Reviews

West Haven, Connecticut
Yale Field
August 7, 2004


[Jason Polanski], [John Piurek], [Cary Krosinsky], [Bob Meader],
[Thunda], [Charlie Gardner], [Dylandee], [Peter Stone Brown]

Review by Jason Polanski



The best word to describe this show was "incredible"!!!!! Everthing seemed
to fit. The baseball field was a wondeful venue with a really laid back
atmoshphere. The smell of substances prevelant. Younger fans congregating
to dance by the stage while families spread their blankets out in the
field. Old hippies who dressed like old hippies intermixing with the Texas
cowboys. 

A few words about Willie Nelson: Great opening act. An acoustical contrast
to the harder rockin' Dylan. Can get the crowd into it. Loved hearing "Me
And Paul" and "Will The Circle Be Unbroken". I hope Dylan sits in at some
point on the tour. 

A few more words about Dylan's set: Incredible, Incredible, Incredible!

Some highlights:
HONEST WITH ME: The intensity built throught the song. Following the
guitar break, Bob's vocals began to soar through the words. Listen to the
tape. Total confidence. As Bob signaled for the band to go into the ending
he literally leaped from the keyboard, ran and danced across the stage to
Tony, who knows what was said, then he took a moment and accepted the
crowds admiration. 

IT AIN'T ME BABE: Bob called for this right after Honest With Me. It was
done to perfection. Harp intro was good. The vocals were on with Bob
singing "someone to open each and every dddddoooooooooorrrrrrr" while
putting his head down and almost looking up at the mic. Best version I've
heard this year. He played with different phrasing during the verses and
hit every note he wanted to. Totally in control.

HIGHWAY 61: Reached greater heights then Pougkeepsie. Bob would lead
George through these drum routines by weaving back and forth in George's
direction. By the time the last verse came, everyone was dancing. Dylan
fired these stacato vocals on the line "never did engage...." and the band
exploded behind him. Possibly best version ever.

MAGGIES FARM: First song. Not a warmup. As good as openers get.

BALLAD OF HOLLIS BROWN: Interesting acoustic ramble. Bob started out
singing with a raspy melodic tone, then seemed to find the bite that
represents the tragedy in the music. Lots of sinister looks to the crowd
as he engaged this story completely. 

LOVE SICK: Complete with a lyrical improvisations and an extended
intrumental break which gave both Larry and Stu a chance to solo.

Other highlights: Everything but Mr. Tambourine Man, which I considered
sloppy but the crowd enjoyed it.

In summary, a really good time. As much as I liked the accoustic stuff
Dylan did a few years ago, I personally am a fan of the rock and roll. At
times, this band seemed almost like punk. Dylan's bluesman style voice
works best on songs like "Highway 61". Stu Kimball is a welcome addition
(see: solo on Summer Days). Can't wait for Brockton!

[TOP]

Review by John Piurek



What a setting for the show...Yale Univ. baseball field where Babe Ruth
once hit one OVER the centerfield wall where now the stage was set up and
another legend was to play! The humidity and heat was gone and a cool
night was in store as the Hotclub of Cowtown took the stage at 6:30 and
ripped thru a great Texas-cowboy-Bob Will type set.Willie took the stage
as a huge Texas flag was unfurled and started off w/Whiskey River and
played hits like Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,Waylon and the Boys,some
Merle,even Me and Bobbie MaGee...........at 9 Bob walked out and played a
fast&furious "Maggie's Farm" and the show was on. Even though a mike was
set up centerstage Bob played keyboard all night;after every song he would
walk to the front of the drum kit and stand....he reminded me of some
1930's big band leader!!! tonight's fav for me was "it ain't me babe" as
the guys got into a real reggae/funk mood on it.Lots of smiling & laughing
on stage,seemed like Bob just wanted to play leaning back & then over his
keyboard,crouching really low!! When they closed the show,Bob grabbed the
mike and introduced everyone and joked that his drummer had goten his wife
a baseball bat but she might not like it......I thought it was
funny!.........only thing missing was Bob & Willie doing at least one
song??

[TOP]

Review by Cary Krosinsky



Bob was so good tonight - right on from the word go

Maggie's was one of those Maggie's that was on from the start, grooved
throughout

Bob on ALL the words

far from a warmup it can sometimes be (as it was almost 1 year ago at
Holmdel, for example - this was much better)

Watching the River Flow was great too

Tell Me It Isn't True grooved something special

Bob was riding the surf - in great voice - a little bit of "gruff" mixed
in - mostly melodic

ALWAYS unique and creative

then Lonesome Day Blues, which was SHARP

Just like a Woman I've never heard better

slow and grooving

just like the Barrowland Ballroom version - Bob would have loved a
singalong - I tried but no one else joined in

was so great - one of the major highlights to be sure, and not the only
one

Tweedle Dum - was good too - not as earthshattering, but new and different
and pretty good, much as I wish he'd play it less - I think he feels it's
snarling negativity captures our time - he's right

Brief aside on the venue and crowd - Stage in deepest Centerfield of Yale
Field - seemed like about 8000-8500 in attendance - stands which hold
about 5000 were about half full, but this was far away, and these people
were less involved - probably seemed like watching TV.  As for the field,
it had a number of souvenir and food stands, and soundboard and VIP setups
in the middle, so the field was more than half full too.

