September 9, 2012
Review by Todd Holden
THE SPRUCE GOOSE HAS LANDED...
Yes, the powerful, large, creation of Howard Hughes did actually fly,
albeit a short distance ...but it flew and that honored the contract
demanded in full by the U.S. Government. The Bob Show rolled along the
Hershey Highway last night to the delight of thousands of fans of at
least 4 generations. A perfect night for an outdoor show on the
parking grounds of the Hershey Pavilion...the very same lot where my
pals and I saw Bob perform many years ago after his near fatal bout with
hystoplasmosis. Opening for Bob that perfect summer night so long ago
was Ani DeFranco.
Opening for Bob tonight was the gifted and talented Bob Weir, formerly
of the legendary Grateful Dead.
Weir's set, all acoustic was splendid, and he dusted off some of the
old gems to the delight of everyone. His voice and playing are stronger
His set was refreshing indeed, and I believe his onl appearance with Bob
Dylan on this current tour...for Dylan this was the last stop on the
summer tour beginning a near month long break. Last nights on most tours
are special and filled with some surprises. Some of my entourage
thought maybe the two Bob's would play maybe one tune together, my bet
was they would not...They did not.
The current band is tighter than a rat's ear, and they did provide
the atmosphere His Bobness needs from time to time...well, maybe some
of the time, not all of the time.
It took a couple songs to get the 'Spruce Goose rolling across the
sound/sky'...gradually things began to shape up with Tangled Up In
Blue...and This Dream of You...but the mood never really got
airborne...it just kept thundering down the runway...it kept pumping to
get lifted but it just didn't lift for very long.
High Water as always lifted the crowd, and then Simple Twist of Fate with
those miraculous, vivid, images of love found and lost grabbed us all by
the neck and had the entire audience up on their feet, as they were
for most of the concert.
Ballad of A Thin Man as always a beaut, now with the grand piano and
the harp, Bob took it where it always goes...far beyond the Spruce
Bob's voice was 'iffy' at times, clear and resonant at others....Nary a
tune from the new Tempest, so we'll have to wait on those chords to be
I must say, the organization of the Hersheypark Star Pavilion was lame
and unintended for human occuupation. Security lines separating the
facilities, refreshments and merchandise stands was insane. Thus those
of the everlasting faithful had to show tix, and admittance stamp each
time we sauntered to the loo, or the beer stand or the food line,
then back in to the 'theater sections'... This was bullshit...instead
of just letting all of us in, to wander to the seats, or wander back
up to grab a water or burger...or to pee...no, we had to pass through
this stalag 58 each time...and that is wrong.
The parking lot saw its share of 'tail gating' and the overall vibe
was smooth as a pony tail and filled with fun loving fans of the Two
It was a great evening, not the best show I've ever seen, and not quite
the worst...all in all the music was attempting to reach far greater
heights...but the show didn't quite get off the ground...
The Spruce Goose did...for all intent and purposes this final show of
the East Coast tour did as well...but both were short lived and a little
Forest Hill Md.
Review by Mark Rock
You could not ask for a better show than this one. Nice summer evening
with some coolness in the air. Opening act Bob Weir played solo acoustic
for an hour to start the show as the sky showed deep purples and blues
behind him. He opened with Jack Straw and ran through various favorites
and not before ending with Throwing Stones / Not Fade Away. Bob took the
stage 15 minutes later with no introduction. They went right into "I'll
be your baby tonight" - but not like throwaway muffled versions of prior
years - Bob was actually crooning this one like the old days. I won't
play by play every song - but there was not a dull moment in the show.
