Reviews

Bossier City, Louisiana
Centurytel Center
February 23, 2002


[Heath], [Eben Hensby]

Review by Heath



The last time I saw Dylan was when he was in Shreveport in í96 with local
star Kenny Wayne Shepherd as the opening act so it was about time for him
to come though here again.  The venue this time around was the massive
CenturyTel Center (14,000 capacity as opposed to the 3000 capacity of his
previous venue).  Although he didnít fill the place, there was still at
least twice as many in attendance from his last appearance (which was
packed)

I bought my ticket during the pre-sale and got a great seat (4th row). 
This was the closest Iíve been to the stage and I think the closer I am to
Dylan, the more in awe of him I am.  I am the youngest Dylan fan I know
personally so Iíve been amazed each time Iíve seen him at the number of
YOUNG people in attendance Ė and loving the show!  This time was
definitely no exception as the majority of people around me appeared to be
teenagers.

So on to the show itself.  It was fantastic.  Of the three times Iíve seen
him, this was by far the best.  Dylan came out around 8:15.  He was
wearing a black suit (with silver studded stars down the arms and legs),
black and white striped tie, and a white cowboy hat.

THE SONGS:  They opened up with "Duncan And Brady" (a song Iím not too
familiar with) and the band seemed to not quite have it together.  I
feared it might be an "off night" but the audience was really into the
show and many audience members were having the time of their life in front
of the stage (dancing, holding up signs, screaming, etc) and I could see
the band (especially Bob) drawing energy and enthusiasm from them
throughout the whole show.  (I was to the side of the stage and everybody
around me sat down after the show started.  I wanted to remain standing,
but out of kindness to the folks behind me, I sat as well).  "Mr.
Tambourine Man" was next and the band had it together at this point.  It
was a very different rendition than Iím used to, but still marvelous to
hear.  Next was "Itís Alright, Ma (Iím Only Bleeding)."  One of my
favorite songs.  It was the first time for me to hear it live and it was
amazing.  Following that was "Searching For A Soldierís Grave" then
"Maggieís Farm."  While itís not one of my favorite Dylan songs, there are
certain memories I have associated with "Maggieís Farm" that always make
it enjoyable to hear.  Following that was "Positively 4th Street."  I love
this song for some reason and Dylanís performance filled it with every bit
of bitterness suggested by the lyrics. "Cry A While" and then "High Water
(For Charley Patton)" came next Ė the first songs of the night from "Love
And Theft."  I donít know these songs as well as I know many of the others
yet, but they were outstanding performances again.  Next was "A Hard
Rainís A-Gonna Fall."  This was a special treat for me as itís one of my
favorite songs and makes me think of my own "blue-eyed son" ("Forever
Young" is another favorite of mine for the same reason Ė hopefully Iíll
get to hear it live next time Dylan is within driving distance).  That was
followed by "One Too Many Mornings" (with Bob playing the harmonica some
more).  Then an absolutely amazing, hard-rocking version of "Tangled Up In
Blue."  This is one of my favorite Dylan songs and the first time Iíve
heard it live.  The crowd REALLY got into this one and I couldnít help but
jump to my feet at the end.  Even the security guard who had been leaning
on the gate yawning seemed to come alive at this point. Then it was two
more new songs, "Summer Days" and "Sugar Baby" which gave the audience
time to catch their breath.  "Drifterís Escape" I have heard live before,
but it was much better this time.  Bob seemed to improvise near the end
and replaced his lead guitar with the harmonica.  "Rainy Day Women #12 &
35" is my least favorite Dylan song Ė unless itís live.  This was another
song the audience really got into.  Then the band enjoyed a lengthy round
of applause before leaving the stage.  But the applause never slowed and
only grew when they returned for an encore.   They opened the encore with
"Like A Rolling Stone."  I consider this the greatest rock and roll song
in history and to hear it played by the legend behind it himself was
simply amazing.  It gave me goosebumps when I heard it in í96 and it gave
me goosebumps this time.  It was an incredible performance and I hated to
hear it end.  Another new song followed it ("Honest With Me") and then it
was back to the old stuff.   "Blowiní In The Wind" was also amazing to
hear live from Dylan (and the band sounded great singing the chorus with
him) and really underscored what a musical icon Dylan is Ė plus more of
Bobís harp. They finished up with "All Along The Watchtower."  Dylan took
what Jimi added to the song and went even further giving it all he could
(even imitating a Hendrix stance that came off looking more Chuck Berry). 
No amount of encouragement could bring the band back out however.

OVERALL THOUGHTS:  Once they got going, the band never missed a beat
(well, Dylan had trouble getting his harmonica back in his pocket and was
a tad late coming in on one song, but thatís forgivable).  The first time
I saw Dylan I was impressed by how hard he rocked but had forgotten about
that until tonight.  The way he moved on stage was a bit humorous at times
(picture a feeble old Elvis still trying to swing his hips) but charming
all the same.  The sound was a little too loud on the last few songs Ė
loud to the point of distortion (or was that my ears?) but Dylan sounded
and played great all night (I swear he can do more with one note than most
guitar players can with all six strings).  The first Dylan concert I
attended was great (Sheryl Crow made an unannounced appearance and I
didnít even know it was her until later), the second was good, but this
one was absolutely incredible.  I certainly hope I have many more chances
to see him.

