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Review by David Maeda
How a Fixed Fender Can Give You a Psychological Boost
by David Maeda
After my Thursday night softball game I went out with Sue, our crass but
quite effective high arcing pitcher. We had a really nice talk- her
father passed away four months ago. We found that we shared a lot in
common- the painful memories and reminders of losing a parent. We did
differ in one significant aspect however. Sue said that she has found it
impossible to be alone- that she needs company, otherwise she thinks about
her father too much. I'm quite the opposite. I'm finding my most sane
moments are the times I spend by myself. There's a lot of loss going on
in my life at the moment and it's just easier to not have to feel the
obligation of being sociable.
To isolate yourself in grief probably isn't the doctor recommended course
to take. But there has been too many times recently when I don't feel up
to seeing other people. I'm glad my conversation with Sue proved I can
still be a valuable listener and can still connect at times. The events
of the following night further proved the old adage if you put your mind
to it, there is little you can't accomplish.
Already apprehensive about driving my pristine newly fixed car through
downtown Minneapolis to the Target Center to see Bob Dylan I was told that
the Hennepin Avenue Block Party was happening the very same night. Just
the thought of driving through the aggressive snarly traffic was enough to
make me want to stay home. But I decided if I got there really early,
early enough to have dinner, that I'd find a place to park and I could
always spend the extra time walking around downtown.
I wasn't planning on parking at the Target Center since the arena was
right in the middle of the block party, but after driving around for a bit
looking for a good lot I decided I might as well park where I was familiar
and deal with the consequences after the concert. I was there well before
five and the gates opened at 6:30. I wasn't really hungry and I thought
I'd check out how many people were lined up at the doors since I had a
general admission ticket on the floor.
There already were about 25 to 30 people lined up so I decided I would get
in line. As people started to pour in behind me I realized I had a rather
choice spot in line. So I sat there as my rear and my legs got sore
reminiscing for some reason amongst the Deadheads, about my days at
Macalester. I swear my roommate Spunky and I were the only "normal"
people in our class. And it was probably typical that among the tie-died
T-shirted I was the one wearing a CIA baseball cap.
I waited what literally seemed an eternity. I was now hungry and thirsty
(I watched with envy as the quiet two guys in front of me snarfed down
some appealing looking Subway sandwiches) but darned if I was going to
give up my place in line. When the doors opened there was the expected
nasty chaos of people trying to better their positions. I hung closely to
those two guys- not daring to let anyone come between us. I got through
that first set of doors and saw people running for the doors to the floor.
So I followed suit. I was more than curious at this point to see how
close to the stage I could get. A throng of people formed outside the
next set of doors (barriers). After a bit of pushing and shoving the
security people told us to line up single file (yeah right). Things
somehow squeezed forward and I found myself on the other side of the doors
after refusing to budge and give up any position.
>From there it was another sprint to another security check point. At
stop they took our ticket stubs and gave us a bracelet (lord knows what
that was about) and from there it was a race to the front of the stage. I
used my sorely abused, and much out of shape Mama Cass legs to get me in
position of the second row behind the barrier to the stage. I
strategically tried to place myself behind a short person (who happened to
be a very familiar looking and attractive blonde) so I could have a clear
view to the stage.
None of this was exactly in character or what anyone who knows me would
expect, as I was jostled and groped from front and behind, but I kept
looking at the remarkably close stage setups and those microphones that
would soon be used by the band and I wasn't about to relinquish any of my
cherished territory at this point.
I stood there unwilling to budge for the next hour. The woman in front of
me was sitting down, legs stretched out in front of my so she could clear
some space and not be immediately squished against the barrier to the
stage. At this point I turned to my recent study of Buddha and tried my
best to remain calm among the inane conversation, chatter and bumping.
The two youngsters next to me pulled out some finger length vials that I
have no idea the contents of. I kept my focus on those remarkably close
mikes and counted down the time. The stands surrounding us looked fairly
empty. But at around 7:35 p.m. the smell of incense signaled that the
time was near. The lights went down and there were the typical whistles of
anticipation. I remembered back to the last time I saw Dylan at the
Target Center, when I fell in love deeper than ever before- not with Bob
but with the person I was with. It was during his second song, "I
Remember You" when I looked over at her- and she was absolutely in the
moment and how could I resist?