Bob was in fine voice and the band was kicking behind him. They found a
groove and a riff and played the hell out of everything. Bob started on
guitar and moved around between piano and harp also. I never saw him so
happy and so animated. Things Have Changed benefited from a new fast
arrangement. Tangled Up in Blue was an ecstatic run through. Honest With
Me which I always felt was a throwaway - they found a riff and jammed on
it. Bob played great boogie woogie (or is it woogie boogie?) piano all
evening. I never saw Tony so in sync with him. ony played more rock and
roll bass than he has in years. Many shows in the past they went through
the motions - but they were listening to each other and really playing up
a storm. High Water was another one that brought the house down - nice
vocals, banjo, and great guitar from Charlie. Highway 61 still stunning
after like a thousand versions - guitars really came alive there. Thin
Man was almost heavy metal - lots of dense guitar work that really worked
for the song. Watchtower was the only song that maybe sounded better with
the old carnival organ sound - but this one was well played and sung.
Really stunning to see that after several years of semi lethargy and
almost incomprehension - the Thin Man came alive and showed why he is
still in the game. He is still gonna sing it loud and sing it proud as
long as he can.
Review by Alex Leik
Sunday evening found the first cool air of autumn make its way through
central PA as the Never-Ending Tour completed yet another leg. The
setting was perfect, the backdrop of Hersheypark Stadium, known as the
Star Pavillion, was not sold out, but was pleasantly saturated with
Bobcats and Deadheads alike. Oh yes...the Deadheads. Bob Weir opened the
show, and a fine opening act he proved to be, taking us back through some
gems such as Jack Straw, Throwing Stones, and Not Fade Awy, just to name a
few. His voice is still very strong, and while the hands may have been a
bit shaky on the 12-string frets, it was great to see him in overall good
form. My last (and only) experience with Bobby was June 1995, a month shy
of Jerry's death. Not so odd that on that night too, Dylan was in the
house. But Sunday was all about our hero, Jack Frost as he prefers to do
business these past few years. Weir even ended his set by saying "Now the
real show begins!" But the Fanfare (Copeland's fantastic composition
which has served as the bard's intro for so many years now) was nowhere to
be heard. Bob and the boys simply strolled on stage, led by Stu's easy
strumming on the acoustic, and even Al Santos sat this one out as they
launched into a raucus "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight". Bob was gruff, he was
mean, and he had an energy that set the tone for an very inspired "Man in
the Long Black Coat". I remember seeing an interview with Lanois recently
where he talks about the African Trees/Hurricane Breeze line and imagery,
and how that really hit home with him, and I wait for that line now, and
its right there in your face, those treese are bending, about to break,
and it carries the song for me now, just that one line. That's what he can
do. A great performance. Things took a nosedive for the next few
numbers. I can't get into the current "Things Have Changed" arrangement.
There's toomuch of the "current" Bob in it, I guess it mas maybe like
hearing arrangements of older gems during the '78 tour (which is now one
of my fav tours to listen to). So maybe another 5-10 years and this
arrangements will settle in with me. Tangled got the crowd back into
it, and the Real Live lyrics area nice treat, but it still sputtered. And
Tweedle Dee/Dum, while taking on a new appreciation for me since I watched
the movie W, staring Josh Brolin (watch it and have the lyric to this song
handy), just didn't have any umph. I felt Charlie was really held back
(this was a problem all night). 'This Dream of You' was a pleasant
surprise, a first for me and a Together Through Life rarity. It held up
very nicely against the rest of the set, and rescued the evening from the
current tailspin. Things continued in the upward direction from this
point, save a tired 'Honest w/ Me' and a near train wreck in Highway 61
(which recovered gloriously into a fine 30-45 second finale). But
HighWater was a show-stopper for me on this night. Far and away the best
version of this song I have heard since it's debut in 2001. Bob really
seemed to enjoy himself on this one, growling out the lyric with
enthusiasm. 'Visions of Johanna' was about the most abbreviated version of
this song I have ever heard, minimal verses, and very rushed through. But
it's hard to knock a performance of this song as long at it includes the
"ghost of 'lectricity" line, and it did. The past few times I have seen
Bob, he has ended his main set with Ballad of a Thin Man. Tonight was no
different (except that it was not technically the end of the main set
since he only really does one encore now). But it served the same purpose,
and has been a highlight each of the times I have seen it. Tony has this
great riff that drives the whole thing, and the gut wrenching crunch of
the guitars puts this ahead of LARS for me as the 'must hear classic' at a
Dylan show these days. There was certainly an anticipation in the air of
"let's get this overwith, and on to the Tempest that awaits us all in
merely 2 days". It was not a standout performance, but it was the end of a
long summer for our hero, and to see him walk off into the night, we as
fans knowing what lies ahead...well, that's always worth the price of
Review by Bill Royaloak
We pulled into Hershey about noon to just see what it was all about before
the show. This is a beautiful place and loved the parks.
