July 13, 2009
Review by Bill Huggins
I should start by saying this weather was absolutely perfect for this
show. A comfortable sunny day became a clear cool night. It felt like
September. Willie Nelson began the concert in the bright sun with an
enjoyable mid-volume show. Next, Mellencamp tested the limits of
distortion with his piercing late evening set (he was unusually loud for
some reason). Luckily they saved the best for last as Bob and his band
took the stage at dusk. The show opened with the usual palpable
anticipation. Bob sauntered out onto the stage and picked up his guitar.
The crowd and the band seem somewhat apprehensive at first, as I have
noticed at a number of Bob Dylan shows in the last few years. It is like
the anticipation surges into a brief adrenaline low for everyone. Bob
opened with Watching the River Flow - and sounded great on guitar. He
certainly can still play guitar, and it is wonderful that he gives fans an
opportunity to see him play it if only for a couple of songs. Bob's
guitar and keyboard were miked louder than in past shows. It was nice to
be able to hear his playing more clearly. Once this "adrenal low" phase
wore off, the show took shape and continued to build momentum until the
encore was over. Bob took to the keyboard with the start of the third
song, The Levee's Gonna Break. The organ sound from his keyboard was full
and rich and was very well mixed with the rest instruments. It sounded
great - it was fitting that it sort Bob played harp on the next song, Po'
Boy. Bob did not play any new songs until the sixth song of the set,
which was Forgetful Heart. As you may have read from earlier reviews, Bob
leaves the keyboard for this song. He stands at center stage at the
microphone with his harp in hand. The dim orange stage lighting as this
song begins helps capture the recent rarity of this event. It is unusual
to see Bob without either a guitar or standing at the keyboard - this
really is an interesting new addition in Bob's set. Forgetful Heart was
ominously excellent, and Bob really sang this song and played his harp
with conviction. It was amazing how Bob really captured the mood and dark
overtones of this song and channeled it in his performance. Nettie Moore
and Summer Days closed out the first set. Nettie Moore was also great,
and was a nice lead up to Summer Days. Again, it was nice to hear Bob's
keyboard clearly. Mixing was quite good on this night. His playing style
and add-libs are unique, and the mixing captured that well. I should
mention that I noticed Stu Kimball seemed to have some trouble (or was
just unhappy) with his guitar/pedal/amp settings. He appeared to need
several adjustments throughout the concert, which was more than usual. It
did not really affect the quality of the show all that much. The energy
of Summer Days and the way this energy builds throughout the song (as
played live) never fails to amaze me. I could listen to them play this
song for 30 minutes and still be left wanting more. They played it great
- Tony was really on top of his game as usual. I don't want to take
anything away from it by saying that I miss Charlie and Larry on this
song; I am just nostalgic when it comes to the first Bob Dylan band that
played this great tune. As always, following Summer Days and a brief
stage exit the crowd began to wave their cell phones incessantly as if Bob
and company needed the reassurance to be coerced into returning for a
couple more tracks. The encore began with Like a Rolling Stone, and the
fans ate it up. It is nice to hear the crowd all sing along to this song.
Suddenly everyone is experiencing a revolution of togetherness as words
of this timeless classic are cast out from the keyboard area. Bob never
seems to get tired of singing this song. It is a simple tune musically,
and a masterpiece lyrically. Every performance echoes that sentiment
including the one played on this night. Jolene was next, and it was very
well played. This and the other new songs played much like the album
versions. Undoubtedly Bob will probably change up their arrangements in
the future. Jolene ended somewhat sooner than I had hoped. The concert
ended with All Along the Watchtower, following band introductions by Bob.
This song was epic as always. Overall, the show seemingly started slow,
but built momentum and energy and took a delightful unique shape as do all
Bob Dylan shows. Bob is timeless and is still quite capable as a
Review by Jeremy Mayle
This being my 28th Dylan show I expected things to be ho-hum but was
greatly suprised. After a really nice Wyos set, a nostalgic Willie set and
an absolutely rocking Mellencamp set Dylan came center stage with his
electric guitar...backed by one of the best bands I've heard him with
since the days of Winston and JJ. We were about 5 feet from the rail for
this show, dead center, and it was worth the 4hr wait in line.
