Story 1997-02-11 Sydney, Australia

11.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Adam Raised A Cain´
´´Good evening….thanks…..thank you, uh…..I´ve been in, uh….Australia here for about a week and a half now….yeah, I´ve been to the rainforest….seen the rain, seen the wallabis, uh….had my picture taken ´neath, uh, one of those kangaroo crossing signs….it´s kind of a thrill….held a koala bear, yeah, uh….went around the harbor, that was beautiful….uh, sent home a lot of those little stuffed kangaroos, very popular back home…..went to the beach, went up to Bondi Beach there and uh….I almost drowned myself that day….I tried to swim out to one of those sandbars and uh….the harder I swam, it seemed the further away it got there….for a while I thought about….yelling for help or something but I said….´Screw it, I´ll just drown instead´….it´s a guy thing, you know….but uh….anyway, made it to the sandbar, made it back to the beach but I had some trouble there too, I suffered, uh…..some severe retinal distress on the beach there…..a lifeguard came over and said I was using my eyes too much and I had to go home (?)….but uh….I was asking the folks last night, the only thing I´m not sure about, was a little disquieting ´cause there´s supposed to be a young fellow around town who´s been abducted by female aliens….his picture´s on all the lightpoles if you drive around the city….now, if I get abducted, I….do wanna be abducted by female aliens (chuckles) so….anyway, they´ll have to bring me back, my wife´s expecting me home (chuckles) welcome, enjoy the show….”

11.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´Thanks, this is a, uh, song about….a fellow….a fellow that gets out of prison…..he´s trying to find his way back into the world, back into, back into his life…..and uh….I´ve never been in prison…..but I´ve felt like it (chuckles) and uh…..I think really it´s sort of a song about trying to learn how to be new, how to change your old ways of doing things and uh….that don´t work any more and find some new way to, to be, to live, everybody hits a place where all your old habits and your old answers sort of run out on you and uh….but it´s hard to change, I think all our old habits are how we know who we are and…..they´re the things that comfort us even if they´re the things that, that bring us down so….this is struggling hard to do some straight time here…..´´

11.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´Thank you….this is a song about the, uh, price of insight, everybody´s paid that at some point or another and uh…..the funny thing is the older you get, the expensive it gets, it seems like your mistakes are more costly, but this is a song about the price of sudden insight….. unfortunately that´s very expensive ´cause that only, uh, only comes after you´ve fucked up very badly, unfortunately, you see, it´s like (chuckles) that´s when…..that self-knowledge comes pouring in (chuckles) anyway, this is a story about a shoe salesman and the price of sudden insight….´´

11.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Freehold´
´´Let me, uh, set up this next song, this is a song I only played once before…..and I fucked it up very badly (chuckles) that´s probably why I only played it once but (?) there was a fellow out back asked for it and uh, I´m gonna give it a shot, it´s, uh, this is for Terry and Maria….. and uh, let me set up the song, the song is…..I went back and I played at my old Catholic school which I guess proves that the older you get, you can get nostalgic ´bout just about any damn thing (chuckles) it´s kind of pathetic when you think about it but, uh….anyway, they get me back there and uh, I´m gonna do a benefit for anybody that beat the hell out of me once (laughs) man, it´s, uh, you gotta watch out that aging, it´s got a lot of twists and turns (chuckles) but anyway, uh, so here I am, I´m on the stage at my home, in my hometown, you know, ´Hail the conquering hero´ and all that stuff (chuckles) and uh, out in the audience, there´s every person I, you know, all my relatives and, and there´s all the nuns that taught me and there´s, you know, they came back from whatever, wherever they sent ´em, you know (chuckles) they got ´em back somehow, alright, they´re still alive (chuckles) and uh, uh, uh, and there´s the priests, you know, all the priests and I come in and, man, I´m getting flashback city like crazy, I feel like running or check, make sure my little green tie is on straight but uh (chuckles) and, uh, the bishop comes from Trenton, right, which is the capital of the great state of New Jersey, the bishop comes for this (?) for this auspicious event, you know, so I´ve written a song that is about my hometown and basically, you know, writers don´t like to write anything….that´ll cough up to being autobiographical or a page out of their diary or something, I, I don´t keep a diary, uh, you can ask the Unabomber why that´s a bad idea, alright (chuckles) lookout for those, man, it´s like, uh, but anyway, if I did keep a diary, this I suppose would be in it, alright, so, uh, the name of the song is ´Freehold´, I´m not sure how it´s gonna come off but Terry and Maria, this is for you, uh…..let´s see how I do here….. alright….
(….) Now, the nuns and the priests are all sitting out there (chuckles) but hey, fuck it (chuckles)….My folks all lived and worked right here in Freehold….´´
(´Red Headed Woman´, ´Two Hearts´ and ´The River´ are missing from the source tape)

