with the Stones upstairs. I loved both the shows. I am a long-time--35 year--Dylan fanatic, and for me he is far more than a performer, I regard him as a visionary with profound insights into the divine. I rediscovered the beauty of "I and I" recently and made the connection in the chorus--"One says to the other, 'no man sees my face and lives'"--to the chapter in Exodus 33:20 where God speaks to Moses (You cannot see my face for no human can see me and live). I feel that when I watch him I am gaining a glimpse of something transcendent.
Subject: Review of MSG, 1/17 - be warned, almost 1800 words! From: Stasia (A_Karel@ACAD.FANDM.EDU) Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 23:21:29 -0400 Bob Dylan and Van Morrison - Madison Square Garden Theater, January 17, 1998. So, at 7:45 all the lights dimmed and I stared at the stage in anticipation. However, I was expecting Van Morrison to be the opener, with Dylan following. And even though I had previously noted the type of equipment set up on the stage (i.e. Tony's upright bass, and Bucky's instruments - I remember seeing a roadie tuning the mandolin, and knew we'd be hearing "Tangled Up In Blue"), my mind didn't make the necessary connection. Anyway, back to the beginning. Even as the oh so familiar voice started announcing "Columbia Recording Artist. . . .", in my mind I was trying to figure out which label Morrison records for. I really was not mentally prepared to see Bob open the show. "Absolutely Sweet Marie" was so much better than it had been in August. As my notes say - the sound was fantastic, and all the words were clear. BTW, this was my first Dylan concert that was sit-down (okay, one with seats), indoors show - so a new experience in that respect. "Senor" is/was on my extensive wish list of songs to hear live, and for me, it was nearly as good as the album version. However, perhaps owing to the fact I hadn't listened to this song in a while, I was convinced that Bob was using different words - but the words I heard matched the Lyrics book - it was the line with "pick myself up off the floor" that I had jotted down for evidence. After consulting Larry about something, Bob and the band start into "Can't Wait". I didn't recognize the instrumental intro. - thinking that perhaps it could be "Cold Irons Bound", but yet at the same time knew it wasn't. Anyway, this song was just awesome, and IMHO, an ideal live version. Bob, by the way, was incredibly full of energy. Count off by David (I'm assuming it was him, know I heard someone count off), and they start "Not Dark Yet". I'm happy to say that I guessed correctly before Bob started singing - and those first couple lines ("Shadows are falling/and I've been here all day") have been stuck in my mind ever since the moment Bob sang them. It was just so beautiful, and definitely another ideal live version. Note: I've read several reviews in which people are saying that this song isn't quite there yet. For me - if there had been anything wrong, I would have written it down. But no, this song was one of the highlights of the concert and I'm thrilled to have heard it. "Silvio"! Okay, so I've heard it at all the shows I've seen. But this time was definitely the best - and, except for the last verse, I could understand all the words. Great back-up by Larry and Bucky, too. Ooh, ooh. The acoustic set! Big question running through my mind - what song would start it off?? Lo and behold, it was "Tomorrow Is A Long Time"! I admit I'm not very familiar with this song, but I knew it well enough to appreciate the performance. At this point I realized just how fast the concert was going by. But the song was so beautiful - and I just love it when Tony's playing the upright - is it called a "double bass"? "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll". Although long ago I realized what the guy's name is - to this day I still hear it as "Williams and Zinger". But anyway, it was nice hearing this song - it's not one of my favorites, but well, nice is the only way I can describe the experience (for my dad, on the other hand, it was the highlight of the show). At this point I wrote in my notes: How can anyone complain about his voice? I had heard "Tangled Up In Blue" at the two shows I attended in August and at the moment, feel rather indifferent about it. BUT, when Bob switched the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th verses around, I saw this as pretty damn cool. Okay, at first, I was horrified, but then it was rather groovy. I'm still not telling the complete truth. As he began the song, I kind of stopped paying attention, and so assumed that he had already done the 2nd verse and then skipped the 3rd to right to the 4th. This was what I was horrified about, but then everything eventually made sense. You know, it was something different - and I'm applauding the change (even