Reviews

Québec City, Quebec
L'Agora du Vieux Port
August 10, 2002


[Marc Vallee], [Boiled Guts of Birds]

Review by Marc Vallee



First, sorry for my bad english...

Bob, his band and their twenty-some wonderful guitars hit the stage with
an energetic version of a traditionnal american song, 'I am the man,
Thomas', played here with superb backing vocals, giving us the idea that
the rest of the set list will be great as well. The band was in great
shape, perfectly road tested. Bob is doing almost all the solos on his
songs. Be honest, he is not a great soloist! He turned around three or for
notes, never construct or build a melody following the nuances of the
band, and I realize how immensely humble the two guitarists must be to let
the star shine!

The rythm section is incredibly locked together. The new drummer is
sparking, totally understanding the music, knowing where to go with
nuances and intensity, eyes wide open on what's going on,  All along the
concert I just feel guitarists Larry Campbell  and Charlie Sexton were
waiting for their moments, I prayed for more killer solos.....but again,
the boss does most of them. Larry, was solid all the way, altough seems a
little absent with rarely an expression in his face. He does an wonderful
job on the pedal steel in 'lay lady lay'. The strange gesturing Charlie is
fun to watch, but seems to play half-solos at moments. But the sums of the
three guitar players we have here gives something powerful, beautiful,
very tight, musical, and I just love to watch and hear them all the way
thru.

The songs: I would say they were superbly rendered. Highlights were
certainly 'Tangle up in blue', Bob sings it with some rage in it, the
three acoustic guitars were shining, as well as the applause after. A
sweet 'love minus zero' followed, simple and breezy. 'Just like a woman'
was pleasant to hear, since the arrangement was almost like the original,
but of course not the way he sings it! 'Moonlight' from 'L&Th' was
charming and jazzy, in contrast with the rocky 'Stuck inside..' played
just before, and a very pleasant one to listen in that perfect outdoor hot
summer night. Bob introduce his musicians with great fun during 'Rainy day
woman', even started to laugh while presenting Charlie as drummer George
slam and hit his snare drum interrupting the first word Bob tried to say.
'Blowin' in the wind' brings back the great backing vocals of Larry and
Charlie, it just burn the house when they sing 'the answer my friend is
blowin' in the wiiiiiiiind........'. And 'All along the watchtower' add
some fire to the final touch of the concert, his second only in Quebec,
the other was the Rolling Thunder Review in 75!

As it was an outdoor show, we can clearly saw the tour bus above the
stage, and I witness something I didn't like from the band: Immediatly
after the last encore (All along..) we could clearly saw them leaving the
stage, entered the bus, and the bus go away on the spot, while the packed
6,000 people were still screaming with joy, endlessly applauding, smiling
while hoping for another shot!!! I don't understand that, since it was
only ten after ten, and the band didn't played the day after! As a
musician myself, I know the very fragile importance of the audience, not
to mention the $60. they pay for the show, add to this the frustration of
hundreds who missed the first 3 songs while still on the row not able to
enter the site because of a very bad organisation. (but this is unrelated
to the band of course).

All in all I found Bob in great form, and it is always a treat to watch
and hear him after more than 40 years on the road! It was my ninth time
since '78, and one of the best show. It is sometime strange the way he
sings melody these days, singing the last syllables of a phrase one octave
higher, making the original melody unrecognisable, but I think there's
still nobody right now who change the interpretations of his songs that
much, change most of the set list each night, making the songs new all the
time! 

A note?.....well certainly 8/10.


Marc

[TOP]

Review by Boiled Guts of Birds



    I had a little bit of spare time in my schedule, so it was pretty easy
to convince me to come on up from Detroit to see a show in Canada. Of
course, it helped significantly that the tix for the show at L'agora were
front row center! So, here I am, typing this review the day after the
show.

