Review by Mark Mirek
I'm old enough now to be wary of outdoor gigs. Last week central Ohio was
in the 90's with drenching humidity. Tonight we have thunderstorms. But
last night was a glorious night for music. Three fine opening acts, but
we were waiting for Bob so midway through Jimmie Vaughan's excellent set
eyes were beginning to glaze over. Then Vaughan says, "We have a surprize
for you tonight. Here's my old friend, Eric Clapton!" Lightning struck
the crowd. I'm still too much in shock to say whether he played 3 or 4
songs, but he and Jimmie rocked that stage.
It was a tough act for Bob and the band to follow, but they were up for
it. There were many highpoints for me. "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" was
sweet, and "Blind Willie McTell" may be my all time favorite tune. I had
never heard "New Morning" live before, and it came across as an anthem of
hope. "Shelter From the Storm" knocked me out. Throughout, the sound was
excellent and Dylan mostly audible. I thought it was curious that he is
not playing anything from the new album.
The all-keyboard thing with Dylan is interesting but has serious
drawbacks. He sets up behind the guitars and bass. If you are sitting to
the right side of the stage - as we were until we moved - you're lucky to
get brief glimpses of Bob behind a massive guitarist. Only Bob knows why
he sets up sideways to the audience and facing the drummer. It also
limits the quantity and quality of acoustic songs. We saw Donnie Herron a
few months back with BR54-9. He is an outstanding multi-instumentalist,
but it seemed his instruments were not amplified enough. Finally, overall
I would rate Dylan's set as above his average (which is very good indeed),
but the high of the night was Clapton's appearance. I think we were all
wishing he'd appear for that final "All Along the Watchtower."
Review by David Moore
First off, I love Bobby's idea of a Minor League ballpark tour! Something
about it just sounds right... Columbus was Night 2 of the series, and if
you came expecting anything different from his previous 2006 shows...
then you were disappointed! As has been Bobby's style of late, he never
touched a guitar, playing the keyboards & harp while standing instead.
They rest of the band sounded great, although my spot in front row far to
Stage Left gave me more of a "mono" than "stereo" mix to some extent.
The suprise appearance (at least to me) of Mr. Eric Clapton himself at the
end of Jimmie Vaughn's set totally erupted the crowd, and was simply a
magical moment in time. Eric and Jimmie traded licks for three songs,
before leaving the stage in anticipation of The Man himself. There was
question in the crowd if perhaps Eric would reapper later and join
Bobby... but alas, it was not to be. A big thanks though to Eric for
making the appearance, and getting us all in a state of frenzy!
An honorable mention should also be given to Elana Jame's opening set as
well... quite intersting to say the least. Something about her overall
vibe and energy just radiated into us all, along with her amazing
By this point, we're ready for anything, and Bobby opens up with the
standard "Maggie's Farm". I liked the keyboard arrangement for it, it was
a bit slower tempo than normally I believe. ALL the songs played have
been rearranged to fit this certain style of heavy keyboards/heavy
electric guitar, and Bobby tends to let his vocals slip down in the louder
surrounding mix at times. But all-in-all, it was a great performance and
"I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" came next, slowing things down even a bit
more. This piece has potential on any given night, but I don't think that
Bobby hit this one as good as he would have liked to. Luckily, next came
"Stuck Inside of Mobile", and both Bobby and the boys in the band got back
to blowing our minds! A very good performance, for a song that I'm
usually not that fond of.
The next two pieces slowed it back down, being "Blind Willie McTell" &
"New Morning". If you like these tunes, then you'd probably like the
performance. For the most part however, the crowd was starting to get a
bit restless. That changed quickly however, once he rolled into "It's
Alright, Ma". This was a stellar performance of a stellar song. The
arrangement was nice and up-tempo, with Bobby just blasting away lyrically
throughout. This performance (along with a piece to come later) provided
the highlight of my night!
