Kansas City, Missouri

Uptown Theater

August 28, 2008

[John Pruski], [Jerry Willis]

Review by John Pruski

Great show, and after 40+ shows over the years last night was my first
hearing of Chimes of Freedom live, so that for me was a personal
highlight. Dang, I've heard our friend and hero Bob Dylan play Joey,
Visions of Johanna, Jokerman, Under The Red Sky, Man In Me, If Dog's Run
Free, Desolation Row, Blind Willie, etc., heck even Brown Sugar, multiple
times, but never before last night had I heard Chimes of Freedom! Chimes
had been played twice already, however, on this current mini-tour. Much
has been made on TV this week of last night being the 45th anniversary of
(Bob singing before) MLK's I Have A Dream speech, but of course we want no
November 1963 repeats this November, but having said that I was expecting
something monumental, some nod to the past, which we indeed were treated
to via the strong performance of Chimes of Freedom.

The night got of to a very WET start. From about 6:00 to 6:20 PM it was
raining lightly on us as we stood waiting in line for the doors to open.
When it began to really downpour, however, the doors seemed to open
pre-6:30 PM, but by then many of us, me included, were already partly
drenched. In line we were joking that Bob should play Hard Rain, which
coincidentally he did!

I really liked the way the band (only) started Leopard Skin, with Bob
ambling out to great applause about half a minute later. Being a general
admission show, most of us crowded down into the hot, steamy, and
closely-packed front, from where, when Bob played harp, I could see
clearly his huge diamond ring on his wedding-ring-finger. For me the
concert peaked during Chimes and the immediately following Till I Fell In
Love With You, which featured some great unison guitar-organ riffs. During
Till I Fell I found myself think of Spoonful, so similar was a phrasing or
two and so get-down was the arrangement. Till I Fell was truly another
highlight, something akin to a Dr. John show-stopping version of Wang Dang

The crowd naturally acknowledged High Water's (also played last year in
KC, as was Just Like a Woman) Kansas City verse, Ma's naked verse, and
sang along audibly so during the refrains of Just Like A Woman and LARS.
Bob played harp several times throughout the night, no guitar, and again,
I really noticed his organ much more this year than in previous years
(when it seemed Donnie played more solos). George's cymbals rang very
clear of the very get-down It's Alright Ma, which I've not taken note of
previously. All in all, it was just a great show, following by about three
minutes of applause before the very strong encores. And by the way, it
poured off and on during our four hour drive back to St. Louis.

John Pruski


Review by Jerry Willis

It's been two since I've seen Dylan.  At that time Merle Haggard was his
opening act.  I don't know if it's because I've been to so many Dylan
concerts and it was my first time to see Haggard but I thought the country
legend blew Dylan away.  I left wondering if I had attended my last Dylan
concert.  Of course, I was wrong.  I had a feeling about last nights show.
I just knew it was going to be a great one and I was absolutely right.  It
was a night of great hard blues.  The big highlight of the show for me was
High Water, one of the new Dylan classics.  I think this song will be
remembered as one of his best and last nights version was delivered with
great intensity and just the right amount of angst.  Of course, all of us
Kansas Citians were all over the line "he made it to Kansas City/12th St
and Vine/There was nothing standing there".  I've always been amazed by
that line.  If you know anything about KC history and had to reference one
spot in town, you'd have to mention 12th St and Vine.  Thanks Bob.
Anyway...other highlights included a great, albeit almost unrecognizable,
It's All Right Ma.  Just Like A Women was delivered with a '50's torch
balled feel and is my favorite version that I've seen.  Thunder On The
Mountain closed the main set and boy did it rock.  The ending was
fantastic.  They were jamming, and I mean *jamming, *when on Bob's cue
they just stopped dead in their tracks.  Bob gave the audience a rye smile
and they ended with the little crescendo like on the album.  The crown
went nuts.  Bob was in a great mood and was very animated throughout the
show. My poor wife, who I've dragged to so many Dylan concerts proved what
a Dylan veteran she is.  She turned to me and said, "He's smiling a lot

My only complaints, Girl From The North Country was so re-worked that it
was almost unrecognizable.  I totally understand re-tooling songs but to
change it so much that the melody has to be altered...might as well just
write new lyrics and then you've got a new song.  The encores, LARS and
Watchtower, were pretty pedestrian in there delivery.  I might be good to
change these up once and a while Bob.

I was happier with the Kimbell and Freeman this time than when I saw them
two years ago.  Their roles seem to be more defined now.  However, I still
pine for the days of Larry Cambell and Charlie Sexton.  Oh well, must move

The show ended with a great tableau of all the guys in the band standing
perfectly still around a fidgety Dylan who couldn't seem to hold still. 
It was neat way to do a curtain call.

And the crown went nuts!

Jerry Willis


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