Review

Uncasville, Connecticut

Mohegan Sun Arena

September 8, 2012


[CSK], [Howard Weiner], [Jason Polanski], [J. Zimm], [Ernie Pancsofar]

Review by CSK



Towards the end of a long tour, on the verge of an incredible album release, 50 years
into an all time great artistic career - certainly Bob would have every reason to be 
bored, uninspired or tired and go through the motions on September 8, 2012 at the 
somewhat less than ideal venue of the Mohegan Sun Arena.  Prospects of such an 
event nearly had led me to skip this concert and this tour, especially with Tempest 
being such a strong album, and knowing Bob wouldn't play a song from it, not wanting 
anyone's first listen to be any but the album versions.  But this would be a special night.

Opening with You Ain't Going Nowhere, Bob on electric guitar at center stage, he 
wouldn't touch the organ at all this evening - first time since when?  And when has he 
ever opened with this classic?  Followed up by Tom Thumb's, this served as a very solid, 
double guitar opening that was not one of your usual throwaways by any means.  Part 
two of this gem saw Bob move to the Grand Piano, where he would spend most of the 
night providing lead excellent chops, starting with the oft repeated duo of Things Have 
Changed & Tangled - both worked very well, with Tangled especially successful. Overall, 
we were very much 4-4 out of the box.
  
This was followed by Part 3 - the trifecta of Summer Days, Not Dark Yet & Jolene - an 
upbeat, summer end song with sprightly jam sequences, followed by Bob's only center 
stage non-Guitar/Piano performance, and it was very much a command one, remorseful, 
ending with a great harp solo, followed by the once again upbeat joyful celebration of 
Jolene.  Make that 7 for 7.

Another trifecta follows - an astounding Hattie Carroll, Visions of Johanna sandwich - both 
of those songs nailed to perfection with Bob finding new Piano grooves & riding them 
with successful, commanding vocals, High Water in the middle solidly bridging the two 
classics, and the best Visions I've seen in a long time, maybe ever.  10-10.   I've seen 
Bob over 50 times, actually I've lost count, and I don't ever recall him staying on such 
a high for basically an entire concert - this was really quite something.

The last two possible variables provides another upbeat number - Highway 61 - I like 
where this song is now, almost a high power jam band interlude, followed by Simple 
Twist moves Bob back to the guitar, which he really nails on this one.   

Then the end sequence, while repeating night after night, each was truly excellent this 
evening - Thunder was a smooth exciting groove, Thin Man they toned down the echo 
a bit, which made it better, and Bob repeated a verse on the way back to the ivories, 
where he found a sweet groove. Rolling Stone & Watchtower were both excellent 
versions of the sort of rendition Bob's been playing lately - Rolling Stone featured a false 
ending, which still worked though.  Blowin' was excellent as well. 
 
Don't know what else to say really, but this was in many ways perfection personified - and
in a casino arena, and with every reason to not be stoked, Bob was. 
 
On the way home, during my 45 minute ride, passed Bob's bus - there he was, a legend,
soon to be rejoiced once more for Tempest - not going that fast on a rainy 
night - heading to another joint.  How lucky we all are.

[TOP]

Review by Howard Weiner



What a week! On Sunday Dylan was scintillating in
Bethel Woods, and on Tuesday he christened the reopening of the historic
Capitol Theatre in Port Chester. By a simple twist, I was the first
customer through the door at 6:30. It was also the day I first heard The
Tempest, Dylan's latest, and without a doubt one of his greatest. I rolled
up to the Mohegan Sun expecting a routine night at the end of a memorable
tour, but I got more than I bargained for.

The lights went out and contrary to the other shows, Dylan was center
stage, plugged in. The band was strumming, and I dreamed they were playing
"You Ain't Going Nowhere." it knew couldn't be, but it was. Dylan
unleashed leads like lightning, and Just Like Tom Thumbs followed. I'd be
going back to New York city content. 

Dylan played piano during a dazzling "Things Have Changed." What
makes this man tick? Tuesday he's playing this and "Tanged Up in
Blue" on guitar," and tonight, things have changed. Both tunes seemed
improved with Bob banging away at the keys. 

Summer Days was a great call in the five hole, but I got caught up in a
ticket fiasco. Mohegan Sun"s security staff hassled me for sitting in the
wrong seat . Lecherous and treacherous, they were as awful as the buffet
I'd consumed earlier. Anyway, I found a better seat for "Not Dark
Yet."This was everything we dream of in a performance. Dylan sang
attentively, ad-libbing emotional growls on the journey. 

