Reviews

Tucson, Arizona

Casino Del Sol
AVA Amphitheatre

July 24, 2007


[Phil Vega], [Howard Moneta], [Dennis Wolter], [Sharon Steehler]

Review by Phil Vega



Dylan fans, I say Bob and the band are in pretty good form on this tour.
With no opening act, the crowd was caught almost unawares that the show
was going to start at the AVA Amphitheater in Tucson. The outdoor 
venue has about 1,600 seatbacks in a sheltered area, while the grass holds
another 2,000 or so. For those on the lawn, a bit a rain didn't deter them
from having a great time. A group of us headed out to the show and for
some it was one in a series of having seen Dylan. For others, it was their
very first time. All of us came away with thinking it was worth the trip.
Like others who have posted, Bob on guitar is still a sight worth seeing.
I'd add that his work on harmonica can still make the hairs stand up on
the back of your head. You can go to the set list to see the tunes that
pierced the Arizona skies. Suffice it to say, the mix of old and new
numbers was great. I hadn't heard "Senor" live and was taken with Bob's
phrasing and the band's playing. "Lonesome Day Blues", "Highway 61
Revisited", "Rollin' and Tumblin' " were played with enthusiasm, vitality
and what appeared to be Bob having a pretty damn good time. The 
double highlight for this old-timer was "Masters of War" which is just as
relevant today as when it was first penned in 1963. "All the money you
made, will never buy back your soul".I wish that line wasn't so true.
Reading the other posted set lists, I was sure the encore closer was going
to be "Watchtower". Instead, Bob rolled out a fantastic version of "Blowin
in the Wind" with an arrangement that was elegant, updated and true to 
the song's sentiments. By that time, we were at the front of the stage 
as the security was pretty lax. As the lights came up with Bob and band 
posing center stage, the looks of satisfaction in the audience down close 
were prevalent. As Bob and the guys walked off, those standing at the 
front begged the crew for the set lists that must have been littered 
around stage. Unfortunately, the roadies said they'd be fired if they let 
us have them. No doubt the vagaries of capitalism and the stink of eBay 
has overwhelmed true fans' desire to keep and cherish a bit of history. 
Keep rollin' Bob, your fans - old and new - appreciate your tour that 
never ends. 

Phil Vega

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Review by Howard Moneta



Bob Dylan came to Tucson last night and played a fantastic set at the AVA
Amphitheater.  I drove down to Tucson from Phoenix with my mother who is
also a huge Dylan fan. She remembers going to see Bob in the 1960's at the
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.  While she assures me that she was not one
of the two girls who hid in with the equipment and caused the big ruckus
in the parking lot, you never know. ;)

I've become a huge Bob Dylan fan over the last year and this being my
first opportunity to see him, was a huge occasion for me.  It was my first
of many live Bob Dylan shows but already, I cannot possibly imagine
enjoying myself any more than I did last night.

Wouldn't you know it, Tuesday night was one of the few nights this year
that it has rained in Tucson.  My heart sank as I sat in a restaurant
looking out the window about an hour and a half before the show watching
the rain pour as fiercely as any tropical storm that I've ever seen.  AVA
is an outdoor theater and with that kind of weather, there was a good
chance that we weren't going to be able to get through the flooded streets
to the show. We tried to keep our spirits up by thinking of all the songs
that Bob could sing if we ended up watching the show in the pouring rain:
"Shelter from the Storm", "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall", "Buckets of Rain",
"Watching the River Flow", "Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35", "You Ain't Goin'
Nowhere", and  "Down in the Flood".

Thankfully the rain cleared up about 45 minutes before the show and the
evening turned out to be as perfect as anyone could possibly ask for while
enjoying a show of live music outdoors. Instead of hot humid Arizona
Monsoon weather, the night was just beautiful!

The crowd which consisted of all ages packed into the theater. I got to
talk to a few of the people around me as we waited anxiously for the show
to start. As "Fanfare for the Common Man" came over the loud speakers,
people started cheering for Bob.

