Thanks to Douglas Wilber for the following review: We were there to see Bob first and foremost, but Van and Joni were close behind. The PA music while waiting the 3 hours before the concert was all Frank Sinatra. Contrary to my expectation that Van will do nothing to cater to the crowd, he opened with a couple of oldies,
Dominoand Jackie Wilson Said, then Raincheck, Moondance, Days Like This, That's Life('bye, Frank), Fire in the Belly, It Once Was My Life, I'm Satisfied, Vanlose Stairway, Whenever God Shines His Light On You, In the Afternoon, I'm Not Feeling It Anymore, Tupelo Honey/Why Must I Always Explain(It's just a job, you know/It's not supposed to be 'Sweet Lorraine'), See Me Through/Soldier of Fortune/Thank You Falletinme Be Myself/Burning Ground.No encore, a thoroughly satisfying set, the band's excellence showing in their supple grooves, dynamics and tight transitions. Pee Wee Ellis does as much or more for Van as he did for James Brown. Some don't like Van's exploration of grievance in song. Tough shit. Brian Kennedy, the sweet tenor who seems to turn off a lot Van's fans, wasn't doing the echo thing as much as singing harmony and unison, which I prefer. A word about the Gorge: the cliffs and rim rocks of the mighty Columbia and the river itself are the backdrop for this amphitheater. Hundreds of square miles of river-break country with little visible development. We saw Great Blue Herons, many hawks and ravens, maybe a Golden Eagle flying up from the river. The stage is sited below a natural bowl with a steep sitting lawn above the reserved seats. I saw Bob here in 1988. I still want to hear him sing "...from the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol" here, but I'm just gonna have to wait. Joni came on as the sky grew dark, did mostly non-hits: Night Ride Home, The Crazy Cries of Lovers*, Harry's House, Slouching Toward Bethlehem, Just Like This Train, Black Crow, Amelia, Hejira, Big Yellow Taxi[with Bob's line "...they took away my home and land" (cf. Dylan) imitating Bob's voice and phrasing], Facelift*, Sex Kills, The Magdalene Laundries, The Moon at the Windowand Woodstock(solo) as the encore. (*-on the new Taming the Tiger) She looked beautiful, her voice is strong and clear, and her guitar playing was a revelation. The musicianship in Joni's band, in fact, in all three bands at this concert, is far above my abilities to comment on it, except to say subjectively that I was delighted, moved and thrilled. Danced some, too. Dylan came roaring out of the blocks with Absolutely Sweet Marie, and by the second number, If You See Her Say Hello, it was clear we were in for a major treat. He was in very good voice, which seemed stronger song by song. Cold Irons Boundstarted out eerie, shapeless and random and came very slowly into focus over a minute later. Simple Twist of Fate, Silvio(more Stones than Dead now), then the "acoustics": C ocaine, Times They are A-Changin'(Dylan singing unbelievably strong here, hitting the notes of the old melody loud and clear), and Tangled Up in Blue(with harp! for the outro). Til I Fell in Love With Younext, then I Shall Be Releasedwith Van and Joni. Joni flubbed her verse, but recovered admirably: "They say every man needs protection, they say every man shall be released ( sic), But I swear I see my reflection, In the image of the Beast" or something like that. Bob laughed. An extremely rockin' (as always) Highway 61 Revisitedwas the pre-encore final. It Ain't Me Babe, acoustic, is turning into an Irish reel/bluegrass breakdown with Bucky and Bob jamming 'til the cows came home. Lovesickand Rainy Day Womentook it on home. It was 12:30 a.m., over five hours after Van had kicked things off. We joined the arduous drudgery of 18,000 exhausted concert-goers exiting dusty grid-locked parking lots onto eastern Washington country roads. The path to the parking lot went through a marsh in which hundreds of frogs were chirping, calming the ears from loudspeaker overkill and tuning us toward things timeless and eternal. ******************************************************************************** Thanks to Don Helling for the following review: Van did a tribute to Frank S. with a wonderful version of "That's Life." (Van's set list follows) Midway through Big Yellow Taxi, Joni said something to the effect of "Bob Dylan wrote this next verse" then repeated the previous verse in a hilarious Dylan parody voice. The other thing that I noticed was how much fun all three seemed to be having. During "I Shall Be Released" with all three on stage, they seemed to be joking around, sometimes stumbling over who would take what verses when and laughing about miscues. I can't remember the words, but Joni ad-libbed the ending to the verse that she took and Van and Bob started laughing. They just seemed to be having a ball. During Dylan's set, even though he wasn't what you might call talkative, he was constantly mugging for the audience during guitar solos, and doing the Dylan waddle "leg thing." I was in a group with people that were there mainly to see Van and Joni as well as those of us there to see Bob. Everyone left with a deeper appreciation of the other two artists, and everyone went away impressed by Dylan. I second Christine's opinion that this was one great show, definitely try to see him on this tour! Here is the Van set list for those that are interested: Dominoe Jackie Wilson Said Fade Away Moondance (with extended instr. break) Days Like This That's Life ("I'm going to do a tribute to Frank...") Fire in the Belly Used to Be My Life (?) Satisfied Van Lose Stairway Light Shines on Me IN the Afternoon Tupelo Honey Someday (with a chorus of "thank you for letting me be myself again...") Burning Ground ***************************************************************************** Thanks to Christine Day for the following observations: Just attended the May 16 concert at the Gorge. Superb. Van Morrison came out first to play wearing a black suit and hat right out of the Blues Brothers. Had a younger male with a high voice doing back-up. Don't know the names of his songs but recognized quite a few, obviously Moonwalk. Joni Mitchell came out next and sounded great. Introduced her guitar player as "my very recent ex-husband" she talked to the crowd quite a bit. Told the crowd she hadn't been on tour for a lond time, but couldn't pass it up. Bob came out next and started with Absolutely sweet Marie. Acoustics at the Gorge are excellent and could see stage great from my seat. Played If you see her, say hello--Cold Irons Bound--Simple Twist of Fate--Silvio--Cocaine Blues--A simply perfect version of Times They are a Changing--Tangled Up in Blue--Till I fell in love with you--Then Van and Joni came on stage and accompanied Bob in I Shall Be Released. Beautiful, all I can say. Highway 61 was last. For encore played It Ain't Me, Babe--Love Sick--and always crowd-pleasing Rainy Day Women. Bob sounded terrific, very clear, and strong. Got to hear a harmonica solo too!! DO NOT MISS THIS TOUR!!!
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