if it never happens again). Oh yeah, move those feet Bob! Excellent footwork throughout this song - as well as the rest of the show, of course. Also great lighting - for this song only - in which there was a golden hue and the band's shadows were reflected upon the walls (this viewing experience was another highlight). Now, the song that contains my favorite lines from TOOM. "Million Miles" was everything that I'd hoped it would be and more. I did notice something though - and as insignificant as it may seem - I simply have to mention it. In the verse about the janitor, Bob is supposed to say: "That's alright momma, you do what you have to do." (close enough - currently don't have access to album) Anyway, when singing it Saturday night, he said "baby" instead of "momma". Yes, I know. It means nothing in the long run. Just something I noticed - and besides, the next verse (my fav.) is "Rock me pretty baby. . . .", which is how he sang it, so the two verses didn't sound right next to each other. Oh yeah, this song also deserves the title of being an ideal live version. It was at this time that I noticed the absence of monitors in front of the stage. Were they hiding somewhere? Guess it really doesn't matter. Another count off by David, and "Tears of Rage" begins. I doubt I've heard this song more than once before, so it took me a while to be certain of what it was. I was pretty sure it was "Tears", as I knew it wasn't "Watching the River Flow" or "This Wheel's On Fire". I also had trouble understanding Bob during this song - possibly because I didn't know the song? Also noticed quite a bit more audience movement during this song - which I attribute to those people not knowing the song. Intro. of the band, with Bob mentioning that Larry was from NYC. Also heard him say something about Bucky being from West Virginia. (I know he said more, but I couldn't understand it, except for the last bit, ". . . right here in NYC.") Later, I learned that he'd introduced "Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat" - and I must say, I was rather surprised that Bob had spoken so much (but glad, too). At the end of this song, we were treated to a bow from Bob; it was 8:55. The encores began a few minutes later with "Like A Rolling Stone". Having had a bad experience with this song in August, I was not overjoyed. Dreading that Bob would let the audience sing in his place, I kind of sulked throughout this song - but was relieved when it was over. Oh yeah, the weird thing is, when it first started I thought it was "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" - don't know where my mind was. I still had a surly attitude during "Forever Young" - didn't even really watch, although that was due to not wanting to stand - which I would have had to do because of the people in front of me (and that's as much as I'll say about them). 1/2 bow from Bob at end. I'm not sure what the real cause of my attitude problem was - it was definitely instigated by "Rolling Stone", but I remember feeling a little sad too. I think I felt a little out of place, because I don't know exactly what role Bob currently plays in my life. (e.g. At my first August show I was so overjoyed that Bob was on stage that nothing else mattered; second show I was a bit more reflective - thinking "why does it have to be like this, Bob?") I had totally forgotten about "Love Sick" - to the point that I was expecting "RDW" and thought that the opening chords of "LS" were for another song - like he'd chosen to close with something else. This song was not quite as ideal as the other songs from the new album were. It was a little flat - if that's the correct way to describe it, I don't know. Some verses were better than others - particularly by the end. Overall, though, the instrumental was better than the vocal. And, of course, "Rainy Day Women" closed the show. Nothing significant about this, except that he left the stage with a double bow and a wave. Not having much experience with the music of Van Morrison (only the album Moondance), I was quite pleased with what I heard - in particular the song "In The Afternoon". I also enjoyed his presence on stage - the stream of consciousness that seemed to be in some of his songs. Okay, final consensus of the show - and how I feel about the set lists from the other shows. The set list for my concert was really quite wonderful - particularly "Senor", "Not Dark Yet", and "Million Miles". Last night, however, I was most upset that he had done "Born In Time" (on 1/20) - which I believe to be my absolute favorite song. The only thing that consoled me was knowing that this song was indeed on my set list as an alternate for "Tears Of Rage" - and that it also appears to be in the rotation of things, which means that I just might get to hear it in Atlantic City (can't wait!). But it was definitely worth the money spent (about $55 after everything). I had made ample use of my binoculars during the show - so my view wasn't too bad (my seat was towards the front of section 305). I can't call this the best concert I've ever been to (that would be 8/13/97), but I do think that Bob's voice sounded much better. I also can't rate this concert - it just doesn't seem fair for some reason - and all I can say to end this review is that it has given me some wonderful memories. -Stasia
