Review by Ed Huydic
Unlike the New Britain show, which was dynamic and "tight",
where Bob's stoic persona underscored his personality, the
happening at Wappinger Falls proved to be its antithesis. In an
electric fashion, Bob came out rocking and moving giving the
audience a glimpse of his ability to interact. With each bob and
weave, gyration, leg bend and eye contact with the listeners, he
moved through a set list that would be more than memorable.
With the early numbers highlighted by a particularly animated and
prolonged Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Bob used an unending
energy to set the atmosphere for the playing of Not Dark Yet.
Follow that with more electric energy and movement, as Tony on
the bass seemed to catch Bob's infectious movements, Highway
61 was an explosion of sight and sound. Visions of Johanna then
placed us all in a place that we knew was special. I'll Be Your Baby
Tonight merely confirmed what we were involved in...truly a
wonderous show. Summer Days furthered the captivation as it
rocked on in a fashion that had Bob making more faces than I've
seen in a long, long time. Simply put he was into it and incredibly
so, this despite playing the evening before. Where is his energy
coming from? How is he still so connected? The answer is simple...it
blows in the wind as we must remember he is Forever Young as he
keeps us so.
Like a Rolling Stone, powerful and challenging, filled the air and had
us all knowing that there would be only one more number. And, it
didn't disappoint. The staple All Along The Watch Tower could have
gone on for hours as the band and Bob were in synch and in touch
with all of us. We knew when Bob did finally wind it down was that
we experienced something extraordinary, indeed.
Upon his final bow with the boys in the band, Bob gestured as if he
was tossing rose petals out of his hat. He smiled. He raised both arms
with index fingers pointing up as if to say see??? We had an incredible
time together didn't we? And, that we did as Bob, for sure, proved
he is timeless and in our minds and hearts forever number one.
Review by Larry Kosofsky
Nice to have Bob almost in my backyard, a 40 minute
drive from New Paltz to Dutchess Stadium in Wappingers
Falls...venue not as intimate as Wahconah Park. Elana and her
boys were terrific, Junior Brown weirdly amusing
(although at times it seemed he and his bass player
were on different planets), and Jimmy Vaughn/ LuAnn
Barton just fine, if a tad too long.
I thought Bob and the band started a bit sluggishly,
with a throwaway "Cat's in the Well" and "You Ain't
Goin' Nowhere,", but by "Tweedledee and Tweedledum"
they were cooking full blast. Best version of that
"The Man in Me" had a slow arrangement, very sweet,
followed by "Watching the River Flow" and a
more-or-less routine "Memphis Blues Again" which
featured beautiful pedal steel from Donnie.
"Not Dark Yet" was perhaps the high point of the set,
with deeply felt vocals, and nice harmonica playing
from Bob. "Highway 61" was tight and rockin' and Bob
actually took an organ solo - simple but effective.
"Visions of Johanna" was elegant and tender, worth the
price of admission to me, since my daughter Johanna
was there with me! A perfect arrangement, all the
pieces in place, and fantastic vocals...no upsinging
"I'll Be Your Baby" was fun, good harmonica, band very
together. "Sugar Baby" had a slow arrangement, quite
different from "Love and Theft", followed by a "Summer
Days" that was perfect, inspired.
Encores: "Like a Rolling Stone", anthemic as always,
and "Watchtower." All in all, a great show, and
thanks Bob for the 40th time.
Review by Jim Windolf
The stage was beyond the warning track, possibly beyond the home run
fence of Dutchess Stadium. The outfield was packed. From the stands, the
players on stage were specks, so I stood there in left centerfield, a
good place to see Dylan, who stood at his keyboard stage left.
The keyboard sounded exactly halfway between a church organ and a
wheezing merry go round calliope. You could hear it this time
throughout the performance. The sound was very good and I loved the band.
Donnie Herron, looking like a rockabilly Howdy Doody, is the secret
weapon at the back of the stage, playing the steel guitars for the most
part. When Bob visibly interacted with his bandmates, it was usually
Herron he was looking toward.
They came on strong with Cat's in the Well. Sometimes Dylan will
settle in, but he was present from the start with this one. I love
hearing the later songs. Wondered if the set list was influenced by the
Rolling Stone article, in which interviewer Jonathan Lethem mentions
Cat's in the Well as one of his neglected favorites. Dylan may seem
impervious to critics but in the same interview he mentions feeling
touched by the reviews for his Chronicles memoir.
You Ain't Goin Nowhere came next and it was good hearing this song
not far from where it was originally recorded. Tweedle Dee was next-- a
lull. Dylan didn't do much with the words, just spat them out one line
after another as if his mind might have been wandering. The Man in Me and
Watching the River Flow were fine, I guess, but I've never quite "matched
up" with those particular songs for some reason. Stuck Inside of Mobile
seemed to please the ex hippies in the audience, many of whom were the
doing the Grateful Dead Twirl all too close to me. Definitely a good and
careful version by Bobby and the boys. As if to show the 60s-era fans
that he hasn't lost anything, he did a smoking Not Dark Yet. His voice
was great. Hit those low notes strong and full on. Growling on the r's:
"It's getting therrrre."
Given the venue and the presentation of the band, including the
hilarious recorded introduction that blasted out, along with the
Copland fanfare music prior to his hitting the stage, Dylan is giving the
impression of a circus freak or vaudeville performer coming to amaze
entertainment-starved locals. You feel like you're in some outer ring at
a Barnum show in 1880 or a wrestling match in a tent at the edge of town
in 1930. The freaky circus organ adds to this feeling. It may be the
whole purpose of the organ, unless there's some carpal tunnel or
arthritis we don't know about.
Highway 61 was terrific. Visions of Johanna is a song so great that I
can't really enjoy it. The former hippies near me didn't help by singing
along to every line. With I'll Be Your Baby Tonight Dylan went deep into
old timey territory, as if toying with sounding like the ghost of a
has-been, maybe someone thrown out of Bob Will's band trying to make a
living on a summer circuit somewhere in the Twlight Zone. I enjoyed it.
