Bob Dylan - Bob Links - Review - 10/30/99


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

October 30, 1999

Milwaukee Arena

[Anne Karakatsoulis], [Tom], [Eric Franecki], [Matt Stroshane], [Joe Cox]

Review by Anne Karakatsoulis

   Two of my favorite people were in Milwaukee on Oct. 30 --
Fr. Thomas Keating, founder of the Centering Prayer movement, was
giving a workshop, and, ofcourse, his Bobness was doing his
nightly seminar on how to rock and roll with purpose.  
   When we got to the concert, Phil and Friends were in the middle
of their tribal ceremony with the young kids all lookin' so good
and stoned and movin' to the beat.  It made me quite nostalgic for
10,000 B.C.  I can relate to the need for that kind of music as
an antidote for dehumanizing technology and all, but Bob deals with
the state of modern life far more usefully, attacking the issues 
directly while entertaining the hell out of everybody.  And he and
his band did that looking very spiffy and grownup and gave a 
dramatic and serious and poetic and joyful - and ofcourse, rocking
concert.  He's never looked or sounded better in my experience.  
Did he pick a particularly profound set or was I just more open
to the depth of the performance?  Anyway, he played some of my all-
time favorites - every one done with polished singing and strong
feeling.  I especially like his bluegrass version of "I Am the Man,
   I was so moved by "Every Grain of Sand".  Fr. Keating had just
been talking to us in the afternoon about finding God in everything,
using shaking leaves as an example.  Then Bob sang about that very
same thing that night.  Course it's not a new idea, but it's timely.
   It was also the first time that I heard him do "It's All Right,
Ma'.  If I were an English teacher that would be in my curriculum.
It would be interesting for kids to analyze that song instead of 
some of the stuff my kids have had to work on - like Norman Mailer.
Give me a break.
  The kids - as in teens and twenties - sure do respond to Dylan.
On the floor the kids outnumbered us old farts about 20 to 1.
Whether they came to the concert originally for the opening act or
Bob, he easily gathered them all into his world because he has so 
much to offer.  People do appreciate a great artist with a real
message when one if available.

Thanks, Bob, for the great concert.
Anne Karakatsoulis


Review by Tom

The venue is located in downtown Milwaukee, and seems to be a fairly
low-key place, not much advertising in it.  Floor was general admission,
and made of concrete, very tiring to stand on, and cold to sit on,
something about the floor that makes a bit of an endurance game to hang
out there, but that's where I was, so that's the perspective for the

Phil and Friends was coming off a last minute lineup change, due to the
departure of a guitarist, but I thought they played together quite
well.  Barrere stretched out his leads during I Know You Rider, and was
playing a good, long train of thought.  Cold Rain and Snow also kicked
gears.  Keyboardist Bill Payne played some Stravinsky-sounding
chordcluster sort of stuff and dedicated it to Phil during the Dixie
Chicken.  Can anyone identify the "melody" Payne ran through?  I think I
also heard him play Für Elise- what is that, old Ludwig Van, man?  Lesh
managed to get his bandmates together, more or less in line.  I was not
expecting Much from Phil after what I read about Oxford's set, but I was
most pleasantly surprised.  Moral: Propaganda- All is Phony.

On to the main attraction!

   1.I Am The Man, Thomas (acoustic) (song by Ralph Stanley and Larry
This is getting to be a fun opener, some outlaw country sort of tune,
near as I can figger.  Anyone know where to find the lyrics?

   2.The Times They Are A-Changin' (acoustic) The crowd warmed up with
this familiar number .
   3.It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (acoustic) was spooky
sounding. Tony's bass was pulling the music in all sorts of weird ways.
This evenings version included two courses of fleshcolored glowing
jesii, I suppose because it was so easy to see without looking too far
how little is really sacred;*}  The Milwaukee crowd was noisily
appreciative of the 'punchlines.'  Bob's acoustic sets are really
strong, I'm glad he opens the show with his old style, and rocks so
hard.  It's great to hear natural-sounding amplification of well-played,
well-crafted instruments.  Props to Bob's sound company and his style
that he is so full-sounding with acoustic guitars and Tony Garnier's
upright bass.

