May 16, 2008
Review by Larry Fishman
Nice to have Bob back in the States after his South American foray.
Atleast we can count on a steadier stream of available bootlegs. And
fortunately for me, Dylan booked this club date, shortening my drive
& saving me the 2 1/2 hour shlepp (and $4 gallon of gas) up to Maine.
The Palladium located in Worcester is about 40 miles west of Boston -
a small city sort of like Providence but without any of its charm or
good restaurants. The club is an old, smelly, barely lit converted
theatre - just the right setting for our ragged soon to be 67 year old
Birthday boy on the 20th anniversary year of the Never Ending Tour.
He was greeted by a torqued, jacked up crowd that was shouting for
"Idiot Wind" at stage hands one hour before show time. All night
long the crowd screamed, danced, boogeyed and genuflected -- it
was a fantastic atmosphere. As I was leaving I saw a kid decked out
in Rolling Thunder white face looking like Bob stepping out of
Renaldo & Clara. Beautiful.
Bob looked his usual trim self, in dark suit with a green sequined
shirt popping out at the sleeves and out of this buttoned jacket. He
could use a little sun. The band was in matching grey suits and
black shirts all with their hats on save Donnie. I guess if I had hair
like that I'd go hatless as well. The boys were all on their game,
I was 5 feet dead center but the sound was less than perfect - but
it didn't stop anyone from having a good time.
Oh the rituals of another show...the limping roadie... the familiar
faces of the fanatics praying for a one-off from the Basement
tapes...the mini replica Oscar sitting on an amp...the taped
intro...the Mardi Gras beads flung near the drum kit...the incense...
the wait in the pouring rain for two hours to cram up to the stage
for another night of amazing music:
1. Tweedlee Dee & Tweedle Dum. A loud blast off to start the
evening and a good song to clear the old boy's throat. The crowd
burst upon recognition telling me that it was going to be a fun night
as soon as he starting playing his good songs.
2. Girl of the North Country. Didn't take long to play a good
song. With Tony on stand up bass, and the familiar fairy-tale, sing-
song arrangement, Bob's voice was still hoarse but oh so pretty. A
song that always seems to reappear on the setlist and always
seems to delight and deliver.
3. Watching the River Flow. A rip roaring romp that Howlin' Wolf
would be proud of. Donnie gave us a terrific solo - he was on fire
all night long. Is it time to acknowledge him along with Larry
Campbell as one of Dyl's great Axe men. Not as cute or
charismatic on stage, but he can deliver the licks.
4. Can't Wait. Totally reworked arrangement, built on a scale like
riff - this was a sultry, sonic brew with a teeth bearing vocal.
Unrecognizable at first, it took me a couple of lines to name that
tune and I know the material real well man. A deep, dark nugget.
5. The Levee's Gonna Break. A light turn, spirited - sort of the
same tune as Summer Days and Thunder on the Mountain, just better.
Bob was sashaying and animated as he and the band really stretched
this one out.
6. Simple Twist of Fate. A lush, sublime take on the masterpiece.
With that crazy phrasing (I heard someone saying as we were leaving
that he is convinced Bob mixes up the phrasing so that noone can
singalong with him) Some lyrics seemed softly spoken sung -along
with the stunning nasal vocal, it's one of the clear standouts of the
night. Great interplay between Bob on the Harp and Donnie on
guitar as the song winded up.
7. Rollin' and Tumblin' Back to the blues as Garnier was thumping
on what seemed like his 5th different bass guitar of the evening.
Freeman whipped up a storm on slide.
8. Tryin' To Get To Heaven. Another entirely rearranged version, it
was a slow, funereal song with a beseeching tone to the singing.
Strange and unusual -- just the way we like it.
9. John Brown. With Donnie on banjo, this was a spot on, direct and
powerful version of one of the Bard's most linear story songs from
his finger pointing days. Perfectly orchestrated I might add. I
love the clipped rhymes and it's timeless message as this country limps
through another miserable war. Excellent Bob, excellent job.
