Bob Dylan 990706 in Detroit
Subject: St. Andrew's Hall - Review (Longish) From: MSGLBJ email@example.com Date: 07 Jul 1999 06:02:12 GMT A great song, like Silvio that is so full of joy and energy that I was ecstatic that he played it. He really seemed to have a great time and at the end, looked a bit reluctant to leave. All in all, the show was everything I'd hoped it would be, and more. No greatest hits material. A tremendous mix between new and old, serious and fun, fast and slow, acoustic and electric, joy and pathos! He is an artist of the highest caliber, a real joy to see performing at his peak as he did tonight. A quick fashion report: Bob was wearing his black pants with the white piping on the sides that he's been wearing for a while, but he had on a blue silk shirt with a slight pattern on it (I was too far away to tell what it was) unbuttoned to the third button revealing a white undershirt, covered by a black suit coat. Larry had on a blue silk shirt and black pants. Tony was wearing his bowler hat and a red/orange shirt with black pants. Charlie had on a black double-breasted Nashville style long sleeved shirt with country stitching and black pants. David Kemper was wearing a cowboy hat and (!) sunglasses. Don't know what he was hiding from, but his drum work was simply superb. There was a slight breeze on stage, to stem the heat, but Bob's hair tossed in the wind and it was incredible to see him in profile, eyes raised, legs slightly apart, defiant to the end. Of course if anyone has a tape, I'd love to hear it.. I don't have anything from Summer 99, but quite a bit from before... Hope some of you enjoyed my rambles... Ben
From: "BOB" HWY61@prodigy.net To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: ST. ANDREW'S HALL TUE 7-6-99 Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999 11:54:24 -0400 ST. ANDREWS HALL╩ TUE 7-6-99 (WED 7-7-99 11:30 AM EST) Lengthy emotional view from an old guy that cannot believe the following: Arrived at around 6:00 pm to get in line for general admission. First time at St. Andrews. Once in the place shortly after 8:00, it is a small gymnasium-looking "dance hall". Felt like the luckiest old fart in the world to be standing center floor, 8 people (rows) from the stage (there was no seating). Started around 9:10. First thing that hit me was how clear i could see their faces, I mean crystal fucking clear, every expression, like they were in my living room... You already have the setlist, so here goes my first ever input to you on my view of what happened to me last night. What Bob and the band did up there in the heat (no A/C) was just for me and this very special crowd. Pardon me if this is more emotional than technical: Cocaine -- made me realize it had really started and time is going to speed up for me big time as it always does at one of his shows Mama you been..--- Place is waking up, vocals clear, guitar working. Hard Rain --- I took this as the first serious payback for you guys standing in line overnight or doing what you had to for tickets. Vocals were clear, facial expression at times looked like he was 23 years old ( like the videos >from the early 60s) Love- 0 ---- makes me want to cry, this and two others I never thought I'd see live (tom thumb and hard rain). Beautiful guitar and harp. Tangled --- don't listen to this one much from the live tapes/cds I have. For some reason one of the few songs I prefer the album version. But....Tonight, absolutely devastating, things really got cranked up and bob and larry were really working and I found out the floor was going to be shaking soon where I was standing. Girl N country ---- I'm biased because one of my favorites live. Could have used Bucky's mandolin altho I was told later a mandolin was on stage, but (unfortunately) not used tonight. Silvio --- serious rock and roll. Started really liking this song live in past 2 years as his vocals got (imo) increasingly better. Tonight, devastating (sorry for redundancy), floor was really moving. At this point, "thankyou ladies and gentlemen. I was over at the motown museum today. I was lookin for all the, you know the Smokey Robinson stuff. I asked the guy where all the Smokey Robinson stuff was. He said I don't know, but you know um, you know what happens to Clark Kent when he gets hungry? I said what? He said he turns into Supper Man. I mean I still don't know where the Smokey Robinson stuff was." Long black coat --- all I can think of when I hear this song is Tony, and he was in my living room (or I was in his). I'll be your baby --- fun song (for me). Seemed like extended guitar sections. Got the feel that there was no hurry to end some of the songs that seem to be getting shorter in this past year. Again, I took this as thank you people for doing what you had to for tickets.... Not dark yet --- extended opening, really thought this