    First off, I'd like to say, that I found Quebec City to be
absolutely beautiful, and the setting for the show itself, an outdoor
amphitheatre was perfect. Roughly 6000 people or so in attendance.  A
perfect night for a bob show. Before the show began we ran into
newdanville girl formerly of the pool and I think her husband wearing a
very cool "hibbing" athletic department shirt. We talked of the usual
rumors abounding about the Dylan tour and settled in for what we hoped
would be a very good night.

    Bob came out at roughly 10 after 8. And much to my happiness he
launched into I am the man, Thomas. This could be my favorite
spiritual/cover that he opens with. It seemed from the get go that Bob was
on with his guitar playing. The vocals and harmonies from the rest of the
band were pretty strong as well. Bob followed that up with Long Black
Coat. From what I've gathered he opened with this the show prior as well.
And I'm sorry to say it, I was slightly disappointed with this choice. I
could think of a hundred other songs I'd rather see in this slot. I was
talking today about at least a half dozen other songs that could have been
better. Of course, the surprise of Long Black Coat is one of the reasons
that I love Dylan shows because you don't know what to expect. I was of
course shocked to hear T.U.I.B. in the third spot. I'm so used to hearing
it as the end of the acoustic set in my dylan concert history that I
actually found this number refreshing here. And, I must say that Bob
seemed to perform this song with vigor throwing in a good harp solo at the
BEGINNING of the song. Love minus zero was a surprise. But, I started to
feel a little bit let down. I realized that this was going to be an
outside show. I've seen Bob many times indoors and outdoors. And it seems
to me that when Bob is outside, he's all business. It seemed to me as the
show progressed that there was little discussion with the band between
songs about what to play. I assume of course that is what Bob is doing
with the band on stage between numbers. But last night, there was none of
that. It seemed that he and the band knew exactly what was coming next and
as a result the show didn't seem spontaneous in the least. I've noted that
when I've seen Bob indoors that there seems to be more interaction with
the crowd and with the band. Tonight Bob was all business. My friend whom
I met up with (Sweet Melinda) observed that it appeared as if the band was
scolded prior to the show and as a  result seemed sheepish. I didn't get
that feeling at all. But as a result of what I thought was a formulaic
show I didn't note many highlights. What highlights I did observe I'll
note here...

Just like a woman was well done. It's been awhile since I've seen
it...(my last outdoor show in Detroit a few years ago that it was
enjoyed.

Masters of war- Bob sang this with such conviction and such power that he
seemed to be smoldering. All the people in the front row it seemed were
singing along with him with there teeth clenched, jaws jutting and
defiant. It was just as powerful as when I first heard it on his studio
album.

Mama you've been on my mind- Larry opened this song masterfully. He is so
solid in his position I am more and more impressed with his work on the
stage. I think that he really anchors Bob quite well. This song was
lovely. And Bob's flatpicking in this song and for the most part the whole
evening was great.

Summer Days- I get the feeling now thinking about this number a whole day
later that this may be the only song that Bob cared about when he played
it last night. A lot of bopping and howling, strutting around the stage
and just being a rock star.

Low-lights-

Stuck inside of mobile...- Does anyone like this song? Does anyone like it
live? It's so plodding and yet again, a song I hear at every show that's
outdoors. I think this song could be retired forever. Hey Bob if you are
listening how about doing It takes a lot to laugh instead at the Montreal
show? That'd be great.

Long black coat....I've commented on that already, I just wanted to
re-iterate.

All along the watchtower...Just tired. Very predictable. And overall,
that's how I felt about the show. I'm doing my best to be objective about
it and not be a typical gushing bob fan and say "that was the best show
ever!" just because he stepped on stage. I just thought that it was
average compared to some of the shows I've seen over the last couple of
years or so.

Oh, one other observation. It always seems to me that Charlie is trying to
impress his dad. His eyes always seem filled with hope and wonder as if to
say: "Did you like that dad? Huh? HUH?"

So, there you have it, a review if you will. I will be heading to
another joint tomorrow night in Montreal...an indoor venue. I'm hoping
that there will be some pleasant surprises there...feel free to email back
at:

mfrayer@prodigy.net

boiled guts of birds

[TOP]

page by Bill Pagel
billp61@execpc.com

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