August 16, 2009
Review by Paul Wultz
The final show of the ballpark tours ended not at a ballpark but an outdoor
casino in Stateline, Nevada. The evening began quite warm but before it all was
over anybody who didn't bring a jacket certainly regretted that decision.
Harvey's Casino is a very nice venue which was oversold by the promoter so as to
get as many people inside as they possibly could. This would never have
happened in Calif. [3 blocks away] where the fire marshals would not have
permitted this. Consequently, people roamed the aisles and venue throughout the
show with no place to sit.
Anyways, there was no Mellencamp at this show [finally] and after a nice but
predictable set from Willie, Bob came on about 9:15 as always. I won't go into
details about the usual songs but will stick to my impression of the surprises.
First off was a nice crooner type version of Lay Lady Lay with Bob stage front
and center with guitar and harp. This made the people behind us very happy
because they were talking during intermission about the song they wanted to
here, and that was one of them. I had been traveling with Magne and Henrik from
Norway and we also had discussed what we would like to hear, and as it turned
out this became the "your request is answered" show.
I have always loved "I Don't Believe You" which I believe Bob likes too since he
occasionally includes it in his set lists going all the way back to 65. Well
tonight it came in number 4, and it was a very nice version indeed. Magne,
Henrik, and myself also talked about how great it would be to hear "Visions of
Johanna" and BINGO, there it was at number 6. Beautifully sung by Bob, and
played very tenderly by the band. Back to me again who mentioned "Not Dark Yet"
and then whalla, Bob pulled it out of his hat at number 10. All were done with
love and care and powerful performances by the band.
So we all were pretty happy how things had gone so far but I guarantee you that
nobody was ready for the next surprise. During the encore between Rolling Stone
and Watchtower Bob steps to the mike and kicks into "Heartbreak Hotel". We all
just looked at each other and couldn't believe our ears. It was a well
rehearsed arrangement that absolutely rocked and I'm sure would have done Elvis
proud. Let's just hope the tapers were doing their thing as this was definitely
a first and very possibly the last time he may ever do this song. Nobody could
figure out why really. "Not Fade Away" in Lubbock, "Something" in Liverpool,
sure! But why on earth would Bob decide to play Heartbreak Hotel in Stateline?
Yes it's kinda close to Reno and Vegas where Elvis did many shows, but he really
had nothing to do with this place. Anyways, it was an absolutely stunningly
strong performance and will be in my memory for a very long time.
So with another rocking version of Watchtower the tour drew to a close. I only
saw the last 4 shows this time [was going to Glendale but as we all know that
People always ask what which one I liked the best, and I really try not to make
any comparisons and just be in the moment and enjoy what I am seeing and
hearing. But I think these days ALL the shows are extremely good. Bob seems to
still enjoy performing and not just going through the motions, and the band
continues to get better and tighter with each show. [Note, they seem to be
working on "Jolene" a lot and I would expect that to stay around for awhile]
But I think what really separates one show from another is the song selection.
That of course is subjectible, but when people like one show over another it
probably comes down to what songs were performed and if they liked them more
That's my opinion, and I'm stickin to it.
Paul Wultz in San Diego
Comments by Sean McGuinnes
I would agree with Paul Wultz' review above. This was a great show. It was the
best show I saw in the last 10 years. Levee's Gonna Break was awesome, as were
the songs Paul mentioned. I even thought Highway 61 was great (and I had grown
tired of that one years ago). As for why he sang an Elvis song, the concert
took place on the 32nd anniversary of the day Elvis died. Elvis did have a
connection to Stateline, in addition to Vegas, he used to play the Sahara in
Tahoe (which is now the Montbleu) regularly. Heartbreak Hotel was most fitting.
Review by Tim Hart
Harveys at Lake Tahoe is an awesome venue to see a concert. I saw John Fogerty
and John Mellencamp at Harveys a few years ago and it was fantastic. Alas,
Mellencamp wasn't at this show after touring with Bob and Willie all summer.
Nevertheless, Dylan put on a tour de force in front of a packed crowd.
Recession? What recsission?
I first discovered Bob Dylan's music when I was sixteen years old in 1982. I've
seen probably ten shows at ten different venues up and down California and have
to say the show at Harvey's was one of the best and most memorable (not that
there's been a bad or even mediocre one). I believe the audience directly
infulences Dylan when he plays and the best shows I've seen have been when the
crowd was attentive and enthusiatstic to whatever he was trying to do up there
on stage (October 1996 in San Luis Obispo comes to mind).
I wont give a song by song review here, but anytime one goes to a Dylan show and
gets an absolutely rockin' "Levee Gonna Break", "Not Dark Yet", the first ever
"Heartbreak Hotel", "I Don't Believe You" and "Visions of Johanna" (Thanks Bob!)
I think it's safe to say we have witnessed a unique show.
I went into this show with pretty low expectations and Dylan absolutely kicked
ass. Anyone who is dumb enough to say that this guy can't sing should track this
show down and give it a listen. Thanks Bob! See ya in Berzerkley!
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