Exploding into "Watching The River Flow" Bob rocked this old song with
fervor I'd not heard in a long time. His patented search-and-destroy
guitar solos were a welcome sight on this beautiful July evening.
"It Aint Me Babe" was nice, new arrangement that reminded me of a cross of
The Band and The Byrds. He seemed to be particularly energized tonight.
The crowd did the token sing-a-long to the chorus, even though Bob likes
to spit the lines out quicker these days we didn't care LOL!
"The Levee's Gonna Break" started up, Bob on his KORG organ, and you could
see the energy building. He was hamming it up on the keyboards, leaning
back, pointing with his hands and rearing his head back on some lines.
This song seemed like it lasted a long time but you didnt care because you
couldnt take your eyes off him, wondering what expression he was gonna
show you next haha!
"Po Boy", the only song I wanted to hear in order to be satisfied that
night, was a wonderful rendition. Of course he completely forgets to sing
the Desdemona verse which is my favorite but in pure Dylan style he made
up for it with zeal and cool.
"Rollin' And Tumblin'" was just flat out juiced! His vocals were so damn
good I thought it was the mid-90's again! I was standing there trying to
remember the last time I'd heard his voice sound so good.
The highlight of the night was "Forgetful Heart". Dylan sans-guitar,
center stage with just the harmonica. Now I'm not one of those people
that usually talks this way but I could swear he was singing through his
soul on that song, I just sat there in a stupor crossed between awe and
sadness. I'd never been so effected by a song at his concerts thus far. As
it ended you had to just shake your head and think "yeah man,I feel you".
"Its Alright Ma" was a welcomed suprise, driving beat with Dylan spitting
the words out like they were on fire. The band is tight tonight and Dylans
vocals are keeping the pace.
"If You Ever Goto Houston" always remings me of "On Top Of Old Smokey" LOL
but after hearing this song live I found myself humming it late into the
night. Great new tune and sure to be in his sets from now on.
"Highway 61" was especially rocking, even for like the 18th time hearing
it live LOL. Dylan flubs the lyrics a few times but laughs it off and
makes up for it by singing his ass off.
"Nettie More" was fabulous. Not as intimate as others I've heard from
recent shows but still tight with vocals sooooo great! He flubs some
lyrics on this one too but it's only because he's hamming it up and
forgets where he's at LOL
"Summer Days" got the crowd jumping and dancing. He liked it so much he
did that last two verses twice since the band didnt catch his cue to end
it he had to "bring er on around again" to end it.
"Like A Rolling Stone" was a crowd pleaser with the token singalong on the
chorus. A few flubbed lyrics but makes up for it again with unbelievable
vocals and his "Piano Duck-Walk".
"Jolene" I coulda done without but it was still nice to hear some new
stuff. Nothing special but worth the listen.
"Watchtower" ended the show, loud and booming. He was so on with this one.
He sang the first and last verse twice, I dont know why but wasnt
complaining...rock doesnt get much better.
Overall a fantastic show, vocals and attitude were A++. After standing
pretty much 5-6 hours I was pleased with it's results. Dylan was hotter
than firecracker in July...hell he WAS a firecracker in July last night.
A show I will never forget.
-J. Mayle aka Darkeyez
Review by Jordan Wilfong
Wearing the signature cowboy hat that has come to symbolized this
never-ending tour, America's greatest born musician entered the stage
right when the sun completely set. It was another day at the office for
Bob, mixing in a few classics with the now treasured songs of his four
recent 'comeback' albums. Yes, it has been well-documented, and even
mocked, that the roughness in Dylan's voice can make it difficult to
decipher some of his older songs, but the beauty shined through on It's
Alright Ma, with Bob taking special care on this night to emphasize the
most meaningful lines, like 'he not busy being born is busy dying.' In my
opinion, he sounded incredible.
From my position, the surrounding crowd was very much enjoying the
performance, clearly aware they were being entertained by a most
unique performer. Bob's band was on point, and he even joined in on
guitar at the beginning of the set. It was a smooth performance the
whole through, with the main attraction still very much involved in
these songs, which he clearly still identifies with. When returning
for the encore, the often quiet Mr. Dylan briefly acknowledged the
crowd with a simple yet enthusiastic 'Thank you, friends.' Call me
sentimental, but I think he meant it.
