page by Bill Pagel
Review by Digger O
Willie & Bob at the home of the Camden RiverSharks, right under the Ben
Franklin Bridge in one of those just-broken-in minor league ballparks that
are springing up everywhere. Willie and family played a cheerful set--
lots of hat throwing and bandana tossing-- good fun.
Bob came on and tore into Drifter's Escape, with the sweat falling off in
big droplets halfway through the song. A lilting version of I'll Be Your
Baby was followed by Tweedle Dee. Love Minus Zero was a crowd pleaser,
and things started to get loose when Lucas Nelson joined the fray. At one
point during Down Along the Cove, Bob broke out into a bellylaugh while
nodding to the band. No idea what it was about, but, hey-- it's Bob's
world, we're just breathing his air.
Lots of kids in the crowd--- in our group was daughter Anna and Gary's son
Dylan-- which begs the question-- how many boys in the 12-and-under
get-in-free group are named Dylan?
A tender Girl of the North Country was followed by a sizzling Hard Rain
that really built to a crescendo. And since most of us who got their
early were drenched by on-again off-again downpours, it was truly a nice
tip of the cap from His Bobness.
Now, we get to my only issue with the setlist: Floater [Too Much to Ask].
A good song, and a nice version, but from a pacing standpoint it reminded
me of my wedding reception, when the DJ followed five great dance songs
with Sheryl Crow's "All I Wanna Do." The dance floor emptied, and the
reception was DOA at that point. My wife Bernadette can't listen to a
Sheryl Crow song anymore.
Luckily, Bob revived the patient with this tour's version of a
defribrilator-- Honest With Me. It got everyone moving again. It was
followed by a heartfelt Forver Young [was it a shoutout to Sam Petrucco?
We'll never know.] Really hit all the lyrics, punching the verses and
drawing out the chorus.
Len and Sue's favorite was Highway 61-- lots of great slide guitar and
some vintage viper eyes from Bob. High Water ended the set, and the
encores were a very measured and precise It Ain't Me Babe and a
crowd-pleasing Like A Rolling Stone. Befitting this baseball stadium
tour, Bob knocked LARS out of the park.
Overall, Bob was in good spirits. Lots of laughter, a few shimmies and
leg twists on the harmonica solos, and both verbal and gestural kudos to
the band and [Lucas] many times during the show. Bob Dylan proved again
that pound-for-pound and dollar-for-dollar, he's the best show out there
in the concert summer of 2005.
Review by Cincinatus
Once upon a time (pre 1969) , Camden was a robust city right over the
bridge from Philadelphia. Lots of manufacturing companies, a proud
working class and once home to the famous RCA company. Today, Camden is a
forgotten city in America with block after block of boarded up homes,
empty streets and a prison. Dazed homeless people crossing the streets,
and cops siting in empty parking lots completed our view as we drove to
Tonight, Willie and Bob played at a minor league baseball stadium on the
riverfront. The skyline of Philly as a backdrop as well as the Ben
Franklin Bridge. As night arrives the lights of the bridge change
differrent colors. From Blue to white to green to blue again. The stadium
was nice. They did a good job building up the riverfront, though the city
never revitalized. With this said Camden is real and gritty like the
artist we witnessed this evening, and like our Artist may Camden come back
and shine on again. On to the show.
The GreenCards. Quaint Bluegrassers with Australian accents. Good music,
hulking CD's at Bob's merchandise tent. This band plays tight and are
worth seeing. The highlight was Willie's harmonica player sitting with
Next, Willie, I know this is a Bob website, but Willie ROCKS! After the
expected "Whiskey River" opener, Willie ripped into "Still is Still
Moving Me". He then followed with a greatest hits collections. His band
is tight. Arguably, Willie has one of most unique and jamming guitar
styles today. At one point during the show, Willie went to grab something
from a member of the audience and his guitar became unplugged. His talent
is so great that he plugged it back in and went right back into a Jam.
Willie ended with " Will the Circle be Unbroken" followed by " I'll Fly
Away". After his performance, I truly bleived that Bob had a tough act
to follow for Willie was on Tonight! If it makes Bob better good for
Bob did not disapoint. Like Willie's set, Bob was on fire with the
exception of a mixed up Tweedle Dee. The highlights were definitely the
songs joined by Lucas Nelson...Down along the Cove and Highway 61. I have
seen Bob play with the Dead and Susan Tedecsi as a guest, and this was
just as mind blowing.