might gonna be shooting star, but wasn't disappointed. Facial expression was passionate, he was really working on the vocals. Outstanding. Tom Thumb --- I consider this to be rare as hell and I'm going to believe it was for just me and this special crowd. (Was a little disappointed in the versions from tapes of Madrid in April and Toronto and NYC last oct.) Last night, he was having fun and really working on the vocals and extended guitar sections. It had the frolicking feel that took me back to the versions of Virginia Beach Aug 97 and Durham Apr 97. Pillbox hat ---- still learning to like this one, and last night is going to jump start me into searching my archives. Would be interested if this was on the cue sheet or for the gal in the front row with "the" hat on.... Love Sick --- precision, passionate... Hwy 61 ---- devastating, fucking blowaway.....Excuuuuse the redundancy and repeating myself, but my alltime favorite rock and roll song and tonight it just shook me to whatever core is left in my old body... Extended guitar sections, vocals.... I think this is the song that Charlie Sexton made his biggest and best contribution last night.... Ain't me babe -- -worked real hard on guitar and the extended harp ending, may rival Copenhagen jul 96. Have to compare when I get back to earth... Not fade away --- shook the floor, the building and who knows what else, an amazing closer. (Couldn't really appreciate it on the previous tapes I've heard) Back in my son's car at 11:15. Listened to the tape I made on the way home. Made me wish I wasn't such a cheap ass and had better portable equipment than a walkman cassette, but 2nd time through at home and a little eq work, its listenable maybe a 6 (of 10). Ill be searching for a better one. By the way, my son (hes 33 and saw Bob Dylan once before, last nov) has much broader musical interests than me. He thought the show and setting was the best thing he'd ever seen. Now, tonight I will be going to Pine Knob, which I expect to be afterglow in row "yy" of the pavilion, if you know what I mean.
Subject: St Andrews Hall Review (Long) 1 of 2 From: MSGLBJ email@example.com Date: 08 Jul 1999 01:49:46 GMT For some bizarre reason the first (rather lengthy) segment of my review from last nights show disappeared into cyberspace leaving no trace either on my end or rmd. So here we go again... with a nights sleep behind me.. I got in line at about quarter to 7 and it was snaked, coincidentally enough almost to the spot I was at when I bought tickets a few weeks before. After a little over an hour of great conversation (is there anything else with Bob Fans?) the line began to move and we were inside! St. Andrews Hall was once a gymnasium for a church school that has since been converted into a music hall. The floor was hardwood and roughly the size of a basketball court, rimmed on the second floor by a balcony that was about as wide as a hallway (4 feet or so). I staked out a spot in the first 1/4 of the floor and, aside from a few trips to the bar for water and ice, bided my time until at 9:10 the lights went down. A strobe light began to pulse on stage and Bob walked on, strapped on his guitar and sort of shrugged as the familiar "Ladies and Gentlemen, would you please welcome..." boomed out. He started acoustic with Cocaine Blues A great tune, that really kicked things off right. Larry was on stage left, Tony stood slightly behind Charlie on this song to the right. At one point Charlie leaned over and said something to Charlie and they both cracked up. Both Larry and Charlie sang back up vocals, Sextons adding even more country flavor to the mix.. When Bob first came out he looked like Death warmed over. His eyes were sunken and his face looked haggard. But as the song kicked into gear, and throughout the night his entire persona was transformed, his spirits were lifted, elevated by the music. Cocaine was over far too soon and he started into: Mama, You Been On My Mind A sweet, sincere version, and a song I had yet to hear live. He began to loosen up on this one, grinning more and more and starting to move around. Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall From the opening chords I knew we were in for something really special. He sang with a conviction and a force I had rarely seen before, hitting most of the verses. When he sang the couplet "I heard the song of the poet who died in the gutter/I heard the sound of a clown who died in the alley." his voice raised and moved up the scale in a tremendously passionate way.. There was a sense of pain, but also a sense of victory... the same sort of triumph over pain that lends those BoTT songs their majesty (particularly in their RtR incarnations). It was an incredible moment, one that froze me in my tracks and sent shivers down my spine. If anyone has a tape.. He never hit that emotional high again, though