This time he opened with a terrific cover of a Leadbelly song, "Duncan and
Brady." I couldn't believe how close Dylan stood from me- probably no
more than 25 feet away. The look on his face was priceless. "Women all
heard that Brady was dead. Goes back home and they dresses in red. Come a
sniffin' and a sighin' down the street, in their big mother hubbards and
their stockin' feet'. Cause he been on the job too long, been on the job
Bob looked pensive as he concentrated on the atmosphere around him. He
sang his heart out and it was a terrific opening number- a song about an
outlaw who has walked into the wrong situation at the wrong time merely
because he has been on the road for far too long.
As he ran through rather perfunctory performances of "Times They Are
A-Changing" and "Desolation Row" I couldn't help but be mesmerized by the
look on Bob's face. He was clearly lost in the music, in the moment.
Even after all this time on the never ending tour the music is still the
crux of the matter.
Concentration on the fourth song "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" was a bit
difficult because a guy a couple feet behind me passed out and security
tried to deal with the situation- but this was a new arrangement of one of
Dylan's saddest songs. I looked at his eyes closely to try and detect if
he was indeed feeling sad or if this was just another performance in
another indistinguishable venue. But Bob was clearly pouring his heart
out in the terrific lyrics. "Leave your stepping stones behind, something
calls for you. Forget the dead you've left, they will not follow you.
The vagabond who's rapping at your door- is standing in the clothes that
you once wore. Strike another match, go start anew. And it's all over
now, Baby Blue."
The sixth song of the set, the rarely performed "The Ballad of Frankie Lee
and Judas Priest" was clearly the highlight of the evening. The light
country background gave way to Dylan's piercing lyrics- one of his great
and most intriguing song story efforts. "Well, the moral of the story,
the moral of this song, is simply that one should never be where one does
not belong. So when you see your neighbor carryin' something', help him
with his load. And don't go mistaking paradise for that home across the
The timing of the song struck me personally. On my way into the concert I
saw a young baseball capped man pushing his stalled Chevy Blazer in the
Target Center ramp. I could have walked by- maybe should have seeing I
have about as much ability to help with a stalled car as my cat, but I was
feeling charitable so I asked if there was anything I could do. He had me
push the vehicle as he tried to push start it. We got quite a ways down
the ramp before he finally gave up. I left him stranded, but wished him
well and felt good that I at least tried to help this stranger out.
The next song has become a regular in the rotation, "Country Pie" off
Nashville Skyline. I heard the song last spring in Rochester but it
really is a welcome addition to the set. The playful lyrics "Raspberry,
strawberry, lemon and lime. What do I care? Blueberry, apple, cherry,
pumpkin and plum all me for dinner, honey, I'll be there," play against
the searing backing of the band. It was the first time all evening that
Dylan allowed lead guitarist Charlie Sexton to really let loose. The look
Bob shot Charlie after a ripping solo was priceless- like an old master
scolding a prodigy for showing off in front of the masses.
Another highlight was the following "If Not For You" one of Dylan's most
sentimental ballads. It was also the song from the evening that most
perfectly touched on my mood these days. "If not for you m sky would
fall. Rain would gather too. Without your love I'd be nowhere at all, I'd
be lost if not for you. And you know it's true."
The most interesting juxtaposition of the setlist (far more than the
pairing of "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" with "Tangled Up In Blue") was
the playful "I Don't Believe You" one of Dylan's most clever songs
(containing one of my all time favorite lyrics- "From darkness, dreams are
deserted. Am I still dreamin' yet? I wish she'd unlock her voice once and
talk. 'Stead of acting like we never have met" ) with the bitter "Cold
Irons Bound" (which got a new arrangement- substituting the trademark
melodic bass pattern with nearly acapella verses punctuated with harsh
beats on the last beat of each phrase). It was a stunning display of how
far Dylan has traveled in the past forty years.
