The Dylan and Haggard tour heads out of LA for Denver, Colorado.  The bus and the truck drivers are talking about taking I 15 to New Mexico and get on

I 25 from Albuquerque and on through Santa Fe and on up to Colorado.  The tour has two days to travel but some of the buses go on through the night. 

Seems their is talk about snow on the 70, so better head East then North.  The Haggard group head on the road...Dylan and band head to rooms,
then private plane to Denver.. Denver show at the Fillmore took on more a honkytonk concert feeling in the Fillmore, a big general admission facility. 

Couple of thousand or more were watching all three performances by Dylan, Haggard and Lee standing on the floor.  Friday night you got the feeling
that there were people even hanging from the rafters. The stage was much smaller and put both Dylan and Haggard in a tighter space to do their magic. 

Merle did a sting of beer drinking songs that got the folks a jumpin'.

Merle Haggard and Scott Joss




Merle would do this fun intro of the Strangers at most shows.  He would ask the

folks for a little of their time to introduce the Strangers.  Then the strangers would all

turn around and shake hands, wave, say HI to each other as if theywere first meeting...


The Haggard camp all stay back at the hotel for the night, then by Wednesday morning the buses are pulling out of the hotel in Denver and headed East. 

We drive miles and miles of high plains with a gradual decent from the mile high city.  Down the road we pull the three Haggard buses into truck stop to

refuel.  Take some pictures of old railroad caboose.  Merle is on his bus and they are cooking up some food so they don't have to eat the road food.

The truck stops and road restaurants are so often the only place to eat when traveling down the highways from gig to gig.

Dylan's band bus parked and ready to roll "out of here


Buffalo Benford is on the road filming



There must be some kind of way out of here,
Said the joker to the thief.
There's too much confusion,
I can't get no relief.
Businessmen, they drink my wine,
Plowmen dig my earth.
None of them along the line
Know what any of it is worth.
No reason to get excited,”
The thief he kindly spoke.
There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke.
But you and I, we've been through that,
And this is not our fate.
So let us not talk falsely now,
The hour is getting late.
All along the watchtower,
Princes kept the view,
While all the women came and went —
Barefoot servants too.
Outside in the cold distance,
A wildcat did growl.
Two riders were approaching, and
The wind began to howl.

In 1968, Jimmie Hendrix recorded Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" on his Elect-
ric Lady Land album...the song was released on Dylan's John Wesley Harding album in
1968.  Many other artists have covered it, including Eric Clapton, Neil Young, U2, The Dave
Matthews Band and The Grateful Dead. Dylan was so impressed with Jimi's version that
Dylan for years played it the way that Jimi had recorded it. There was many shows the
Grateful Dead played this Dylan song...This song was on Dylan's first album after his
debilitating 1966 motorcycle accident.

Rocky Mountain News writer John Lehndorff said that "Merle haggard has been on the road
with his band, The Strangers, since Lyndon Johnson ran the White House.  That's 40 years
worth of shows that "kind of mush together in my memory," he says."  Merle looks back on
another night in Denver.  It was at the Grizzly Rose on Sept 12, 2001, the day after the
terrorist attack on the Twin Towers.  He walked on stage that night and played "Fighting Side
of Me."

Dylan and company will take a private jet to Chicago.  Right after the show the Haggard troupe
head on out of Denver for Chicago.  There is a travel day in between the opening night in the
windy city.  Merle likes to stay in hotels that are little out of the city, so not as much problem to
find places to park the 3 buses.


Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I's taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that the land that I live in
Has God on it's side


Bob Dylan

After Merle's set on the closing night of a 5 day run at the very beautiful Auditorium Theater a group of friends and his band had a surprise birthday party for

him in the backstage band room.  During the party the door opened and quietly Bob Dylan appeared.  He came in carrying a crinkled up Whole Foods

grocery sack.  He walked up and handed it to Merle and whispered something to Merle, then turned around and walked out the door and went on stage
where the band was waiting to start the show.  Merle stood there holding the sack and said to the group of friends,  "Talkative fellow isn't he...left me here

holding the bag."  Merle had said few days back on his bus that he respects Dylan's ability to remain so mysterious. Merle's next CD is to be titled "Chicago

Wind."  Just click and take a visit to: and check out his music.  