   4.Mama, You Been On My Mind (acoustic) (with harp)    A lovely number
4. . . the harp solo was fairly rocking, as if to incite the crowd.
Oftentimes I think Bob plays a really subdued harp solo to get people to
quiet down and listen up. This was a jammin' solo, to inspire and
instigate, I'd say.

   5.Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic) Bob plays the heck out of this
warhorse.  Every time I hear this,  he manages to change his phrasing so
completely that the song takes on myriad meanings.
-----start my $0.02-----
My take on the Milwaukee tuib was the lesson that people have to learn
to communicate, that without communication, words for instance, we're
stuck on different wavelengths.  Blue represents the throat chakra, the
seat of communication, I think Bob is suggesting that the song's
protagonist (referred to as "him" for the first part of the song until
"offered ME a pipe"- as he usually has in recent years) is unable to
communicate, his throat chakra is out of balance.  First he used a
little too much force, then he was just about to do the same (thin out)
and lateron he became withdrawn. . . sounds like some tangled
communication.  On a larger scale, the planetary mind's blue "throat"
chakra is out of tune, all tangled up too, as long as its inhabitants
can't understand that they each just see it from a different point of
------end my $0.02------
Anyhow, Bob's throat is in fine shape, he enunciated the corners on
tonight's version sweetly.

   6.All Along The Watchtower   Minor sound problems didn't interfere
with this rocker.  Bob plays this a lot, which seems to be fine with
almost everyone.  The Dead used to tear it up frequently too, so Phil's
Phriendly Phans seemed to enjoy this one especially much.

   7.Every Grain Of Sand   Confidently played-  this is called a
kickdown in grateful deadland, when you get something more than you
could possibly have asked for.  This song goes super-deep.  ". .
.Sometimes I look, there's someone there, other times it's only me.  I'm
hanging in the balance of a perfect finished plan. . ." was what he sang
in the middle of the last verse, I believe.

   8.Silvio     If I had to edit my review of this show down to five
words,  I'd say this: "It rocked, they played Silvio." =p Milwaukee
crowds don't seem too loose, but the Robert Hunter tune seems to work to
get the 'heads up and grooving.  The echo revealed the sound of the
flat  back wall of the place.  It seemed during the opening P&F set that
the musicians were actually listening to their own sonic reflection and
jamming with it at times.  Dylan's sound simply overpowered it.

   9.Not Dark Yet    Bob brings the concentration to a focus here.  NDY
has been a highlight of many a recent show for me.  I love the
diphthongs when Mr D drawls out the words at the end of the phrases, but
I'd probably like anything called a diphthong. &*}  This song doesn't
sound very much at all like Phish's Theme from the Bottom, but they are
both a little on the spooky-scary-eerie-underwater-sounding side.

Bob introduced the band before 61, no joke this evening
  10.Highway 61 Revisited   Ever since Saugerties 1994, when Bob played
at that Woodstock anniversary thingie, the youngsters seem to enjoy
boogieing to this one.   Larry was sliding all over the place on it,
then Bob took a pretty bent solo.  Funky angular blues.
 Or would it be more accurate to says Larry was lapping all ofer the
place?  Can someone please tell me what the two horizontal table-guitars
that Larry plays are called?  The shorter one has the word "Zumsteel" on
it.  I'm guessing that one is a pedal steel?, and the other one is a lap
steel??- I'd love to stand corrected or whatever.

  11.Love Sick   Another song about communication gaps in the modern
age.  A great slow spacey encore, and one of the most haunting songs
from TOOM, an eerie album.

  12.Like A Rolling Stone   OK, the one in Chicago at the late show of
the Park West gig was much hotter,  but that show was WAY crazy.  Dylan
wasn't selling any alibis Saturday- I think the deadheads have learned
better than most people how to get used to living out on the streets.
Outside the show was a veritable bazaar of food, crafts, and um,
amusements provided by the creatively dressed children of Mr. Garciya.

