Dylan, Nelson perform on tour of baseball fields

The shows cater to many generations and families.
FISHKILL, N.Y. (AP) -- If Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson were in the same lineup, who would bat cleanup?
Such are the questions worth pondering while lying on the outfield grass, the sun setting behind you and the stage set for the music legends in the opening days of their concert tour of minor league ballparks.
Among the others: What are they doing here?
Like the music itself, the tour is a slice of Americana from a time long ago, beginning in Cooperstown, N.Y., next to the Baseball Hall of Fame and continuing through stops in Altoona, Pa., Peoria, Ill., Sevierville, Tenn., Sioux City, Iowa, and Lincoln, Neb.
Dylan, 63, performs relentlessly at this stage of his career and played at a few small baseball stadiums in the 1990s. He liked the idea of organizing a field of dreams tour, said Jerry Mickelson, partner in the Chicago-based Jam Productions.
"We're bringing the music to the people and going to places that normally performers never play," he said. "Bob likes to mix things up."
Dylan and Nelson also are courting families, admitting children aged 12 and under for free if accompanied by a ticket-holding adult.
"We're finding three generations of people coming to the shows -- the grandparents, the parents and the kids," Mickelson said.
Nelson performed first here in Wappingers Falls, with a ragtag eight-member band that cultivates an air of informality. He ambled through many of his greatest hits.
Dylan, of course, doesn't. The cleanup hitter waited until the sun has gone down to perform a set evenly divided between his legendary 1960s songs and newer material. Casual fans not expecting it were shocked to see him standing behind a piano as if he were in the starter's blocks, driving a four-piece rock band.
But his performance was a uniquely American mix: the bluesy, roaring rock of "Highway 61 Revisited," the pedal steel-drenched "Lay Lady Lay," the courtly country of "Bye and Bye" and brooding folk of "Not Dark Yet."
As he stretched out on the grass beside his 15-year-old daughter while waiting for the show to begin, Dave Kleinrock said that he probably wouldn't have attended if it were at a more common concert venue.
"Sitting on a ballfield on a summer night can't be too bad," said Kleinrock.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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