11.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Born in the U.S.A´
´´(?) there was a little park on the, uh…..edge of the town I grew up in… was a really comforting thing when I was a kid ´cause that always meant you were back home if you were out for a day with your folks….it was just a small town where the roads (?) to the park where the roads would fork at the edge of, at the edge of town and there was all these little white crosses and….and uh….to me, they were just beautiful and I remember as I got older, I asked my mom, I said ´Gee´ there was something on ´em…..little flags next to, they changed every spring or something…..and I said ´What´s on those crosses ?´ and my mother said ´Well, those are the names…..of all the men from our town who died in the wars that we fought´…. so….if you got any Australian Vets out there tonight, this is for you…..´´

11.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Dry Lightning´
´´Thank you…..this is a song about men and women…..didn´t write about that for a real long time….I didn´t even realise I wasn´t writing about it…..but uh…..I like to say that I was in, uh, I was probably just confused about the whole damn thing, I was sort of (chuckles) like I say I was in this one relationship, lasted 30 years…..but it was with a lot of different women, unfortunately….it was the same one, it just kept going on and on but….it´s funny how that happens…..but uh….I started out…..writing about men in cars….I did real well with that for quite a while…..then I switched to, uh, men in cars…..dreaming about women, like fantasizing, you know, the perfect woman or something like that and looking at women as they drove by….made a nice living on that for a long time…..and uh…..then I got around to men and women in the car….but not talking very much, you see (chuckles) and uh… hell, uh…..thousands of dollars later, trying to sort this out, uh…..I´ve come to sort of, this is a song about one of those relationships….out of the car, that´s good, good for a start, good for a start (chuckles) keep going, boy, alright (chuckles) don´t give up yet (chuckles) and uh (chuckles) and uh, uh…..a relationship that almost makes it, you know, where you might´ve made it, might´ve worked out (?) a lot of nice things going on and… might´ve worked out if you hadn´t been so busy kind of getting in there and fucking it up all the time, you know, as best as you could… anyway, the only thing I did find out… that with, uh, men and women, ´almost´ never counts…..this is ´Dry Lightning´…..´´

11.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Long Time Coming´
´´This is a song that I….it´s a new song, it´s a song I wrote for the last record but it didn´t get on….it was too damn happy, this song (chuckles) for its own good, it was just too happy for its own good, it didn´t get on (chuckles) and I sort of found, uh….that, uh, I don´t write a lot of happy songs because in general the people, they just don´t like ´em, that´s all there is to it (chuckles) I gotta keep an eye on the marketplace out there (chuckles) but uh, anyway, this is a happy song, I hope it doesn´t come back to bite me in the ass but uh (chuckles) they have the tendency to do that once you write ´em, they come back later (?) but uh (chuckles) I don´t think so, this is a happy song so I´m gonna dare to be happy on this one (chuckles) (cheers) hey, hey, hey, hey, not that happy, not that happy, not clap-happy or slap-happy, alright (chuckles)….this is called ´Long Time Coming´….´´