  13.Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)   My circle of friends lost a member
recently.  About a week and a half ago our friend George passed away
suddenly, and this song (like the Park West version) reminded me of
him.  He was a mountain to me, a huge guy, there's always the tendency
to take friends for granted, but now that George has been washed to the
sea, I'm just thankful he was my friend, and that his friends are my
friends still.  We had an extra-large group of people together enjoying
the show, and certain songs always seem to make me get choked up anyhow,
but I was seriously moved by tonight's version of this song.  I might
add that Phil's opening group evoked similar emotions for me during the
song "The Days Between" which is one of the deepest Hunter tunes ever
penned.  I'd like to see Hunter and Dylan in a Pulitzer Prize fight-
Ba-DAM! (thanks steven wright. . .oshkosh-b-gosh straightjackets for
kids. . .. hee hee hee, wait til I review chicago. . .)

  14.Not Fade Away    Apparantly, a young fellow named Zimmerman had a
very strong experience about 40 years ago at a Buddy Holly show, taught
him something about rock and roll, and the human spirit, I guess- Does
anyone have any specifics about this?  Please post a link if possible!

Bob left the stage without his white cowboy hat on his head, he just
picked it up , sort of faked putting it on his head, smirked, and walked
off.  Guess the hat isn't an exact indicator for encores, or if it is,
there's some other sign to make it count, like a catcher changing the
signs to the pitcher when there's a man on second to keep from getting
the signs swiped (baseball analogy crew, any  dylan-related baseball
lore you can fill us in on?)

any-old-how, that's my rundown.  As always, your milage may vary.



Review by Eric Franecki

Seeing Dylan the first time on a BALMY summers night the first time was just 
an awing experience that was just more like "I've seen him once". This time 
I had a little better idea of what i was getting myself into. I had been 
looking forward to this show for quite sometime because i am still kind of a 
deadhead myself, and when i heard he was billed with Lesh i just couldn't 
wait another day. Well of coarse i did, and the wait was well worth it. Lesh 
put on a great show i got into fairly well. Lights went on and the wait was 
on again for Mr. Dylan. My goal for this show was to see an acoustic version 
of Mr. Tambourine Man before i die. From the opening i was ecstatic with 
anticipation for this number(which of coarse NEVER came). I Waited through 
some good old classics like Tangled up in Blue, All Along The Watch Tower, 
And Highway61 revisted til' the end. Encore came with almost the same one at 
Marcus on the 4th, except no Simon. The dissapointment for Mr. Tamborine Man 
was almost satisfied when it appeared that a 2nd encore could follow(that 
suspense really got me) but that again never happined. The Milwaukee Journal 
gave Dylan a review not at all what i expected, saying he played more of a 
down beat show. I thought it was a good show, even though it almost mirroed 
his show on the 4th of July, it was still an energetic attempt at a crowd 
not use to his music.

Eric Franecki


Review by Matt Stroshane

The fashion report: The Man came out in his long black coat, short tie
with white pin, black pants and those black cowboy shoes with the white toes 
looking very stylish. Larry was wearing a gray sport coat with black 
trousers. Tony was pimped out as usual in his hat and semi-wild suit:gray 
with white striping. Charlie was in a sharp, open-collared black suit and 
David hid behind his drum kit with his dark sunglasses and a white cowboy 

I am the Man, Thomas
On the first tune, the band seemed to be just going through the motions. 
Larry's and Tony's faces were absolutely blank and it looked like getting 
started was going to be a chore, but it didnt stop them from performing 
well. Larry and Charlie added some good harmonies but that didnt seem to 
fire them up too much either. Dylan, too, seemed to be going through the 
motions with no expressions at all on his face. The band sounded great and 
it was good to finally hear this song, even if it was relatively short.

The Times They Are A-Changin
Times Changin was pretty standard and the band still wasnt very into it but 
again, the performance was adequate.

Its All Right Ma
The band finally started to get into it a little. Dylan seemed to really be 
putting some effort into this one. There were great dynamics between the 
verses which added some much needed drama. The president naked line got some 
cheers and Dylan's obvious effort was
appreciated by the crowd.

Mama, Youve Been On My Mind
Definitely a highlight of the night. Bob gave some great vocals and
Larry did a great job on the pedal steel. It was also the only appearance of 
the harp all night and Dylan played a strong, lengthy solo at the end. At 
one point he was getting so into it that he almost duck-walked with the 

Tangled Up In Blue
Tangled started with just Bob and Larry in the spotlight on an otherwise 
dark stage, but had a fairly typical arrangement. The phrasing, though, was 
different than this summer or fall and gave a different emphasis, ending 
some lines down and others up. The band was in full swing now and had almost 
forgotten how bored they were at the beginning of the show.

