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Bob Dylan 980222 in Fairfax, Virginia George Mason University Patriot Center

February 22, 1998 Fairfax, Virginia
George Mason University
Patriot Center
Address: 4400 University Drive 
Capacity: 10,404
Showtime: 8 PM
Opening Act: Kenny Wayne Shepherd 
Ticket Price: $37.50

Subject: 2/22 Review From: Brad Shafran ( Date: 23 Feb 1998 18:25:57 GMT The following will soon appear at in the DC section of the "Local" section. You can also access my review of the 12/4 9:30 club show at the site. Enjoy. Brad ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Bob Dylan Returns To The Area and Is Better Than Before I hate to admit it when I am wrong. I especially dislike having to do it to a public audience. However, I have no choice this time. I was wrong but, ironically, quite pleased with the turn of events. After seeing BOB DYLAN play the 9:30 club in December, I believed (and wrote) that he was at his best. I thought that the intimate setting had placed the concert on a level that could not be matched. Therefore, I attended BOB DYLAN'S show at the Patriot Center with a few preconceived notions. How could seeing him in a basketball arena come close to seeing him in a club? How could he sound better than what I thought was his best? I guess you know the conclusions since I already said I was wrong. There is no need for me to lace this writing with adjectives such as incredible, brilliant, awe-inspiring. BOB DYLAN was all those and then some. He had the young and old dancing side-by-side as they both received an invaluable lesson in music history (maybe simply world history for that matter). Amazingly, songs that BOB DYLAN has played thousands of times sounded fresh. Songs that are new to his repertoire sounded like treasured classics. Slow-tunes became mesmerizing rockers that had the crowd on their feet dancing. DYLAN was having a grand time and his fans were having the collective time of their lives. The Patriot Center was only half full for this special occasion. People deserved to be in all those empty seats. They should have taken the opportunity to witness BOB DYLAN for themselves. Instead, the people who were in the venue hopefully left with more than they came and can pass on their newly gained knowledge to others. Although details seem redundant, some deserve to be mentioned. "Simple Twist Of Fate" was a throw-back to the days of old. It was classically Dylanesque. "Silvio" reached an energy level I have rarely seen in my life. "Masters Of War" was biting and meaningful. "Tangled Up In Blue" soared. "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" rocked as they are intended to. Words are simply superfluous in reviewing BOB DYLAN. Witnessing a live DYLAN performance should be a requirement for all music fans.
Subject: Fairfax, Feb 22 From: SGM Bobby Massey ANRT-IG x5271 ( Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 10:20:16 EST Just a few thoughts from a die-hard fan but one has not been able to see Bob in 10 years (being in the military, mine & Bob's schedules seldom coincide) & who has not heard tapes of concerts in the years between (only what's been officially released). My only previous Bob concert was in Philly with Tom Petty (circa 1986? if my memory serves me well. I was a little disheartened by that show; didn't think that Bob looked or sang that well; the tight leather pants didn't help any, adding to a rather frail look. Obviously, Bob or someone has been listening to everyone's complaints about the setlists. I found it hard to believe that at least one of the following was not played: Maggie's Farm, LARS, Knockin' On Heaven's Door, Visions. On the other hand, when in recent times has he played Simple Twist of Fate & TUIB in the same set? Maybe the set was changed because he had played the D.C. area a couple of times in the past year. Anyway, I don't think anyone was disappointed unless they came to hear a greatest hits package which Bob is not known for doing. Bob looked extremely fit & well, in his white cowboy hat, and his voice seemed better than I've heard in recent years. He was animated throughout the entire show. However, he seemed most upbeat during the last 2 songs of the regular set: Willie McTell & Highway 61. He was in absolute top form during Willie McTell; it was easy to see that he genuinely enjoyed performing that song. I've heard a few of you comment on the current arrangement of Silvio. Have to admit you are right; in fact, I didn't recognize it at first. Simply great. I'd like to see Bob go in the studio & re-record it. The original version has too much of a Grateful Dead sound (laid back) but this arrangement really rocks. It'll probably be a few more years before I get to see Bob again as I'll be heading to the far East in a couple of months. But I got my fix before I left. Thanks, Bob.