Then came a stellar Sugar Baby. Take that. It was great. The highlight,
for me. Summer Days was a lot of fun and couldn't have been more
fitting--a September night, 61 degrees...
I wasn't looking forward to the encores. Some songs get played out
and at previous shows I've had trouble feeling anything for Rolling Stone
and Watchtower. Tonight was different. The band rocked. Dylan did not
sleepwalk through these songs, as many performers do for their fans'
favorites. He gave them all he had. There was almost a Los Lobos feel to
the Rolling Stone arrangement. On Watchtower, a microphone echo effect
highlighted certain lines--it was unexpectedly cool.
The stage went black. When the lights came up, Bob and his cowboy
gang stood facing the crowd. Dylan made his hands into pistols, shot the
crowd a couple times, then blew into the barrells, as if to say, "I
killed tonight." And he did. Then he removed his black cowboy hat (which
hadn't gone onto his head until halfway through the show) and scooped up
handfuls of his own brain dust, or was it dandruff, and sprinkled it on
the crowd in an odd blessing.
Note to anyone going to the show: Jimmie Vaughn has come in for some
abuse on this site, but I found his set entertaining. Lou Ann Barton, an
underrated Texas singer, did a few of the songs. She's great. I saw her
dozens of times when I lived in Austin and she's still got it. Jimmie
should have the generosity to allow her to stand centerstage, however. He
was overly careful about keeping her to the side, making her status as
just another bandmember all too clear. In the 1970s she used to sing with
Stevie Ray Vaughn. Some of that stuff is still on record and worth
seeking out. So is her great album, Read My Lips.
Review by Minaudo
The band is now a band. The volume is turned down, so you don't have Dylan
screeching into the mike, trying to keep up and chime in, and yet
ultimately drowned out. Even Stu didn't annoy me last night. Herron played
steel pedal all night, George was tasteful, and Tony was Tony. Where two
springs ago, this new collection of musicians were playing schoolyard
basketball, each having to muscle their shot up, now they play with the
precision of Cousy. Bob is seated stage center, and for once I was on the
right side of the stage to see him square on, maybe about twenty five
I arrived at the tail end of Jimmy V.'s set. He sounded great, providing
"hogeyed grease to a hog eyed town." This type of tasty Roadhouse blues,
from a player who IS that, is the perfect opener for Dylan '06 - and Lou
Ann Barton, I think her name is, is a talent.
Drove across the Brooklyn Bridge, up the Westside Highway to the Thruway,
in a mad dash to catch Dylan in this more relaxed, laid back minor league
ballpark tour. God this bridge is gorgeous tonight - I'm so glad they
didn't blow it up a few years ago. Actually, the traffic wasn't heavy. I
guess everyone's headed for the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore- or at
least those lucky to be traveling at all. It's been five years since the
Wall Street Armageddon here, and I couldn't help but notice the smaller
crowd tonight. Back then, Dylan came out with a startling analogous album
to those times, and performed like a prince at Madison Square Garden later
in fall '01.
The towers still smoldered and stank.
Yes, the crowds are smaller this time around, but
then the passage of time dawned, and the realization that the modern times
we live in here, are rough times are bad times. The gardener, mam, is
most certainly gone. . .
There's an evenin' haze settlin' over town
Starlight by the edge of the creek
The buyin' power of the proletariat's gone down
Money's getting shallow and weak.
Well the place I love best is a sweet memory
It's a new path that we trod
They say low wages are reality
If we want to compete abroad.
Yet here is Bob Dylan, of all people, playing in my backyard on a Friday
night in '06 - like seeing him in the local drive in - Dylan to go.
Then I became grateful that I had Dylan to see on a cool pleasant eve.
The crowd on the floor was younger than the Boomers concentrated in the
stands. A drop dead gorgeous twenty something girl stood nearby, immersed
in her lover's eyes, wanting more. Say hey, haven't I seen your face
somewhere before? Exquisite blue green eyes, and a fella from Detroit
just told me he's been touring the East Coast following the Bob Dylan
show around, our hands clasped. Some kids lay on a blanket next to me,
parents looking on.
Back to Bobby (Out of a possible 5)
...1. Cats...4.0...Watching Dylan from his left profile, yellow light
streaming off his shaggy hair, no cowboy hat tonight, it came on much
later, when he donned a big black one, maybe due to the slight evening
chill? "Cats" done well, but a tune I don't even know the lyrics to. The
best part of this one was watching the intense, focused Dylan, center
stage at the keyboard, eyes darting laser like to the other players,
settling in, and testing, very much like the orchestra conductor. From the
nods and expressions, Dylan likes what he's hearing tonight.
2. Y.A.G.N...4.0...A perfunctory rendition, but a vocal that was still
superior to the general vocals displayed a year or two ago.
3. T.D./T.D...5.0...Is it possible to have nostalgia for a tune that is
still played often? For some reason, maybe hearing the new album, I have a
newer, richer appreciation for L&T. I'm already missing a tune which
hasn't disappeared yet from the nightly set list- how strange is that?
Perhaps, this is just a trick of time. But, this one seems to be a fave of
Bob, probably won't disappear, and last night it was performed well. Bob's
vocals are clear and delineated, as are the roles of the other players. No
one is stepping on the other's lines, and, for lack of a better term,
there is much better "separation" in the sound. Everyone knows where they
fit in, and they are much more a cohesive unit.
4. M.I.M ...4.0 Dylan gets an "A for effort" here, bringing me a tune
never heard live before. At first, I thought he was doing some cover of a
soul tune from the 60's, but alas it was M.I.M. It was done in sort of a
soul, R&B arrangement, however stark. Bob's vocals were slightly wolfy,
and sounded like a drummer using brushes instead of sticks. This is one
which can become quite tasty with a few added ingredients, but overall,
quite enjoyable as a reflection of the deep back songbook.
