July 20, 2007
Review by Bernhard Roth
My 21. Bob show, the second this year after last April in my hometown
Stuttgart, Germany. After learning about Dylan playing at Red Rocks I
managed to schedule a necessary business trip to Colorado at the 'ideal'
date. Unfortunately at the time when my flighs have been confirmed
the first show the day before already was sold out and my principle
is not to buy at excessive prices at a venue. So 'only' the second show
then. But, Red Rocks is always an experience, as I know from my first
time there exactly one year ago, where I enjoyed CSNY.
Before I started driving from Colorado Springs I learnt that the day
before it was raining during the warmup band's playing and into Dylan's
first songs. And today this could as well have happened again, I felt.
However, after finally survived the obviously usual heavy traffic on a
Friday afternoon/evening and taking my seat in row 38 I was quite
optimistic. No dark clouds visible, warm air, and in fact, it stayed
that way until the end. Row 38 is, of course, not close to the stage,
but instead there is a wonderful view beyond th top of the stage
over Denver at night.
The audience's age was wildly varying, a lot of 50+ generation like me,
but as well younger and very young people, which is always surprising
for me. I mean, when I was 17-20 I definitively was not interested in
music performed by guys of even 40 years, let alone older. But, I
guess, this huge interest these days across all ages is due to Bob's
The warmup band (what was the name?) was not really my taste of music,
although, in some rare moments, the guitar sound reminded me of Neil
Young with Crazy Horse.
Anyway, despite the absence of rain Rainyday Women was the proper
start to get the people immediately onto their feet. After Don't Think
Twice there were the first two highlights, Tom Thumb and It's Alright
Ma. During the latter the usual audience's response to the line about
the president having to stand naked was somewhat less enthusiastic
as I experienced in earlier shows, and was only observable in the first
20 rows. But probably because further up on the auditorium the words
couldn't be really understood.
When it comes to MT, unfortunately Dylan didn't pick my two
favourites from his latest album today, Nettie Moore and Ain't Talkin.
But still Workingman, Deal and Spirit worked really well this evening.
North Country's arrangement is still so that it reminds me of Christmas,
I can't help it. My personal highlight of the evening was Thin Man, as
last song of the regular set, before the encore. You really don't see
me express my feelings to music that often, do you Mr Jones? For me
it's more a matter of the mind, but that performance indeed provoked
some body movements...
Two encores, including the almost standard Watchtower and that was it.
Overall, an average Dylan show (for Dylan standards) which I still
enjoyed very much.
What was still amazing about the setlist is that he played 10 different
songs, compared to yesterday. This is quite a lot. The last time I
personally saw two shows in a row, at the Fillmore in Denver 2005, the
number of setlist changes was only about 4 or 5. Still, I'm a bit sad
after I learnt that in total today there was one song less than
On the way back to the parking lot I heard people complaining that
Dylan didn't say one single word to the audience. I instinctively wanted
to generate a response but refrained from it, because I didn't want to
get into a discussion with ignorants. Well, it's his decision to do the
show in a way he thinks it works best. At least I don't need nice and
friendly words from a performer directed to a big crowd. It's the music
which counts. Period. And that's what we get at a Dylan show.
Sometimes excellent, sometimes not so much, but never disappointing.
Review by Eric Moore
The venue was beautiful, the weather was perfect, but The Dylan Show was
the worst I have seen in 10 years, maybe the worst I have ever seen. I've
seen Dylan 9 times, the first time a horrific show at Chick Evans Field
House, Northern Illinois University in 1990. I didn't see another show
until January 1998, but that show and all since until this had been
outstanding. This show was teh suck as they say. Dylan's voice sounded
quite dry and raspy, although at times he was able to make it sound more
like it did on Modern Times and I wished he had sung in that mode more
than than the monotone barking he did through most of the night. His
phrasing was entirely throw-away. None of the twisting and turning and
biting off certain words. He simply blurted out word until the beat came
down, paused to take a breath and then blurted out some more words. It
was mainly a spoken barking than singing. In short, while he did some
dancing and physically seemed to be into it, his "singing" appeared to
show he just didn't care.The band just plain stinks and I think it is
primarily the lead guitar player. He was strung off on the left side of
the stage by himself away from the rest of the band. His lead is
extremely simple to the point that there are no peaks during the guitar
breaks. All Along the Watchtower needs soaring guitar solos, Ballad of a
Thin Man, needs soulful blues, etc. He delivered soul-less solos across
the board and at times seemed to get his fingers crossed and lose it
altogether. At times the band sounded as much like the Lawrence Welk
Orchestra as the Bob Dylan Show. At previous shows during songs where
Dylan didn't quite have it together, the incredible band picked him up and
made for a great performance. Not so here. I saw the same group perform
in 2005 at The Fillmore and, while I didn't think then that they were as
good as the Campbell/Sexton lineup, they were new and showed potential.