Review by Carsten Molt
After the great show that i saw in Eastlake on Saturday, i was really
looking forward to tonight's show. Dylan played the CONSOL Energy Park in
Washington, Pa. in 2006. It was called Falconi field then. It is where the
Washington Wild Things of the independent Frontier League play their home
games. It is a pretty small park with a capacity of around 3,000 people.
The weather was wonderful with a clear, star filled sky, warm but not hot
and no humidity.
i arrived just as Willie Nelson was finishing his set. From what little
of it that i heard, it was even more wretched than his show on Saturday
was. John Mellencamp was up next. His set was very similar to the one on
Saturday. The highlights were "Small Town", "Rain on the Scarecrow" and
"If I Die Sudden."
After Mellencamp's set, i left the stands and strolled down to the
field. After being close to the front on Saturday, i was content to be
further back this evening. Surprisingly, the area near the front of the
stage was not very congested at this point i decided to make my way closer
than i had initially planned and ended up standing about 8 persons from
the front, center stage. Within minutes of finding my spot, the crowd had
filled the area and i couldn't have moved if i wanted to.
Eventually, Dylan and the band came out and launched into
1. Watching The River Flow- This was a pretty scorching version. One of
the first things i noticed was how much fun they were already having.
Donnie Herron had a big smile on his face, George and Tony were grinning
at each other and Dylan was smiling, too. Only Stu and Denny were stoic.
Dylan's signature guitar licks were very prevalent during the instrumental
2. It Ain't Me, Babe- This was a very strong performance. Dylan was
doing a lot of raising of the eyebrows and tried in vain to suppress a
couple of smiles. His guitar playing was loud in the mix again.
3. The Levee's Gonna Break- Dylan switched from guitar to keyboard for
this song and the rest of the show. It crackled with energy and the band
was really grooving in the pocket, Tony was on his upright acoustic bass
and during the jam, he took the opportunity to spin it around twice.
4. Po' Boy- i had never heard this song live before and it was just
perfect. Dylan was phrasing each verse in a voice that was as sly as it
could be. The song also had some very nice harmonica playing in it that
was icing on the cake.
5. Rollin' And Tumblin'- i was surprised to hear this after hearing
"The Levee's Gonna Break" two songs earlier. They seem to be two sides of
the same coin in concert. It was done better than it was in Eastlake on
Saturday when the song didn't really take off until the last verse.
Tonight, it smoked from the very first note and only got better and
6. Forgetful Heart- Only the third time that this gorgeous song off of
his new album has been played live. Dylan stood at the center of the
stage with his harmonica for the entire song. He opened his throat up
wide and delivered the tune with one of the best vocal performances that I
have ever had the pleasure of experiencing in concert. It was one of
those moments where time seems to stand still and there is nothing in
this world except for you, Dylan and the song. The harmonica playing made
the hair on the back of my neck stand up and Donnie's sweet violin
playing sounded like voiceless whispering from heaven.
7. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)- Only Dylan can take you from a
song of delicate beauty to a snarling, rocker like this and make it work.
Dylan attacked the lyrics like a man possessed. The band raced to keep up
as Dylan roared through the verses with a machine gun delivery and deadly
8. If You Ever Go To Houston- i thought that the version in Eastlake on
Saturday could never be bettered. Oh, me of little faith. This version
glistened with a clarity that the version on Saturday only hinted at. i
didn't think the version in Eastlake lacked anything until i heard this
version. i don't know what made this version sparkle like it did but it
9. Highway 61 Revisited- It was pretty good. It is rarely anything less
or more.. Denny's improvised guitar solo was kind of repetitive but it
was nice to see him play something other than his usual solos. The song
seemed to be shorter than usual
10. Nettie Moore- i know that a lot of people really like this song. It
does nothing for me, though. It was well played and had some nice violin
work by Donnie. Dylan sang it with emotion but it didn't change my
opinion of it.
11. Summer Days- Dylan's vocals were quite gruff and rushed on the
verses but it seemed like he was hurrying to get to the fun instrumental
jam more than simple carelessness. Donnie played the trumpet during the
last verse but it was very low in the mix.
