July 4, 2009
Review by Bob Shiel
Yankee Doodle Dandy got the evening kick started with a light, festive
vibration on Independence Day, once we all figured out what the hell song
the boys were hammering out. No smiles from Bob yet, until they
ricocheted directly into Rainy Day Woman, and Bob ripped off some nice
riffs on a Les Paul, holding it more on an upright or 45 degree angle than
he used to hold the Fender. I always liked the old guitar playing stance,
which had a more serious vibration. This song, of course, whipped up the
Nice to see Bob looking so well these days.
Standing about 8 rows back, just right of center, the view of Bob's left
profile was perfect as he tended to look right at us delivering the
vocals. Fortunate was I to be with Marianela, from Peru, who had not
only never seen Bob, but had never been to a concert. What a pleasure to
introduce her to this slice of Americana, and on the 4rth of July to boot.
Speaking of boots, no Boots of Spanish Leather tonight man. Too bad.
Anyway, the sound was pretty horrible, with too much drums and bass up
front, so we walked back to the sound board for the last 3 of only 12
songs...but not before we shot what looks to be a great DVD of It's
Alright Ma, Beyond The Horizon, Highway 61, and Just Like A Woman.
Numerous superb digital photos of each band member, too. Not sure yet,
but I think some of them are suitable for framing. Quite a few of Bob
with Donnie over his shoulder with some choice facial expressions!!!
This Wheel's On Fire was the highlight for me. As we walked back to the
soundboard during Like A Rolling Stone, it was fun to observe the happy,
ecstatic tripping faces we were looking at. One encore, Watchtower,
closed out an excellent performance...only 12 songs.
My assessment of this band: I agree they have come a long way, and what
they do they do superlatively..yet, I prefer the string band sound of
Charlie and Larry...in fact, I would place that sound above Bob's sound
with The Band. That's just me.
Slight disappointment: Not one song from Together Through Life, a record
that I really love. Once shows are peppered with this album, I will be
interested in a bootleg or two or 7.
Marianela, a photography enthusiast, had a ball, which will be why this
will be a memorable show for me. During Willie Nelson's pedestrian set,
we made out in front of the sound board, strolled around the infield, and
ended up watching a few songs from the grandstand before buying a couple
canvas shopping bags with Bob's logo on them. The whole while a fabulous
sunset staged its drama for us. I had a good time man.
Security completely forgot to check us going in, and it was crazy lucky as
I had a digital camera inadvertently completely exposed hanging out of the
pocket of the leather vest I was wearing. Interestingly, from the looks
of the hundreds of umbrellas piled up at the front gates, they were
checking everybody else real close...though not letting umbrellas in on a
rainy night truly pissed off a lot of folks...the point about the rain is
that is was gentle and soft and the air was still, so it hardly bothered
me, to speak for myself...On the drive from Chicago, I had neglected to
recall the time difference in Indiana, so we were basically running about
an hour late, and found free parking only ten minutes from the ballpark,
though not once did we hurry our steps. Fortunately, there was no line
when we entered the venue, a totally lucky perk of the evening. Finally,
we only caught the last 3 songs of John Cougar Mellencamp, who clearly has
a hot band, including his teenage son who slammed out some power chords
and even a lead on the last two songs. Mellencamp really highlighted his
son, which in my judgment was incredibly sweet. Catching 3 songs from
Mellencamp was all I was looking for anyway.
I was surprised, though delighted, that Willie Nelson played after and not
before Bob. This allowed us to exit the ballpark slowly over the course
of an hour or so, while Willie flailed away up there, and we still beat
the crowd out of South Bend. On the drive back to Chicago, we commented
on several good breaks we caught throughout the evening.
The evening was wet, humid, and cool, as it rained softly, without any
wind thank God, all the way through half of the Dylan set, which followed
Mellencamp. Once the skies cleared around 8:45 Indiana time, an amazing
western sunset graced the above until well after 10:00, as South Bend is
on the extreme western end of the eastern time zone.
As a veteran of 65 Dylan shows now, starting with the 1986 Heartbreakers
tour, I agree with Adam who reviewed the Illinois show a few days ago,
that I no longer walk out of Bob shows feeling like I now realize the
meaning of life...however, that is no knock on Bob and the band...it's
more about me...my mind is less concentrated on Bob's music now than it is
my own, and I have a good life in Chicago, which was less the case those
years when I would attend up to 10 Dylan shows a year...I used to go to
shows angrier, act more aggressively, and speak more egotistically to
people...last night I ran into some friends from South Bend from umteen
shows in the past, and it was fun to hug them and talk a while, but all
that seemed to mean more in the late 90s when I would go to Dylan shows to
get a break from a bad marriage, to tell you the truth.
All in all - catch Mellencamp and Dylan, who are worth paying attention
to, but especially if you've seen Willie before, he himself doesn't seem
to have half the energy he used to. Or at least he didn't last night.