Dylan continues to defy expectations
"Maybe the beauty of his artistry lies in not knowing what Dylan is willing to give, four decades after he first
hit the scene.  A lack of expectations opens the ears and mind to accept whatever comes next...Perhaps this
is why I say Bob Dylan was amazing onstage Friday night at Chicago's acoustically perfect and aesthetically
pleasing Auditorium Theater.  Dylan has surrounded himself with gusty talent of a seemingly country ilk:
players of lap steel, banjo, bass fiddle, guitars and fiddle.  Dressed in a black cowboy suit, with a line
of buttons punctuating the sides of his pants and the front of his coat, he donned a hat halfway through.

Daily South Side paper.


Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard at the Auditorium Theatre Chicago
Chicago Daily Herald
Sunday, 03 April 2005 00:00

It was easy to be sideswiped by sheer legacy Friday when Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard arrived to play the first of five nights at the Auditorium Theatre. Dylan, the most influential rock songwriter of his generation, and Haggard, the most influential country songwriter of his generation, both came of age in the ‘60s when both genres played on opposite sides of the fence.

Now, decades later, there is commonality. Dylan, 63, and Haggard, 68, are in a more assured stage in their artistic lives where all they have to do is show up and play the songs. Their songbooks keep them one step ahead of the seduction of nostalgia that traps some of their peers in self-parody or irrelevance. Playing back-to-back in a single evening, their similarities, not their differences, became obvious. Their songs have endured the times in which they were written and are bound by working class agitation, a blurring of genres and demure humor.


Great show by the Hag in Chicago each night...


Again Merle goes into his "Thirty Again" and the audience who most run the same age track that Dylan and the Hag ride for sure identifies... 

"They say life begins at 50, we've been lied to my friend.  I wish I was thirty again."  Hag says, "I don't know how old Dylan is...but I am as old
as the hills."  One journalist said, "Haggard is a hoot."  Merle told me on his bus..."The say life begins at 50, but don't tell you it ends at 51."


Down every road there's always one more city
I'm on the run the highway is my home
I raised a lot of cane back in my younger days
While my mama used to pray my crops would fall

Why I'm a hunted fugitive with just two ways
Out run the law or spend my life in jail
Id like to settle down but they won't let me

I'm lonely but I can't afford the luxury
of having the one I love to come along
she'd only slow me down and they'd catch up w/me
for he who travels fastest travels alone.
THE FUGITIVE by Merle Haggard



8 and 9th of April the locomotion heads into Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the Eagles Ballroom.

Merle has been putting on one incredible show after the other.  The standing ovations go for the entire set...he takes off his hat and glasses and looks

at the audience and they give him a standing ovation. He seems to be performing with such a country crooner style...cowboy with some Bing Crosby
and Frank Sinatra pizzazz.  Great response when Merle brings his wife Theresa up to do the great Johnny Cash song "Jackson."


Some one in the audience yells out, "Swinging Doors"...Merle pretends that he looks down at a set list on the floor, which by the way their never is one...

Merle like Dylan and Jerry Garcia, just goes out on the edge and plays what comes to him next...leaving The Strangers listening for that first note so
they can join in...anyway, Merle says, "Sure, that is on the list," and goes into the song to huge applause. Though many might not be sure what songs

and hits Merle recorded, but when he goes into one of his 40 plus number one hits...they remember and go..."yea, I have heard that..."


1.  To Be Alone With You
2. To Ramona
3. Cat's In The Well
4. Make You Feel My Love
5. Highway 61 Revisited
6. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
7. Love Sick
8. Absolutely Sweet Marie
9. Tough Mama
10. Floater (Too Much To Ask)
11. Standing In The Doorway
12. Down Along The Cove
13. Mississippi
14. All Along The Watchtower
1.  Maggie's Farm
2. The Man In Me
3. Lonesome Day Blues
4. I Don't Believe You
5. Ballad Of Hollis Brown
6. Stuck Inside Mobile w/ Memphis Blues Again
7. Girl From The North Country
8. Honest With Me
9. Ballad Of A Thin Man
10. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
11. I Believe In You
12. Highway 61 Revisited
13. Like A Rolling Stone
14. All Along The Watchtower




The boys and girls of UPSTAGING
continue to pull off their part of the
production with perfect execution...
the load-in and out is such a huge
part of this and any tour...stay tuned
for more on our HAGGARD HOPS
we plan on telling more of the

roadie story...