All Along the Watchtower
Watchtower was watchtower, though there was some excitement when Dylans mic 
went out halfway through the song but the guys kept jamming away like 
nothing had happened.

Every Grain Of Sand
This tune absolutely baffled the audience. They sat stone silent yet
were appreciative, trying to listen to Dylan words to decipher what song 
they were listening to. When Bob finally sang the titular line, they gave 
him a big cheer. The song was very delicately played and was quite 

After stunning the crowd into silence, Dylan showed has manipulative
power by turning the silent, motionless audience into a rowdy singing and 
dancing mass. The guitar work was great and the song really cooked.

Not Dark Yet
That is until Dylan slowed everything back down again with Not Dark Yet. 
This was another highlight of the show (along with the other TOoM track 
Lovesick). Dylan gave the lyrics a lot more care that I had seen in past 
shows. Charlie did some great work on his big, blue Gibson electric. The 
song was very powerful and the crowd had sat mesmerized again until Dylan 
introduced his band.

Highway 61 Revisited
H61R was in its usual spot and had everybody in the place rocking. Larry 
played lead on a stand-up pedal steel and just smoked. The song really 
rocked and had a different feel from this summer and even this falls tours 
with Paul Simon. But it still felt a little stale from being out every 

Lovesick began the encores and again, you could have heard a pin drop in the 
Milwaukee Arena. Charlie played the intro well, even if he did seem a bit 
bored by it. The lyrics were clear and sharp. Perfectly done.

Like A Rolling Stone
LARS is another one the could probably go back on the shelf for a little 
while with H61R and Silvio. It didnt seem that Dylan had changed the 
arrangement greatly or given a real shift to the phrasing that added 
anything. The crowd ate it up, though I wonder if it wasn't a type of false 

Blowin In the Wind
I was dreading the acoustic encore. I knew it was going to be Blowin.
The crowd was not quite as silent as they were during the other slower songs 
the band tracked through. Maybe because they were more familiar with 
it.Larry and Charlie seemed to be happy to be singing harmony instead of 
just playing their guitars and both provided a powerful layer to the song. 
Although at one point it looked as though Bob gave Larry laser stare for 
holding the wind a bit too loud for a bit too long.

Not Fade Away
NFA is still a great closer and a big pick-me-up after the semi-downer
of Blowin. The guitarists got to sing harmony again and the Grateful Dead 
fans who came to see Phil Lesh loved it. All too quickly, though, Dylan was 
holding out his sunburst Stratocaster bowing, and disappearing behind the 
stage with his white Stetson.

Some general observations: It seemed that Charlie was finally getting a 
larger role in the band and he seemed to take advantage of every
opportunity he got and did a great job. The lighting was pretty similar to 
this summers shows but the sound seemed too soft until the end on H61R, 
LARS, and Not Fade Away. The arena was packed and I dont know how the people 
in their Halloween costumes were able to breath. Phil Lesh and Friends were 
a bit of a disappointment. The one hour-forty five minute jam containing 
approximately 7 minutes of singing was not quite my cup of tea but I would 
have to say that the Dead Heads composed a majority of the audience. Which 
is exactly how it was at Chicago the next night.