Review by J.B.M. II
short & sweet...that best sums up bob's performance in between john
mellencramp (as my sis would call him fer some odd reason) & willie
nelson's sets -they were both very good as well,but bob was probably the
loudest...i went with my wife,mom, sisters & brothers all the way from
lafayette up to south bend...gramma could'nt make it & she loves willie
too-hope she can go with us the next time...me & my wife made it up to
hibbing & duluth for dylan days this year & had a great time there, so why
not go on up to the july 4th willie picnic as well where bob dylan is
gonna be - it was probably not near the shindig it was in the 70's
w/leon, waylon & billy joe, among others, but still an honor to say i now
went to a willie nelson picnic! my review will (try to) only be on bob's
set though, since this is a bob website (of course) with all due respect to
willie (burger-red) & our homeboy john! -this was my 1st dylan show since
seeing him in colorado in 03' (i 1st saw him at valporaiso in 94' w/my dad
where we met bob's dog.
okay...."stuck a feather in his hat & called it...ohhh...
yankee doodle dandy>rainy day women
(yes it was raining) & they have yellow dylan rain coats w/the eye logo
for sale! bob did'nt play a new one from "together" all night but this was
worth the price of the ticket right here alone! THIS is hearing a rare
performance, my fellow dylan friends!
if you see her -very soulful version w/a changed lyric in it (you figure
which one from aud. bootleg recordings or later performances if you can
-i'm not tellin'...)..a great harmonica if i remember correctly, but i
think bob wanted to play longer on the end- the band sorta cut it shorter
than he wanted.
tweedle dee/dum -standard but rockin'...& faster than it usually is
played, i believe...i always hear king george/cheney myself when i hear
this wheel's on fire-he flubbed the opening verse i think but it was still
THE standout highlight of the night:
it's alright ma'- "busy being born"-(a nod to my sis & the wonderfully
inscribed watch she got me with those words inside it this last
Christmas)...bob really played this one well tonight-no doubt about it.
beyond the horizon -as the sun was setting,rain wuz stoppin' & people
startin' to pay attention...more...it was very softly sung...almost
spoken at times...
highway 61-hey! i wuz just up in duluth with my wife on highway 61 goin'
outta town...did'nt see Abraham & his son or mack or louie there
though..just a liquor store right after the brewery & a loop that brought
us back to the lift-bridge...& the brown "bob dylan way" sign of course
-it rocked as usual but the jam in the middle might'a got lost in
places...still,always a treat!
just like a woman -oh yes...beautiful-this might'a had harp also somethin'
in the air tonight prompting short-term memory...bob had that one note he
holds & reaches up high (like warren zevon once did masterfully) when he
sings "aches"-heard it before & it really is an almost jimmy rodgers
like-yodel as well-very beautiful singing...
thunder on the mountain-my brother commented on this one as a highlight
tonight-it was solid.
rolling stone was also very much solid & played with passion & made the
joy of the evening get even better-does'nt "like a rolling stone" always
make you happier too...
encore (less than 4 min. not long however long it was...)
a dylan & willie duet next...maybe with john also "pancho & lefty", the
"three blind mice"..no, not tonight-everybody is playing seperate sets
watchtower - my wife (who's from texas & loved seeing the texas flag in
indiana behind willie his whole show) especially liked this masterpiece
tonight-i think bob repeated the last verse to great effect with the
ending as he's been doing for some time now & the guitar sounded soaring
tonight...the drums were powerfull also- (all night!) -willie's longtime
brother paul was awsome too!
- only negative:
way too short a show-left us all wanting more (probably even the audience
that does'nt normally go to see dylan) - but to see willie play into the
night after an excellent mellencamp & dylan show with a fantastic
collection of fireworks & most importantly,to be there with my family &
have a great 4th of july in our great country the U.S.of A.
Review by Charlespoet
First let me correct one thing regarding the setlist. Bob played guitar
on Yankee Doodle / Rainy Day Women / If You See Her / and then he began on
guitar on Tweedle and finished it on keyboard. Yes it was a short set -
yes we didn't get one single song from Together Through Life but what we
did get is a show that rocked the ages and I swear by the time it was all
over I had blisters on my fingers and my toes. If you were at Eastlake in
'05 it was very much like that except even more lethal and really the
eleven songs all raged not to mention the moment Bob walked out onto the
stage the rain stopped and the sun came out, I kid you not.
One second Bob was Gary Cooper in High Noon and not more than two or
three seconds later he was Ginsberg reading Howl at the Y and then a few
seconds after that he was Veronica Lake bewitching and seducing each and
everyone of us with his dirty-dozens-charm and provocative and pungent
song-and-dance-man-irascible-swagger. Imagine if someone had thrown a
bunch of raw meat into the center of the stage then poured gasoline all
over it and lit it that's exactly what it felt like as Bob and his cowboy
band drove through us like a runaway train on meth.
This wasn't a Bob Replica in Indiana on this day of Independence and
Sedition; no this wasn't some jukebox facsimile or a wax figurine but
instead a real flesh, blood and bone fire breathing Komodo Dragon and he
was here to suck the milk out of a thousand cows right before our audacity
of hope eyes and ears.
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