July 16, 2007
Review by Mike Mahoney
Tough night. Bad vibes.
It started with a weekend piece prior to Monday's show from the local
newspaper music critic saying, hey, you never know what you'll get in a
Bob Dylan show. Fair enough. But then most of his quotes were from folks
that said--my paraphrase "Gee, I can't hear the words".... Jesus! Hey pick
up! Britany is on the phone for ya! Follow that with--from my
perspective---midway up to the right- a tepid crowd. Saw a woman near me
in a black dress really getting off on this show and got no support-- felt
sorry for her.I was 3 rows back and tried to help, but it didn't happen.
However, Great job down front Bobcats. The following comes from the only
show I'll see this tour, but I read the reviews here closely and heard
some shows. God Bless You Tapers! OK...It was a Cat's in the Well show. On
a hot midwestern evening Zimm bopped along with this one OK, but his voice
was gravelly (sp?). How 'bout warming up a bit Zimm, heh? Still it was
GREAT to see him play guitat again. Great. #2 was Lay Lady Lay, a suprise
in this slot for me. I like Donnie Herron's versatility. This is where the
show started. #3 was Watching the River Flow, a personal favorite. And by
God, I believe I saw & heard Zimm plunk out some lead guitar. It wasn't
long. It wasn't great but there he was. Long time, pal, welcome back (as
long as he doesn't go into that extended 3 note stuff from the past.).
Girll from the North Country was re-arranged into some sort of pop melody
that included a little upsinging and removed the saddness and longing
that make this a beautiful song. Nice try Zimm, but a swing and a miss.
The only part of any interest is when he grabbed the wrong harp for the
solo and had to scramble to find the right one. Now on to something I
like. TheLevee's Gonna Break. The 1st MT song. This is what I came for, a
solid redition that did not disappoint. Band was into it, he changed the
lyrics slightly at then first but I did not catch enough of it to quote.
Band was very strong. His vocals loosened up, now we're cooking!
I'm not gonna go thru every song, but I wanted to bring this up. Shelter
From the Storm. I saw this in New England last summer. I thought it
sucked. It sounded like an old crooner's love song from the 1950's. What I
heard--I now realize---was a song in the re-making. Tonight's 'Shelter'
was wonderful! He has turned the BOT account which is almost a blow by
blow of a love affair gone by---into a sad, sad remorseful account of a
love slipped through his fingers. The line 'Suddenly I turned around..."
was a pleading, mournful cry. The song is a heartbreaker. Perhaps one of
the most emotional versions of a Bob Dylan song I've EVER HEARD (35-40
shows) It was brilliant! The KC tape is worth it if only for this!.
Wonderful! Since he was in KC, and 'High Water' has a KC reference, this
was a natural. It's one my favorites, anyway, and it was done well, with
the banjo intro. A very solid job Just Like a Woman followed . This is
where I now understand about people bitching about the drums and the
guitar. I don't know if it was the players; or the mix, but they stomped
all over Dylan's harp in the solo. Come On! But it was a nice version and
once again, the Kansas City Audience (in my section) rose almost a full
inch off their chairs! Briefly, both 'Stuck in Mobile' and 'Hwy 61' need
to go to the bullpen for a while. God I love these songs, but tonight
there was no life in them. Let's put them aside, eh? 'Spirit in the Water'
was nice, it sounded a bit rushed, but I came for MT's song, and here's
another one ...so, I'm OK... Tonight, 'When the Deal Goes Down' was a
show stopper. In the bad way. It followed the up-tempo 'Spirit in the
Water' and 'Hwy 61' and then 'Deal' hit the friggin' wall. This was
suposed to be the Nettie Moore spot, right? Zimm, move it someplace else.
The redemption was a solid, very electric Ballad of A Thin Man. Maybe one
of the best I've heard sine the '74 tour--really. Well, it had to be good
becuase it was the end of the regular set. But a nice way to go. Thunder
On the Mountian started the encore. It was a good as I hoped. Then a real
good version of the old warhorse, 'Watchtower'. Did I have a good time?
Absolutley! Did I hear what I consider an interesting set list? Not
really. 4 songs from MT--but 2 of them, I hoped, should have been
'Nettie' and 'Someday'... I hope he's back in the Fall. He can do better,
so can KC.
Review by Jack
Bob Dylan put on an amazing show at the Starlight last night
in Kansas City. He was tremendously
focused from the first song to the last, and his fine band was right there
riding the wave of sheer brilliance emanating from the master.