Subject: Fairfax, VA February 22, 1998 From: Bill Parr (William_C_Parr/ Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 01:56:26 -0500 Bill Pagel posted: February 22, 1998 Fairfax, Virginia George Mason University Patriot Center 1. Absolutely Sweet Marie 2. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You 3. Can't Wait 4. Simple Twist Of Fate 5. Silvio 6. Cocaine Blues (acoustic) 7. Masters Of War (acoustic) 8. Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) 9. Million Miles 10. Blind Willie McTell 11. Highway 61 Revisited (encore) 12. 'Til I Fell In Love With You 13. It Ain't Me, Babe (acoustic) 14. Love Sick 15. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 True, and admirably quick, as Bill Pagel always is. What Bill doesn't tell you is: 1) That Masters of War was SO GOOD as to merit repeated listening of this specific performance. Fine performance. Individual words bitten off, with clear enunciation and specific, clear intent. Go for it, Bob! Don't let us forget amid the jingoism. 2) That Cocaine Blues remains, along with Babe, It Ain't No Lie, one of the best covers Bob performs. More covers, Bob! Two per night would be great! See me if suggestions are needed for specific selections. 3) Blind Willie McTell - Dylan's "Tall Oak Tree" - see Paul Williams. An amazing song. Who says Dylan doesn't continue to perform "Christian songs?" I've never heard a bad version of this song. The worst perhaps being that on Bootleg Series - which performance I also enjoy. 4) Million Miles - I'd drive the 7 hours I drove to see the Fairfax show just for this performance. Hopefully, more details to come in a full report on the fantastic show in Fairfax. Bill Parr
Subject: Review: Fairfax 2/22 From: John ( Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 19:30:58 -0500 Short version: Great show, not the best, but very strong. Bob in black suit, with silver stripes down the sides of the pants, and the white cowboy hat. Love Sick was the high point, Million Miles the low point. Kenny Wayne Shepherd sucked. Security (especially the little fuckhead 30-something in the white shirt with the glasses) was a pain. Dancing fool with the ponytail beard deserved to be shot. Not-so-short-version: We arrived from Williamsburg in plenty of time, so we got dinner at Ellie's Deli across the street from GMU. The health department has obviously not been there recently. the food preparers were un-gloved and un-washed. The brownie one of my friends got had lovely circles of green mold on top, and the womens' toilet was broken. at least I got dinner for $0.98, which I doubt I could have done anywhere else. So we got to the Patriot Center at 7:30, came in the doors, noticed there was no security checking for taping equiptment or cameras, and cursed loudly that I'd brought neither. Oh well. Nice seats, right at the front of section 5 (sec 5, row B, seats 1-3, to be precise), so in the middle, about 20 rows back. good view of the stage (until people stand and the faults of a flat-floored hall become evident). Where to begin. Let's get the bad stuff out of the way, which mostly follows the chronology of the evening. Kenny Wayne Shepherd was a 50 minute waste of my time. If I wanted to hear distorted, sloppily played guitars I would have stayed home and done it myself. Cancel, and pass on. The house lights go down, the crowd roars, we get the "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Columbia recording artist Bob Dylan!," and the familiar strains of Sweet Marie engulf me again. And oh, how sweet. Very nice, clear vocals They hit the ground running on this one. not much to say, except that I do miss the "yellow railroad". Mystery slot #1. I'm hoping for something interesting, and in a way, I get it. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You, which seems to have become a bit of a standard by now, was riveting and deeply satisfying. Much nicer than the Unplugged version, Bob has fun singing it now, and it shows. Verses were all mixed up--as I recall, he started off with "I can hear that whistle blowin'," which was repeated at least once closer to the end. but who cares. so he didn't do all the lyrics. It's not like the song is a masterpiece from a lyrical standpoint. it's a sentimental country song, and that's what he played it as. nice use of the lower range of his voice. Okay, I'm pumped to hear my first TOOM song live. Can't Wait is nice. Head and shoulders above the album version which I have unfortunately grown slightly weary of. Much more passionate vocals, and he sounded, at the time, haunted, not in the slightly spooky way that TOOM sounds haunted, but much more sinister. But after hearing Masters of War, this one's reduced to child's play. Mystery slot #2. I say to myself "Come on, Bob, Born In Time." THe band cranks up and I think I got my wish. It's a suspiciously similar riff, and I'm