Also, I would like to thank the man in front of me for letting me borrow
his binoculars for a moment (and from the 4th row, it was a VERY close
view).

[TOP]

Review by Eben Hensby


I knew we were going to have a great time at this show because Martin and
I had 3rd row seats.  However, I didn't know it was going to get better.

The Centurytel arena is a nice new arena.  When we got there, I got in 
line and picked up a poster before the show to avoid the problems I had at 
Dallas trying to get a poster.  Afterwards, I headed down to our floor 
seats.  To our dismay, our 3rd row seats, seats 3 and 4, were on the outside, 
not the inside (so we were on the far right on Larry's side, not dead center 
in front of Bob like we had thought).  Kait and Lewis were in the same floor
section as us, but back in or around row 10.  Kait did some preshow work,
and managed to net a pair of 3rd row tickets for seats where we thought
ours were: dead center.  Her and Lewis were to sit there while Martin and
I were to sit on the outside.  Martin decided to try to get closer, so he
sat next to Kait in an empty seat.  I decided, for some unknown reason, to
stay in the outside seat.

I wrote about the eye logo being projected onto the curtain yesterday. 
Today, I noticed it was part of the curtain.  It stayed up until after the 
first acoustic set ended and returned when the final curtains closed.  The 
classical music started up and we had the famous Bob announcement.

Duncan And Brady: Bob and the band came out and opened with Duncan
And Brady.  Bob was wearing an interesting black suit with white stars
along his arms and legs.  He also wore his cowboy hat and had a white
feather stuck in the left side (his left).  Anyway, at the end of this
song, I noticed that a few people were crowded around the middle, in front
of the seats, by the rail.  I got excited and turned to the guy next to
me.  I said something to the effect of "let's go for it".  He didn't seem
as though he wanted to go, so I asked if he would stay at the seat and, if
so, if he could watch over my poster.  He said he'd watch the poster, so I
got by him and ran up to the front.  I was up at the rail starting with
the second song!

Mr. Tambourine Man: By now, Bob had just started Mr. Tambourine Man
with a great harp intro.  I was dancing away but realized that there were
folks behind me who were refusing to stand up but were getting upset
because we were there in front of them, blocking their view.

It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding): It's Alright, Ma started and
I headed over to the middle of the stage, where no one was sitting.  Now,
I was standing right in front of Bob.  I looked over and I believe that
the person next to me was 'lectricityhowls (who I had met last night at
the Dallas show).  Anyway, the amount of people up front grew.  I noticed
that someone else had taken my spot in front of those who refused to stand
but got mad because they couldn't see.  They spoke with the venue security
(I didn't see any of Bob's security), but they didn't get us to move. 
Basically, security was very lax.

Searching For A Soldier's Grave>: Bob gave another beautiful harp
intro to Searching For A Soldier's Grave.  For a long time I didn't care
much for this song, but Bob's improved it, making it more open to slightly
different phrasing and the harp intro is usually very nice.  Looking
around the arena, I was amazed at how many seats were unsold.  The entire
top deck was empty and some of the bottom deck was empty.  While looking
around, I spotted Martin, Kait, and Lewis a few rows back.  I was glad I
hadn't followed Martin!  I'd like to think I had a bit of Renee's spirit
in me when I made the rush up front.  Renee is a big Dylan fan I know from
Victoria, and she has a very adventuresome spirit which has led her all
over.  Anyway, I smiled at that thought.

Maggie's Farm: The electric opener was the newly arranged Maggie's
Farm, which is a great song to dance to.  It's a nice arrangement - a very
driving arrangement.  As the show progressed, I made my way more and more
to the center until I was directly in front of Bob.  The show from this
point of view was quite interesting.  Most of the time, when Bob looked
up, he'd look in my general direction (most likely at the woman in front
of me).  Also, you can really hear what everyone's doing: you can hear
Charlie in the left and Larry in the right.  Larry was having a very good
night in Bossier City.  The other interesting thing was the people up at
the rail: most were drunk.  About five people hugged me!  The problem with
these drunk folks is they staggered and bumped into me (and probably
others) a lot and they talked during some of the quiet songs.  Also, there
was some beer spilt so I got to dance on a sticky floor.  Nonetheless, it
was great fun.

Positively 4th Street: Positively 4th Street followed Maggie's
Farm.  Bob's guitar work was great in this song: he was hitting the right
notes and doing his shoulder-shrugging dance (which is, of course, paired
with the knee-bob dance).  This received good audience response.