he was with every word. After the "I saw a white man who walked a black dog" line he fired off a nasty little riff full of spirit and spark.. A glory. At this point I had my moneys worth. Indeed I'd wait in line and pay 25 bucks for a tape of this song! Simply incredible. Love Minus Zero/No Limit Another wonderful surprise and a song I'd never seen live before. Sublimely beautiful, delivered with just a tinge of wistfulness... He messed up the "Bridge at midnight trembles" verse delivering the first couplet twice (only once finishing it correctly) but it was endearing and he didn't miss a beat. The band as a whole were performing as a unit in a way I didn't expect them to with the departure of dear Mr. Baxter. Towards the end of the song he turned and pushing his guitar aside reached for the harmonica. He picked it up and quickly launched into a solo, the melody of which wasn't exactly from L-0, but it somehow fit with what the rest of the band was playing... It didn't last very long, but it sure was nice to hear.. Then came the ever familiar chords of Tangled Up in Blue Apart from missing Bucky's mandolin, this song simply brought down the house as it always seems to do. The energy in this song was simply incredible. He brought back the "new" couplet "He worked for a while on the dock of the bay/While time was slippin away" and delivered it with a grin. Fantastic! Girl From the North Country The opening chords sounded like Don't Think Twice, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear it was North Country.. A beautiful, haunting rendition. He seemed really into it, feeding off the energy of the crowd. A great breather before plugging in and hitting us with the energy of Silvio Some may cringe at the return of Silvio, but I, for one, was simply overjoyed to hear it! Filled with an impassioned energy, Bob tore this one apart! Simply incredible! The entire place was filled with this energy which was, as at the best of concerts, being bounced between the band and the crowd! Fantastic. Here he paused and caught his breath, then stepped to the mic and said "Thank you very much Ladies and Gentlemen." He paused and then leaned back in. "I went to the Motown museum today." (Cheers) "I was looking for the Smokey Robinson stuff.... I couldn't find it. This guy came up to me though and he said ╬What did Clark Kent turn into when he got hungry?' I said ╬What?' He said ╬Supperman'. I never did find the Smokey Robinson stuff though.." Man in the Long Black Coat One of my favorites, especially live, and this version was no exception. How this band transforms from the lilting country harmonies on "Cocaine" and "Mama" into a rock outfit on "Silvio" and then into the mysterious swampy sounds of "Long Black Coat" will never cease to amaze me. This song had layer upon layer of emotional and musical depth. Bob seems, at times, to become so involved in his solos that his body moves with the music. At one point in the song he launched into a phrase that drove him physically backwards from the mic, staggering under its weight. I stood transfixed... (See Part Two for the rest of the show...)
Subject: Re: St Andrews Hall From: Frinjdwelr
Date: 08 Jul 1999 06:43:47 GMT I've been to a lot of Dylan concerts over the years, but this was one of the special ones. The generosity Dylan showed to us as people squashed in this hot funky little room with him rather than as just an "audience" amazed even a jaded person like myself. (The stage was so small that when Charlie turned sideways,he was in the sound booth.) ... As soon as he turned to the audience he started peering at faces and indeed seemed to grow younger and more fit by the minute, until he looked like a "superman." >he fired off a nasty little riff full of >spirit and spark.. He did this repeatedly and would give us these looks like dares. >Bob seems, at times, to become so involved in his solos that his >body moves with the music. At one point in the song he launched >into a phrase that drove him physically backwards from the mic, >staggering under its weight. I stood transfixed... This poster's comments do a great job of describing the vibes at this show. This was also the first night of the tour that the audience as a whole was tuned in fast enough to share a loud laugh at the nightly "joke." The, wring tears from a stone, harp solo ending "Ain't Me Babe" alone would have made this performance worth all the line waiting and heat. As the above poster later noted, Bob turned himself inside out. Like Sam Shepard once said, "he wears his heart in his mouth. It flashes silver between his teeth." Witness a performance like this and you'll never ask "so what's Bob Dylan REALLY like?" I can't describe how grateful I am to have lucked into sharing this evening with an artist willing to pool himself until a roomful of strangers were a pulse of feeling.