The song I was hoping and praying he would sing, was his latest
composition, "Things Have Changed. He had been opening his encores during
this leg of the tour with the song and I hoped that he would continue that
trend. I was not disappointed. The opening chords signaled what was in
store as even the loud fellow behind me indicated (he took great joy in
identifying each song after the first few lines and then following up with
a "Yeah BOB!" every few seconds).
"Things Have Changed" is a great song. It is the type of song that the
thinning faithful wishes others would pay attention to- but that even the
most respected people have stopped listening- is what the song at essence
"A worried man with a worried mind. No one in front of me and nothing
behind. There's a woman on my lap and she's drinking champagne. Got white
skin, got assassin's eyes I'm looking up into the sapphire tinted skies.
I'm well dressed, waiting on the last train."
In this performance Dylan struggled to get to the core of the sermon. He
played around with the way he paused the phrasing during the killer
refrain- "People are crazy and times are strange. I'm locked in tight,
I'm out of range. I used to care, but things have changed."
To give up caring is to give up life. But the song is full of splendid
irony as Dylan sums up life's sad plight so expertly- "I've been walking
forty miles of bad road. If the Bible is right, the world will explode.
I've been trying to get as far away from myself as I can. Some things are
too hot to touch. The human mind can only stand so much. You can't win
with a losing hand ."
For his bows he stood there almost defiant as if to challenge anyone to
top him. His face revealed a pride at the strength and the joy of the
message just delivered. And when he gave me a killer skunk eyed look
during a searing "Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat" I had to nod back
appreciatively despite the fact I may never hear again having stood right
in front of the speakers. I have to confess the words are still there.
And I for one am still glad they were shared.
Review by Justin Seningen
In a nutshell, this was the weakest of the four Minnesota Bob concerts I
have seen in the last two years. Bob and the band took the stage promptly
at 7:35, looking tired from the start. The whole concert seemed like
routine for them. Of course it IS routine for them, but Bob and the band
were especially inanimate. I saw very few genuine smiles from where I was
standing. In fact, Bob seemed to raise his eyebrows in boredom whenever
he turned back to his guitar tech for a swap. On top of things, Bob
seemed to have a cold; he took off his guitar several times between songs
to sneak back to what looked like a kleenex box by his amps. The audience
was partly to blame for the show, too. People (mostly in tie-died shirts
-- no offense, Deadheads!) were constantly walking in and out of the main
floor in a casual manner, as if they were taking Bob's presence for
granted. Not to mention that across the street from the Target Center was
the annual Hennepin Avenue summer block party with tons of entertainment,
food, games, and live bands. I believe this attracted many
Deadheads--that would otherwise have been cheering Dylan--who wanted to
kill time before Phil Lesh.
Anyway, the standard set list pattern for this tour was followed. Good
harmonies on "Duncan and Brady". "Times" had no surprises. The best
thing about "Desolation Row" was the stage lighting; brilliant
aqua-colored spotlights that danced in circles in front of the band.
"Baby Blue" showcased Larry's steel playing. No one can replace Bucky,
but Larry had some really tasty licks. "Tangled" appeared very routine
for the band, although they jammed on the chord changes for a few extra
choruses at the end. Then Bob looked like he wanted to change the planned
set list, as there was a long pause and he said something to David and
Tony. "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest" was the result. The
latter was played well, but a bit monotonous, as Bob plowed straight
through the verses with no solo breaks.
"Country Pie" started the electric set--big surprise, huh? It was nice to
hear "If Not For You", although again, no surprise moves in the
arrangement. Larry went back to the standup-steel for "Watchtower", also
showing his improvement on the slide instruments. "I Don't Believe You"
followed. "Cold Irons Bound" surprised me, as it differed greatly from
past versions. On the last word of each line, the bright lights above the
stage lit up and the band played hits, giving the verses a start and stop
feel. "Leopard" closed the main set, but I thought the tune ended
prematurely. I would have liked to see more jamming, but after a few
blues solos by Larry and Charlie, the band left.