Detroit, Michigan


1.  Tombstone Blues
2. I'll Remember You
3. Lonesome Day Blues
4. This Wheel's On Fire (Bob Dylan/Rick Danko)
5. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
6. Watching The River Flow
7. John Brown
8. Under The Red Sky
9. Highway 61 Revisited
10. Bye And Bye
11. Absolutely Sweet Marie
12. Masters Of War
13. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
14. All Along The Watchtower







"On the road again...makin' music with my friends."


Willie Nelson

Buffalo, New York

"Truckin' Back to Buffalo..."

13th day of April we pull into Buffalo, New York to the Shea's Performing Arts Center. It's a beautiful newly renovated theatre with great acoustics, which it perfect for the sets the boys are about to play.  The Buffalo crowd holds true to their lively music roots that so many great artists have sung about in the past.

Haggard took the stage for a ride the a foot stompin', bull ridin' , cowboy way that only Merle can do.  Dressed in full rodeo going gear, he treated the East Coast to something they don't see everyday... pure country soul.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any rowdier, Mr. Dylan once again, to no avail, continues to astound his die-hard fans by putting together a show  that got the fans to leave their seats so they could find a spot to dance.  The set list mirrored the mood of the night (see below).  Even Bob, the ultimate road warrior, touring  since 1988 straight, seemed to have more luster than usual.

"Being true to yourself that was the thing.  I was more of a cowpuncher than a Pied Piper."
                                                           Mr. Bob Dylan

It just so happens that the boys met up with me there and I hopped on the Haggard/Dylan freight train barreling East.   (Michelle DiFrank)

Frank Mull, long time friend of the Hag's and

wears many  hats for him over the years

Merle is on the road again...

Too many highways

Too many bi ways

Too many canyons

Too many turns

Too many bright lights

Too many long nights

And she is one bridge I don't want to burn


I hate to leave her, with tears in her eyes

The longer I have her, the harder she cries

Drivin' beats workin', but drivin's a chore...



1.  The Wicked Messenger
2. She Belongs To Me
3. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
4. Queen Jane Approximately
5. Cold Irons Bound
6. Desolation Row
7. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With Memphis Blues Again
8. Man In The Long Black Coat
9. Cat's In The Well
10. Ballad Of Hollis Brown
11. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
12. Like A Rolling Stone
13. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
14. All Along The Watchtower
She Belongs to Me 

She's got everything she needs, she's an artist, she don't look back.
She can take the dark out of the nighttime, and paint the daytime black.

You will start out standing, proud to steal her anything she sees.
But you will wind up peeking through her keyhole, down upon your knees.

She never stumbles, she's got no place to fall.
She's nobody's child, the Law can't touch her at all.
She wears an Egyptian ring, that sparkles before she speaks.
She's a hypnotist collector, you are a walking antique.

Bow down to her on Sunday, salute her when her birthday comes.
For Halloween give her a trumpet, and for Christmas, buy her a drum.


Gas em up boys...we got white lines to ride 

Big wheels rollin', big wheels rollin' movin on
big wheels rollin got a keep em goin,
big wheels rollin' movin on

The white man is the life line to a nation
And men like Will and Sonny make it move
Livin like a gypsy always on the go
doin what they best know how to do

Jamin' gears got to be a fever
cause men come addicted to the grind
it takes a special breed to be a truck drivin' man
a steady hand to pull that load behind.
MOVIN ON by Merle Haggard

Boston, Massachusetts

On April 15, 16 and 17 the Dylan Haggard Train rolls into Boston, Massachusetts at the very
unique Orpheum Theater.  Peter Wolf comes to the show and he and Merle spend time
together talking on Merle's bus before the show...Peter is good friend of Bob Dylan's and
becomes a huge Merle Haggard fan and friend.

Peter Wolf

Peter Wolf is known for his time fronting the J. Geils Band, was born in 
the Bronx.  He as performed as a guest for the Rolling Stone and done
duets with Mick Jagger and Aretha Franklin.  Many moons ago, Wolf
was in the house band at the Boston Tea Party where Led Zepplin, Traffic,
The Who, Fleetwood Mac, and other played as guest bands.  For a time
he spent time with Muddy Waters, and we might say the same for his
time with Faye Dunaway, while they were married and live the wild
side of Rock and Roll and the Movie Business...and there was the
time he was in a band that opened for the Beatles at Shey stadium.

