Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue in Lowell, 11/2/75

Here’s my account of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue performance in the Costello Gymnasium of the University of Lowell on November 2, 1975—PM

Dylan was excellent in Lowell last night. Baez was superb in Lowell last night. The Rolling Thunder Revue was really something in Lowell last night. Dylan, the singing poet troubadour, sang all night. Joan and Bob played as two. Bob sang a song for Sara; Joan sang one for him: “Diamonds and Rust,” for “the original unwashed vagabond phenomenon.” Roger McGuinn played “Chestnut Mare.” Joan Baez sang maybe ten songs, each a wonderful choice: “Please Come to Boston,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill.” Joan and Bob played “Blowin in the Wind”—starting with the lights out behind a sheer curtain, and the audience went wild.

Dylan sang and played with enthusiasm and energy, looking like he loved every minute, bouncing around the stage and dancing and stamping his foot, his whole leg, in time to the beat. Bob played “It Ain’t Me Babe,” “Hurricane,” “Just Like a Woman,” “I Shall Be Released”—he dedicated “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” to Jack Kerouac. Ramblin Jack Elliott had earlier dedicated “Me and Bobby McGee” to Kerouac. Bobby Neuwirth played an “on the road” song. Dylan played a batch of new songs, sounding like a Mexican balladeer on some. The show ended with the whole troupe, including poet Allen Ginsberg on tambourine, singing Woody Guthrie’s  “This Land Is Your Land.”

It was a classic night of music. Dylan, in flower-plumed broad-brimmed hat and yellow bell bottom pants, wore white make-up with reddened cheeks, a kind of clown face. In his dark leather jacket he looked small and thin, but full of life. He played acoustic and electric guitar and harmonica. We were told that the concert was being recorded and filmed for a movie. The audience stood for 15 minutes, applauding and cheering, at the end of the show.

—Paul Marion, (c) Nov. 3, 1975

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