page by Bill Pagel
Review by Brian Burkhart
If you've seen any recent "Love and Theft" show, this one pretty much fell
in place with the rest. The set list was unremarkable with few surprises,
although who can argue with such a solid lineup of classics? We did get
the best rendition of "Tell Me That It Isn't True" I've heard and a
hopping "Most Likely..." for those of us who have seen Bob many times.
Actually, "Tell Me..." brings up one of my main observations of the night;
this was the best vocal performance I've heard from Bob in the past few
years. His voice was crisp and confident, poignant and unusually
emotional. "Tell Me...", "Sugar Baby" and "Love Sick" really had Bob
singing from the gut, and the expressions on his face sung as much as his
voice. Those of us with good enough seats to see him up close probably got
twice the show as those who could not; I suppose that's really not unusual
This was the first time I've heard "Sugar Baby" live and I think it was
one of his best live translations off of "Love and Theft." It was better
than the album version, even more bittersweet, which I didn't think was
possible. Most fans, hardcore and casual, agreed that "Watchtower" was
absolutley smoking and probably the highlight of the night. I think Bob's
finally getting to the point of matching Hendrix's version.
My other observation is that all of Bob's harp solos came at the beginning
of the songs, which to me came across as awkward and somewhat forced. I
feel that his solos work best as a sort of crescendo jam towards the end.
But you take what you're given, and I'll never be bothered by Bob's harp.
The crowd was fairly spirited, Bob and Tony really seemed to interact with
them well. Bob was really hamming it up during the lineup before and after
the encore, pointing, making faces and the like. I noticed three teenaged
girls off stage, with matching shirts that spelled out "B-O-B" together.
Bob noticed them, too, and at one point said something to them. Perhaps
they're friends of friends or VIP's or something, I don't know, but
they've got a good story to tell for years to come.
One thing that sort of ticked me off is that many of the folks down front
were first-timers doing the whole "Let's see a legend before he dies"
routine. I'm tired of scalpers buying up these prime seats that should be
filled with die hard Bobcats. They were nice people, though. It's just
that they couldn't really appreciate the show in the same way and would
have achieved their goal just as well in the back with the rest of the
nostalgic one-timers. Also, coming from Northeast Ohio, I'm always
impressed by the courtesy and congeniality West Virginians present.
Another thing, Bob's souvenir stand worker needs help. There was one guy
for a whole throng of people, and I saw dozens of people give up after
waiting in line for quite some time. It's not fair to that guy, or the
fans, and the operation is losing money because they can't accomodate
Overall, the band was on (George is clearly still adjusting, but doing a
good job), Bob was on, and the crowd was on for the most part. What more
could you ask for? This one was as good or better than most shows I've
Review by Carsten Molt
" Getting Ready for the Show"- Jillsy and i made the 4 ½ hour trip from
Pittsburgh to Charleston on Monday afternoon and found the civic center
with no problem. We also found a Holiday Inn next door where we decided to
spend the night rather than make the long drive back to Pittsburgh after
the show. After freshening up, we made our way over o the civic center. It
was a nice place with VERY helpful ushers. Surprisingly, there was no
security at the doors at all. Just an older gentleman to take your ticket
stub. After walking around for awhile, we made our way to our seats in row
K in font of Larry Campbell. Behind the stage was a backdrop with the
"Dylan Eye" symbol that has been on various t-shirts the past several
years. The casual fans behind us were talking about the symbol and said
that must be from the new album. It is usually apparent right away who the
casual fans are and who the more ardent(and obsessive) fans are at shows.
"Dressed up like a squire"-Dylan came out in his white Col. Sanders suit
sporting his ten gallon cowboy hat which he wore for the entire show. His
outfit reminded me quite a bit of the old clips i've seen of Hank Williams
at the Grand Old Opry. The rest of the band was in their Purple suits.
"What's going on in your show."- At 7:42. Dylan and the band took the
stage and broke into:
"Duncan and Brady"(acoustic)- i have seen this song several times and it
always seems to start the show on a high note. Dylan's vocals were very
strong from the start and the sound system was great. The band seemed
locked in a tight groove that lasted throughout the show.
"The Times They Are A-Changin'"(acoustic)-While not one of my favorite
tunes, it was played very well. Dylan started the tune with a harmonica
solo that was just o.k. i don't think i care for the harmonica at the
beginning of the songs instead of at the end.
"It's Alright, Ma(I'm Only Bleeding)(acoustic)- Here is where the show
seemed to take off in earnest. Dylan snarled and growled the words with
conviction while Larry strummed away on his cittern with a lot of passion.
This was a very good version. Dylan also broke into his little dance steps
which would continue all evening.