10 Most Likely You Go Your Way. Time to lighten up and I think one
of Zimmy's better rock tunes and we were treated to a stellar
performance. It's such an addictive melody and done with pure
happiness and feeling. Again, Donnie nimble on guitar and I swear I
saw Bob unleash a full face grin. I swear I saw it.
11. Spirit On the Water. I think one of those songs that Bobby just
loves to sing...and it shows. Done with artful grace somewhat
faithful to the recorded take, I don't think it can be improved
upon. Call me naive, but I just love the call and response. "Am I
Over the Hill?" Noooooooo! "Past My Prime." Nooooooooo!
It's the signature tune of the Modern Times Album and I don't
think I'll ever tire of it. He should play it every night. Oh yeah,
12. Highway 61 Revisited Time for a crowd pleaser. Banging the
keys, our favorite DJ was hunched over the keyboards like a
jackhammer, jamming, swaying and flailing away like a wild man.
He made those thousand broken telephones ring.
13. Workingman's Blues #2 Sung sweet and low with the band playing
softly and enveloping and elevating the singing. While some like the
song because he uses the word "proletariat" in it, I like the "beans
and rice" part.
14. Summer Days. With Bob smiling and dancing around the keyboard,
his joy and enthusiasm were infectious. Usually a song that deserves
a long vacation, they really nailed the performance on this night. A
real blast -- amazing how he still connects with the audience.
15. Ballad of a Thin Man. Amazing. Focused and full of conviction,
by the time the first chords were played the crowd was in a mad
frenzy. Every riff, lyric and strum was greeted with wild applause,
shouts and pandemonium.
16. Thunder on the Mountain. After the encore the band returned
with the tune that is played after every encore at every concert. I
like the Alicia Keyes shout out in the lyric as much as the next
guy, but I'd like to respectively ask Mr. Dylan to put this one on the
shelf for the rest of human existence.
17. Like A Rolling Stone. Could it be Watchtower? Blowin' in the
WInd? No, we finished the evening with a bit perfect slow and
tuneful take on the song that defines an era and frees our soul.
Certainly a fantastic show, maybe I'll put that gas on the credit
card and head up north to Lewiston after all.
Review by Jim Halliday
Forget about a last minute booking of a warmup show. Bob and his boys
came out of the gate in full throttle. They mixed kick-ass rock n roll
with some of Bob's best melodic softer side songs in years. This was also
the best keyboard playing start to finish since he made that his feature.
As for the boys in the band....Bob better be on if he wants to keep up
with this bunch. They infuse electricity, along with the venue which now
has served twice as the "small warmup venue".
I won't give a blow by blow. I am sure others can take care of that. The
highlights of the show for me were Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll
Go Mine), Simple Twist of Fate, The Levee's Gonna Break, and Summer
After attending over 80 shows since 1978 I took a break over the last year
and half, as I just wasn't feeling it. Well the feeling came back within
the first 15 seconds tonight. We knew it was on!
A special hello and thank you to the folks I met that kept me company
tonight (the couple from Philly and the woman from Connecticut). We
picked a great spot to enjoy!
Review by David
Dylan started his tour with a couple of small, stateside dates - before
heading overseas. the 1st gig was in the worcester palladium - which
wasn't even sold out as of yesterday (although it was finally getting close)
got good seats in the balcony - with only one complete idiot in front row
of our section - kinda looked like tommy chong on steroids - on speed as
well when people told this bozo to sit down - he ripped off his shirt ...
security was summoned and kept this creep in line
the sound started out horrible - but improved much by the 2nd song -
no bob on guitar - all keyboards -was in good voice, good mood
started with rockin' tweedledum & tweedledee then a nod to former
girlfriend-turned-author suze rotolo by totally rearranging girl of the
n country with a nice descending keyboard-based melody
bob kept things interesting by alternating upbeat songs
(new and old) with just a few slower ones - but pretty much
skipping over the old-timey period pieces from the last 2 albums
highlights were probably the two songs from TOOM that i haven't
seen him do in some time -Can't Wait and Get to Heaven -
H61 rocked, twist of fate was gorgeous,
john brown moving, and the new stuff all sounded great -
plus no watchtower , which is always refreshing
the funniest moment seemed to be when bob flubbed
the 2nd verse of Thin Man - it sounded like he said :
you see somebody naked and you say "is that his" ?