Subject: Went to the Apple - Took a Bite (In the Garden, 1/17/98) From: Tom Karel T_KAREL@LIBRARY.FANDM.EDU Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 16:07:29 -0500 I've been enjoying all the reports from the Madison Square Garden shows, and decided to add my own "review". I attended the Saturday show with my 19-year old daughter, who is a huge Dylan fan (and a frequent contributor to this list), We had the rare opportunity to see two of Bob's concerts in August, in the same week (Hershey, PA and Holmdel, NJ), but missed a couple chances to see him in Philadelphia so it was a thrill to be able to get into New York for this one. The setting: the concert was in MSG's "Theater", which is just a small part of the complex and seemed to be on the lower level. In the much larger arena above, the Rolling Stones were doing their last show of their NYC run the same evening! You know you're in the Capital of the World when you have the Stones, Dylan, and Van Morrison all performing in the same building on the same night - and the city seems to take it all in stride! Our seats were in the upper left section of the theater, a little bit closer than we were at Holmdel. We had a good view of the stage, and my daughter brought binoculars which we used frequently. The crowd was a mix of NY sophisticates, aging hippies, younger fans, and ordinary people. Not as rough and rowdy as Holmdel, yet more hip than Hershey. A lot of drinking going on all around us, though, as others have reported. The first surprise came around 7:45 when the lights dimmed and we heard that now-familiar canned introduction. Bob was opening the show! We had assumed that Morrison would go on first, so we weren't fully prepared for Bob's appearance. A lot of people were still filing into the theater, and kept arriving and trying to find seats during his first few songs - so that was a distraction. But eventually everything settled down and we could really enjoy the concert. The sound system at MSG is terrific, hence we could hear's Bob's voice loud and strong. He appeared to be in top form, very animated, a lot of dips and walks and he engaged the crowd with his face. Throughout the show he looked like he was having the time of his life, and he was singing up a storm! "Sweet Marie" - I'm starting to prefer this live version (which I've now heard 3 times) to the Blond on Blond rendition, though this time the song seemed to fly by too quickly. Maybe Bob sensed that the crowd was still restless and unsettled and wanted to get this one out of the way. But everyone stood and rocked throughout the song - then, happily, nearly everyone in front of us sat down for --- "Senor" - Stasia was really happy to hear this; it was on her wish list. He sang it beautifully, clearly, with feeling. Even with the continuing crowd distractions, it was effective. The guys in the band joined in on the refrain and sounded good. Then the unmistakable Lanois strains of a TOOM song began and it was --- "Can't Wait" - the crowd responded vigorously to this, so a lot of people know the album already. The live version was wonderful. It was made for his 1998 voice and he didn't have to force a new interpretation of an old song. He put everything into this. Then the stage darkened (as it did between nearly every song), more familiar TOOM sounds began and Stasia turned to me and exclaimed --- "Not Dark Yet" - easily one of the night's highlights, a marvelous performance. Bob has the crowd now, they're settled, they're with him, and he puts his heart into this song. "Silvio" - the band kicked in and brought the crowd to its feet again - this was maybe the best performance of the song that I've heard. Bob looked happy, the band looked happy, the crowd was happy. No ugly incidents this time (it had gotten a little scary at Holmdel), no sense of danger in the air, just good hard rock'n'roll. Then came the anticipation of the acoustic set. It took a while for everyone to sit down - especially the couple in front of us, who liked to stand and dance longer than most (they also liked to drink, so they were gone part of the time getting more beers and cocktails). Because of the lingering "Silvio" excitement, it was hard to hear the first few lines of --- "Tomorrow Is a Long Time" - Bob sang this softly and slowly and the crowd quickly quieted (and stayed seated). Very nice. Then, for me at least, came the