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Review by Mark Rothfuss
What a difference a day makes! I posted a review of the Deer Creek show
from Sunday, which, by my own admission, had a somewhat disappointed air
about it. However, tonight's performance couldn't have been a more
enjoyable experience for me. Riverbend is an archaic old outdoor venue
located about 10 minutes from my childhood home (well, Im only 22 so I
guess I'd better call it my home away from college). I've been seeing
shows there for as long as I can remember and this one topped them all.
For so many reasons....the setlist, the band, the voice...and oh, yeah, I
met Patti Smith. It was truly a remarkable experience. It lived up to all
the expectations I have had reading these fantastic summer setlists. At
around 7:15 I was bolting toward my seats from the crowded entrance as I
hear Bob and band burst into a rousing smack down of Duncan and Brady ( I
got stuck in serious traffic on northbound I-75). I finally found my place
as the song was ending. Already I could tell that this was going to be a
great show. Unlike Deer Creek the instruments and the vocals were well
mixed, crisp and clear. Also unlike Deer Creek the venue was only about
half full at this point (and for the duration of Bob's set). Song To
Woody...best live version I've heard to date. Really articulate and up
front vocals. Sweet, sweet country-folk guitar. I got the distinct feeling
that Bob was really, consciously paying tribute to Woodrow on this night.
Not like a song about a fictional character as it is often tossed off, but
a very alive song for a man he truly loves and admires. And Im sure one
pretty young girl I know out on the lawn had her day made. I told you he'd
play it...Bob knows. Desolation Row....so far we have an exact replica of
Sunday's show. Which is great for me since I missed most of these songs.
And from my perspective this Desolation Row was better. Granted I was just
finding my seats at this point last time. The audience was very
appreciative. Love-Zero...Pretty good. Kinda loose. Not much fire here,
but plenty of sentimentality. TUIB..."mind was being destroyed" = no
harmonica. Its just a theory with lots of holes, but in my experience it
is about 99% accurate. Same old fan favorite. The "headin' for another
joint" line never ceases to bring a smile to my face. Bob's was stomping,
marching and lockin' knees from the first note. Searching for a Soldiers
Grave...the sound system was better tonight and as a result this song came
thru a little clearer. The band's harmonies were a lovely touch. Yet, I
still don't think this song works outdoors. I hope he brings it out in the
fall when we get back to theaters and arenas. Country Pie...fun stuff.
Nothing epic about it. Just plain rockabilly fun. Tell me that it isn't
True...this song has always been a favorite of mine and I was thrilled to
hear it in person tonight. I guess you could say I know the feeling.
Anyway, the actual performance was a little too scattered for my
tastes...but I'd rather hear a slightly sub-par performance of this than a
well-rehearsed "Silvio" or "RDW." I think with a little work on the
arrangement this song would make a great staple in Bob's set. The "outro"
was dead on the album version. Just like Tom Thumbs Blues...First time for
me on this one too. Knew it from the first 2 chords, and boy was it solid.
Really heavy sound, as opposed to more laid back versions of years past.
And for the most part Bob was on top of it lyrically and vocally. His best
friend the doctor may not want to tell him what he's got. But I will - A
real grateful fan. Positively 4th St...retraction time. Just 48 hours ago
I made the assertion that Bob should shelve this song. Well, I was wrong.
Tonight's rendering was simply perfect. Laid back? Yes. Uninteresting? No!
This is the best he sang all night. It was hypnotic. It was captivating.
He teased and manipulated the message and the words like only he can.
Whispers, growls, pointed annunciation, (plus some well paced guitar) made
this a sublime listening experience. When you get the tape, just close
your eyes and enjoy. Wicked Messenger....well, it sounds almost exactly
like Drifter's Escape. Unfortunately if they were identical twins, this
would be the oddly less attractive one. The only obvious difference
(besides the lyrics) is that fiery, choppy guitar riff found on DE is
absent. And that is what makes DE so special. To the untrained ear they
could be the same song, but there is that subtle difference. Nevertheless,
it was still pretty spectacular. I love it when the music drops out for
the verses...it is probably my favorite of Bob's many little musical
tricks. And we got another brilliant train-whistle harp riff from deep
down in Bob's knee-bent crouch. He is the master showman. Bob knows how to
get his audience pumpin'. I hope he takes these kind of chances on more of
his arrangements. Pillbox...in HWY 61's old pre-encore spot. It works
equally as well as a means for getting the audience begging for more.
