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Bob Dylan 980201 in Newark, NJ - New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Subject: Some Thoughts on the Newark Show
From: Mark Young (
Date: Mon, 02 Feb 1998 22:23:11 GMT

I'm surprised no one has commented at all about the Feb. 2nd (sic.) show in
Newark.  Was I the only one there? Did everyone else get lost in the
Historic Ironbound District?  Granted downtown Newark isn't exactly
the kind of place you spend too much time in, but hey I'd take the
opportunity to watch BD in a 2,700-seat room anyday!

Here are my thoughts.

I was a bit disappointed that there was no warm-up band. Is this
common or is it just something that is done on Sunday nights?  Not
that you go to a BD concert to see the warmups but it would have
provided another hour of music -- and maybe not left me with the
feeling that the show was too short.

I saw BD at Jones Beach in August and I must say that I enjoyed that
show better.  I think the band really cooked that night.  It was a
rocker.  People were dancing in their seats and everyone left with a
smile.  At Newark, the band still sounded tight, but I didn't get the
same sense of intensity or energy.  The crowd wasn't quite as
enthusiastic either.  You had a rush to the stage when Tangled Up In
Blue kicked in (#8 in the set), but the enthusiasm was not sustained.

As far as the songs, there were a few standouts.  I really enjoyed the
live performance of Cocaine Blues.  The bluesy feel creates a nice
atmosphere.  Almost surreal to me.  Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues was
also enjoyable.  But perhaps the best performances were the cuts from
TOOM.  BD and the band obviously are devoting a good deal of effort to
making them work.  Til I Fell In Love With You and Lovesick were my

Overall, I'd say it was a good night, not a great one.   B- as far as
Dylan shows go.   But that's fine with me.  I'm just glad he's still
on the road delivering solid shows.  How long can this good fortune

Anybody know where the post-concert party was?  Did anyone go?