Hot Club of Cowtown started things very nicely - 3 piece country swing
band of high quality - watch for these guys

Then Willie - always welcome - not playing much guitar, but we understand
- Me and Bobby McGee a particularly fine moment and many more.

so, back to the Bob review...

Love Sick was just great - REALLY on

Stu had this one down well - Bob added a brief vocal improv here - a brief
"no" after an early line - and Bob, as he did most of the night,
concentrating on his vocals, always trying to find new takes while staying
true to his style - great stuff

Highway 61 - not sure where to being on this one - they found a groove and
were playing around with it and grins all around - George started playing
around the beat - it was like the song was playing the band and not vice
versa - really - this was the shit

and from true HI TEST to a slow, quintessential, never better and I mean
never - Hollis Brown - perfect and true

Honest With Me was too soon - a few more songs, no? - signalling the start
of the decline of the ride to its inevitable stop

but great

because this is Bob's song to us - his fans - if we met him in person,
we'd be Honest and Normal with him - if only we knew - that he's just a
regular guy

who just happens to be the performer of our time

It Ain't Me Babe - and another great 2004 building version

Summer Days - really grooving - Bob right into it - Larry the jammaster
supreme

Tambourine Man - real nice version - after a few minor versions, this 2004
style Tambourine Man is finding it's way now

Rolling Stone - Bob finds a new groove and it's very nice indeed.

Although Freddy was badly missed here as well as anumber of other moments
where a quality lead would have been more appropriate

That said, Stu as a rhythm guitarist mostly helps set a REALLY nice table

I'll continue to be hoping the rumours are true that Freddy will return
and that Stu will stay too

Bob's intros, and this time George bought the bat, not Stu

Then Watchtower - I'm heading for the exit to get a jump - and the late
jam is the good one

As was pointed out by others,  some idiot hit Bob with a piece of flying
paper at the end of show lineup - nice touch

Part of the night for all of us, Bob included, was dodging people, who
insisted on trying to bounce through the crowd, on their way to who knows
where?  Made one lose their concentration a few times, Bob seemed to not
let any of it bother him

And there went Bob and his two buses down Route 34 - toward 95, heading
for another joint.

Thanks Bob and band for a real good time.

[TOP]

Review by Bob Meader



A gorgeous night at the old ballpark and a great show.  We tailgated in
the Yale Bowl parking lot under partly sunny skies, a cool breeze, about
70, a perfect night for a ballgame.  Or a rock and roll show.  Dylan
playing in my hometown!

We went in for Willie, and he put on a fine show.  He had the Family band
and also had his son playing some guitar and a few leads also!  He said
his hand was still sore but he played solos on a lot of the songs.  Willie
played for about 70 minutes or so.  The sun had set during Willie's set,
Bob was still to come.

The Copland came on, we made our way to get as close as possible.  The
sound system sounded great, better than at Mohegan Sun (from my seat). 
Bob sang and enunciated the words quite well, you could tell he was into
it.  Bob played harmonica on quite a few numbers.  Maggie's Farm was high
energy and a good omen.  Tell Me It Isn't True was very good, Just Like A
Woman was well done as was Lovesick.  Highway 61 was high energy also. 
The new arrangement of It Ain't Me Babe is growing on me.  The three
encores were all well done.  Stu on electric guitar played well on the
rocked out songs.  Larry was great on the steel guitar, the cittern and
the acoustic and electric guitar.

I wish I was going to Brocton tomorrow.  If you can catch this tour down
the road at a ballpark near you, don't miss the chance!

[TOP]

Review by Thunda



The Connecticut night was cool and clear. The stage was set. A threesome
fiddled their way to Willie Nelson and the great Lone Star State flag
dropped down (symbolism as metaphor). Willie was everybody's apple pie
waving suburban dad behaving, bandana throwing, walk through the oldies
boring, he could possibly be. but he does a mean geriatric wave to the
crowds between licks.

but once again, dylan sticks to the side on an electric piano and belts
out a rendition of a song that wayne newton might as well be singing.

the crowd wonders. is dylan going to at least once pick up a guitar?
but instead after a number, he shuffles to center stage and sort of closes
it out like a restaurant owner.

an acoustic blowin in the wind for the kids perhaps?
but dylan's presence on stage is the thing.
he's got a cover band playing all the parts you could find anywhere but
the magic is dylan. 

one could do worse than being bored in the presence of dylan.