The David joke tonight was "We had lunch today at ????? and he asked if
they served crabs. The waitress said, 'sure, we serve everyone.' "
The encores were just as predictable: "Things Have Changed", "Like a
Rolling Stone", "Girl From the North Country" (with a Dylanesque 3-note
harp solo), and "Highway 61". Again, the closer (Highway 61) lacked a
genuine jam feeling at the end, eventhough the solos were good. After
these four songs, Bob left and waited 30 seconds to come out to do
"Blowin' in the Wind" with the excellent warm three-part harmony.
I hope the band is getting enough rest--their strenuous schedule can make
for boredom and colds! :) A great job, though. Thank you Bob and the
Review by Trey Starke
Traveled along way from Alabama to see the show and catch Alpine.On Sunday
July 9 had the opportunity or misfortune to see Party in the Park in
London and saw the likes of the Backstreet Boys,bon Jovi,Carly,Lionel
Ritchie and Elton John.I tell you this so you have some reference to the
writers mind.Tired but wanting to see Bob and Phil.I have seen alot of
Dylan shows and yes he did not smile,did not swagger and move the legs but
guess what he was great.
Just a quick summary will suffice because the posted reviews do tell some
facts.Times was stellar right out of Duncan and Brady.At both shows he
missed lyrics on TUIB, tonight,Outside of Delacroix.......maybe this is
on purpose.Frankie Lee was a real treat and Country Pie was o.k.If Not
For You was awful,that is my opinion.Until Alpine thought Lepoard-skin
Pill box Hat was smoking.Having just got the Dylan/Cash sessions bootleg
was glad to get Girl From the North Country and again a great job,(I
could just picture the man in black)
I would have like more harp,wanted to hear Song to Woody,and I really like
Lovesick out of the encore.This was a great show. One side note,I had
never been to Minn.Great city,great people and yes great weather.
Review by John in Minneapolis
Although the local papers raved, Bobby was off, bored.
The audience was DeadHeads, and they didn't file in until Bobby
was well under way. The Band was bored. Bobby was bored, not
knockin' Them Dead, as He had a few months ago in Rochester.
Sure, They delivered a Soulful Set. Certainly, he is an unpredictable
Performer. Definitely, the Man has 'Genius'.
But a Band needs to feel appreciated. It seemed like an uncomfortable
rehearsal. 'If Not for You' was a surprise, elegantly played. But there
was little or no Passion. 'It's All Over, Now...' delivered with Beauty,
but not Passion.
Mister Dylan needs to play on His own terms. He doesn't fare
well as an 'Opening Act'. An attentive audience makes for a Powerful
Show. Dylan's Band seemed destined to a 'dead' audience.
Review by Tom Lallier
Wow, what a nice show. Bob was in fine form even though he looked a little
tired and road weary. Even so, he gave the Minneapolis crowd a walk
through some of the best rock heard around in the twin cities in a long
time. The songs were tight, the sound was great and the crowd was charged.
I personally like the festival seating on the floor. Those of you who
can't hack it in the pit should think about a nice rocking chair. You've
been at to many overly controlled, security bound, yes here is your seat
madame, sterile concert environments.
A rock and Roll show is something to be experienced at the gut level and if
the music doesn't make you jump up and dance you've missed the point of
the show. I traveled to Cincinnati on 7-11 for the show there before
Minneapolis. It was really hot and the show was laid back with strains of
dixie and deep roots in R & B floating throughout the show. The image
that sticks in my mind from Cincinnati was Bob in the daylight with sweat
dripping from his forehead as he concentrates his intense stair at no one
in particular while ripping another great riff. He works harder than most
anyone I've seen in here about for a long time.
Not so in Minneapolis. Rock and Roll was the menu the audience was treated
to for the night. With all do respect to the others who critiqued the
Minneapolis show, were you in the same arena? Just look at the set list.
He played pure hard edged rock the whole night and gave you a few
beautiful works in the acoustic set. In particular, Baby Blue was great.
It was the same arrangement he was using for the song as an electric set
several months ago but it comes off much better as an acoustic number.
Check the electric sets. Rolling Stone, Watch Tower, Hwy 61, Leopard-Skin
and Cold Irons Bound. Just check this site and see the last time he
played all of those rockers on the same night. Thanks for the show and
keep on rockin Bob.
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