July 21, 2011
Review by Bill Felsher
I saw a top notch Dylan show at the Hard Rock Pavilion in Albuquerque last
night. The setting was very nice with cool weather, light attendance and outdoor
seating looking into a gorgeous sunset. About 2/3 of the seats were filled.
While the crowd was sparse, it was appreciative. There was no warm-up act. The
band was in sharp looking grey suits with hats. Dylan wore a white broad brimmed
hat and black suit with red stripes on the pants.
Dylan's performance had frequent rough spots, but when he and the band hit the
highlights we were treated to some amazing moments. Tangled Up in Blue - Very
Good. Visions of Johanna - performed as a true love song with Dylan showing off
his crooning - I could tell that he was really warming up - then -- BAM!! Summer
Days hits like a slingblade chopping weeds on the side of a Mississippi highway.
Followed by, Sugar Baby -- maybe my newest favorite song after seeing this
version performed live. After Sugar Baby we took a trip down Highway 61 (very
well done) and Simple Twist of Fate (with Dylan on electric guitar). The band
was doing something wonderful and subtle with the chords that I couldn't pin
down. Simple Twist was the most original arrangement (in a good way) of all the
songs in this concert.
Thunder on the Mountain was done in a way that made it sound almost exactly like
Summer Days. A low point.........But the absolute highpoint immediately followed
with Dylan at the microphone, holding his harmonica in one hand with eerie
lighting on his face as he performed a knock-out Ballad of a Thin Man. Do
you.... Mister Jones? With a very simple stage and lighting, Dylan and his band
were able to transport the audience to the dark side of a carnival sideshow.
The times that Dylan came to the microphone armed only with his harmonica
were the best (Visions, Sugar Baby, Ballad...). He really put on a show with
meaningful gestures, dance steps (well, for Dylan at least), facial expressions
and vocal phrasings.
After the obligatory Like and Rolling Stone/Watchtower encore we were gathering
our things to leave when Dylan came back to his organ for a wonderful and chill
inducing rendition of Forever Young, made even more poignant by Dylan's voice
which sounded extra harsh and raspy.
Don't miss Dylan this summer and I hope that you all stay, "Forever Young,"
Review by Steve Dossey
Sorry to say that the venue was only about half full. Nonetheless this was an
unique and inspired show. Dylan has taken a different approach to his
performance than in past recent shows. There is a focus on well formed, tight
arrangements and articulate vocals. Many songs sung at the pace of the original
recordings. Dylan's harp playing was incredible. On Highway 61 his harp
dominated the playing and ended in a crescendo I have never heard before.
Amazing! His keyboard playing was outstanding and bold. All Along the Watchtower
was a radically different, low key arrangement; tho lacking the country flavor
from the original album its pace was more consistent with that version. Simple
Twist of Fate was the best version I have heard live. We also got to hear a
third song in his encore, Forever Young. A very pleasant surprise. This concert
totally redeemed Dylan's last outing here.
Review by Dylan Rutter
Bob Dylan played an amazing concert at the Hard Rock Pavilion in
Albuquerque, N.M., on July 21. It wasn’t sold out, but the smaller audience
added a more personal feel to the large outdoor venue.
The crowd waited with great anticipation until and his band finally came
out. He was wearing a black cowboy suit, trimmed with red lining from his
collar to his legs, and one of his signature wide-brimmed hats. The band
wore matching gray suits.
Typical of Dylan, he didn't speak as they began to play, slightly late,
around 8:05 p.m. , starting the show strongly with “Rainy Day Women #12 &
35,” which quickly got the eager crowd moving and singing along.
There were a few slight mistakes and slip-ups along the way, but when the
band was in sync, which was most of the time, it created a momentum that
swept across the crowd like wildfire.
He sang “Visions of Johanna” like an old love song; at a slower, hypnotizing
pace that emphasized the emotion in his ragged voice. “It’s All Over Now Baby
Blue” was played smooth and relaxed. “Tangled Up In Blue” was another standout.
Others had more more energy, like “Beyond Here Lies Nothin,’” with Dylan on
guitar, a rare treat these days.
The show's first half was more of a slow build. Once the set reached the
midway point with “Summer Days,” Dylan and his tight band really kicked into
gear, the crowd matching their energy with cheers, dancing and singing.
There truly were many great moments throughout the show. Dylan was clearly
in high spirits, smiling most of the time as he sang, treating us to several
harmonica solos, some guitar (something he used to play a lot through most of
his career) and some very loose, confident keyboard playing. He often toyed with
the crowd, playing keyboards with one hand, smiling at the crowd and striking a
few classic Dylan poses.
He also channeled his inner crooner on some songs, which added great
character to the show. Whenever he approached the microphone with just a
harmonica, the crowd knew it was in for a treat.
The most powerful song of the night, the one with which he closed the
regular portion of the set, was “Ballad Of A Thin Man,” with Dylan on
harmonica and vocals. It was played at a half-time-like tempo, with dark,
somber lighting projecting giant shadows of Dylan and the band. The echo
effect on Dylan’s voice was the icing on the cake. Every time he said, “Do
you … Mister… Jones," it shot chills down my spine, and probably a few
He returned for the first encore, offering a simple, “Thank you friends,”
then lit into “Like A Rolling Stone,” which the crowd went nuts for. Dylan
introduced his band before the last song of the encore, the only time he
really acknowledged the audience, quickly jumping into “All Along the
It seemed like that was going to be it. A few people began gathering their
things and making their ways to the exit as the crowd continued to roar its
approval. A second encore, an amazing version of “Forever Young,” ended the show
on a perfect note. The show ended with the band walking wordlessly to the middle
of the stage for a bow.
It was entertaining from start to finish. There were some mistakes, but they
didn't take away from the show, they added to it, giving it a more human feel
than a pre-programmed one. And for a few hours, it seemed everyone there, from
the graying hippies to the college kids, were forever young.
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