Reviews

San Diego, California

Concerts on the Green at Qualcomm

September 6, 2008


[Roderick Smith], [Iris Seifert], [Kent Skates], [Jason Polanski]

Review by Roderick Smith



Along the Camino Real

Under a citrus slice of a rising yellow moon he appears.  Spanish  
ghosts linger in the trees. Santa Monica a million miles away.  The 
wandering padre of a thousand dreams flinches in the light. There is a 
stagger to his step. He squints with a grimace. Long knobby fingers 
stretch into the air. A heron dark winged in the sky flies to the  hill.
The wagon rolls into the mission.  Provisions for the outposts  along the
Kingís Highway. We have gathered by the river our baskets to  fill. He
delivers. Milagros. He is an old man now. His eyes buried in  a
transparent mask. Little bird lines on broken porcelain. His wooden  body
made of maple moves in uncanny rhythm. He leans down low. Fire  coils the
keyboards, He rears back again, a dragon breath into the  humid air.  A
howling unearthly growl. Deep raspy sound, bellowing  over our heads. 
Those familiar blue eyes only little slits peering  out. We are all in
motion. crowded around his ancient wagon. The  village is in festival. The
gypsy troubadour padre priest in high  mass. He is building a cathedral
made of sound. Milagro. Glistening  with flying buttresses and deep
colored stain glass windows. Women  sway, young boys throw glances. Look
closely at this apparition.   Donít turn away. He is in a cosmic laughter
now. His grinning face  like some undiscovered planet. His gaucho wide
brimmed hat, the rings  of saturn.  His  black collared shirt sparkling in
the light, embedded  emeralds and rubies and sapphires. His head is in the
stars tonight.

milagro.

[TOP]

Review by Iris Seifert



One lap to go, or is there?

When first considering these 4 shows in the greater L.A. area it seemed a
perfect set-up: fairly close to home, 4 shows in the same vicinity and at
the end of the tour. Attending these seemed like showing up at the finish
line waiting for your favorite marathon runner to come in first.

It seems the closer Mr. Dylan comes, the more the audience carries part of
the load. The audience last night was geat: eager, receptive, responsive
and attentive and easily inspired. Their reward: dances, acknowledement,
walk-ups to center stage front, hand cues; outstanding voice, harmonica
and organ (with varied register..thanks).

Thank you all;  all good - or splendiferous! Special thanks for: Ballad of
Hollis Brown, Lenny Bruce (not quite sure about this version, though), I
don't believe you (she acts like we never have met), Make you feel my
love, She belongs to me; one of the best renderings of Honest with Me;
Ain't talking (the audience stood in awe); Like a rolling stone, which was
the best i have been blessed to hear, and a fantastic Watchtower.
Tambourine Man seemed to linger in the air - but there is always another
show...

The sound was loud (outdoors) but great; you could hear the different
soloists doing their part: violin portions, slide and steel guitar, the
two guitarrists, as well as an outstanding performance by Mr. Garnier
especially the solo - wow - thank you;

The finish line in sight tonight - or is it - the victory lap?

sincerely.

[TOP]

Review by Kent Skates



Cats in the Well started us off rockin' for the evening.? The fiddle was
very high in the mix & sounded great, although they were probably just
working out the sound for the first tune.? Times A'Changin' was hot -- Bob
played some sweet harmonica on this one.? For Levee, Tony was on stand-up
bass -- the band was really shakin' & smiles all around.? She Belongs to
Me was nice with the harp again.? I must admit that some of the previous
arrangements of Mobile haven't been my favorite so I was a little
apprehensive when they started in on it.? This version though was smokin'
-- a really great arrangement I thought.? Bob's delivery was like a Tommy
Gun, ra-ta-tat-tat.? A great sounding bridge & very tight transitions.??
Hollis Brown was spooky & all were playing acoustic.?? I love this song &
this was a very cleansing version -- "somewheres in the distance there are
seven new people born".? Make You Feel My Love is a favorite of mine & did
not disappoint -- with some great harp.? It's Alright Ma was a showstoppe

& Ain't Talkin' were among the highlights for me on this one.? See you in
Santa Barbara. 

Kent Skates
Birmingham, AL

[TOP]

Review by Jason Polanski



After indulging in the fine local food and a sunny day at Ocean Beach, it
was a short car ride to Qualcomm Stadium where the locals were getting
ready for Sunday's Chargers football game; however Bob Dylan was playing
on the practice field. We were surrounded by the rolling hills and the
raised trolley tracks with the most simple of setups, an outdoor stage and
grass. We made sure to get their early and get a place near the stage.

As far as the show, it was quite good. Having seen the show at Foxwoods
Casino early in the tour, I was hoping that he didn't lose any steam
across the country. In fact, as the band all came on stage, Bob came
running right up to the front acknowledging the crowd then went over to
his guitar and sort of pointed at it as we cheered in support, but in the
end, the keyboard was the instrument of choice and Cats In The Well warmed
things up.

Bob was a showman in so many ways. It wasn't just the stage entrance, but
the one-two punch he threw us with the next two songs. He really got the
crowd moving. TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING featured some extremely well
played harmonica and LEVEE'S GONNNA BREAK got the rail girls dancing and
Bob leaning into the vocals and himself dancing and pointing. Bob truly
was drawing from the crowd's excitement and a trend that would continue
all night is that when Bob got excited, so did the band. 

Some highlights: 

BALLAD OF HOLLIS BROWN: Reviewing this would be like ruining the ending to
a good movie, but I'll give it a try anyway. Bob settled early in the song
into a vocal pattern and followed it, stoned faced, through every line. No
variations, no instrumental breaks, told the whole story. Then, on the
last verse, everybody missed the usual ending, probably in shock of what
just took place, they soloed and Bob came back with the repeat of the last
verse and they screwed up again, but a little head nodding and everything
came together. 

HONEST WITH ME: Really just a striped down punk song, but a nice moment to
see Bob dance and sing his heart out. After the instrumental break he
stepped back from the microphone and the band was playing the pounding
punk beat and the crowd began to clap along and Bob let it go about 30
more seconds before creating his "new imperial empire". Again, crowd
energy to Bob energy to band's energy. Complete transfer. 

WORKINGMAN'S BLUES: The last verse was killer. Bob held nothing back. No
mumbling, low singing, high singing, just solid delivery. The whole song
was amazing, and lately a great highlight in concert. He should play this
more often. 

HIGHWAY 61: Early on Denny began to tease Bob with some rifts and I think
by the second or third verse, Bob teased back on organ. By the last
instrumental jam, they had truly transformed the music. Real on the spot
blues improve. 

LENNY BRUCE: A highlight because it always is a highlight. Missed a couple
lines but whatever. The band and Bob were cracking up in the huddle before
this song. 

Those were the standouts. Everything else was good. They seemed a bit
tired by the time THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN was played, but understandable.
This show was the most I've ever seen Bob interact with the audience. For
once, he trusted his band and turned towards us and a connection was made.
Can't wait for that fall U.S. tour. I love the fact that just as one tour
ends, another is just around the corner. 

Jason Polanski

[TOP]

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