September 1, 2008
Review by Phil Levine
Well, even in an age where by His own admission, 'low wages are
reality...' the price of seeing His Bobness here in America's most
overpriced concert town was pretty damn steep. Can you say a $200 'golden
circle' ticket? Ouch.
Still, after a more than two year absence from Sin City, the Hibbing
Hobo stopped by The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel for BobFest '08. A near
sell out crowd, with a surprisingly young demographic, was in a festive
Labor Day mood. Would their commitment to paying the cost to see The Bob
be rewarded with a vintage show?
Well, no not really. On the Bob Scale of 1-10, one being early 90's "what
the hell is he singing" Bob and 10 being Rolling Thunder/Freewheeling Bob,
this show was at best a 6. He started out the night inauspiciously with
an almost incomprehensible 'Watching the River Flow' (an homage to Gustav
of the Gulf?), followed by an only slightly more detectable 'Baby Blue.'
Next up, we were once again (as we have been at EVERY Bob Las Vegas show
this millennium) Stuck Inside of Mobile...only He knows why this old
warhorse is dragged out for every Sin City show. But oh mama, can THIS
really be the end? Please?
Million Miles followed...pretty much a throw away. It wasn't until Simple
Twist of Fate that Mr D finally seemed to actually get 'into' the swing of
things. Nowhere near as beautiful as the original, but in '08 you take
what you can get in listenable Bobism and run with it. Another homage to
the Gulf, High Water was a growly treat...though again, nowhere near as
beautifully bluesy as the original. Next up, he opened up his Back Pages.
They were a tad musty, dusty and one couldn't help but yearn for the
lonesome whine of Neil Young singing this song at 1992's legendary Bob
Fest in NYC. But then, Bob's a lot older than that now. I guess the meds
kicked in around this time--as Bob next went into his Bob jig on the
jaunty Summer Days, apropos given the date. A one/two punch of Love Sick
followed by a scowling, howling Tweedle Dee followed next. In perhaps the
highlight of the night, the audience joined in on the rollicking chorus of
Just Like A Woman...seeming to remind Bob of what the song was supposed to
sound like...fleeting smiles ensued as both Singer and Audience recalled
the Glory Days of yore. Next up, Abe said to God that Bob was just putting
us all on as we took a drive down Highway 61. Not vintage, but hey, it was
recognizable!!! The same could not be said for the next tune, Nettie
Moore--I would venture a guess that as many as half the audience had no
clue what song this was. And then...the best song of the night as the
Thunder on The Mountain rolled down off the stage. Alicia Keyes was
nowhere in sight, but that didn't mean that the sly old dog wasn't still
looking for her...a great version, and a taste of what the night could
have been had He decided to go another route and go beyond two chords. A
brief break then a perfunctory Rolling Stone/Watchtower, followed by the
'staredown' and then off he went, heading to another Joint.
And I don't know if we all did feel the same, (perhaps it was a better
show than I imagined it to be), and I just saw it from a different point
of view...but then, as with so many things in this town, you pays your
(Bob) bucks, you takes your (Bob) chances.
Ah well. What's a double C note to see the World's Greatest Living
Happy Trails Mr D...and who knows? Maybe next time, he will try and keep
the prices within reach of those of us who both live, and love,
Workingman's Blues (1&2) every day?
Review by Lance C.
I won't go over every song except to say Bob's band is the best on the
road. The concert at The Joint was inspired! From the opening Watching The
River Flow the band kicked up steam at the right moments. Million Miles
was a sonic blast of rock and roll. High Water was a timely rendition of
what was happening that night. Summer Days and Love Sick were pure rock
and Thunder was an absolute gem as George Recile blasted the song into
oblivion. The crowd in Vegas was not an official Dylan crowd as it
consisted of drunken revelers and thirty something investment bankers who
didn't know what song was playing. The guy next to me was texting all
night. For the true fans, the show rocked and was only a preview of what
was to come in Cali. During the intro to Like A Rolling Stone with the
crowd going nuts, Bob fiddled around with his equipment almost like he
was embarrassed to sing the song. But sing he did and after three
straight nights on the road it sounded awesome. No other 67 year old
performer on the road can rock the house like that.
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