Floater is a unique quirky song, and though some complain, I ask what
you done lately as an artist. The fact of the matter is the song 's
place in the set mixes things up and throws people off. It's art. Plain
Another highlight was a Hard Rain, and surprisingly heartfelt Forever
Young. We were pleased to hear Highwater Played with a banjo and as a
closing number. The encores were polished. No Watchtower, but that's okay.
Perhaps, Bob saw the same Prison we saw on the way in.
As always , in our post industrial zeppelen , it's sometimes hard to look
for things that are real and genuine that have history. In Camden
tonight, we witnessed both.
Review by Matt Buckley
A beautiful night in Camden on the riverfront in an awesome venue. This
was my second Bob show, the first being the lackluster Newark show in
April, and I was expecting a lot. Bob reached and even exceeded my
expectations. We got into the stadium right before The Greencards came on
and found a nice place stage right about 15 rows back with what would
prove to be the perfect vantage point for Bob. Willie was a really great
and played everything I wanted to hear (sans Beer for My Horses, I hate
that song) including Me & Bobby McGee, Whiskey River, You Were Always on
My Mind and On The road Again. One of the highlights of his set was
Lucas singing Texas Flood, that was not the last we would see of him
either. So Willie leaves the stage and the anticipation starts, I walked
back and got a soda, when I came back you could clearly tell who everyone
was there for. You could smell the incense and before I knew it my chit
chat with my cousin who I went with was over and the recorded intro came
on. Drifter's Escape was a really rocking version with Bob really
spitting out the lyrics. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight was a song I wasn't
too familiar with but that may become one of my Bob favs, at laest the
way he was sang it tonight. At this point my thought is how amazing
Bob's voice sounds. You can haer every syllable and pronuncaition he
makes and the acoustics are great. TD&TD was a nice version and I must
say I like it much better without Elana, she got it caught in a way,
without her it bounced along without Bob missing a beat. Love Minus
Zero/No Limit was amazingly beautiful, reminded me of the MTV Unplugged
version with the acoustic guitar part, once again great phrasing by Bob.
Bob introduces "Willie's boy Lucas" and they launch into a rousing
fersion of Down Along the Cove, another song I was'nt too familiar with
but that blew me away. Bob looked like he was having a ball up there
with Lucas laughing halfway through the song. A beauftiful version of
Girl of the North country followed by a really rocking version of Highway
61 which got everyone in the crowd moving. I think the climax of the
show happened during A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, just a great version
fitting since it had rained earlier in the afternoon. Floater almost
lost the momentum of the show but a steller vocal performence by Bob
saved it. Honest With Me was a song I wanted to hear which sounded great
and even more rocking than the album version. Forever Young was well
sung as well and got everyone back into the show. High Water was a
strange choice on paper for a set closer but it worked wonderfully. The
banjo part was filled in by Donnie and sounded awesome. Bob came back
out for the encore joking "How about that piano player?" Pointing to the
band and launching into a great and suprsing version of It aint Me Babe,
which I think is the first time it has been played this tour? Could be
wrong but i don't remember seeing it on any setlists. Like A Rolling
Stone was terrific and left the crowd singing along and dancing. It was
an amazing breezy night at the ballpark with two great musicians. Can't
wait to see Bob again. My goal for this year was to see him live and so
far I've seen him twice, not bad for a 16 year old.
Review by Peter Stone Brown
Campbell's Field sits on the Delaware Waterfront right next to the Ben
Franklin Bridge in the shadow of what was once the RCA Tower where Little
Nipper listening to the Gramophone is still visible on all sides of the
tower and where both Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family among many other
artists once recorded.
Inside the rather nice stadium with a wall blocking the Philadelphia
skyline, the crowd was sparse at first when the Greencards, and
Austin-based band of three Australians and one Englishman came out and did
an okay set of bluegrassy tunes. Instrumentally they were fine,
particularly the fiddler though they broke one of the cardinal rules of
the great bluegrass bands by smiling before the played a note. In a
tradition probably started by Bill Monroe, the original bluegrass bands
were stoic throughout. Willie Nelson's harp player, Mickey Raphael joined
them on their last song.
