page by Bill Pagel
Review by Jesse Lambertson
After several hectic minutes of running around looking for the two other
people I was planning on driving to the concert with, we finally left as
soon as the driver (Joel, thanks for driving man) bought cigarettes and a
unheard of unnameable quantity of Mountain Dew to drink while driving to
Charlotte,NC from Raleigh,NC to see Bob. WE finally got there and found
that we were way up in the line so we could get up close in front of the
stage. And Boy was bob fun to watch. He played with the crowd and laughed
and strutted around like a King Peacock showing off his stuff. But it was
all in good natured fun and relation with the audience.
But not only did Bob give us smiles when things were happy and playful
during Summer Days and Mississippi and frowns when things were sad
during Postively Fourth St and Searching for a Soldier's Grave, but he
also pulled some real nuggets out for his adoring crowd. He played
Postively Fourth St which he rarely plays and he delivered it so well
with these excellent inflections that made it feel like a real
conversational piece to me.
And then a few songs later he delivered the rarely played Boots of
Spanish Leather which is just one of those great relationship breakups
songs in which the one being broken up with (in this case the boy)
decides to make the best of the situation and ask for something to help
him deal with life after. But right after that, he gave us a slow
acoustic version of Visions of Johanna with some real nice acoustic
melody played by Bob, Larry, and Charlie. It was stunning. But the effect
of playing those two songs consecutively which are not played often even
separately was absolutely memorable. And the performance of both was
artful with the lyrics sung with a certain rhythmic control that spoke to
I Believe it is in Lonesome Day Blues when he says that he's going to
tame the crowd. Well, he did it tonight with a choice of songs and
arrangement that brought out the best responses I heave heard in some
time. Thanks Bob. Finally though, usually after Blowin' in the Wind, the
band packs it up and heads back to the busses. But not tonight. Tonight
he decided to do a totally new arrangment of All Along the Watchtower
following it. My friend said hthat he thought Tony was not expecting it
because he was ready to go and then Bob said he wanted to do Watchtower.
This means that Bob was having a particularly good time with the
energetic crowd. He was not quite ready to stop yet. But I also think
that there is a good reason to place Watchtower immediately after
Blowin' because of the fact that he sang the first verse over again at
the end of this version that was different from last year. Bob asks in
Blowin' how many more years it wil be before we see and hear people cry,
how many more cannonballs will fly before they are banned, and how many
more years it takes before some people will be free. He says the answer
is in the Wind. But the wind is always howling according to Watchtower.
And the fact that he sings that first verse over again gives it a
circular feel that says to me that though things might be peaceful at
some point in the future, they are not right now. Everthing will keep
going the way it is because he says the Business men don't understand
the true value of certain things and will thus exploit a thing to death.
Take a look at the setlist for the show, listen to the songs he played
from the albums, and think about the way in which he takes stabs at
business people who run things and see what you come up with. There are
plenty of connections bewteen these songs I think.
Anyway, enough soapbox ranting. Thank You once again Bobby D., Larry C.,
Charlie S., George R., and Tony G. for a well orchestrated concert and
musical art experience.
Review by Alex Leik
The third and final show of my February 2002 portion of the tour found
James and me arriving in Charlotte a little after 2PM on Sunday, just
about 3 hours after we left Atlanta - not bad timing at all. About 20 min.
outside of Atlanta while heading North, we noticed Bob's big black bus
(99% sure it was his as we stood outside of it the previous night) heading
south on I-85 TOWARDS Atlanta. Still don't know what to make of this.
Perhaps Bob stayed in Atlanta, and bus was going back to get him and bring
him to Charlotte? It would have had plenty of time, arriving in Atlanta
at noon, and making it to Charlotte in 4 hours easy. It just seemed odd
seeing that bus heading back towards Atalnta when we are thinking
everything/one had moved on to Charlotte the night before.
We arrived at Cricket/Independence Arena around 6:45PM. While the parking
lots were jam filled, the size of the crowd was not impressive at first.