Next came the standard "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum", which they pulled off
pretty well. That led into a slower "Shelter From The Storm", which the
crowd totally loved (for good reason!). The way they rocked it is hard to
explain, but it was something not to be missed. This led to a fabulous
"Masters Of War", just a great rocking version. The crowd lost their mind
at this point, and this performance along with the other song are my
personal highlights. We didn't expect to experience this piece, as Bobby
had just pulled it out the night before in Michigan, and we didn't think
that he would use it two nights in a row. Wrong (thankfully)!
Next came a great "Highway 61 Revisited", kinda short and sweet. They
make this song fun, a good standard classic. Next was "Sugar Baby", which
kinda caught me by suprise. I haven't seen this pop up in any recent
setlists, and it took me a couple of minutes to even recognize the piece
(off of "Love & Theft"). It was alright, but it just seemed a strange
song to play... Finally was another "Love & Theft" piece called "Summer
Days", to wrap up the pre-encore set.
Standard encores of "Like A Rolling Stone" & "All Along The Watchtower"
finished it off, with both being really good performances and
arrangements. Especially "Watchtower", they had this funky little beat
going, with Bobby giving it his all. Good stuff.
All-in-all, a wonderful night and experience for all in attendance. The
setlists and song arrangements come and go, but what really matters... is
just being there, almost like a witness. Whatever it is that you like
about Dylan, he'll give you a taste, but he'll also give others their
taste too. You never know what to expect, or what it'll sound like, but
you need to be there!
See you in Lexington...
Review by Charles Cicirella
When the smoke clears and all is nearly said and done I honestly don't
know quite what to say or how to even begin to process what I witnessed
last night at Cooper Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Bob came out and whipped
us all into a lather with a Maggie's Farm that like a wrecking ball
destroyed any and all preconceptions or expectations we may have been
hiding behind or beneath depending on your conditions or conditioning.
Forget about Pavlov - forget about chimpanzees that can do sign language
or leprechauns that pretend they are not green with envy I'm telling you
Bob is firing on all eight cylinders and there is nothing like it
When you get openers like Elana James / Junior Brown (his drummer was
quite literally from another world) and we mustn't forget Eric Clapton
sitting in with Jimmy Vaughan I mean the night was just straight from the
bleeding edge. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight was pure bliss and then this
space opera shot beyond the stratosphere with a Stuck Inside of Mobile
that was like Blonde On Blonde meets Buster Keaton!!! Bob's facial
expressions were absolutely priceless you had to see it to believe it and
even then I found myself shaking my head and wiping the tears from my
happy eyes. Blind Willie was faster than I previously remember it and man
was it ever swinging! New Morning which I have not heard in too long a
time if I've ever actually heard it was like a rainbow dipped in blood.
The night was on fire from the very early morning when I first arrived at
the ballpark to the smoky twilight and beyond and I must now specifically
mention two songs that truly were why we come out to see Bob. If you don't
understand what some mean when they say Bob has a great voice listen to
his singing on Sugar Baby and Shelter From The Storm - his diction -
enunciation - delivery.. whatever you want to call it let's not mince
words (Bob doesn't) and just receive it. He never coasts and last night in
Columbus was proof positive of just how much it means to him to share his
many gifts with us.
Review by Carsten Molt
On a sunny and very pleasant Sunday , i made the trip from Pittsburgh to
Columbus, Ohio for my 32nd Dylan show. A big thanks to the pooler who gave
me a ride to the show and back to Pennsylvania. He wants to remain
anonymous but he knows who he is.
We got to Cooper Stadium a few minutes before show time. Cooper Stadium is
a pretty nice baseball park. It is the home stadium of the Columbus
Clippers, which are the AAA affiliate of the New York Yankees. We managed
to find a good spot about 25 feet away from the stage, dead center.
Elana James & The Continental Two came out first and play a nice set of
bluegrass tunes that were well received by the crowd that was still slowly
filing in to the park. Her set was short but did a good job of setting
the table for a great night of music.
Junior Brown was up next. i was really looking forward to his set and was
not let down in the least. Brown played a good set of his raucous blend
of country and rock & roll . The highlights of his set were "My Wife
Thinks Your Dead"" and "Highway Patrol".
