page by Bill Pagel
Review by Mike Skliar
First, a little history.....I had seen the first show of the tour at
Worcester, a fine, fine performance, with a fairly average set list (with
the exception of a wild wacky "Never gonna be the same again" in a new
arrangement). I didn't go to the next (Newport) show, thinking...... "Hey,
what could he do at Newport that would be so different , anyway"....My
theory was that the Worcester show was a dress rehearsal for Newport and
that it'd be the same songs, maybe minus a song or two. Wrong! Then again,
I thought that Bob would look like, well, Bob at all the shows. Wrong
So the first thing that happened at Augusta was hearing about yesterday's
Newport scraggly fake beard and hair, and seeing a picture from a Boston
paper. Waiting in line, we all wondered 'what could it mean? New scenes
from the movie? A 'dis' of Newport folkies? A salute to Doug Sahm and/or
"All things must pass' era George Harrison? A bad calender that said it
was Halloween?" Who knows......
On to the magnificent Augusta show....
Hummingbird... unlike the Worcester show, Larry, Charlie and Bob didn't
try to use the same microphone. It was a better version for it, tho it's
to my ears a weak opener in general.
Then, the game was raised to a whole other level with song two, a (first
ever acoustic?) version of "The man in me". I hadn't heard this live in
person since Middletown NY in 1988..Tonight it was a nice version, with a
little of that 'go up at the end of line' vocal mannerism/inflection that
can get annoying after a while but is engaging in small doses.
Third was It's alright ma, Im only bleeding.. In contrast to the Worcester
show 2 days before, he blew some of the words, from the first line
onwards, and never really nailed it. (Worcester, by contrast, was a
perfect version.)George Recelli, tho, takes every inch of it and makes it
his. Great arrangement...
But then Bob more then made up for it in what was probably my highlight
the night, a country-rockin'hoedown, fiddle, harmonica and all- version
of "If you see her say hello". Incredible. Larry playing cajun fiddle,
loud and strong, Bob giving every word care and attention, with some
playful lyric changes (some line about if I see her now , she'd just make
me ssiiiiiiiiicccckkkkkk" or something). Bob doing that "little
move-the-left leg dance"on stage too.
Then electric. Average "Tombstone blues (I think Worcester's version was a
Then the game up on another level again with the 'tears of rage" Larry
and Charlie doing beautiful backup vocals. Great song, great singing, tho
Bob's vocals were buried a little bit at times, and his lead playing here
subtracted more then it added.
The next two songs, both from Love and theft were gems, Floater, and a
banjoless (as at Worcester) Highwater. Bob nailing every word, with no
up-at-the-end of the line vocal mannerisms, no slurred syllables, nothing
but perfection. Jazzy groove from Charlie in Floater with a solo out of
Wes Montgomary or Joe Pass. Highwater getting meaner and meatier then it
was late last year, when a banjo groove seemed to set up the observation
'its bad out there' in the context of a 'cities are on fire' post- 9/11
Then back to acoustic .. For a letter perfrect 'lonesome death of hattie
carroll'. Bob pausing with a blank look in his eyes midway thru the solo,
as I wondered from my position on the rail, 'has he forgotten the last
verse?" Nah, he nails it. Of course.
Tangled. AH tangled, a song we're all sick of, except when he does it this
good, we love every instant. And he does nail it this time, best version
I've heard in a while, certainly better then Worcester.
Then a nice change up, Knockin on heaven's door in the new 21st century
arrangement. Love the new chords, guys, great backup vocals from Charlie
Back to electric.. Summer days blows the roof off the place as a (not yet)
parting gift. Recelli and Tony Garnier lock heads and swing as furiously
as Jo Jones and Freddie Green in Count Basie's band in 1938 , while
Charlie and Larry exchange riffs like Les Paul and Chet Atkins on speed..
(ok, showoff comparisons over now). Bob again nails every word, the jam
goes past meltdown, and nirvana is reached.
Now to the weird. The 2nd ever performance of the new arrangement of
"Never gonna be the same again". For those who haven't heard, it's a stop
and start thing with bob doing like 8 bars of somewhat freeform solo
electric guitar between verses,, a little like the "hard rain' version of
maggie's farm stretched out more. I like this arrangement a whole lot,
it's the best guitar playing I've heard bob do live ever, and totally
suits his riffs-off the chord inversion kind of lead playing that he
has.... I think he may have blown the bridge by singing the same words
twice, (doesn't the 2nd time thru the bridge have different words?) but it
doesn't matter, this is unique, strange, and hell if we like Bob, we like
Then we go to outer space for "Cold Irons bound' also in the new (since
2000) arrangement. Bob spits this out with fire and brimstone, making the
winds of Chicago pale in comparison. Great version. The band is on fire..