"The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll captured the mood of the day.† You
who philosophizedisgrace and criticize all fears, bury the rag deep in
your face, no is the time for your tears. After two lame political
conventions that offered little hope, those words stuck Ike glue.
The†lackluster crowd came to life. Tony Garnier was shuffling around in
back of the stage to Bob's harp solo. This band is really something. They
create the right arrangements, on demand, in-the-moment. 

"High Water" and "Visions of Johanna" were solid again,
it's a pleasure to hear and see Donnie pluck the banjo on his platform.
Bob finished with the same five classics, but "Thunder" and "Thin Man"
raged. Real swagger. When Bob sang "You have many contacts among the
lumberjacks," he stopped in his tracks, and then darted over to the piano
and began the bridge again The vocal echo was thick, heavy, and hilarious.
Mind-blowing. It was a joyous night in Dylanville. The expected and
unexpected were enjoyed equally . 

The next tour is near. Cherish The Tempest. 
†
Howard Weiner
Tangled Up in Tunes: Ballad of a Dylanhead
http://www.tangledupintunes.com

[TOP]

Review by Jason Polanski



As a Connecticut resident, I've seen Bob a few times now at the Mohegan
Sun Arena, however, originally planned to avoid this show based on past
experience. Bob's concerts are like religious experiences to me, however
this venue has always suffered from poor atmosphere. Anyway, I gained some
"comp" tickets from a friend and there I was, back at Mohegan. The
experience can be summed up in two ways. First the crowd lived up to
expectations. They all sat down and cheered politely and never really got
into it until the end, when Bob played LIKE A ROLLING STONE and ALL ALONG
THE WATCHTOWER. And yes, those songs were great celebrations, but clearly
and as always, the only way to really get the casino crowd to show some
life or reaction to the music. On the other hand, Bob threw in some great
performances that brought hard core fans like myself to at least desire to
get out of my chair and dance, however, I sat politely, hoping my back and
legs wouldn't get sore from the lack of circulation caused by lack of
movement.

Bob opened with YOU AIN'T GOIN NOWHERE, on guitar. The performance was a
huge surprise to those who follow the setlists and maybe even a last
minute decision by Bob. It sounded a bit unrehearsed. Bob actually started
singing the chorus first, seemed to have forgotten the first verse. It did
feature some cool guitar solos and Bob trying to give it energy by
throwing in some "yeahs" between the "Ooh wees" and the "ride me highs".
And riding high, he followed the song up with the one song I wanted to
hear the most, JUST LIKE TOM THUMBS BLUES. Again, more guitar solos and an
aggressive vocal. The concert was in full motion early with this one.

The third song was THINGS HAVE CHANGED. What struck me about this is why I
can justify seeing Bob on multiple dates. Three shows on this tour, and
three completely different instrumental approaches. In Indianapolis, Bob
sang center stage and played harmonica. In Port Chester, I saw him perform
this on guitar. Tonight, the grand piano. By the end, he was banging out a
1-2-3 riff on the keys and to the point where he sang "locked in tight"
and "out of range" in harmony with the riff. Very powerful.

Now the highlight of the show, however, turned out to be NOT DARK YET. I
think anyone in love with Bob's modern songs would agree. I think even the
dude who danced up and down the aisle during "Rolling Stone" might even
agree. And a shout out to the hippie dancer girl in section 15 who danced
so intensely to BLOWIN IN THE WIND. She might even have agreed. During
"Not Dark Yet", Bob truly brought out all of the emotions of the song,
positively nailing the line about what it was he came here to get away
from. And he played a mostly one note harmonica solo that reminded me of
some of his greatest from the 90's. Very dramatic. Even a sort of standing
ovation from the crowd after this one.

As far as all the performances, I won't do a blow by blow review, but it
should be noted that the other two songs that really stood out to me were
SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE and BALLAD OF A THIN MAN. On "Simple Twist", he
played two great guitar solos, the second one kind of done in reverse. A
lot of guitar players like to build their solos to a peak or climax but
Dylan kind of started at the climax and worked his way down to subtle base
notes. I was struck by how much that approach brought us closer to the
song. It remarkably set up the last verse perfectly. And on "Thin Man", 
it started with him doing a weird dance (strut?) around the stage and
finished with a truly weird piano solo. As weird as Mr. Jones himself.