waiting to hear "In the lonely night". Wrong. "They sat together in the paaaark/ As the evenin' sky got daaaaark..." Simple Twist Of Fate is always welcome surprise. he got all my favorite verses, but I don't remember if that's all or not. My notes read "Nice phrasing, use of pauses." And the pauses really helped make the vocal stand up. Maintaining tension within the lines is important, something he must have forgotten by later in the evening. Now, I'm not sure where I noticed it first, possibly during Simple Twist, but it was certainly by the acoustic set. The Voice. It's different. The "mucous gurgle" from the post-histoplasmosis tour this summer is fading, and most of the time it's the somewhat raspy voice we've become used to. But then there are moments, and the Voice, the wholesome Nashville Skyline croon, sneaks out, and as he holds a word for what seems like an eternity, there is no rasp, no crackle, no pain. It's smooth, sweet, and natural. And it's great ornament the way he's using it now. May he keep off the filthy weed long enough to do some more of this kind of singing. Silvio. it's Silvio. It's fun. more enjoyable than philly 8/20/97, which was a bit too ragged for my taste. I still prefer the spring/summer 1996 versions. Now we come to the part of the evening where we get all the surprises. :-) Cocaine Blues. very nice. Not the ethereal experience it was this summer, but still a joy to hear. Backing vocals from Larry only, i think. Didn't look like Bucky of Tony were joining in. One change, and I'd be interested in knowing when it showed up, is the addition of something in the line "This old cocaine's makin' me sick," which is now sung as "This old cocaine doctor's makin' me sick." it's probably not "doctor" but I can's think of any alternatives right now. Masters Of War. I was dreading this one. I'm not a big fan of this song, and I'm still not, but it is certanily becoming appropriate. And it's obvious Bob thinks so too, becasue he sang it like he was posessed. Hellhound on his trail x10. The most powerful performance I've heard him give. very tight and sympathetic work from the T,B,L,&D. Tangled Up In Blue. screams of delight from the four corners of the hall. very nice, and very fast--a sign of things to come. towards the end the stage rush, such as it was, happened. I didn't make it,so I didn't get to stand at the front and yell for In The Garden. oh well. At about this time I noticed a guy in the back row of the section ahead of me with his little videocamera going. and security was too busy harassing people like me for moving 6 inches into the aisle from my seat (right next to the aisle) to notice him. And he was doing nothing to hide it at all. one wonders. I should have tried to get in with my big reel-to-reel machine, given these clowns. :-) Good use of the footlights on this one--huge shadow of Bob against the rear curtain as he bends down and does his funny little solo. priceless. Million Miles. my least favorite song on TOOM, because it's so boring. something of a snoozefest live, too. Mystery slot #3. Okay, I'm figuring it just can't go wrong. What's he played in this slot: Blind Willie, Queen jane, Pos 4th St, Stuck Inside Of Mobile, and I forget what else. nothing dull, that's for sure. And I'm puling for Blind Willie, just so I could experience it once live. I got my wish this time, or did I? The familiar chords. "Seen the arrow..." but what's this? It's fast. Oh dear. BWMT isn't supposed to be sung like you're on a runaway train. Very little of the majesty of this song came through. There are no spaces left, no time to think, no time to appreciate the song. A big disappointment, but at least I can say I heard it live. Highway 61 Revisited. mighty fine. Lyrics somewhat buried beneath the guitars, but what I could hear was great. quite energetic, with Bob doing some dancin' and prancin' for those up front. Till I Fell in Love With You. Excellent. Much better than the album, with superb vocals. My pen ceased to write by this point, so I have no notes to refer to for specifics, unfortunately. but I was singing it in my head all the way home. It Ain't Me, Babe. Oh goody. nothing new here, but it was nice. terribly rough ending, though. Love Sick. Now that's what I'm talkin' about, Bob. highlight of the night. Superb, passionate vocals, crisp sound, great flow. sounds fresh and new, even after months on the road with it. Rainy Day Women. usual clouds rising from the crowd. interesting intro, though, that had me wondering whether it would indeed be RDW. That glimmer of hope... All in all, a very nice show, with some unexpected highlights. Dino "I'm lying next to her But baby, I'm thinking 'bout you" -Bob Dylan "The Man In Me" (1978 rewrite) Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, and Sippie Wallace at: ------------------------------------------------

February Setlists Tour