Cry A While: Next came one of the highlights of the night: Cry A
While.  Bob's phrasing was picking up and he was singing it with that
glare in his eyes.  He'd say a line and his eyebrows would shoot up and
his eyes would bulge out.  His gaze can be quite something at times. 
Anyway, this was great.

High Water (For Charley Patton): The banjo came out and we got High
Water.  Bob's been doing High Water a lot recently, and I remember back in
October at the Seattle show when we saw the banjo and had been hoping he'd
play it (he didn't until October 19 - Seattle was October 6).  During this
song, someone threw a necklace up on stage and he watched it and gave a
little smile.

A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall: The lights went out and I saw Larry get
the cittern out again (he used it during It's Alright, Ma).  I knew, by
the cittern, we'd be getting A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, and we did.  Bob
used a very delicate voice to sing the chorus, while croaking out the
"haaaard raaain" part.

One Too Many Mornings: The delicate, tender voice carried over to
the next song: a beautiful One Too Many Mornings with Larry on pedal steel
(mmmm) and Bob on intro harp.

Tangled Up In Blue: Another great thing about being up at the rail
is that because you're standing the whole time, you're also able to dance
the whole time.  So when Tangled Up In Blue started up, I was going crazy.
During this song, Bob started smiling and seemed to be having a lot of
fun.

Summer Days: I was sweating from standing and dancing all night but
when Summer Days started up, I knew I wasn't going to get a break!  I
remembered blondie telling me to dance my ass off for her during this one,
so I did!  Once again, I was very impressed by the instrumental jam in
this song.

Sugar Baby: After Summer Days, Bob cools us down by playing Sugar
Baby.  Again, like yesterday, I couldn't really get into Sugar Baby in the
same way I could when it was played with the David Kemper version of the
band.

Drifter's Escape: Next came a drivin' rockin' song, but I couldn't
tell which yet (Drifter's Escape? Wicked Messenger?).  Apparently, I
wasn't the only one.  Bob sung the first line to The Wicked Messenger,
then decided to sing the rest as Drifter's Escape.  After he had sung all
the verses, there were two (I think) verses of Bob playing lead guitar. 
He did a great job, and he knew it.  He then pulled out a harp for the
only ending harp of the evening.  The end harp is lots of fun because it
still gets the crowd cheering, and he's more into the song by then so he's
moving around with one arm waving free.

Rainy Day Women #12 & 35: The familiar drumbeat started up and the
crowd was standing, yelling out "Everybody must get stoned!".  During the
band intros of Rainy Day Women, Charlie seemed to be having a good time. 
When Bob introduced George, Charlie lightly and playfully kicked a cymbal.
 He also was smiling a bunch.  Bob was also smiling a fair amount at this
show.

I can't remember during which song, but at one point, Charlie dropped his
pick.  He played his guitar with his fingers, then made this slick move in 
which he grabbed a pick from his microphone stand and then kicked the pick 
on the floor around for the next couple of minutes.  Anyway, during the 
Formation, I gave two thumbs up.  I was wondering if  Bob would do his 
'thumbs down' move again (he gave thumbs down in Houston and Dallas during
the Formation), and so I decided to play around and give thumbs up.  He
didn't do anything except stand there nodding, looking around.  They left
and then came back for the encore/second set.

encore 1:

Like A Rolling Stone: They jumped into Like A Rolling Stone.  I
think it's a great move to end the first set with a fan favourite and then
open the next set with another fan favourite.  It really keeps everyone on
their feet, cheering away.

Honest With Me: Next, Larry had the slide guitar ready and they
were rocking through Honest With Me.

Blowin' In The Wind: Bob had a harmonica out for the intro to
Blowin' In The Wind.  During this song, some of the drunk people started
hugging each other and saying goodbye.  Some people behind us were getting
mad at these people telling them to be quiet.  They gave the second
Formation (me giving thumbs up) and then half left (they walked to the
back of the stage and then got their electric guitars).

encore 2:

All Along The Watchtower: Like last night, they just absolutely
blew the place away with an unbelievable All Along The Watchtower.  Wowee.
At the end, Bob again gave his thumbs down!  I don't know what that's
about, but it's funny.  He gives a thumbs down while looking at someone in
the audience, nods playfully while grinning or smirking, then turns away. 
I know it's all in fun and just an act, but it's quite something to see.

The show was then over.  I was very tired and very drained from the whole
experience.  On the way out, I caught sight of Nancy Hernandez (the very 
kind woman who had got me my Houston ticket).  We chatted for a short while 
then I ran over and couldn't find my poster.  The guy I had left it with 
then caught my attention and gave it to me.  It's wonderful how kind some 
people are.

Although I was up close and dancing the whole show, having a great time,
this show just wasn't on the same level as the Dallas show.  Nonetheless, 
both were very great and very fun in different ways.  And let me tell you 
this: never underestimate the potential to get a better place in an arena, 
nor the kindness of others, nor the awesomeness of Bob Dylan now!  Don't 
you dare miss it!

[TOP]

page by Bill Pagel
billp61@execpc.com

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