The rhythm section of Garnier and Receli are excellent and drive the band
through the ups and downs of the songs, but the rest of the band just
doesn't seem to be able to keep up.I'm the biggest Dylan fan I know so
this is hard to say, but I think Dylan should consider taking a break.
This was the first Dylan Show is almost 10 years that I did not enjoy.
Review by Rob Washington
Let me begin by saying I am not the usual Bob obsessive who hangs out at
this website. I had seen him perform only once previously while I was in
college during the 1974 tour with The Band. Nevertheless, I own a dozen
CD's from the first one to Modern Times.
One Sunday morning in June, my friend of 40 years called up and said he
had read in the Denver Post that Dylan was playing Red Rocks in July, and
he thought we should go. Initially I was hesitant, but my wife and
college-age daughter heard about it, and it became a cross-generational
road trip in the making. We live in Grand Junction, four hours from Denver.
My wife made the hotel reservations and ordered the tickets online. My
friend invited his own college-age daughter to join us for the trip.
The five of us arrived at our seats in Red Rocks with a quarter-moon
coming up behind us, and the Denver skyline in front of us beyond the
stage. The weather was perfect.
None of us had heard of My Morning Jacket before. They put on a passable
show of country influenced rock and high energy rock. They had what
appeared to be a midget- bear mannequin on stage with a red towel or
blanket over his shoulder. During one of songs, the lead singer took the
towel off the bear and did some especially overwrought singing into the
towel. No doubt this had some special significance to insiders. The band
was warmly received, and they seemed thrilled to be there.
Between acts the anticipation in the crowd and in our group was palpable.
The PA system played Rodeo music by Aaron Copeland. This was not to
be a rock and roll show that our daughters were used to. The stage lights
darkened, and PA announcer made a brief introduction similar to an
introduction for a circus performer or a magician (which is just the tone
Dylan undoubtedly wants to set). The words in the introduction were
great. I wish I had a transcript of it. He said something about "…the man
who was the spokesman for his generation in the 60's, had a religious
conversion in the 70's, went into a substance abuse haze in the 80's and
recorded some his finest music in the 90's,… BOB DYLAN".
The crowd rose to their feet. The opening notes from the band were
unmistakably Rainy Day Women. When Bob sang the first line, there were
titters and giggles through the crowd. Was he sick? Did he have
laryngitis? It was impossible to understand a word of his growling croak.
It didn't seem to matter much, and as he went on, he was easier to
understand. We were pleased at the number of old songs: Don't Think
Twice, Tom Thumb's Blues, It's Alright Ma, Highway 61, etc. The
arrangements, phrasing, and croaking made it difficult to recognize some
of the songs until I could catch a key line and run it through my head
with the original melody and rhythm, "God said, Abraham, give me a
The Modern Times songs were more faithful to the recorded versions and
came off well. Bob's harmonica playing received some of the loudest
response from the crowd. The band played like seasoned pros, nothing
more, nothing less.
Most of the crowd near us was made up of parents and their teenage or
twenty-something kids. Directly below us, was a girl in her late teens
dancing joyfully in front of her seat. When the pot came by her, she took
a hit right next to her parents. Later in the show she gave the pipe to
her dad and finally her mom tried a toke during the encore. By
Watchtower, the whole family was swaying to the music. To our right,
was dad in his late forties and two boys in their teens with black ball caps
and black t-shirts. Dad played an enthusiastic air guitar while the boys
stood nearly still or sat until Watchtower. Rarely did we see any young
couples out by themselves sans parents. Of course there were many
older couples without the kids out for an evening to sit on a blanket and
have a picnic while watching a legend perform.
Was it a good show or an off night? I don't have any idea. It's almost
beside the point. We had a great time and were completely satisfied.
We saw a legend and shared it with our kids. Priceless, as they say.
My dad took me to see the Harlem Globetrotters when I was about ten
years old. We both knew how the game was going to turn out before
we went, but we also knew there would be some magic moments during
the game. My dad was passing on part of the culture to me, part of
"Old weird America", as Bob says.
Maybe a better comparison for Bob from old weird America is the Cisco
Kid. With his Tex-Mex outfit and his skinny legs, he stood like the
gunfighter as he strummed his guitar. Dylan's show is some kind of
throw back to a previous century. What a treat to share that with the
When we took our daughters to see Bob, we knew it wasn't going to
be like the Newport Folk festival where he electrified his instruments and
the audience, and we figured no one was going to call him a Judas and
he would shout back at them. This wasn't about seeing Bob at the top
of his game pissing off people. It was about taking our daughters to see
a legend do a fairly predictable show that was performed professionally.
I give it five stars for doing exactly that, and there was plenty of magic
to go around.
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