page by Bill Pagel
Review by Dennis Lind
Wife Julie and I headed to Goldendale, WA (about a 5 hour drive for our
home in Mount Vernon, WA) for my 17th Dylan concert, and Julie's around
10th or so...she can't remember for sure ...but her first was the Band
Tour in 1974, before we were married...Seattle Coliseum...which she
mostly slept through...too much Boones Farm wine.
We had to pass up the Vancouver Orpheum, July 19th, though had
tickets...gave them to my son Nic and friend Pat , who were very pleased
with the concert, saying Bob and the Boy's were really on. Nic mentioned
"Red Sky", "Masters" and John Brown as well as "Highway" as highlights of
the first Vancouver show. Having last seen the band in March, when they
were just getting together (Alena was playing fiddle then), was anxious to
hear how they had progressed with Denny Freeman (still think he has a
Jack Nicholson look) and Donny Herron joining Bob, Recile, Garnier and Stu
Long drive to Goldendale...hot weather....but comfortable long drive.
Stopped outside Yakima for a picnic snack at a rest stop...listened some
to a guy playing on acoustic guitar at the rest stop while we ate our
turkey sandwiches, chips and water.
Arrived in time at our motel in beautiful (?) downtown Goldendale, to take
a quick swim in the small, cool swimming pool, dry off in the hot dry sun,
take a shower, have a beer and head to the winery.
Upon arriving at the concert site, started having second thoughts.
Concert began to take on a "rock festival:" feeling...with a dusty
parking lot and lots of people already having arrived. Did not seem to be
much organization to the overall event...no real signs or directions for
parking, lines etc. Not sure at our age (53) we were really wanting
to deal with this ....really more now into the comfortable venues such as
the Paramount theatre in Seattle...no dust, easy parking, no hassles.
Went up to the ticket window to see when the gates opened, as there
already was a line that had formed. Ironically, girls working the window
was a long past acquaintance of Julie and I (Julie had worked with her and
she used to cut my hair) who had relocated to Goldendale, changed her
name and settled in to this little community. She was helpful to
explain the format of what to expect.
We finally got into line after talking to Rhonda for a spell (she
vacated her position in the ticket window to talk to us for quite a
spell..., saying this was her last day working there). We finally got back
in line, which again was hot and dusty for a fairly long wait. Crowd was
very subdued and patient.
Purchased a bottle of syrah in the winery...bought dinner and relaxed in
the general admission seating area, enjoying the scenery in the shade. .
Very nice venue. Went down to our seats around 7:30 for the 8:00p start.
Met some p=nice people [le from Portland sitting next to us.
Concert started about 8:10or so. Won't go over the whole set list.
But...band was right on from the start. Maggies. Farm was really
different, but very recognizable...nice beat and band seemed ready to put
on a good show. If you see her, sounded a lot like the version played at
the Gorge several years back (with Morrison and Mitchell) Watching the
River Flow seemed very appropriate, with us being right on the Columbia
river. Cold Irons Bound was newly worked a eerie...kind of a echo effect
on some of the lyrics...pretty cool...especially with the wind howling and
the trees swaying in the background as he say the "winds in Chicago" line.
To Ramona was very pretty...and the only song that I was sure that I
recognized right away. Lay Lady...nicely done....sort of long...but
Donny Herron did a real nice job on the pedal steel. Honest with you very
I'll Remember You was very was captivating had not heard this song in
concert before and really enjoyed it. Bye and Bye was catchy, fun and
toe tapping-ly good. 61 rocked...long, hard and solid...though Bob
seemed to catch a grain of sand in the eye, literally from the strong
winds and sand blowing....went to the back of the stage to rub his
eye....and was still tending to it....but never missed a line when it came
time to sing. Boots was a treat...had hoped to hear it....but was not done
as god as some takes I have heard in recorded concert versions. Tweedle
was fun and crowd seemed to enjoy it. Not Dark yet may have been the
highlight of the evening for me. A personal favorite...sounded very much
like the studio version...and the evening darkness had just started to
descend on the crowd.
SUMMER DAY ROCKED. Have heard it several times now at Bob's
concerts....but this version carried on the "swing" them and fun even
more. Freeman was outstanding with some of his licks, along with Stu
Kimball. Song just rose and rose at it went along to the climax.