good solid show - miss bob's guitar playing, but the band has
been playing well as a unit for some time now - and bob seems
into it - as did the crowd
Review by Jason Polanski
Bob Dylan returned to the Palladium in Worcester for the first time since
2002 when at that time, he scheduled a warm up date before playing at the
Newport Folk Festival. This time around, he once again started his tour,
which will lead him across the ocean to Europe. Euro fans should take
comfort in knowing that Bob’s performance was very focused and he played a
Bob also played no guitar and stuck to keyboards the whole night. Possibly
he didn’t feel the need to play the “crowd pleasing” instrument and
instead felt the keyboard songs were what he needed to play to get the
band in gear.
Of course, the band needs no introduction to Bob’s music at this point as
Bob opened with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (perhaps a bit of politics
Bob?). The song was short with one main instrumental breakdown that seemed
rearranged a bit. A voice clearing Girl From The North Country followed
and a blues stomp with Watching The River Flow.
But the concert really picked up after that as Bob and the band took only
its second take on Can’t Wait for the year. This time, Tony and Denny had
developed a riff that added to the sort of Dead-like groove of the new
arrangement. We can only hope they stick with this. Another work out was
also from the Time Out Of Mind album, the song Tryin’ To Get To Heaven,
which Bob hadn’t played since 2005. The song was delivered with a very
deliberate vocal style which had Bob leaning into certain words, telling
us he’s “going down the road feeeeeeeellliiiinng bad!” Thanks Bob for
bringing this one back.
And Bob the crooner really shined on Simple Twist Of Fate, a song I’ve
only seen once before in my 50 plus shows. It was great to see Bob tell
the story, facial expressions and all, first approaching the vocals in an
upword motion like “blame it on a simple twist of FATE”. But towards the
end of the song, the vocals became outright sorrowful, the phrasing went
downwards and bent around the notes. The rough blues voice replaced by a
soft cry. And the harmonica was played in a dramatic style. Definitely
worth catching on tape.
I guess I must mention also that, even though Simple Twist was a
highlight, Bob also really nailed the softer side on Workingman’s Blues
and Spirit On The Water. These two Modern Times songs have come a long
way. He shows an absolute confidence in them, he punches the vocals when
they need to be and bends and breaks them at the right times. Spirit
featured a great Denny guitar solo as well and a very aggressive harmonica
solo at the end.
And then on to the blues side of Bob. Where as the show featured some
intense ballads, the fun and danceable side of the evening were the blues
songs. Levee Gonna Break, Rollin/Tumblin, Highway 61, Summer Days. Wow!
Bob has a lot of fun with these songs on stage. Thanks to the girls in
front of me for grabbing Bob’s attention all night as well. I bet you
girls loved that smile during Summer Days!
And I can’t review the show without mentioning that Bob, while
concentrating heavily on his later work, still delivered some great
anthems from the 60’s catalog. John Brown? Very intense. Most Likely
You’ll Go Your Way? Groovy, stretched out vocals. Thin Man? Bob played the
weirdest organ yet and the harmonica at the end was right on. Rolling
Stone? Ah, sounds tired, but it’s the last song of the night and the guy
next to me was singing and clapping along like it was the greatest concert
moment ever! So Bob, you did your job. You warmed up your band and
impressed the new and the old. A marketing success! Can’t wait till he
gets back from Europe.
Review by Ernie Pancsofar
The Lows: $20.00 parking; starting off with TDTD an unpleasant surprise
(perhaps a political commentary on the primaries and upcoming elections!);
no Bob on guitar, although there appeared to be an electric guitar atop
a couple of the stage speakers that I did not notice anyone using.
