Lloydminster, Saskatchewan

Lloydminster Exhibition Grandstand

August 10, 2012

[Peter], [Tim O'Flanagan]

Review by Peter

I've seen Dylan in concert perhaps half a dozen times since 1978, but
never outdoors.  When I heard he would be playing Lloydminster Exhibition
Grounds my mind went immediately to "Dusty Old Fairgrounds'.  I pulled out
my vinyl copy of Rare Batch of Little White Wonder #3 and gave it a spin. 
Sure enough, it was as I remembered: Well it's roll into town straight to
the fairgrounds Just behind the posters that are hanging And it's fill up
every space with a different kind of face Following them fairgrounds
a-callin' It seemed that if I was looking for a little of the old Dylan
magic, Lloydminster might be the place to find it.  Turns out it was well
worth the 950 km round trip.  Some rain had fallen earlier in the day, so
the fairgrounds were nicely moistened rather than dusty.  The atmosphere
was pleasant and unhurried and there was a good mix of old timers and
young folk.  The stage was set up in the middle of the dirt infield and we
had no problem finding a spot dead centre just a few feet from the rail.
Here we were, for the first time in a position to feel the energy
radiating from the stage and able to see every wince and twitch and bead
of sweat on the ol' champ's face.  I looked through the crowd behind me
and saw a woman with a leopard skin pillbox hat.  Ten minutes later, when
the band hit the stage and launched into a rollicking version of 'Leopard
Skin Pillbox Hat' I knew it would be a memorable night.  Dylan spent a lot
of time behind the piano and for the most part I dug what he was doing -
but like his guitar playing it's a little bit sloppy, a little bit choppy,
and a couple of times songs almost came unglued.  All part of the charm, I
guess, and in the end we must say that 50 years of practice has really
paid off! From our position the sound mix was good and it was relatively
easy to hear what everyone was doing.  Charlie Sexton stood out on Tangled
Up in Blue and Summer Days and played up a storm all night.  Stu Kimball
stepped out more on the bluesy numbers.  There were only a few numbers
where the three guitars threatened to muddy up the sound.  George Recelli
and Tony Garnier kept it tight.  Dylan's vocals were not always front and
centre.  For instance, Rollin' and Tumblin' could have benefited from a
little more of his primordial growl.  Other than that he made the most of
his raw and ravaged instrument and I was pleasantly surprised by the
treatment of some of the softer songs.  Don't Think Twice, Tangled Up in
Blue and Simple Twist of Fate were all highlights for me. Sugar Baby was
the one real dud of the night - but I've always hated that song.  I found
that many of the songs had a staccato rhythm as did Bob's vocal delivery. 
It came close to being overdone, but it occurred to me later that maybe it
was the persistent tic-toc of the clock of a 71 year old man who is
getting down to his last few laps.  Anyway, I thought the approach worked
on most songs even while being quite simplistic. The whole show had good
pace and built to a compelling climax with Ballad of a Thin Man, Like a
Rolling Stone and All Along the Watchtower. What will stand out most for
me about the show is the continued passion of Bob Dylan and his band. 
Throughout the night there were many exchanged smiles, words and satisfied
glances.  They all seemed genuinely happy to be where they were. Even the
legendary sourpuss himself couldn't help but smile at the enthusiastic
reaction of the crowd. It's hard not to miss the nuance, the phrasing and
the power of Dylan's voice in his prime.  But one must respect that he is
still out there bringing the songs to the people with an honesty and lack
of pretension that belies his legendary status.  Still answering the call
of the dusty old fairgrounds.