11.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Sinaloa Cowboys´
´´Thank you, this is, uh….introduce you to Kevin Buell here…..the man behind me…..he´s a guitar man, uh, uh, uh, the financial advisor for me out here on the road, if I have any financial problems, he helps me with ´em, umm, uh, guru, yogi teacher also, he´s good at that and uh….uh, sexual counsellor also, very, he´s kind of the Dr.Ruth, I don´t know if anybody knows her down here, uh, she tries to tell everybody what to do about their sexual problems, he does that for me, if I get stuck anywhere along the way and uh….uh…..card-playing buddy if I played cards, I don´t play any cards but if I did…..he´d probably play with me if I asked him (chuckles) I think, I, I don´t know (chuckles) but uh, you gotta wear a lot of hats here on the Tom Joad-tour, it´s sparse (chuckles) it´s sparse out here and uh, I was in a little Western Arizona town, a little desert town about six years ago, used to like to go out and wander around that part of the country and I, I was with some friends of mine and we, we don´t, we stay off all the interstates and we go on all the state and county roads through Nevada and Utah and New Mexico and Arizona and, uh, uh, so I´m in this little desert town, it´s in the fall, in 1989, I think, and I´m in one of these little motels and the whole town is only a gas-station, a grocery store, the motel and of course there´s a bar there….there was also a ladies´ dress shop that was what made it distinctive, I suppose (chuckles) I mean out of towns like that (chuckles) but uh, I don´t know….it was one of those motels where you can lay down at the end of your bed and if the door´s open, you can reach out and touch your car in the parking lot, you know (chuckles) so, uh….I was sitting outside with some friends of mine and, uh, it was late, a late, fall desert evening, it was really beautiful….I love that kind of weather….and these, uh, two Mexican men came in from the west, they were driving a truck, one was a young kid… was a fellow ´bout my age and, uh, they took the room next to us ….and uh….the fellow that was the older fellow come over and started looking at our motorcycles and uh…..started, told me that he´d had a younger brother that died in a motorcycle accident in Southern California a couple of months earlier and he talked for about 45 minutes about his kid brother, there was something in his voice that always stayed with me, I think we were about to have our….our, we were about to have kids and it always, the minute that happens, you know, you´re just, uh, afraid of, you realise you can´t really protect them in the end, that the world doesn´t provide for the type of protection you feel you´d want to give, otherwise they´d be, you know, 35 and they´d be saying ´Hey, who´s that old man following me down the street ?´, you know (chuckles) but uh…..there was something in his voice, I don´t know, (?) when people suffer a loss like that…..uh…..I don´t know how they put themselves back together or get the world to feel right again….but uh, it always stayed with me and, uh, when I was writing a song on the Central California drug trade, Mexican gangs come up out of Mexico and hire migrant workers in the Central Valley to work in the drug labs, they´re the ones that get busted or, or blown up and uh….it was a song about two brothers….and uh…..the consequences of the decisions we make, I guess…..but, uh, when I was writing, I had this, I heard my friend´s voice in my head from (?) all that way back and I dedicate this to him every night wherever he may be, this is called ´Sinaloa Cowboys´….´´

11.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´The Line´
´´Thank you….this, uh, these, all that these, these next songs were all set in the Southwestern United States which is, uh….it´s a powerful part of the country right now, in some ways it´s what….a lot of the forces are…..that´s what the U.S is gonna be, I think there´s, uh…..this is a song about, there´s a lot of young guys that get out of the army, end up going to work for the, the border patrol and uh, it´s a confusing job (?) immigration issue has been…..sort of used and abused in the States by politicians, particularly during the last election and distorted for their….particular means but, uh….there´s always been people coming across the border and risking their lives to do work that nobody else wants to do for a pay that nobody else will take (?) at the behest of American businesses and in return they get a….their kids would have a shot at a little better education and if they got ill or something, they´d get some medical care but…..uh, Carlos Fuentes, a Mexican writer, said that, uh, California was Mexico till 1848 and that border sits there more like a scar than a borderline so this is a song about a young border patrolman, uh, trying to do his job, trying to figure out where that line, where that line really is down there…..this is called ´The Line´….´´