George and Tony were enjoying themselves immensely and Denny
Freeman played some absolutely killer guitar throughout. Bob’s guitar work
on the first songs was also very impressive, as well as the several
harmonica solos he played in the course of the evening.
His performance conveyed a certain power and conviction that
isn’t always present at every one of his shows, certainly not from start
to finish. Whatever it is that allows him to step up to this level of
brilliance from time to time, over so many years, is awe inspiring.
It might have had a lot to do with the hat, but something
about his stage presence hearkened back to the performance footage in
“Renaldo and Clara”. The crowd witnessed a performer in total command of
his powers, firing on all cylinders, sizzling with pure talent and singing
every word with feeling.
Every song was really a highlight, but by the time the band
was finishing up “Summer Days” they'd reached an incredible peak that I’m
not even sure was matched during the Cambell/Sexton band era. And then
they kicked into “Thin Man”. As far as I’ve seen that’s the only time he’s
played that on this tour- we’ll never know what made him pull it out to
end the set last night but it was one of the single greatest Dylan
performances I’ve ever witnessed or heard.
Hopefully most of the crowd there last night knew exactly
what it was that was happening, but some probably would have had a better
time breaking out the record player and a copy of “Greatest Hits” while
cranking up the AC at home. It’d be nice if those folks would resist the
urge to go out and pollute the crowd with their brooding detachment and
fierce insistence that a rock and roll concert is best experienced sitting
down as still as possible. Bob likes people standing and dancing at his
shows- maybe he should put that on a sign and plaster it up throughout the
venues he graces where it's not possible to have a standing-room General
Admission area in front.
On a good night like yesterday there’s no performer around
shouting the word “Now” more loudly than Bob Dylan. Thanks Bob, and
thanks to this site- can’t wait for Red Rocks.
Review by John Pruski
Last night's Bob Dylan show at the outdoor Starlight Theatre in Swope Park
(City Park) in Kansas City was my first Dylan show since the three shows I saw
in April 2006, my first where I noticed Denny playing only a solid-body guitar,
and my first since the rearranged positioning on stage of the band members
(Denny and Tony to the audience left of George, Stu on the audience right
of George). More importantly it was my first Dylan show since the release of
Modern Times, and Bob's new songs were well-received, as were Jimmy
Vaughan-Lou Ann Barton and band, the night's opening act.
Bob's show featured as usual four songs from Modern Times and two songs
from Love And Theft, and indeed the two loudest cheers from the crowd
seemed to be after High Water's "Kansas City" and Spirit on the Water's
"whomping [sic?] good time" verses. Last year, after the second of two
Midland Theatre shows in Kansas City, I remarked on these pages that I then
expected Bob to perform High Water in Kansas City. Although the welcome
High Water was indeed played last night, I nevertheless thought last night's
show was equally noteworthy for the several older slower sentimental songs
(Lay Lady Lay, Girl from the North Country, Shelter from the Storm, Just like
a Woman) as well as for being the first show on this tour not featuring It's
Alright Ma, which was seemingly replaced later in the main set in the number
seven slot by the similar-feeling High Water.
Perhaps these sentimentals (Bob has the ladies in the palm of his hand last
night when he played Lay Lady Lay in the number two slot) were played
because of the venue -a Broadway play or Shakespearean family-style
amphitheatre that seemed to draw an older crowd- or perhaps I was among
the few to feel that more than the usual number of love songs were
performed. On the other hand, one could say that beaucoup "Thin Wild
Mercury Music" -style songs were played: Thin Man closing out the main set
for the only time this tour and also Bob's earlier singing of Memphis Blues
Again and HW 61.
