page by Bill Pagel
Review by Roderick Smith
The Cats in the Well the house is going bumpety bump. This one really
should have had us getting our coats and heading out the door, maybe down
to the old mission on Olvera Street and find some salvation before it’s
too late. No way Jose. This song for all it's banging around, is stern
warning for a house full of party goers, but no, instead of stopping where
we could we went right on... Senor desperately throws itself in the path
like a pile broken fence posts, parched voice hollering out “This place
don't make sense to me no more!” Night four on the Hollywood Boulevard!
You bought your ticket you ride. Right on past your favorites, Shooting
Star, past Michael Douglas Unchanged, Down along the Cove for some hurried
love and right into the the last chance for redemption that one thing that
might save us Make You Feel My Love. I believe it, but the train is still
moving and now it’s the night express with the lights on ripping through
the station. Horizontal blur made of gold and stainless steel. “Train of
love's a-leavin' leavin' my heart grieving but early or late, I sit and
wait because I'm still believin'” Oh yea. But put my ear out the window
and “I can hear the church bells ringin' in the yard I wonder who they're
ringin' for?” Maybe there’s time to be more Honest With Me? Whose kiddin
whom? Then everything slows and the shadows freeze. Next stop Olvera
Street. Oh no! Stone angel on a pillar. We’re nothing but grains sand
with pin balls rattling in our brains,right?
We were warned once and now we’re left to ponder “I hear the ancient
footsteps like the motion of the sea sometimes I turn, there's someone
there, other times it's only me. I am hanging in the balance of a perfect
finished plan Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand.”
Wisdom on a night like this? Ahh but drink up merry fellows and and for
goodness sakes Don’t Think Twice because every one knows that
businessmen, they drink up your wine, plowmen dig your earth, None of them
along the line know what any of it is worth."
Review by Mat Gleason
This classic Hollywood theater was a great venue
for the Bob Dylan Show. With a steep grade,
excellent site lines and $7 binocular rentals,
there were no bad seats. Amos Lee opened and
Merle Haggard entertained (calling Bob “Einstein”
at one point during one of his impish,
provocative monologues – there is a taciturn
George Carlin in Merle Haggard, and he breaks out
between songs), but the Pantages Marquee didn’t
say The Bob Dylan Show for nothin...
The band he has this tour is a tight and twangy
unit, rocking hard with authority but capable of
underscoring the poignancy of Bob’s simplest
phrases. Bob’s keyboards were buried in the mix,
his voice was front and center.
Cat’s In The Well announced the band’s presence
with blistering authority. I had never cared
greatly this song until tonight. Bob wore a black
coat with silver buttons and a stylish Black
Stetson-type hat. You wouldn’t know he was 62 the
way he stood out front with his harp and blew.
Senor was a nice surprise, but the first
appearance of that Bob tendency to lilt his voice
up another octave on the last word of each
verse’s sentence in lieu of giving it the old
college try. Is he bored? Lazy? Desperately
trying to preserve the vocal chords? It doesn’t
ruin things, in fact it makes the moments when he
growls through a line in perfect dramatic pitch
all the more sublime.
Tweedle Dee was fabulous, with the band subduing
itself during Bob’s delivery and performing a
sort-of call & response answer, blasting out a
few bars in response to each jabberwockian lyric.
Shooting Star was another surprise. Fabulous,
melodic, Bob growled and crooned in succession.
Things Have Changed was deliciously ironic and
rocked a sweet groove. Could they have
transformed the venue into a dance hall it would
have been perfect. Bob delivered the line about
being in Hollywood, when he is performing in the
heart of old Tinseltown, on Hollywood Boulevard,
celebrity-monickered stars dotting the very
sidewalk from which one enters the theater. And
yes, his Oscar for this song was right there on a
table behind him the whole night.
Down Along The Cove grooved. It showed of the
virtuosity of the band instead of cutting too
Make You Feel My Love was slow, the “Up Another
Octave” habit reappearing instead of actual
emotion. The band kept it together, Bob
practically walked off. Ehh...
Highway 61 lit the whole place up. A fabulous
rendition. When he sang about selling the
shoestrings and dead telephones, I thought Bob
might howl “Out on EBAY Sixtyone!”
Standing in the Doorway was a nice rendition, but
the fast/slow thing was killing the momentum of
the show by this point.
Honest with Me was (like Tweedle Dee and Things
Have Changed earlier tonight) delivered with one
percent presence by its composer/singer. He
growled out every line with ferocity. He really
believes in this song.
Every Grain of Sand was fabulous to hear on Good
Friday. He didn’t sleep through this one either,
a hint of the true believer encased in an
Summer Days was not as rockin as his previous
tour in L.A. (Wiltern, October 2002). The band is
different than then, a little less bar-chord
reliant, and it shows. Still fun, but I seen it
done better live with my own ears.
The two encore numbers were brilliant, Bob saving
two bullets just in case someone wasn’t
convinced. Don’t Think Twice had the hit-hungry
audience satisfied and the Hendrix-flavored
Watchtower left us all wanting more.
In my perfect world, Bob would retire Summer
Days, shuffle the set from the
upbeat/slow/upbeat/slow buzzkill (an intermission
or two?), and would find the thing that delivers
Honest With Me and a few others with riveting
serious intensity and apply it to every number in
his set. His encore showed he could put on the
hits anytme he wants and knock us all out,
Tweedle Dee and Things Have Change prove he can
still create a materpiece live with the best of
But perhaps the lulls are what make those moments
possible. And like giving a Dylan song 3 stars on
your i-Tunes, you know it would be 5 stars if
anyone else approximated what are seen as his
less than stellar moments.
page by Bill Pagel
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