page by Bill Pagel
Review by Boiled Guts of Birds
I first wanted to say, that it was a pleasure meeting up with all of
the poolers and dylan fans at the deli kitty corner to the molson center.
It was a lot of fun talking and hypothesizing about what Bob may wear,
play and the like with Benibleu, Conclusions on the wall, toomraider and
the like. It lead to a playful pre-show speculation, that helped my mood
significantly. Considering the last show I was at and my disappointment I
blurted out today on the way to the show that I was "thinking of quitting
the tour" unless Bob redeemed himself in my eyes.
It's now apparent that Bob reads my reviews.
The show started with I am the man. Again the harmonies were dead on.
But my little heart was filled with trepidation (and blood) as I thought:
"Oh dear. this is how the quebec show opened." Imagine my surprise when
from the get go in the song 2 slot...appeared
Just like Tom Thumb's blues- Whoa! Amazing rendition. Superb vocals.
Excellent guitar playing by Bob! I was thrilled. I don't think I've seen
this in the recent past and it was refreshing.
It's all right- I play a little guitar and I'm perpetually amazed when Bob
sings this. The wording is very difficult with the fast paced strumming
and picking. But the band and Bob were fantastic. Bob even dragging out:
"Even the President of the Uuuuunitttted States sometimes must have to
stand Naaaaaaakkkkkkkeeeeedddd!" fantastic!
SUBTERREANEAN HOMESICK BLUES- Oh geez. An electrified version of this
song. Sung in a very rapid tone with extremely lively bluesy guitar sound.
This is definitely in my top 5 of songs and I was thrilled to hear it.
I've been touring with Bob for about 9 years now and I've waited 9 years
to hear it. Keep playing it Bob. It was fantastic!
High water- Bob has dropped the dulcimer that Larry plays and has opted
for a harder and edgier sounding, darker accompaniment to his vocals.
Solid performance. I'd noted up to this point that Bob was finger picking
and strumming around on that guitar like the guitar player he is capable
of. Made for great fun during this show and this song. It seemed like each
song he was taking more leads and a few more risks than he has in shows
I've seen of him in the past. Hats off to the band. As usual of course.
For some reason or another the addition of George has seemed to liven
things up. I feel like the drumming is on a whole more raucous. And as a
result it seems like the band is really playing their hearts out even more
than before. Not sure if that's even possible.
Two more surprises....
One too many mornings!- Beautifully done! Again nailed beautifully by Bob
and the band. I think I was shaking my head at this point.
Hard Rain- I've seen this a few times. This version doesn't quite
compare with the time I saw it at St. Andrew's in Detroit a few years
back. Bob has taken to not having the harmonies with him on this of late.
I think the harmonies add to this. And as I'm typing this I can't recall
if the band backed him up on this one. But the phrasing was fantastic. I'm
particularly thinking of when Bob was chanting:
"I met ten thou sand tal kers and their tongues were all bro ken..."
each phrase just chanted out with emphasis on every syllable.
Make you feel my love!- Again the shock! It was just so nice to see him
pull something out of the recent past that I don't think has been played
in awhile. It's such a great song.
R.D.W. 12&35- I've never been one of those who's gotten to the point
that I felt that he should retire this song from the rotation and I feel
even less so now. He's introducing the band at this point of the show and
allowing all of them to solo off of him playing along. They really went at
it tonight. Bob hamming it up...turning to Tony and grinning and laughing
and the like. Really a fun song to watch tonight...
I could gush on and on about this show at this point, but the truth is, I
wasn't disappointed at all. It was a great show. Great enough that I'd
love to find a tape or cd of it. I hope that the energy that was at the
show and in the crowd translates to one of those must have shows somewhere
down the line...
As for me, there's no way I'm quitting the tour. Keep it Bob, Larry,
Charlie, George, Tony. I hope to meet Toomraider in Vegas.