"This World Can't Stand Long"(acoustic)- Woo-Hoo! After a short
harmonica intro, Dylan began this song and i was elated. i like this
song much more than "Searching for a Soldiers
Grave" and this was the best version I've heard. Larry was playing sweet
mandolin and the harmony vocals were perfect. Dylan broke into a big grin
as he and Charlie traded some sweet guitar licks.
"Lonesome Day Blues"-this version(the only one I've heard live) was
amazing and very loud.
Dylan was yelling the vocals and the band was working up a maelstrom of
sound behind him. Dylan was very animated and was doing some nice fret
work with Charlie on his heels every step of the way. Just when i thought
the song was wrapping up, they brought the house down with one of the
hardest jams that i have ever heard Dylan play. He and Charlie were
trading amazing licks and the song burned. This blew the album version
"Tell Me That It Isn't True"-First time i've heard this tune live and it
was very nice. It was the polar opposite of the previous song but it was
nice and tenderly done. Dylan's voice was very clear and Larry carried the
song on steel guitar. Charlie's guitar seemed a bit out of tune but i
could be wrong. That is the way it seemed to me. Only the tapes will tell.
"Most Likely You'll Go Your Way(And I'll Go Mine)"-A surprise and
probably he highlight
of the night. A very high energy performance with a totally different
arrangement than previous versions. Charlie was given the chance to play a
couple of solos as was Larry. The lyrics were delivered well but this was
totally a guitar showcase. Dylan and Charlie exchanged riffs and the song
built and built and built and when it seemed to peak, they rammed into the
song again and took it even higher. The band was totally on and Dylan
allowed them to show of their amazing musical prowess more than usual.
Jillsy and i both believe this may be the definitive version of the song.
"High Water(For Charlie Patton)"- With the previous tune still ringing in
my ears, they
launched into "High Water". Larry's banjo was very high in the mix and
Dylan was in great voice . This song is great live and this version was no
"It Ain't Me, Babe"(acoustic)-A short harmonica solo led into the song. It
started slowly and kind of boring but after the vocals, Dylan launched
into a nice guitar solo that ended the song on a high note.
"A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"(acoustic)-A very nice surprise and it was
immaculate. Dylan sang with lots conviction and power. Ever word was clear
and every nuance was nailed to perfection. i think he nailed every word
right, too. No stumbling or mumbling could be found anywhere. The last
verse was breath-taking with the crowd cheering every line and as they
did, Dylan's voice rose louder and louder to match the cheers. Very good
version, possibly surpassing the great version from the fall San Fransisco
"Tangled Up In Blue"(acoustic)-Another short harmonica solo By Dylan to
start the song. Dylan and Larry stood center stage in the spotlight while
Larry played the guitar intro and the rest of the band stood silently in
the shadows. After the first verse, the whole band came in and they
delivered a very good version. Dylan was doing quite a bit of dancing and
clowning around sharing some nice guitar exchanges with Charlie. Dylan and
Charlie were having a great time playing guitar together all evening and
this was no exception. It was odd seeing Larry all alone on one side of
the stage while the rest of the band and Dylan was on the other side of
"Summer Days"- This was a pretty good version and Dylan was having a lot
of fun. He seemed to slip up on a couple words but recovered quickly and
managed to pour his heart into the rest of the song. Sometimes, a vocal
flub by Dylan causes him to reall nail the rest of the song.
"Sugar Baby"-This was nice, as always. The "Some of these bootleggers,
they make pretty good stuff." line got huge cheers from the audience.
Speaking of bootleggers, a couple rows in front of me was a taper with his
gear right out in the open including an ear piece. The security was
virtually a non presence unless you tried to start a stage rush.
"Cold Irons bound"- i love the live arrangement of this and it was
brilliant. The new drummer, George Riceli was excellent and he seemed to
be having a great time. Charlie and Dylan traded solos again here and the
song was a total knockout, musically and vocally.
"Rainy Day Women #12 & 35"- This was a smoking rendition. At one point,
Charlie, Tony and Dylan were leaning together in a little huddle just
wailing away on their instruments. Dylan introduced the band during the
tune. This was his only words during the show. That was fine as the music
spoke volumes. There were lots of fist pumping fans going crazy during the
chorus. The formation followed and they slowly peeled of the stage.
"Love Sick"- While Jillsy and i were hoping for ‘Country Pie", this was
well played and Dylan's vocals were dead on.. I don't know for sure but it
seems like either Dylan has a great new sound system or his singing is
stronger and clearer than it has been in quite awhile.
"Highway 61 Revisited"- Another up-tempo rocker that showcased the
chops. Dylan and Charlie shared several spirited solos which brought the
crowd to it's collective feet.
