July 22, 2007
Review by Tom Palaima
A beautiful evening in Albuquerque. The Journal Pavilion stage is
compact and spare, with the sound controls stage right.
Bob's piano is stage center. Denny Freeman is stage far left, Tony
Guarnier behind him and to the right. The drum set of George Recile
behind and right of Tony. Donnie Herron is behind and stage right of Bob
and Stu Kimball far back stage right.
The band comes on clearly in a good mood. Bob's white hat. The other band
members in coordinated suits and black hats--George's is a beret.
George has a broad smile while drumming throughout the first four
numbers and for 115 minutes of the 120-minute set. Tony Guarnier
breaks out into a grin at points as well. Donnie Herron's eyes are
focused on what Bob is doing throughout.
They launch into a very tight version of "Rainy Day Women" followed
by a crowd pleasing but much reworked version of "Lay, Lady, Lay".
Bob's voice is in good form for its current form and delivery style.
Donnie's violin work on "It's Alright, Ma," was a real hit with my
classically trained niece Lindsay. My brother, five years older, whose
monoraul Bringing It All Back Home was my first Dylan album, is mightily
impressed by Bob's energy and visible pleasure in working with this band.
We are in the 6th row center, and it is clear that Bob and the band
are playing for themselves and doing new things with the music,
surprising each other. They are letting us listen in.
Bob's rendering of the lyrics on "Workingman's Blues #2," the seventh song
of the set and his first number on keyboard, was particularly emphatic and
thoughtful. Having listened to Merle Haggard's #1 in the care home in
Santa Fe, where our 90-year-old father is in his last days, makes Bob's
song and what he describes as happening to the workingmen now after my
father's generation seem even more intolerable than it is.
How anyone can listen to those lyrics and how Bob sings them live,
and claim that Bob has no interest any longer in social commentary is
But human beings from Bronze Age Greece onward are full of surprises that
confirm the sage insight that life would be a fine thing if it weren't for
"Summer Days" demonstrated that this lineup is now fully meshed.
"Ballad of a Thin Man" was a surprise, but welcome close to the
traditional two-song encore. Bob's singing was still strong and full of
Denny Freeman's clean and spare blues lines help make "Watchtower"
something new and special. And they are really appreciated on "'Til I
Fell in Love with You" and "Summer Days."
The most revolutionary reworkings, in my opinion, were "To Ramona"
and "I Believe in You." I hope to be able to hear a recording of "I
Believe in You" to hear what is going on with its evolution from its
original 'sentimental' form.
The crowd clapped and called long after "Ballad of a Thin Man" in an
all-but-vain hope for a second encore. I joined them.
Again, in my opinion, the set was that good.
The band huddled up to take its collective bow, almost in the
gregarious way the Stones play around. I think they are having lots of
fun. So we are, too.
Review by Lynne Robinson
Last night's show in Albuquerque saw my daughter and I return to the venue
formally known as Mesa Del Sol (where we saw Bob play w/Phil Lesh several
years ago) on a hot summer afternoon in Northern New Mexico. We got to the
Journal Pavillion about an hour before show time, scoped out our seats
(not bad but 'I'd recommend the lawn for future shows) and headed to the
open area next to the stage for a frozen margarita and a smoke. The crowd
milling about was typical of Bobcerts these days. Grandparents with their
kids and grandkids, younger, wannabe hipsters, the rabid fans on
cellphones-cum-microphones and the usual assortment of older women in high
heels and too much makeup. (Where exactly do they think they are
at/going?) We kicked it until Fanfare turned into the "rap" and headed for
our seats, which we stayed in for the first six songs.The band sounded
good from the start (message to all the complainers: I LIKE this band.
They are loose and in the groove fitting for this new, blue Bob period)
but Bob, although playing some nice riffs on his geetar, sounded like he'd
left his voice at Red Rocks. This was absolutely the worst I've ever heard
him sound, practically rapping/reading the lyric as his voice would break
and crack each time he reached for a note. The people/fans in the seats
around us looked absolutely baffled; one dude, mouth open, hand on chin,
simply shook his head through the first three numbers. Working Man's Blues
#2 provided a little spark of interest with some interesting lyric changes
and two white owls circling the area on cue as if called from the ethers
by the white hatted magic man on stage. It felt a bit like Harry Potter
vibes! By then we were done w/Bob's froggy rasp (it hurt to listen to it)
and headed out back for another margarita. We heard the rest of the show
from near the stage although could not see a thing. I Believe In You was a
lovely suprise with Bob sounding soft and tender, not attempting to strain
those vocal chords any longer. We amused ourselves w/a few bystanders
heckling security who were occupied with keeping the aforementioned older
women w/too much makeup and high heels from getting any closer to Bob!)
until we ran into a friend from Taos who invited us to join their party up
on the lawn (the place to be on a summer evening at this partiular venue
where they don't encourage dancing and/or rowdiness of any form) The band
sounded great from up there and Bob was actually beginning to sound like a
bit of his voice had come back to him. (Care of the owls perhaps!) We
chilled until the first bars of Thin Man and made our way to the parking
lot before the nightmare traffic got in the way of our getting home by
midnight, accompanied all the way to our car by Bob's plaintive harp solo
I think that's it for me and after sx/seven shows, my daughter agreed.
We've seen enough of Bob live, best to leave it right there, with the
Harry Potter owls and the half moon hanging golden in the starry New
Thanks Bob for all the great music and memories.
Review by Cody Northrup
Went to my first Dylan show last night at the Journal Pavilion. After
getting through some really tight security and loading up on some
merchandise, the concert was ready to begin. This might sound really
fanboy-ish but I couldn't believe I was only moments away from seeing Bob.
After the usual intro, Bob and the band walked out and I expected him to
start off with "Cats in the Well" like he has on many recent shows. I was
very excited when I heard the familiar tune to "Rainy Day Women #12 and
35". It's not my favorite song of his by any means, but I always thought
it would be fun to hear live. I was right. He followed that up with
several more classic favorites, including "It's Alright Ma" which was just
an amazing moment. Probably my favorite performance of the night.
After six songs, Dylan moved over the keyboard where he played
"Workingman's Blues #2", another song I was hoping to hear. The rest of
the concert just completely rocked, a lot louder and more exicting than I
thought it would be. The regular set ended with a great finale--"All
Along the Watchtower"--that nearly blew my ears out. What a
heart-pounding exciting moment!
After a brief encore, he concluded with "Thunder on the Mountain" and
"Ballad of a Thin Man" (a great song, but didn't really fit as a closer).
A couple of minutes after the show ended, I could see two tour buses
taking off up the hill behind the Pavilion, with a police escort following
behind. I don't have any prior shows that I have attended to compare this
one to, but it was very exciting, and Dylan and the whole band were on the
top of their game.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Review by Steve Dossey
The Albuquerque show found Dylan in spirited and transcendent form. On
his first six songs he played electric guitar. His voice was strong and the
band was tight and lively. Stand out songs were: "I'll be your baby tonight",
"rollin and tumblin", "Til I feel in love with you", "Thunder on the Mountain"
and an incandescent and impassioned rendition of "Ballad of a Thin Man",
his finale. All and all a masterful performance. I was expecting much less
-this being a long tour and his fourth show in a row.
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