Reviews

Stateline, Nevada

Harveys Lake Tahoe
Outdoor Arena

August 22, 2010


[Iris Seifert], [James Strohecker]

Review by Iris Seifert



The Dough Rollers started things off promptly. After previous reviews on this page 
the interest to hear them was high. Personally, this was the most refreshing surprise 
of the night. Two young very good musicians, dressed nicely, playing old blues & 
gospel numbers, amongst them "Someday Baby". After some research it seems that 
these guys have famous parents, but I liked them without entertaining suggestible 
thoughts in my head- a lot of potential and a lot of skill. Keep going guys! Check 
them out on my space or YouTube. Hey, where was the girl?

Then came Taj Mahal with his band: a big name that speaks for itself, and solid blues 
and banjo, but loud. That should have been a clue…

The audience filled in, but in the row in front of us, and to the right (we were slightly 
to the left ostage, that is "stage right") in row 4, some people did not come. 
So, almost perfect view, and definite closeness. Everyone in front was pretty much 
standing, some dancing, but with the 6 foot high stage not really inspiring for the 
musicians. The spark between band, master, and audience did not really happen, but 
it was blistering loud, and a bit imbalanced from our spot; due to being this outdoor 
venue to be anticipated, arguably. During most of the show it did not leave my mind 
that everyone goes to a show to "get something". What about the artists? What are 
they getting?

Emotionally, not much could come forth; the middle-aged dancing group out front 
seemed not too sure about letting go (even though great "dance" numbers were 
being played like the starter "pill box hat", "rollin'and tumblin'", "hwy 61", or "thunder"; 
mixed with only slightly rocking versions of "baby blue", "stuck inside", or "tangled"); and 
the young fans' wave of enthusiasm broke before hitting shore, even at the sing-along 
version of "just like a woman". The master himself, looking for the wave to catch, was all 
show man, some pretty solid guitar (even though hard to distinguish at times), organ,
and especially harp, as well as moving center stage; they did their best to ignite the 
crowd, maybe a little impacted by the cold despite the heaters. After the end of the set 
the crowd took their two encores and left… I wondered how it felt from his side. I found 
myself wondering in the end about too many unimportant issues, but this unfortunately 
happens stumbling to make it to heaven before they close the door…in this we are all 
equal.

Thank you, Mr. Zimmerman, hope you enjoy the bay area. 


Addendum August 30, 2010

Just reading the following review, and most likely Mr. Kimball does not, or
should not, even care, but I feel like taking a stand for him, cause it is not
the first time that he gets bad press; from where we were (see
above), even his acoustic (yet amplified) guitar was mostly audible (whereas the
riffs by Mr. Sexton, and especially Mr. Herron, were – sadly enough – not so
clear; maybe from your spot?) – it adds the “mercury-sound” to the mix (even if
the sound there is not doing any band a favor, but I’m not a sound engineer),
and in “Jolene” he took great solos on his  “rhythm”-guitar (as introduced by 
Mr. Dylan) – with a big smile and turn to the audience. 
My opinion: his contribution is not correctly appreciated.

[TOP]

Review by James Strohecker



The band kicked off with a no-nonsense start and big bass sound of Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat 
at 8:30 p.m.  Bob's hard-driving keyboard-organ notes were backed by Charlie Sexton's riffs.  
Halfway through the opener, Bob picked up his electric guitar and started ripping some notes 
and giving the crowd a loose leg, raised guitar neck show.

The crowd was spread out in the seats, enjoying the purchases from the many liquor and 
beer outlets surrounding the "arena" in this spacious temporary summer concert venue in the
 Nevada-based Harvey's casino parking lot.  But the grandstands on the sides and back were 
 strangely empty.  