As the band stepped onto the stage, they understandably looked a little
tired from such intensive touring, but from the moment that the first note
played until the end, I could not have imagined things coming together any
better.  We had assigned seats but not much time was spend "sitting" in
them as the urge to stand up and dance with whomever was in the next seat
over was just too strong. Some highlights from this great show for me
included back to back "Senor" and then "Highway 61 Revisited" followed
later by "Summer Days" and then the most amazing rendition of "Masters of
War" that I have ever heard. The music was just incredible and so haunting
which was evidenced by people swaying in unison to each note.  It was a
really good thing that we had a few minutes to recover before the encore.
I could tell that everyone around me was feeling just how intense and real
this song is.

Bob and the band finished up the evening with a great encore. The lights
came on, the guitar started playing the opening notes that we all know so
well and then the massive eye logo unrolled as the band exploded into
"Thunder on the Mountain". By this point we were all running on pure
emotion and with the final song being "Blowing in the Wind", it seemed so
fitting that my first show would end with one of Bob's earliest hits.

We spent the car ride back to Phoenix looking back on this great evening
and looking forward to Thursday morning when we will jump back in the car
and drive up to Costa Mesa for part two of my unforgettable week of Bob. 
THANK YOU!

Howard Moneta

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Review by Dennis Wolter



This was the only show of this tour I was able to attend. Didn't really
get time to listen to the earlier shows of this tour (I have downloaded
most of them). Anyway the show came at a time when I needed a boost and I
got it. Met up with a few fans from past shows and sat in an area with
casual fans that really enjoyed the show. Nice mix of ages, with several
parents and college age children attending in the area I was seated. They
enjoy Bob but aren't caught up in him as some of us can be at times.

I live west of Phoenix so it's a couple of hours drive to Tucson. Just had
time to stop at 4th Ave and pick up a few things at Native Seed Search.
http://www.nativeseeds.org/v2/default.php

While checking out the other shops along 4th Ave I managed to score an
advertising poster for the show!

If you get to Tucson some day don't miss 4th Ave and the area around
Congress St. Until recently Tucson seemed to be what a city in the desert
should be like. Things have changed. If you want to know what Tucson will
be like soon, visit Phoenix.

This turned out to be the best seat I've gotten in the presale offers. 

The venue is a really nice small outdoor mostly covered amphitheatre.
There were lots of storms in the area, part of the local monsoon season.
We only got very light showers but did get views of a double rainbow. It's
part of an Indian casino and as such comes with it's own quirks. Last time
Bob played there they were expanding the casino, construction is done for
now. Access to the site is still a major problem, but the amount of road
work going on shows that next time it will be better. 

Last time, there were metal detectors to pass through to get into the
show. Not this time. The bad news was they didn't let in binoculars, it
they could see them. This really sucked for me! Even at shows when I've
been at the rail I've watched Bob with binoculars. Once I left the
offending article back at the truck I asked about renting binoculars but
of course they had no clue about why it was a problem and blamed the
artist for prohibiting them. Luckily several times during the show the
lady next to me shared. Thanks!

I'm unable to offer the kind of review which says this is the one you
should have been at. It worked for me and those around me. Highway 61
ROCKED! I always like Masters and this was no exception. Masters brought
out the vocal around me. (Sorry for the small interruption, but please
support the veterans) . Shelter and Senior, yes. And my favorite from high
school, Lay, Lady, Lay, which of course didn't help me any back then.

But the entire show was great. As my wife always says (she didn't get to
go to this one) "you always say that". I did have to laugh several times
when watching Bob react to Stu. Back completely to the audience, hands on
the hips, physically expressing what the F to Stu.

I had a great time and wish I could have gotten to more shows.

