Reviews

Essex Junction, Vermont

Champlain Valley Exposition (CVE)
Grandstand

July 17, 2009


[Steve], [Nancy]

Review by Steve



Itís good to see Bob playing some guitar and at least half facing the
audience when heís on keyboard.  In the darkness between songs you can see
him shuffling papers in the glow of the little light over his keyboard. 
Is he finally having a little trouble remember all those lyrics? He's in
great singing form, full of feeling but never overdone.

Everyone in the band in black coats and black hats, except Dylan in a
white flat brimmed number, sequins on his shirt collar, sparkles on his
guitar and a glittering ring on each hand.  The haphazard shows of the 80s
are a distant memory.  These days even the wardrobe is worked out - to
great effect.

What sinks in after a while is what an incredible band this is, anchored
by Garnier and Recile.  Donnie Herron never takes his eyes off Dylanís
hands.  There are all sorts of intricate things happening around a groove
thatís as solid as Vermont granite. Dylanís got the keyboard set to
Ďorganí and it adds a lot to the bandís sound. In one earlier review
someone says guitarists Kimball and Freeman arenít any good because
theyíre not taking solos.  This band isnít about solos.  Compared to these
guys, Mellencampís band is just a showy rock Ďn roll clichť.

In my mind nothing beats the band that had Charlie Sexton and Larry
Campbell and the sets that opened acoustically Ė but in 30 years of seeing
Dylan, this was a helluva good  show.

This was my first Willie sighting.  It was great be in the presence of
such a wonderful soul and great songwriter.  He finished with Moonlight in
Vermont.  Nice touch.

Did I mention Mellencamp?  Oh, yea.  I did.

Steve in Vermont
 

[TOP]

Review by Nancy



Not sure if this is how to add a review but I'll give it a try.  The
weather was iffy and threatening - nothing new this summer in New England.
 It didn't dampen my spirits a bit as I was with my sister, who introduced
me to Dylan's music when we were kids in the 60's.  This was the second
time we'd seen Dylan at this venue and we really love it.  It has a great
feel and there's nothing like hearing music flying out into the night as
opposed to an enclosed stadium.  I'm not a Willie Nelson fan so didn't get
much from his set but could see that others really enjoyed him and he
seemed to be enjoying himself.  I found John Mellencamp and his band to be
a nice surprise.  He is a showman, and some find that cheesy, but I
appreciate a performer who gets out there and makes a show of it.  That's
his job, right?    I liked his band, especially his violinist.  She adds
some flavor and I always like to see a woman rocking with the band.  But
let's face it - I'm here to see Dylan.  While they prepped the stage for
Dylan, I kept my eyes on his tour bus to see if I could see him and the
band mount the stage.  I was in the 5th row of seats on the ground, on the
left as you face the stage so the buses were parked right in front of us. 
It was pretty dark by now but I could see guys in black hats and black
suits getting off the bus... and one fellow with a white hat.  They took
the stage in the dark and lit up with "Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat."  That's
a great opening and I was thrilled to see Bob, in the white hat, with his
guitar, playing in the middle of the stage.  I'm not a musician so can't
dissect the songs like some of the reviewers but I'll just say that in
spite of a light rain throughout the set it was magical for me.  I loved
the versions of "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," "Things Have Changed," and "I
Feel a Change Comin' On."  "Highway 6l" totally knocked me out and I think
the band is awesome - I don't care what anyone says about missing Charlie
Sexton.  Dylan's keyboard was facing our way so we could see him very well
and he sure seemed to enjoy himself with lots of smiles.  It was fun to
watch his hands and see how he directs the band.  I had one
disappointment.  When he started to play "If You Ever Go to Houston" I was
psyched because my name is Nancy and on the recording he says "If you see
her sister Nancy..."  So I was waiting for that and then he went and
replaced it with Betsy!  OK, just a very personal, silly thing.  Loved the
encore of LARS and "All Along the Watchtower."  I can never hear it too
much.  At the end of the show he said "Thank you, friends" before joining
the band in the middle of the stage to accept the ovation, nodding, with
outstretched arms.  My sister and I loved that since we plan to be
Together Through Life and going to see Bob Dylan whenever we can.  

Nancy
Amherst, MA
 

[TOP]

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