The Highs: Listening to Warren Zevon on the ride up to Worcester; Simple
Twist of Fate (excellent arrangement), Girl of the North Country (perhaps
a tribute to Dylan days) and John Brown with Donnie Herron on banjo high
in the mix.
Interesting: I thought a couple of Charlie Patton tunes were playing
over the house speakers prior to the concert; lyric sheets in front of Bob
for all songs; an old book, hat and a small red cardboard box appeared on
the floor center stage prior to the encore; the juxtaposition of lyrics
in Tryin¹ to Get to Heaven (When you think that you lost everything You
find out you can always lose a little more) and Like a Rolling Stone (When
you got nothing, you got nothing to lose)
Waiting For: Visions of Johanna or Desolation Row
Final Comment: It was a Dylan concert!
Review by Dan Wood
This was the 'first' date in a resumption of the Never Ending Tour. The
set list is here. I had
not seen Bob since Modern Times came out so it was good to hear some of
the songs from there, I was hoping for Nettie Moore but the rendition of
Working Man's Blues left nothing to be desired. The show didn't reach its
full energy until a touch and go 'Most Likely You Go Your Way And I'll Go
Mine' Bob didn't know where to start and it resulted in a cautious full
verse instrumental to get the song going. Once Bob started singing the
band wasn't sure where the beat was so no one was playing much at the
beginning. After that it was lights out the rest of the way. Summer Days
is always still a given but it was the best version I have heard so far.
Other highlights pre-stride for the band were 'Girl From The North
Country,' 'Simple Twist of Fate' and 'Trying To Get To Heaven.' Songs from
"Time Out of Mind" are old enough that they are classics but they are
still new enough that Bob owns them the way he does on the album when he
plays them live. 'Can't Wait' was a song I didn't recognize for a bit but
a good arrangement in the end. The last time I saw Bob (4/1/5 in Chicago) he had
the same band but had the violin player with him as well. At times I
thought it was a little much to have 2 electrics and a steel guitar on the
same song. The sound was too loud and thus muddied so when you covered
your ears you could actually hear the layers. When I first did this I
heard organ and thought 'who is playing the organ?' then realized duh,
Bob! They actually had it turned up enough but again once the sound got
muddied you really couldn't hear it. Denny Freeman is a great guitar
player but for me he and Stu will never match Larry Campbell and Charlie
Sexton. Larry was just so much fun to watch, I had fund watching Denny as
well, but not as much as Larry. I did love the fact the band all had
matching grey suits and black shirts underneath. All except Donnie Herron
had their respective hats on and again except for Donnie they were all
competing for world's smallest soul patch. I'd say Donnie is the straight
man of the band. Bob was wearing black pants with the white stripe and a
sparkly green shirt that stayed under his jacket. He also had a sparkling
ring on his left hand ring finger. There was a guitar laying down waiting
for him the whole time but he never went for it. There were a few in the
crowd that got pushy once or twice or thought they would just walk
through. I was 5 or 6 deep on the left hand side of the stage, probably as
close as I have gotten to Bob. He was happy throughout the show and really
animated when the band was rocking through the last half of the set. I
can't wait to go see him again...maybe he can come to Boston next time and
save me some driving but any chance to see Bob in a non-arena is an
Review by The Little Neighbor Boy
Dylan wedged this tour date into the old, crumbling Palladium earlier
in the month; a move in keeping with the mysterious ways in which
As has been duly noted elsewhere, the crowd was in fine, fired-up spirits,
and it seemed to transfer to the show's fiery energy.
Some griping about a guitar-less Bobby can be understood; although he
more than made up for it with his rousing harp?accompaniment on
"Girl of the North Country,'' as well as with his harmonica-playing elsewhere.
Dylan's harp on "Girl" provided an effective counterpoint to his gussied-up,
jaunty keyboard on that tune.
Denny's stinging lead drove a bluesy, raucous "River" along.
"Can't Wait,'' with its pneumatic pulse, was moody and menacing.
"Levee,'' with Tony on upright bass, was a churning jam, in contrast to
the recorded version.
To this listener's ears, "You Go Your Way'' and "Highway 61'' were the
night's delights; for their glorious, rollicking abandon.
