Durham, New Hampshire

November 17, 1999

University Of New Hampshire
Wittemore Center

Review provided by Jared Ishkanian.

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 Haynes 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. 

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 me.

-Jared Ishkanian

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