Bob's Band sound-checked at about 5:15 PM with Watching the River Flow,
which was highlighted in the formal show in the number three slot, after
which, as I remember, Bob switched from guitar to keyboards. Also, Bob
played plenty of very nice harp last night, which is always a treat. Bob did
not play LARS in Kansas City, although the main set ended with equally
strong Thin Man and the encores included Thunder on the Mountain and
Watchtower. Other final things of note is that Bob introduced the band
(I guess the different-looking gentleman on pedal steel really is Donnie)
between the two encore numbers and Bob and Band stood in formation
(this year with Bob well out in front) only once, after the encores. All in
all last night's show was great and presumably on par with others from
this tour. Many Thanks to Bob and Band for a great night and for keeping
Review by Zack Williams
I attended my 2nd ever Dylan show(first was 10/27/04) in last night in
KC. I went with my dad and it was his first show. He was originally
going to see Dylan 15-16 years ago, but couldn't take his camera into
the ampetheater and didn't want to have to walk all the way back again,
so he didn't go. After the cross state drive we arrived at the beautiful
Starlight Theater. We both thought it was a great venue upon looking
around. Before the concert started while my dad was eating I wandered
around and found the merchandise table. I was going to get the poster
but the lines were way too long. Anyways we started toward our seats and
after some wandering all the way to the top from some bad directions we
started all the way back down and I saw a 2nd table with hardly anyone
there. So I spent a minute or two and got the poster before heading
toward my seat. Jimmie Vaughn arrived on stage at 7:15 and played for 45
minutes. It was pretty good and the four piece band seemed to produce
more sound than from Dylan's band. But I can see how people complain
that it does all sound the same. Plus my dad said it wasn't very hard
the licks and the notes he was playing... Thankfully by the time Bob got
on stage at 8:30 the sun had disappeared behind trees. Early on it truly
was the 'starlight' theater as the sun was brightly shining. After only
three numbers, Bob switched from the guitar to his keyboard. It seemed a
shame. He seems more powerful with his Strat. I wish he'd switch back
and forth more. My dad noted that he'd like Stu's job, in that he didn't
seem to do much. Furthering fuel that he should get a keyboard or piano
For the concert? I was expecting Cats in the Well after Rainy Day Women
was played the night before for the opener. I was mainly hoping for
different songs than I'd seen previously in Columbia. After the first
eight numbers I was doing good. But then we got Stuck Inside of Mobile
and Ballad of a Thin Man, in addition to the more expected tunes of
Summer Days and Highway 61.
Highlights for me were getting to see Lay, Lady, Lay and Just Like A
Woman. Shelter from the Storm was probably the best song of the evening.
Dylan sounded a lot better than when I saw him at Hearnes Center. Of
course I'm a fan now and recognize the songs better... I'll admit I like
his older stuff mostly and this was the first time I'd heard his Modern
Times stuff. Wasn't too bad. Levee's Gonna Break was good, Spirit on
the Water got the reaction with the "we'll have a whopping good time,"
line, When the Deal Goes Down and Thunder on the Mountain weren't that
great, at least compared to the rest.
I was disappointed when Ballad of a Thin Man started, but when he
started the harmonica solo it helped make the song. And likewise was
hoping for Blowin in the Wind or at least LARS instead of All Along the
Watchtower. It sounded okay, but again I can see how people clamor for
this one to be retired. I think it would be interesting as an opening
tune. As for my dad he was disappointed. He was expecting more of the
"greatest hits." It's a valid point. He didn't play any of the big
three, LARS, BitW or Knockin' on Heaven's Door, as well as many others.
How many other performers have the gall to do this? Of course Dylan
stopped playing BitW in the mid 60's and this is part of what makes up
his mystery. He does what he wants.
Overall it was a good show, I enjoyed it more this time being a bigger
Dylan fan. Likewise I was somewhat disappointed with what was played,
more to the fact of hearing some of the same songs again. And it would
have nice to hear some of the other classics. But I guess thats for the
Review by Darby Lynch
i'm speechless. i'm not sure how to describe what i saw last night. it was
me, my best friend, and his girlfriend arrived a little late to the show.
after making a few wrong turns and ending up in kansas, we finally made it
to the show. we arrived at 7:15. we were not searched at all by security -
two older ladies who were running around frantically trying to catch
everyone. we had a pair of binoculars with us. they didn't seem to mind
about them. i did happen to see other ladies having their purses gone
through extensively. we were told "all cell phones are to be turned off
during the performance".
as we were walking in, jimmy vaughn was being introduced. perfect timing.
we grabbed our seats and was ready to hear the blues. i'm not sure how to
describe jimmy. in a nut shell, he wasn't very good. he played every song
capoed in the key of e-blues. i'm not a guitar player, but from what i've
heard, it's the easiest possible way to play the blues. jimmy played for
about 45 minutes to an hour. i was ready for him to leave.
bob took the stage from what i remember around 8:40 or so. it was
indescribable how i felt. the energy from the crowd was high. i had
forgotten about the smell of nog champa. it was very sweet and very
unique. then 'hoe down' started!
cat's in the well - was a good opener, but i was wishing for something
different. the band was solid and i knew we were in for a real treat. as i
was looking over the band, i noticed that stu kimball came on with his
dress shirt untucked with his suit. not a big deal. he just looked a
little more relaxed then the rest of the band.