Boiled guts of birds
Review by T. Heyer
After two months of unfruitful negotiations with my spouse for a second
show this tour, (she graciously purchased fourth row tix for Ottawa for
me) she relented just eight hours before the show. Within two hours I had
the tickets and was making the two hour drive from Ottawa to Montreal.
Trying any door I could find into the Molson Centre, I stumbled upon a
"nameless boutique." Having noticed that their glass door into the centre
was slightly ajar I returned later when I had my tick, it was 5:20 and the
sound check had begun in earnest. I couldn't place the first tune until
they hit the refrain of "She's a Devil in Disguise". The band had great
harmony on this and sounded like they were enjoying themselves. By this
time I could not contain my joy, nor conceal the fact that I was not
window shopping. However, the staff were very gracious and said that I
could stay until they closed at 6:00. The band then did another non-Bob
"When Will I be Loved?", followed by some tuning of the skins. After an
"Oh babe, It ain't no lie" (which didn't surface in Europe this year) in
which I swear I heard Bob, the staff at the store admitted they couldn't
recognize any of these, and asked what his greatest hits were. During the
mandolin warm-up I did my best to educate them, but once the band started
the sweetest harmonies I had ever heard for the "ooooo, ooooo's" of
"Heaven's Door" the 20-something clerk shouted "I know that one!" I
wasn't sure I had heard any Bob yet, but I was pretty happy and left with
some nice non-Bob souvenirs.
Talking to other concert-goers out on the lawn, I was impressed by the
age and language mix. I would estimate half and half old and young,
English and French. But I was surprised that the bulk of those I spoke to
were there for their first concert, with expectations for a lot of L & T,
or conversely, 60's material. People were slow to fill up the Centre, and
Bob started (I estimate) about 20 minutes late. This game me a lot of
time to admire the "Bob Tattoo" on the black backdrop, very nice...it
matched the one on my shirt!
And there he was! ...black Stetson, black tie, white shirt, black pants
with a single red stripe up the legs, looking ever-so-much-better than
those god-awful Newport pictures featured in many newspapers. I was not
surprised by my pool-pick of "I am the Man, Thomas". I always have liked
this one and consider it to be Bob's unequivocal statement of his
continuing faith in his risen Lord. The harmonies were as tight as always
and Bob was playing with confidence, yet I was concerned that this might
be just a solid, yet unimpressive evening....boy was in for a surprise!
"Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues" (acoustic) with a melody so modified that
it took me a while to spot the tune. He had a very laid back approach to
this one, fitting the acoustic arrangement. He gave two very nice solos,
with "the toe thing" starting to happen when he knocks his knees
together....he was warming up!
"It's Alright Ma" again with a very different melody, but those
unmistakable, kick-ass lyrics. I wished at this point that the sound-board
fellas could turn his voice down just a bit and crisp it up...not for me,
but for those (many) in the audience for whom deciphering unfamiliar
lyrics when shot out of his tommy-gun mouth is a tad frustrating, or worse
yet, off-putting all together. By the end of the evening, this was less
of a concern for me. However, everyone heard his great phrasing on "even
the president" with a huge gap between "stand" and (wait for it........)
"nakeeeeed"! Similar gap between "really have" and "found you", nice.
And with Oscar keeping him company up there the line that "you have
nothing more to live up to" seems to be ringing very true for Bob.
"It's all over now, Baby Blue" started with a sweet harmonica intro.
Bob had the audience firmly in his grasp by this song. I thought the way
bob moved in close to Charlie and Tony (even though Larry looked a little
isolated) was not only visually pleasing, but was paying off big-time in
the sound that was being produced, in this song, and throughout the
Kick off your shoes ma it's ..."Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum"! A very
rousing introduction to the electric set. Tony's bass drove this sucker
and this one smoked! Wonderful pause at the end as the master of
anticipation separated "said Tweedle Dee Dum"..... "toTweedleDeeDee".
