July 15, 2007
Review by David Lindquist
Bob Dylan may have known he was playing the biggest
concert in the four-year history of the Lawn at White
River State Park, or perhaps he decided to dote on spunky
WTTS-FM (92.3) for the independent radio station's 15th
Whatever the reason, the most celebrated songwriter of
the rock 'n' roll era shared a wealth of classic tunes
Sunday night -- and he further impressed by handling them
Opening with the party-minded "Rainy Day Women #12 and
35," Dylan signaled that it wouldn't be an evening of
The 66-year-old last visited Indianapolis in 2003, when
he played keyboards but no guitar at a Verizon Wireless
Music Center date. He's returned to an electric
six-string for at least a few songs at the beginning of
each date of his current tour.
We heard five numbers in this format, with “Rainy Day
Women” featuring a tightly constructed – if not
repetitive – lead pattern from Dylan.
The timeless "It Ain't Me, Babe" followed. While its
bob-and-weave arrangement prevented a sing-along chance
for the sell-out crowd of 6,000, the bard from Minnesota
folded "Babe's" lyrics into the "old wolf" persona heard
on his three-album winning streak of "Time Out of Mind"
(1997), "Love and Theft" (2001) and "Modern Times"
But before touching on those career-renaissance
achievements, the concert offered a rendition of “It’s
Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” that appeared to shine
different eras of Dylan through a single prism.
A coarse – if not frustrating – voice turned lines such
as “the hollow horn plays wasted words” into a literal
mockery akin to Adam Sandler impersonating Dylan.
Meanwhile, Dylan and fellow guitarists Denny Freeman and
Stu Kimball brought enough fury to “Ma” to suggest the
rocking days of the mid-’70s “Rolling Thunder Revue.”
Amid other standards ranging from "Lay, Lady, Lay" to "I
Shall be Released," a stripped-down "Tangled Up in Blue"
was an obvious keeper. Here, Dylan on keyboards and
harmonica with George Recine on drums were enough to
electrify the night.
Any detractor who theorizes that Dylan doesn't care about
what he's singing didn't hear the weighty conclusion of
"Blue," in which the narrator and his star-crossed lover
felt the same but saw things "from a different point of
The program’s low points may have been a ragged run
through “Highway 61 Revisited” and a disjointed “Rollin’ and
Tumblin’” the band pulverized to tatters.
In between these missteps, however, Dylan operated at the
speed that suits him best these days.
"Moonlight," from "Love and Theft," sailed as a soft-shoe
stab at seduction. With more than enough social
commentary lodged in his back pages, Dylan still writes
about the prospect of love.
Thanks to "Moonlight's" heartfelt harmonica solo, he
proved he can seal the deal.
The Indianapolis Star
Review by Marshall Walker
After a 42 year wait, since Bob picked up an electric guitar and played
"Maggie's Farm," I've waited for the moment to see him with a band. Jimmie
Vaughn opened, outdoors, the guest of 6,000 people and a beautiful night.
Mid-way through Jimmie's set he introduced LuAnn Barton!!!!!!!! I was
beside myself. He sprung to life in the support role, which I feel is his
strong suit, and they nailed the 45 minutes they had been allotted.
20 minutes later, Bob Dylan and his pathetic ensemble took the stage. It
was the most awful performance I've EVER seen or heard. These yocals must
dress in cowboy suits so no one will beat the crap out of them when
recognized on the street! Bob was just horrid. Totally unprofessional,
sloppy, his band couldn't play worth beans and I understood one word in
the first 25 minutes, well, maybe two, depending on whether you consider
"New York" one word or two. I am afraid any young MBA will see this as
bolstering his/her position that someone with 45+ years experience can NOT
get the job done. I may have to have AARP sue him, on our behalf!
PS I have been following your site up to this date, just relishing the
chance to see Bob. I was very disappointed.
Marshall wrote this follow-up on July 18th.
With all due respect to Derek and Trevor, the show was not good. I was so
sorry to admit this fact, since I am a complete Dylan fanatic, though not
an idol worshipper of any sort. One should strain to understand the
meaning, not the lyric. The lyric lasts but a syllable or two while the
thinking goes on forever, as long as the lyric is discernible from the
onset. The lyric, too, may be presented within any context the artist
wishes to set it in, but, this too was a failure on Bob's and his band's
part. I've listened to Sandy Denny cover Dylan and who knows how many
other thousands of versions and artists, all expressed as the artist
wishes. That is the mark of a solid song and the mark of even a more
solid, and brilliant writer, such as Dylan is, of course. A performer,
though, that's iffy, at best. When I spend money, and we spent good money
for this, I expect something in return. This time, Nothing was Delivered.
