Review by Mike Grace
I'm not familiar enough with all of Bob's work to write a detailed review
so I'll just share a few thoughts.
The Mosque Shrine in Springfield Missouri (I was told) seats 3500. If
that's correct, I estimate 3000 attended. Nice venue but very warm and
stuffy at the end of a rather toasty spring day in Missouri.
This is only my third Dylan show since seeing him at the Rainbow Theater
in Denver in 1980 and the Greek Theater in Berkeley a few years ago.
Needless to say, this crowd was a bit more rustic although there were more
hippie types there than I imagined lived in the state. All in all, I felt
right at home and the vibe was excellent.
By way of example, my son and I slid into some empty reserved seats in an
ultimately futile attempt to improve our view. The Shrine guy who came and
booted us (in a very pleasant manner) promised me a free beer after I
whined a bit and sure enough, later on at his concession stand he made
good. Good on him, and good on everyone there.
Bob and his band started a few minutes after eight. It strikes me that Bob
works to prevent his immensely strong personality from dominating by
having the band perform in a quite restrained manner. Contrasted with the
Stones who make prancing an integral part of their show, Dylan's reserve
as a performer is striking.
Absent are the attention gathering gimmicks so many lesser artists rely on
to captivate. In their place is a laser focus on making the music work -
right there, right then, no glittery 'showmanship' - which, for me anyway,
adds its own unique intensity to the show.
The most obvious example of this was the interplay between Donnie and Bob:
my angle was perfect to watch Donnie relentless focus on Bob's subtle
movements as Donnie worked hard to complement where Bob was at any moment.
A very enjoyable part of the show and, no surprise, the steel guitar was
Song wise, I liked Lovesick, Lay Lady Lay, Cold Irons Bound, It Ain't Me
Babe (in particular I like that one - it resonates for me now at this
unique point in my life like it never has) and of course, the encore
pretty much sealed the deal.
I have to admit: I would very much liked to have heard Masters Of War or
Mr. Tambourine Man or Rainy Day Women or Maggies Farm or Every Grain Of
Sand or Watching The River Flow or, well, pardon me for whining. It was
Bob and his band in fine form, and I'm very grateful to have been a part
And it occurs to me: here's this guy, pushing 65, who tours almost
relentlessly. From April 10 through the 22nd he played 10 shows spread
over 5 states. Sunday he was in Grand Prairie Texas, wherever that is.
Tuesday and Wednesday he's in KC MO; Thursday in St. Louis, Friday in Des
Moines and Saturday down in SW Missouri on his way to Memphis.
He has such charisma he can convinced 3000 or so rather rural rustic folks
to cough up 50 odd bucks to see his show. I estimate the door gross
upwards of $135,000.00. It's very difficult to believe he needs the money
any more - I believe he does it for the love of the game.
I mention this to demonstrate his power - his control over people. He'd
rail against the notion he's some kind of guru but there is an element of
that dynamic between him and his fans, including me.
He has power, and unlike so many, he knows how to use it well, and
rightfully, and in his maturity provides a striking example of how
creating music should be done.
God bless you, Bob: rock on.
Review by Zac Carey
The 'Bob Dylan Show' comes to SpringDing
This afternoon, working outside, I had the stereo cranked with John Wesley
Harding on, i know everyone down in the holler could hear it, and it was
already a commonly known fact that Bob Dylan was in town tonight. Later,
zooming through some Ozark hills with the stereo cranked still, getting to
town early for the Bob Dylan show, which of course was a good. I swear
this band was born in the Opry house, and later raised on plenty rock and
roll. The lead guitar was amazing. Bob's keyboard playing is more
prevalent these days and a lot of time with an electric organ sound that
works quite well. I was so excited to hear his playing. And during 'Ballad
of a Thin Man' he played a keyboard that swirled around in a tight
pattern, Glass may be calling soon if he heard that. Personally, the best
song of the night was 'I'll Be Your Baby Tonight'....gorgeous. Felt as
though it were an old dance hall song that all the folks go hear on a
saturday night in some small town in Anywhere U.S.A. and the whole house
dances even though they're all worn out from the hard day of work, that
swooning sound of a random honky tonk, night of love song......later
someone comments 'i like it when they play that one' and they hear it
again next week, and maybe one day over the old crackling A.M. radio on a
summer evening...speaking of which i want to not be the only one near by
that does the 'Twist' to 'Summer Days' that song should have everyone
movin...swing till you drop, then take a breather while they play 'Like a
Rolling Stone' for everyone else. 'Cold Irons Bound' has changed quite a
bit, and though I really enjoy how much the last version rocked, this time
around it's one to make your skin crawl. A heavy ballad of bruises.