Subject: St. Andrews Hall (long) 2 of 2 From: MSGLBJ firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 08 Jul 1999 01:51:52 GMT I'll Be Your Baby Tonight Another wonderful surprise. Sweet and fun. A welcome break from Black Coat before Not Dark Yet I'd heard that he'd been playing this one for some time, but had been yet to hear it. It was staggeringly beautiful. What these TooM songs have lost in their newness is a sense of depth and power that they didn't necessarily have when they were premiered during the fall of 97. Gone is the raw energy, and replacing it is a majesty and beauty.. He was with every word, spitting them out between grins. Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues An incredible rarity. It was truly wonderful to witness it.. He was quite animated on this one, moving around on stage, hamming it up.. Its difficult to express the experience of seeing a song like this one live.. An otherworldly mix of energy and lyricism. Words fail me.. Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat There was a girl in the front row wearing one, so I wonder if it was on the cue sheet or if Bob merely played it on a whim for her. Either way it was incredible. Tapping into that same energy of Silvio, he held onto it and played its heart out. The beginning chords sounded ominously like RDW so I, dreading the worst, was overjoyed to hear it turn into Leopard Skin. The entire place was dancing, or moving as much as they could (it was rather cramped and HOT! towards the front where I was...). He could've ended right there. The night was more than complete.. But of course he came back for the encores... Love Sick Yet another surprise on this night of wonders! A wonderful version filled with nuance.. The solos were impassioned, but not quite as intense as the Soy Bomb solo from the Grammys (But of course he had a direct emotional stimulus to deal with then..)... Highway 61 Revisted.. Here he kicked into high gear again.. Spitting out the words with an energetic passion, launching into his guitar work in a way I hadn't seen before. He seemed overjoyed, and indeed we all were... At this point he had played for nearly two hours, and surely he had given us more than we could ever expect... but after a brief word with his roadie he strapped on the acoustic and played It Ain't Me Babe Again, the beginning sounded like Don't Think Twice... A nice version, somewhat unremarkable until the end when he removed his acoustic guitar, and after some distracted, self- conscious moves on stage worked his way over to the Harmonica case.. After some deliberation he chose one, turned back towards us, only to realize that he had forgotten the harmonica mic, he turned back and with a nervous grin raised it to his lips... He played through the melody line once, timidly.. then again, picking up a bit of confidence as he went along. This continued, until like the Tangled from the Philly TLA shows particularly 12-15) with Patti Smith in December of 95 he broke through his inhibition and began to play the song from the inside out, wailing out the heart of it with each pass... It was beautiful and splendid, a standout performance in a night of perfomances one only dreams of.. Of course he can't end on an Acoustic note so it was back to the Electrics for: Not Fade Away A great song, like Silvio that is so full of joy and energy that I was ecstatic that he played it. He really seemed to have a great time and at the end, looked a bit reluctant to leave. All in all, the show was everything I'd hoped it would be, and more. No greatest hits material. A tremendous mix between new and old, serious and fun, fast and slow, acoustic and electric, joy and pathos! He is an artist of the highest caliber, a real joy to see performing at his peak as he did tonight. A quick fashion report: Bob was wearing his black pants with the white piping on the sides that he's been wearing for a while, but he had on a blue silk shirt with a slight pattern on it (I was too far away to tell what it was) unbuttoned to the third button revealing a white undershirt, covered by a black suit coat. Larry had on a blue silk shirt and black pants. Tony was wearing his bowler hat and a red/orange shirt with black pants. Charlie had on a black double-breasted Nashville style long sleeved shirt with country stitching and black pants. David Kemper was wearing a cowboy hat and (!) sunglasses. Don't know what he was hiding from, but his drum work was simply superb. There was a slight breeze on stage, to stem the heat, but Bob's hair tossed in the wind and it was incredible to see him in profile, eyes raised, legs slightly apart, defiant to the end. Of course if anyone has a tape, I'd love to hear it.. I don't have anything from Summer 99, but quite a bit from before... Hope some of you enjoyed my rambles... Ben