Rainy day women.. playful, fun (as it should be) with extra time between
band intro's for the particualar members while each band member struts his
stuff for a bit. Loved Charlie's Robert Johnson riffs which the rhythm
section picked up on in a heartbeat, (isn't this another reason they are
the best 'players in the nation'! )
The encores, Like a rolling stone, honest with me, blowin in the wind, and
watchtower, were great, but nothing all that different then the many many
many prior versions.
All in all, a great time, and I had a great time hanging out in line
before (and in Worcester) with many folks I had met for the first time, or
had just known thru e mails, etc before.. Thanks to all, and wish I could
have caught more of the tour.. Have fun everyone!
Review by Kevin Ouellette
I just had to briefly talk about the two Dylan shows I just saw. They
were my third and fourth Dylan shows respectfully. I had high
expectations for both shows. First it was Worchester on Friday, which was
great seeing Bob in such a small venue. He seemed to be having the most
fun I had ever seen him have on stage. He was clapping his hands after
the amazing performance of "Tombstone Blues." But, this is supposed to be
a review for the Augusta show. So, I live about three and a half hours
north of Augusta. It was a long ride. I came with two friends who saw
Bob with me in Manchester last year and we brought along four people who
had never seen Bob live. Two of them bought tickets at the door when we
got there. We arrived at about 4:00 for a 7:30 start time. There were two
lines out front. Everyone was very friendly and I saw a lot of the same
people from the Worchester show. At 6:30 the doors opened and everyone
rushed in. The Augusta Civic Center looks like a high school gym except
it's very big.
The show was supposed to start at 7:30 but didn't get underway until 8 or
so. Bob came on dressed in all black with red stripes on his pants and
pockets. He started with "Humming Bird" which was a nice version. Then
we were treated to a fabulous version of "Man in Me." I had only heard
this played live once before on a live recording from 2000. This was a
great performance with a harp solo and everything. Then just like in
Worcherster it was "It's Alright Ma." I preferred the version in
Worchester. Next, "If You See Her, Say Hello" was very good. Bob on harp
again and Larry playing fiddle. Oh wow I thought we are in for a good
show. Then again we got "Tombstone Blues." Good solid performance, the
same as Worchester. Then something I didn't expect to hear "Tears Of
Rage." I was blown away. Such a fabulous version. It was sung with such
conviction and Larry and Charlie chimed in perfectly. Next was "Floater"
and "High Water" both done very well. Bob really loves playing the new
material, he seems to get into it more. We saw the leg twist in full
force on "High Water." Then another surprise with "Hattie Carroll." I
love this song. But, somewhere near the end of the song Charlie's guitar
stopped playing. He didn't notice at first and then I think Dylan let him
know. Charlie tried plugging it back in but that wasn't the problem. So,
he walked off stage. He didn't return till after the opening of "Tangled
Up In Blue." He and Bob were visibly upset about the incident. "Tangled"
was just average. Then another treat, "Knockn' On Heaven's Door." I love
to hear Charlie and Larry sing. "They sound like angel's" as one man said
to me outside before the show. "Summer Days" just blew everyone away it
was amazing. Everyone was dancing and having a good time. Then we were
again treated to what I can only say is one of the most daring songs Dylan
has played in a long time, "Never Gonna Be The Same Again." Bob plays
some fantastic solos during this song. You have to hear it to believe it.
"Cold Irons Bound" was very loud and funky. It got the crowd going
again. I Bob didn't allow them to stop by playing "Rainy Day Women."
This is the best version I have ever heard. Bob let the band go wild
during this song. Bob and Charlie cut loose on some amazing solos.
Next came the encore which was the same as Worchester. Nothing special
about it except Bob's mic went out during "Honest With Me." He kept right
on going so we missed a whole verse. He made up for it with a nice jam
sequin with Charlie. It is worth mentioning that I think "Watchtower" is
a lot better that in the past few tours. It is much louder and really
leaves you wanting more. All in all a great show. I wish I could see
more on this tour. My friends really enjoyed the show too. One of them
who was not a big Dylan fan said his band it fantastic. The others agreed
he is much better live that on CD. I hope I made some new Dylan fans.
Thanks Bob and keep on going.
Review by Eben Hensby
We managed to get a room in the hotel that was walking distance
from the venue, so we came over and took a bunch of photos then put our
cameras away. It was interesting (and quite tiring) to be at three GA
shows in three days, but we got back in line to do it all again. We had a
noteworthy encounter with the band (which is described in my "East Coast
Tales"), but suffice to say, we managed to wave to them from relatively
close up before they entered the venue.