5.W.R.F...5.0 This is an example of a tune that sounds ho hum when I've
read the set lists lately, but absolutely rocked in a roadhouse sort of
way last night. This was state of the art Roadhouse blues, with Dylan's
raspy, world weary, yet hungry tonality fitting in perfectly. Imagine
Howlin' Wolf doing this song, and you get closer to this version compared
to the album's version. Hey, everything that's old is new again...in
Dylan's ever evolving kaleidoscope of time. Here, I hear how far this
group has progressed since spring '05. Also, the organ playing has evolved
as well. The sound has been turned down or changed, so it doesn't sound
like a skating rink Casio, and some of Dylan's playing is funky yet
purposeful. One guy remarked to me that he's sounds a bit like Garth.
Perhaps in aesthetic method if not in talent, but his playing is ornately
rhythmic in the Garthian sense.
6. S.I.M ...3.5...I guess this one is a must do from the greatest hits,
since the arrangement kind of showcases it. It wasn't bad last night, but
I don't think it's quite appropriate for Dylan's current timber. I
wouldn't mind if this classic was given a rest for awhile. How about
another gem to showcase here? I Want You, Dignity, Gotta Serve Somebody,
or something akin to these ? But hey, I ain't complainin'.
7. N.D.Y....5.0...Spot on rendition from TOOM, with a slightly less
industrial murk - perfect. Dylan delivers this song, live, with complete
honesty. Time has passed, they just added three planets to our solar
system, but it's still beautiful, in a new way.
8. H-61 . . 3.5-4.0 Standard fare...
9. V.O.J... 4.0-4.5 The latter number is for the ultimate brilliance of
this song, one of the most beautiful love songs ever written, and a great
New York City period piece. The performance was solid, if for the fact
that it‚Äôs nearly impossible to convey the same mood from those times and
album. Like much Dylan has done from that period, their sheer brilliance
can serve as a weight around dylan's neck when he attmepts the live
rendition. That was the twenty something Bob, immersed in his transcendant
poetry and love affairs in Greenwich Village - a youthful, passionate,
and inspiring time. Unlike a previous reviewer, I didn't think some up
singing toward the end was inappropriate. Baby, I can fill in the lines. I
was on line waiting for a cold one for the entire song, but involuntarily
started nodding and grooving to this masterpiece- had to keep my place,
and keep looking back to the stage in utter respect for this composition
and the artist who composed it. A pretty woman did the same on the line
next to me, nodding and weaving in total recognition. Hmmm, I wondered how
two Bobcats would do in a "relationship?" But alas, we'll never meet
again...our coupling peaked in the flame of Johanna . . .
10. I.B.Y.B.T...Once again, not bad, but Bob a bit wolfy, and the
arrangement and overall mood brought a chuckle to my mind. This could have
been performed in any resort around the Catskills decades ago - kind of
kitschy, Borscht Belt Bob - but cute in its own way.
11. S.B... A slightly new arrangement, a tic or two faster, somehow
12.,13,14 Standard fare, with Summer Days being the best. Once again,
perhaps it's the passage of time, but a newfound respect for L&T.
Overall, a beautifully bittersweet evening. Who knows if I'll ever have
the opportunity to see and hear him in such an intimate, outdoor
atmosphere again? Maybe Dylan's being honest when he extolled this
band's virtues in the current interviews. I was surprised nothing from
the new album. Can it be he's going to wait until the next tour? Maybe
they need some rehearsal time, before they formally present it.
Regretfully, I didn't get the chance to hear Junior, and Elena, but this
package, for 50 bucks, is a great value . Go out and see the Bob Dylan
Show when it rolls into town...He'll definitely show you what he's got . .
Mr. Dylan, thanks again . . . Thanks for being there...
Review by Howard Weiner
A Cowboy Band
We left New York City early on Friday afternoon to get a jump on
the travelers headed out of town on this dreary Labor Day Weekend.
Also, last time we saw Dylan in Wappingers Falls in 2004, we
encountered the mother of all traffic jams. On that occasion, Bob
made it worth our while as he delivered a fantastic show. It would
be the last time I saw Larry Campbell appear in the band.
Wappingers Falls is located almost perfectly between New York City
and Woodstock, making it the ultimate location for a Dylan
homecoming party. This stretch of territory between Woodstock and
NYC is the breeding ground of more Dylan freaks per square mile
than anywhere else on our little spinning blue planet.
Our long day/ night of partying started at a local watering hole.
We shared happy hour with some local flannel shirted workingmen in
honor of Labor Day Weekend. Due to extreme boredom, we loaded a
case of brew into our cooler and headed to the parking lot where we
reunited with some college friends and had a Modern Times listening
party. We tried to make it in to see the marvelously talented
Junior Brown, but were held hostage by Modern Times. Itís hard to
walk away from that when Bob rhymes sons of bitches with orphanages
and all the quirky lines like ďYou got a face that begs for love.Ē
Iím trying to figure out why Iím so drawn to this record, but the
world of research has gone berserk, too much paperwork, so I just
keep spinning the CD.
Eventually we made our way in to see Bob and his cowboy band. It was
a chilly night with rain looming, but the storm (formerly known as
Hurricane Ernesto) spared the festivities. Bob went to the well
again, opening up with Catís/ You Ainít Going Nowhere/ Tweedle Dee &
Tweedle Dum. Thatís the same triple shot that I experienced at the
Manchester show last Sunday, and just as pleasing on this night.
Catís in the Well is a serious head rush with Donnie Herron fiddliní
about. Dressed in black (no hat for the first half of the show), Bob
and his band sounded inspired from the start.