Rosebud, Alberta


Review by Tim O'Flanagan

Oh my name it ain't nothing, my age it means less.........Anyway my name
is Tim O'Flanagan and I live in Calgary, Alberta, six hours South and West
of Lloydminister, Saskatchewan, My daughter, Aurora and I drove up to
Lloyd yesterday to go to the Bob Dylan concert, and I am still reeling
from Mr. Dylan's performance. He actually performed. I am a bit, just a
bit of a Dylan fanatic, I have seen some where in the neighborhood of a
hundred shows, and was contacted by Rolling Stone Magazine in, I think,
2002, and interviewed for an article about overzealous fans, which when
printed was, well, it was something I wished I had not done. Anyway, I am
trying to point out that i know a bit about Bob. Last night's show was
absolutely fucking incredible. Bob was wearing an extremely cool pair of
white cowboy boots with a black tip on the toes, I am sure that he was
proud of the boots, because as he played the piano, he continually propped
his left foot atop a sound monitor, or picked up both feet and waved them
in the air. Amzing! He had on white slacks, a black blazer and grey flat
brimmed cowboy had. His hair had been dyed dark brown he looked great! At
times while watching him last night, i was reminded very vividly of Dylan
touring The Rolling Thunder show, minnus the bouquet of flowers in his
hat. The band were all wearing light grey sports jackets and pants,
looking sharp as hell. By the time Rory and I had gotten to Lloyd, there
were only bleacher seats left, quite disappointing, so we tried at the
gate to the floor to sweet talk out way onto the standing room area, and I
believe we were about to succeed when my daughter overheard a husband and
wife discussing each others stupidity for buying tickes on the floor as
neither of them were prepared tp stand all night, we swapped tickets and
with general admission stood 3 back from the stage. I have to add that the
local folks from Lloydminister, the beer slingers, ticket sellers, ticket
takers, gate security were all so extremely accomadating. Nothing at all
like the the bonehead security in white cowboy hats here in Calgary, at
the saddledome. One gal in particulat, Bev, went to her boss on our behalf
a couple of times, was just a sweetheart, I hugged her after we had
swapped tickets, and one older rancher looking man at the gate, said don't
be hugging me like that as you go through, I think deep down he liked the
embrace I gave him as he stamped my arm. The crowd was a mix from kids
with their parents, to kids with their parents, parents, and everything in
between, but I would say that 50% of the crowd were  late teens to early
twenties. a beautiful young blonde girl next to me, who I would guess at
19, had Bob's lytics tatooed all over her body and she actually broke down
crying when he came onto the stage. Her poster, which was written in red
lipstick said MARRY ME and was hilarious to begin with, but became a bit
bother some after it blocked my view for the hundreth time. There were
several fans wearing tshirts from past tours in Edmonton and Saskatoon,
which, ya know if you are any kind of a music fan, why would you only go
and see the greatest song writing, rock star only one time in the fifty
years that he has been the greatest. The set list is already on your page
so I neednt bother doing it again. The show however did open with Pill Boh
Hat and was a great opener, and thank the Lord, it was the only song that
Dylan played on that stupid electric organ thingy that he has been fucking
with for ten years. I never, as you can probably tell, thought that
instrument should have been on the stage. Bob only played the guitar once
last night on Simple Twist of Fate, and the rest of the songs he played
amzing grand piano, truly fucking amazing piano, and he so appeared to be
enjoying it, smiling, kicking his feet into the air, holding his hand over
his heart, in gestures of  love or heart break. He traded piano riffs with
the steel guitar player playfully, and at one point they both broke into
laughter, a heart warming sight to see. On Ballad of a Thin Man, I am not
sure if by fluke, or if maybe the bit of a praire breeze had the words
blowing into the wind enough to cause a crazy echo back sort of on the
last three words of each sentence as Dylan spit the words out. aybe it was
by design, but Bob picked up on it, I hope it was by fluke, and slow the
words down and then they echoed back, it was weirdly weirdly beautiful. I
have, and I do truly have goose bumps as I recollect that part of the
show. Bob at the piano, last night, he did Like A Rolling Stone so close
to the original recording, his voice was perfect, and believe I love when
in completely changes the delivering of his songs, but somehow last night
this going back to it's almost original was very fitting. Blowing in the
wind started out with a fiddle, unbelievable, who except the genuis that
he is, woould ever think of starting this song out with a fiddle. Anyway,
I need not go on and on, I have never sat down and written abiut a Dylan
concert before, and I have seen some amzing shows of his but last nights
show inspired me to write a bit about it. A couple of years ago, my son
Clay, and my daughter went to see Bob in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge,
we were going to continue on to Regina and Saskatoon, but the show in my
mind didn't warrant seeing a fourt and fifth time, that show last night,
well I am on my way to Lethbridge to see it again tonight, and then
Cranbrook BC the following night. I phoned my brother Terry in
Saskatchewan after the show last night, he told me that in Saskatoon a few
years ago Bob sold 2800 seats in a four thousand seat arena, in closing I
just want to say that anyone who has had a chance to see Dylan and never
did, should get out and see this amazing, no not amzing, this fucking
amzing display of true rock and roll, country, folk, blues wahtever label
you choose to call it, before it is gone forever!!!!!!!!!!

Tim O'Flanagan


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