highlight of the evening. As soon as the applause died down, Bob began singing the words "William Zanzinger..." and I almost leaped to my feet. "Hattie Carroll" - I can't adequately describe the way Bob sang this song. His voice was rich and melodic, and the song sounded far better than on the album. A softer and sadder interpretation. His performance was powerful, poignant, and riveting. As he got into the song you could hear a pin drop in the hall. An amazing moment. The crowd loved it. How do you top that kind of performance? By launching into a rousing version of --- "Tangled Up in Blue" - here Bob's enthusiasm overtook him; he mixed up the second, third and fourth verses, but then got back on track. The crowd stood and rocked and Bob was having a great time. Then the roadies brought back the electric guitars and another TOOM-like sound began --- "Million Miles" - another highlight, a good rollicking song that sounded perfect for Bob's voice. You didn't want this song to end. The next song was a mystery for a while - Stasia and I kept looking at each other, then finally recognized it --- "Tears of Rage" - it seemed to take Bob a little while to get the feel of this song, but when he did the song took off nicely. However, there seemed to be increased crowd activity at this point - more people were leaving their seats, getting drinks, making pit stops, etc. - maybe because they didn't know the song? Bob then introduced the band with brief remarks (such as, "On guitar is Larry Campbell, he's from New York City"), then eased into an actual song intro: "This next song was written right here in New York City, a little while ago" (I immediately scribbled the words down, so I think I have it right). What could it be?? I was expecting "Positively Fourth Street," but instead it was --- "Leopardskin Pillbox Hat" - a good frolicking number and the crowd got to its feet and rocked till the end. And then they left the stage! Wait a minute - we seem to be one song short here. Hmmmm. There was a longer break than usual, then they returned and from the first note I knew the song was --- "Like a Rolling Stone" - A predictable version, a lot of fun, and the crowd joined in on all the "How does it feel" choruses - though they didn't attempt to sing the entire song as the Holmdel crowd did. The place was rockin' - I think the crowd was waiting for this one. "Forever Young" was another crowd favorite (the couple in front of us loved it and stood and swayed through the whole song, so we, too had to stand in order to see Bob). Bob sang it beautifully - his voice was still strong and clear. I didn't notice that he messed up some of the lines. "Love Sick" was very, very good. A better song live than on the album, though the guitars seemed a bit too loud on this one. It was well received by the TOOM-loving fans. I then half-expected Van Morrison to appear and sing something with Bob, but --- "Rainy Day Women" kicked in, the crowd went wild, Bob was laughing and dipping, and then the lights came on and they were gone. It seemed like a fast concert and not just because it was one song short of the usual 16. Bob might have felt a little rushed, knowing that Van Morrison had a full show yet to do. But it was a very good, satisfying show. Bob was in good form and in good voice. The buzz in the men's room between shows included these comments: "He's still great!" "I was hoping he'd do "Highlands"" "It took me a while to get used to his voice." "What a show!!" After that, the Van Morrison concert was a bit anti-climatic, but he did a very good show - a rich combination of rock, blues, and jazz. He, too, was in very good voice, and in good humor. He interrupted many of the songs with asides, or comments to members of his band. He did a joke about the Rolling Stones (something like, "upstairs they're singing about getting no satisfaction, but down here we've GOT satisfaction!") He had a fairly large ensemble with him, including an excellent back-up singer and several horns. A good, stirring sound. My favorite number was a bluesy rendition of a Sam Cooke song, "A Change Is Gonna Come," though I also enjoyed hearing "Days Like This." I was waiting for Bob to appear near the end of Van's show, but he didn't. Stasia and I were unable to see a set list for Friday's show, so we didn't know if they had sung together or not - or even what the order of the shows was. We had parked (expensively) right near the Garden, so we got out of the city pretty quickly. Van's show ended around 11:30, and we were back in Lancaster by 3:00 (a.m.!). A long day, but definitely worth all the effort. This was my fifth Dylan concert and possibly the best so far - though I still have powerful memories of a show I was lucky enough to see two years ago at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, Bob and Patti Smith on the "Paradise Lost" tour.