But, it did fill up enough by the start of the show to a comfortable size.
The fact that it was all General Admission probably had more people on the
floor than a reserved seating show would have permitted, hence the sparse
areas from about midway to the top of the arena.
Bob was on about 7:45 and into Hallelujah, I'm Ready - and indeed they
were. Sound was great despite some comments to the contrary I had heard
earlier in the day by locals we asked. Only my 2nd time hearing this live
- the first was when he first started playing it on the Simon tour in '99.
This was much better, clearer and harmonies were on!. Mr. T was Mr. T. -
nothing exceptional, just done very well and kept things moving along. I
was a little troubled to hear the beginning of It's Alright Ma for the 3rd
straight night, but once it gets going, it really moves. This turned out
the be the best version I have ever heard. George is really driving this
song without losing the tempo that Kemper gave it. On to Searching and
another fine version of Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum.
Then, Tony's familiar bass intro to Positively 4th Street got things
moving in a great direction. Bob sang this one beautifully, and added some
exquisite guitar solo work - the likes of which was lacking from all 5
Fall Tour shows I saw, and I was worried may have been gone forever (the
last 2 nights in Atlanta and WS he was in fince form on the guitar as
well, so I know tonight was not a fluke). The harp intro was a great touch
as well. Cry a While replaced Lonesome Day Blues as the "next" L&T song,
and was done wonderfully with George driving everything again. On
Highwater, Bob seems to be mixing up the verses - not leaving any out,
just singing some of the middle ones in the wrong order (I believe he is
doing the same with LDB). The song is not affected in any way (IMO), and
George continues to play "double snare" on this song (I have heard of dbl
bass, but never dbl snare). He actually appears to have 2 snare drums in
Boots of Spanish Leather was the best surprise to close my three shows. I
had never heard it live before, and could not have asked for a better
version. The emotion in the vocals was so real, as if he was speaking it
at that moment, having never thought of the words before then. A WONDERFUL
guitar solo from Bob closed this one out, and then on to Visions with a
harp intro. Perhaps the best Visions I have ever witnessed (save MAYBE
Baltimore '99) and George... well you know. Adding a little "pop" here and
there through the bridges was just a great way to kick off each verse. I'd
love to see Larry play pedal steel on this like Bucky did, but it is till
The arena was silent for Visions, except at all the right moments. Same
with a stunning Don't think Twice... And although already mentioned, I
can't highlight enough Bob's guitar work in this show. I thought I might
not ever hear it at this level again. Summer Days was the finest version I
have ever heard, and while he did not give the "point" to Charlie to start
the guitar solo that he received in Winston-Salem, he did give him a quick
nod to let him know where to take it. The sound in the arena ws perfect
all night as we stood behind the mixing desk, and this song really sounded
strong. Mississippi was another beautiful version - my 3rd time hearing it
and I loved it. a Solid Wicked Messnger, and the ever-present, but crowd
titilating RDW #s 12&35 closed things down.
The encores were all done with perfection. Knockin was the highlight for
me, but the fact that AATW was played must mean that Bob had a great time
at this show. And it certainly showed. During RDW 12&35, Bob had a grin
from ear-to-ear while he sang this one and danced during the guitar solos.
The band's enjoyment was evident as well, as they grinned at the sight of
their employer taunting the crowd with his machine gun stabs at the air.
Tony and George seem to have quite a bond (are they really cousins?) and
they acknowledge each other more so than David did with Tony.
While I attended Atlanta and Winston Salem as well this weekend, I chose
to write about Charlotte because I am still in awe of it 24 hours later,
just like the feeling I had after MSG '01, and Uncasville, to a lesser
extent. That's right - whoda thunk it. I am willing to place the 2/10/02
Charlotte, NC show alongside the infamous MSG 11/19/01. The Charlotte
crowd was just as loud and energetic, and their numbers were much smaller.
George Recelli is in this band for a reason and he wants you to know it.