Jimmie Vaughan and Lou Ann Barton came out and i admit that i was not
really interested in their set at first but then Eric Clapton walked out
and played some pretty tasty guitar solos with Vaughan on 4 songs. i was
hoping that Clapton would come out and play with Dylan later but that did
After a pretty long wait, the familiar Aaron Copeland music poured from
the speakers and Dylan and the band took the stage a few seconds later.
Dylan was wearing a black jacket with a white shirt. He had his black
cowboy hat on and there were white or silver stripes down the side of his
1. Maggies Farm- This was the expected opener and it rocked pretty hard.
Dylans voice was clear and powerful. They wrapped the song up with a nice
little rock n roll ending.
2. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight- i was expecting (dreading) "The Times They
Are A-Changin " so this was a pleasant surprise. Dylan's vocals were
perfect. He was singing with a smooth rasp and unique phrasing.
Unfortunately, his keyboard had a little too much of a circus feel to it.
He ended the song with a decent harmonica solo.
3. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again- There was a
pretty cool intro to the song but by the end of the first verse, it
reverted to its usual non-melodic wall of noise. Dylan was having a lot of
fun by this point and had a huge smile on his face.
4. Blind Willie McTell- This was brilliant. The line “All the way from
New Orleans to Jerusalem” never sounded so foreboding before. Stunningly
well sung, played quite perfectly by the band with two extended Denny
Freeman solos that fit the dark mood of the song well.
5. New Morning- I had never heard this song in concert before and was
really excited to hear it. It was a bouncy fun version and Dylan seemd to
enjoy it almost as much as i did. This was one of the highlights of the
6. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)-i am not a big fan of the recent
renditions of this song but this version was a little better than average.
Dylan managed to remember all the words and Donnie played some nice
7. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum-This is not a song I like at all and even
the better renditions are marginal at best. This was not one of the better
renditions. It was the low point of the show.
8. Shelter From The Storm-It is one of my favorite Dylan songs and i was
elated to hear it. It was beautifully played. The band laid down a nice
backdrop giving Dylan's voice room to stretch out and suspend time as if
the song would last forever. This and "New Morning" were the best songs
of the evening.
9. Masters Of War-Dylan never fails to play the song well. He was really
leaning into the lyrics and gave a spirited vocal performance. George was
beaming behind his drums during the song. It is nice to see him having a
good time but kind of a strange emotion for this tune.
10. Highway 61 Revisited-This was fantastic. It had a dark and driving
rhythm that was almost shocking in its intensity. Dylan was spitting out
the lyrics in a staccato machine gun manner that was really cool to hear.
By the way, the song still had it's stop/start arrangement.
11. Sugar Baby- i find this song too slow and kind of plodding. It has
some really good lyrics but i find myself bored with it by the 2nd verse.
Dylan sang it well and Donnie played some nice pedal steel lines but i
was not disappointed when they cut the ending short.
12. Summer Days-This song peaked in the fall of 2002 when Larry and
Charlie were on the guitars. Since that time, it has lost more of its fun
and power with every ensuing tour. It is still a rave up set closer and
got a huge reaction from the crowd.
13. Like A Rolling Stone-This was a better than average version of the
song. It is usually one of those "Keep The Customer Satisfied" throw away
songs but it seemed to have a little more life than usual. Denny Freeman
played a pretty good solo and the crowd danced, sang along and cheered
14. All Along The Watchtower-It was played at a slower than usual pace
which gave the band a little more room to add a couple of new flavors to
the song. Denny Freeman played a decent Hendrix-inspired solo and Dylan
gave a pretty energetic vocal performance with his voice rising high into
the star filled night.
A. Dylans voice was very strong and clear throughout the show. i didn't
notice any flubbed lyrics, mumbling or up-singing. His harmonica playing
was really nice and tuneful all night.