Once we were let into the venue, we all gathered in our group and
decided to prevent the mess that happened at Worcester with getting too
packed in. We all immediately sat down in such a way to give ourselves
lots of room. This also allowed us to rest a bit. I managed to get 3rd
The Augusta venue was interesting. It seemed to be made for
basketball and wasn't as big as some of the venues I've been in. So it
was less of an arena and more of a gym or something.
After some time, Bob and the band came out. Little did we realize
that the highlight show would be the one after the small venue and the
historic Newport shows... After I go through the concert, I'll explain
some new terms: Augusta High and Augusta Afterglow.
Humming Bird: Bob's enunciation was better than usual for this song so I
actually could make out quite a few of the words. This is probably the
best version I've heard of this song.
The Man In Me: I somehow recognized this one fairly quickly and was
already very surprised and excited. It had pedal steel and great
phrasing, and I could feel that we were going to get a great show after
this great song.
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding): Bob gave a solid performance of this
song, as he did for all the songs tonight.
If You See Her, Say Hello: This was quite the treat. I wrote in a
previous review that I don't much care for the current arrangement of this
song because I think it would be better slower. This version changed my
mind. For some reason, it works faster as it is now. This version was
also very interesting because it was full of lyric variations! In the
first verse, he sung something like "I wish it wasn't so". Later, "cut me
to the bone" and "she still lives inside my mind". The last two lines to
the second-to-last verse were completely different but I couldn't catch
it; after Bob sung it, I looked to my side and Arthur's and my eyes met
and we both shrugged, obviously both enjoying it but we both missed the
words. Finally, he sung the lines I'd heard on the version in London
2002: "...quick, / please don't mention her name to me, ya know it just
makes me sick".
Tombstone Blues: Using the new arrangement for this song which was debuted
at Worcester, Bob rocked it out even more; there were longer jams. It
almost seemed like he wanted to end the song earlier but it kept going
Tears Of Rage: I had long hoped to hear this song because the back-up
harmony vocals by Larry and Charlie on the recordings I've heard are
perfect. This version blew me away. The vocals were all I had hoped for,
and on top of that Bob's vocal delivery was stunningly amazing.
Floater (Too Much To Ask): This is one of the songs that I think Bob takes
from Love And Theft and just brings it to another level in concert. I
love hearing it and today's version was stellar.
High Water (For Charley Patton): Before this song, Bob did this weird
thing (he did this in Worcester too but I left it out of my review because
I forget when he did it): he looks at George, raises his arms above his
head, and starts clapping, all the while resembling a weird monkey or
something. This got us all laughing. This song then had great phrasing
as they again did it without banjo or slide guitar.
The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll: Another complete surprise, Bob went
into Hattie Carroll. It was very tenderly sung and my notes for it simply
say, "Wow again". I was very near tears after the last verse. Bob played
his guitar very interestingly: he strummed it in a way that almost sounded
like cane blows or heart beats. I think it might've been around this song
that I leaned over to Ryan and said "This show is already better than the
other two we saw!", but he didn't seemingly, at the time, agree with me
(he agreed later).
Tangled Up In Blue: When Bob's on, he's on. Even Tangled Up In Blue was
unbelievable, this perhaps being the best version I've heard of it!
Knockin' On Heaven's Door: It was quite nice to hear this song outside of
the encore set and I think he should keep it in the regular set instead.
The current arrangement of this song is very spine-tingling.
Summer Days: As this song started up we all became excited, getting ready
for another jam session. This must've been the longest of the Summer Days
jams I've experienced so far. At times, it looked like Bob was going to
go back to singing, but then stepped back away from the mic. The jamming
just kept going, getting better and better, and there we all were, dancing
our hearts out. The drums, the guitars - everything was awesome. I mean,
Never Gonna Be The Same Again: My notes for this song simply say,
"Whoa". Whereas I was
confused and intrigued by the version in Worcester, this version convinced
me: I love this arrangement! The way all the music stops except for Bob,
who plays very very cool, different riffs, is chilling.
Cold Irons Bound: At the start of this song, Bob again did the monkey
clapping thing described for High Water. We all laughed and then were
thrilled to hear the mystic opening to Cold Irons Bound. This version was
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35: Now, this here song is a hundred times better
than the Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hats we heard at the other two shows. It
was rocking and full of jams and licks and riffs. Then Bob introduced the
band. He started off by saying something like, "I'd like to introduce my
band. I know you've been dying to meet them and now you'll get to." We
didn't think much of it at the time, but after the show, talking with
someone else, it was pointed out that this was perhaps in response to us
getting close to the band before the show! After this, Bob introduced
each member, allowing them to have a short jam. When it came to Charlie's
turn, the tempo changed and he played this very fun guitar part! It was
very cool to see this pre-planned band intro! Then, when Tony's turn
came, he danced this jig, hopping over the standup bass which was on the
floor. It was great fun to see the band and Bob having such a great time!
