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Rolling Thunder Hits Fort Worth Print-ready version

by Carlos Colon
Shreveport Journal
May 20, 1976
Original article: PDF

The Rolling Thunder Revue struck the Tarrant County Convention Center in Fort Worth, Sunday evening and left its audience agape at the sight (and sound) of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell on the same stage.

The 4-1/2 hour show began at 8:15 p.m. with several numbers from the backup band, many of whom were present during the Revue's winter tour of the East Coast.

Singer-guitarist Bobby Neuwirth captained the band through some country-western favorites including "The Last Show In Texas" and "They Said Hand Williams Was Dead" with Mick Ronson, ex-guitarist for David Bowie, on lead.

The band then left for an apparent break; the lights dimmed, and out walked an unannounced Joni Mitchell who sang a few songs and departed to a standing ovation.

The band's revival of "The Battle of New Orleans" was followed by Kinky Friedman who did three tuns with the band including a hilarious takeoff on Buck Owen's "Okie from Muskogee."

Again the band left, and again a lone figure crossed the stage and approached the microphone. This time it was a man, dressed in jeans, a red and white checkered shirt and a dark jacket.

On his head was a white bandana, wrapped around as if he were an Egyptian pharaoh. Long brown curls hung outside the bandana, and around his neck was a metal harmonica holder (harmonica intact).

He stepped to the microphone, strumming his acoustic guitar and began "Mr. Tambourine Man." The crowd, if uncertain before, were now assured that this scruffy performer before them was Bob Dylan. And the traveling minstrel from Minnesota never sounded better.

"Tambourine Man" was followed by "It Ain't Me, Babe" and a duet with Neuwirth about Vincent Van Gogh. Dylan then switched to electric guitar and did countryfied versions of "Maggie's Farm" and "One too Many Morning." Scarlet Rivera afterwards provided an excellent backup on violin for "Mozambique" and "Isis," two recent Dylan songs which ended the Revue's first segment.

The concert resumed 20 minutes later when the Rolling Thunder Revue curtain lifted to the opening chords of "Turn, Turn, Turn" and revealed ex-Byrd Roger McGuinn with Dylan's backup band.

McGuinn also sang "Chestnut Mare," one other number, then handed the stage over to Joan Baez who melodiously offered seven songs to the appreciative listeners.

Besides "Diamonds and Rust" (her own little jab at Dylan), her songs also included "The Night They Drove Dixie Down," Dylan's "Forever Young," and a musical urge for equal rights.

One of her other numbers, "Dancing in the Streets," gave Baez and outlet for what she called her "split personality," and she proceeded to accompany the song with some dancing of her own.

After her last son, "Diamonds and Rust," Baez was joined by Dylan in surely the highest point of the concert - "Blowin' in the Wind." Their voices blended evenly together and did magnificent justice to Dylan's most famous protest song.

Baez remained with Dylan for two more songs, and then the band came back and Dylan once more changed to the electric guitar for eleven solo numbers among which were a rocking version of "I Pity the Poor Immigrant," a countryfied "Lay, Lady, Lay," "I Threw It All Away" and "Knocking on Heaven's Door."

Everyone returned to the stage after Dylan's last song for the final of "Gotta Travel On" in which each member of the Revue did a short solo performance for the audience.

The song ended with Dylan, Baez and Mitchell already backstage, and the Rolling Thunder Revue left Fort Worth, leaving its victims thunderstruck with amazement and ecstasy.

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Added to Library on August 6, 2021. (321)

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