B. The band sounds better than they did last year but still not one of
Dylans better line ups. i like George Recile a lot. He is a force of
nature on the drums. Tony Garnier was having a lot of fun and dancing
around with his bass more than he has in quite some time. He has really
good rapport with Dylan and George. Donnie Herron is very talented even
though i wish his pedal steel was mixed a little lower. Denny Freeman
plays some pretty good blues guitar solos but has very little
personality. For the life of me, i don't know what Stu Kimball was doing
most of the time. His playing was inaudible several times and when i
could hear what he was playing, it wasn't very interesting.
C. The crowd was very cool and into the music. There was no pushing,
shoving or jostling for position. The weather and venue were beautiful and
the entire atmosphere of the show was laid back.
All in all, i had a fantastic time and the show was worth every penny. Of
course, these are only my opinions and i apologize for the typos and
length but i tend to ramble.
Comments by Kelley Finan
Here's an interesting tidbit:
Eric Clapton stopped by just to play a song or three last night
at Dylan's concert in Columbus!! It was totally amazing.....he jammed with
the opening act and left about half-way through Dylan's set. He is married
to a girl from Columbus, and I hear he has a home in Powell which is about
25 minutes north of downtown. I assume that's why he showed up. What a
TREAT! Just thought I'd share! I was disappointed they didn't play
Comments by Kevin Lopes
I saw the show at Cooper Stadium on August 13th.
Like all of the reviews mentioned, it was simply outstanding!
Great sound all around. Everyone anticipated Eric Clapton joining Bob.
However, that did not happen.
A couple of side notes:
After Bob introduced the band he said, "We're playing next to the
'graveyard' tonight. This is only the second time I've played
next to a graveyard. And I'll tell ya...it ain't easy!"
Cooper Stadium is known for being built next to a cemetery.
Out of the park homeruns are often referred to as being 'in the
graveyard'. Bob has played Cooper Stadium once before in the early 90's.
Also, what's with all of the 'Bling' on Bob's left hand?
From my viewpoint it looked like he was wearing large diamond rings on his
pinky and wedding ring fingers. He even seemed to 'show them off' quite
obviously during harmonica solos.
Review by Ray Padgett
Knowing today was not to be a day at the rail, Dan and I got a late start,
leaving at 10pm for a five-hour drive. My dad was flying in and meeting us,
and as he wanted to sit in the stands there was no point in getting in line
early. One day standing in the sun for seven hours is enough to last a
while anyway. After a reasonably uneventful drive down (made somewhat
more exciting when I purchased an iTrip so our music of choice could be
100% Dylan), we met Dan's friend Hillary for a late (but tasty) lunch at
Panera a little after three. We spent an hour discussing everything from
Bob's '99 shows to Tuvan throat-singing, then headed to the airport to
pick up my dad. We arrived at the airport right as the early entry line was
starting to go in, so we made our way to some prime seats, a little left of
center (prepared for Bob's new position this time), near the front, but
elevated just enough. Kicked back with some peanuts and hot dogs and
waited for the music to begin.
Elana came on with her Two + 1 and played another fun set, incorporating
some songs we hadn't seen yesterday, including a slower one sung by
guitar player Mark Hill. They solidly cemented their place as my favorite
opener of the tour. Why Bob didn't let her play anything like she does
now is beyond. That's not to say I didn't enjoy her in his band in '05, but
she should have played a much bigger role. Junior Brown came on right
after and ripped through another solid set, with fewer changes from the
previous day, although "My Wife Thinks Your Dead" was surprisingly MIA.
I hope someone records at least some of these openers' sets.
The real one to record though, would be today's Jimmie Vaughn set. He
was doing fine, hampered as usual by Lou Ann Barton, when he stopped
about halfway through to say he had a surprise. "We got a special guest
here tonight folks. An old friend is in town and is gonna come out and play
with us a big. A little surprise for ya. Please welcome...Eric Clapton." My
reaction at this point had gone from "Oh, that's cool, he didn't do this last
night" to "Oh...I thought he was serious. That was a stupid joke." I gather
the audience was having similar thoughts, because there were four or five
seconds where nothing happened save a few intermittent cheers. Then,
suddenly, Clapton himself walks out, and the audience exploded. I've never
seen an audience reaction like that, but then again I've never had a surprise
like that at a concert. The closest I've come was seeing the White Stripes
play Get Behind Me, Satan in its entirety at the Chicago show. And that is
not very close at all.