No matter, the Band - wearing seersucker light blue suits - and Dylan - donning a black suit 
with gold cuffs and gold stripes down the legs - looked ready and raring to go.  Like the 
chilly weather in Monterey, the temperature dropped from a nice sunny day to a cool, Lake 
Tahoe 50-degree evening, such that the stage managers had heat lamps behind George 
Racile and Dylan.  

The group quickly jumped into a haunting melody of It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, which is 
more of a soul-rocker tune now.  If you're a first-timer or if you've watched this band for a 
while, you want to hear Bob's best lyrics accompanied by his guitar licks now and then - and 
both were delivered in Baby Blue.  It was just nice to see him perform and put on a show for 
the crowd in this song - raising the guitar neck to 70-degrees (not as big as the 90-degree 
guitar emphasis as two 1999 Reno shows), giving a little wiggle and rocking with the music.  
Unfortunately, he fumbled his pick prior to the final close and couldn't pluck off a showcase 
closing guitar solo to finish the song.  During the song, Charlie dropped to his knee to play 
homage and back-up riffs to Bob's guitar work.  

They headed quickly into a fast, upbeat version of, Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis 
Blues Again. I think this caught the audience off-guard, combined with the big bass, many
struggled to figure out where he was going early with this song; but once they caught on, 
many in the audience started getting some of the latent mojo working (that Taj Mahal, one 
of the opening acts) hand started brewing up..

Next, the band drove into a moving, deep-organ bluesy, Just Like a Woman.  Bob hammed 
it up for the crowd with mugging looks, a smile and some shaky-leg action with his vocals as 
the crowd tried to sing along. This has become a standard on the tour, and certainly on a 
fairly standard-set tour stop, it fit right in.  Crowd enjoyed it; it's a good song, so Bob tried
to jazz it up with his antics and stage performance - which worked well.

They jumped on a fast plunky version of Rollin' And Tumblin'.  I wrote: "a well-lit song for a 
well-lit audience" in my notes. True.  The stage was as bright as the song, which was 
well-sung, well-played and with some excellent slide-guitar riffs by Charlie Sexton that really 
added life to the song. Interestingly, Bob cut off the first instrumental bridge by jumping on 
the next verse early, but he made up for it by stretching out the second bridge with 
contributions from across the stage.

A deft, slow, melodic intro hid Tangled Up In Blue from most of the crowd - then when Bob 
started singing the lyrics, the mesmerized audience nodded and exclaimed appreciatively.  
This has become a rock-blues-ballad of sorts, and Bob accentuated the approach with a big 
time, meaty harp solo, and his crooner arm and body movements from center stage.  
Certainly a fun song to watch him perform and listen to - and a fine performance by Bob and 
the Band.

This was followed by a twangy-banjo-laden, High Water (For Charley Patton) that's become 
a bouncy number similar to Summer Days of a few years ago.  The crowd was dancing along 
to the beat and the music and Bob blew the harp with high accented notes that embodied 
the fast, lively approach of this melody.  

Next was the song of the evening, a real treat, Tryin' To Get To Heaven, that has only been 
performed four times this year.  (Source:  http://www.boblinks.com/song2010.html ).  The 
song and his words quieted the crowd - not many recognized the song, but they recognized 
the words and their importance - as the Band rocked it slow and steady.  This wasn't the 
best version ever, but it was darn good and worth tracking down.  This song was played 
clean and pure; the lyrics speak for themselves: 
http://www.bobdylan.com/#/songs/tryin-to-get-to-heaven
Gonna sleep down in the parlor
And relive my dreams
I'll close my eyes and I wonder
If everything is as hollow as it seems
Some trains don't pull no gamblers
No midnight ramblers like they did before
I been to Sugar Town, I shook the sugar down
Now I'm trying to get to heaven before they close the door

The band steadied themselves and took a moment to switch approach, then launched into 
standard rocker, Highway 61 Revisited, played big and bold.  During the song, Charlie stepped 
over and faced off Bob with a guitar-keyboard tête-à-tête that rocked the joint. Charlie added 
some wicked slide guitar work and Bob responded with plunky guitar - including a slow-down 
by the band that they picked back up and rocked out to the finish.  Nice song done well.