Subject: New York City, NY, 17 January 1998 - a review From: Carsten Wohlfeld ( Date: 28 Jan 1998 21:09:00 +0100 Bob Dylan New York, NY, 17 January 1998 Madison Square Garden - The Paramount Theater A Review by Carsten Wohlfeld Second night meant Bob's on first and so we had to take our seats early to make sure not to miss the 7.45pm announcement.... "Ladies and gentlemen, would you please welcome... Columbia Recording Artist - BOB DYLAN!" Absolutely Sweet Marie Kicked off the porceedings once more. Another high-engergy start, this time with the crowd going nuts and dancing in the aisles right from the start. Bob was dancing, too and his singing was once more beautiful. Bob had to laugh out loud during one of the verses. No clue why though. Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power) Awesome version of one of my all-time Dylan favourites. For the first time in quite a while they played it at the right speed - pretty slow, that is. A gorgeous version that came close to the show-stopping 12 July 95 performance in Dortmund. Can't Wait A bit of a surprise (first time ever that "Cold Irons Bound" wasn't played since it first appeared in the set in October) but a very welcome one. This one's more of a crowd-mover anyways. Not Dark Yet Not as good as last night's try. Bob didn't exactly *sing* the first verses but turned the song into a semi-spoken-word performance instead. Silvio As good as it is live, this version sounded flat and tired compared to the previous ones. Tomorrow Is A Long Time (acoustic) If I hadn't heard the song a couple of days ago in New London already, I probably would've dropped down dead :-) This time the crowd immediately recognized this relatively unknown gem during which Larry sang some very nice backing vocals again. And this time you could hear him much better than in New London. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll (acoustic) If I wasn't such a nice guy, the person next to me would have a very loud "OH MY GODDDDDDDD!" on his DAT now. This was the song (apart from "Not dark Yet") that I wanted to hear more than anything else and to be treated to such a perfect version of it was almost too much. Good to see that David didn't play much drums at all on this one, he only started after the last verse, which made for a very nice ending indeed. I didn't come so close to crying at a Bob show in years... Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) Bob had to struggle with the lyrics again and once more put a half- remember "topless" verse in the space where normally the second verse belongs. Messed it up three times in a row now! He made up for it with some verry nice phrasings throughout the song though. Million Miles Still perfectly played and a definite highlight if you like the song. Tears Of Rage Another song you normally don't expect to hear twice in the space of four days. I can hardly believe that I'm really going to write this, but the awesome version coming out of the speakers of my stereo right now was not as good as the New London rendition! Maybe I'm just biased cause the audience reaction in NYC wasn't half as enthusiastic as in CT. Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat The band intros prior to this song included the "Bluefield" joke again. Bob told us that Larry's "right here from New York City" and that the next song was written hear just a short while ago (um, 31 years actually!!!). "Pillbox" rocked hard, but didn't go down nearly as well as "Highway 61". (encore) Like A Rolling Stone Standard version with nice phrasing here and there. Got better vocal-wise closer to the end and was in general much better than last night's. Forever Young (acoustic) Even though I was pleased to get to hear this song live at long last, I have to admit that it was by far the worst song of the night. Bob's voice was all shot (and he didn't sing in tune with Bucky and Larry on the chorus), he messed up the lyrics and his guitar solo at the end was totally unconnected to the song. Sadie told me later that the solo itself was fine, it just didn't fit in with the song, but that didn't help much. This tune is - along with "Memphis Blues Again" - almost too perfect on the album already to really improve on it live. Lovesick Once again a nice version. I liked the singing better than the night#s before, even though the "TOOM" songs generally sound too alike too comment much on them anyways. Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35 Usual goofyness. I left as soon as Bob's set was over. Even though I really like Van Morrison I wouldn't have wanted to see another show after Bob's. Apparently it was Van's best night of the whole mini-tour, though, that featured a show-stopping version of "Summertime In England" (or so I'm told). Stay tuned for the next review: New York City 01/18/98. So long ... thanks for reading. -- carsten wohlfeld "i'm caught in a trap and i can't get out cause i love you so much, baby!" (elvis presley)

January Setlists Tour