Review

Memphis, Tennessee
Orpheum Theatre
April 24, 2006


[Howard Weiner]

Review by Howard Weiner


Synopsis: 4-24-06 ÖThere was a terrorist bombing in Egypt,
Moussaoui hasnít been executed yet, a school shooting plot was
foiled, senators are hearing testimony about the meth epidemic,
millionaires played playoff basketball at various locations for
bored spectators, and Bob Dylan performed A Hard Rainís A Gonna
Fall for a thousand lucky disciples in Memphis, in the grandest
venue at the corner of Beale and Main. Monday morning I was
strolling down the banks of the Mississippi River listening to Love
& Theft. The Dylan tour busses were parked outside the Orpheum
bright and early. The trailers were unloading the props (red
curtains and the star lit night sky background). In the afternoon I
paid homage to Otis Redding over at the Stax Museum. With the
possible exception of Robert Allen Zimmerman, is there anyone more
impressive than Otis? Thanks to modern technology, you can all go
on-line and see how amazing the Orpheum is. Best place Iíve ever
seen a concert, nuff said. We were treated to the standard Maggieís
Farm show for the first six songs. It was fantastic. Catching She
Belongs To Me and Queen Jane is special. I can still hear Dylan
jabbing at his organ during Queen Jane. The organ gives the
proceedings a spooky feel, kind of like Augie Meyersí work on Time
Out Of Mind. A plethora of distinctive American musical genres have
been born in the Fourth Chicksaw Bluff (Memphis), but this was a
heavy poetry slam set to arcane musical compositions. The only time
Iíve ever heard anything like this was two weeks ago when I
experienced ďThe Bob Dylan ShowĒ in Vegas. Positively Fourth St. in
the seventh spot was brilliant. Bobís vocal phrasing will forever
be etched in my brain. I canít wait to go to the audio tape on this
one. It was another all-time great Dylan moment. Standing inside
his shoes, he was draped from head to toe in black with a puffy
white pirate shirt, and a circle of silver rhinestones on his top
hat. Donnie Herronís the man; perched behind his pedal steel, he
was loving his role in life. He savored every moment. Dylan
delivered the knockout blow in round eleven with A Hard Rainís A-
Gonna Fall. Is there anything more moving? Hard Rain and Blind
Willie blow me away every time. Itís hard to describe being in that
moment. Of all his early acoustic masterpieces that have been
rearranged, Hard Rain is the most satisfying. How bout that Dylan
top 100 of all time list in Mojo Magazine? Can anybody explain how
Hard Rain ended up at number 24? Fact: Hard Rain is the second
greatest song. As expected, Dylan encored with the greatest song.
something bout this city and venue made it extraordinary on this
night. A young guy standing next to me was bitten by Dylan mania.
After the show he said ďI wanna go meet him, awesome man!Ē I
informed him Dylan probably wouldnít be entertaining random guests
on his tour bus. This youngster who has probably grown up on shows
like MTVís Pimp My Ride was genuinely awe struck by his Bobness. It
was gratifying to see Bob connecting with yet another generation. I
canít believe all this Dylan paraphernalia I gotta schlep home. In
24 hours in Memphis Iíve acquired A Love & Theft poster, a í65
poster from the Daniel Kramer collection, a shirt with an í87 Dylan
photo, a book of someoneís insights on Dylan and religion (yawn),
and Iíve yet to hit the beefed up Dylan souvenir stand. I donít
know what Iím going to do with this stuff; maybe Iíll have a garage
sale when I get back to Manhattan. After the show it was off to
karaoke night at Alfredís on Beale. I thrilled the booze hounds
with Like a Rolling Stone, and Iím probably gonna give Tangled up
in Blue a go tonight. Itís free drinks for anyone who comes down to
cheer me on after Dylanís state of the union address this evening.
I celebrated with all the pretty young ladies hanging out on Beale.
Iím ready to go back Jack and do it again. Until tomorrow, good
luck, I hope you all make it.

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