A sign outside the hall said it was indeed, sold-out. That, with virtually
no press. The local arts-and-entertainment weekly ran nothing in advance
of the show; having received no press releases touting it. The Palladium,
incidentally, also served as a staging ground for Dylan's return to the
Newport Folk Festival a few years back, leaving one to wonder whether
it may hold some special appeal for the Bard. And don't forget, he
recorded "Hurricane'' for his live Rolling Thunder tour bootleg at the
old Auditorium in Worcester. Yes,the Palladium's upper reaches sport
threadbare walls, and the backs are broken off some of the seats there.
A few years ago, I was across the street in the Irish Times awaiting a
Bob Weir show, when a fire broke out in a storage closet at the Palladium.
But I'll take it over an antiseptic arena named for a bank any day. With
general admission and a bar operating during the show; it made for a loose,
relaxed atmosphere. (Thanks, Nate from Beacon, N.Y., for getting me
It seemed like the show drew a fair amount of Dylan newbies, judging
from conversations I had. I found it refreshing that they seemed to be
enjoying the show, while others are sometimes turned off if they don't
get what they expect. Some of the longest hair at the show was
sported by young guys who were not even busy being born when Dylan
hit Greenwich Village.
And Worcester is an old manfacturing town, perhaps over-the-hill and past
its prime. But with B.B.King playing up the street at the newly-renovated
Hanover Theatre, and a prom being held a few blocks away, limos were
everywhere, and people were having a whoppin' good time.
Review by Timothy Krauss
Having a Friday off from work the night of a Bob Dylan show sure has its
benefits, especially when you live in Schenectady, NY and the closest show
and tour opener is about 145 miles away in Worcester, MA. So I got out of
the shower in the early afternoon and headed east on I-90 to the Palladium
in my 1999 Toyota Corolla, driving directions and receipt of on-line
ticket purchase in hand for the will call window. Since it's always good
to get some random Bob on the radio I was fortunate enough to hear Bob
Marley's No Woman No Cry come out from one of the stations. That sure
sounded good. I got to downtown Worcester at about 3:30pm or so, parked
quickly in an open spot across from the Main St. venue and, watching the
parking meters, inserted some quarters into the slot to first just get out
and check the scene; a couple dozen or so Dylan fans were already lined up
around the venue with chairs and hats, ponchos and umbrellas, receiving
the drizzling rain and waiting until the doors would open for the evening's
GA (general admission) show, scheduled to begin at 8pm.
I bumped into some people that I had met before at shows that were
already in line, said hello and went back to my car to find a better
spot (the parking spot I was in had a one hour limit, unlike Love Minus
Zero). Drove up a block or so, took a right and drove up the hill into
a somewhat residential area away from the buildings of business, candy
stores and such, found a spot, parked, put some quarters in, etc. and
went back down on foot to the venue, thinking about food. I glanced
into Spoodle's deli and kept walking, looking to get some cigarettes and
gum first, which I did, along with a Diet Pepsi, Doritos and some
Twizzlers at a card and convenience store. Yeah, I'm on a strict diet.
Went back to Spoodle's, got a roast beef sub to go and walked to the
Palladium to get my ticket from will call and to get in line. Gave the
will call girl my on-line ticket receipt, got my ticket, walked out to
the line and got in with the rest and the best of them. Stood and sat
down intermittently and ate my sandwich, looking at the other Dylan fans
and the big tan bus that was parallel to us against the curb, the rain
pitter-pattering on my Red Sox hat. Chatted up with the people around
me making small talk if anything, had a cigarette and then another big
tan bus pulled up and stopped further down the back side the venue.
Bob's band got out: Stu, Denny, Donny, George, and Tony, and just about
in that order (Donny may have been before Denny or vice versa...I get
their names mixed up anyway). Eventually as the time passed and my
sandwich was gone, the line began to get bigger and bigger little by
little and venue staff or security would come out and make us all move
closer to the main entrance of the Palladium, so the line wouldn't get
too out of control down around the block to the side and back of the
venue. I spoke with a woman from Sudsbury who was seeing Bob for her
second time but she was older and very familiar with Bob from the 60s.
