page by Bill Pagel
Review by Alicia Curtis
The Atlanta show was quite an experience, to say the least. This was my fourth
time seeing Dylan and I determinedly camped out on the front row early just
for him. The first band I had to wade through was the innocuous Drivin' N Cryin'.
Thankfully, Patti Smith followed them with a raucous good show. She was in top
form and really played to the crowd. By the time she ordered us to "Have fun
with Bob", however, I was itching for him to come on.
The moon was full and the city lights bright behind us when Bob and the band
took stage at 10:00. The first song, Duncan and Brady, was quite nice and just
the sight of Bob in his nice black suit had me pumped and singing against the
security bar. When the band picked up the chords for the second song it sounded
surprisingly like Shooting Star, but I was floored when Bob went into Tambourine
Man instead. I was ecstatic - this one of the songs I'd come hopin! g to hear.
He followed with another hoped for song, Desolation Row. Both renditions were
exquisite and Bob was really getting into the lyrics in Desolation Row. The next
song, an expected Tangle, was also quite good and Bob sang it heartily, albeit
missing the third stanza. I've heard this song at every concert but it's still a
favorite, especially with Bob doing such a wonderful harp solo!
This World Can't Stand Long came next. I've never heard the song before but it
was beautiful, one of the highlights of the evening. Larry's mandolin playing
was top notch. This quiet, heartfelt song led into a rollicking Down in the
Flood. The band rocked through it and into another surprise - Just Like a Woman.
By the time Bob rolled through Mobile and into a cajoling, delightful When
Teardrops Fall, I was on cloud nine.
That's when things got interesting. Blame it o! n the crowd or the pounds of
smoke or just the wonderment of Bob, but I got light-headed during Drifter's
Escape and had to leave the front row to sit down. The rest of the show was
mostly electric and I heard it from the sidelines. Despite the disappointment
of not seeing Bob for the other songs, I non-the-less enjoyed them, especially
Things Have Changed and Knockin'. I can generally do without Rainy Day Women,
but the crowd loved it as they did Rolling Stone and Watchtower, perennial
favorites all. If Dogs Run Free was done very nicely, though. I was hoping for
something unexpected in the encore, but it was rounded out with Highway 61
(wild as always) and Blowin' in the Wind.
Despite the almost passing out bit, this was a stellar show and, as always,
I'm looking forward to seeing Bob again. Hopefully, next time it will be in
a smaller setting without the huge crowd, but I'll make do either way. A! fter
all, I'm still waiting for some rarer gems to come into rotation: Every Grain
of Sand, Romance in Durango, and others. Still, even with the greatest hits
package, Bob delights and I can't wait for the next show.
Review by Daniel Kortmann
Jenny I came to Atlanta from Chicago. We hooked up with Ron
Jan, our fellow Bob devotees of over 31 years, and headed to the
Music festival. We were expecting a crush of humanity and we got it.
But, southern hospitality prevailed and the crowd was
cool and mellow. And so was the Georgia night sky under a beautiful full
Our first time seeing Bob was in Chicago 1974 with The
Band. We've seen him 20 times since then. A small amount to a lot of
people which makes these path crossings a cherished event.
After a passionate fun set by Patti Smith, who you could
tell was on a high being Bob's warm up act, we waited for Bob and band.
Bob hit the stage a 10PM with a song I'm calling, 'Been On The Job Too Long'.
Tambourine Man was next with a new phrasing that grabbed you by the heart.
His little Boston Blackie moustache has filled in nicely. His western
ribbon cowboy tie and the black suit with white arrowhead piping completed
his outfit. If you get an outfit you can be a cowboy too.
The whole band was under lit by a lush yellow light.
Desolation Row was next. Bob's eyes squinting,
eyes wide open, eye brows raised. Blue eyes peering out, looking intense,
looking bored? He is impossible to read. The enigma wrapped in a puzzle
and that's why we love him.
Tangled Up in Blue followed. How does he do these
same songs over and over conjure up the passion and make us feel like it's
the first time. He is the king of phrasing. Sinatra does not come close
to how Bob revamps his tunes. The harp came out for the first time on
'Tangled Up in Blue'. No harmonica holder. One hand holding the harp and
mic and the other holding his guitar.
'This World Can't Stand Alone' followed.
His blond electric guitar came out for 'Crash On The
Levee. Through the Binoculars we saw his name inlaid in pearl along the
neck. The band started really rocking now. Bob started dancing and
dangling by invisible strings like a James Cagney marionette. 'Just Like
a Woman' was next, revamped as everything else tonight was. As the light
hit Bob one could see his weathered leather skin like the hand tooled
strap on his guitar. He held his guitar high like B.B. Kings 'Lucille'.
Blue light bathed Bob as he stood in a gunslingers
stance, knees knockin, toes tappin' and happy feet dancin'. 'Stuck Inside
of Mobile' had Bob playin hard, leanin' turnin' spinning. He was
'Crouching Dylan Hidden Bob'.
'When Teardrops fall' saw Bob with pink
light all over the band. 'Drifters Escape' took us half the song to
recognize. And that's the fun of Bob. Charlie Sexton kicked it into
overdrive. It became a heavy rock band. He pushed it to such a level
that when his eyes met with Bob they exchanged grins.
'Rainy Day Woman 12 35' had the same music
but again with a revamped vocal.
It seems he does these final songs to appease the
masses. The band does inject them with some smokin' guitars that get Bob
shaking his head, squaring his shoulders and looking straight ahead. As
the song faded Bob introduced the band which would be the only words Bob
would speak on this night.
They walked off and Bob returned wearing a black cowboy
hat,stood facing the crowd, hands at his side. They left and returned
shortly to do an Oscar winning performance of 'Things Have Changed'.
Larry Campbell's guitar echoed into a trance inducing wave.
Then Jan saw the Oscar statue sitting on the amplifier
behind the band.
'Like A Rolling Stone' followed. The crowd tries to sing along but
failed at the different arrangement. 'If Dogs Run Free' was jazzed up
and totally entertaining. Charlie played a beautiful red Gretsch guitar.
Bob on Gibson and Larry on lead. 'All Along theWatchtower' followed.
'Knocking On Heaven's Door', 'Highway 61', and 'Blowing in the Wind' ended
the show. They could have gone through the motions with these encores but
his band plays with such abandon that Bob cocked his head, threw back his
hair, and when he gave a final look in our direction the night was complete.
Lake Zurich, Illinois
page by Bill Pagel
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