page by Bill Pagel
Review by Rob Bowman
Just outside Cleveland. A hot and humid location no
doubt. Having driven in from Toronto and seeing Niagra
Falls for the first time, we were primed to see our
first Dylan show since fall '02. Was not sure what to
expect with Larry and Charlie gone replaced by Denny,
Donnie and Stu. Bob and band did not disappoint. They
rocked hard and worked the crowd to numerous highs. I
was particularly pleased to hear Visions and Shooting
Star live. Summer Days really got everybody moving--a
great dance arrangement. All in all--a fine show. One
of the things I love about Dylan shows is the huge mix
of all ages. It makes me glad to know there are young
folks in their teens and twenties who get--or want to
get--Dylan and what he is about. Thanks, Bob. One
final note. This may seem like a no brainer--but--the
only way to truly experience the show is to get down
front! So those of you who have yet to get to a
show--be sure to suffer the pains of waiting for a few
hours in order to be a part of the show. The crowd
makes a difference. Get down front and do your thing!
Oh--a final, final note. Bob's playing a ton of
harmonica and it is awesome. Should any of Bob's
people read this---please come play the Big
Island--Hilo or Kona--there's some great places to
play either side! ----Aloha
Review by Carsten Molt
On a very hot and very humid Sunday, i made the trip from Pittsburgh to
Eastlake, Ohio for my 31st Dylan show. It was the first Dylan show that
i attended solo and naturally, i got distracted and missed the exit and
had to turn around after i realized my mistake. Eventually, i got in a
line for the parking lot. When i reached the gate, the lady asked
for my VIP pass. Evidently, i had been sitting in line for the VIP
parking area. There were cars behind me and no place to turn around so
the lady sighed and waved me on through without a VIP parking pass. A
i ran into a couple friends of mine, Sam and Jane, who i had not seen in
several years and spent a couple hours enjoying their music and
air-conditioning in their van. We missed the Greencards set and most of
Willie Nelsons set was over by the time we decided to enter the ball park.
What i heard of Willie Nelsons set was as boring as i found him last summer.
The ball park in Eastlake is pretty nice. Classic Ballpark is located on
a busy four lane road, which necessitated a pedestrian bridge being built
from the parking lot (across the street) to the ballpark. The park is pretty
modern looking since it was built in 2003 but it was neither impressive nor
oppresive. There was a very happy vibe in a lot of the crowd and despite
arriving to the field shortly before Dylan came on, i had no problem walking
straight to the rail directly in front of where Dylan would soon be standing.
i moved back from the rail during Dylans intro so a short lady and her
pre-teen daughter could stand in front of me and see better. From my vantage
point, i could see Dylans right profile for the whole show.
Dylan came out wearing his black cowboy hat and his black suit with the
white piping. It was still very hot and humid when his set started and he
was sweating heavily through the whole set.
The show itself.
1. Tombstone Blues-i have always liked this song live and this was no
exception. Dylan started shaking his hips quite a bit. Tony Garnier was
sharing big smiles with George Recile during the song and they continued to
share these during the remainder of the show. Dylans voice was loud and
strong from the onset.
2. Senor(Tales of Yankee Power)-Wow! Dylan enunciated every word perfectly and
warmly. He seemed really in that magical groove where he has the audience
in the palm of his hand and was feeding off their collective energy. The
harmonica solo really soared along for a long time.
3. God Knows-For the first time, guitarist, Denny Freeman really made his
presence felt. He fired off some nice blues licks during his solo. After
a minute or so, Stu Kimball joined Denny with some blues guitar licks of
his own and the two engaged in some good musical interplay.. The song did
seem a bit shorter than usual.
4. Visions Of Johanna-One of Dylans undisputed masterpieces and Dylan
delivered it with a lot of emotion and the crowd was quiet and attentive.
After the last strains of the song faded away, the audience let out a roar
with lots of cheering and whistling.
5. Cry A While-I usually like this one live but Dylan was singing it a
little too loud and gruffly. Before the final verse, Dylan lightened his
vocal attack but it was too little, too late. Nice musical embellishments,
6. Shooting Star-This was the first time i have heard this live and it was
very well played. Dylan was really locked in by this point and he was using
very tender phrasing in this performance. Donnie Herrons pedal steel playing
was sweet and rich sounding. Dylan ended the song with a great harmonica
solo that was almost transcendent.
7. Highway 61 Revisited-This tune always seem to deliver the goods and
tonight was no exception. Stu Kimball played a long, searing guitar solo
that brought a big smile to Dylans face. Dylan was really roaring the
lyrics and pounding away on his keyboard.
