page by Bill Pagel
Review by Patrick Goudy
My First was just down the road at Xcel Energy Center in 2001 so I guess it was appropriate that my
10th show (an anniversary of sorts) would also be in St. Paul. I would like to label myself as a
fan from a younger generation although I feel that the people around me have given me a very refined
It was a hot, sticky night. The first few minutes outside were bearable because I had been sitting
inside at work all day (and summer for that matter) and it always gives me the chills to see outdoor
music in Minnesota. I can't imagine summer in the Midwest without the assembly line of artists that
roll through during these few months.
I was waiting for a few friends that were running late due to all the traffic that piled up on Energy
Park Drive. I think the final count was 12,000 and I would guess that at least 4,000 showed up without
tickets. It was interesting to watch the brokers working through the continuous lines of
concertgoers…running/biking through, trying to find someone with an extra ticket and then cruising
right up to the front of the ticket office to make a quick $10 or even $20. The tardiness of my
friends also allowed my friend Dave and I to walk through the tailgating lot, which the St. Paul
Saints really have down to a science. Everyone appeared to have a little buzz and a little sunburn
going, I think the lot opened at 2:30 in the afternoon and probably filled up soon after. I finally
made it into the stadium around 7pm..about halfway through the Greencards set. Sounded decent…Bob
usually has good opening acts.
After picking up a snack and a few beverages, we made our way toward the stage. The crowd appeared
to be massive, much bigger than I remember from last year's baseball stadium tour. It was surprisingly
easy to get up close to the stage though. Everyone was spread out and standing on blankets with some
kids playing around by their parent's feet. A lot of those kids went up on shoulders when Willie & the
family came out. He opened with 'Beer for my horses' which got the crowd going a little. I think some
more direction would have had all 12,000 singing the chorus. He played all the favorites, all the hits
that I could remember, 'On the Road Again', 'Whiskey River, 'Georgia on My Mind', 'Me & Paul', 'Crazy',
etc…He also played 'Still Moving to Me' which he performed with Toots & the Maytals on True Love.
Toots also helped out on his new reggae album, which sounds interesting, especially after hearing that
Walmart only carried the album with a censored cover depicting palm leaves vs. some other plant that
Willie is fond of. The set was good, Willie mostly stuck to strumming the guitar with a few
opportunities to show that he can still play well, just not as much as he used to. His hand was in
the air pointing toward the sky or waving at the kids throughout the whole show.
Bob came on after a 30 minute stage change…the crowd roared as each new instrument was carried onto
the stage, and then as the backdrop was changed from the Texas Flag to Bob's intricate design with his
name at the top and a large eye in the center. I was standing around a lot of people who hadn't seen
him in a while, their last concert was years before my first and for some, before I knew how to walk.
One was hoping that Bob would play acoustic guitar but I knew better being a 21st century fan. The
sky got a little darker and the trains rustled by and then the announcer began his introduction,
"Ladies and gentleman…the voice of the 60's and 70's…the poet laureate of rock and roll…Columbia
recording artist, Bob Dylan." More roars from the crowd and then everyone kind of calmed down to
listen and figure out which one of the hundreds of songs that he has written would he play first.
'Drifter's Escape', which he seems to open with a lot. Really enjoy that song even though he sounds
out with a much raspier voice than you hear on his albums and live performances from the 60's.
'Love minus zero' was next which really sounded good…slow, nice of him to ease us into the night.
Next he broke into my favorite song off of Love & Theft, 'Lonesome Day Blues'…Willie's son Lucas
came out to play with the band and really hit it spot on. Bob clearly recognized him and thanked
him for playing as the song ended. That song definitely shows Bob's brilliance only grows with age.
One song that I absolutely love but always have a hard time following live is 'It's Alright Ma',
maybe I need to learn the lyrics better but I just wish I could follow his voice. 'Highway 61' was
performed with the same perfection as 'Lonesome Day.' I think he probably worked a few slower songs
in between those two to give the band a chance to catch their breath. 'Just like a woman' was great,
first time I had seen that live and 'Masters of War' complimented the earlier 'John Brown' nicely.
I always like when he ends on 'Like a Rolling Stone', as my friend Brad said, "It just confirms
every time that I hear that…it is just the greatest rock song of all time."