DW

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Review by Sharon Steehler



It has taken me a couple of days to compose myself after attending the Bob 
Dylan show last Tuesday at the AVA Amphitheater in Tucson.  My feet are 
barely coming back to earth!  Having never been to the AVA Amphitheater I 
was more than impressed with the beautiful and intimate facility.  God must 
have been shining down on us that evening as my husband and I had to
literally go through "hell and high-water" to get there.  Driving to the venue 
we endured floods, famine, and the usual Tucson construction nightmares. 
Upon arriving and being frisked and warned of imminent death and destruction 
for bringing in contraband (binoculars, cameras, umbrellas, etc.), and after a 
trip back to the car to unload suspect items, we finally made it inside the 
venue grounds.  From this point on it was like a fairy tale for me; very surreal 
and frankly perfect.  The rain had cooled everything down, there was a slight 
breeze, and our seats were fabulous!  We had the good fortune of being 
dead center in the 11th row directly facing Bob and for whatever reason no 
one sat right in front of us! If you have never been to the AVA Amphitheater 
it is definitely worth the trip out there.  The 1500 or so seats are under a 
covered roof so no worries about rain.  Behind the seats is a grassy area for 
another 1500 or so people.  The setting is intimate; the acoustics are 
fantastic and the lighting very well done.  You could actually see all the 
performers and best of all, Bob was center stage, and not off to one side 
as he was in the last show I attended.

The opening introduction sent chills down my spine and I have to admit I was 
screaming like a teenager (quite a sight for this 50 year old school teacher)! 
If you have never heard his show introduction, it goes something like this, 
"Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the poet laureate of rock 'n' roll. 
The voice of the promise of the '60s counterculture. The guy who forced folk 
into bed with rock, who donned makeup in the '70s and disappeared into a 
haze of substance abuse, who emerged to "find Jesus,' who was written off 
as a has-been by the end of the '80s, and who suddenly shifted gears and 
released some of the strongest music of his career beginning in the mid-'90s
Columbia recording artist, Bob Dylan." The band burst into a rollicking version 
of Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat.  Bob playing guitar was for me quite a highlight 
and I must point out that he is still a very good guitar player!     

I am not going to do a song by song analysis, but for me the highlights 
included the way he mixed the old songs with the new and the way they 
all segued from one piece into another in a perfect way. The blues were 
really rockin; that night.  No one could stay seated for long.  It was just 
impossible to not be moving to the red-hot rhythms that Bob and the Band 
were producing.  I really cannot see what people have to complain about 
when it comes to his band.  They really rocked that night!  Denny Freeman 
on lead guitar was on fire, and Tony and Stu kept things smooth and steady.  
George was having fun and showing his chops and Donnie amazed me with 
his ability to play so many instruments.  I loved his work on the pedal and 
lap steel and his violin in the final number, Blown' in the Wind, was very 
moving.

Bob was looking fit and fine in his wide brimmed black hat, tailored black 
jacket and black pants with red stripes down the sides.  His voice was in 
rare form.  It was sweet and salty.  Each word was said with perfect 
enunciation in his distinctive and uniquely characteristic way.  The thing 
for me that stands out the most is that not only were we treated to that 
rare Bob Dylan smile, we were actually treated to many smiles.  The band 
was also smiling and laughing and seemed to get a kick out of Bob's 
dancing and "getting down" at the keyboard.  The whole atmosphere 
and performance was a huge difference from the last concert I saw in
Tucson in April of 2006.  The band was the same, but the acoustics at 
the cavernous Tucson Community Center were terrible, and Bob and the 
band just did not look like they were having fun.

The encore for me was the icing on the cake.  Thunder on the Mountain 
followed by a gut wrenching wonderfully re-worked version of Blown' in 
the Wind.  The new with the old, the old with the new; a perfect 
ending to a perfect show.  God Bless you, Bob Dylan!  Keep on rockin'!

"But this ol' river keeps on rollin', though,
No matter what gets in the way and which way the wind does blow,
And as long as it does I'll just sit here
And watch the river flow"

Sharon Steehler

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