Our first surprise of the night was a lush sounding version of the
rarely played The Man in Me. Oh, what a wonderful feeling. Last
time I saw this was down route 84 about 30 miles, and 18 years ago
in Middletown, New York. Yíall remember the GE Smith era? Bob
really nailed this song tonight, as well on the other occasion from
1988. The Man in Me suits this cowboy band so well and the maestro
closed it out with a melodic harp solo. Iím glad he keeps this song
for special occasions, unlike his next two choices which were
Watching the River Flow and Stuck Inside of Mobile. To be fair,
they were well played, but Iím weary of those songs. Just like he
had two years earlier at Dutchess Stadium, Senor Dylan turned us on
to Not Dark Yet. 9-01-06 is the definitive live version of Not Dark
Yet. Dylan was in the zone, showing off for his rabid New York fan
base. Iím confirming that right now as Iím listening to the tape,
this offering even has a gripping harmonica solo at the end. Dylan
proceeded to slap the audience around with a blistering Highway 61.
I was in such euphoric haze I totally enjoyed it. The band really
is smoking this one of late, thereís no unnecessarily long guitar
doodling. All of a sudden I donít mind seeing this every concert.
Visions of Johanna was next. We all feel like conquering heroes when
weíre lucky enough to see it, however, some times the tape tells a
different tale. I have a strong predilection for acoustic Johannas,
but this was the best one Iíve heard since Dylan switched to piano.
Dylan's singing was attentive and George C. Riceli was softly
tapping his cymbals a la Blonde on Blonde. This cowboy band excels
in capturing the underlying nuances in the music. On the prowl, Bob
followed with a hopping Iíll Be Your Baby Tonight.
Some of these bootleggers make pretty good stuff. Iíve been
enjoying this tape while strolling around Manhattan amidst the
swirling winds and pounding rains of Ernesto less than 24 hours
later. I was digging Sugar Baby in the moment. Like Johanna, I
think it works better acoustically. A whomping good time was had by
all during Summer Days. Tony was thunderously pounding away at his
stand up bass as the attentive crowd was prancing about. This could
be the end of an era; we might not have Summer Days to kick around
anymore. The odds in Vegas are 7to 5 that When the Levee Breaks
will be the new set ender next tour. Iím a sentimental fool. As
always I loved Like a Rolling Stone. Prior to Watchtower Dylan
mumbled something like ďTalking bout no direction home, I feel like
Iím already home.Ē Out in the parking lot we depleted our beer
stash while listening to Modern Times and watched the crowd slowly
dissipate. The whole time I was wondering where in the world Alicia
Keyes could beeeee. Iím gonna give my weary brain a rest. I think
Iíll pick up the Modern Times Tour in Chicago. Until then, good
luck, I hope you all make it.
Review by Anton Tibbe
I. The Journey
All week Iíd had a sense of foreboding about driving up north to see The
Bob Dylan Show, even before Ernestoís path had become pretty certain and
it looked like that tropical storm was taking dead aim at the Northeast
for Friday night. Initially it was simply the notion of heading up the
Thruway on Labor Day weekend Friday, when many thousands would be on that
road to get to their last weekend of summer in the Catskills and Vermont
and the like. I couldnít shake the notion that there was danger up the
road, and death lurking around every corner.
Several times, I considered canceling the whole effort, but I really
didnít want to miss the chance to see the man whose words and music had
influenced me so much. Iíd managed to see him only twice before in more
than 40 years Ė the legendary 1965 fall tour, and the Rolling Thunder
Revue 10 years later. Thatís a lot of water under the bridge. This show
was in a minor league ballpark, yet, in Dutchess Stadium up in Wappingers
Falls. Iíd missed last summerís ballpark tour, even though Dylan had
brought the show to a stadium only 8 miles from my home; I didnít want to
miss another one.
Thursday night, rechecking my route on MapPoint, I was filled with even
more dread when I saw that somehow Iíd mistaken the distance, which I
thought Iíd determined accurately before I bought tickets. It was over 60
miles rather than the 40 Iíd expected. I really didnít know if I was
going to go through with the show when I went to sleep that night. But
Friday dawned dry, if grey, and the Ernesto forecast had the heavy rain
holding off till well after midnight, surely time enough to get up to the
show and back again. I checked MapPoint once more, and realized that we
had a fine alternative route on local roads if the Thruway proved too
heavy. I called my friend Landon to solidify our plans for the journey.
I agreed to meet him at the train station at 5:45, which would give me
time for a quick lunch and nap after work.
Landonís train was 11 minutes late. We zipped back to my house to gather
ourselves for the drive. I checked the online traffic reports just before
we left, a little before 6:30; they werenít too encouraging about the
Thruway, reporting major delays around exit 16, which weíd have to pass
through to get to the stadium. As we shot up Route 17, I had pretty much
already decided to cut off the Thruway and drift up northeast Seven Lakes
Drive through Harriman State Park, cross the Hudson at the Bear Mountain
Bridge, and zip up the east bank of the Hudson on Route 9D to the stadium
some 15-20 miles further on.
When we hit the Thruway a half hour later, the traffic looked
surprisingly light, but I was still worried about what might lie ahead. We
jumped right back off and into Harriman. Almost immediately, we began
seeing deer grazing on the roadside grass in the twilight. The hills of
Harriman, where Iíve spent many a day hiking, rolled away to either side.
The road was nearly empty. We drove past six of the Seven Lakes, one by
one. It wasnít as fast as the Thruway but it was certainly less
We pulled off at Silvermine Lake recreation area to use the facilities.
The huge parking lot held only three other vehicles, there was silence all
around in the fading light. You walk across a little concrete bridge
over a wide stream to get to the bathrooms there. On our way back, we
stopped to admire the greylight view of the stream emptying into the
lake. The waters were virtually still. Looking down, we noticed what
seemed to be a couple of birds flitting over the surface of the stream,
scouring for bugs. We quickly realized that they were bats. This was
fascinating; I had never seen bats in flight from above. They would swing
out to the end of the stream, swoop back towards the bridge, repeat the
pattern a couple of times, then zip under the bridge and fly up the stream
about 50 feet to where it narrowed. They circled that area a few times
and then flitted back under the bridge to the lake side again. You could
hear them chirp every time they approached the
, so that they wouldnít run into the sides of the concrete arches that
supported the bridge; the arches formed a small echo chamber which added
depth to their squeaks.