Subject: Review of Saint Andrew's Show (long) From: Bill Parr William_C_Parr/UTK@ln.utk.edu Date: 8 Jul 1999 06:05:50 -0700 Setlist: 1. Cocaine Blues (acoustic) 2. Mama You've Been On My Mind (acoustic) 3. It's a Hard Rain A-Gonna Fall (acoustic) 4. Love Minus Zero / No Limit (acoustic, harp solo by Dylan) 5. Tangled Up in Blue (acoustic) 6. Girl from the North Country (acoustic) 7. Silvio 8. Man in the Long Black Coat 9. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight 10. Not Dark Yet 11. Tom Thumb's Blues 12. Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat Encores: 13. Love Sick 14. Highway 61 Revisited 15. It Ain't Me, Babe (harp solo by Dylan) 16. Not Fade Away Dylan came on stage about ten after nine looking healthy and ready to conquer Detroit. The church hall was as hot and humid as a sauna bath for which you began to yearn not long after entering the hall. The only remnants of an ecclesiastical past were the name and the old wooden entrance doors. To give an idea of how small the venue was and how close the performers were to the audience, it was possible to read portions of the cue sheet from the rail where we were standing in front of Tony and Charlie. Rock of Ages was spotted, but went unplayed. The stage was so tight that Charlie and Tony were rubbing elbows all night. And Tony had to restrain his usual hip-swinging to a more modest level to avoid damaging either himself, Charlie, or nearby equipment. There were a number of equipment snafus for Charlie all evening, including feedback and an amp that appeared to fail. Kemper was literally backed against the wall to the left corner. Band equipment was stacked along the side walls of the hall, and the electronic equipment was denser than normal on the floor due to the stage size. For Christine Consolvo and other dedicated followers of fashion, Bob's couture was more dressed down than recent fashion reports of stylish formal suits and ties. Bob was wearing the cowboy suit, but with a blue multi-color design silk shirt, without tie. Black pants with white piping, white belt and short matching jacket. The shirt was unbuttoned at the color by at least a couple of buttons, allowing a tank undershirt to show. Understandable, given the heat and humidity. Tony Garnier gave the leather pants a rest, understandably given the heat of the venue. Bob looked lean and mean, ready to play. Clearly healthy. Even by the end of the night, he hadn't faded away. No sign of fatigue, though many signs of perspiration (details omitted). And so the concert began. When Bob and band took the stage shortly after nine, they quickly kicked into a rousing version of Cocaine Blues. (Not the Hallelulia, I'm Ready we'd hoped for, but maybe next show!) Bob was obviously in strong voice, and smiled many times during the night. Larry Campbell and Charlie Sexton backed up on the vocals. Charlie appears to have a good voice. Next was Mama You've Been On My Mind. Anybody ever heard a weak version of this? Those of us in Saint Andrew's Hall didn't. Then, Bob and band turned, still in acoustic format, to It's a Hard Rain A-Gonna Fall. This was, frankly amazing. Initially, the intro sounded like the anthemic Times They Are A-Changin', but then it became obvious, before the vocal began. The expression and passion in the voice were, well, amazing. Bob spat out the verses - savoring the words, enunciating clearly (yes, that's what we said - clear enunciation! Where do these people who speak of Bob mumbling go to hear shows? Or do they talk through the shows they attend, thereby precluding hearing Bob's vocals?). This performance of Hard Rain could well have been the high point of the show, except things continued to grow (See Tom Thumb and Not Dark Yet, discussed later.). Next, Love Minus Zero / No Limit. Dylan is a really enjoyable acoustic guitarist. If he ever wants to give a show just of him on acoustic guitar, no vocals, I'd go see him any time. Of course, I'd go see him in anything. Lovely harp solo, prolonged, as part of this song. This was a wonderful performance. The only thing to mar the performance was knowing that Rock of Ages was the alternate on the setlist. Tangled Up in Blue. Solidly done. Not a highlight of the show. Still, clearly a crowd pleaser. Lots of sing-along action on this one, from the audience. Girl From the North Country. Wonderfully performed. Focusing on Dylan ? the highlight here. The emotion in Dylan?s voice as he delivered the vocals was clear. How does he continue to recreate this feeling, so long after writing the original? This is an amazing talent. Then, the band changed over to electric equipment. Silvio - back again in the setlist. Solidly done, but a little brief. None of the extended jamming of earlier