September 3, 2010
Review by Steven Thwaits
Last night I made the two and a half hour journey from Seattle,
through the late summer beauty of the Cascade Range and over the ever
barren Saddle mountains, to the desert town of Yakima. Bob Dylan and
his Band were playing the heartland once again, in one of those funny
little minor minor league baseball parks, Yakima County Stadium, home
of the Bears!
Yakima is 'small town,' just the venue for John Mellencamp. The man
writes good songs. But if I never hear 'When the Walls Come Tumbling
Down" again, it will be way too soon. The fist-pumping drunk lady next
to me (180 pounds of pure dumb) nearly knocked me over. "The next
sixty seconds could be like an eternity." Indeed.
Which brings me to the reason I drove five hours last night, and
persevered through the swaggering bombast of Mr. Mellencamp's last few
songs. (OK, to be fair, the first two thirds of his set is very
enjoyable. Love the songs from the new record, especially 'No Better
Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan. The greatest artist, of any kind,
alive on earth. In Yakima tonight. Great set list this evening. An
emphasis on the modern and the sinister, starting with the above
mentioned 'Things Have Changed' through 'Love Sick' seven songs later.
Band tight as ever. What a band. The lights seemed brighter tonight on
stage, or maybe it was just my angle on Bob (couple folks back from
the rail), but he was burning up in the heat. Sweating pints. He
seemed a little tired by the end, and sometimes I think Thunder on the
Mountain is a strange choice, lyric wise, at that point in the show.
He can't quite make every line count – there are so many of them and
the song is so fast. But really 'Thunder' is less about the words than
the jam. I know it will never happen, but man, you wish he'd take his
jacket off. I was a little worried about him tonight, but probably my
own deal – he was smiling a lot and blowing the harp perfectly. He
rocks so hard, sometimes you forget that he is, after all, 69 years old.
May we have shows for many more years! May he stay. . .
Bumbershoot, in my town, tonight.
Review by John Dobken
A perfect evening for a concert at the ballpark in Yakima, Wash. The crowd
didn't seem all that big and there was plenty of room to stand in front of
the stage, with little jostling throughout the entire evening.
I attended with my 15-year-old son who has grown up hearing Dylan's music,
though I would never classify him as a fan of Bob's. Like any good father, I
knew this must change. On the hour-long drive over to Yakima, I assembled a
two-disc history of Dylan's music to help explain his significance. It helped, I
think. My son's favorite Dylan song is Ballad of a Thin Man, so he was excited
to know it was on the setlist. This was my seventh Dylan concert. The first was
the dreadful 1988 tour when Bob wasn't all that into it. This show was on par
with the past few I have seen on the ballpark tours, which is to say thoroughly
enjoyable. One funny moment was during "Just Like a Woman." There seemed to be a
missed cue, causing George and Tony to break out smiling, and Bob noticed as
well. The next line he sung was "maybe it's time for us to quit." And Tony
acknowledged that with more smiles. Bob also had some fun with the audience
sing-a-long to the words "just like a woman..." The audience was singing to the
album version, Bob to his own, drawn-out version. The crowd would sing "just
like a woman..." during a music break and then Bob would come in after and
repeat the line. He started pausing for dramatic effect to let the crowd carry
on. Very funny. There is always one song in the set that, to me, really stands
out and makes you re-think your view of that song. It's like the one great golf
shot that keeps you coming back. That song for me last night was "Forgetful
Heart." I never cared for this song on "Together Through Life," and would even
skip past it. Last night, my eyes (and ears) were opened. Bob and the band gave
it an "Oh, Mercy"-feel, with lots of atmosphere. And the drama created by Bob's
performance was chilling. My son enjoyed the show a lot and as soon as we got
home around midnight began loading up his iPod with my Dylan collection. "Dylan
owns Yakima" were his words as we left the venue.
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