They followed Highway 61 Revisited with a quiet, soulful version of Not Dark Yet.  I wrote a 
few years ago that I didn't think he could play this any better (Europe tours).  This version at 
Lake Tahoe may not have been better, but it was certainly excellent.  The song is laden with 
Bob-isms from start to finish: the words, the performer, the poet, the singer.  And in deference 
to his center-stage performance, the guitarists/Tony moved to the left side of the darkened 
stage and gave Bob the deserved, full spotlight.  He augmented the song with a fine, bluesy 
harp conclusion.  Excellent.
'
EDITORIAL:  Let me just interject an editorial opinion here.  There were 3-4 drunken people up 
near the front who were yapping loudly and shouting drunkenly during the song.  Look, I have 
nothing against people having a good time and imbibing at a show. But if you want to talk and 
shout obnoxiously in a way that affects other people, why not just do it at the bar?  In Europe, 
Germany and the UK especially, the crowds are referent during Bob's slow, poetic songs.  These 
songs offer rare moments when Dylan presents his lyrics, music and passion for the craft.  Now, 
these songs are becoming rarer: perhaps twice a show.  And people are (99%) trying to listen 
to, and appreciate, the words and picture he and the band are painting - so you who want to 
yell and yap during a slow song like this please save it for the break between songs or even 
some other show, some other time or some other place  Thank you. 

The band rolled into a big-band-beat/swing-your-partner version of Thunder On The Mountain 
that got the crowd movin' to the groovin'.  Charlie was again doing some riffs-right-back-atcha' 
towards Bob as Dylan banged away on his keyboard and gave the audience a little shimmee 
action and some smiles and nods.  Bob used high-low tone-changes in the call-response lyrics, 
then finished with a playful slow-down with long organ notes that he brought back up to 
conclusion.  Fun finish and head into the final three songs.

They wrapped up with Ballad Of A Thin Man, with Bob giving it his all from center stage and the 
crowd getting into the song, followed by the recent standard encore, Jolene and Like A Rolling 
Stone.  Both were well-played; nothing special. 14-song set - which has been a standard in 
shows up in this area + the band seemed in a hurry to get to the Bay Area for a couple shows 
and days off.

Amazingly, Stu Kimball actually moved his leg in time with the music in the first song and whacked 
out some riffs in Jolene.  In between, he (and the sound mix of his playing) was somewhere near 
Pluto.  Not clear what he adds to this band - or perhaps, the band isn't using his playing effectively. 
Either way, he's just taking up space on stage and he never interacts with Dylan, Charlie or Tony.  
It's just weird.

This show was well-played but somewhat reflective of the lack of attendance and response by 
the audience.  Albeit, there were a number of people in the crowd who received "comp" tickets 
from the casino, there were many older and younger fans from the area.  Some expected a 
different show - the Dylan of many years ago - and others were just there to enjoy.  Nonetheless, 
Bob delivered a solid performance.  

Final notes:  The economy has adversely affected the Reno-Lake Tahoe area as evidenced by the 
lack of attendance at the show and the extensive vacancies in this tourism-dependent town.  A 
recent example was a new (small) restaurant opening up with 16 job openings.  More than 1,250 
people applied and the restaurant had to cut off the applications at 400 because they were 
overwhelmed (Source: Harvey's 31-year employee). Yes, things have changed.  NOTE: I stand 
corrected.  Reviewer Colin Selig *correctly* stated that Charlie ". . . does not draw too much 
attention away from Bob with his physical movements on stage, although he did get down on his 
knees a few times in his enthusiasm."  I thought Charlie was futzing around with the sound and 
his cord but it's clear after two shows, Colin was correct in his observation and reporting.
(Source: http://www.boblinks.com/082110r.html)

[TOP]

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