Outstanding...crowd was having absolute great time, dancing and moving to
the beat. First encore was "It Aint Me....and was very unique version
Surprise at this point of the encore. Heard LARS a virtually every Dylan
concert (well, okay, not during the "reborn" tour), but this version was
not identifiable at the start.....and had the crowd going right away.
Over view...Tony Garnier is a good part of the glue that keeps this band
together. Bob is Bob....not sure if he is getting better....but he picks
his moments so well. The "Harmonica" gun-slinger then at the end is
pretty funny...Bob "shooting" people in the audience with his harmonicas
in hand as he leaves.
Great concert overall, band is really quite tight Audience danced,
tapped and clapped appreciatively throughout. Bob, please return soon.
Review by Drew Kampion
It's been a hot day in the Columbia River Gorge and a hot breeze
blowing up at the Maryhill Winery, a fertile little oasis nestled on a
step in the bluffside about 500 feet above the cool, blue-green river. The
lush campground down at the water's edge is a famous destination for
windsurfers looking to exploit the powerful thermals that are sucked up
the gorge by hot air rising over the inland desert valleys of Oregon and
Washington. Fortunately, Bob Dylan and His Band aren't playing until 8
o'clock, so by then the sun has slipped behind the high ridge, plunging
the immaculate green bowl of the winery's amphitheater into welcome
No warmup music tonight (it's already plenty warm), just a white-clad Bob
meandering out onto the stage at about 8:15 with his possé trailing
behind. He vaguely acknowledges the cheers from the crowd with a nod of
his white Stetson as the band takes up position and rather tentatively
suggests a couple of directions before suddenly and powerfully blasting
off onto "Maggie's Farm," and it's one of the finest full-on rock-and-roll
dramas I've ever heard. I experience the inevitable association to the
first few times I heard this song back in 1965 and how at the time it
seemed a declaration of Bob's independence from the expectations and
requirements of mainstream culture ... and it still does. Most amazing on
this opener is the absolute *clarity* of Bob's vocal work just great!
The other immediate realization is how fucking good this band has
become, especially when it's in this straight-ahead rock groove. But when
they bend smoothly and sonorously into "If You See Her Say Hello," and
Bob's vocal comes on so solid and assured ... it's a sweet thrill still.
"Watching The River Flow" is solid, too, as the marching beat resumes,
then another segue while the crowd fills the bowl of the amphitheater with
huge sounds of appreciation, Dylan milling around back of stage right,
seemingly twiddling his thumbs as he prepares, then steps to the mike to
utter a dozen words to no effect until the sound clicks in again, and it's
"To Ramona," and it's almost *better* for the missing beginning, since the
lyrics and the man seem to be speaking more broadly now, to the state of
"Cold Irons Bound" is a masterpiece. If Johann Sebastian Bach was
sitting in the sixth row, he'd be on his feet hooting and grooving. As it
is, the winery crowd is almost universally of the stay-at-home persuasion,
as 1,392 of the 1,400 seated asses sat pat. The other 2,600 patrons of
this pretty-much-sold-out evening in the country are arrayed on the
stepped slopes above the reserved seats; not many of them are up dancing
either, which is weird given the explosive power of the band. It all
smacks a little too much of the sedentary and voyeuristic, of a society
where individuals are too self-conscious to truly exist y'know, the kind
of shit our poet friend here has been raving about for over 40 years.
But then comes "Lay Lady Lay" and, after five killer songs, this is
excruciating truly one of the worst performances of *anything* I have
ever heard *anywhere* ... I mean, no way is this guy, singing this way,
gonna persuade *anybody* into any old big brass bread! Gotta tone it down
and speak more directly to her, Bob. Tell her you're old but it don't
matter ... not that much anyway.
"Honest With Me" brings things most of the way back, but LLL has dug a big
hole. I think I see a few baffled people leaving, but they might be
headin' upstairs for a few belts of that estate-bottled wine ($11 for a
plastic tumbler of the 2002 Reserve cabernet).
"I'll Remember You" is a little weak but with some sweet moments, then the
band skips into "Bye and Bye," with that wonderful lurching cadence that
feels perfect in this summertime night air. The singing gets a little
gravelly in here, just about the time you want to be able to hear the
quick flow of wordplay, but it's all good. The harp at the end of this
one is absolutely majestic!