On this night, he used his words in many interesting tones and mannerisms
that keep even the same old encore interesting. I don't care what anyone
says 'All Along the Watchtower' is nothing like the Hendrix version. This
band rocks it, heavy and tight, this is a rocknroll anthem of the west,
they tweak it enough as the shows go on, keeping it interesting for them
to play it seems. And with musicians like that, they can pull out any of
the stops and play this thing like no one has ever heard it....and do it
in matching like gray jackets with a western hat here and there...Bob's
hat was real nice.
The fact that THE BOB DYLAN SHOW would come to Springfield still suprises
me. I like many of the new changes they've been through, which is partly
what it's all about. Keeping it interesting, keeping a crowd, aside from
the crowd that just comes for the novelty of seeing this 'song and dance
man'. This show will rock your socks, ride on in to town early to hear
this traveling music show, they bring it from everywhere.
Review by Brent Riffel
Last night's Dylan show at Springfield's Shrine Mosque started off a
bit uneven, but ultimately proved to be a winner. For one, Bob's
voice is much improved since the last tour. His keyboard sound, which has
always been extremely tinny, was up in the mix in St. Louis, but could
only intermittently be heard in Springfield. The star of tonight's show
was Donnie Herron, who added amazing textures on violin in particular.
The St. Louis show was comparatively sedate, with supposedly 1000 tickets
going to charity invitees. It showed. Tonight, though, was more of a
college crowd, with the usual baby boomers thrown in as well. Things were
going along in a rather ho-hum manner for the first thirty minutes of the
set. For anyone that could possibly care at this point, Tweedle Dee
seemed to have new and/or ad-libbed lyrics. Stuck Inside was a bit
sloppy, but the mood changed for the better with a searing Lovesick,
performed in a dark rearrangement. Bob added interesting keyboard
flourishes on Ballad of a Thin Man (which I always love), and I Don't
Believe You was fantastic. For the rest of the set—with only a few
exceptions—Bob offered well-enunciated readings of Lay, Lady, Lay and an
inspired Ain't Me Babe (though it wasn't the best version I've witnessed).
My longtime Dylan-freak friends Nick and Stew felt the highlight of the
show was the radically re-worked Cold Irons. I actually prefer the
echo-laden call-and-response versions from a few tours ago, but will admit
that this version was highly unusual and worth a listen. Amazingly, it was
Cat's in the Well that surprised me the most. I've never invested much
time in this song, but tonight's version had a great fiddle break and at
one point Bob initiated a short jam—a rare thing for this band. A weird
Summer Days closed it out, featuring another breakdown segment, and at one
point things got extremely quiet. I actually thought this was a technical
issue, but my friend Nick thought otherwise. Not the best Summer Days,
but it's still quite enjoyable when it isn't a part of every set (Stew
will be playing it at his upcoming sock hop). Things ended with the
obligatory Rolling Stone>Watchtower, both of which were played better in
St. Louis, but I can't complain much either. I'll take these songs over,
say, Rainy Day Women, though it would be great to mix it up a bit.
Tangled anyone? Final thoughts: this band is solid if uninspiring, and
it's clear to me that the Campbell/Sexton/Gagnier/Kemper band will go down
as the ultimate NET lineup. I'm wondering if Bob can recapture that
spirit that he so clearly had during, for instance, the fall tours of 2000
and 2002. Maybe, maybe not, but I'll be there regardless, grateful for the
chance to catch another Dylan gig as soon as possible. My friend Nick is
catching much of this coming week's shows, and I fully expect Bob & his
Band to break out a sweltering High Water at Jazzfest.
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