Peter Wolf and Merle Haggard enjoy talking on
 Merle's bus...more from this night soon...come back ya'll


1.  To Be Alone With You
2. Hazel
3. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
4. If Dogs Run Free
5. Tough Mama
6. Shelter From The Storm
7. Cold Irons Bound
8. Tomorrow Is A Long Time
9. Highway 61 Revisited
10. Chimes Of Freedom
11. Summer Days
12. Mr. Tambourine Man
13. Mississippi
14. All Along The Watchtower

1.  Maggie's Farm
2. Forever Young
3. Cry A While
4. Bye And Bye
5. Ballad Of Hollis Brown
6. If You See Her, Say Hello
7. Lenny Bruce
8. Honest With Me
9. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
10. High Water (for Charlie Patton)
11. Every Grain Of Sand
12. Highway 61 Revisited
13. Blind Willie McTell
14. Like A Rolling Stone


Everyone agrees that the theater in Newark, New Jersey is one of the most beautiful facilities in the country.  Merle
looks up at the tiers and says...You guys know we are a bar band, in fact we might be the oldest bar band in
existence.  We don't have roadies we have nurses.  Probably only tour that has a ambulance following behind our buses.

If Bob Dylan's New Jersey show Tuesday was any indication, his five-night run at the Beacon next week will
have a country flavor. But it isn't a "Nashville Skyline" kind of country, that relaxed back-porch picking to which
Dylan returned for a couple of tracks on 2001's splendid "Love and Theft" CD.  No this is more like country
swing, driving sound that's a close cousin to jazz and runs in a direct line back to Bob Wills and Western -swing
dance music of the 1930s.


Not by accident, Dylan's version at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center blended perfectly with the hour-long
Merle Haggard set that preceded him.  Haggard's music is drenched in Bob Wills, and he played a rousing version
of Wills' "Ida Red" as well as several long instrumentals straight out of a 1938 barn dance...While Haggard and
Dylan never shared the stage, Dylan wove his own infectious swing into tunes as diverse as "Watching the River
Flow," "Shooting Star," "This Wheel's n Fire," the sweet "Bye and Bye"

and the intense "Absolutely Sweet Marie."

Haggard and the Strangers


Haggard's bus and his bands bus fill up on the trail...


"A protest song, "John Brown," was one of the evening's highlights.  It was absolutely chilling when Dylan
came to the climactic line of this soldier's tale:  "The thing that scared me most was when my enemy came
close, and I saw he looked just like mine."  Dylan never performs a straightforward greatest hits show,
and changes his set list from show to show, mixing obscurities with classics.  This is one of the reasons
why he still tours so often--the music is always fresh for him.

Haggard was in good form during his own 50-minute set.  Backed by his nine-piece band, the Strangers,
he briskly surveyed his long and distinguished career.  Playing everything from '60s hits "Mama Tried" and
"The Bottle Let Me Down" to Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable" (from Haggard's 2004 standards collection,
also titled "Unforgettable")  Haggard crooned most of his songs warmly, ad the Strangers were extremely
versatile, adding some Dixieland flavor, for instance to ""old Fashioned Love," and swinging gingerly on
"Unforgettable."  Haggard seemed eager to play up their honky-tonk roots, introducing them as "the only
beer-joint band I know of, still at large."

Verona, New York

The two outlaw troubadours pull into the gig in Native American land... Seems everybody likes the Casino gig thang,
in that you get great rooms in the same area where the venue is located.  Gives the band and crew a place to hang

before and after the crew...


"He played some of his big songs from the 60's and 70's.  But he no longer plays  them as folk songs, but rollicking

rock numbers with his tight and talented band"  That kind of sums up the mood of The Turning Stone.  Opting to

leave the guitar  on the stand and jammin' on the keys once again, Dylan never ceases to amaze
with his versatility and making 40 year old songs fresh and "forever young" again.   (The Oneida Daily Dispatch)


"When he's rolling, the wisdom escapes like handwritten poetry winding around  the edges of a page.  The message is

elusive, darting here and there, then  smacking your brain like a sledgehammer." (M. Bialczak, The Post-Standard)


Speaking of Forever young, Haggard tore up his set getting the audience riled up  with solid crowd favorites like "White

Line Fever" & "Mama Tried".  You can tell when he crooned out "love is the reason for music, and music is the reason for
me" he truly means every word of it.  "With a Western dressed country band boasting a fleet-fingered lead guitar player
and drummer who was so rodeo he actually wore a cowboy kerchief and leather gloves  when he played Haggard blazed

through short, tight arrangements of his music including  classics like "Okie from Muskogee" and "That's the Way Love

Goes."   (The Day)

"They were so cool, it was hard to tell if it was a big country band or a country big band" 

(The Post -Standard)

Mashantucket, Connecticut
Foxwoods Resort Casino




We pull in the beautiful Fox resort and casino.  The Upstaging crew has the stage ready for the big night...This far into the tour everything is

running like clock work.  A great bond and friendships are being made withall the crew and the Strangers and Dylan's band.  We are all getting

excited at the thoughts of how the closing shows in New York will be...