8. Tryin' To Get To Heaven - This was the second song of the evening which
i had never heard live before. This was a slow gorgeous version. Some
upsinging by Bob, but this song is one that does not suffer from Bob's use of
that particular vocal device. Another very good harmonica solo was the icing
on the cake here.
9. Stuck nside Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again-This was not very good.
Dylan was doing a bit of gruff mumbling and the band seemed to struggle with
the tempo a bit. It also had no melody to speak of. It did give Recile a
chance to really ay into his drum kit, though.
10. Floater(Too Much To Ask)-At the beginning, i thought Bob was
experimenting a bit with the vocals, and after a few lines he pulled it
together, and by the second verse, the song was an absolute stunner. This was
like no other version of the song i've heard before. Dylan used his harmonica
to great effect. Donnie played a shimmering violin solo. Denny was laying down
some very jazzy sounding chord progressions throughout. This song was a
relevation for me. It is like turning a prism in a beam of light where a whole
new kaleidascope of colors comes into view, if that makes sense.
11. Ballad Of A Thin Man-This is one of my favorites and it cooked, the
band was playing very well here. Not one to be missed, and the pale blue
lights on stage enhanced the vibe well.
12. Summer Days-.This had some very slick playing by the entire band. Tony
was walking up and down his upright bass; First, working his way down the
neck, then back up, then way down again. This song is past its glory days
when Charlie Sexton was in the band but it is still capable of creating some
13. The Times, Thay Are A-Changin'-This was a patchy performance. Bob
mumbled a few of the lines and didn't seem very interested in it. i wasn't
very interested in it, either.
14. All Along The Watchtower-I prefer this as the last song more than
'Like A Rolling Stone". Stu played a decent solo during the jam. Dylan
delivered it strongly and it was a pretty good performance of a song that
often seems to be played on auto-pilot.
A: Dylan was in good form. His vocals were loud and clear all night long
and he seemed to be very focused.
B. Stu Kimball watches Dylan like a hawk He is not a very inventive or
exciting guitarist but his playing is very tasteful.
C. Denny Freeman stepped out a lot more than he did when i saw him in
Buffalo. He played several pretty hot solos and i was impressed with his
playing all evening.
D. Tony Garnier and George Recile were as solid as ever. Recile really
drives the up-tempo tunes.
E. Donnie Herron was excellent. He seems to be in tune to what Dylan is
doing and adds a lot to the show with his assortment of instruments.
F. The crowd was a mixed bag. The crowd around me near the rail was
pretty friendly but when i moved towards the back during the encores, the
crowd there was kind of rude.
G. It was very hot and humid. i don't know how Dylan can play a show in
his riverboat gambler outfit in weather like we had tonight.
This was a really good show and i had a excellent time.
Of course, these are just my opinions and it is only the way that i
experienced the show. i apologize for any typos and for the length but i
tend to ramble, Any feedback or corrections are welcome.
In Bob we trust,
Review by Tom Zubal
It was a scorching hot day in Cleveland yesterday when Bob & Willie
rolled into town. The setting was perfect. A minor league ballpark. Not
a cloud in the sky, temperatures near 90 degrees. Open seating in the
stands and GA on the field near the stage. Showed up just in time to
catch the start of Willie's set.
Willie WAS MAGNIFICENT. Full of life and joy. His guitar playing was as
sweet as ever. The band was VERY loose and relaxed. Willie's leads were
somewhere between Charlie Christian and early 1950s BB King. Jazzy,
but with the southern bite that makes him legendary. I've seen him once
before about 15 years ago, but this time was special. I knew that it'd
(probably) be the last time I ever witnessed him perform live
(hopefully I'm wrong...) so I soaked up every last note that he sang &
played. His setlist was full of classics and his new songs were just as
good as the old. A brilliant performance. GOD BLESS WILLIE!
On to Bob.
1. Tombstone Blues: Decent opener. Not one of my faves, but his VOICE
was really ON. I heard tones in his voice that I had not heard since
1996 or so. The night off really seemed to help. No bullfrogging in
this one. Solid version.
2. Senor: Here come the goosebumps. A very moody, dark version. Our
man is on tonite....
3. God Knows: WOW. I hadn't heard this in concert since 1995 or so.
What a TREAT! One of my favorite songs. Building, building,
climaxing...nice....scissors thru a string...
4. Visions : obviously a masterpiece, but not one of my favorite tunes
to hear in concert. Nice version, but I can take it or leave it...
