From: "R. Sweener" 
Subject: Bloomington - a review
Date: Thu, 9 Nov 1995 15:23:21 -0500
Message-ID: <>

Well, I've finally found the time to review the Bloomington performance.
Sorry it's not more descriptive, but at least it gives you one more
perspective.  I've listened to Dylan for about 7 years, in ever increasing
quantities with each passing year.  Started off light, and now I listen to
him or play his stuff on guitar about every day.  This was my first Dylan
show.  I was lucky enough to get a second row seat with dylan's mike directly
in front of me.  Unfortunately, he was still positioned about 30 feet away
from where I sat.  I had visions prior to the show of being five feet away.
Stupid guy in front of me wearing a brimmed hat with a feather in it was
often annoying, but I got by.  Still loved the seat.  (That hat became
a Frisbee in my mind many times during the show).
Also, I write this from the perspective of someone who has all dylan's
up to and including John Wesley Harding.  None beyond that except
Good As I Been To You and World Gone Wrong.  I'm buying them in the
order of their release, so Nashville Skyline is next on my list.

1 down in the flood
2 senior
3 all along the watchtower
4 when i paint my masterpiece

I was immediately struck by the fact that he seemed to be sticking with a
melody with the first song.  Whether it was the original one or not,
I don't know.  But at least it was identifiable and enjoyable as opposed
to a drone of monotonous notes.  Off to a very good start.

Senior I had heard once or twice before on an '87 boot.  This was very
enjoyable as was Watchtower.   I have to say that the thrill of seeing
him live for the first time (regardless of what he sang) was naturally at
it highest point early in the show.  I mean, I was still just marveling
at his presence so there was that bias at this point in the show.

When I Paint My Masterpiece was a new one to me.  I liked what I heard,
though not as well as the first three.  Obviously, this opinion could be
totally different had I been familiar with it.

5 pledging my time
6 silvio
7 mr tambourine man (acoustic)

Pledging My Time was great.  One of my favorites of this show.
Silvio I had heard before on a tape of RFK '95.  I thought this was
up to that standard.
As for Tambourine Man, I finally got to hear what everyone has
been talking about.   I wasn't disappointed.  Felt like the show
reached it's peak here.  It's impact was strengthened by Dylan
pulling out the harmonica for the first time in the show.
He seemed to care about performing these songs well,
not just spitting them out.

8 gates of eden (acoustic)
9 it's all over now, baby blue (acoustic)

He was back to his old habit of rattling off lines with
not much of a melody, at least not one you could
praise.  The old 'pick out a string of monotonous notes
and stick with it with every single line' tendency.  Not as
badly as I've heard him do it before.  But I was so happy
to hear Gates and was still riding on the strength of
the performance up to that point that it didn't bother me
much.  I was enjoying myself, though by the end of
this song he was losing his grip on me.

All right all you sensitive people out there.  Hold your ears.
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue was praised as the highlight of the
Austin show by Christine.  She described it as "mournful", which is
exactly the word that came to my mind, and is dead on, I think.  But I
don't share her enthusiasm for this arrangement.  In fact, I have a total
opposite response to it.  I thought it was worst of the Bloomington show.
For me, hearing this song sung with such an overbearing sympathy for
Baby Blue (the person in the song, not the song itself) just didn't cut it.
Not at all.  And it's overlain with that soupy steel guitar that just turns
into a wash.  Sorry.  Not a fan at all of the steel guitar on most of
these "Unplugged" arrangements.

If you can identify with a de-toothed It's All Over Now Baby Blue, then
you may enjoy it.  I can't right now, but I'm only 30.
By the time I'm Bob's age, I may have a different perspective on his
approach here.  It's an entirely different song, so perhaps that's to his
at least.  I just wasn't at all impressed with what it was.

10 maggie's farm
11 disease of conceit
12 obviously 5 believers

Don't get me wrong.  That last song didn't spoil my evening.  He followed
with Maggie's Farm, which  offered some welcomed energy.
Disease of Conceit was another song that was new to me.  I enjoyed it.
Look forward to hearing the original recording, when I finally get to it.
These last three songs were all enjoyable, though I don't think on par
with the first half of the set.

13 alabama getaway

I was hoping he'd play this.  This old song was worn out on me with
too much radio air play years ago.  But it's been quite a while now,
and I could just imagine Dylan doing a great job with it.  He did.
I really loved hearing him do it.  Another highlight of the show.

14 the times they are a changin'

Again, sorry to say I'm not a fan of these arrangements a la "Unplugged."
If only those rumors had been true and he had been playing this solo
with guitar and harmonica.  Ah, now that's the stuff dreams are made of.
Well, at least he did break out the harmonica again.  Always glad when
he does that.

15 rainy day women # 12 & 35

This is the one song I have always skipped over when listening to
Dylan's cds.   Come to think of it, this song may have helped keep
me from giving Dylan a chance in my ignorant youth.   Had he only
performed it on Blonde On Blonde the way he did in RFK 6/25/95
(as I have on tape), my opinion would have been different.  Thought
he did a fabulous job with it at RFK.  Thankfully, the performance here
was in that fashion, and not of the MTV "Unplugged" caliber.
A great finish.

I had a great time.  Look forward to seeing him again sometime
in Louisville, knock on wood.

Best wishes,