Review by Joe Cox

Here's another of my off-again, on-again series of Dylan reviews. This
was not a good day for me. The tickets got misplaced and only the
extreme kindness of a girl at the venue got me into the show. Also, I
should have had a tape of this fine show, but (for the Cliffs notes
version) something went pretty wrong! I was late in arriving because
of the missing tickets and thus I missed the beginning of Lesh's set.
Not that I'm complaining! Lesh did sound pretty nice, but I'm not the
biggest fan of that style of music- maybe it says something really
negative about me, but I prefer the Paul Simon sort of opener myself.
Lesh was technically sound and actually sounded pretty inspired (at
least, for the part of the show I saw), but rambling jams aren't my
idea of a good time really. I do have to give him kudos for a fine
"Alabama Getaway". The Deadheads were out in full effect "dancing" in
the aisles throughout his set. Phil finished a few minutes after 9 and
we got the usual half hour delay for Bob graced us with his
presence.1)I Am the Man, Thomas      I really love this song! I saw
the first performance of it and it's become a definite favorite of
mine. Any of those old Stanley Brothers hymns is a keeper in my book.
I would've probably enjoyed "Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie" a little more;
if nothing else because it seems like these days when he plays that
one, you know you'll get a good show.       Bob was looking fine as
usual in his nice dark suit... his hair was a little messed up, but
other than that, he looked like his usual self. This was the typical
strong performance that I've heard of this song; Larry and Charlie
filled in nicely with the backing vocals. Always a good start to a
show.2)Mr. Tambourine Man           This one quickly eased me back
into reality. I've heard "Tambourine Man" about as many times as I'd
really like to. Still, it doesn't really grate on me as much as some
of the more predictable songs do. Basically my barometer on this song
is "Does Bob play harp?" If he breaks out the harp, it really gets
memorable. He didn't break out the harp. It was a pretty solid
performance, but nothing earth-shattering.3)Masters of War       UGH!
Again, not a favorite of mine. I much prefer "It's Alright Ma" or
"Desolation Row" in this slot. I wasn't too impressed with the large
numbers of deadheads who were dancing in the aisles to this one. I
mean really; I can see dancing to "T-Man" but "Masters of War"? 
Such a danceable song; "I hope that you die" (pirouette... funny hand
movement...). I appreciate the fact that these people really enjoy the
music, but dancing to this song really doesn't gel with me too well.  
     This was a pretty nice performance of this one. Probably the best
version of it I've seen; which is just as much a testament to how
mediocre I think it is as the particular greatness of this
performance. Still, the guitars found a nice little groove together
and made this at least mildly impressive.4)It's All Over Now, Baby
Blue      I've heard versions of this song range from horrendous to
brilliant. This one was more toward the brilliant edge of the
spectrum. Unlike the last time I heard it, Bob more or less got the
lyrics and timing right. :) Larry sounded wonderful on the pedal steel
on this one and Bob played some great riffs dueling him note for note
during an instrumental break.       It's a performance like this that
makes me realize how fortunate I've been to see as much of Dylan as I
have. I remember the days when I used to read review on RMD of jaded
concertgoers who weren't terribly impressed with performances that I
thought were earth-shattering. But seeing Bob five times in four
months has kind of taken its toll. When I say that a performance was
pretty good, that generally can be taken to mean that for somebody who
hasn't seen Bob in a while, their jaw would be on the floor. :) This
was an excellent rendition, but not the best I've heard.5)Tangled Up
in Blue      The only song I've heard at every Dylan show I've been
to; the Cal Ripken of Dylan songs really. Yet it never really grows
old for me. Every time I hear it, the song seems like the last run
through the band gives it rocks just a little bit more. The only weird
thing on this one was during one of the instrumental run-throughs,
about halfway through a verse, there was kind of a jarring drop in the
tempo. I never did really figure out what happened, but it was pretty
noticeable to me at the time. As is standard, we got the "She lit a
burner on the stove" verse. And Bob played a pretty good harp bit on
this one. Nice work by Larry Campbell and a very good performance
overall.6)Watching the River Flow       I was ecstatic that this
wasn't "AATW". I'd never heard this song live before and I was mildly
impressed. I'm not completely sold on the slower tempo that he's using
on it these days... I remember hearing a tape from early this year
where it sounded a lot like "Maggie's Farm". Well, it doesn't sound
like that anymore- it's slower and more mellow. Larry was playing
steel guitar for this one. Bob didn't remember the words terribly
well, but was pretty nimble in improvising new ones. A highpoint of
the show!7)When I Paint My Masterpiece       THE highpoint of the
show! It was a pretty sloppy performance that got off to a tentative
start. Bob sang the bridge and last verse twice. The absence of
