page by Bill Pagel
Review by Charles Cicirella
On the Waterfront at the Louisville Slugger Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky!
Bob comes out wearing his bolero and it was such a pitch perfect
cinematic moment like the very first time you experienced Marlon Brando on
screen. He's in the back of a cab with his brother Charlie admitting that
he is a bum and the way Brando says the word bum tells you that Brando
himself knows what it means to be a bum. Dylan cuts quite an image no
matter how he may decide to dress on any given night and tonight when he
came out in his Lee Van Cleef hat I knew the gaucho had come to collect
the debts he was owed and I really think Louisville did supply Bob with
quite an enthusiastic and appreciative welcome as he roared through
fourteen stunning numbers never once looking back.
Having just witnessed an incendiary Eastlake two nights before I wasn't
quite sure what to expect or if I might in fact be somewhat disappointed
that Bob and his henchmen were not dead on like they had previously been
in Eastlake, Ohio what I soon realized though was Eastlake was Eastlake
and Louisville was most definitely Louisville as Bob sprang another
Tombstone Blues on us that just pummeled the living heck out of the crowd
with all sorts of classic and non classic shrapnel reminding me in a very
big way that the medicine show was back in town. I love when he opens with
Tombstone I really do and now getting it at the last three of the four
most recent Bob shows I have attended I must admit I will never quite get
over the way he says words like fly or chicken or sun - he just brings
these words and the images they convey so very much to life as the best
band in the universe entrenches us in the sweetest muddy water this side
of whatever rebel river these days we discover ourselves floating upon.
She Belongs To Me is one of the many Dylan songs that holds a very
special place in my heart and the version tonight was crooned so elegantly
I found myself smitten all over again.
I will not list every song but suffice to say Bob hit many homeruns
straight out of Louisville Slugger Stadium on Wednesday night. Some of my
favorite moments though were each and every time he came center stage to
deliver machine gun torrents from his Smith and Wesson harmonica. The
gaucho became a riverboat captain as he crouched down and blew the top
plate of my skull clear off. Speaking of riverboat captains when and if
this field recording becomes available check out the verse about the
riverboat captain and just exactly what he says and how he delivers that
line because that is the mood that he seemed to be in all night having fun
and really enjoying making music with his friends. I had heard what I
believed to be a consummate version of Absolutely Sweet Marie back in
April of this year in Detroit and yet this version in Louisville was even
more fully realized and the fiddle - holy smokes it was Blonde on Blonde
Live I kid you not. Other highlights were a searing and sensual Just Like
A Woman that had that whole stop start thing happening and really working
to great effect and when Bob sang about not fitting - again I think of how
Brando could deliver one word in such a way it would leave you shattered
and that's precisely what Bob did as he exposed to us her fog,
amphetamines and pearls and how it all just became some big disheartening
curse. Man In The Long Black Coat was both diabolical and disturbing and
every time I have had the good fortune to hear this one performed live I'm
always completely amazed at how he creates a very different hurricane
breeze with the fusion of his scat like Mel Torme Dinah Washington Billie
Holiday Dave Van Ronk jazz referendums and the music's Tennessee Williams
like cackling which by the way never fails to raise the hair on the back
of my neck as Bob delivers the song unto us like a baby still busy being
And yes now we come to what was for me one of the MANY highlights of the
night My Back Pages (Mr. Tambourine was another highlight and it was quite
crazy how the whole time Bob sang this one moths flew over his head like
the very smoke rings of his mind he sings of) which you guessed it was
beyond stunning. When it started I would have sworn it was Times and yet
when he began to sing he just completely climbed inside of the poetry
making it something else altogether different meaning it did not sound
like the original nor did it sound like the version he was performing, I
believe it was, back in 2002 in Europe. Also it wasn't like the recent New
Mornings which sounded in my opinion somewhat tentative (with regards to
the New Mornings I am only going from what I have heard from field
recordings) but instead sounded as if they'd been playing it for quite
sometime just exactly like this in some cantina down Sonoma way. Bob you
are my hero for standing up so tall and for showing to the world time and
time again that you are not afraid to crumble sometimes right before our
very eyes if need be because so much of the time it's only from the
absolute ruins that God's beauty is revealed.
