Two Riders Approaching

A Fistful of Tapes

by The Two Riders

This month's song is Shooting Star. We'll tell you all about what we mean next time. This time we will round up all of the missing US shows from the last tour (well almost all).

Big Sky                        16th July 2003

Strangely enough our notes record very little out of the ordinary with this show. There is an OK version of Just Like A Woman which is something these days and an absolutely superb It Ain't Me Babe. Otherwise so-so.

Lake Tahoe                 19th July 2003

Unfortunately, this recording is dull-sounding and features irritating reverb. Nevertheless, listen out for some lovely piano work on Don't Think Twice, Following a couple of plodding efforts (Watching The River Flow, It's Alright, Ma) he drags out an impassioned vocal for Make You Feel My Love. Also present is a wonderful Under The Red Sky.

Ketchum                      21st July 2003

Dylan is in a pretty good mood for this show, talking a little to the audience, cracking jokes and so forth. A pity that the show, in truth, is patchy. Tell Me That It Isn't True features an awful vocal, Baby Blue is a bit of a mess, piano-wise but it's all worth it for a pretty good piano-dominated Visions of Johanna.

Nampa                         22nd July 2003

Dylan is now hitting nice-but-dreary territory. There is little which sparkles except for It Ain't Me, Babe (though the vocal is very rough) and Positively 4th Street.

Bend                            23rd July 2003

Now this is a much better show. It is helped by the lovely sound of the recording but almost everything works. Tweedle Dee is cracking, Highway 61 rocks like mad, once again It Ain't Me, Babe is excellent. Listen carefully to Desolation Row which is very well executed, the piano works superbly well and all is buoyed by a strong backbeat. There is also a delicious guitar break during Watching The River Flow.

Paso Robles                26th July 2003

A pretty good show with no obvious stand-out cuts but an obvious clunker in a rather tedious Just Like A Woman. 

Costa Mesa                27th July 2003

Spoiled by a very noisy audience but the vibrations are very positive again tonight. Tweedle Dee cuts the mustard again, Make You Feel My Love is good but the crowd spend the entire five minutes talking over the top. There is a superb trilogy of It Ain't Me, Babe, Cold Irons Bound and I Believe In You. The latter still retains the heartfelt emotion of the original performances. If that were not enough, then there is a brilliant, atmospheric rendition of Standing In The Doorway. Simply chilling.

Sunrise                         29th July 2003

The first of eight double headers with The Dead. Nothing terribly special. Dylan's own set features some interesting semi-rarities (Joey, Queen Jane, Sugar Baby), the best of which is the middle one. His short set with the Dead is woefully predictable and in an energy-free zone.

Tampa                          30th July  2003

Another double header. The Dylan set is spot-on. Just let yourself go with an infectious If You See Her Say Hello then motor on down the road with the steady rollin' Tweedle Dee. Slow things down with an amazing Saving Grace ( as opposed to a saving Amazing Grace - well never mind). Sprinkle in a little Most Likely and you've got a good little show. The Dylan/Dead set is missing.

Joliet                            2nd August 2003

Nice to hear Silvio kicking off the show. This time around, Joey is much better but all-in-all not a terribly exciting show.

Somerset                      3rd August 2003

Bit of a curate's egg. Nothing to write home about.

Noblesville                  5th August 2003

A nice little show enlivened by the appearance of Joan Osbourne duetting with our man on Tears of Rage. Indeed this is a superlong version (9 minutes) due to Dylan's long harp solo near the end. Worthwhile. The Dylan/Dead set is largely dullsville except for a nice, spacey Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.

Columbus                     6th August 2003

Joan Osbourne once again, Tears of Rage again, pretty good. Highlights are Blind Willie McTell, My Back Pages and best of all in the Dylan/Dead set You Win Again.

Darien Lake                8th August 2003

The last of the Dylan/Dead double headers turns out to be not so bad, thank you very much. Love Minus Zero is very stately Tweedle Dee hits the spot again and it's nice to hear This Wheel's On Fire. The set with the Dead starts well with the unexpected Tangled Up In Blue followed by the now-rare It Takes A Lot To Laugh but then predictability reigns.

Holmdel                       9th August 2003

Tonight you should listen out for a better Joey featuring a very long harp solo and the impassioned Hard Rain. Nice to hear Can't Wait too.

Holmdel                       10th August 2003

Next night, same town but tonight Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are in town and Dylan sits in with them for a couple of tunes. Heaven's Door is dull but you'll love Baby Please Don't Go which is note-for-note identical to the classic electric blues version by Them. This arrangement killed me way back then and it still sends shivers down the spine. Dylan's show proper is Ok. Just Like A Woman turns into an audience sing-along and Most Likely deteriorates into seven minutes of re-treads.

New York City            12th August 2003

Strangely enough for an NYC show, there is little to say. Standard ranch stash.

New York City            13th August 2003

Tonight things are better as evidenced by the lovely You Ain't Goin' Nowhere. Yet again, Desolation Row is so atmospheric but is spoiled by a poor vocal - in fact it's almost manic. Similarly Every Grain of Sand is marred by another poor vocal. 

Bushkill                       16th August 2003

Poor sound recording (echoy) mars the listening pleasure but still worth noting the lovely guitar work on Tom Thumb's Blues.

Wallingford                  17th August 2003

Nice start to this concert with the excellent guitar-fuelled Most Likely. Later on there is a very quiet, insidious Simple Twist of Fate. But the real highlight is Born In Time (oh yeah, oh yeah).

Northampton               19th August 2003

This recording features a lovely sound, making it easy on the ear. Early on in the show even the usually draggy Times has a quite good vocal. There is an excellent slow version of Shelter From The Storm, a supercharged Highway 61and a pretty good Blind Willie McTell. After an uncertain start, Boots of Spanish Leather develops into a beautiful delicate affair.

New York City            20th August 2003

This was a replacement show for one cancelled due to the NYC power cuts earlier in the tour. And boy, it was worth the wait. Things warm up considerably by the time Highway 61 kicks in and the heat is really turned up with a brace of Basement Tape tunes, This Wheel's On Fire and You Ain't Coin' Nowhere. It's all out cracking stuff as we enter the next couplet, Tom Thumb and Cold Irons Bound. A good show which gets better as it goes on. 

Gilford                         21st August  2003

This show contains probably the best It Ain't me, Babe of the tour, full of power, emotion and energy. A great vocal and lots of harp. Everything else is most acceptable but pales in comparison. Unusual ending with Tangled Up In Blue.

Syracuse                      22nd August 2003

Notable for a great quartet early in the show. It Ain't Me, Babe does not quite hit the heights of the previous night but is still up there. Digbity is both welcome and well done. H61 rocks like mad again and This Wheel's On Fire takes no prisoners.

Niagra Falls                23rd August 2003

The last gig of the tour at one of the archetypal holiday resorts. Featuring good sound, this is an energetic show, full of great guitar work. The worst aspect of the show is the demolition job Dylan does of his vocal on Shooting Star. It is horrible.

Restless Farewell for now.