5. Cry a while: The best thing about the Buffalo show last tour was the
complete absence of L&T songs (for me!). This is one of the more
interesting songs on the album due to its tempo & rhythm changes. The
band nailed it and the arrangement was tight. Well done.
6. Shooting star: THAT's RIghT!! Now we're getting somewhere. Another
gem I haven't seen in concert in years. A beautiful version.
7. Highway 61 - usual
8. Trying to get to heaven : a sweet treat as well. Bob nailed it from
start to finish. LOTSA soul behind his singing in this one. Smiles all
9. Mobile : Made my buddy's night. A solid version. Not my bag in
10. Floater: L&T....keep it on the vinyl (silicon?) 1 & outta the live
11. Thin Man : NICE. Again, not seen by me since July 17, 1991. A good
12. Summer days...more 12 bar blues...not my bag, but Bob did his best
to lead the band thru an improvisational blues jam on his keyboard.
Encores: I left....
Bob was in fine form for the 2005 BD. His voice was pretty strong,
although apparently the higher register will never be heard again
He DID seem to raise his microphone about 5 more inches toward his
mouth since I last saw him in Spring. Hence, he is standing a bit more
upright & seems to have more lung power. THANK GOD!! Simple
These 2 guitarists are unfortunately not adding A THING to the live
experience. Their tones are weak, their playing is timid (especially
when it comes to soloing) and they don't seem to have a handle on Bob's
material. I have no idea where they are from, but they seem completely
clueless when it comes to playing Dylan tunes. They did make me
realize how well Larry learned all the material and executed it night
in & night out. However, I secretly dream that Bob will call JOHN
JACKSON back to the fold and create magic again.
I'm pretty lenient on guitarists, but these guys just seemed lost up
Tony was holding it all together as per usual, and Donnie did a very
serviceable job on the pedal steel and violin. He was much more
confident in his soloing than either of the guitarists.
George was money on the drums. Not Winton Watson, but still rock solid.
Check out Willie while you can. His voice is still uniquely beautiful &
his guitar playing is pure art.
Bob's strong again. Too bad his guitarists can't add to the
experience. Maybe he should do a trio w/Tony & George.
BETTER YET, MAYBE JUST AN ACOUSTIC DUO TOUR W/JOHN JACKSON!!! LOL.
Enjoy BOB while we still can, friends!
Review by Chuck Owen
My journey started on a cold winter day in 1974, when some friends and I
drove to Toronto ON , for my first Bob Dylan concert. The wipers on my
1968 Volkswagon didn't operate that well and we had to stop several times
on the QEW to put snow on the windshield and clean it off so we could see
where we were going. And what a night it was Dylan and The Band put on one
hell of a show and I was hooked. I'm fortunate enough to live in the
Niagara Region as Dylan usually tours nearby. I've seen him perform in
Toronto ON, Hamilton ON, Buffalo NY and Rochester NY to name a few cities
near my home town of Welland ON. And my travels have taken me to Scranton
PA, Clarkston MI and Cooperstown NY, all to see Bob Dylan and his Band.
And I've never been disapointed. I've been " Knocked Out Loaded " and "
Saved " by Dylan. My travels have taken me to Hibbing MN, Dylan's
childhood hometown, where on any Saturday night Howard St. is filled with
people as classic antique cars cruise up and down the street. And you can
visit the library and Hibbing High where Dylan gave one of his first
public performances, and of course there's his childhood home you can
visit, and if your lucky enough Mrs. French will let you see the inside (
I wasn't that lucky ). Maybe in the future I'll return to Hibbing and Mrs.
French will open her doors for me. And of course you'll have to stop by
Zimmy's resturant for an excellent meal and wait till you see their menu
And on this hot summer night in Eastlake OH it was a real treat. Dylan and
his Band put on a spectacular show for the capacity crowd. There was a
huge screen about 15 feet by 30 feet set up behind the sound tent past
second base, that showed the entire event to all the fans seated behind
home plate and along the first and third base line seating areas.At a few
minutes to 9pm the lights went out and Dylan and his Band took the stage
and gave a flawless version of " Tombstone Blues ", the entire stadium was
pulsating with energy. Bob Dylan totally enjoys bringing his music to all
of his fans around the world. And tonight was no different. " Senor (
Tales Of Yankee Power )" and " God Knows " were really performed well.