"Moonlight" seemed to shrink the stadium down to a cozy venue room size.
Beautifully light guitar for the gentle swing rhythm. His voice seemed a
little worn on some of the higher notes...but what the hell...he's 60. He
changed the lyrics just slightly on "it tolls for you my friend", and
stuck us with a false ending...so much better than those
"spot-them-a-mile-away" big finishes!
The energy level surged way up for "Subterranean Homesick Blues". What
a great treat! I loved hearing this one since the last time I heard it was
Ottawa '90. The word-packed phrasing is awe-inspiring in this
Then a syncopated rhythm lilted out of the darkness and "High Water"
blew us away! Bob was way up the neck and picking away on the highest
strings. His right foot was way up in the air for the solo, and when he
sang "I'll [prick/put?] out your eyes" I believed this senior citizen
would do it. It ended with a towering finish and the crowd loved it.
A long pause while Bob strapped on the acoustic, then a gentle
introduction before the louder, more familiar strains of Larry on steel
kicked in on "One too Many Mornings"... hold back a bit more Larry! imho.
There was no harmonica on this as Bob was playing 'sans rack' tonight. I
missed the harp solo on this one of my favourite concert songs.
The room was already completely his, then came the absolutely awesome
"Hard Rain". Bob was doing a lot of side-ways crab walks in time to the
cord changes from his little trio to the mike and back...he was having a
ball. The audience sang along with the chorus.. this was absolutely
transporting! A group of people walked in and sat beside me during this
one...they obviously thought there might be an opening band, and were
most disappointed they missed Subterranean. Thunderous applause.
Then a very gently handled "Don't Think Twice" was absolute magic. There
was soft laughter on many lines including "gave her my heart....wanted my
soul", there was no malice in this one. He finished with a BIG burlesque
ending and milked it for all it was worth with tremolos that lasted almost
People danced for the energetic "Summer Days", no wonder he plays it
so much, it's a crowd pleaser...though I would have died to hear
"Mississippi". An interesting scat-like solo, if a guitar could sing scat
- jazzy and fun.
I had waited for years to hear "Make you Feel My Love". It says
something about his desire to keep a'movin' on that a song from just his
second last album could already be so transformed. His left toe was
bashfully twisting holes in the sande...and as he sang "I could make your
dreams come true" I felt he already had. And again, the big pause before
the last two chords was filled with sweet anticipation.
I must admit I did not recognize "The Wicked Messenger", but I
experienced the I-don't-know-or-care-what-he's-playing-this-rocks!
sensation of the many first timers. The drums were outstanding, good-bye
Mr. Kemper! Bob topped it all off with a blazing harmonica solo with the
mike...so much better than with a holder.
RDW had even the ushers dancing, and although I've always discounted
this song, Bob made the absolute most of it, using it to introduce the
band. Charlie's solo was slow and sensual, then Bob's bouncing feet
signaled a kick-off into double time...and back again.. just splendid.
Then he did something I hadn't seen before, he went down on one bended
knee with a flourished bow to thank us for the standing ovation and
The encore set started with "Honest with Me", of course. It was nice
and big and loud. "Blowin' in the Wind" brought out the lighters and
candles, and despite a hesitant beginning on harp was a decent rendition.
There was slow appreciative and on-tempo hand clapping during the solo.
Everyone, even Bob, was very happy (...if his gliding around the stage
floor as if it were a ballroom is any indication.)
I did not think that Bob could ever rival Hendrix on "Watchtower", but
I have never heard it like this! It was incredible. He repeated the first
verse at the end, making what seemed like a once in a lifetime experience
stretch a little further. The entire audience danced throughout the song.
If dancing during the apocalypse, or its anthem, is only appropriate for
people of faith, obviously Bob made believers of all of us tonight. Thanks
Although I appreciate the final knee-bending bow at the end, I would
have wished that Bob might have heard the deafening applause and done just
page by Bill Pagel
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