Haggard and the Strangers rehearse and sound check...the bands are
scheduled most days to come in around 4 to 5 and do sound or line checks.

Willie Nelson, who is has been touring with the Dylan show

said one time..."I went home to my bus..."


Dylan's Swag Wagon...

Atlantic City, New Jersey
24 April New Jersey Borgata Resort

"When '60s  hippies approach 60 they turn to 1960s icons in their 60s to find some shelter from the storm" Pulling into the huge 24 karate Borgata you knew it was going to be one of those shows.  With all the glitz of the $2 billion casino, Merle and Bob pulled of one of the most personal performances with a venue that only held 2,500 die hard fans.  Just imagine 2,500 hipsters in all that jazz getting  serenaded to, it wasn't just the Borgata's time to shine.

"To see pencil- mustached, 63-year-old Bob Dylan hunched over his keyboard, looking like a cowboy-singer version of Snidely Whiplash, is to stand in awe of his mighty body of work."   "On Sunday, Haggard 68, was fabulous: his band, the Strangers, displayed a feathery touch on Dixieland jazz, honkytonks, and Tin Pan Ally tunes, and his soulful upper register and rugged baritone were sparkling form." (Dan DeLuca)

That's The News
Suddenly it's over, the war is finally done.
Soldiers in the desert sand, still clingin' to a gun.
No-one is the winner an' everyone must lose.
Suddenly the war is over: that's the news.

Suddenly celebrity is somethin' back in style.
Back to runnin' tabloid for a while.
Pain's almost everywhere, the whole world's got the blues.
Suddenly the war is over: that's the news.

That's the news, that's the news.
That's the ever-lovin', blessed, headline news.
Someone's missin;' in Modesto, an' it's sad about the clues.
Suddenly the war is over: that's the news.

Suddenly the cost of war is somethin' out of sight.
Lost a lotta heroes in the fight.
Politicians do all the talkin': soldiers pay the dues.
Suddenly the war is over, that's the news.

That's the news, that's the news.
That's the ever-lovin', blessed, headline news.
Politicians do all the talkin': soldiers pay the dues.
Suddenly the war is over, that's the news.   by MERLE HAGGARD

Merle got a little political in his wording of "That's the Way Love Goes" saying "don't worry about what George Bush says, just keep your mind on Bob Dylan."

He closed the show with "That's the News," a new song of his about the Iraq war from his 2003 album Haggard Like Never Before.  Many of the Dylan fans

came with pre conceived thoughts about who Mr.Haggard was very surprised to see and hear that he was a rebel of the statute of Dylan himself.

"We've become," Hag says,  "a country that's afraid.  And we've got a government using that fear to make us give up the freedoms the country was founded on."

"I see a lot more government now in places that it's never been and doesn't belong.  We're fighting a war to bring freedom to others when we don't have our own freedoms in a first- class manor anymore."     -Haggard-


"We're afraid to even have fun, our national question is 'how much Valium do you take?' How can anyone in their right mind say we're going in the right direction today?"  Speaking of politics,  Haggard played a new ditty about.  "Everything that's bad in the world is about marijuana!" he jokingly warned.  Two biggest threats

in America are marijuana and Martha Stewart..."

I think in a time like today...with disease epidemics, war, nuclear threats, terror, increasing domestic and child abuse,gas prices on the rise, rumors of more war....Iran, North Korea, China, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, drug wars, full prisons, epidemics of runaways and adolescent problems in the world, most of the country on some kind of pill be it legal or illegal, medical costs, feelings that we are on the brink of WWIII...I think that these two men sing messages to many people down the middle, and on the right and left...their was a magic in the messages that were passed to these very privileged audiences that caught a Dylan/Haggard show, and the feeling that we need these troubadours more now than ever...   Buffalo Standley

1998-2013 Buffalo Benford Productions, LLC    All Rights Reserved.
Photographs the property of Benford E. Standley, if interested
in photo use, advertising or comments please email us...


Buffalo Standley




click and see you in New York with Merle and Les Paul



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