Thunda

[TOP]

Review by Charlie Gardner



Temperatures reminiscent of late September greeted concertgoers at
historic Yale Field, one of the oldest minor league ballparks in the
nation, as Bob and Willie rolled into New Haven for the second stop on
their summer tour.  A large and varied crowd endured long waits for
parking, temperatures that fell into the low 60s and prodigious clouds of
marijuana smoke to see the aging duo.  Willie Nelson was a treat to see,
of course, but only when Bob finally took the stage at 9 p.m. (after an
advertised start time of 6:30 for the show) did the crowd really seem to
come alive.  From the very first verse of a hard-rocking Maggie's Farm,
the opening number, it was clear that Bob had come equipped with his
clearest, most confident voice.  Though the setlist that followed didn't
offer any great surprises, the quality and sheer biting force of Dylan's
vocals and the superior backing of the guitar trio of Campbell, Garnier
and Kimball kept the crowd involved throughout. Highway 61 Revisited,
a live show standard that one might expect Dylan to have grown
at least somewhat weary of after 30 years of performances, was
instead kicked into higher gear than I have ever heard before, with
ear-to-ear smiles on the faces of each of the guitarists as they attempted
to out-duel each other.  Summer Days and Hollis Brown were all superbly
handled, while the evening's version of Watchtower rocked more or less as
hard as any song Dylan has ever performed live.  My only complaint is that
I would have liked to have heard more material from the 70s and 80s: only
a single song, Watching the River Flow, was drawn from this enormously
creative span of Dylan's long career.  Perhaps it is time to consider
giving Honest With Me - a song which Bob evidently loves - a well-deserved
break from the playlist in order to accomodate some of this
underappreciated material.  Overall, though, a thoroughly enjoying show
and evening- hopefully it won't be too long before Bob is back in the
neighborhood again.

As a side note, Dylan did attempt to tell a joke
of sorts on George during the band introductions, something about a
baseball bat, but the punchline (if indeed there was one) was mumbled and
it seemed most of the crowd missed it.  Perhaps other keen-eared reviewers
can divulge precisely what was said.

-Charlie Gardner

[TOP]

Review by Dylandee



Sometimes, when it's been a while between Bobshows, I tend to forget just
how fan-freaking-tastic Bob and the the boys are. Tonight, I was
thoroughly reminded. It was the strangest place I've ever gone to see a
concert - a small baseball field, with risers circling around from past
3rd base over to past first. Way, way beyond and between 2nd and 3rd base
was the stage.  About halfway between the stage and the start of the
outfield, there were several large food and souvenir tents set up, quite
effectively blocking the view of the stage from anybody sitting anywhere
to the right of home plate. These were Willy's tents - Bob had the good
grace to place his souvenir stand at home plate, at the foot of the risers
(stands), not in anybody's way at all. Score one for Bob. This show was 2
separate and complete concerts - not like when Bob toured with Paul Simon
or Lesh.  Willy went on first and made absolutely no mention of Dylan, and
of course Bob, rarely speaking anyway, said nothing about Willy being
along.  The Hot Cow Whoevers were the only ones who acknowledged that
there were 2 other bands playing that night, just like all opening acts
always are verbally gushingly thankful for being asked along. I've always
enjoyed Willy Nelson's voice and songs, without actually going out of my
way to hear them, so I thought I would probably enjoy seeing him in
person. He sounded good, did a lot of the old hits, but he had me yawning
pretty regularly throughout. At one point, he was handed a note and he
announced into the mic while reading it that a lost child had been found
and could be collected by his parents from stage right. I tried to imagine
this same scenario with Bob at the mic, and couldn't quite picture it, so
I think it was a good thing that the kid got lost during Willy's set...
Willy did his show, and then just stopped and went away and they started
breaking down the set to make room for Bob's stuff. There was no attempt
to bring him back for any encores, and from what I could tell, just not
much of a reaction at all as he quietly disappeared. As darkness fell,
along with the temperature (it was really chilly!),  our hero took the
stage and a roar went up that not been roared for Willy. Bob materialized
at his keyboard and launched into an earthshaking Maggie's Farm. I don't
like this song, but I LOVED it tonight!  It was an amazing version, and he
and the band immediately won over all doubters and Willy fans in my
section. I did not keep track of the songs, and I'm sure others will give
the usual song-by-song accounts, so I won't even attempt to do that here. 
I saw that the setlist posted at Pagel's didn't mention when the harp was
played. It was played often thru the first several songs, and it was Bob's
harp at it's best - soul-searing and passionate. I believe his harp
playing is truly his way of 'making a joyful noise unto the lord' - his
direct communication with all that he believes in. IMHO! The whole area
between the stage and the start of the outfield was packed with people
standing and sitting on blankets, and Bob seemed really happy with the
crowd as the night went on. He had to be happy with the band's awesome
performance, and sometimes after the end of a song, when each song was
just getting better and better, he would dash across the stage to the
front, weirdly waving his arms towards the band, like maybe saying, 'can
you believe these guys?' and then he would tiptoe like he does to the
front of the stage, grinning, just on the verge of communicating with the
audience, when they would turn the lights out and plunge him into
blackness, like they always do between his songs. I could feel his
frustration, I think. He did manage to get a joke in though, while
introducing the band. When he introduced the drummer he said that George
had gotten a baseball bat for his wife - and later thought that it had
been the worst trade he ever made. Typical Bob 'joke', but he was very
happy and smiling and then turned around to George and asked him for
confirmation that it had been a bad trade, while chuckling to himself.
There was something very sparkly around Bob's neck - something kept
shooting out sparks, like diamonds catching the light. I couldn't tell
what it was, maybe somebody who was closer knows. He was wearing his usual
black suit with the arm stripes, and a black cowboy hat, along with an
UNusual grin, Most of the Time.  Back to the music - it was just
UNBELIEVABLE, Larry and the new guy really outdid themselves, and I'm not
able to describe it to you, so if a disk of this comes your way, GRAB IT.
Bob sounded very good, sometimes hitting such pure and perfect extended
passionate notes that it would give you chills. Sometimes.  He was very
energetic and very into this show. About 1/2 way thru, I wandered down
amongst the people down on the grass in front of the stage, and it was
really lovely down there. There was a lot of space between people for
winding your way through, until you started getting really close where it
was tightly packed, and everyone just seemed so mellow - swaying and
hugging and lifting their kids up to get a better view as Bob sent his
sparkly sparks out into the night, and his legacy down thru the
generations gathered before him. I wish there was a way to describe the
music tonight or to explain why this night's Tambourine Man made me choke
up and stand in awe as those of us in that field  were granted yet another
chance to experience 'an evening with Bob Dylan and His Band'. Thanks,
Bob, and thanks for the reminder. 

