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Review by Jay G.
After disrespecting the Gorge for years, a great thing happened on
Sunday. Perfect weather. Not too crowded (supposedly about 6000 in a
place that is rotten when it has the full 18,000). Walked up as they
opened the gates, ran, dropped a blanket 15-20 feet from center stage.
Damn, the stars seemed aligned for a great day. The Gorge without
seats was really nice!
The String Cheese were pretty enjoyable. Bill Payne and Paul Barrere
from Little Feat (original members and now Friends of Phil Lesh)
joined for that Neville Brothers song, Hey Pocky Way. A happy sound,
well played. And at 6:01 I turned to my friend and said, "well, it is
the Bob hour, he started at 6:01 on Friday, right?" And 10 seconds
later Bob walked on. Hallelujah (I'm Ready!) -- I'm Ready
(Hallelujah!) -- Nicely done! I love the way the Band seems to really
appreciate the old Stanley Brothers songs. And as on Friday, another
- Stone Walls and Steel Bars -- done with great affection by everyone.
I thought to myself, will this be like Friday, with 3
Bob answered with Visions of Johanna, ringing out beautifully -- no
Visions of Madonna, just the song, played almost perfect. Wonderful
expressions on Bob's face, a breeze, and lots of quiet folks who were
recognizing that it was a special evening. I was glad that this song,
which I had waited for during the past 2 decades, was being played so
well, with perfect timing. It seemed like an hour or a minute -- but
it was over and then a huge ovation. They followed with Love - Zero,
played not unlike the El Ray 1997, with a slight pause in the
delivery, -- not a strained, or awkwardly stylized singing, just plain
Tangled started a bit slower than the past days. Less intensity.
Like Thursday and Friday (I missed Saturday) Bob skipped the verse
about the topless bar, but included the verse about lighting a burner
on the stove. The band built this song perfectly, with harp and a
great ending. Again a huge ovation. And all this while, uncrowded
space to move (or dance) 20 feet in front of the stage. Sun setting
over the Columbia River, in a desert canyon gorge. Very very nice.
Now on Friday, Larry had run over to Bob and gotten his way with Dark
as a Dungeon. Today, the boys conferred and stepped right up to the
mikes with a perfect chorus of This World Can't Stand Long. This song
is the best! I liked the spring field recordings of this song, but
this version just blew those away. Very full singing. A little clap
along for the last chorus. And off with the acoustic guitars, on with
the electrics, while Bob reminded the crowd: "Oh yeah. . . support
your public library." We all vowed to pay our late fees and read a
Oh I just love that Country Pie! Again, a great rendition. I would
be glad to hear this song as often as I like to eat pie, which is
probably every day. (And thanks to Joan, who had a fine Twisp country
rhubarb pie waiting for us in Omak that next day! And for breakfast,
too!) Cool solos by both Larry and Charlie.
Tell me It Isn't True was real nice -- slowing things down after the
rush from Tangled to the Pie song. Peddle steel by Larry. And then,
more conference. I heard a cool lick, and then a hot Tombstone Blues.
About this time, Phil appeared side stage. As Bob played a great
version of Queen Jane, Phil just smiled, bobbed his head, hugged his
wife, and Bob just put out. After the Visions and then Queen Jane
(and the fantastic shows Thursday and Friday), I kind of thought Bob
might have had Joan Baez on his mind, and was kind of, well, showing
off just how good he could be when he tried. It was insanely great,
he was stopping time, and I reminded myself of a decade before, the
Gorge 1990, when Bob could hardly stand up, wearing a heavy wool coat
and fur hat on a 90 degree day, as if he was warming up for his Grammy
speech. Wow - things have changed, but it seems like he cares about
By now, I expected the Drifter's Escape and Pillbox, but I completely
enjoyed them. Drifter's Escape is being played like Jimi on the South
Saturn release from last year, very hot. And Pillbox was pretty
darned inspired, with Bob looking over the front folks, eye contact,
smiling, getting into each line.
