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Bob Dylan 991117 in Durham, New Hampshire
Dylan show #116 in 1999.

Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999 22:21:33 EST
Subject: UNH Review
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When the Levee Breaks

I didn't arrive at UNH until late: 6:30 that is. I was pleasantly
surprised to see that the doors hadn't opened yet, so I got into
the middle of the line and waited - and waited - and waited. By
7:30 (not 7:15 like someone reported, the fifteen minute
difference was huge!) I was eating the guy's shirt in front of
me, ready to fight off the near-riot that was brewing. When the
doors finally did open, there was a mad rush forward, and
security was non-existent. The man in front of me failed to have
his ticket ripped, and tons of fans brought in backpacks,
something that security had announced prior to opening as against
venue policy. Phil's set was much more impressive last night
compared to Augusta. The new guitarist, Warren Haines (spelling?)
really added to the sound, making it much more "rockin" and less
spacey show than before -

Attics included great harmony, and the trade-off guitar leads by
Warren and the other guitarist (sorry, I'm a Dylan fan) were
nothing short of breathtaking.

Anyway, when Dylan opened with a song I didn't recognize, I
started to feel like this would be a special night. Duncan and
Brady sounded more rehearsed than a first time appearance, and
lasted longer than I Am The Man, Thomas, the opener in Augusta.
GFNC was a disappointing presence at 2, and nothing
extraordinary. Contrary to a review I read, Desolation Row was
average to good, nowhere near the incredible version I was
treated to in Boston in 98. Rock of Ages on the other hand was
memorable - followed by a harpless TUIB. Sitting in the stands
for the first time in my 10 Dylan shows, I never realized how
much this song reaches "the mainstream fan." Right from the
opening chord, the young attendants, mostly appearing to be Phil
followers, flooded down to the floor and began to dance. Myself
being 17, I couldn't help but smile to see that Dylan has made
such a strong connection with this age group (even if just for
the "danceablility"), and this alone overshadowed the staleness
of TIUB.

Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues was hard to recognize at first, sped
up and louder than the album version, with impressive leads by
Dylan (the entire night he was taking them with this guitar
perpendicular to the ground, almost in a Hendrix style). Ballad
was one of the standouts for me, always a great concert song,
followed by a decent version of Cove. Then the show really picked
up! Senor was only recognized by a few people who let off shouts
of surprise. It was played similar to the 98 versions, softly
song with a light electric arrangement. If You See Her was so
unbelievably disguised, very loud and miles from the BOTT
acoustic feel, sung well by Bob but overshadowed by the strange
musical accompaniment.

Every Grain of Sand was the personal highlight for me. All the
words were very clearly pronounced, and if I remember correctly,
all versus sung. I believe then Dylan introduced the band
("Kemper only lies when he's in bed" joke), and then 61 with some
of the best guitar solos in recent memory.

LARS was disappointing, but in contrast, Rainy Day Woman was the
finest version I've ever heard (and if I'm not mistaken, he's
played it at one of 10 concerts). The band jammed for awhile on
this, all taking turns on solos, and the hippies were in full
dancing form. Then DTW, which was also brilliantly played, with
great solos, and then just when I thought they would end, Dylan
brought out the harp and played a beautiful, soft solo that
lasted right up to the ending drum beat. Followed by a longer,
louder version of Not Fade Away, these three songs back to back
to back left (almost) nothing else to be desired. Hands down, the
second half of this show, starting with Senor, rocked just as
much, if not more than any other Dylan show I've seen, and was
superior to the Augusta date. Finally, there was a non-existent
security policy inside the gym, contrary to another review I
read, and some fans who were very clearly tripping were left
along and allowed to "do their own thing" by nearby security
guards. Just thought I'd state my observations on this -

If anyone has a copy of this (or the Augusta show), please email
me privately. Hope Amherst continues the energy that the end of
this show produced, and I'll be waiting for another NE tour. And
Bob, if you take time out to read more than just song requests
(insider RMD joke by now), thanks again. You continue to amaze

-Jared Ishkanian

1999: January - February - March - April - May - June - July - September - October - November -