However, for those of us road warriors who chase Mr. Bob around it can get
a bit tiring. I wont complain though, I always seem to enjoy it after I
accept the fact that I have to hear it yet again. SIDE NOTE: It is at this
point that Patti "fu*****" Smith walks right by me up the stage-left
aisle. She goes completely unrecognized from backstage exit all the way up
the walkway where I stop her. I tell her I think she's great and that she
is my favorite female singer. She smiles in appreciation then she and her
son continue walking up to the lawn. I am just in shock! Total shock. I
thought that was it, but 15 minutes later she and her son return with
beverages passing down the big horizontal aisle in the very middle of
Riverbend. Nobody seems to notice, which I find odd considering her
extremely unmistakable look. When she gets to the point where we are
sitting I ask her if she's gonna play w/ Bob tonight. She said no, that
she's "just here to watch" . So I begged for "Dark Eyes" or a reprise of
"Wicked Messenger" and she laughs. Then says "maybe tomorrow." Turns out
she has a show at Bogart's where Bob played one year ago to todays date,
tomorrow. I just might have to score some tickets. It was short but sweet.
She disappeared backstage before anybody even realizes she was there.
Things Have Changed....much tighter than at Deer Creek. I am so happy that
so many people recognized it. Bob was on top of it from start to finish.
Really wrapping his voice around each syllable. LARS...strong enough.
Actually a bit less focused than Sunday's version. Not nearly as dramatic
a performance when it is still quite light outside. Hard Rain....didn't
see it coming. But so glad it came. Very pleasant all around. He spoke the
verses more than he sang them. However, everybody including the audience
joined in on the chorus to spine-tingling affect. It gives me chills to
hear that kind of "one-ness" in a world so mixed-up and at odds. I think
David Kemper may have possibly changed up his drum pattern for a few
seconds during the "drummers whose hands are a-blazing" portion of the
song. HWY 61....raunchy jam tonight. Lots of fine guitar interplay. Bob
roared and ultimately ripped the roof off this joint. When the dust
cleared, and the smoke settled Bob and band stood like a bunch of gun
slinging gangsters staring down the audience. Hand on his hip, ax at his
side, Bob Dylan soaked up the much deserved affection then disappeared
backstage. Seeing as I hate to see someone try to top an untouchable
performance, we skipped out on Phil and his friends once again. It was
still daylight when we hit the road. I can't wait until we get to see him
in the dark again.
Review by Joe Hollon
Ok, first off this is titled "My 7/11/00 Review (or Lucky #7)" because
last night was my seventh show! Here goes:
We left Wilmington, Ohio at about 3:30pm to drive to the Iron Horse Inn
(where he tends bar) in Cincinnati to pick up my older brother. This
would be his 6th show and my younger brother's first (he's 15). Got to
the Iron Horse at 4:45. Ate an early dinner at Wendy's and then drove on
to the show.
We got to Riverbend at about 6:15pm. I was nervous about parking but we
a great spot! The first bit of luck of the evening! When I saw Dave
Matthews at Riverbend about 2 years ago I was stuck in the lot for 90
minutes after the show. Anyway...we made our way to our seats which were
MUCH better than I had anticipated!!! We were directly in front of center
stage and about half way back under the pavillion. I was able to meet up
with my internet friend Rachel before the show started. It was our first
real life encounter and was great to meet her in person. We walked around
for a little bit and I purchased a concert poster for myself and my little
brother (in case they would sell out). Back to my seat!
Rumors ran through the crowd that Patti Smith was at the show and someone
had seen her go backstage. Patti is indeed in Cincy for a show tonight
but she never made her presence known if she was backstage. Good crowd.
Better than I expected. Very into Bob, most people stood for the whole
Bob came on at 7:10pm. "Ladies and gentlemen, will you please
welcome...Columbia recording artist..BOB DYLAN!!!!"
"Duncan and Brady"- I had never heard this song and had only read the
lyrics once over the internet. I loved it! Absolutely great opener, got
my foot tapping right from the start.
"Song to Woody"- This was definately a song I was hoping to hear tonight.
