page by Bill Pagel
Review by Dylan Hodges
I just got back to my home in South Dakota after seeing Bob for the
second time in the past three days. The show in Kearney was incredible.
The Tri-City Arena is a small joint, about 5000, and looks almost like a
big tin barn from the outside. The weather was great and I hope Bob got
out of the area before the storm from the west moved in.
Bob opened up with Somebody Touched Me. From the very start he was right
on. He lifted the "Must have been the hand of the Lord" refrain like he
was singin' for Christ himself. The crowd was real quiet, and most folks
in the stands were sitting down. This was unlike the CU show where most
folks were still walking to their seats and up wandering around most of
the first acoustic set. The size of Tri-City maybe kept people more
intimate with their entertainer.
Bob led into It's All Over Now, Baby Blue. Absolutely amazing. I have
never heard him so clear, as he would be even become crisper as the night
wore on. I was surprised to see him go to the harp on the second song,
but it seemed to be a kick for the crowd, who just kinda got going. Bob
would again go to the harp on Desolation Row, and really hammer the licks
during the instrumentals.
Opening the electric set with Down in the Flood was a real treat.
Charlie has really been laying into his part during these Blues-Rock
arrangements. This is the first time I've heard done this way, and it's
really a mind blower. Then just as it got quick, Bob went into Just Like
a Woman. The audience really recognized this one and sang along on the
chorus. Larry's work with the steel guitar has become really impressive,
and was very toning to this particular song.
Things Have Changed. Could there be a better title to the newest of
Bob's original compositions. This one is always great and seemed to be a
bit faster than the CU show, but still great.
I argued with a guy next to me about Bob writing It Ain't Me, Babe as he
led back into the second acoustic set. This guy next to me really thought
Johnny Cash wrote the song, but I told him Bob wrote it, and then we just
sang along. The audience at this time was really noticeably quiet,
probably because of the acoustic set opening, but they were just there.
Charlie got a dobro and Masters of War kicked off, really solid. Theres
not alot of movement with this song, it just beats into you. Then the
closer of the acoustic set, Tangled Up In Blue. Pretty much the standard
as its been over the past two years, always great.
The second electric set was opened with Stuck Inside of Moblie. This is
the first time I'd heard him play it in two years, (although he has played
it), and it was fantastic. There was a great mixture of strings with
Larry on acoustic guitar. And then the alternate to Drifter's Escape for
the 11 slot, The Wicked Messenger. This again was great, and Charlie
really laid into this hard. It appeared as if Bob was going back for a
harp, but the song just sort of ended.
Then the greatest song of the night, finally the crown is on their feet,
Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat. This was an astonishing performance. Charlie,
Larry, and David seemed to play off each other while Bob just weaved blues
licks in and out of the whole song.
With the crowd being so quiet for most of the show, I thought we may only
be in for a four song encore, but came back and graced them with eight.
Love Sick was the opener, (one of my favorites), and then Like a Rolling
Stone. The crowd was really into the show at this point and the crowd
lights were turned on down the middle and on the sides.
The mystery of the whole thing is that most people don't know If Dogs Run
Free. It's so cool. The jazzy arrangement makes it a great follow up to
the rock-n-roll Like a Rolling Stone. The guitar work is great and more
importantly it's off of one of Bob's more stifled albums. It's great
work, and I'm glad he added it to his live repertoire.
All Along the Watchtower is incredible. If for no other reason a person
has never been to see Bob live, this would be the one. Charlie again,
slayed this song with mastery. Larry and Bob played back and forth, and
David and Tony tore into the bottom half of the spectrum. Wow.
I was surprised to hear Knockin' on Heaven's Door. It's stellar. Such a
simple song, and yet it is so meaningful and inevitable. This was
followed by the rockin' Highway 61 with everybody playing as well as with
the other Blues-Rock anthems of the night.
Blowin' in the Wind. Every time I hear this live, I wonder if the people
in the audience really understand the significance of the performer. I
also wonder how so many people can know the words, and sing them, and then
go out and forget the answers to the nine questions in the song. I hope
they appreciate what Bob has done for them.
And like no other, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35. This was the crowd pleaser
of the night, just as at CU, the young crowd really takes to this song,
and Bob really set into it from the start, finishing as strongly as he
Review by John Fox
Tonights show in Kearney was awsome! I've only seen Dylan live one other
time and it was a great show in Omaha last year. I have a good old
college buddy from California who came to town, I happened to be in the
crossfire of conflicting tour dates The String Cheese and Dylan. Last
night was a real good cheese show at the uptown in Kansascity tonight was
the best concert I've ever seen in my life. This buddy of mine has seen
Bob Dylan over 50 times and thinks this was the best he ever saw him play.