"I Shall Be Released"(acoustic)- This was nicely delivered and gave the
band a chance to show off their great harmonies. Larry's beautiful voice
shined on the chorus. Riceli's drumming was understated but elegant on the
tune and all night long. His playing is slightly reminiscent of Winston
Watson's drumming of the early to mid-nineties. Dylan started the song
with the harmonica and instead of putting the harmonica in his pocket as
he had done after earlier songs, he tossed it back to the harmonica stand
missing it by a foot or so.
"Honest With Me"-WOW! Another chance for the band to rock out and did they
ever. Larry's slide guitar was high in the mix and he had a huge smile as
his playing was once again stellar. Charlie played a few fiery solos
during the instrumental passages. Dylan seemed to be enjoying himself a
great deal as he struck some guitar hero poses and ripped off a few hot
licks of his own.
"Blowing in the Wind"(acoustic)-Still a rinky dink song in my opinion but
it was well played and the crowd was very appreciative of the good
"All Along the Watchtower"-Without leaving the stage, they launched into
"Watchtower" with every ounce of energy they had left. This song never
fails to ignite the crowd and it roared. The song reached several peaks
before ending with the repeat of the first verse. During the formation.
Dylan grinned and gave a double thumbs up to someone in the fist row.
The sound was superb through the entire show and the vocals were very
The new drummer, George Riceli was excellent and showed a lot more
personality then David Kemper did. He was also more visible than Kemper
was. He didn't hide behing the drum kit like Kemper tended to do. This
allowed him to make better eye contact with Dylan.
This show was totally a guitar players delight. The instrumental pasages
were longer than usual and full of inventive riffs and inspiration.
If anyone has a tape of this show or would like to add some comments,
please let me know. Sorry for rambling but it was a great show. In Bob we
Review by Jeff Franzreb
Unfortunately this is the only Bob show I get to catch on the Winter 2002
tour, but it's Bob so I know I'll be in for a treat. And all that I hear
about the pre-harp solos I can only hope he does the same for this show.
I got myself situated and noted that they weren' going to start at the
time the tickets said. But, much sooner than the Fall shows from what I
I feel the show started out pretty usual Bob; nothing special spectacular
about the songs thus far. But, he was in a very energetic mood. He was
dancing about on the stage, bouncing in the knees, just having a grand 'ol
time. He also had a big 'ol smile on his face for much of the show.
TELL ME THAT IT ISN'T TRUE & MOST LIKELY YOU GO YOUR WAY are not songs I
am familiar with and at this point it is still a typical Bob show. The
same goes with HIGH WATER.
However, when IT AIN'T ME, BABE began, I could tell more was beginning to
happen. He began it with a lovely harp solo and he was so into it that he
was a few inches away from the mic for the first few words. This song
began a long string of a powerful Bob set. My words to describe this
performance is blindingly beautiful. At one point later on in the song he
kept approaching and backing away from the mic. Not sure what he was
thinking....maybe another harp solo....maybe even added lyrics....he then
decided to strum and bring it to a glorious end.
A HARD RAIN'S A-GONNA FALL came on next and continued with the intensity
that IT AIN'T ME, BABE spurred. Again, total bliss coming from the stage.
I don't know if it was me but I thought I noticed some additional/changed
words. Since Bob has so many songs, it's hard to keep one straight from
TANGLED UP IN BLUE again, kept with the great jamming with another great
They had real fun with SUMMER DAYS. Mid-way through the solo Larry just
went nuts on the guitar. Charlie was doing some wacky stuff on the guitar
that I heard for the first time as well. What fun. : )
SUGAR BABY slowed things down a bit and put the crowd at ease. Still, a
great tune to stick in the middle of this jamfest. I always get a kick
out of the line, "These bootleggers, they make pretty good stuff".
But not for long, COLD IRONS BOUND put everything back into motion and
nearly blew the roof off. Oh they had fun with this tune.
They ended their set with RDW #12 & 35. However, it did not seem to be
your typical RDW. It had much more spice to it than I recall in the Fall.
They had a lot of fun with it, even after Bob introduced the band.
They came back on for the encores and continued with the much varied
setlist. All six songs were grand. HONEST WITH ME and BITW weren't
particulary more special than another other time played. AATW was
especially great IMO. This was a fabulous end to a wonderful show in WV.
For the others, it was nice to hear these played. I've not heard HIGHWAY
61 live, so that was a nice treat. I've only heard LOVE SICK one other
time, so it too was great to hear. And I SHALL BE RELEASED was nice to
hear with Larry and Charlie harmonizing.
Overall a good show that turned into a great show. The much varied
setlist helped add and make this a great show to attend. Now I am looking
forward to when Bob gets back to the US in hopefully June, or at least
page by Bill Pagel
| Bob Links
| Set Lists
| Set Lists