June 22, 2014
Review by Matt Ramige
As a prelude I should mention that I may have mixed up the correct
sequencing of the songs. But it should be fairly close.
We were greeted with a chime and out came the band to open yet
another show with Things Have Changed. Standard fair here to say the
least. She Belongs To Me trumped the opener as anticipated (but I
suppose that's not saying very much). I do like the current take on this
one which is heavy on the guitars, harp and beat. Next up (of course)
was a surprisingly nimble Beyond Here Lies Nothin'. A bit lighter than
what I remember from last spring (2013). I think I prefer it this way.
Cool song but I wouldn't call it a favorite. Pretty nice job here and
better than expected from this song. Tangled Up In Blue followed and
again pretty/very nicely done. The never-ending story that we all share.
Out in the wilderness? And then someone left a town. Next up was the
thriller Pay In Blood. Smooth and seriously groovy. In fact, as good (if not
better) as I remember my favorite versions with Duke being. I absolutely
loved it. The quirky Duquesne Whistle followed and again everything was
moving along nicely. A latter-day Dylan shuffle with a twist. Just plain fun
to watch this one. It had a cool, laid back vocal. Nothing forced. Love
Sick was next. I believe Charlie took a decent solo midway through.
Nothing exceptional that I recall but nothing was off either. A tad longer
than how I remember this one. Summer Days was a bit of a surprise
(though it was soundchecked pre-show). I got the feeling it was played
more or less unrehearsed. It had sort of a stripped down arrangement
and again kind of a laid back groove which I liked. Tony on upright as
always. High Water (featuring Donnie on banjo) followed up. I think this
song is always good these days. One that really stands out from memory
was in Johnstown, PA a few years back. As a matter of fact this show
(Thessaloniki) probably wasn't quite up to that level. But it is hard to
compare. A brief unaccompanied harp interlude led into Simple Twist Of
Fate next which I guess was a pretty standard performance. Though
nicely played as I recall. Early Roman Kings took a little time to get going
unlike what I remember with Duke. Bob seemed to sing the song so
well at those shows. Not that this version was a dud. Certainly not. Here
the band eventually stretched it out in a manner that was new to me.
Kind of a pause and then sustained guitars together. I'm not sure if they
normally play it this way now or if it was something improvised. Anyway,
the song came together for me when Charlie (mostly) got into that.
Next up, I believe, was Forgetful Heart - which I think always sounds
about the same. Good but more or less predictable in my opinion. Hard
Rain followed which I think is a bit of a challenge for Bob. All those damn
words and verses to get across. But I seriously always love the effort!
And I mean that. Really from the heart was the feeling I was getting. So
many classics. Soon After Midnight didn't leave much of an impression on
me for after that. I think this one's kind of rote as well. Next up was
them Long And Wasted Years which in my opinion was/is a little too
forced. I get the idea of this as set closer but I don't need to be appealed
to through entertainment alone. All that gesturing. I guess I'm not a big
fan of that very heavy vocal delivery either. I wasn't surprised though as
this song is very overrated in my opinion. Watchtower/Blowin' In The
Wind were the usual encore songs played very nicely as one would expect.
On a personal note, overall just great to be back "on tour" with great
company and always a pleasure meeting European fans. I guess I picked
up right where I left off. Thanks.
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