June 30, 2005 11:20 AM
Review by Kevin Waters
From about 25 feet from the stage on Bob's side of the stage, it looked
Bob tottered out and ripped right into Tombstone Blues without so much
as casting a glance at the crowd. This version of Tombstone was solid -
the vocals were good - and you could tell that he appeared interested in
playing. The band was watching him to follow his lead because they seem
to be a bit unsure (except for Solid Rock Tony). With "death to all
those who would whimper and cry...... the sun's not yellow, it's
chicken" he really seemed to be getting into it and warming up. He sang
4 of the verses, skipping Galileo and Gypsy Davey, etc.
He followed that with a rather mellow but beautiful version of She
Belongs to Me - he may have mumbled or forgotten a line or two, but you
could still tell how much he seemed to be enjoying himself. His singing
was really good and clear for the most part on this tune, besides for
the mumble or two. The band was still closely following his every move.
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum followed that - and it was smoking hot,
matching the temperature (how does he play in that suit?). Bob and his
band were cranking it up. The vocals were great, very animated -
"trusting their fates to the hands of GAWD" -- and "a noble truth is a
sacred creed" were particularly well-sung, cool, great phrasing
I wasn't that thrilled to hear Just Like A Woman -- until he got into
it. I stand corrected! The vocals were "crystal clear", the band
followed his lead and stayed with him well. I think, if memory serves
me well, that this was one of the tunes where his harp playing was
The banjo started High Water on a high note and it just got better and
better throughout. The band seemed to enjoy jamming and Bob was having
fun singing - even if he sang "thunder rolling over Clarksdale" twice --
but overall the singing on High Water was outstanding, great cadence &
phrasing, he was definitely sweating allot by now, but also seeming to
really enjoy himself. "I'm preaching the Word of God, I'm putting out
your eyes"....and...."'Take it off the shelf - As great as you are a
man, you'll never be greater than yourself.' I told her I didn't really
care" were delivered with particular gusto.
Closing out the first half of the set was Absolutely Sweet Marie - very
nice, I think I was surprised to hear it. It may have sounded like they
were going into Stuck Inside of Mobile as they began playing......A very
pleasant surprise........"I waited for you...I waited for you...I waited
for you" and "but everybody else, even yourself, they're just gonna
have to wait" seemed to be the lyrics on which he had the most vigor.
The best tune of the night - in my humble opinion - was Man in the Long
Black Coat - Bob was using every bit of emotion, power, and will to hit
each word just right - The verse about the preacher and the sermon he
gave was particularly intense --
and he used a few new phrases to twist things just a bit -"people don't
live or die, they just take a boat"?
and "tree trunks uprooted with blood on the moon" ? -- or something like
that. This tune felt like Bob at his best.
Honest with Me was rocking and rollicking - a good time for all. The band
was cranked up an extra notch or two.
What must it feel like for him to sing My Back Pages? Isn't there
incredible irony? And he nailed it - each word enunciated and clear - and
the crowd enjoyed the refrain every time, because everyone seems to relate
- and Bob sang the "younger than that now" piece with verve every time.
And he put a little extra into "something to PRO-TECT."
Cold Irons Bound was jamming - the band was top-notch and excellent here.
The sound was perfect, the vocals right on track - definitely a highlight.
He seemed to parse the lyrics into 2 or 3 word phrases within the verses.
Really outstanding is the best way to describe it. Very danceable. A
couple of verses probably were skipped, but it was made up for with
emphasis on "almost like I don't exist" and "the universe has swallowed me
Mr. Tambourine Man was a rapid change of pace, slow, thoughtful, mellow,
lots of meaning and memory packed into each line. Very different than
expected - but also very cool.
Highway 61 Revisited to close the set was, like Cold Irons, rocking and
rolling - very loud and energetic. And again -- have I mentioned this
yet? -- great singing with clarity and meaning and emphases in various
lines that made it soooooo powerful. "wouldn't give him no clothes......"
The band was hitting their stride on this one.
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right - really nice and very understated -
just good "acoustic," soft playing and great vocal work. Bob was
seemingly enjoying himself - and the crowd was definitely doing so .
Culminating the tune was "just kinda wasted my precious time." I think
the harp playing on this was also first-rate.
All Along the Watchtower - like 61 and Cold Irons.......very powerful,
intense, powerful, jamming, everybody having fun - Bob repeated the first
verse - one word at a time for the last line
("know...what..any..of..it..is...worth") to close the tune (and the show)
- Dancing abounded and the vocals were yet again just about perfect.
Bob may have been sweating profusely and blowing his nose between nearly
every song (he apparently has a cold) when he walked into the shadows -
and you could see his gait slowing down as the night wore down -
but, WOW, the energy, intensity, and singing were amazing.