I felt I had received my money's worth by this point. I expected
simply some "greatest hit" for the first encore, and soft mysterious
chords began sounding at first like Ballad of a Thin Man, but
resolving quickly into the very distinct chords and licks of House of
the Rising Sun. As the older fellow on the blue tarp along side me
leaped with true joy, I thought - "well, this is completely
unexpected!" And Bob and the boys played it great. Lots of feeling.
And then a little announcement that it had been for Father's Day.
Someone thought they saw a Dylan offspring (not Jakob) around -- I
like to think maybe this song had been a request granted.
Like a Rolling Stone, Don't Think Twice (with great harp and perfect
guitar solo by Bob -- yes, he really nailed it) and Rainy Day Women ended
our day. All played with feeling. And while Bob did not slap on his
giant steel frame estate of Elvis A Presley sunglasses to strut off (as he
did Friday, with a Cheshire Cat grin), he was handed his dark hat, and
strolled away smiling, waving, leaving me wanting more.
After seeing Bob since the mid 80s, Bob showed up last week with three
shows doing 36 different songs, half of which I had never seen live, and a
few he had not played in years, if ever. Pure satisfaction! I advise
everyone not to miss this tour!
P.S. - I enjoyed Phil and his Friends, too. An endless jam, with some
fine playing, and pretty bad singing! Phil's band is like licorice -- you
either like it or you do not.
Review by Jason Jarvis
I will skip the gruesome description of the cruel weather and lack of
It seems to me that Bob really enjoys that first 2 song slot reserved for
time honored crowd settling, ear raising oldies. Hallelujah is a great
opener. Bobs ready to go, and we're ready to go anywhere. How about jail?
Stone Walls and Steel Bars is another favorite. Love that mandolin, Larry.
These with the previous nights Somebody Touched Me and Long Black Veil
made for some really priceless renditions of true Americana by an old
master of the genre. Now folks, after I had the nerve to yell my front row
request to Bob on Saturday night for the elusive Tough Mama, to hear it
played the very next song with a wink from Bob, I thought my shine was
spent. My wife Chrissy and I would never have even hoped for the rare
reading of Visions of Johana. Although we had heard it was slipping into
the fabric of the sets recently, we didnt expect it. I will say that it
was really well played with the passion and fury that it really demanded.
Love Minus Zero was well recieved, followed by a rockin Tangled. I
that one never gets old for me. It must not for Bob either, as it is
constantly emerging in new twists and phrasings. (maybe the bigwigs
"strongly encourage" that to be a part of every set, who knows?) I was
really thrilled to hear the dusted off gem This World Cant Stand Long.
What a funny choice for a tour slot. I think Bob is definitely sending us
a message, maybe even a friendly warning. Nice vocal harmonies, there
The nightly switch to electric is becoming metaphoric for me. (Sort of
paralell to Bobs career.) The first electric slot is predictably filled by
the TV jingle like Country Pie, the only negative side of which is its
abreviated performance. This tune is really really catchy. ( Maybe Bob
should start a fruit pie production company and write his own ads) Tell Me
That it isnt True was cool for us to hear after Country Pie bcz we had
been listening to Nashville Skyline in the car. we laughed and laughed.
The song sounded better than I remembered it. A solid Tombstone Blooz was
followed by another pleasant surprise for me, Queen Jane. One of my
personal favorite Dylan ballads. Just then some really thick sweet smoke
drifted by. perfect. Drifters/Leopard Skin will never be old hat, but they
were no surprise as closers.
The Van Ronk inspired classic House of the Rising Sun was a complete
shocker. It was cool to hear Dylans unique vocal delivery applied to such
an old chestnut as this. He even went so far as to dedicate the
performance to Fathers Day. In between the Like a Rolling Stone and
show/weekend ending Rainy Day Women, we got the real "send us on our way
happy" nugget in Dont Think Twice. Bob played some really soothing sweet
harp lines that really eased our souls and sent us drifting and dreaming
into the full desert moon, shining bright as day on those lakes we always
love to visit so much. come back soon Bob :-)
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