Review by Phil Levine
Well, it's spring time once again in Sin City and for his many desert
devotees, in the spring a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of, well,
Bob. It's been just over a year since The Bob Show last paused to perform
on the stage of the Aladdin Theatre--about to be renamed and refurbished
under the Planet Hollywood theme (what town in America better embodies the
Bobism about "he not busy being born is busy dying?"..) So the evening's
question was, 'where has he been, our blue-eyed son?' Apparently, LaLa
Land. Hollywood was the theme of the set for Vegas' Bob Show '06. With
four spotlights strategically pointed on the stage (and, oddly, several
pointing out at the audience even during the performance!) Mr D opened the
show with his Academy Award winning song "Things Have Changed"--and even
included a non-too-subtle reminder of his accomplishment with a small
light shining on his Oscar (or at least a replication), strategically
placed right behind his electric keyboard. And if you have to ask why,
then you are in the wrong room, son... Dressed in a black outfit with
silver buttons, turquoise shirt and replete with a hat that could best be
described as a cross between that of a Matador's and a Hassidic delivery
boy's, the Hibbing Hobo seemed in good spirits and knowingly nodded time
again to various members of the Bob Show orchestra. At the risk of
sounding repetitive, I join with those on this page who have previously
voiced their feelings about missing Charlie and Larry--not that this band
lacks chops, but the musical void left by those two extraordinarily fine
pickers is certainly felt by those of us with many notches on our Bob
belts. Highlights from the evening's performance included a heartfelt and
surprisingly cogent version of Times They Are A-Changing, a growling,
moody and healthy helping of Love Sick, and a raucous and bouncy rendition
of Cats In The Well. Also noteworthy was Ballad of A Thin Man--a little
more intense than one would expect, so I guess something was happening,
but as usual, only Bob knew what it was. However, if I may be so bold as
to make a suggestion to the Maestro: let sleeping ladies, lay. The
evening's low point was a croaky, cringing version of Mr D's greatest
ballad, Lay Lady Lay. The contrast between his remarkable vocals on the
original--and his gargling, garbled version circa '06--is simply too stark
and decimates the beauty of the song. Although with The Great Contrarian,
perhaps that was the point... The standard encores of Like A Rolling Stone
and Watchtower benefitted from the audience's energetic response (despite
the best efforts of the Planet Hollywood seat Nazis) And after the
mandatory stare-down at the crowd from the assorted members of the Zimmy
Orchestra, the 'Matador' turned and walked off stage, heading to another
joint....still just too stubborn to ever be governed by enforced insanity.
As he approaches his 65th birthday next month, we are indeed fortunate to
still have this traveling minstrel show to attend and should NEVER take
for granted that it shall always be so. Each Bob Show brings with it a
unique musical journey through the smoke rings of his mind, and so till
next year, we'll wait (once again) for his bootheels to be wandering back
into this grateful desert town.. Happy Trails, Mr D, until we meet
Review by Howard Weiner
Can’t Help It If I’m Lucky
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but I shall discuss the evening of Friday April 7th.
I had a bowl of matzah ball soup, saw the “Bob Dylan Show,” consumed a lot of booze,
and had one more bowl of matzah ball soup before I went to bed around 1:30. I don’t
fantasize about what Bob might play; he’s the captain, in Bob I trust. Elvis, Frank, Abe,
and Beatty would have been proud of Bob’s Vegas act last night.
Imagine Michael Buffer announcing “ Ladies and gentlemen, Say hello to the bad
man… hailing from his tour bus, he’s the cherubic faced kid who changed the Earth’s
orbit at Newport ’65… sang for refugees of Bangladesh in the early 70’s… nicknamed
Lucky, he reunited with George Harrison in the late 80’s and toured the globe with Tony
Garnier throughout the 90’s… tonight he’s donning a black leather jacket, black cowboy
hat, and a sassy aqua blue shirt, and weighing in at a svelte 123 pounds… he’s the most
revered artist of the 20th and 21st century, would you please welcome Columbia
recording artist Bob Dylan.”
Well, we got the customary intro, but after that, things changed. Bob’s piano/ organ
was center stage as he faced Denny and Tony, rarely making eye contact with the
audience. He was a like a painter focusing on his canvas. Stu was up front to Bob’s right,
and Donnie was chilling in the back next to the ragin’ Cajun Recile on drums.
I was hoping to limit my review to what was unique about the show, I’ve seen Dylan
100 times and his first four shows this tour (which I didn’t attend) were almost identical.