lay lady lay - as we were walking into the seating area, i saw the set
list on the soundboard. so i knew this one was coming. i hadn't ever seen
this song live and i'm glad i did. as we were skimming over the band i
noticed that bob had on a wedding ring! i'm heard that he may have a
girlfriend but nobody really knows. well, i guess he's married. at least
he was last night.
watching the river flow - the band did great on this song, but i could
have did without it. would have much rather heard it's alright ma. o well!
security was tighter than fort knox. we were on the front row of our
section. every 10 feet or so was a security person sitting on a chair
facing the crowd. watched like hawks. a little awkward. george removed his
suit jacket at the beginning of this tune. he was the only one to do this
tonight. come to think of it, he's the only one who ever does this.
girl of the north country - was a beautiful rendition. don herron sounded
very nice on this. bob took a harp solo in the usually spot. he played a
few notes then stopped. turned around and got his other harp. must have
had the wrong harp for that key.
the levee's gonna break - great to hear the first MT song of the night. it
got a little redundant. but bob sounded great as he growled his way
shelter from the storm - was one of the biggest highlights of the night.
sounded great. very soft and slow. was really a nice treat.
high water - one of my favorite dylan tunes. it started softer than they
have been doing it. then it grew as it went. "made it to kansas city.
twelfth street & vine. high water everywhere." i was thinking bob would
pull this one out due to that line. it was awesome as the crowd cheered
after that line.
just like a woman - not much to say here. it was good
stuck inside of memphis - again, not too much to say. it was good, but
nothing to brag about. bob sure has one tight band, i'll say that.
spirit on the water - tony and george really had fun on this number.
laughing and having a great time throughout the song. it was nice to see
them enjoying themselves.
highway 61 revisited - we had a rocking good time on this number. george
laid down the groove from the beginning and it grew into a monster. right
after bob would growl......"down on highwaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy
sixtyyyyyyyyyyyyyyone" they did a nice little light show on the back
curtain. nothing special but it was out of the ordinary. looked like some
spotlights doing and 8 motion.
when the deal goes down - another nice ballad. band was tight and
summer days - was hoping to avoid the tune but i wasn't so fortunate. as
they played this number the volume rose. that was nice. i could feel the
bass drum in my chest. it was true rock 'n roll.
ballad of a thin man - this was unexpected but i was glad to hear it. the
band would go off on little jams here an there. it was great. very loud
and in your face. a+. after this tune the band left for a bit. it seemed a
little long for an encore. some of us got tired from yelling.
thunder on the mountain - as they started this one and the lights came up.
the curtain on the background dropped and there was the "kings eye". very
cool effect. it was nice to hear this great song. on the album version,
after they start the groove, bob waits a few bars to come in with the
vocals. tonight he came in right away. we missed the line "thunder on the
mountain" do to the band coming in and getting situated. but it all worked
out. stu kimball was having fun on this song. his right foot was kinda
doing an elvis thing. side to side kind of bounce. it made me chuckle.
after this tune, bob introduced the band in the same old way.
all along the watchtower - out of all the dylan songs, i was hoping to
hear this one. one of my favorites. always will be. it seemed a little
slower than usual. but it was loud and wonderful. the song ended and the
band came out for the "bob stare." after a few moments of this, bob made
sort of a 'gun' with his thumb and index finger. he shot someone!
it was a great night and ended all to quickly. it was a great outdoor
concert at the perfect venue. all is good.
blessings to you all~
Review by Tammy Nates
The Starlight Theatre was in a beautiful setting. It was one of the most scenic
concert venues that I've attended. We arrived early and by a stroke of luck, a
security guard gave us a tour of the facility. The weather was hot but
eventually cooled off once the sun started to set. We purchased tickets in
the producers circle and had a great view of the stage a little to stage left.
Jimmie Vaughn started at 7:15 and played for about 45 minutes. He was much
better than I anticipated (he was very disappointing in a previous concert) and
really jammed on the guitar. My husband actually met Billie (guitar player) at the
airport on our way home and talked with him about the concert for a few
minutes. Nice guy!!