As I sprinted onto the field to get closer they kicked off a blues song I
couldn't identify, on which Eric sang lead and, more importantly, proved
that his reputation exists for a reason, improvising licks and solos that would
take many players weeks to learn. The song began with "So long" as I
recall, but I could be mistaken. The words were just vehicles to take him to
he next solo. Great stuff. Next up was Jimmie's "Bapa Boom", my favorite
song of the set anyway, made much better by Eric's presence as he and
Jimmie traded solos back and forth. The highlight of the set, however, was
without question, the third song. An instrumental, there weren't any pesky
vocals to get in the way of the soloing. Guitar work like I've never seen, by
both Eric and Jimmie, who seemed wowed enough to pull himself up to
match, even playing a behind-the-head section. Great stuff, for which I
would die for a recording. The song ended and the band walked off as the
audience went crazy. A true highlight of my concert experience. As my dad
put it, the band was already excellent, playing straight ahead blues extremely
well. Clapton, however, just used that as his base off which to build, taking
the songs to new levels. As he walked off, speculation immediately turned to
whether he would play with Bob. Don't get your hopes up...
Soon the man himself came on. Same stage setup as Comstock, but a
completely different look, the band dressed in maroon suits, adding quite a
bit of color to the stage. Bob had on the cowboy hat again, but with grey
pats with a black stripe down the side. First time I'd seen him not in all black,
for what little that's worth. From the get-go Tony looked much better,
rocking along the songs and seeming much more in control of things than he
had. Aside from looking good though, they played some music:
Maggie's Farm - Surprise surprise. Not much to say I didn't say yesterday. A
solid opener, but not much more. Bring back Drifter's!
I'll Be Your Baby, Tonight - I never thought I'd be so happy to hear this, but
I was thrilled (and shocked). I'd assumed at least the first few songs would
be the same, and was all set for The Times. However, he was already mixing
up the set list, and it was a very promising start. Not only that, but the
version he did was very nice. The first "Big fat moon/ shine like a spoon" was
done in a magnificent sort of sing-song voice, like he was singing a Mother
Goose rhyme, going down, back up a bit, then even farther down in stacatto
bursts. Very well done, far better than the previous version I'd seen in '05,
and it was nice to be able to hear Donnie loud and clear.
Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again - I love this song in any
form, and was delighted to hear it live. It's not a rarity by any means, and
I've seen it a few times before, but in my opinion it's always great. A rocker,
but a somewhat laid-back one, letting you focus on the words even as it
jumps and swings.
Blind Willie McTell - One of the songs I was most hoping to hear live, I was
overjoyed, and ran back to the field to get a good view. I know I'm far
from alone in loving this song, but it is truly incredible. And did this version
ever do it justice. Great, heartfelt delivery from Bob, every word exactly
where he wanted it. Not only that, but Denny's solos were out of this world,
by far the best of the weekend. I kept trying to predict where he would go
next and never got it right, as it was someplace far more interesting and
beautiful. The solos told the song's story all by themselves.
New Morning - The organ intro told me I was in for my second first-time
performance in a row. Why Dylan doesn't do more with his instrument is
beyond me. While not a virtuoso, he is perfectly capable and just chooses to
mainly doodle. In this song, though, he both the intro and a solo. The 'solo'
was especially interesting, as him and Denny were playing the same thing,
echoing and complementing each other. Listening to the recording, it doesn't
seem like too remarkable, but it was a blast in concert, the most fun I had all
weekend. Every version I've hear brings a grin to my face, and this one is no
exception. Anyone who thinks Bob is too serious and brooding need only
listen to this album.
It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) - After the last two songs, Bob could play
whatever he wants, so I didn't mind hearing this one again. Being further
back, the mix was better and Donnie's violin was louder and really added
something. Bob did a very nice "he or she or them or it" as I recall too.