11.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Balboa Park´
´´Thank you…..thank you…..this is a, uh, song about kids and, uh…..funny thing with kids, you know, they sort of….and before I had ´em, I, I kind of liked them (chuckles) at a distance and, uh….you get a bit of bad taste in your mouth when your friends have ´em because all of a sudden that´s all you´re hearing about, you know, they come over and it´s baby pictures which, you know, for the first couple of weeks or something, that´s understandable but it never stops, you know, it´s like ´Here he is in a diaper, he´s out of the diaper´, you know, ´There he is, he pissed in the potty for the first time today´ and, you know, hold on, Einstein, theory of relativity is secondary (chuckles) it´s like (chuckles) it´s like everything´s world news, you know, and, uh, and so if you don´t have ´em, it´s, it´s a little abstract, you know (chuckles) and then they bring them over and, and I´ve been telling the folks that like you gotta sort of, when they´re big enough to move around, they wanna, that´s what they wanna do and I lived by myself for 30 years and I, I just don´t like, I don´t like people really touching my shit, you know, it´s like (chuckles) but they´re, but they´re, that´s their business, you know, and so you can´t yell at somebody else´s kid ´cause you feel like an asshole or something so, so all you can do is sort of sit there and, and, and just sit there (chuckles) and go like (chuckles) you laugh (chuckles) you know ´He´s got so much energy´ and, uh (chuckles) you know, and they think everything he´s doing is great, you know, ´Aah, that wasn´t expensive, don´t worry about that´ (chuckles) and uh….you know, and then you have your own and I guess the whole thing sort of, you get to bring ´em over and let ´em tear the hell out of their house, you know, that´s the (chuckles) that´s the only way it works out….but uh, once you do have ´em, it´s sort of funny, people always ask you what the difference is, how did your life change and all that stuff and there´s a lot of different things but I guess the main thing is that children sort of, I always felt they have a window onto the grace that´s in the world, they got some sort of….and that it blows through them into your life and that´s something that you didn´t expect, you know, just this sort of, uh….access to, to those….to that, to that grace and uh…..and it´s a funny thing because, you know, of course once….once you have your kids, then you´re sort of sensitive to, to all children in some sense, you know, every….thing you read in the newspapers….and uh…..the thing about that grace is it´s the parents´ job is sort of to protect that and sort of shepherd it so they can live in it for a while, you know, and, uh, live with it….and uh, this is a song about kids that really don´t have anybody to do that for ´em, you know, (?) people have a very one-dimensional idea about street kids but, uh, really, you know, it´s beneath this sort of veil of….(?) it´s like there´s a…. they´re lost like you or I would be if we were 12 or 13 or 14 and had no-one and nothing to help us find our way through that world, you know, so this is what happens when there´s, uh, that grace goes unprotected, when there´s no-one there to do that…..´´

11.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´Thank you, when I was, uh, I grew up in a house where there wasn´t, wasn´t a whole lot of books or, uh, or culture or talk about what that could really do for you, what the purpose of, of those things were, you know, and the first thing that really had an impact on me was the radio when I was, uh, in grammar school….my mother was still a young girl, you know, and, uh, uh, she liked that rock and roll music and she´d have that on in the kitchen every morning and my sister and I would come down and I had on my, my little green tie and my green jacket and my green Catholic school pants and I´d, you know, be sitting there and my sister´d be sitting next to me, we´d be sucking up the cornflakes and all the great records would come across, you know, the air for the half-hour while we were down in the kitchen….and the singers´ voices were filled with, like, uh…..mystery and, and sex and danger and, and a sense of fun and, and risk and all the sadness that the world could hold and, and heartbreak and, uh, happiness, you know, (?) after I sat there and I sat there and I finally started to feel like I was hearing….a secret message, you know, something that said, like….´There´s a party going on….you´re missing it, little boy´, you know, and uh (chuckles) you know, ´Don´t go to school´ (chuckles) oh, boy !….and uh, those records were so important, you know, they were truly subversive, they came into all these little towns and they gave you a sense of a life that could be lived….outside of the life that you knew, that you saw around you, outside of your parents´ lives and your friends´ lives, that there was a world out there that was…..that was to be had, you know, if you would risk….and uh….for a long time those records sustained me so ….they were so inspirational, you know, I always….they were just very inspirational….then as I got older, a friend of mine showed me John Ford´s Grapes of Wrath and that sort of was the other piece to the puzzle for me, it sort of… sort of, uh, put in context some of the freedom that I felt pour out of those records, it made sense out of them and took it beyond the personal….and there was something about the film and that novel, you know, the idea that, that, that it was basically a story about the way people treat one another and about, uh ….unkindness and compassion….and uh….there was old-fashioned sense of heroism in it, the idea about the character risking something that he had for an idea that was bigger than he was, you know (?) and that resonated, that story resonated throughout the rest of my life, I still go back to it, there´s a scene at the end of the film where…..Tom Joad´s killed a vigilante man that killed his friend and he´s gotta tell his mother that…..he´s gonna leave….and that she´s already lost her home and lost, you know, her….they´ve come thousands of miles and they have nothing and now she´s gonna lose her son and there seems to just be no end and no reason….but Tom slips into the tent at night, he wakes her up and says ´Mama, I gotta go now´, they step out underneath these trees…..she says ´I know this day would come but will I ever see you again ? how am I gonna know if, if you´re alive, if, if my son is well ? will you ever come back ?´….he says ´I don´t know, I don´t know, all I know is I gotta go out and see what´s wrong and see if there´s anything I can do about it and you´ll see me…..because I´ll be in that darkness that surrounds you at night when you´re sleeping, Mama….and I´ll be in men´s voices when they´re yelling ´cause they´re angry and they don´t have work…..I´ll be in the way that kids sound when they´re laughing and they´re gonna come in at night and they know that they got a place and that they´re safe and there´s food on the table´, he says, ´That´s where I´ll be, you´ll see me….I´ll be there´…..and he disappears into the night….and the next morning the Joads are heading north for work and the father says ´What are we gonna do without Tommy ?´ and the mother says ´We´re gonna keep going´ so this is a song about how people keep going, how they seem to carry that hope inside them against all reason, even after the world has revealed itself and dealt its harshest blows, how people…. fall back on faith and love
and ultimately on one another because that´s all that there is (chuckles)….´´

