Article by Dave Conlin Read
Update: Bob Dylan at Tanglewood July 2, 2016.
Bob Dylan has an association with the Berkshires that spans the five decades of his career and includes a couple of events at the apogee of all Dylan fan’s “wish-I’d-been-there” list, even though there have been only four Bob Dylan concerts in Berkshire county. For concerts, there were two Bob Dylan shows at Tanglewood, July 4, 1991 and August 4, 1997 then two of his minor league ballpark shows at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, June 23, 2005 and August 26, 2006.
The other two Bob Dylan appearances in the Berkshires were August 14, 1963 when he was Joan Baez’s unannounced guest at her concert at the Boy’s Club in Pittsfield and November 7, 1975 when Dylan and the Rolling Thunder Revue spent the day at Mama Frasca’s Dream Away Lodge in Becket.
Bob Dylan at Tanglewood – 1991 & 1997
The Tanglewood concerts of 1991 and 1997 were light years apart in Dylan’s performance and demeanor. Although he was uncharacteristically chatty during the first one, which set a Tanglewood attendance record of 20,516, he raced through an 18 song set in a manner that got the gig listed on Dylan Pool (defunct website) in response to the request, “What was your worst Bob Dylan concert?”
The 1997 concert was just his second after recovering from a near-fatal heart infection. He was his usual laconic self, nattily-clad in a shiny blue western suit, and did an abbreviated set of 13 songs, notable for an especially fine rendition of “Tangled Up in Blue,” and for the omission of “All Along the Watchtower,” which Dylan had sung at every concert since 1992. The opening act that night was BR5-49, whose multi-instrumentalist Donnie Herron is now a member of Dylan’s band.