Judging by the thumb's up his new boss gave him at the end of RDW #'s
12&35 in Charlotte, Bob wants everyone to know it as well. LARS and TUIB
were highlights for me in these three shows because of the way George
drove them, and the little extra things he did to make them his own -
leaving Kemper's versions in the past. I had my doubts as I drove to
Winston Salem on Friday afternoon, but as I pulled away from Charotte
Monday morning I could honestly say that the band has indeed not lost the
edge, they just got a new and improved one who seems to be feeding a
revitalised energy to Bob. Maybe David did not leave "under his own
Review by Chris Chase
After two consecutive nights of shows at large arenas in Winston-Salem
and Atlanta, Sunday's performance at Charlotte's 6000 seat Cricket
Arena (formerly Independence Arena) was more of an intimate affair.
All tickets were for general admission, allowing mostly younger fans to
stand near the stage and the older ones to sit.
Bob came on at 7:45 and opened, as usual, with a 4-song acoustic set.
Beginning with a standard take on "Hallelujah, I'm Ready to Go," Bob
and his band launched into "Mr. Tambourine Man," to the delight of the
crowd. Bob played a wicked harmonica solo to start the classic, but
was upstaged by Charlie Sexton's acoustic jam to close. "It's Alright
Ma, I'm Only Bleeding" was the 3rd song of the night, for the 2nd
consecutive evening. Bob's voice sounded better than it had the
previous night in Atlanta during the song. The crowd let up cheers
during each of the celebrated lines of the song and Bob let loose his
first of many smiles throughout the night as the song ended. A lovely
arrangement of "Searching for a Soldier's Grave" closed the first
acoustic set. Many in the audience didn't seem to be familiar with
the concert-staple, but it seemed to be enjoyed by all. The band
strapped on their electric guitars for "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum",
during which Charlie once again had a solid guitar solo. A nearly
unrecognizable version of "Positively 4th Street" followed. It was
unlike any version I have ever heard, with mellow vocals and even more
laid back instrumentals, but it worked fabulously. A solid "Cry for a
While" was next, with a rocking "High Water (for Charlie Patton)"
after. This song has been the highlight of the first few shows of
this tour. Bob seems to thoroughly enjoy singing the song and Larry's
banjo playing adds greatly to the song. New drummer George Receli
plays with a ferocity that had been lacking with David Kemper. His
drumming is crisp and thorough. He works well with the band,
particularly in loud guitar-driven songs like "High Water", "Tangled
Up in Blue" (which Bob did not play tonight for the first time this
tour) and "Watchtower". The acoustic guitars were brought out again
for "Boots of Spanish Leather". And now a personal note as I write
about the next song. This show was my 10th Dylan show, and while all
of them have been amazing in their own way, the last few shows I've
been too have been disappointing in a way because I have been waiting
to hear him play "Visions of Johanna", my favorite Dylan song, and for
that matter, my favorite song of all time. I had hoped that show 10
would be the lucky charm. As he finished "Boots" Bob grabbed his
harmonica and started playing a melody that sounded like "Visions",
but quickly turned into what could have been the intro to either "It
Ain't Me Babe" or "Just Like A Woman". Not wanting to get my hopes
up, I assumed it was going to be "It Ain't Me". He hadn't played
"Visions" all tour, I told myself. But as he sang the lines "Ain't it
just like the night to play tricks when you're trying to be so quiet"
I fell to my knees, then shot up quickly with a yell I can only
describe as bellowing. The people around me turned to look, some
confused, but some looked and seem to know why I was so happy. I have
deliberately never listened to a live version of "Visions" from the
past 10 years, so when I saw it for the first time it would be new in
all respects. It was played tightly to the original versions; with
the obvious lyrical pauses, that Bob loves to use in shows, peppered
throughout. The last verse was almost identical to the album version
and the last lines of the song "in the back of the fish truck that
loads while my conscience explodes" sounded like he was singing it for
the first time. I had a stupid smile plastered to my face the rest of
the night. Bob could have covered the Bee Gees for the rest of the
show, and I wouldn't have cared, but he finished up his set strongly
with an acoustic "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" and then brought
back the electric guitars for "Summer Days", which provided for
another fantastic Charlie-solo. Another personal favorite,
"Mississippi" was next and it was as good live as I had heard it would
be. This song seemed to be a crowd favorite, and was played without
any surprises. "The Wicked Messenger" followed, and Charlie and Bob
were playing off each other, backs turned to one another, much to the
delight of the crowd. Bob kept making eye contact with people in the
audience and making his patented shimmy and smile. He seemed to be
enjoying himself throughly this show, which suprised me as it capped a
full-weekend of concerts. I thought he would be tired and eager to
finish, but the small, loud crowd kept his spirits up. "Rainy Day
Women" ended the 1st set, as it has most of the shows for this run.