Bob came out at 8:30 dressed in a sharp-looking black suit and white hat. He
started out singing Cat's in The Well, which is not one my favorites, but he
sounded pretty good. After a few minutes, his voice warmed up and was strong
and clear for most of the evening. The band also looked great in gray suits and
hats. The stage was set with Bob's keyboard to stage left. His Grammy was
placed on stage as well, and the aroma of incense was strong. Our seats were
in the 5th row and we had a good view of Bob. He danced and wiggled his hips
around often during the concert. (But no smiles or laughter tonight)
Bob sang several of my favorites, "Stuck inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues
Again", "Lay, Lady, Lay", and "Ballad of A Thin Man". However, one of his best
songs last night was "Highway 61 Revisited". He absolutely rocked with this
song!!! Another surprise was "Girl of The North Country". Bob sang this one
beautifully. It was such a sweet rendition of this song. It actually brought tears
to my eyes as well as "When the Deal Goes Down". Bob really seemed to put
his heart into these two songs. He must have been in a mellow mood. The
audience responded well to his music, especially when he played the harmonica.
I was also glad to actually hear him play the guitar for the first four songs.
However, the Band seemed a little off last night except for Donnie, who
sounded great on the lap steel.
The encore was good and everyone was on their feet with excitement and
applause!!! Bob didn't say anything to the audience (which is typical) except
to introduce the band. They ended the show by lining up at center stage for
a few minutes. Bob held onto a microphone stand with his left hand and held
up his right hand in a "royal wave" gesture, and then they walked off stage.
I love his dramatic endings.
I also want to mention that the audience was a mixture of generations. Older fans
from the 60's, middle age fans, and quite a few young fans. I sat next to a girl from
Iowa who was 22 years old, and she told me that she had already been to 12 Bob
Dylan concerts. What a fan!!!
Overall, a very good concert!!! I can't wait until the next show!!!! Bob, we love
you!!!! Keep on rocking...
Review by Steve Graue
When we arrived at Starlight Theater about six o'clock, the gates had not
yet opened so we took up a place in the shade to get out of the hot sun.
About ten minutes later, a nice lady announced to us that there would be
none of this and none of that allowed, opened the gate and we all dutifully
filed into Gate 7 of the beautifully renovated and functionally efficient
Starlight venue. At first I thought I was at an Amway convention, what
with all of the older gray-headed overweight fifty year old-plus patrons at
the food and beverage court. (Not that I don't fit into that category
myself.) So we had a couple of rounds of Kansas City's finest beer,
Boulevard Pale Ale, until we heard the opening sounds of Jimmy Vaughan.
Now, Kansas City is the home of Jazz and the home of Blues and Jimmy
Vaughan really had a great show for us on his last appearance with this tour.
Some hometown folks might have been a bit put off by the Texan slang and
drawl, especially by the lady singer who sounded like she just got out of a
pickup truck and walked on stage to sing for us, but folks, this was some
really hot new-century 1950's blues bar blues complete with chicken-scratch
guitar and back-scratchin' vocals.
From our seats about fifteen rows back and off to the right we had a good
line of sight due to the aisles in front of us and the band was set up like this:
Denny, far left looking straight on at Bob, Tony likewise on base, George left
of center, Donny back and right of center, Stu far right and behind Bob, and
Bob just a shade right of center stage. Denny and Stu anchored the sides
dressed in gray suits with bowler hats. If they had on shades they could h
ave passed for the Blues Brothers in gray. The rest of the band also dressed
in gray with Bob dressed in a dark suit with a wide brimmed white hat.
I owe Stu Kimball an apology from the last Kansas City review that I wrote
where I predicted that he wouldn't last another two shows because of what
appeared to be rancor between him and Bob. As disconcerting as that show
at the Midland Theater was, this show was right on because all of a sudden
six people on stage at Starlight became one musician. With one exception
early on in the show, the band was tight and together with each part trading
off and complementing all of the others. To a trained musician or critic it may
have presented itself differently but from my point of view if you can't tell
who is playing the lead (i.e. Was it Stu, Denny, Donny or Bob on lead guitar?)
then either the sound is way too distorted or the musicians are finely tuned
into each other. This band reached the pinnacle of unity and presentation
during this entire concert. Now, there is a curious thing about the structure
of the setlist. If you go down through the list and pick out the even
numbered songs you will discover that the pattern is for those songs to be
more laid back than the odds. The odd numbered songs had a tendency
toward distortion of Bob's vocals where the even numbered ones had the
vocal mix nearly perfect. For instance, you could hear the vocals perfectly
on Spirit On The Water and When The Deal Goes Down (the two highlights
of the evening for me) but not so well on Highway 61 Revisited and Summer
Days. These songs presented themselves as a more holistic rock and roll
montage or, perhaps a better way to put it, as a gestalt band experience
where the vocals became a blended part of the whole. This was a great
concert and perhaps the best Bob Dylan concert I have seen. I will have to
reflect on it for a few days as the songs still linger in my mind.
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