Willie Nelson then came out and played a typical Willie Nelson set.
Sister Bobbie was missing from the band and at this show anyway the hat
and bandanna throwing were cut down quite a bit from last year, though
Willie's guitar playing was back in full force.
At approximately 9:03 the lights went down and about two minutes after
that Bob Dylan's band took the stage, followed by Dylan dressed in black
with an apparently new flat-brimmed black hat slightly tilted to one side
and the band in matching black short-sleeved shirts with a great stripe in
front on the sides.
Opening with "Drifter's Escape" with Don Herron on electric mandolin, both
they and Dylan were on from the first note. Stu Kimball took the first
solo with some Robbie Robertson-styled leads, with Donnie taking the 2nd
break followed by Dylan on harp. The sound in the stadium was excellent
and clearly heard in the mix was Dylan's keyboard.
"I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" was next and Dylan was quite animated
stretching out the last word on the chorus so it was tooooo night, and
watching his phrasing, smiling at Stu after "bring that bottle over here,"
and coming out for a center-stage harp solo.
A not bad "Tweedle Dee" and "Tweedle Dum" was followed by a stellar "Love
Minus Zero" with Stu on acoustic and Dylan singing the song as if he
remembered why he wrote it.
Dylan then introduced Willie Nelson's son Lucas for what has to be the
craziest and longest version of "Down Along The Cove" ever. At first
Lucas was understandably nervous, and he's looking at Dylan the whole time
he's playing waiting for the nod to take a solo, but then after Lucas'
second solo which was actually quite good and worthy of a bit of applause
which someone finally started, something cracked Dylan up and he could not
stop laughing, and he kept adding verses and Lucas would take a solo and
by the sixth verse which was something about "words you never heard" it
was obvious he was making them up on the spot and then Donnie took a slide
solo and back to Lucas and it was just one of those great spontaneous
moments, with Bob walking out to shake the kid's hand.
Then came a shimmering "Girl From The North Country" with Stu on acoustic
and Dylan again truly singing and phrasing lines like remember HER best,
topping it off with a great harp solo. Lucas Nelson again came out for
"Highway 61 Revisited" which was followed by Kimball again picking up
acoustic and playing a little Carter Family lick to kick into a tremendous
version of "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" Dylan skipped a line somewhere in
the 2nd verse, but it didn't matter, each line, grew in impact and each
verse became stronger and strong the last verse bringing the song to a
A superb "Floater" followed with Herron playing the violin part perfectly,
the band nailing the right groove and Dylan having a great time spitting
out the lyrics toying with the phrasing at the same time, and answering
each line with little bass note riffs on the piano, heightened by a jazzy
guitar solo from Denny Freeman who then tossed it back to Heron. At the
end of the song Dylan said something like, "Not a bad little story, that."
"Honest With Me" came next with Herron reaching for but not really getting
the wild high notes I heard at the Beacon, but Dylan reminded me of the
song's original power and humor.
Next came "Forever Young" with Bob blowing the may you build a ladder to
the stars line, and what I thought was going to be imminent disaster never
happened with Kimball playing a perfect solo and then Dylan ending the
song with an extended harp solo which started off as one of those two note
harp things where it seems like he's almost testing the instrument, but
then on the second go-round he went into this rhythmic thing and he turned
around to the band and go them to follow the rhythm and it went to a whole
A stellar "High Water" came next with Don Herron's jazz-grass banjo
stealing the show and on the instrumental break he was so into it that
when the stop came, he kept on going for a couple of beats and again Dylan
cracked up into a broad smile and 40 years left his face and it was one of
those great moments, and they left the stage.
Coming back out, I swear he said something like, "Doesn't everybody just
love this piano player?" And then came "It Ain't Me Babe," basically in
the arrangement from last year, but not quite as rhythmically harsh, but
building to a grand chorus and it wasn't the "No No No's" that hit it you
but the way he sang "It ain't me you're looking babe" in beautiful
descending pattern that sailed perfectly.