Bob introduced his band at the end of the song, they played a few
riffs, then stood up in a line to accept the cheers of the crowd. A
quick break and the band was back for the encore, starting with a
rollicking "Country Pie" followed by "Like a Rolling Stone" (a solid
play, even though Bob switched up "When you ain't got nothin" putting
it in place of "Go to him now, he calls you") . While "Visions" was
the highlight of my night, the surprise of the evening was the beauty
of a new arrangement of "Knockin on Heaven's Door", that followed
"LARS". Charlie and Larry sang backup, singing lines from the song
during Bob's chorus, then harmonizing at the end. I have never been
more impressed with a song at a Dylan show. I was left in awe by the
radical new arrangement, chaging the feel of the song from a
declaration of "Knockin" to an acceptance of it. Amazing stuff.
"Honest with Me" and a standard acoustic "Blowin in the Wind" were
next. I assumed that "Blowin in the Wind" would be the last song of
the first encore, then if Bob decided, he would come back out for a
second like he did in Atlanta. Instead he talked with the band, they
got the electric guitars and launched into "All Along the Watchtower".
Charlie started playing some Jimi Hendrix riffs at the end of the
song, which made Larry and Bob look over and laugh. The band really
seems to enjoy one another's company on stage. As the song ended, Bob
and the band once again seemed to really appreciate the howls of the
crowd. They nodded and departed the stage. This was one of the best
shows I've seen, and not just because my "Visions" were finally
fulfilled. New arrangements of songs and seeing Bob really enjoy
playing the show were highlights. Ten down and hopefully another ten
Review by Arch Hare
I have been to many Dylan shows over the last twenty years but this one
was the one i will never forget. The General Admisson format had me
worried at first because my daughter (who is ten) was with me. We drove by
Cricket Arena at 4:00 and there may have been 50 people in line. So we
went up the street, bought a bite to eat and brought it back with us. We
stood in line from 4:15 until 6:30. My daughter was a trooper. There was
good conversation with the others in line so time passed rather quickly.
When the wait was over,we were 10 feet from the stage, directly in front of
the center microphone.
Bob and His Band hit the stage at 7:35. Hallelujah, I'm Ready to Go was the
first song of the clearest, cleanest, crispest live music I have ever
heard performed live.
His Band was tight and powerful on every selection. Tweedle Dee and
Tweedle Dum, Cry A While, High Water, Summer Days, Mississippi and Honest With
Me were all done masterfully from Love and Theft. I thought the place was
going implode with Bob jamming on Summer Days. He appeared to be having
such a great time. He danced and smiled all night. I think he flashed a
smile my daughter's way.
In the times I have seen Bob, never have I heard his voice in such good
form. I got a lump in my throat when he sang Boots of Spanish Leather.
The encore was absolutley on fire. Country Pie, Like A Rolling
Stone, Knocking on Heaven's Door, Honest With Me, Blowing In the Wind and
All Along the Watchtower.......what more could you ask for?? Charlie
Sexton was just temendous. The drummer perfect. Larry and Tony gave their
normal strong perfomances........
It was a night of nights.........my daughter is ready for the next
show......i hope this has made a positive impression of what music is all
page by Bill Pagel
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