Anyways, I appreciate the tickets, thank the Mohegan Sun for their
hospitality, thank Bob for some great shows this summer, look forward to
the new album being played live this fall, and hope that the patrons of
the casino find some time for some physical activity so they remain as
healthy as our 71 year old "hero".

Jason Polanski

[TOP]

Comments by J. Zimm



Bob and his band were in fine form tonight. Having seen him over 50 times
I'd give this show a 6 out of 10. The highlights were Hattie Carroll and
Visions of Johanna. The lowlight had to be the new arrangement for
Highway 61. Ballad of a Thin Man had an unusual moment where Bob sang
the  bridge (you have many contacts..) at center stage and then moved to
the keyboard and began the bridge again. There were a few stumbles and
repeated lyrics. Hard to say if Bob was intentionally repeating things or
losing his place. Looking forward to the Mark Knopfler shows.??

[TOP]

Review by Ernie Pancsofar



Below are snippets of connections I have with the Dylan performance at
Mohegan Sun on September 8th.

1.	Earlier in the day I listened to the video release that accompanies
Duquesne Whistle.  There is reference to a Carbondale with no state
affiliation.  I was a graduate student in Carbondale, Illinois, where many
north/south trains pass through but none with the name of Duquesne. 
Expectingrain provided an excellent link to one personís interpretation of
the various verses of this song.  I did not believe that Dylan would play
anything from Tempest, but one never really knows for certain.

2.	I met a fellow concert traveler in a commuter lot about 20 miles from
the venue and just as we were ready to get started I said Roll on, John. 
Yes, his first name was John and I think he appreciated this reference to
the concluding song on Tempest.

3.	The white noise of the multiple rooms of the casino that flank the
arena is highly apparent.  There are thousands of voices amid the sounds
of the machines from people who are joyful with an unexpected win but many
more who are full of sorrow at losing much more money than they had
originally anticipated.  This was an apt backdrop of a metaphor for
Tempest. 

4.	An unexpected opener, at least from my perspective, started with Clouds
so swift - Rain wonít lift - Gate wonít close - Railings froze  (or a
version fact simile).  Again, it was difficult from my vantage point if
Dylan changed any lyrics on the fly.  It had been raining quite hard most
of the day with severe thunderstorm warnings echoing on the local weather
radar.  Also, my seat was in the front row of an upper section with a
railing to lean over or prop my feet up against.  I should have known by
these clearly visible signs what to predict for the opening song - - -
shouldnít I?

5.	The highlight for me was the bandís rendition of The Lonesome Death of
Hattie Carroll.  Christopher Ricks in his book Dylanís Visions of Sin
refers to this song as Dylanís best crafted lyrics, if my memory serves me
well.  However, with every highlight there comes a lowlight.  Seated right
behind me was a rather loud person who remarked Ė I havenít recognized any
song yet! She followed this statement with loud chattering with her
neighbors about topics I tried to filter out.  This is part of the paradox
of attending a Dylan concert.

6.	I particularly enjoyed the echo effects in Thin Man and Dylan clearly
articulated the ending words to each verse in a staccato fashion followed
by the echo of a response.  This, combined with his masterful use of the
grand piano, left a lasting impact.

7.	There was a cascading waterfall of connecting notes and words in
Dylanís rendering of Highway 61, which lent a refreshing air to an oft
completed entry on the set list.

8.	While eating our meal at the Summer Shack, I noticed a diner eating
alone beside us and he wore a Rolling Thunder shirt.  I asked if he
anticipated a good show that evening and we joined in a good conversation
for the rest of the meal.  Upon leaving, he extended his hand and
introduced himself.  I know for sure his name was not Henry Porter, but I
sincerely believe he said his name was Jack Frost.  I know this
misunderstanding probably resulted from the surrounding din of the
restaurant, but it added to the allure of the backdrop of attending a
Dylan event.

9.	I could not focus on many of the band members unique contributions to
each song based on the distance I sat away rom the stage.  This added to
the main focus being on Dylan with superb behind the scenes contributions
from an extremely talented group of musicians.  I could find no fault in
their collective contributions and their excellence was greatly
appreciated.

10.	My final thoughts and fantasy lie with a hope that one day, in the
not-to-distant-future, Dylan and a fellow guest (perhaps Mark Knopfler)
would perform an all acoustic set.  Pretty unlikely, I imagine.

When will it end
When will it stop
When will the final note
From the Master drop.

And all weíll have is this memory
Stacked with a trial for infinity
Wondering at all the symmetry
That echoes far off to eternity.

Ernie Pancsofar

[TOP]

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