And while I was waiting and speculating on what the next song would be I
suddenly remembered it was the 40th anniversary of the recording of "Like
A Rolling Stone" and sure enough and again he sang it as if he remembered
why he wrote it and enhanced it with little keyboard runs and Kimball
playing the original Mike Bloomfield fills on the chorus and he was on and
he knew it and the band was on and he knew that too and what had started
out as a show threatened by rain had turned into some kind of magnificent
victory and as they got into the formation Dylan tried at first to keep
his usual straight face, but that smile just wouldn't leave and he kind of
turned around to hide it and you could see he was laughing and the crowd
actually started chanting "Dylan, Dylan" hoping he'd come back out, but it
wasn't to be.
Review by Cary Krosinsky
you really should have been there
was raining cats and dogs - a hard rain to be sure - on the way down, but
cleared up and became a beautiful, perfect night for the entirety of
Willie & Bob sets
I arrived at beautiful Campbell's Field, just across the Delaware from
Philly early in Willie's set
Willie was tremendous - much better than last summer - his carpal tunnel
has cleared up and he's playing GREAT guitar and singing with a vengence -
he's 72 and kicking ass - a perfect intro for Bob and hopefully an example
to Bob that he can keep on keeping on for years to come
my strategy worked very well - I hung back by the soundboard midfield for
Willie and once his set was over, zigged and zagged my way to 5th row just
right of center - perfect positioning to show Bob & the band my dancing
love and support and great sound too boot
Drifter's opener was a palate cleanser and a very nice danceable one at
that - straight forward but sharp
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight had a great groove and the first of what would
be numerous VERY long harp solos - much longer than the spring shows -
Tweedle Dum was very hot - always a good sign - Denny, who had a great
show - was playing these new sharp fills during the jam sections that
really made the song
Love Minus Zero - Bob singing beautifully and effectively - as he would
the ENTIRE NIGHT - he truly has his A game AND voice now and it's
tremendous to see - another very nice harp solo to finish - I listened to
the Boston 05 Love Minus Zero on the way down - I've seen it 3 times this
year, and at the Electric Factory last year and each time there was
something very special and different about each version
then the show took off in a major way - out comes Lucas Nelson, Willie's
whiz kid guitarist for Down Along the Cove - he looks nervous as a dingbat
- but silently confident and boy did he ever KICK ASS IN A MAJOR WAY - you
have to hear this - the song must have lasted 10 minutes - they kept
jamming effectively and differently - you'll easily hear Lucas'
contributions when the recordings surface - Bob, a bit jealous, reminds us
at song end that it's his show with a center stage harp solo - and it's
perfect - the entire crowd goes completely berserk - the band is grinning
mercilessly throughout - fabulous stuff
It's a coming out party for a future star - what a moment!
Girl in the North Country is ruined for me, a bit, by a girl loudly
chatting - why must young girls always chat during Bob's slow songs? it's
a very nice version, but in retrospect a bridge between the Lucas Nelson
the second of which is Highway 61 - not as consistently excellent and
powerful, it starts a bit more slowly, but builds to a major crescendo -
this Lucas kid doesn't have potential, he's already great - Derek Trucks
watch out - Stu Kimball watch out
the band, laughing and grinning, give Lucas his kudos, including Bob's
back slaps as Lucas departs and a star is born
at which point the inspired Bob launches into Hard Rain - which midsong he
finds a new groove - how does he keep doing it - and rides through song
end - another masterpiece by the great creator - a bow humbly at Bob's
feet - one of the many major highlights on the night
there were no weak moments on the night, truly, and next was Floater,
which was very well sung and performed - flawless, really - Bob mumbled
something after the song about it being a nice story - couldn't understand
what he said
then Honest With Me, which was a George Receli showcase - outstanding drum
work - Bob was riding George's wave here
a quick word about George - not sure we always consider or understand what
a monster he's become - a major force and great drummer to be sure
Forever Young, sweet and always welcome, is next - I was wondering if this
would be the end of the set - I'd completely lost track of how many songs
it was - it was such a glorious ride, but it was followed by High Water,
which was tremendous - well dung, and long jams throughout and at end a
new jam, led by Denny riffing furiously, scraping his guitar - this was a