Dylan and his Band are the best live act around. " Visions Of Johanna " is
such a classic tune I'm very pleased that he has added it to his current
tour. " Cry A While " and " Shooting Star " were done exceptionally well
what a sound. Followed by my favorite Dylan tune " Highway 61 Revisited ",
the entire place was rock'in followed by huge applause from a very
appreciative audience. " Trying To Get To Heaven " and " Stuck Inside Of
Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again " hand the capacity crowd whipped into
a frenzy at this point in the show. A beautiful summer breeze past through
the stadium. During " Floater ( To Much To Ask )" you could hear a pin
drop, this was followed by another nugget " Ballad Of A Thin Man " this is
one of Dylan's classic tunes performed to perfection, what a treat. The
main set ended with perfect " Summer Days ", I feel that Dylan wrote this
tune so that he could end it on a night like this. What a show! For the
encore Dylan added two more classic tunes " The Times They Are A -
Changing " and a roaring version of " All Along The Watchtower " what a
wonderful night my thanks goes out to the entire cast for another
memorable evening. I hope that Bob Dylan lives as long or longer then BB
King and continues his roadshow so that I can see his shows another 46
times. And if Bob Dylan and his Band should pass by your city or town
don't you dare miss it. I had a very pleasnt three and a half hour drive
back to Canada. May The Never Ending Tour live on and on and on - - - - -
Bob Dylan and his Band forever!
Welland ON Canada
Review by Don Ely
Lordamighty! I pulled into Eastlake halfway through Willie's set after having driven all day to get
there. Maybe I shouldn't have spent the previous night on the New Hampshire side of the Connecticut
River, but heck, I was on vacation fer cryin' out loud, and wouldn't have changed a thing. I knew
there was no way I'd be late for Bob's set, so I wasn't perspiring all that much.
Until I stepped out of the car. The air was as thick with humidity as it was anticipation of
tonight's gig, and I proceeded to melt ounce by ounce. As I walked up to Classic Park (could they
be any more generic?), several folks were camped outside the fences watching Willie for free. It's
nice that they allow that here; many if not most places would be too uptight to condone unpaid
access to the show. For baseball trainspotters, this is home to the Lake County Captains, Class A
affiliate of the nearby Cleveland Indians. The ballpark itself was a pretty generic new stadium,
nice enough but not really distinguished in any way. Bob hasn't really made the Cleveland area a
regular stop on his itineraries of recent years. He played Kent (actually closer to Akron) in
fall '02, but that's been about it. I talked to a guy wearing a nice bootleg Dylan shirt who had
attended both Kent ("Queen Jane Approximately"), and Dayton the night before (my first "Boots Of
Spanish Leather"), both of which I had been to as well. Those are two of my all-time favorite Bob
Dylan concerts, Charlie's last stand, "Brown Sugar", "Old Man", impeccable playing from the band,
nights that seem as fresh as yesterday. As a matter of fact, every Ohio show I've been to,
Columbus 2001, and especially Toledo last fall, were standouts, so I was primed for another one
here in Eastlake. The band took the stage, and I watched Bob compose himself, get his game face
on, before launching into "Tombstone Blues". I would say this is my favorite of the numbers Bob
currently opens with (though "To Be Alone With You" remains elusive to me), so everything was
peachy. The following "Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power)" was fine, too. The expected "God Knows" was
listless, lacking passion and lightning bolts, and the first feelings crept in that this may be
an "off" night. And that's exactly how the evening transpired, as I saw it. I may be alone in
this, because I've read the other reviews and they were uniformly pretty positive, but I thought
the band was just flat. Hell, even "Visions Of Johanna" didn't move me, and that's saying a lot.
"Tryin' To Get To Heaven" seemed to end prematurely, versions of other songs sounded as
one-dimensional as the ballpark's name. "Ballad Of A Thin Man" was pretty good, but I've seen
better. The look of disappointment on Bob's face at the conclusion of at least one song seemed
to concur with my own thoughts about this performance.
Maybe it was the humid temperatures, it's hot enough just standing and listening without being
onstage pouring your soul into singing, playing, and conducting under hot lights. Sometimes you
embark on an endeavor and you just know you're not giving 100%, and there's nothing you can do
about it, so you just have to ride it out. One thing about Bob Dylan that keeps him real is that
he's not afraid to make mistakes. If he fails, he'll be out the the next night to do it all over
again. And 90% of the time he'll get it right. I'll be there to see it all happen.
So I'm 4-for-5 in Ohio Bob shows. If this were a ball game that would be a pretty good night.
Norwich and Pittsfield made for a successful road trip. It looks like the Never-Ending Tour
hits European shores this autumn, so see y'all next year!
page by Bill Pagel
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