years. This was a chance, however, to hear a little of Charlie Sexton at work. Then, Dylan joke time: Dylan indicated that he had gone that day to see the Motown Museum. He said that when he got inside he asked about the location of the Smokey Robinson exhibit. Then, he segued into telling a joke: "I asked him, what does Clark Kent become when he gets hungry? Answer, "Supperman." (Hey Bob, Why was the mushroom the life of the party? Because he was a fungi.) One wonders - is Bob making these up, taking them out of a book of old jokes, or perhaps calling up one of the grandkids the afternoon before a show, and asking "Hey, granddaddy needs another joke. Heard any good jokes lately? Next song: Man in the Long Black Coat. This was wonderful. The menace conveyed by the three guitars (plus bass) was palpable. "She went off with the man in the long black coat." Next: I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. This is always a fun song. (By the way, notice the romance quotient - Mama You've Been On My Mind, Love Minus Zero / No Limit, Tangled Up in Blue, Girl From the North Country, and I'll Be Your Baby Tonight, and we're not even to the encores yet! Then, one of the night's highlights: Not Dark Yet, performed in anthemic form. One could imagine an orchestra behind Bob on this one. Next, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues. It doesn?t get much better than this one. The driving, looping rhythm (don't know if we can explain this, you had to be there. Get the tape!!!) was part of a wonderful arrangement, full of rhythm, and a vocal delivered with passion and power. Toward the end, Dylan stepped up to the microphone and projected with shocking vocal power. Did anybody notice if someone had turned the volume up, or if Dylan did this just with voice? Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat - always a crowd favorite, played with great energy by the trio of guitarists. It seems that as he learns the ways of the band, Sexton is going to fit in wonderfully. And the band left - with not very far to go, of course. Return for the encores: First in - Love Sick in the usual, solid performance. (Another love song!) The band then kicked into Highway 61. Sexton traded lots of good guitar work on this one with Campbell and Dylan. The shift back to acoustic, for . . . It Ain't Me, Babe. Replete with Dylan harp solo. A soft, slow and delightfully raspy version that gave us a chance to cool down and reflect on the nights magic before a rousing finale. The closer, as often of late, was Not Fade Away. Shades of Buddy Holly. Bob and band left the stage looking triumphant, Bob none the worse for wear, looking energetic and capable of doing it all again in a few minutes. Bill Parr and Nancy Hernandez, reporting from Saline, Michigan
Subject: St. Andrews Review From: Jeff Knorek email@example.com Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 21:32:06 -0400 Wow! Two shows in a row and they are only about 40 miles apart, and only about 40 miles from home. This turned out to be part 1 our vacation; first the Pine Knob show scheduled and planned for, and then this one here at St. Andrews Hall scheduled the night before Pine Knob (part 2 of the vacation will be the Star Lake show). Kish and I each marked off at work and set about cooking up a whole mess of food and getting the house in order to receive guests from far away as Toronto, Florida, and Texas. We feasted and drank and had a ball the night before St. Andrews, the lunch before St. Andrews, the picnic before Pine Knob, and standing around the car in the parking lot after the show at Pine Knob. What we used to do all the time out on the road, cooking for the crew, has now morphed into providing for the road-weary here at home. What fun we had! It was great to meet some very nice (and very cool) RMD folks and have them over for some beers and Barbecue, loud music, and chatter chatter chatter... Anyways, the St. Andrews show was far and away the best Dylan concert that I've ever seen. They just blew the fucking roof off! Here's what it looked like to me: It was hard not to explode with joy just for having the good fortune to be there...we were on the left balcony (Phil's side), near the rear, at the rail. Close enough for me...it sure looked hot and packed down there on the floor up front by the stage; I guess that at my age I just need my own space and prefer to hang at the back of the hall, not matter how big the hall is. From the back of *this* hall, Dylan stood as tall as your palm-out hand is high when held at arms length. EVERYBODY was close. With all the effort and ticket hand-wringing that everybody went through to be there, it was a sure bet that only the faithful were present...and it sure felt like it inside. The show lived up to it; not