Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Cambria County War Memorial Arena

August 29, 2012

[Dan Chester], [Joshua Seese]

Review by Dan Chester

Leopard-Skin: wandered a bit like everyone has just woken up

Long Black Coat: not immediately identified and then yeah, how you doin’
and then it fell into a wonderful space with the phrasing…first of many
great closings (finding the sound/groove late and finishing song strong)…a

Things Have: played and sung well and moved nicely…tune is growing on the

Tangled: great backing groove to this with the lyrics in a
staccato/bitten-off phrasing and the harp wails in and lordy, lordy, a
lotta fun…stuck with the listener post-show

Jolene: sounded an awful lot like Leopard-Skin and also his “Jolene”s
sounded like a big girl named Jolene just sat on him…pedestrian…maybe he
was just resting up

Saving Grace: the grand piano pleads for the gospel songs and what a
choice (it was hard to believe we were hearing/experiencing it)..concise
delivery and sung really well… “I know I’m only living By the saving grace
that’s over me”…Amen

High Water: from Baptismal waters to rising waters with a fairly deep
groove led by stand-up bass and banjo…this fresh arrangement works

Desolation: whirlwind experience…kept morphing, maybe five different
versions within the version with maybe four cool ones and one kind of
schmaltzy (therein lies the danger of the grand piano)…overall pretty
strong, grateful to hear

Summer Days: piano really working some rollicking magic (therein lies the
strength of the grand piano)…would love to hear the lead guitar stretch
out a bit more on this one…the standup bass really jumped
(joyful)...again, found a sweet spot near the end

Can’t Wait: decent little offering, could have been deeper/darker

Highway: different hearing this with the piano, growing on the

Blind Willie: nice surprise, always well done, finished in great space

Thunder: hereby introducing the term “rockaboogie” (or “rockawoogie” or
“boogiebilly”) combining rockabilly and boogie woogie to marvelous
effect…outside of the gospel tunes this is where the piano fits best…just

Ballad: echo a tad more interesting…pretty dull overall…love to see this
rotated out even though fans get into it (though not so much tonight)

Rolling Stone: lively yet missing the magic at first…crowd basically
willed him (or he them) into a mighty fun singalong at the end (“with no
direction…” “HOME”)…completely different experience/outcome than the night
before (pretty amazing)

Tower: very good energy, rhythm strong and inventive, real good leads

Blowin’: violin toned down, sung OK, finished well

Summary: basically same venue as night before (minor league hockey
rink)…crowd not chained to their seats as much (sometimes movement is
required)…band solid, piano maybe integrated a bit better, would always
like more use of standup bass and banjo and mandolin and acoustic
guitar…little less antic night from the headliner…closing “goodbyes”
really nice…more gospel tunes coming? (mini-gospel set?)…best tunes of the
evening were Saving Grace and Thunder and Tangled…thanks everybody


Review by Joshua Seese

I will give a brief rundown of the set list with rants and 

1. Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat-Great clarity, definitely a 
rocker, full of life. Comedic inflection was well 

2. Man in a Long Black Coat-This was my first encounter 
with this song, well emphasized.  A rare gem.  Bob was 
clearly proud of this song with the way he delivered it to 
the audience.  Crucial lyrical weight emphasized towards 
the end of verses.

3.Things Have Changed-Harmonica was infamous Dylan.  
A bit traveling song, a bit biographical, a bit neurotic. 
Reclamation of Mod-Bob.
4.Tangled Up in Blue-Fully engaged.  Wordsmith edition.  
A cauldron of longing and epiphany.

5.Jolene-Always manages to make timeless songs new 
again.  King and Queen line feels like genuine cinema.
6.Saving Grace-Another song that was my first encounter. 
A pleasure to hear a song played live, before ever 
hearing it on an album.  The way nature intended. 
Something for the history books.  This song was not 
played for over seven years prior to this evening.  He 
writes beautiful personal songs that an “everyman” can 
relate to and extrapolate personal meaning, which makes 
him so popular.

7.High Water (For Charley Patton)-This is a song that I 
had hoped he would play because of Johnstown’s flood 
significance.  The Johnstown Flood was a terrible disaster 
for many.  The fact that Bob knows his history led me to 
believe he would deliver like no one else could in 
bringing music into the realm of real life, and oh boy did 
he!  Center stage, dancing.

8.Desolation Row-Fitting.  Flirting with disaster.  Opened 
nice with fanatical build interspersed with strands of 
potluck medleys.  Great progression.  A venomous event.

9.Summer Days-A toast to summer, which ironically, 
everyone including Bob was at odds with summer ending. 
Bittersweet, but rising triumphant every second.

10.Can’t Wait-Also fairly new to me.  Live arrangement, 
has all the bells and whistles of a doom and mood ridden 
Bob song.  Bob at stage center, breeding love with chaos 
and feelings forlorn.

11.Highway 61 Revisited-It’s Bob telling you like it is. 
Dressed fabulously, strapped in the driver seat behind 
the black baby grand.

12.Blind Willie McTell-Reminiscent of the Scorsese film 
tribute.  Beautifully drawn out rhythm, kaleidoscopic 

13.Thunder on the Mountain-Nice anchor in the set list. 
Exploding with subconscious treachery and commentary on 
social, political, and comedic instances.  Enticing 

14.Ballad of a Thin Man-Pure carnival meets its vaudevillian 
match.  Perfect alchemy laid beside the ghost of 1965’s 
ignorant head on a platter.

15.Like A Rolling Stone-The stained realization of the 
perfunctory, set in motion by Bob’s unending quests for 

16.All Along The Watchtower-Loved the staccato delivery. 
Each band member was feeding off one another. Riffs upon 

17.Blowin’ in the Wind-Ode to innocence turned into 
something else.  Posing the question, what can we take 
back with us on the journey inwards?

Overall, I had a fabulous time.  This concert was significant 
because it happened in my home town.  It was a great 
evening shared with my fiancé!


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