There was another older woman (okay I'm 34, they were older than me, I
ain't tryin' to insult nobody) there who had a copy of Isis magazine and
was showing us some really nice and recent glossy photos of Bob in
concert and I spoke with a younger girl who was seeing Bob for her first
time and was waiting for her friend to show. She was into films and had
recently seen and much enjoyed the I'm Not There movie. She knew a
decent amount of Dylan songs, had at least a few albums and was very
much looking forward to seeing Bob for her first time. All three
women were very nice. The rain drizzled some more and came
down harder at times as the minutes turned to hours and the line
continued to get bigger, more voices could be heard, and staff
would again come out to guide more people to the mouth of the
Palladium entrance. I dusted off my Doritos and another smoke or two and
chatted with two of the women about how much attention is on Bob Dylan,
and yet he has been able to maintain his individuality and independence
in producing his art and work. It's really an inordinant amount of
attention for one person to have to endure, which I remember Nashville
Skyline photographer Elliot Landy making a point of during the Beatles
and Bob Dylan documentary Shakespeares in the Alley (1995).
The doors opened about an hour and half before showtime at around 6:30pm
(ticket stated doors would open at 7pm) and so the line began to shuffle
in, people folding up their chairs and umbrellas, guzzling down their
last bits of food and drink. The younger Dylan girl going to her first
show waiting for her friend to show unfortunately could not go in yet
and was reasonably frustrated, working her cell phone. I texted some
friends that I was going to meet up with later and made my way into the
building, noticing that the nightclub diagonally across the street went
by the name Rehab, in very large letters on the building, too. Once
patted down by security and inside I made my way to the metal railing
that separates the audience from the stage, contemplating whether or not
I wanted to stand there for the next hour and a half until the show
started at 8, for it's quite crowded down there with no seats to speak
of. I'd been to Dylan shows up close before and decided to go get a
beer and head to the balcony with seating (albeit unassigned of course)
upstairs, figuring I'd still be within the first few rows and have a
good view, with time to kill. On my way to the beertenders I came
across the Dylan merchandising area and glanced at the usual expensive
hat and t-shirt items, but pleasantly noticed an eco-friendly, dark
green tote bag with the Bob Dylan eye logo on it for only $5. I can't
imagine the price staying that low for long so I gave the guy a ten got
my change and presto I can go to the supermarket now without dealing
with paper or plastic. (By the way the bag also says bobdylanstore.com but
I was not able to locate the bag for sale on the website when I got home).
Walked over to the bar and asked for a Bud Light, one of my favorites.
I actually prefer watered-down beer, but not watered-down love.
However, they did not serve Bud Light. So I got a Coors Light draft in
a plastic cup and made my way upstairs to the balcony. I found some
empty areas up near the first few rows by the balcony railing and got a
nice seat, 4th row in the balcony, in excellent view of Bob's keyboard,
which angled towards me. I sat next to a woman who I had seen in line
outside but had not spoken with. She was very nice and informed me that
he had flown up from Florida the previous night, since she had been
meaning to see Bob for some time now and finally had the time to do
so...stating that she had not seen him live since the late 70s! That
just about blew me away. We passed the time talking about writing and
art and music and things. She was an artist, I dont think she looked
Finally around 8ish the announcer man did his intro and out came
Bob and his band, Bob dressed in a black country western suit and black
hat with red feather and his band mates in gray suits, most also wearing
black hats. They broke into a steaming, piping hot version of Tweedle
Dee & Tweedle Dum, one of my favorite Love & Theft songs. The band was
loud, proud, and in front of a sold out crowd. I thought Bob and the
band absolutely nailed this song and it was a great, assertive
introduction for everyone patiently waiting to hear and see the band.