And then a STORMING "Highway 61 Revisited" with everything driving like
crazy towards that last verse and the purpose of all this energy, which is
to hang in ridicule those who would see war as an entertainment, a
sideshow pitched to the public, with all its venal underbelly exposed for
all to see from their bleacher seats out in the sun there on Hwy. 61.
Clearly, the song is intended (as it has been too often in its 40-year
history) to speak to the "current situation" ... in a way even more
effectively than something like "Masters Of War."
Once again swinging to the counterpoint, Maestro Dylan spins the
emotional wheel of fortune to the misty past and "Boots Of Spanish
Leather," in its time an avant-garde piece of work, so compelling in its
double-helix narrative dance, ending so finally and fittingly with the
four words of the song's title."
Now he has us all the way back and the joint is jumpin' as the boys
ratchet all dials to '11' and blast into "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum," one
of those ditties dissed as "doggerel" by the semi-sentient beings who
review music (the same experts that still think that "Under The Red Sky"
is a relatively worthless album when it is, in fact, one of the bard's
most internally consistent apocalyptic epics) a dissertation on the
"disease of conceit" that's eaten the heart out of the present tense. T&T
is mind-boggling huge and mind-boggling crashing like a giant wave
into this cross-section of humanity hangin' out on the edge of a gorge in
the middle of nowhere. It's a frenzy and a celebration of doom's sheer
inertia and the exhilaration involved in getting anywhere, even there.
Now Bob does the incredible: he clearly and agreeably introduces the band,
giving most of em a little "ta-da!" on the keyboards in an atypical
flourish that seems oddly extravagant.
"Not Dark Yet" follows: stark, confessional, self-compassionate ...
talking truth the way ... who else does? And finally "Summer Days," that
rollicking tune that seems to celebrate all the good times while saying
that the good times are, well, actually ... gone. Beautifully done and
plenty of fun, but always with reality lurking just out of range. Exeunt
The poet must needs cool down, methinks, for it takes a while (and
nearly wears out the crowd) to bring him and them back for the
inevitable encore. But return they do, wandering out of the backstage
darkness to their instruments like beings from the nether world (which
might be about right, since these gents average 100 gigs a year).
"It Ain't Me, Babe" is at once propitious and strategic: another of
those golden gassers out of the past, and one that, at the time of its
inception, had double-entendre written all over it, as many took it to be
Bob's first disclaimer that he was not, indeed, the voice of any
generation, leastwise ours. This song, too, they do good, and it's
followed by the big daddy of them all, Rolling Stone magazine's pick of
the greatest rock-and-roll song of all time. No disappointments here,
just grandeur and complex emotional information delivered with grace and
What a great night!
Regarding the band, Stu Kimball plays a credible, sometimes inspiring
lead, but Denny Freeman strikes me as too formulaic for a Dylan-led
ensemble, as does Donnie Herron, whose steel and mandolin work seem
competent but pedestrian. On the other hand, George Recile (early
criticized for lacking finesse or whatever) is a pure monster talent on
the drums, and Tony Garnier ... well ... that man is the glue. Is he the
best bass guy in the biz or what? Oh yeah, and the band's harmonica
player, the skinny old guy ... man! He da best! (Not sure about the
piano man, though ... sometimes sounded like someone rearranging the china
Definitely, one of my favorite Bob Dylan concerts ever even down to the
hilarious "Lay Lady Lay" ... but who knows? Maybe he does those every
once in a while as a kind of sendup for the schmaltz crowd? I dunno. The
guy is *so* hard to comprehend!
Final thoughts: I think Bob's greatest voice is in the harmonica.
He's a harp player who writes great melodies and wonderful words, who
plays a decent guitar, who sometimes sings perfectly through a challenged
voicebox, and who plays a great keyboard, but not in a crowd. Some refer
to Dylan as "God," but he's only as much God as we all are. He is,
however, the best channel of conscience and consciousness that I know of.
Thanks again for all your hard work, Bob!
Whidbey Island, Washington
page by Bill Pagel
| Bob Links
| Set Lists
| Set Lists