Between Love and Theft, this was theft. I did not, however,
pitch my CDs out the window of my car on our return home. I love the
records, always have and always will and that is the reason I wanted to
see him. Not because he was going to perform just like the record. That
would bore me to tears. But, the hope that he would re-invent the songs
and present them with authority escaped him, this night, maybe due to a
Simple Twist of Fate.
Review by Derek Caldwell
I attended the Indy 7/15/07 show a couple days ago, and I've got to tell
you, it was GREAT. I read the reviews on this site and was a little
curious as to which concert Marshall Walker saw, but this one was
great...unless of course you are one of those "fans" who only own the
greatest hits and expect this 60+ man to still sound like that. In that
case, you wouldn't like the show. But for the true fans, it was great! His
voice sounded great and was very clear all night (Rainy Day Women started
off a little shaky...). The band was in full swing. This is the 9th time I
saw him, and is definately in a tie with two other shows as being the best
I've ever been to. He seems to get better with age...
Highlights, according to me, included:
-It Aint Me Babe, which once again sounded completely different. That's
another thing I love about Bob, it's like brand new music every time I see
him! -It's Alright Ma, Bob was in fine vocal form here. -Lay Lady Lay, it
was longer than usual, but I could have listened to it for another hour.
Very beautiful. -Rollin' and Tumblin', it had a carnival feel to it, very
vaudeville. Bob's keyboard had kind of a carnival sound to it all night,
which I thought was very cool. The song rocked, kind of the way "Dirt Road
Blues" rocks on TOOM. A cool groove by the band, and creepy organ in the
background. -Moonlight, gorgeous -Tangled Up in Blue, just beautiful
-Honest With Me, this was great because they dropped that repetitive
guitar part that was on after every verse...that part was one reason I
never really looked forward to hearing this song live even though the
lyrics are awesome, but this time it was just more straight ahead rock,
and it helped the song. GREAT version! -Spirit on the Water, Even better
than the album version, some fine harmonica work here (he was also great
on the harmonica all night!), and the phrasing was perfect. The last part
of the song about being over the hill and past his prime had people
yelling "no!!!". And it's obvious he's not after this night! -Nettie
Moore, also better than the album version. This was such a great version
of the song...I can't even explain it. I just hope everyone gets a chance
to hear it live like this. Words can't explain the majestic nature of this
song on that night. It blew me away.
Every song on this night was awesome, the highlights above are ones
that just stood out and surprised me for one reason or another. Easily one
of the best Bob concerts I've been to, maybe even THE best. GO SEE HIM
LIVE ON THIS TOUR!
With that said, I do have one complaint: no corny jokes about winshield
vipers or anything of the sorts ;-)
Review by Trevor Townson
Apologies, said that I would never review a gig I have not bin2.
Even cancelled a review or two to ones that I have bin2.
But Marshall Walker hey, every one got an opinion and may be for you it
was true but what fan would believe it. Patetic ensemble is so, so, very,
very, very unkind. Bob never had such good support from such a fantastic
talented, TALENTED band. I believe that they support him so well. Even if
they were at their very, very worst - even then they would not desreve
that and would still be BRILLIANT. Dylan even if played crap would be
brilliant and I never heard it played crap ever. Not the worlds best
expert, just a fan like most others reading. Bob just does not deserve a
review like that ever. No one could give as much as "He does". Come on
people of Indianapolis let us know, was it that bad, the World (&UK)
don't believe it. What always gets me thinking at any Bob gig is "I need
to be there, he don't" - whats that about? Just - Trust Yourself -
Brilliant. Catch you Bob and the Band later in the year if I am LUCKY,
even if "crap"! - BRILLIANT and very, very, very appreciated. Will not
shout out again during a performance (my sincere apologies), unless of
course Nettie Moore, no guarantees - BRILLIANT!!!!
Review by David Moore
Coming off of last year's "Ballpark Tour", I mistakenly figured I new what
to expect this year. While those run of shows were spectacular in
themselves, I recall walking away disillusioned by the utter lack of fan
support... we're talking about only 3,000+ people each night. This year I
found myself back at a nice outdoor amphitheater event, "The Lawn at White
River" next to the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. A VERY nice venue, with
beautiful scenery and landscapes. We had great weather too, magically
setting everything up to be a fabulous evening.