one for the Paul Simon fans, but one for *us*, like he used to do on prior tours when he didn't have to tailor his show to AOR radio common denominator crowd-pleasing greatest hits setlist bullshit. I apologize if this sounds snotty and conceited, and I *do* understand why it is done and that there can be a lot of variety within the structure of sameness, but the Pine Knob show was merely cute in comparison with this one. While I have seen them rock this hard in theaters, and in fact even at Pine Knob before (the spring 1996 show SMOKES), this tour BY COMPARISON seems to be made up of dull Columbia Records corporate-stiff-patronising, formulated, and production line oriented concerts (although I must confess that The Star Lake show a few nights later would be a very strong performance of such a setlist, one that left me feeling happy and content). Thank goodness Dylan plays small halls like this one while he is out on the road playing those larger gigs. Thank goodness he came to Detroit, one of the most unlikely places that I ever suspected he'd chose to play such a show. We were very, very lucky. _Cocaine Blues_ (acoustic) Cocaine Blues is not my favorite song, but tonight I promised myself to not nit-pick the set list. As it turns out, I wouldn't have to...but with this one I just got settled in and used to being there, and the crowd seemed to do likewise. I can only imagine that the band did as well...it was really close onstage, Tony couldn't swing and sway like he usually does. They were all nearly shoulder to shoulder apart, spaced only by the length of the necks of their guitars. Larry was really, REALLY smiling. He almost never does, so I took this as a good sign; he looked excited. They were all dressed to the nines but with no jackets...Larry had a lavender silk shirt and Charlie was in all black. Tony didn't wear a hat, so he spent a lot of time squinting under the close spotlights for the first few songs. _Mama, You Been On My Mind_ (acoustic) This one was new to me, but I didn't want to bug anybody around me to ask for confirmation. Other songs that I heard for the first time, _Tomorrow Night_ and _I'll Be Not A Stranger_, really blew my mind at other shows but this one did not. The mix was still very disoriented and flat, so it was hard to hear any nuances. Hearing them will be much easier during the electric set. For now I was just going along for the ride. _A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall_ (acoustic) Again, the Board did not want to accommodate the volume required to amplify the acoustic songs...they'd have been better off to either lower the volume or by using no amplification at all. Sometimes it is louder when you turn the volume *down*...I wish the sound crew could get a clue. _Love Minus Zero/No Limit_ (acoustic) (with harp) Charlie pulled out a Dobro (or maybe a National Steel guitar) and had all kinds of feedback problems...he was essentially a liability onstage...it had to have been driving him crazy; a roadie came out and together they fiddled around with knobs on the amp and with cords and such. It would have been a perfect song for his background slide sound, but it never jelled. Charlie had equipment problems all night long. I really like this song, and am looking forward to hearing him take another crack at it. One thing I need to stress is that Charlie not once looked tentative or unsure of himself unless his gear was causing him fits, and even then he didn't let it show much. _Tangled Up In Blue_ (acoustic) Finally the crowd loosens up and dances, and the vibe of the whole show changes. I enjoy how the kids seem to assert themselves here. Recalling how the spring '96 shows were like this from start to finish, I am glad that at least there is a point at which we can look forward to such exuberance each night, even if it doesn't start with the first note. If Dylan returns to a format with fewer acoustic songs, and not opening with them, then I think he can take advantage of his new secret weapon, Charlie Sexton, and create more energetic shows. More on this in a minute. _Girl Of The North Country_ (acoustic) I swear that I can hear the paper of the speaker horns flapping around, it sounds *that* loud. Nevertheless, the delivery is sensitive enough that Colleen, my little sister who quit her job in Florida to be here, cried. There are enough acoustic guitars here to render Bucky Baxter's role, however good he was (and he was VERY good), superfluous. Once Charlie gets his gear together it will be fun to see the mix expand. I think that Bob Dylan makes a much better acoustic guitarist than an electric guitarist. He would have sounded better if he wasn't so loud in the too-loud acoustic mix. Conversely, his sidemen play monster smoking leads during the electric set and