How was I to know that I ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Things Have Changed kicked the night
off; it was a most thrilling and unexpected opener. Jeez, his first offering brought me to
my knees. 2000 came face to face with 1963 as he followed with the Times They
Are–A Changin’. Jumping Jesus, I love this guy.
His vocals were delightfully crisp and powerful. And that new organ sound he has going is
outrageous. I can’t wait to hear the tapes. I can’t figure out why some people frown
upon Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum. That’s a fantastic song that sounds better every
time I hear it. It really sparkled in the third spot last night. It Ain’t Me Babe and Stuck
Inside of Mobile were just really good, kind of like a pu pu platter before a plate of lobster
in black bean sauce. Where’s my waitress? I need some more champagne with my buffet
Knocking in runs in the sixth spot, Love Sick was one for the ages, probably the best since
Soy Bomb burst upon the scene. Denny’s guitar solo was brilliant, I remember that vividly.
Dylan was so on, the organ sound and his lush voice. There would be no up- singing like
the fall 2005 tour. The sixth spot in the Bob Dylan Show has been very, very good to me.
Last time I seen him in Rotterdam a magnificent Blind Willie Mc Tell was batting sixth.
Baby Tonight, Thin Man, and I Don’t Believe you was Harp Fest 2006. His harp playing
was sharp and effortless. I was a little intoxicated, but everything seemed to be in key.
The band was great, but more than ever Dylan was the focal point. He was a legitimate
triple threat. Sure, I’ll have another glass of champagne, the women on my left is drinking
champagne. I may look like a raccoon, but I gotta belly like Babe Ruth. It’s 10:30 AM and
I’ve consumed four flasks of the bubbly, two pots of coffee, shrimp, watermelon, lox,
broccoli, hash browns, pink grapefruit, waffles, etc.
OK, I’ve digressed. Cold Irons Bound is a new song, completely rearranged. Say so long to
the old thrashing version, it’s such a sad thing to see it decay. This new rendition is
thoughtful and deliberate. Outstanding, Time Out Of Mind never sounded better live
before. Song number 11 was Lay Lady Lay and it was the first song from this show that
the maestro had repeated from earlier this tour. He sang it with the swashbuckling
confidence of a man who has had his way with more ladies than Wilt Chamberlain.
I braced myself for the set closer Summer Days, but lo and behold he broke out the cat.
The wolf is looking down and he’s got a bright bushy tail. I’ve only seen Cat’s In the Well
a couple, two, three time in 2004. I don’t know what turns you folks on, but Cat’s would
make my top 100 songs of all time list. Donnie broke out his violin for the first time as Bob
raged on. Upon completion of the set, there would be no band lineup with Bob accepting
applause while leering at the crowd and fidgeting with himself. He just sang “Goodnight my
love/ May the Lord have mercy on us all” and disappeared into the darkness.
The champagne still’s flowing and Gordon Lightfoot’s Sundown is playing softly at the
Craving’s Buffet at the Mirage Hotel, so I ain’t going nowhere. Ooh wee/ ride me high, I
got tickets to see Billy Joel tonight at the MGM Grand Hotel tonight. You have to be a
member of the tribe (Jewish piano player) to get a gig in this town, ask Barry Manilow.
I’ve digressed again. Like a Rolling Stone/ Watchtower was a rousing encore. Sitting to my
right was Michelle of “thanks to Ed & Michelle and Brian Doyle for the phone calls” fame.
These are the folks who dutifully report Dylan’s set lists to legendary Bill Pagel. They’re on
their way to Arizona right now, bobbing for some more Dylan. Happy hunting, see you in
The Aladdin Hotel/ Resort/ Casino/ Theatre is the coolest place in the dessert. There’s a
little shop right outside the theatre that sells musical memorabilia. I took the plunge and
purchased an autographed framed copy of Blood On The Tracks. DHL is shipping that puppy
to my Manhattan apt. right now. If I had a toolkit in my suitcase, it would be on display in
my hotel room. While others are losing the shirts off their backs, I’ve acquired the Mona Lisa.
Why do I tour? On April 8th, 2006 after seeing his Bobness, I feel better about myself and
the world I inhabit. If you’re heart’s still a beatin’, and you got blood a flowin’ through your
veins, catch the Bob Dylan Show. “Goodnight my love, may the Lord have mercy on us all.”
Review by Michael Gordon
I'll Be Bob's Baby Tonight.
"...and the piano sounds like a carnival..." Isn't that how that Billy
Joel song goes? It does sound like a carnival, as a matter of fact. An
even better description might be a carousel. Throughout Bob's
performance at the Aladdin Theater, in Las Vegas, I kept trying to place
the new sound that now exudes from his maestro's amplifier. At first, I
thought, The Animals - House of the Rising Sun, but it's far more campy
than that. And then it came to me: Freddy Cannon's hit, Palisades Park.