We finally tore ourselves away, got back in the car, and headed down to
Long Mountain Circle, around Bear Mountain and across the bridge, right up
under the Hudson Highlands peaks looming in the dark grey sky. Driving up
Route 9D, a standard two-lane highway, we caught occasional glimpses back
over the river to the peaks in the west. This is one dramatic road in
daylight, but we were seeing mostly shapes at that point in the evening.
II. The Reaper sends his regards
We drove up through Cold Spring, rattled down 3 miles of wretched road in
a construction zone near Beacon, and were closing in on the
Beacon-Wappingers Falls border when we hit one of the few traffic lights
that pepper the route. We were the second car in line at the red light.
The light turned green. The lead car moved away and I quickly followed.
We drove out of the lit zone at the intersection, our eyes beginning to
readjust to the darkness of the road. We had almost gotten back to the
legal highway speed of 45 mph when the brake lights of the car ahead
blazed on and he stopped short. I pumped my brakes furiously and was able
to stop just before I hit him. All I could see was that there was some
sort of huge black wall across the road immediately ahead. I was about to
whack my emergency flashers on when I heard the sound of tires screeching
behind us and thought, ďOh, shit this is it.Ē I saw that there were still
a few feet between us and the first car; I pulled my foot off the brake
and coasted forward as close to him as I dared. Saying a quick silent
prayer, we braced for multiple impacts from the rear. Somehow,
miraculously, they didnít come.
My heart was pounding; I was shaking like a washing machine with a badly
unbalanced load about to go into shutdown mode. The air was thick with
the acrid stench of burnt rubber from the tires on the cars in back of us.
I peered ahead, trying to see just what this nearly invisible barrier
across the road was. My shocked vision put together the outlines of a UPS
The truck had come out of a driveway or side road - I couldnít see exactly
what it was in the darkness - and was trying to make a left turn to go
south on 9D. Apparently the driverís notion of how to make a proper turn
onto a busy highway consisted of placing his truck completely across the
northbound lane and sitting there waiting for a break in the southbound
traffic. His left turn signal wasnít on, and there was no reflective
surface anywhere on the side of the dark brown truck to make it apparent
to drivers. You might think that the gold UPS lettering would show up in
headlights, but no; the truck was truly invisible, a disaster waiting to
The truck made its left turn just a few seconds later. I cursed the
driver roundly as he sped past. Naturally, he had his door and window
closed, so I didnít even have the satisfaction of seeing him bat an eye.
III. The show
Adrenalin was racing through my system and I was still in something of a
daze as we drove on. We came up on a long line of cars a few minutes
later and knew we must be approaching the stadium. Both sides of the
highway were already full of cars parked on the shoulder. There were a
few vacant spots left but, not knowing just how far the stadium was, I was
reluctant to park out there. As it turned out, we still had about 2 miles
We finally rounded a bend, and there was the stadium to the right, atop a
bit of a hill. We could hear what I assumed was Jimmy Vaughanís band
playing. We got up to the stadium intersection, where a cop directing
traffic informed us that the stadium lot was full and directed us back to
the parking lot of a mall under construction across the street. He was
kind enough to stop traffic for us for a moment & allow us to make a U
turn to get back to the mall road. Good fellows, those Wappingers Falls
It was just after 8:00 as we made our way across the road and up to the
stadium, Jimmyís band sounding tasty and getting louder. We entered,
walked past the concession stands under the seats to the access archway on
the first base side, and took a quick peek inside to orient ourselves.
The infield was covered with the tarp and completely roped off. The stage
was out in the outfield, backed right up against the center field wall;
you could walk behind the field level seats past first base to ramps that
led down to the field and stand in the grass in front of the stage, or you
could sit in the grandstand and hear the show from afar.
I was famished at that point, particularly after our encounter with the
UPS truck, so we went back to the concession area, grabbed some ballpark
food , and went back up to the sparsely populated grandstand to devour.
Sausage and peppers never tasted so good. We were just in time for the
last two songs of Jimmyís set. Jimmyís band sounded pretty hot, and Lou
Ann Barton had a good bluesy voice. I wish weíd been able to hear the
whole thing Ė for that matter, I wish we could have done the whole show
and caught Elana James and Junior Brown, but a 6:30 show that far up the
road was impossible on a work day.
We finished our food and strolled down to the outfield. The air was cool
and damp but there wasnít a hint of rain. We were able to get a pretty
good vantage point at the right of the stage. Dylanís current tour logo,
a big stylized gold eye with swirling gold lines around it that vaguely
suggest G-clefs and musical notes, hung on a black banner atop the stage.
Itís one of the cooler logos Iíve seen in recent years; if I had tons of
money I might have bought one of those $40 T shirts.
There was, I believe, some Copland playing over the sound system shortly
before Dylan came on. Then his standard recorded intro:
"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the poet laureate of rock 'n' roll.
The voice of the promise of the '60s counterculture. The guy who forced
folk into bed with rock, who donned makeup in the '70s and disappeared
into a haze of substance abuse, who emerged to find Jesus, and who
suddenly shifted gears, releasing some of the strongest music of his
career beginning in the late '90s. Columbia recording artist, Bob Dylan!"
Bob and the band came out, all of them dressed in black, each wearing a
hat of some sort. Dylan would switch from some sort of weird leather cap
to a cowboy hat towards the end of the evening. They tore immediately
into Catís In The Well, a rather disturbing song from the little-known
Under The Red Sky album.