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum - Ech, I thought we'd managed to miss this
one in slot three. Oh well, I'm really trying not to hate it. I'm really trying.
When it comes when you expect it it's ok, but when it's taking a place you
thought was going to be another song's, it's kind of a drag. However, it
made up for it by this great new section about 2/3 of the way through,
where the band totally cuts out during a line before crashing back in again.
It doesn't come across on the recording too well, but it was very powerful
live. An explosion of noice after an acapella lull.
Shelter From the Storm - Wow, didn't expect this one again. Dan and I
thought, if nothing else, there was no way he''d repeat this or Sugar Baby
tonight. Once again, predicting Bob's moves fails miserably. Another great
version, perhaps slightly less so than the previous nights, but only slightly. He
didn't sing the fifth line higher as often as he did at Comstock, which may
have had something to do with it. Still a very nice job and I didn't mind at all
hearing it again.
Masters of War - At this point, I was starting to get depressed. After four of
the first five songs being different, suddenly we're getting all the same ones.
Nevertheless, another killer version, terrifying in its earnestness. This is one
you have to be there for, cause the lighting and the band set such a spooky
mood it gets to you every time. More nice stuff from Denny too.
Highway 61 Revisited - This version seemed decidedly worse than last night's,
more of a Maggie's-esq mush than the crazy rocker it should be. Part of that
might be the realization that there was only one more possible surprise slot in
a concert that seemed like it would be totally fresh, but this one didn't do
much for me.
Sugar Baby - And, alas, that surprise slot turned out not to be a surprise at all,
but another repeat. Nevertheless, as one of the most rarely-performed songs
on Love & Theft, it's one of the better repeats. And he nailed it this time too,
doing very nice things with his voice in several places I don't quite remember.
The fact remains though that this performance was slightly marred for me by
Summer Days - Believe it or not, this one picked my mood right back up. The
wait for surprises was over, and these days this one is rollicking, a song you
can't help but dance to. Strong delivery by Bob, and a great sound created
by the rest of the band. Whereas previous rocker Highway 61 succeeds by
all instruments blending together and going for it, this one has a much more
sparse sounds, each instrument distinctly separate from the others, so there's
always a new level to listen to. I was frankly surprised how much I enjoyed
Like a Rolling Stone - Up until the encore break I had forgotten about Clapton,
but was now wondering if he would reappear. It was not to be, however.
The beginning of the song featured a little organ noodling before George's big
bang, which made for a great effect which should be expanded, ie the
Watchtower intro, or even the London Calling/LARS transition of 05. It really
added something to the beginning of the song. Other than that though,
nothing too remarkable.
All Along the Watchtower - During the band intros Bob was on, the most
talkative I've ever seen him. Dan and I had noticed a huge graveyard behind
the stadium as we looked for parking, and apparently Bob had too. After the
intro for Donnie, he said "We're all playin' in back of a graveyard tonight. Only
the second time I've ever played next to a graveyard and it's not easy."
Perfectly and clearly delivered, it had me cracking up. Best Bobtalk I've ever
seen. As if that wasn't enough, after Tony's intro, during the Watchtower
opening he said "Hope we played the right set, but you just never know."
Unclear exactly what he meant, but probably a little shout-out to all of us
who have been complaining about the repetetive set lists. And Watchtower
rocked as always, leaving us on a high note.
I made a stop at the merch table before leaving the venue and picked up, in
addition to the tour poster (on which I will write "+ Eric Clapton" below
Vaughan) an nice blue-grey t-shirt featuring a '66 Bob on a stamp. Hadn't
seen it before. Grabbed another T after leaving the venue, the best Dylan
shirt I've seen, a tie-dyed one with a large square on the front, featuring a
'74 picture and a few recent ones saying "Baseball Tour '06" and Bob Dylan
in big bold letters on the back, each letter made from a different album color.
All the tour dates below it. A very nice (though slightly itchy) souvenir. After
meeting back up with Dan, who'd been at the rail, we found a motel and,
after listening to a few surprise Tell Ol' Bill outtakes, called it a night and
then, after driving home the next morning, a weekend.
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