You know the one. De De Deadle- Edle E-De, De De...
The 2006 Bob Dylan Show is a strange cross between the Wizard of Oz
meets Bennie & The Jets. "He's got a cowboy hat...A turquoise
shirt...." Oh, but he's so spaced out!
Definitely Strange. Teetering on Weird. Boarding on Bizarre. Cirque du
Bobby. For a minute there, I thought I saw something move. I did. It was
Scit Scat Scoo Da Doodle E De - Wow! I'm beginning to have some
clarity! It's a Dylan Poetry Slam!
For (a minimum of) 2 years now I've been absolutely perplexed. But it's
all starting to make sense. What was once musical entertainment, has now
turned into entertainment with music. Bob Dylan does not sing - Merle
Haggard...Now that guy can sing! - Dylan recites. And for a poet of
Dylan's caliper, who's to argue? I've stopped fighting and started
accepting and I'm feeling much better for it, thank you. What, at one
time, I might have called absurd, I can now truly appreciate. That is to
say that I have abandoned my expectations. I no longer believe that Bob
Dylan will return to his late 90's - early 2000 form. He turned the
corner, or the page, or whatever; we are all moving on to the next phase,
the next chapter, the next whatever. Some, like myself, just a little
slower than others.
And of the music. Is it good music? Hung Jury. I'll just ask you
this: Is laughing out loud a proper reaction?
At one brief point during Friday nights show, one magical moment towards
the end of I'll Be Your Baby Tonight, Bob Dylan blew that ole' time, sweet
melody on his harmonica while simultaneously repeating it on his keyboard
and, for the 10 seconds that it lasted, he made music. I recognized it
instantaneously. And it gave me chills.
Review by M. Baker
What a night in Las Vegas last Friday! Definitely a 5 star night with Bob
and his band. For me, 5 seemed to be the number of the night-my 5th show
in 5 years, and I made 5 new acquaintances at the show. My original seat
was ok, not great, but it would be alright. But, Lady Luck was shining on
me that night as it turned out that some crazy person who had a ticket
near the front walked out of the show (during Love Sick no less) and asked
me if I wanted his ticket on his way out. Well, he didn't have to ask
twice and I said YES! so, I made my way down the aisle to the 5th row (I
told you it was a night for the number 5). From there on, it was pure
magic, I am still coming down from the clouds. The set list was fantastic,
starting with Things Have Changed all the way through theclose of All
Along The Watchtower. I especially enjoyed I Don't Believe You and I'll Be
Your Baby Tonight. Bob was in fabulous form and the entire band sounded
great, playing so well and so tight. If you get a chance to see him this
time around, don't miss it. I only wish it would have lasted all night
Comments by Colin Hindson
Back on email after my trip to Las Vegas to see Bob. I travelled a long
way, from Scotland, to see this and can only come up with the conclusion
that the piano has to go. I had seen the piano shows in Gothenburg and
Glasgow last year so this isn't a snap decision.
At times I was wondering if the piano was actually plugged in as the
band thundered away at the seemingly same tempo, and possibly even the
same song throughout.
Also, if they got any closer to Bob, not only would the piano be
inaudible but the man himself would be completely hidden from view.
Yes, I was disappointed, and yes I will go see him again.
Good luck to those who enjoyed the show, I wish you well. I enjoyed some
of the set but not nearly as much as some of the shows I saw in the
pre-piano days. I look forward to the next re-invention of the Bob Dylan
show and hope it comes soon.
Comments by Bob Freshwater
I was on holiday and booked to see Bob D at the Aladdin in Las Vegas. I
convinced two friends that this would be a superb concert and that we
should miss the Queen show.
How wrong I could be - what a let down. I can't understand why Mr Haggard
was there - he can sing OK, but not everybody likes Country and Western,
especially the non-memorable and fairly boring songs he sang. Did it also
need 10 people in the group?
And then we come to Bob, well nearly all the songs where re-arranged - not
that I mind that - but I do expect to know what they are within a
reasonable time scale. Bob's fans at the front only found out what one of
the songs was when the chorus was sung.
I didn't expect to hear the old Bob, as we generally know him - but
something close would have been nice.
Another reviewer mentioned one person walking out - well he should have
been nearer the back, because rows of people had walked out long before
To sum up - I don't like Queen, but in this instance I would have
preferred to see them in preference to Bob D. Oh and I don't drink, so
that hasn't fogged my mind!
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