Song two was Girl From the North Country and with the music not as loud
for this typically softer sounding selection one could hear Bob loud and
clear and he was truly in great voice on this song. As with many of
Bob's “acoustic” numbers, he picked up the harmonica for this song to
the roaring approval of the crowd. It was a beautiful performance from
start to finish. Nobody sounds or sings like Bob and hearing him bring
his unique vocals and harmonica playing to this classic was nothing
short of fantastic. Next up was Watching the River Flow, another
rocking song that the band brings alive and reminds you that you are not
just watching some folksy playing solo on his acoustic guitar. Once
again, Bob performed this song on the keyboard, which he did for each
and every song. Bob did not play the guitar at all this show, unlike
the last few times I'd see him when he would open shows with about 3
songs on the electric guitar prior to going to keyboard for the rest of
the set. Song #4 was a newly arranged Can't Wait from his Grammy award
winning 1997 release Time Out of Mind. The vocals on this song were
again quite good, phrasing strong and interesting, and made overall for
just a great listen. From the balcony, the visual of Bob and his band
was very entertaining. This was one of those songs that Bob can almost
make enjoyable when he sings it but at the same time you find yourself
listening to the lyrics thinking it's really not an enjoyable place for
the narrator to be. The next song The Levee's Gonna Break was from Bob's
recent release Modern Times. It was very similar and typical to the
sound found on the album itself and nothing of the performance was very
memorable to me, myself being quite familiar with the song and the
album. Nothing spectacular but nothing horrendous either. If anything
this song rocked up the volume again and the band was able to showcase
some its tight and polished teamwork. Song #6 was Simple Twist of Fate
from the outstanding Blood On The Tracks album, one of the most
painfully sincere albums of all time. The band did a great job with the
music on this tune and Bob was decent on some of his phrasing and
singing but I thought his vocals were weaker on this number. It was
still a very nice song to hear from a great album and Bob's using the
harmonica helped to elicit some of the soft and sweet emotions of regret
and circumstance. Another song from Modern Times, Bob and the band
performed Rollin' and Tumblin' loud, fast, and furious. The band was
very tight on this song and really showed off their musical talent.
This is one of those songs where Bob really could mumble through the
entire song and it wouldn't make a difference because the pace and sound
of the music is so good most could survive it even without the lyrics,
if necessary. I don't even remember much about the vocals on this one
so I can't say if they were good or bad, but I'm pretty sure they were
at the very least good. The overall sound was terrific. Bob came back
with another Time Out of Mind song, Tryin' to Get to Heaven. On the
album this is probably one of my favorite songs, not only for the words
but for the sound and pace also. It's a very well done song. However,
I thought Bob's voice was particularly rough and uncomfortable on this
choice and didn't serve the lyric well. It's one of those songs you are
really glad Bob decided to play but just wish it could have come out
better. He plugged through and seemed to get all the words right, just
was not a good version of this song. Song #9 was what was once billed as
“the long awaited” John Brown, first heard on Dylan's live album for
MTV's Unplugged series, of which both that album version and video of
the song are worth acquainting oneself with. Particularly with the war
in Iraq and a steady dose of violence throughout the world, this is a
song that is unfortunately quite fitting for today's society and the
relationship between a loving parent and a child in the military. The
music and vocals on this song were absolutely spectacular and at this
point surpassed Girl From the North Country as the best song of the
night. Whether or not one supports the military, a war, or the troops
of one country or another, Dylan's words on this number drive home the
extremely harsh realities of boys who go off to battle, presumably for
their country or their families, yet find themselves fighting for their
own identity. This was just an excellent performance. Bringing Blonde
on Blonde into the mix, Bob and the band once again turned up the volume
with the infectiously entertaining Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll
Go Mine). This is an energetically smooth revolving sound of music that
is at times humorous and uncontrollable, like the interactions we all
experience with one another. This was probably the high point of the
night for me as I really enjoy this song, its sound, and the lyrics. It
was once again a reminder that people often just do what they do
sometimes regardless of how it may affect others or even themselves.