All in all, a great concert, Bob was on top of his game, much more animated than the last few, more
harmonica solos center stage, more presence, more electricity, just more Bob. The band was ok…I
really like Larry Campbell and wish Bob would have kept him on. It just kind of looked like they
were all focused on Bob the whole show…reacting vs. anticipating, he probably is very specific about
how he wants them to perform, but I think they need a little more work together. Just my opinion,
thanks for reading.
Review by Cameron Johnson
Bob really blew last night in St. Paul. He blew his harp, that is. It was
quality stuff too. Sometimes he would play the melody, sometimes more of a
harmony or a solo. As I recall, there was harp on Drifter's, Love Minus
Zero, Shooting Star, extended play on Hwy 61, SIOM, Just Like a Woman, and
Bye and Bye. The latter opened with a long intro featuring Bob on the harp
when his keyboard went on the fritz and his techie addressed the problem.
Later during the band introductions, Bob introduced Stu Kimball, then said
"I want to send out a hello to my friend Tony Glover out there tonight.
And I know we've had some problems with the instruments tonight so I hope
you haven't been too inconvenienced." Then they played LARS and did The
The show opened with Drifter's Escape. I kind of guessed it was due. From
the very beginning, Bob enunciated nearly flawlessly. I was impressed with
the new band members who I had not seen perform yet. They came out strong
on Drifter's. They also make for a very stylish bowling team in their
outfits. Tony's hat distinguishes him from bowling attire, but rest of the
band looks like they should be swilling a Miller High Life.
Love Minus Zero was one of the highlights of the show. I was 10 feet in
front of the soundboard and I honestly think anyone who was paying
attention could distinguish almost every word. "She's true like ice, like
fire" rang out like all the other syllables. I think this one had harp at
the beginning, and then front and center harp at the end. It was
Then the band launched into a powerful Lonesome Day Blues. Lucas Nelson
appeared next to Stu and ripped a few blues riffs. Young Luke was dressed
for a tractor pull more so than a concert, but he rocked. Bob was clearly
enjoying the jam.
Shooting Star was moving for me and many in attendance. When he sang
"Listen to the engine, listen to the bell as the last fire truck from hell
goes rolling by" I was struck by the allusion to the backdrop to the
stadium: a firefighter's practice facility on one side and a busy railroad
on the other side. There were 5 or 6 trains that went by during the show,
all going west, during Love -0, UTRS, SIOM and Summer Days, I think.
It's Alright Ma was performed with vigor and a couple of lengthy jams
between verses. Again, I could make out just about every word. Many people
commented on the quality of the mix.
Under the Red Sky had a light and airy feel to it right at sunset as the
day cooled and a breeze picked up. I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It was
the first time live for me.
I was looking forward to Hwy 61 since so many reviews have said it is
quite the rocker these days. I was not disappointed. It was quite long.
I'd guess it was 10-11 minutes and Bob did not even sing the last verse.
So even without the fifth daughter on the twelfth night it was fulfilling.
Although I must admit I was hoping for the climax of that second mother
with the seventh son right there on nearby highway 61, which runs through
St. Paul's east side. The great harp work made up for it though.
John Brown was what you would call a 'perfect reading' of the song. One
woman next to me, who did not know the song, listened to the lines about
John coming home with his face ripped away and his hands blown off, then
turned to her husband and made this "ew, gross" kind of face. So Bob was
having an effect lyrically on people who didn't even know the song. I
can't wait to listen to a field recording.
Stuck Inside of Mobile was not the powerhouse that I expected. The
arrangement was more smooth and silky than raucous and rowdy like it has
been sometimes in the past. A quality tune though.
JLAW was OK for me. I'm sure it was outstanding for some in attendance,
but frankly I was looking for something more adventurous in this slot.
Bye and Bye had a somewhat extraordinary beginning as the keyboard balked
at Bob, but the band had already started the song. While Bob looked about
for a solution he found his harp and went center stage for 2 or 3
instrumental verses of the song, then resumed his keyboard position to
Summer Days was good. It is more nuanced with this band than it was with
previous bands. There were a number of changes in the intensity of it,
whereas it used to simply rock(abilly). Then Formation I before leaving
The encores of Masters of War and LARS had the crowd's full attention.
Masters was vengeful and succinct. LARS got a big reaction but I thought
they mailed this one in.
All in all it was an outstanding performance with a great band at a mellow
venue with decent beer and no dorks to distract from my enjoyment. Thanks
for coming to my town Bob!
page by Bill Pagel
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