A great show - can't wait till the next one.
Comments by Brian Ruschman
I'm not sure if it's just me or not, but doesn't Bob get better with age?
Once again, Bob didn't disappoint. He came out a few minutes after 9:00
and played until roughly 10:45. Surprises included Absolutely Sweet
Marie, Man in the Long Black Coat and NO Summer Days. He is still Bob and
he rocks hard at 64!
I am seeing the Rolling Stones in September as part of my "Over 60" tour.
Ticket prices were about seven times the amount for the Stones, but there
is now way that it will be seven times better. Bob is playing a rocking,
fun show for all ages. Get out and see this show!
Review by Doug Troklus
It was hot. Very hot. And it is with great pleasure that I will get the
opportunity to review this show. Its about 90 degrees in Louisville at
7:00 when the show kicks off with Willie Nelson and his jam band. I won't
say much about Willie other than he put on a hell of a show. Highlights
included "Poncho and Lefty", "Angel Flying to Close to the Ground", and
his new song "Superman?"....Willie had the crowd going crazy and just
provided a mellow groove to get the crowd warmed up for Bob. I was shocked
at how close I was to Bob. My friend and I were never any less than 25
feet from him all night. Right across from the speaker stack stage left,
directly in front of Bob and his keys. The field was smokin' hot, if you
know what I mean-90 degrees of sticky humid air, the sweet smell of herb,
and lovely ladies all around. Bob is somehow wearing a long sleeve
buttoned shirt and black pants. My God, I'm suprised he didn't have a heat
stroke. "Tombstone Blues" is the opener and it worked very well as a warm
up tool for the band. Bob is in great voice at the beginning of this show.
And man this band is dynooomite! I love the way Bob walks off the stage
before each song and then gracefully walks back to his keys during a new
song intro. "She Belongs to Me" was without a doubt the highlight of this
show as far as I'm concerned. The music seemed to be playing the band, and
the song effortlessly reached epic proportions. Bob blows the harp not
once but twice, both extended solos out at center stage! And oh yeah, Bob
was dancing alot during this tune. I love watching Bob dance, he seems to
move his body to every note that each band member plays-a foot stomp hear
and a head nod there.. The next few songs really sound good, but they are
personally not favorites of mine. "Tweedle", "Just Like a Woman", and
"Sweet Marie" were OK versions, the latter two unrecognizable until the
chorus. "Long Black Coat" and "Honest With Me"-once again good
versions-but I really felt the wind go out of the sails of the show at
this period. People were clearly enjoying Bob, but these songs just fail
to create sacred space as "She Belongs to Me" did. Well, its about 10:00
and the temperature is still in the 80's with insane humidity. Bob is
literally drooling on his keys. Reminds me of a bloodhound salivating over
a bone or something. "My Back Pages", though unrecognizable at first,
turns out to be the 2nd and last highlight of this show. Bob blows
extended harp solos and even crouches down on one knee right at center
stage!!! "Cold Irons Bound", "Tambourine Man", and "Highway 61" are much
more different versions than any I've ever heard. Bob is reinventing
himself yet again. This band is incredible, in case I haven't mentioned
it. They stare at Bob likes he's Yoda and they're trying to learn the
force from him. So after the sweat drenched crowd claps for a long time,
Bob comes back for the encores. We got a triple encore in Louisville a
couple of years ago but I knew that it wouldn't happen tonight. The heat
was really too much, I think Bob just wanted to get out of there. "Don't
Think Twice" was definetly a crowd pleaser, but I would have preffered the
previous night's "Masters of War"..."Watchtower" closes this thing and I'm
actually a little dissapointed. Everyone danced though and had a great
time during this tune. In conclusion, this was a very uncomfortable night
weather wise, but the music was stellar. Bob's highlights were few and far
in between, but he is allowed to have an average show. The diverse crowd,
sweet smells, and incredible music made this a night to remember. Two
legends on stage, great bands, what more could you want? Did I mention it
Comments by Jeffrey Phillips
The show at Louisville was great!!!! The Greencards were a good
opener.Willie's set was exellent.When Bob came on the night was getting
hotter and so was the music. We had taken our boys Dylan age 12 and
Dakota age 9.They both loved the show too.Some cool people at the rail
in front of us let the boys stand up front for a while. THANKS to all
who made the boys' night special they will remember it forever.Willie
and Bob just keep getting better.THANKS!!! to you both and Bob thanks
for doing HIGH WATER.
page by Bill Pagel
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