For all those brave huskers who withstood the hellish storm outside (even
tornado warnings) they were deeply and ritchly rewarded with a memory for
a lifetime, that memory was truely watching Picaso painting, It was Dylan
with that guitar slung over his shoulder pointing that guitar right at us
in about the fourth row it was breathtaking to watch him perform. I
havent seen Baby Blue done that well Since I saw the Dead in Chicago in '
94. Hats off to Mr.Zimmerman !!!!!!!!!!!!!
OK, this is his friend from California and we're not kidding here that
last nights show was as good as it gets (which I think lately they are all
at this level). Picture this, a half empty auditorium when Bob takes
the stage, we walk straight down center, 4 people back. It felt like a
small nightclub, down there in this small circle. The acoustics down
front were superb. The crowd was into it from the beginning. I think he
loves playing in the heartland. I am sooooo happy I made this trek. I've
always wanted to see Dylan in New York (sound familiar?), but after last
night, I don't need to go any further. Funny it came to be in Kearny, NE.
We all know whats its been like the last few years. There are simply no
bad shows. He was on fire all night long. There was not a single second
that He was not dialed in......thank God we are given the opportuntity to
see him perform. Enough said. Its gonna be hard to get any sleep.......
Review by Scott Bauer
KEARNEY, Neb. -- Safe inside the Tri-City Arena, a newly built
hockey facility with seating for 5,000, a hard rain began hitting the
metal roof at showtime. The machine-gun fire staccato of the rain
continued as the lights dropped at 7:40 p.m.
Over the PA, Bethoven's 9th symphony raged on as the band assembled on
stage. The crowd jumped to its feet. Bob Dylan shuffled on, wearing a
black suit and bolo tie, looking a little lost. The symphony continued.
Then the all-familiar announcement, ``Ladies and gentlemen, please
welcome, Columbia recording artist -- BOB DYLAN!''
The chords of ``Somebody Touched Me'' filled the air and the crowd
began rhytmically moving to the music.
Dylan was in Kearney.
A college town of sorts smack dab in the middle of Nebraska, Kearney
known more for cows than music. This is farm country. No one of any note
has ever played a live concert here.
It was no surprise the local media was out in force, interviewing
people outside the arena and filling newspapers in the days leading up to
the show with less-than-accurate articles about the man on stage.
Dylan was not as animated as he had appeared at his previous
Nebraska appearance in Omaha last year, but he was far from asleep at the
wheel. As the show progressed Dylan's aggressive stabbing of his guitar at
the audience, crouching so low until he's almost sitting on stage, and the
occasional smile, all made an appearance.
After the opening number fans on the floor remained standing as
Dylan launched into a beautifully country-esque ``It's All Over Now
Baby Blue'' and the familiar ``Desolation Row.''
Security was lax as folks unfortunate enough to be stuck in back
made their way up front. The fans were not aggressive; just enjoying
An early highlight of the set was ``Just Like a Woman,'' another
familiar song made fresh by Dylan's rephrasing. The crowd responded in
``Things Have Changed'' appeared a bit rough and I would not be
surprised if it disappeared from the set list soon. Fresh from the
Oscar win, Dylan appeared to be bored with the tune and rushed it.
The middle section of the concert lagged a bit with old familiar
tunes ``It Ain't Me Babe,'' ``Masters of War,'' ``Tangled Up in Blue'' and
``Memphis Blues'' treading little new territory.
But it picked up again with ``The Wicked Messenger,'' one of those
songs that a couple years ago you never would have imagined hearing live,
especially in Kearney, Nebraska.
After the obligatory stand and stare at the audience routine
following ``Leopard-skin Pillbox Hat,'' the band returned for the
normal run of encores. ``If Dogs Run Free'' made a welcome appearance as
did a thoroughly enjoyable ``Knockin' on Heaven's Door.'' Dylan again made
the song sound like it was the first time he had ever played it.
Definitely a highlight.
Finally after a little more than two hours he wrapped it up with
``Rainy Day Women.''
Considering the brief but intense tempest that hit at the beginning of
the show, the song was a fitting ending -- even if it has nothing to do
The crowd roared for more, but Dylan's bus was already on the road
heading for another joint. In this case, Topeka.
During our drive back to Lincoln (two hours to the east) we passed the
two buses carrying Dylan and his band mates. Now I can say that I passed
Dylan on Interstate 80.
His entourgae turned south at York, Nebraska, where we happened to be
stopped at a gas station for refreshments. The buses kept on keeping on.
After all, Dylan had a date with the good folks in Kansas before returning
to Nebraska for a Monday night show at the same arena he last played in
1966 with the Band.
Pershing Auditorium is still standing after all those years, just like
Dylan. I suspect he will rock the joint just like he did 35 years ago, but
this time the audience will have a better idea of what is happening.
page by Bill Pagel
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