You just keep going. The band was awesome on this one too. Like being
on a revolving planet, sometimes you just deal with whatever life throws
at you. Best to just let things go and try to enjoy the ride, knowing
there's not much you can ever do to control other people, or even
yourself. #11 song of the night was Spirit on the Water, another track
from Modern Times. Honestly I wasn't very into this number, although I
do enjoy the song on the album. I just let my mind wander and enjoyed
watching the band and hearing the sounds of the music. Was a
forgettable version for me, although Bob did use the harmonica, which
didn't hurt. Song 12 was a solid Highway 61 Revisited. Bob's vocals and
timing on this song were very good and entertaining. It's always fun
when Bob gets into a song and tweaks it one way or the other with all
the little subtleties and nuances that he so often enjoys using. Once
again, the band was at the very least very good on this number.
Workingman's Blues #2 was song #13, also from Modern Times. This is a
really nice sounding song, considered by many to be his best from this
album. I didn't think Bob's vocals were very good on this song although
he seemed to match the band note for note, yet there was too much
croaking on this song for me to really enjoy it. He didn't sound right
spitting out all the words here and sometimes, especially with a wordy
song like this, there were just too many words for Bob's system to
handle comfortably. I think for Bob to play so many songs and so many
shows at his age and with his cigarette usage over the years it is not
possible for him to play a show from start to finish with any sort of
consistent or relaxed clarity. This is to be expected, just do the
math. #14 was the highly controversial Summer Days, from that 2001 Love
& Theft album. The contention amongst the die hard fans is that this
song is way overplayed and there is not much argument to that. The good
news for the realistic listener is that Bob and the band play this song
well and it is a high energy, rocking tune, one which really showcases
the band's talents. Bob seems to really enjoy this song as well and for
any fan who hasn't seen Bob live before I would think they must like
this Summer Days. Consult the fan sites to cyber-argue with other
devotees. Another one from Highway 61 Revisited, song #15 was Ballad of
a Thin Man. When I first began listening to the H61R album this was one
song I didn't care much for because I felt it always destroyed the flow
of the album. This song stops and starts and it is kind of a talking
song, but eventually I got around to asking myself what the hell he was
saying in this song and over the years have come to learn that it is
almost the definitive Dylan song. This was a wonderful performance and
it has always been a great treat for me to hear it live. I think it's
the ultimate artist v. critic song and one Bob has always seemed
particularly fond of. Like Bob has said before, it's very easy to
criticize an artist or performance...much more difficult to actually get
up there and do it yourself. Like how many albums do you have? You go
Bobby! The band took their break here and then came back out for an
encore, beginning with track 1 from the Modern Times album, Thunder on
the Mountain. I really enjoy this song and thought the band sounded
terrific. The final song of the night was the 17th of the show, titled
Like A Rolling Stone. If you hadn't gotten your money's worth yet then
you are probably not a Dylan fan. If you were still unsatisfied with
the show after this performance of Like A Rolling Stone you either paid
too much for tickets or you are definitely not a Dylan fan. Overall, I
felt that Bob sounded very good on about 75-80% of the songs while the
band sounded very good to great on about 95-100% of the songs, making
this for me a very high quality show. John Brown and Most Likely You Go
Your Way packed a one-two punch that was quite spectacular, both very
moving performances. I think the art of Bob Dylan is quite good, his
vocals and phrasing for the most part still there, although sometimes
there more on some songs than on others. He is still a very unique
performer with a great selection of songs and interesting, humorous and
thoughtful lyrics worth listening to. And his fashion and stage style
are really quite good for his age and material. After the show I met up
with some other Dylan fans, particularly those from the old Dylan pool
and from the newer The Never Ending Pool. One guy was even giving out
Bob Dylan CDs that he had, which I gladly accepted. I had a beer at a
local dive with some friends and eventually walked back away from the
venue up to my car, eating the Twizzlers that I had in my pocket that I
had never opened. I hopped in my car, drove away from Worcester,
grabbed some coffee and gas on the way, put in my new Dylan CD, had some
cigarettes and rolled back to Schenectady. It was a good day and a
| Click Here
to return to the
page by Bill Pagel
| Bob Links
| Set Lists
| Set Lists