So here comes Bobby (grey hat this time)... with Grammy prominently
displayed like always. I had already cheated and did some online reading,
so I knew to expect a little guitar play to open things up. I'll tell you
right now, the first six pieces he strung together were absolutely amazing
(Bobby on guitar for the first five)! First came "Rainy Day Women #12 &
35", and I have to admit, I did my part to help add to the general aroma
floating around in the winds... as the song of course tells us to do.
Seeing Bobby play some guitar was nice, it added some extra flavor that's
been missing for a few years now. He kept "Rainy Day" pretty much
textbook, and then blended in real nice to "It Ain't Me, Babe". This was
the first of many songs that I consider to be "60 second" pieces...
meaning that it took me (and surely everyone else) at least 60 seconds to
figure out what was even being played! I have never heard this piece go
in the direction where it went last night... really beyond description.
His playing was strong, and voice pleasantly melodic for the most part.
The arrangements are "soft" to begin with, so that he doesn't have to
strain himself vocally. Third up was "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues"... and
I'll go ahead and ruin everything by saying this was my personal top piece
of the night. This song has just always struck me in a certain way (I'm
sure you understand), and I also didn't expect him to even play it. The
arrangement would've blow you away, and he turned it into something that I
will always remember. "When you're lost in Juarez - and it's Easter time
tooo"... enough said... too bad you missed it if you weren't in the area.
Next was the same fourth song since 1927... "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only
Bleeding). It's hard to mess this song up, and the crowd was really
feeling it and getting involved. This might be weird, but I think I
preferred him on the piano for this one rather than on the guitar... but
hell, I might change my mind tomorrow. That's what happens when you try
to start comparing live performances, really a pointless exercise in the
end. Well I digress... Bobby slid this right into a crazy "Lay, Lady,
Lay" afterwards, really working that guitar over real good on this one.
This was just plain "cool"... a nice, slow, insane arrangement. I
remember marking this one with double "**"'s on my setlist, probably the
second or third best of the night. The guitar now disappears, as Bobby
gets ready to pound the keys. First up was "Rollin' & Tumblin'", and they
just absolutely jammed this one into the stars. Another one of the
highlights for the night, no questions asked. Even if you didn't
particulary care for the "Modern Times" version... you would've been
shaking to this one.
The next two I sat back and just chilled with, "Moonlight" & "Highway 61
Revisited". These just didn't catch me the right way for whatever reason,
but I'm sure somebody out there liked them. I needed a little rest
anyway... Number nine was "Tangled Up In Blue", which was another takeaway
highlight for the night. Good song, good arrangement, good performance,
good everything. We all felt this one, the place was just going wild.
But alas, little did I know this was to be the last "tour de force" of the
show (excluding the encores). I don't know if it was me, him, Zeus,
Budda, or what... but ten through fifteen just couldn't keep me awake for
any length of time. The run was "Honest With Me > Spirit On The Water > I
Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) > Nettie Moore >
Summer Days > I Shall Be Released". Let's at least give an honorable
mention to "Don't Believe" & "Nettie Moore", as they both had brief
glimpses of the cosmos and beyond. But for the most part, the second half
was plain mediocre all the way around. But that's okay... because to me
the first half made up for it (and then some). Plus, we all don't like
the same stuff anyway... right? That's what makes Bobby what he is... the
broad spectrum that he creates, therefore compelling and pulling everyone
into his rainbow. Even if I feel let down by a certain song performance,
I'm sure there are two hippie chicks behind me thrilled to death (and vice
versa). So take my review for it is... a biased, honest fan account!
Standard encores of "Thunder On The Mountain" & "All Along The
Watchtower". Both were hot, and I didn't even mind seeing "Watchtower"
for the umpteenth time. "Thunder" came off very well... he'll be jamming
this one for years to come. Good stuff here, it's nice to end the evening
with such a positive vibe about yourself and the world around you. The
venue was great, and I'm glad that I got yet another chance to witness and
be part of an ever-changing history. The fan turnout was tremendous...
it made me proud. After last year's empty baseball stadiums, it made me
feel good that so many people were there to support Bobby. Almost brought
a tear to my eye...
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