Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan on Never Ending Tour
Just got out of the Norwich, CT concert of Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. Wow – it was the best yet. We gut stuck in traffic from Lancaster, PA to Norwich, CT. We arrived in the middle of Willie’s set.
It seemed flat but picked up before he quit, As pre-arranged, I left my girlfriend in the stands and made my way, Bud in hand, to the area front of the stage.
A young couple stood back to front. A tallish man in his 50’s was talking to his wife about the significance of a song. Two boomer women to my left wanted to talk Dylan so I obliged. How long have you been a Dylan fan? Since the revolution. Right on – since 1963.
The new band is terrific. You’ll be rocked. Sing something for us. No, wait you’ll here me sing before this night is over. I let three young fellows go in front of me and we talked Dylan. An Italian girl to the left was smoking alone with her boyfriend who asked me if I had children. Five. Why? I wish my dad would come to one of these.
A young guy in dreadlocks asked her for a toke. The band moved into position and Dylan shuffled to his keyboard.
The band started into Drifter’s Escape……and we rocked. Love Minus Zero was mesmerizing. I thought Shooting Star was Mississippi – nope just a cool new arrangement. The master has his touch.
Too bad Larry et all are gone but the new band is terrific. They have new skills and new sounds– the drummer is smoking. The lead guitarist mellow and crunchy. The rhythm solid and textured. The slide ads that emotional tone that reminded me of Daniel Lanois last week in Toronto, especially on Standing in the Doorway which seared through my heart.
Highway 61 had us screaming the last line of the verse. The crowd was wild. The acoustic John Brown with banjo was very arresting, so exciting to hear that song live.
We rocked. We swayed. We grooved. Bodies touched back through the music. We went inside ourselves and outside at the same time. The music built and built, song after song. Dylan was grooving, relaxed, smiling broadly to the band during the break on Memphis Blues.
The curly headed boy walked right past us looking for his friends. You’re friend missed you. Oh no, no problem. He’s only our ride back to Boston. Could you take us? No problem: I thought you were gonna ask me for something hard. You’re cool man.
Tired and hungry, I took some fries and Pepsi to my girlfriend back in the stands. Only I couldn’t find her along the first base line, until I remembered she was on the 3rd base line.
I joined her in time for Dylan to launch the right-on Masters of War. I just started doing this song again in public in May. The arrangement was new, the lead guitar more menacing than the Real Live.
After introducing the band Dylan closed with a great Like a Rolling Stone. I heard echoes of Mike Bloomfield’s lead from 1965 in the final break before the close out sequence.
My girlfriend says this was the best one yet, She is right and now really interested in Thursday night in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
I am writing this while she drives back to the hotel. I have to find the tapes for Lancaster to Pittsfield. These concerts are awesome.