11.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´Blinded By the Light´
´´Thank you….alright…..alright, this is a song, it sort of explains why I never did any psychedelic drugs so (chuckles) I, uh, I didn´t really, I was already in some very strange place, I don´t know, and uh…´s too late now, if I did ´em now, I´d never stop so I can´t do that (chuckles)….alright…..(?)….´´

11.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´This Hard Land´ (following ´Blinded By the Light´)
´´What in the hell was I thinking about when I wrote that ? (chuckles) I don´t know, alright (chuckles) I didn´t concern myself with those kinds of things at that time (chuckles) this is, uh, tonight we have some folks in the lobby (?) before I come into Sydney, an organization got in touch with me that works here in town, they´re the Sydney City Mission and uh (people start clapping) yup….they, uh….they work here in Sydney and they provide a wide variety of services for citizens in distress, homeless, uh, street kids, families in crisis, they provide material aid and legal assistance, uh, some job training, counselling, uh, The Mission´s calling is to, uh, they try to feed the hungry, they help (?) poverty….here in Sydney, combat injustice, restore hope in people who´ve fallen on hard times so they´ll be out there in the lobby, check ´em out, get some information about ´em, they´re working here in your town ….it´s the Sydney City Mission, I´m gonna do this, uh, for them tonight, alright (cheers) yeah, give ´em a round of applause (clapping) those are the people that are out on the frontlines….´´

11.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´There Will Never Be Any Other For Me But You´
´´Alright, thank you, thank you, thank you, I´d like to leave, leave you with this song, this is a song, the message of this song is love, love, love, that´s the message of this song, that´s my message, I´m the love man and uh (chuckles) and (chuckles) and I´m gonna do this for everybody that´s getting married out there tonight, I don´t know if anybody´s getting married out there, if you are, good, congratulations, hold on, uh, anybody getting divorced, I´ll do this for you too, uh, this is an all-purpose love song, covers all the bases, alright…..´´

11.02.97 Sydney, Australia, intro to ´If I Should Fall Behind´
´´Thank you, thanks for coming down to the show tonight, thank you very much, appreciate it, uh….you´ve been a great crowd and I wanna thank you for giving me the room to come out here and play like this, it means a lot to me and it´s a gift that you give me and I appreciate it very much, thank you….(someone yells a request) I ain´t playing that old bastard, shut up, alright (chuckles)(?)….´´

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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