12. Like A Rolling Stone- This song was its usual anthemic, sing-along
self. John Mellencamp was standing just off stage behind Dylan and
seemed to be enjoying the song.
13. Jolene- It was played in a celebratory fashion and you could hear the
joy in Dylan's vocals as the band played the heck out of the tune. George
broke a drum stick half way through the song but he didn't miss a beat.
14. All Along The Watchtower- It was the usual end of show madness.
Dylan was really yelling the lyrics instead of singing them. The crowd
really enjoyed it, though.
The best was yet to come, though.
To get from the stage to his bus, Dylan had to walk across the side of
the field. While he was walking to his bus, a number of people, including
myself, stood along the barriers that separated him from the audience. We
cheered as he was walking by and he turned and SHOOK MY HAND. i wanted
to say something cool but just stood there trying not to pass out or fall to
my knees in reverence. His hand was really small and sweaty. He shook the
hands of several other people before walking away and onto his bus.
A. Dylan was in excellent form. His voice was very strong and he was
visibly having a blast.
B. Donnie, George and Tony were in good spirits all night long. Stu
seemed kind of bored and i don't think that Denny is capable of showing
any emotion. The band played pretty well. The guitarists licks were not
as wooden and repetitive as they often are. Of course, neither of them
will ever be mistaken for Charlie Sexton. Tony was rock solid as was
George. Donnie Herron was excellent and his various instruments were more
prevalent in the mix than usual.
C. The audience was really good. They were quiet and attentive during the
ballads and boisterous during the up-tempo songs. i was happily surprised
how thoughtful and rapt they were during the ballads. i assume that the
loud, obnoxious drunks that were around during Willie's set were passed
out by the time Dylan came out
D. This was my 40th show and definitely one of the best. It was
probably the best show that i have seen since Kent, 2002 and not just
because i got to shake Dylan's hand.
Of course, these are just my opinions and i apologize for typos and the
length but i tend to ramble, Any feedback or corrections are welcome.
In Bob we trust,
Review by Amanda Burns
Bob started out on guitar for the first two songs, "Watching The River
Flow" and It Ain't Me Babe". Nice to see him doing so again. " Levee's
Gonna Break " was pretty great, with Bob in a fantastic mood..at least
onstage. "Po Boy" was beautiful..with Bob on harmonica, the incense thick,
and a hazy light filtering down onto Tony, this was just as pleasing to
the eyes as it was to the ears. " Rollin' and Tumblin'" was nice..but
"Forgetful Heart " was almost too much for me to take! With Bob again on
harmonica, this was just really spiritual..he sang so beautifully. I was
left clasping my chest and gazing at The Great One in complete
adoration. His voice sounded better at this show than I have heard it in
years (although in my opinion, it has never sounded bad). What a showman!
I also must comment on his dress..he looked so fantastic as usual with his
old fashioned cowboy attire..tonight he appeared to be sporting a blue
ascot of sorts. He is such a cool character, that he makes no akward moves
at any time whatsoever. Complete confidence. In the moments in between
songs, I could have sworn I saw Bob motioning to his band mates to make a
little noise here and there, to block out any annoying things or requests
that came from the crowd. If this is true, I wouldn't blame him. So next
was "It's Alright Ma"..a very rockin' rendition, too. "If You Ever Go to
Houston" was so fantastic..you could not help swaying back and forth with
the band and that wonderful song. Great! Up next was a spirited " Highway
61" Not a personal favorite, but the crowd seemed to enjoy. We got a smile
from Bob during this. " Nettie Moore" was solid.. I think this is such a
pretty song. Some sort of disturbance was happening in the crowd near
me during this time. How rude of them to try to interrupt this, but Bob
was busy being the greatest singer of all time, so he did not pay it any
mind. We then got a much appreciated " Summer Days " This is always fun,
Tony was really getting down! Bob even saluted the crowd a little with a
nod of his tie, I wish it were meant for me! They encored with the
predictable " Rolling Stone" this was an especially well played version.
Next was " Jolene ", and then the show ended with " All Along The
Watchtower" A lovely evening for anyone with good taste. We are so lucky
to live in Bob's lifetime, and to be able to see him perform.
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