I just kept thinking how great it was to hear him play one of his eariest
songs that obviously means so much to him. Great vocals, in fact possibly
the best vocals tonight of all seven shows I've seen. "Hey hey Woody
Guthrie I wrote you a song..." was a major goose-bumps-getter.
"Desolation Row"- One of my favorite Dylan songs. I would have to say
this was the best version I've heard live. I cannot stress how great the
vocals were tonight. Very clear. I think Bob nailed all the verses too.
"Love Minus Zero/No Limit"- This one I've wanted to hear for quite some
Great vocals again.
"Tangled Up in Blue"- You may remember how I raved about TUIB the last
time I saw Dylan (11/3/99)...well I would say this night's performance was
equally good. He sings this song so great and everyone loves it so much
I'm glad it's pretty much the one song he sticks with every night.
"Searching for a Soldier's Grave"- This is another song I had never heard
and only read the lyrics once. Very nice song. I'd really like Bob to
put out another album of traditional songs (like World Gone Wrong) with
this number and "Duncan and Brady" included. I enjoyed this song and it
closed out the best acoustic set I've witnessed from Bob Dylan.
"Country Pie"- I was skeptical of this song when I saw it popping up in
the setlists but it was great! I really liked it as the electric
opener...very fun song and the band played great!
"Tell Me That it Isn't True"- Again the vocals were right on target.
Sounded very similar to the Nashville Skyline version.
"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues"- Another song I have been a fan of for years
and not heard live! Great stuff!
"Positively 4th Street"- I have always really liked this song. Very slow
"The Wicked Messenger"- Not a big fan of this song. In fact, I don't even
hardly know the words. The band played great though and everyone was
dancing. This is where we got our only harp solo of the night which got
smiles from everyone in attendence.
"Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat"- I love this song and I prefer it in this spot
over Silvio or Highway 61.
This concluded the regular set and Bob and the boys posed for a few
minutes taking in the applause.
"Things Have Changed"- Since February 15th (my 21st birthday and the
release date of the Wonder Boys soundtrack) I've been waiting to hear this
one live. I think it is a total masterpiece and one of Bob's all-time
great songs. It does have a different sound live than on the album. I
think it must be the emphasis on different instruments.
"Like A Rolling Stone"- Obviously this was the crowd pleaser of the night.
Best live version I've witnessed and probably my favorite version with
the possible exception ofthe original.
"A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"- This was a highlight of the 11/3/99 show and
I'd say it was even better here! GREAT vocals.
"Highway 61 Revisited"- Well, I thought I was tired of this song but Bob
changed all that! Again, the best version I've heard and I think this was
the sixth time live for me.
Bob was amazing tonight! This show was the best acoustic set I've seen,
the best vocals I've heard and maybe the best show overall.
-Joe Hollon Hwy61Joe@aol.com
Review by Nathanael Hughes
Following review by my son Nathanael Hughes age 7. We drove up to visit an
aunt in Cincinnati and see the July 11, 2000 Riverbend show. I had been
promising to take him to a DYLAN show for a couple of years. We went to
the BOB DYLAN concert & got there early. We got our tickets at the booth.
We shopped around. My Dad bought me a BOB DYLAN fishing hat. I bought
my Dad a BOB DYLAN mug. We found our seats on the 7th row. Then went to
the concession stand bought 2 hotdogs, sat down and ate them. Then we
went to our seats and watched BOB DYLAN. We had a great time! This was
my 1st concert. My favorite songs were Like A Rolling Stone & Hard Rain.
The 1st half of the concert I liked the acoustic songs more than the
My Dad asked me to grade the concert. I gave it an "F" for FANTASTIC!
NATHANAEL & ROBERT HUGHES; ELIZABETHTON, TN
Review by Chrissy Marcum
My two sons and i went to see him in cincy last evening and he was
wonderful (of course!). my fav song last night was 'tell me that
it isn't true'...he broke my heart with the emotion he showed in
that one. 'things have changed' was good too and 'hard rain'
...oh hell, they were all great! and he's doing this thing now
where at the end of the show he just stands on the stage, guitar
to his side, band at his side...and just stares into the crowd
...we're cheering and clapping and yelling and clapping some more.
he reminded me of a general inspecting his troops. then he gave
us his crooked lil smile, and with a twinkle in his piercing blue
eyes he left the stage.
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