harmony vocals on this one kind of bothers me... it could really use
some since Bob's singing sounds fairly thin on this song. So basically
what I'm telling you is that it wasn't a particularly good
performance; but I loved to hear it anyhow. The last appearance of
this one in a setlist goes back to El Rey in December '97! After the
song Bob commented, "That was my ode to perfection."8)Stuck Inside of
Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again        Please Bob,
give this one a breather! "Mobile" is one of his most overused songs.
At least it does get some good posing out of him; last night his pose
of the evening was to take his left hand pretty far up the neck of the
guitar, about to the middle really. He'd saunter around carrying the
guitar like that from time to time.       This song showed how much
the band is coming to rely on Charlie Sexton. His cord to his amp was
screwed up and he didn't play on the first instrumental run-through of
the song. It was fixed just in time for the beginning of the lyrics;
and the familiar rhythm sound was added back into the mix. They really
sounded lost for the 30 seconds or whatever without him.       If
you've heard "Mobile" once, you've heard all possible variations of
it, I'm afraid.9)Not Dark Yet       This one actually got most of the
aisle dancers calmed down. As is typical these days, this was a fine
rendition. The first time anybody hears this arrangement on "NDY" it
will blow their mind... of course, I've heard it a few times, so I was
impressed but not blown away. Right before the end of each verse, the
white lights would come up on the crowd and when Bob sang "It's not
dark yet but it's getting there", they'd quickly die back down. The
lighting guy definitely earned his keep!Band Intros       Bob
introduced Larry and told a nice little joke. It was something about
how Larry had busted his toe (dramatic pause)... so they called the
tow truck, but the tow truck never came. This is the first joke I've
heard of in a good little while from Bob; they were pretty standard
for awhile in the summer and I'm glad to see them back. Bob then
introduced David Kemper and commented "There's nothing wrong with
him." The other band intros proceeded without further
comments.10)Highway 61 Revisited      Time for Charlie Sexton to blow
the roof off of Millett Hall! This one never gets old for me! Larry
plays lap steel on this one, leaving the guitaring to Charlie. I'm
pleased to see Mr. Sexton already becoming a key part of the band...
he's gonna make people forget any other Dylan guitar players who
aren't named Robbie Robertson, IMHO.        Bob's voice sounded fine
on this as it did all night. He was in pretty normal voice, maybe a
wee bit rougher than the last two shows I'd heard, but he sounded just
fine. The band really just rocks out on this. Charlie will dance
around a little, smile, step over toward Bob for a second... good to
see him look a little more confident out there! A standard
performance- which means it kicked ass.11)Love Sick       Another one
that I could do without for awhile. I like the way it sounds with
Charlie in there, but this is a song that I've heard a few times too
many. It's certainly not bad, but I'd like to hear him play something
else in this slot. Seemed pretty average to me.12)Like a Rolling Stone
      Unlike some, I never get tired of this one. Maybe it's because I
think it's the best song he ever wrote. Maybe it's the guitar riffs
that rock this song. Maybe it's the experience of looking at my hero
and watching him sing, as only he can, "How does it feeeeeeel?" He got
a little too into that line once and it took him a couple more lines
to catch back up with the band. This was a very nice version of this
one.13)Blowin' in the Wind       Another one I could hear every show
and I pretty much have. The harmony vocals really do it for me on this
song; I LOVE the arrangement. Bob struggled some with timing on the
chorus, but overall, he knows what he's doing with this one. Playing
it every night keeps him in pretty good practice, I'd say. A solid
performance, about like every other version of this I've ever
heard.14)Not Fade Away  
    Lights up. This is a great closer all the time, but especially on
    this tour. I noticed
that Lesh didn't play this one last night; maybe he just knows the he
can't measure up. :) This is another song that sounds about the same
every time through; as is usual it was rocking! Bob plays some weird
guitar bits during this one, but it works, so I won't complain.
Instead of lifting the guitar off a few seconds before the end of this
one as I've seen him do, he kept it on and jammed to the end and
matter of fact, through the end. A nice job and a good end to the
show.       This show was very average. Other than the first two
electric songs, it wouldn't be terribly memorable at all. Maybe I've
just seen him too many times too recently, maybe it was my bad mood...
but whatever the reason, the next time I see him, I hope he's changed
the setlist some. I really like many of the songs he plays in the 9-14
holes; but knowing what you'll hear before the show (beyond much
doubt) is kind of a downer. Miami could use some work on traffic
management, but other than that, I can't complain too much about the
venue. A decent show; I didn't feel cheated or anything, but it's not
one of the better ones I've seen really.All the Best,Joe


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