dylandee

[TOP]

Review by Peter Stone Brown



We arrived at the stadium about an hour before the doors opened.  The
circus atmosphere of Cooperstown was replaced by a more mellow crowd
lounging around in line.  Once again, it was pretty easy to get right
up front.  Hot Club of Cowtown did a similar set to the night before
and everything seemed a bit looser.  Willie Nelson came on a tiny bit
later and did virtually the same set, except he played about 15
minutes longer adding a couple of Hank Williams songs as well as
"Living In The Promised Land".

The scene at the front can be fun and interesting.  You notice the
same people in the same spots at the rail, both Nelson and Dylan fans.
But it can also be intense and claustrophobic, especially the closer 
it gets to Dylan taking the stage.

Dylan came on at about 8:50 and opened with "Maggie's
Farm" rocking very hard and continued rocking with
"Watching the River Flow" and "Tell Me That It
Isn't True" which had more punch than usual, and a cool
harp solo though he did mess up some of the lyrics.  Hardly pausing
between songs, he took things higher with "Lonesome Day 
Blues" then slowing down for an excellent "Just Like A
Woman" still in it's Memphis soul arrangement at the
beginning.  "Tweedle Dum  and Tweedle Dee" kicked things
back into motion and even though this song appears at every show (or
so it seems) both Dylan and the band put something extra into it that
made you notice.

An incredible version of "Love Sick" led into "Highway 61 
Revisited" and it was obvious both Dylan and the band
were having a lot of fun.  The guitars soared.  Larry
switched to cittern and an ominous chord followed, and for the first
time in a long time, I wasn't sure what was coming next.  The
ominous chord turned into a stunning "Hollis Brown" with
Dylan nailing the vocal, never missing a step, not only enunciating
every word, but every syllable.  It was the high point of the night,
and not even the security force dealing with a drunk who was
apparently falling into everyone around him could detract from it.

"Honest With Me" led into "It Ain\'t Me, Babe"
and while when I first heard the new arrangement, I felt
that it was a new arrangement simply for the sake of a new
arrangement, at Yale it not only built and built, but made total
sense.

On "Summer Days" they were obviously again having fun,
with Stu throwing in a Count Basie riff that made Dylan crack 
up.  "Tambourine Man" replaced the previous night's
"Don't Think Twice" as usual followed by "Like A
Rolling Stone" and "Watchtower".

It was simply one of those nights where everything worked and the
energy never let up, the band totally on, and Dylan singing so
forcefully that you had no doubt why you came to see him.

[TOP]

page by Bill Pagel
billp61@execpc.com

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