he's better off letting them play lead. Tonight he did just that. _Silvio_ The way the lights came up as all four of them simultaneously stepped forward hitting the first note was really cool, and is a visual memory that will represent this show in my mind for a long time to come. THEY WERE ALL SMILING. Charlie got a piece of a solo toward the end and just SHREDDED it...he spoke with such a joy and with such vigor that the whole crowd up where I was got a lot more excited. Not the song I would have wanted to hear if the choice was mine, but still they whipped out the best Silvio that I'd ever seen. The crowd was bouncing all over the place up on the balcony. _Man In The Long Black Coat_ (Larry on Pedal Steel) Cooooooooooooool....this one just MELTS. Since Larry is engaged with the steel, Charlie's role again is higher in the mix than what seemed to be offered him at the two other gigs I saw. The band is as much like Pink Floyd as they are like Bob Dylan's band on this one. _I'll Be Your Baby Tonight_ (Larry on Pedal Steel) Finally, A song to slow dance with Kish, even though this is a boppy version. We've gone from Space to the Country...Charlie plays country licks like it is nobody's business. These guys are cool! They JAAAAM! _Not Dark yet_ Now *this* was the moment I've been waiting for. Sometimes music can take me to a far away place. The one time I've been there since Garcia died was at Gallup Park on the Huron River in Ann Arbor...Pharaoh Sanders took me there. While Dylan can blow my mind in other ways, he doesn't really take me THERE. Tonight he did, due in large part to Charlie Sexton. Charlie did this sound (from what looked like a Fender Telecaster) that I would expect to hear from David Gilmour. Coupled with the tempo of the song, Larry being rather muted, Bob just crying those *chilling* lyrics...man...this was the moment, the one that we wait years for. Charlie was way high in the mix, as he has been throughout the electric set, and here he really shines. The lights were blue and white, casting a ghosty haze on the stage and crowd. I was reminded of _The Days Between_, but this was so much better. _Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues_ (Larry on Pedal Steel) This one was more straight ahead than Larry's steel playing might indicate. It sounded to me like he didn't have a hard feel for the song in his new role yet...it was still very good, but I can see room for improvement. Charlie played a Gretch and had a gritty tone to it. They have to work at keeping the mix uncluttered, but this was a problem when Bucky was in the band, too, so it is not unique to this lineup. _Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat_ A great set closer, like a fun and rollicking night at small bar on the down side of a town in which we don't have to live. By now the crowd/band gestalt seemed to reach a plateau and everybody in the whole room was simply having a good ol' time. (encore) _Love Sick_ A solid delivery, although a little cluttered what with three guitars playing essentially the same chords. Larry's solo wasn't the ball-crusher from the February shows we saw. _Highway 61 Revisited_ THIS IS THE ONE THAT BLEW THE ROOF OFF THE PLACE. Charlie did this mind boggling first lead which was seamlessly handed over to Larry once he had his way with it...there seemed to be a level of professional competition happening between the two that elevated this song to new heights...I hope that Dylan makes good use of it in the months to come. The crowd just ROARED with approval when they finished. Everybody, both them on the stage and us in the crowd, was sweaty and hot after a good workout with that exhalted feeling of having just been a part of something special and grand. _It Ain't Me, Babe_ (acoustic) (with harp) He plays this at almost every show, and I don't care as long as he does it well. Once again he did, and it never fails to amaze me that we still swing and dance to it as if it represents a portal through which we all have had to pass through at one time or another in our development: "I don't want to be mean about this but...." _Not Fade Away_ Again, the February versions had more twang and punch to them, but this still rocks and the crowd revved up for one last time to show them just how glad we all were to be there. Amazingly, the Pittsburgh show had a smokin' Not Fade that rivaled this one in intensity and crowd involvement, but we'll get to that one some other time. Sooo....our clan was one happy group of campers, you bet. The friend from Texas left for home directly after the show while the rest of us had a few hours to recover to prepare for the sonombolistic adventure at Pine Knob the next night. That, too, will have to wait for another time. Jeff Knorek firstname.lastname@example.org