Subject: In Newark, Dylan didn't click From: Martin Golan ( Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 20:40:23 -0800 Lovely post from about the concert, and I'll try not to repeat any of it. (I was there too, and I also saw the woman in green dancing in the front row.) I thought you got it exactly right when you called it "competent." To my mind, it never caught fire. I should mention that we had really lousy seats, all the way up and back. But I've had bad seats before and still felt that electricity. I enjoyed the TOOM songs better than on the album, especially Love Sick, with no organ, just guitars. The band was great, Dylan was great, the sound was excellent, but it just didn't click. I was there with my wife, who is a recovering non-Dylan spouse (NDS). I've made great progress of late, mostly thanks to TOOM. (tip for those working to get NDS spouses to better appreciate our hero: TOOM is "the most accessible" album, as she calls it, all about relationships in a gutsy, uncomplicated way - as opposed, say, to the more convoluted and poetic Idiot Wind or Love Minus Zero-type songs that I love dearly.) We enjoyed it, but nowhere near how it was when we saw Dylan in Holmdel (N.J.), twice, or when I saw him at Radio City in Manhattan. Those were the kind of evenings that leave you stoned for hours, just from the music. All you can do is play and sing Dylan. My wife said it felt like we were watching him on television. I asked other audience members who sat near me, and they all said the same thing, that Dylan was just "punching the clock," as one put it. He seemed in a hurry ('I had to leave there in a hurry...'), starting late (as has been mentioned), having those silly (can't they stop that game?) pretend ends for an encore and breezing out by 930 or so. We talked to some people we didn't know outside the hall, and they had seats right up front. They said the concert was terrific, but I could tell (as certain ethnic groups or pregnant women say they can sense others like them) that he wasn't a true bobcat, just a guy taking in a concert. He mostly tried to impress me with how he got such great seats, instead of talking of really important things, like that Bob actually did say "carpenters' wives" and how Larry played, things like that. The sad part is if it had been fabulous, it would have pushed my wife over the top. Now I still have work to do Martin Golan.
Subject: Three beautiful nights From: David Wolf (Wolfds@AOL.COM) Date: Fri, 13 Feb 1998 13:46:30 EST My favorite time of the year arrived early in 1998--Dylan came rolling into town in January and nothing short of death would keep me from seeing the maestro in person. This is not to say that catching a concert was taxing: Dylan played almost ten shows over a two week period--all within a two hour drive from my home. Had I seen him one night, to quote an old Passover prayer, "it would have been enough." Certainly, seeing him twice would have been more than enough. I was blessed with the honor of seeing three concerts this time around: January 17 and 18 in the Theater at Madison Square Garden and February 1 in Newark's luxurious Prudential Hall. How wonderful it is to be alive in the Dylan era! When I see Bob I get the goosebump chills: I try to fast forward 100 years, 200 years, when I'll be long gone, and I wonder: what will Dylan's place be? Oh, I am certain his place in music will be comparable to Beethoven; his place in literature tantamount to Poe or even Shakespeare. To be in the same building with this awe-inspiring individual is a privilege for me--something I cannot put a material price on. In the months leading to the concert I heard rumors of songs and songs that had been: "'Love Sick' is better than the album, 'Not Dark Yet' too!" Knowing Dylan's done it time and again, I could not doubt the veracity of the reports. Still, I wondered; perhaps he could equal the magnificent TOOM in concert, but surpass "Not Dark Yet"? This was a thought too difficult to fathom. January 17--Madison Square Garden: 7 p.m. Mel Prussack's friend Mike informs us that, judging by the instruments, Dylan will open tonight and Van Morrison will close. "Great," I thought, "we can be home by 11." Dylan opened with an adrenaline filled "Absolutely Sweet Marie" and the concert experience, so wonderful yet so transient, was off and running. The Theater provided excellent sound (though nothing compared to what I heard in Newark--so crisp and clear I thought I was listening to a compact disc). Songs three and four were what I had been waiting for--TOOM material. "Can't Wait" was as funky as the album version yet discrete in nature. In fact, the only live TOOM song that closely resembled its predecessor was "Love Sick," which was still undeniably better now. "Not Dark Yet" followed (for what would prove to be its last appearance on this leg of the tour) and I was flattened by its beauty; absolutely jaw-dropped. I cannot after one listening declare it better than its TOOM form, but it just might be. Wow! Dylan had done it again. "Silvio" followed. I enjoy this song as much as anyone, but it seems to have taken over "Watchtower's" role as an immutable fixture at Dylan concerts (it and "Rainy Day Women," which, if I had the brains, I would leave in the middle of so I could beat all the traffic to the bathroom). "Silvio" typically rocked the house; but my favorite part of the concert experience was just upon us. I have reached the conclusion, after attending several concerts, that the instruments frequently overshadow Dylan's vocals (while all components have to be there for the magic Dylan creates, I would much rather Dylan's voice overpower the electricity) and this does not happen during the acoustic portion of the set. For four songs a night, it's basically Bob and us--oh, what I would pay for a full set of the soft stuff! Well, January 17 was in some ways a dream night. Mel remarked that it was almost as if Dylan asked the fans to choose the set list. Delivered first was "Tomorrow is a Long Time." I admit it, I cried--I can't hope to describe this plaintive pleasure in words. Next came "Hattie Carroll"--sung with such passion you would think the outrage occurred yesterday! That perennial powerhouse, "Tangled up in Blue" showed up all three nights (Newark's was my favorite). Other notables on the first night were TOOM's "Million Miles" and "Love Sick," both clearly the equal of the studio incarnations. Dylan was even better the following evening. "Cold Irons Bound" retained the outrageously heavy sound of TOOM, but the phraseology underwent a striking metamorphosis. I noticed a few line changes in two other songs: the added verse (sung live on many occasions) about "dark and empty skies" made its way into "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (When do we get to hear the sequel in concert?) and Dylan's "eyeball," as opposed to "eyelid" was smoked in "Memphis Blues." The highlight of this evening, perhaps of all three nights, was undoubtedly "Desolation Row." I don't know if every verse was there, but, at the very least, it was close to a complete version. Upon repeated listenings I'd surely discover it a masterpiece. Two weeks later I attended Newark's beautiful Performing Arts Center. I am not exaggerating when I say it was the purest sound I had ever heard live. Dylan started having fun and changing words to the TOOM material: "Can't Wait" now had the line "even through the years" and in "Million Miles," when Bob sings "I did so many things I never did intend to do," he wryly adds, "well, maybe a few." Making a timely appearance was "Masters of War," with relevance it hasn't had in seven years. A laid back "Tom Thumb's Blues," "Born in Time," and "Tonight, I'll be Staying Here with You" were other highlights. "Tangled Up in Blue" took its place among my favorite performances of that song (and how many there are!!). I also must mention an experiment I finally went through with. Paul Williams has advanced the argument that purely listening to music is aesthetically more pleasing than both listening and watching a performance. During "Till I fell in Love with You" and "It ain't me, Babe," I closed my eyes and absorbed just the music. Williams is correct--the difference is appreciable. The music is better without the distraction of sight, though there is something to be said for the fact one goes to "see" the artist--why not just listen to the inevitable bootleg if your going to close your eyes? Three nights, 45 songs in total, only 15 repeats. The soon to be 57 year old Dylan delivered more than I had any right to expect. If there is any fairness, any poetic justice in every sense of those two words, the next time I see Dylan live will be watching him accept a Grammy on t.v.
Extra long Newark review etc by TIMHRK.

February Setlists Tour