The first thing you notice, of course, is Dylanís voice. In the deeper
registers, he has a horrible rasp thatís almost painful to hear, but he
soldiers on; on the higher notes, his voice is surprisingly clear and
penetrating. This is a different voice from the one that many of us have
burned into our brains. Itís still utterly distinctive and compelling.
As the night goes on, you realize that the familiar songs have new
arrangements and Dylan has developed vocal phrasings that almost transform
them into completely new songs. Stuck Inside Of Mobile is kind of a
laid-back shuffle with a bluesy vamp between the verses. Highway 61 is a
heavy ass-shaking rocker. Visions Of Johanna is just Dylan at the
keyboards. All Along the Watchtower delivers a heavy nod to that immortal
Hendrix version. Oddly, Dylan closes the song, and the show itself, by
repeating the first verse, and then bringing everything to a crashing halt
on an extended major chord. I have no idea what that signifies, and
Dylan may not either, but it sure is startling.
Dylan plays keyboards all night, mostly organ, some piano. He
occasionally picks up the harmonica to add its lilting quality to the
music, and always gets a round of applause when he does. He no longer
plays guitar on tour. Some have speculated that itís because of arthritis
in his hands, others, that itís an artistic choice. Apparently heís not
telling, he just does what he does.
Landon pointed out how self-effacing the production is, and itís true.
Dylan stands at the keyboards just a little to the right of stage center,
facing lead guitarist Denny Freeman and longtime bassist Tony Garnier on
our left. George Recile on drums and Donnie Herron on pedal steel, lap
steel and mandolin, are on risers at the back of the stage. Rhythm
guitarist Stu Kimball cranks it out from behind Dylan on the right. The
lighting never puts anyone, including Dylan, in the spotlight; it comes up
for every song, shines on the whole band in varying colors and
intensities, and goes dark in between the songs. Very simple, and as
curious and compelling as the music. Everything seems designed to convey
the impression that this is a band and Dylan is just the guy who plays the
keys and sings.
The show ran for a full two hours and it went by all too quickly. The
Catís In The Well
You Ainít Goiní Nowhere
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
The Man In Me
Watching The River Flow
Stuck Inside Of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again
Not Dark Yet
Highway 61 Revisited
Visions Of Johanna
Iíll Be Your Baby Tonight
Like A Rolling Stone
All Along The Watchtower
There is really nothing out there these days like The Bob Dylan Show. It
stays with you for quite a while. See it while you can. That voice wonít
last forever, though I suspect heís going to try to make it do just that.
Thereís a fall tour of small arenas coming up. That wonít be quite as
much fun as going to a ballpark and standing in the outfield grass in the
night air with a few thousand like-minded fans, but I suspect itíll still
be pretty good.
IV. The return
After the lights came up, we strolled slowly out of the stadium back to
the mall lot. Kind of eerie hanging out in front of empty quasi-Colonial
buildings. It was obvious that, with the stadium lot and the mall road
all pouring out onto Route 9D, it was going to take a while to get
anywhere. We decided not to fight the traffic and just waited till our
lot cleared out. We wondered how they managed to park people for the ball
games Ė did Dylan sell thousands more tickets than the local team, or does
the area get jammed up like that all the time?
We eventually got back on the road. I wasnít about to go back the way
weíd come up, not with that horrible stretch of road construction, so we
got onto I-84, nipped across the Beacon-Newburg Bridge, deciphered the
deteriorating highway signs (whatís up with that, New York state?) just in
time to catch the Thruway exit, and headed south.
We hadnít been on the Thruway for more than 2 minutes before we ran into
Ernestoís northern front. It quickly became the oddly termed driving
rain, not really something that you want to drive in, but it didnít faze
me at all. The traffic was light, and I knew weíd already had our brush
with fate on the way up, I was certain there wouldnít be another. The
rain let up again when we hit New Jersey. I dropped Landon off in Jersey
City and took my familiar back roads west through the swamps of Jersey, up
to the ridgetop and north again, the New York City skyline glowing across
the Meadowlands and the Hudson, and so back home, ďItís not dark yet but
itís getting thereĒ and ďOut on Highway 61Ē still echoing in my brain.
Review by Peter, Jennifer and Lisa
Me, my girlfriend and my sister were up at 5:30 in the morning to travel
from the Bronx by Metro North Railroad (with pre-sale tickets in hand) to
catch the Bob Dylan show up in Wappinger's Falls, NY. We arrived at the
stadium at 10:30 am and our early arrival paid off as we were front and
center leaning on the railing. This was my 8th Dylan show, my sisters'
third and my girlfriends' first. The opening acts were good, with my
favorite being Junior Brown. A little after 9:00 the lights went low,
that famous intro started and Bob Dylan and His band strolled onto the
stage for an absolutely blazing Cat's in the Well. The drums were
pounding, the solos were furious and the Bob was singing with an
incredible flexibility and passion. It was obvious Bob was here focused
and ready to have fun. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere was next and it had a
light, carefree and bouncy feel with Bob having a great time. He was
bending vowels, shouting back and forth with Donnie Herron and shaking
his hips. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum was a barnburner. The band was
jamming and Bobby was focused and straight on. A great version of a
great song. A shocker was next in the form of The Man in Me. I love the
album New Morning and believe it is Bob's most underrated albums. The
crowd roared at the line "Oh, what a wonderful feeling!" It definitely
was. Watching the River Flow was as good as it ever was. Very bluesy
and fiery. Speaking of fire, the band was absolutely blazing tonight.
They have really come into there own, proven by Modern Times and this
tour. Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again was next and I
really like how this song is played live these days. Bob always enjoys
himself and knows the crowed loves this song. Bob was nodding his head
furiously to the titanic swing of the monster band he has behind him and
the crowd was too. I must add that Bob Dylan was singing with all of his
heart and soul and you can not only hear it but see it in his face, too.
Not Dark Yet brought tears to my eyes with a light and dark arrangement.
