St. John's, Newfoundland

Mile One Centre

May 23, 2008

[Justin Bowman]

Review by Justin Bowman

I'm 21 years old, I've been listening to Dylan since I was 14, and my
appreciation for him is at an all time high, after seeing tonight's show.
Wow. How does the man still do it? How does a 67 year old man manage to
stay on his feet for 2 hours straight, while dancing? It was simply
amazing. A major improvement from the concert that I saw at the Halifax
Metro Centre in 2002. The quality of every single song was excellent. He
opened the show with a bang, playing Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat, which
really got the crowd into it right off the bat. Next, he slowed things
down a little, with an alternate arrangement of Girl Of The North Country.
At this point it was really beginning to sink in what was going on. ( "i'm
in the same building as Bob Dylan.. he's right there... he's playing and
singing, for me" ). It does take a few minutes to sink in. He ended the
song with the harmonica, which caused me to sink into an even deeper
euphoria than I had already been. The following song was Levee's Gonna
Break, which I wasn't too familiar with, but a crowd pleaser nonetheless.
Dylan then switched from fast to slow again, with the soft Moonlight. One
of the most notable things to mention about this song is his vocals. He
did a fantastic job singing it in my opinion. Next we had Things Have
Changed which brought a huge smile to my face. It was very easy to sing
along with Bob on this one, which then led me to say to myself "man, I
just sang one of Dylan's songs, with him". That also took a few moments to
sink in. When Things Have Changed came to a close, I recognized right from
the first strum of the acoustic guitar, that the next song, could only
be... Desolation Row. I looked toward my friend to the right of me and
just said "what the f**k.... oh my god!" Ever since I first started
listening to Dylan at age 14, this has always been one of my favorites.
And what a performance.. I was in awe. Just like Things Have Changed, I
sang every word, along with Bob. I began thinking "this is the best thing
I've ever seen... Dylan still f**kin got it man". They nailed it man.
Right on the money, perfect. Honest With Me came next, an up beat tune
from Love And Theft, which got the crowd moving, although not as much as I
would have liked (I was probably the craziest person in my row.) The intro
of the next song was the highlight of the concert in my opinion. Just Like
A Woman, definitely one that all the Newfoundlanders were waiting to hear.
People around me were really getting into it, and singing along with every
word, especially on the chorus. Outstanding performance on this one. I've
heard a lot of great versions of the song (Original, Live 66, Bangladesh,
Before The Flood etc.), but I'm not kidding this was really up there with
them. He's not just some washed up rock star, this guy can still f**ing
play, and damn good too. The next song was easily recognizable from it's
intro, Love Sick. Excellent version. A lot like the original, very strong
vocally. This was followed by a Dylan classic, Highway 61 Revisited. Very
lively atmosphere to this version, a lot of beautiful Newfoundland women
were up dancing along with it, which I'm sure is something Dylan himself
didn't object to, I know I didn't. This classic was followed by the sombre
Nettie Moore, from his latest album, Modern Times. Truly amazing. Donnie
Herron hit it right on the bullseye with the violin, simply flawless. The
next two were songs that I had actually never heard prior to the concert..
Rollin And Tumblin' followed by Beyond The Horizon. I'm pretty ashamed as
a Dylan fan to have not heard them before, but I did enjoy them, and do
plan on giving them a few listens in the future. Summer Days came next,
again, the band was just clicking on all cylinders. They really know each
other well, you can tell. The chemistry is clearly evident. Attractive
Newfoundlanders just shakin it everywhere on this one. Doing their best to
try to keep up with Dylan himself, not kidding, the man was dancing all
night, bending down low at the knees, really making it evident that he was
feeling the music and having a great birthday eve. He ended the set with
the slow paced, Ain't Talkin'. Just phenomenal. Definitely one of my
favorite tracks from Modern Times, so I was delighted to hear it. 
So the set is over, Bob and the band leave the stage, the lights go off,
the building goes black, the people get loud. The loudest they were all
night, in an effort to lure him back out on stage, for just 10 more
minutes of the best damn band in the world today. The building remains
dark for a while, the people get louder. And even louder, when the lights
come back on, and music starts up again. THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN, wow.
Great performance. "I was wondering where in the world Alicia Keys could
be" ... well I wasn't wondering that, I was just wondering how in the
hell is Dylan still so good? He ended the concert with..... well do I
have to tell you? (Although he did play Blowin In The Wind once so far
this tour). Like A Rolling Stone. What a crazy feeling it is to see the
best songwriter of all time, performing his most famous song. Rolling
Stone Magazine's #1 song of all time. It almost seems surreal. Then I got
back out on New Gower St., outside of Mile One Centre, and realized that
the fantasy was over, back to life, shitty life. Haha, nah, it's not that
bad, especially when you get to see your favorite musician of all time
two nights in a row! The second show is tomorrow night, same Bob time,
same Bob channel. Not a bad weekend, hey? I really hope that the crowd is
a little more into it tomorrow night, and we HAVE to sing "Happy
Birthday" to Bob. Happy Birthday Bob! And even though you're driver's
license says you're 67, your fans know you're Forever Young.

Justin Bowman


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