They were smiling away.
Like A Rolling Stone: Bob opened the encores in the usual way except that
he breathed new life into this song. It seemed like everything he touched
tonight turned into gold.
Honest With Me: At one point in this song, unfortunately, Bob's mic died
down (he didn't realize it because his monitor speaker was working).
Despite this, the song was great. After the mic came back on, he sung the
last verse the best I've ever heard it done.
Blowin' In The Wind: The intro harp to this song was Bob's harp playing
at, perhaps, its best. Then the song had great phrasing, which did sort
of surprise me (as this song lately doesn't seem to have great phrasing
All Along The Watchtower: And they left on this unbelievably great rocker
song that always leaves you wishing for more.
And with that, the Augusta show came to a close. It was by far
the best show I've ever seen and a bunch of us entered what was known as
the Augusta High. Basically, we all had a natural high which we wouldn't
come down from for quite some time. Ryan was running around, jumping and
doing cartwheels. I had the biggest grin on my face for a long time. I
told someone, "Go on ahead, tell me something bad, it'll just bounce right
off me!", and that was the truth. I should've been really tired as I
hadn't been getting enough sleep lately, but I just didn't feel it (when
the high wore off a few hours later, I became exhausted). People were
hugging others and just smiling and it was wonderful.
The other term, Augusta Afterglow, is a term I use to describe
when one remembers the Augusta High. I was in a Yahoo chat recently and
just felt traces of the Augusta High and started grinning again. It was
just an unbelievable show and I'm sure the recordings will reveal that. I
can't do the show justice in words.
And with that, I had witnessed my first small venue show, my
first outdoor and historically significant show, and the best show I've so
far experienced. Woohoo!
- Eben Hensby
Review by Bob Keyes
I just want to add a couple of comments about the trio of opening shows,
in Worcester, Newport and Augusta. Having read several on-line reviews
that were less than positive, I was pleased to see the latest updates that
made the case for Newport. It was an excellent show, for several reasons.
First, the set list was very nice -- not necessarily nice because of the
occasion, but a fine selection of material given the current arrangements
he and band are using. Second, his performance was taut, much more so than
in Worcester, which, in truth, was a tad sloppy. (But what do you expect
for an opening night?). Third, the atmosphere was stunning. Sure, it was
hot. And yes, 10,000 people at a Bob show is a bit much, especially when
half really didn't care if they heard the show or not. But the setting was
spectacular and his set -- coming at the end of a long, hot day -- was a
total relief. The only thing better would have been a terrific rain storm.
But the biggest thing was the sound. This was the best-sounding Dylan show
(indoors or out, large venue or small) that I recall seeing, and I've seen
Bob & the band 30-plus times over the last decade or so. People who say
you cannot understand him simply do not listen.
As other reviewers have noted, he nailed several songs. My personal
favorites were "SHB" and "Summer Days," which on three nights was the
unquestioned show-stopper. But I would not quibble with anything. It was a
rock-solid show, front to back.
Worcester was less than stellar, but still enjoyable. I loved the new
arrangement of "Never Gonna Be the Same Again," despite many complaints
that I heard from people in both Worcester and Augusta. Let's face it
folks: Surprises like that are why we keep going back to Bob. He surprised
us again, as he has done so often before. An earlier reviewer complained
about the loud drunks. I concur. I moved around the venue several times to
get away from the yakkers (one idiot kept screaming for "Lay Lady Lay").
No matter where I went, I was surrounded by fools.
As for Augusta, I probably enjoyed that show as much as any of the
others, although it may not have been the most fluid of the three
performances. I just thought the crowd was incredibly respectful and
surprisingly enthusiastic. It was the best crowd of the three, and I think
that propelled the show. Dylan botched a few lyrics here and there, but
there really wasn't much negative to be said about the show, in my
opinion. Yes, it was slow at times, but there were enough true highlights
to overcome the tempo. I loved Larry's fiddle on "If You See Her, Say
Hello," and the version of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" literally gave me
goose-bumps. I took my brother, his wife and their teen-age son. It was
the first show the kid had ever been to, the first time my brother and his
wife had seen Dylan. They all liked the show a lot; they loved it at times
and wished he was a little more coherent at other times. But their
complaints were minor.
This trio of shows reaffirmed to me the necessity of keeping my Dylan
quest alive. He truly is an artist that challenges his fans, and himself,
every time out. I understand people's complaints, but those are quibbles
in the big picture. Who else is can you see four, five or six times a year
and never truly get bored with? Who else can you see so frequently and
still be surprised by? Who else is daring enough to deconstruct and then
rebuild his songs time and again?
--- Bob Keyes
page by Bill Pagel
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