Bob sang it with a mournful undertaker sound and put real life about a
song about being close to the end. One of the best performances of
Highway 61 Revisited was warmed up the chilly air by about 50 degrees. I
noticed Bob wasn't slowing down or softening any of his songs tonight.
It was all power and I loved every second of it. My sister and my girl
were both hoping for Visions of Johanna and did they ever get it. It was
immaculately sung and played so passionately by the band. I was
emotionally exhausted after this performance. I think I felt every
emotion a human being can feel during this performance. Bob is amazing up
our heartstrings. A carefree and sweet I'll Be Your Baby, Tonight was
great. Bob sang with serious clarity and sweetness. This guy can croon!
A picture perfect Sugar Baby was next and Bobby Z was again displaying
his gifts for phrasing, lyrics and emotion. I really wanted to hear this
song live and I was rewarded with a raw performance that captivated all
in the crowd. The cowboy hat comes on and... Summer Days was undeniably
the most energetic song I have ever seen performed. Bob was dancing
behind his keys and the band was cooking with kerosene. I still feel the
chills and my heart is still racing from the performance. After a short
break Dylan and crew were back on the stage and after some cymbal splashes
and a gut crunching snare crack we were into Like a Rolling Stone. Tons
of fun was had by the crowd for this classic. My heart was soaring and
my girl's face said "okay Dylan is the best, you were right". Bob
introduced his band and said something I couldn't quite make out (anyone
hear it?). All Along the Watchtower closed the show with a crooked grin
and a sly wink. A mysterious song that was ferocious and dark. The band
rocking, Dylan singing with real ominous spirit and a crowd
thankful and still blown away as the song showcased the band and Dylan's
undeniable talents. It was all over and Bob and band lined up on the
stage. Bob playfully smiled and threw fake confetti into the crowd from
his hat then gave a 1 minute long thumbs up to the crowd. He left and we
were floored, again. One of the most energetic performances I have seen
from Dylan was last night. I will see everyone again at Continental
Airlines Arena. Thank you Bob for showing everyone how it is done and for
a night of the best music in the universe.
Peter, Jennifer and Lisa
Review by Stephen Goldberg
What a difference a year (or two) makes. The band is so much tighter,
Bob's voice so much clearer and the piano up in the mix. We got there
during the Jimmy Vaughn set. He and his band sounded great. The venue was
certainly less filled then it was two years ago, but this time, as no one
was there to see the opening acts, there was no exodus during Bob's set.
This was a Bob crowd.Cats In The Well was a great opener. At first I
thought there was a horn section, then realized it was Bob on piano
playing staccato like exclamation points. The sound was crystal clear and
sounded as full as a 10 piece band. Dylan's voice was high up and out
front. And.....no upsinging! (so far). You Aint Going Nowhere suffered
from a very gruff, wolfman like vocal but musically was very enjoyable.
Dum and Dee was fine, though like many others I wouldn't mind
seeing it retired. The Man In Me was the first surprise. Again, musically
beautiful, the vocals a little rough and the phrasing didn't suit the beauty
of the arrangement. That's another thing that struck me. The arrangements,
from start to finish were easily and instantly recognizable, close on to the
recorded versions. Watching The River Flow, never one of my concert
favorites, was, well, great! By now I was noticing the stage set up. The
band is sort of bunched up around Dylan and at the same time spread about
the full length of the stage. Stu is huddled behind Dylan and the other
guitarist is so far stage left that if he took one more step back he
would be off stage entirely. Very strange indeed. Stuck Inside of Mobile
wasn't bad, but lacked something. But now we get to the good part.
Highway 61 was fantastic, driven by Bob's piano, it just tore off down
the track. Then things got quiet and a beautiful, and I mean beautiful.
Not Dark Yet . You could hear a pin drop, the crowd completely captivated
by Dylan's best vocal of the night. My wife turned to me and said "He's
such a faker, he can really sing when he wants, there's nothing wrong
with his voice at all". And she was right. From that point on all the
hoarseness was gone. He effortlessly held notes, reached notes and
caressed notes. His vocal was identical to that on TOOM. Next up, the
treat of the evening, Visions of Johanna. Again, instantly recognizable,
sung softly and carefully. Unfortunately the dreaded upsinging appeared
for verses three and four and spoiled an otherwise beautiful performance.
But to be fair, it was far less exaggerated then in the past. I'll Be
Your Baby Tonight had a real swing feel to it and would have fit
perfectly on either Modern Times or Love and Theft. A great performance.
During Sugar Baby the crowd's attention drifted for the first time that
night. A great performance but perhaps poorly placed in the
set. Summer Days did what it was supposed to. It rocks less than before
but was still a crowd pleaser. Rolling Stone is down to three verses and was
done very stately, with the lights turned on for the choruses and then
down again for the verses. Watchtower was very powerful but not my
favorite arrangement. A great night. And not a drop of rain. After the
show my wife asked " How many times have we seen him, must be a undred
or so?". Might be. But it won't be the last time.
Review by Don Ely
After New Britain, I skipped the show in Rochester (and missed "Joey" in
the process) because it was halfway back to Detroit. Instead, I utilized the
couple off-days to get some pure R & R in the clean air and clear skies of
Vermont, which indeed worked wonders for my soul. By the time i arrived in
the Hudson Valley late friday afternoon I was ready for another go-round with
the Dylan roadshow. I'm still not certain if Dutchess Stadium is located in
Wappingers Falls, as the Dylan camp says, or if it's actually in Fishkill, as the
Hudson Valley Renegades website says. Fishkill is across the Hudson River on
Route 9, while Wappingers Falls is north of the stadium on Route 9D. I passed
through Wappingers Falls on the way in, a charming old village (at least to me)
built on a hill. In either case, the stadium is in Dutchess County, New York, and
the Renegades who play there are the AA farm club of the Tampa Bay Devil
I love the variety of venues Bob plays, but the common problem with some of
them is their lack of ample parking for sizable crowds. When I got to Dutchess
Stadium onsite parking had filled up; a police officer directed me to a place
where they were shuttling people to the show, but to be at the mercy of a
shuttle bus is not my cuppa joe. So I took a chance and parked streetside in a
new subdivision nearby, which proved alright, but the thought of being
ticketed or towed while at the show doesn't put my mind at ease. Once inside
I sampled one of about a dozen beers they had on tap and sat in the stands
listening to Jimmie Vaughn and company. I thought he sounded better tonight
than in Connecticut, or maybe I just enjoyed him more, especially the Johnny
Guitar Watson number he and the band broke into. The evening air was cool
and it felt like fall, and many folks were bundled up in coats and warm-ups.
