July 18, 2011
Review by Keith Little
This was my twentieth Bob Dylan concert. I know there are folks who read these
pages that see that many shows on one tour, but I’m still proud of my
“20,” and think I deserve some kind of badge or something. But, on with the
The standard introductory announcement began about 2 minutes after 8:00, during
which the house lights went from full on to dark. Much of the crowd was caught
off guard; still standing and chatting at show time. Bob seemed to be happy (by
Bob standards); not necessarily smiling between songs, but between verses.
During the band intros, he introduced drummer George Recile as “Gorgeous
George,” which cracked up bass player Tony Garnier. Although Dylan has gotten
over his past habit of rushing through songs, tonight he seemed particularly
relaxed and willing to take his time. His keyboard playing was evident in the
mix, and surprisingly accomplished. The members of the band kept a keen eye on
Bob – suggesting that he still likes to change things around during a song
with little warning to them.
The show opened with “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat,” a crowd-pleasing nod to
Bob’s golden early years. “It Ain’t Me, Babe” continued the salute to
the Sixties. Moving forward in time, and to the center of the stage, Dylan
rocked out with “Things Have Changed” – and the audience loved it. He
kept a harmonica in hand during this song, but never played it. That happened
often – as if he doesn’t know when the urge to play will come. Donnie
Herron played pedal steel guitar (as he did for most of the show) during “If
You Ever Go to Houston,” and contributed to the song’s enjoyable lazy
country shuffle feel. Bob strapped on the electric guitar for the first time
for “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’.” He stayed standing in the middle of the
stage, but without guitar, for a much-appreciated and relaxed “Tangled Up in
Blue.” Bob again donned his guitar for a spirited “Tweedle Dee & Tweedle
Dum.” Remaining center stage, but again losing the guitar, he launched into
“Sugar Baby.” This time he played his still-held harp for a few seconds at
the end of the song, after finishing the last vocal.
A spirited “Summer Days” had the crowd on it’s feet – and the security
guards still attempting to chase dancing concert-goers back to their seats.
Next came “Desolation Row.” We got seven of the original 10 verses. When
was the last time Dylan performed all 10 verses – on the record? It’s great
to hear Bob still toying with the phrasing of his songs – one of his lesser
celebrated talents. The crowd was back on its feet for a relaxed, but driving,
“Highway 61 Revisited.” Bob then put his guitar back on for the third and
last time of the night and played “Simple Twist of Fate.” This artist is
not known for “giving his audience what they want,” but his song selection
tonight sure pleased the audience. The build up to “Thunder on the
Mountain” got the crowd’s attention. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t
think his work of the last decade is as well-known to his general fans as his
older material. None-the-less, the crowd was willing to listen to everything
he played! To close out the concert proper, Bob moved to center-stage and sang
“Ballad of a Thin Man.” The audience knew this one! And loved it. The
song had an echo effect placed over it, which seemed unnecessary; but was
interesting. We also got a great harmonica accompaniment. And then the band
After a couple of minutes of cheering, the band returned for the encore. This
began with the crowd-favorite, “Like a Rolling Stone.” Again Bob changed
his phrasing during this song. Then he spoke for the only time during the night
with, “Thank you everybody,” and continued with band introductions. He and
the band rocked hard, as usual, on “All Along the Watchtower.” This song,
it seems to me, gets the most consistently varied arrangements and this held
true tonight. Oddly enough, I noticed Dylan kept the back of his left hand
pressed against his hip with his elbow protruding during the intro and other
parts of this song, even as he played keyboards with his right hand. Was he
fighting a pain in his hand, or was he striking a “sassy” pose?? I don’t
So far, other USA shows of this tour featured “Blowing in the Wind” for the
last number. We didn’t get that. Didn’t we clap enough? Did his hand
hurt? Didn’t Bob like us? Does he STILL hold a grudge for the excessive
booing during his two 1979 “born again” shows in Tempe?!! I don’t know.
But I do know that I left knowing that we’d seen a great show.
Review by Louie Parilla
I went to see a Bob Dylan Concert last night in Phoenix.
I never saw him perform before. It was my first time.
I know Bob is a legend and his classic lyrics are the standard for all
those in the music industry to shoot for. His wisdom about life is
why his fans love him & other singers honor him by singing his songs .
He had a special presence about him as he was on the stage last night .
His movements and versatility, his ability to play different musical
instruments are one of a kind especially the harmonica.
I will not criticize the man Bob Dylan because he is unique,
has a gift from G-d, his personal testimony of his life experiences,
Jesus/Yeshua transforming him. Through it all, he has had an incredible
career and touched so many in 5 decades. Last night, at 70, he still has
got what it takes, but I just wish you could have been better able to
hear his voice more clearly. I think it was a mechanical & technical
problem overlooked & no adjustment was made throughout the
concert. The music was too loud and it drowned out his voice, which
was muffled, and you were not able to hear his amazing lyrics clearly
with a few exceptions. Many people after the concert shared the
same disappointment. The music performance of Bob was good &
his band was great.
Bob gave his all!
I have heard from others during the concert that this his personality not
to be much of a showman on the stage or to dialogue with the crowd
during his concert. My take was that's who he is. But most important
like on the albums he has sung. He lets his words speak louder by the
speaking action to the listener to engage with those words.
If there was one thing I could have changed because he doesnt dialogue
to his crowd, is to intro his songs so we maybe get better clarity of the
song last night. But that's who Bobby is. I can respect that.
From truly personal side: I was disappointed that he didn't play
one song from his albums, Shot of Love, Saved and Slow Train Coming.
Also, I realize he has a portfolio of 500 songs to have to choose from,
and there is a list for the 2011 tour to perform what they have choosen.
I just wish he'd be open to being more spontaneous as the crowd leads in
calling out to His classics like "Mr Tambourine Man" and "Knockin on
But Bob's spiritual conversion or transformation of his life is remarkable,
nothing short of a miracle. As a suggestion to Bob, I would love for him
to sing a few of these songs every concert to share and use this platform
to spread the Good News of those 3 albums, especially as encores before
people leave the building maybe sing "You Gotta Serve Somebody", or
"Saved" or even "Knockin On Heaven's Door". G-d has given him a ministry
like no other to touch others through his songs.
I was let down as all the crowd was that he did only 1 encore appearance
and 2 songs. The concert was about 1 1/2 hours long. I understand
it's a long tour especially for a 70 year old and like us all, he's not 25 anymore
as most of his crowd could relate too.
My Conclusion: Well Bob was worth seeing no matter even the few
adjustments and the problem with the concert hall sound or techincal
sound production... He was outstanding.
But this night wasn't the best ....But Bob is, no matter what,The Best .
His wonderful lyrics, that unique voice and style, that makes him a
Advice to all .....DONT MISS HIM IN CONCERT! Time is running out.
Plus listen to the Songs on his albums Saved and Slow Train Coming
especially tunes like "You Gotta Serve Somebody", "Saved", "In the
Garden", "Are You Ready" and for the Kids "Man Gave Names to
All the Animals ". The songs are all Good ...News.
But I'M AN DYLAN FAN NOW! No matter what! He is a brother!
THIS MAN HAS A GIFT FROM HEAVEN.. THE WORD!
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