manifesto - and a great way to end the magnificent set
cheers and accolades to the standing band well deserved
back the come for It Ain't Me, Babe - another major highlight - with a
slightly different beat, turned into a new version, in effect, and Bob
sang the living crap out of it - you have to hear this to believe it
Rolling Stone closer and Bob has the crowd in his hand and they go berserk
throughout - scremaing, singing along - at song end Bob's laughing, and
smirking into the crowd - wild stuff and a thrilling end to a truly great
night of music, debuts, improvs, gods of the past staying relevant -
avoiding corporate venues and culture - here's the music, the emotion, the
intelligence, the great times
long may he reign
Review by Glenn Tener
After having had a long day at work I got home around 5:30 pm and was very
tired and wasn't sure I had the energy to drive to Camden, NJ from Blue
Bell, PA to see Bob or if I even wanted to pay the $49.50 ticket price. I
am a big Dylan fan. I have all of his albums. I download most of the
concerts that are posted on a.b.sounds.mp3.bob-dylan and
a.b.music.shn.dylan newsgroups and listen to them. I have seen him every
time he has come to the Philadelphia area since he was with Tom Petty (The
True Confessions Tour). I have seen him with the Dead at JFK stadium (now
no longer in existence), with GE smith, and every band lineup since. Like
I said I have seen him at every venue near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The
Tower Theater, The Wachovia Center, The Spectrum, The Electric Factory,
Tweeter Center in Camden, The Trocadero, Stabler Arena (Lehigh
University), Atlantic City, NJ etc. Anyway you get the idea. I have seen
him a lot. By the way this is the first time that I have ever written a
concert review. After seeing the show I was compelled to do so. I have
got to credit Bill Pagel from expecting rain on a great website and
service to all of us Dylan fans to read about the set lists and concert
reviews. Anyway I wasn't going to go but I just started listening to the
last concert that I downloaded, the June 12, Zebulon, North Carolina and
felt inspired to see Bob even though I was tired from a long day of work.
I have never seen Willie Nelson before and was interested in seeing him.
That was part of my motivation in going as well. The last time I saw Bob
was in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Lehigh University Stabler Arena November
16, 2004. That show was pretty good. Anyway on to the review. The venue
Campbell's Field was great. You can see the skyline of Philly as a
backdrop as well as the Ben Franklin Bridge. It was just beautiful.
Willie Nelson was great. Like I said I have never seen him before and do
not know a lot about his body of music but he was great. He interacted
with the crowd very well. He has an excellent voice and is really a great
guitar player. What a great talent. His band was very tight. What great
musicians. He opened up with "Whiskey River" and ended with "Will the
Circle be Unbroken" and "I'll Fly Away". I did recognize those songs.
Anyway I can't say enough about how great Willie and his band were. I
will see him the next time he is in the Philadelphia area with or with out
Bob. Anyway on to Bob. All I can say is that it was the BEST concert
that I have ever seen PERIOD! BOB WAS ON FIRE! He opened up with
Drifter's Escape. I won't do a song by song review because there were NO
down points at all. Every song that was done was great. He did a few
harp solos which was great as well. Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall was the best
versions that I ever heard. The highlight of the show had to be when
Lucas Nelson (Willie's son) on guitar came out and joined Bob and the band
on Down Along The Cove. What a great guitar play. Willie must be proud.
Bob (piano) and Lucas (guitar) were trading licks like it was nobodies
business. It was just phenomenal! Bob's band was very tight. One of the
best bands that he has ever played with. The show was just mesmerizing.
I would have paid $200.00 to see him that night. Bob played with so much
passion and desire. He also has a lot of fun up there on stage as well.
You can just see it by his smiling, dancing, laughing and how he interacts
with the audience and his own band. To sum things up out of all the
thirty or so times I have seen him in the past this was his best show.
The best concert that I ever seen by any band or artist! And I have seen
The Who, The Stones, Bowie, Dave Mathews Band, Paul McCartney to name a
few. Not to put any of those artists down, they all put on great shows as
well. Bob just keeps on getting better and better every time that I see
him. He is a gift to anybody who listens to music. Thank you Bob for a
great show. Never quit touring. You still have a lot to offer and keep
up the great work. G-d bless you and your band.
page by Bill Pagel
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