Summer days and nights are almost gone to be sure...down on the field I
engaged in conversation with a gentleman who'd seen Bob several times over
the years and there was a guy in the crowd who looked like Rolling Thunder
Bob. No whiteface, but he had the hat right. Kill the lights, roll the preamble,
and it's time for "Cat's In The Well"! It's nice to hear something as an opener
other than " Maggie's Farm ", and this song gives each player a nice chance to
loosen up and kick into gear. Still wish Bob would rotate three or four openers,
though. "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" and "Tweedle Dee And Tweedle Dum"
were both repeats of New Britain, but then we got a relative rarity in "New
Morning's" "The Man In Me". This isn't one of Bob's stronger compositions, but
he likes it enough to play it a couple or three times a year, and I'm ALWAYS
up for something I've never heard before. It sounded good, and I'll have to
refer to the tape to gauge how good it really was, but it's inclusion made up
for having missed "Joey", a song of similar calibre. A strong "Watching The River
Flow" followed; I'm really liking this one as the band turns up the heat. The
gentleman I'd been talking to commented on how tight the band sounded
compared with last summer; while I thought they were pretty damn good in
2005, particularly at Pittsfield and Cedar Rapids, I would agree they seem more
relaxed and less tentative. Heck, when your boss tells you you're the best band
he's ever played with, you should be feelin' pretty good about yourself!
Apart from "The Man In Me" the set contained no other real surprises, just
polished gems the likes of "Visions Of Johanna", which remains ever so special,
"Not Dark Yet" to remind us he really is flesh and blood mortal, and "Sugar
Baby", a song I've always had an affinity for. Bob handles "Visions Of Johanna"
brilliantly, quieting the circus organ, and taking extra care with some of the
finest lyrics he's ever laid down on paper, because with the sparse
accompaniment it's his showcase, and if he fails he's pretty much out there
alone. All told, this was another enlightening evening spent in the audience
of Rock 'n' Roll's Greatest Prophet, Seer, and of course, Troubadour. Next
Review by Scot Mathews
When Dylan waves his figurative baton to guide, urge on, and inspire his band
mates, that same stick serves as a magic wand that shines a collective aura over
everybody within earshot. The posted reviews for this show certainly do run
the gamut of what concert experiences can be, so I think I'll just add a few
impressions & expressions and then leave it at that.
Drive east after sunset along I-84 on a summer evening and somewhere between
exits 11 and 12 you'll find yourself zipping by a strange little stretch of Landscape
America. To the left, the bright lights of Dutchess Stadium flood that diamond of
dreams where the Hudson Valley Renegades hold court, entertaining the fans
who are sipping beer and eating hot dogs. Across the highway over to the right,
high on a ridge, behind rows of razor wire and guard stations, and also gleaming
from sun-like Klieg lights, stands an ominous fortress housing those unfortunate
souls held in the "Fishkill Correctional Facility". This is a medium security prison
originally established on that site in 1892 as The Asylum for Insane Criminals. For
a split-second at 55 mph it seems as if both venues are under one glowing
carnival tent. In the time it takes your car to pass between these two structures
you might think you are falling through a lost verse of Desolation Row.
On the evening of Sept. 1st, this surreal patch waxed sublime for a few hours as
the ballpark became the temporary home for 5,000 celebrants honoring our bard
of modern times. Off to the west, the Hudson River flowed. On the map, the
stadium is in Wappingers Falls, where Pete Seeger hangs his banjo. He might have
been there too, dunnoÖbut I hear that Pete and his wife, Toshi, had been
sitting in the bleachers at the 2004 show. Above us, the clouds held back the
rain just long enough to see us through the event undrenched.
While the music was shaking and rattling the rolling hills I wondered how it
sounded to the inmates as it wafted, somewhere, so high above those walls.
The play-by-play and the song-by-song have all been scribed in these pages, and
others, so we don't need to reiterate those finer points here. What we would
like to do is praise the moment. At the end of Jimmie Vaughan's set, I worked
my way from a seat behind third base into left field and then got to 30, or so,
feet from center stage. Through the binoculars, the view was equal to being 5
feet from the leader of the band. And, did he lead? You betcha, he did!
As I studied the lines of his face, I could see Dylan conducting every twist and
turn, every change, every rise and fall, every run and riff. With movements of
eye and chin, head and hand, elbow and shoulder, the interplay was tightly
controlled by this artist who paints with sounds and words. Of course, it makes
sense that his present day persona includes that of the digital disk jockey, whose
palette is the well of 20th century song. How perfect.
Then, as the hour was getting late, the curtain call said it all. The feeling was
mutual. Applause and mimed fairy dust were exchanged. Captivating it was; and
for the sake of the other captive audience up the hill, I know Bob was quite
considerate in leaving Cold Irons Bound out of the set list, and Drifter's Escape
could have started a riot in cell block eleven. However, since the valley was still
under Dylan's spell, the post-encore concert vibe floated us all to a soft landing,
although "There must be someway out of here" might have echoed in the
minds of a few prisoners, and likewise for a number of fans bottlenecked in the
stadium parking lot.
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