An impromptu trip for fun and games and great music. Surprised to find Bob
Weir jamming up there this time...very awesome and just right for this
setting. Outdoor shows work well for us and the weather was sublime.
Noticed security kind of tight compared to the two previous Ohio shows.
Hope all's well, or is it just this way out east? Kind of freaky.
Bob just seems to be better and better ( the band too) every time we see
them. The tightness, the singing, even the special effects its just a
great entertaining time! Was such a treat to hear "IBYBT", "TTGTH" and my
all time favorite song "Visions of Johanna". If he could only write one
song...Johanna would be enough. What words! Of course the others were done
as well and sufficiently reviewed by the other guys, we just got lost in a
great ride by a great artist with a fantastic band and came out the other
side grinning and awestruck. There he is...that guy...still out
there...still interesting...still just jamming and the baby grand just
Hoping to catch at least one Fall show. Tempest sounds really good, still
hearing it all in, takes a while to catch it all. But hopefully some of
these make it to live shows. The intro to Duquesne Whistle is right
on...just drew me right in. Very cool!
Review by Joshua Seese
I will review Bob Dylan’s set list for this show with
rants and raves :)
1. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight- Best witnessed live version,
can’t go wrong with Bob tearing it up on guitar while
being everybody’s baby for the evening, fabulous intensity
and movement, upbeat, really puts on the relish to bring
it home, an unexpected opener that worked well to close
2. Man in the Long Black Coat- another harrowing/ominous
version of this song, possesses a particular “je ne sais
quoi” kind of feeling that grabs interest in the motive
seeking/curious listener, note the rhyming and phrasing.
3. Things Have Changed- memorable, a study on Dylan’s
current attitude, and a highlight of trademark road band.
4. Tangled up in Blue- Remarkable clarity, electrifying
presence, most pronounced version heard this tour,
unparalleled bliss, trials and tribulations of settling,
getting from one joint to the next.
5. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum- Zany, quirky, prophetic,
comedic, crushing subtleties that hit listener at level of
6. This Dream of You- Felt like I was in that “nowhere
café,” stripped down, hanging on to every word, beauty in
the arrangement, instant classic.
7. Honest With Me-Quick tempered song, squeezed like a
sponge for all it was worth, favorable arrangement,
another song to feed upon in guitar riff and delivery
bound up hook-line-sinker.
8. Tryin’ To Get To Heaven-One of my favorite songs which
I yearned to hear live, true to form in lieu of
miscellaneous bootlegs, gorgeous song, fully
encompassed/fleshed out, passionate and reverent truth
9. High Water (For Charley Patton)-Haunting banjo on
repeater, apocalyptic, I think I danced the heels off my
cowboy boots on this one.
10. Visions of Johanna- Groovy vibes, delivery was full of
animated prowess and Bob's typical declaration of genius,
played well to audience.
11. Highway 61 Revisited- Robust, stark raving mad,
provocatively loud, Dylan taking the listener on a
narration ride as the most wild and daring travel agent of
12. Simple Twist of Fate-Soft, affectionate, hopeful, a
conjurer, Bob giving a necessary beat down on guitar.
13. Thunder on the Mountain- Crowd pleaser, full of
wisdom, commentary on state of affairs, condemning,
rap-like, beautiful in playfulness and audacity through
stacked verse, another favorite.
14. Ballad of a Thin Man- Perfect, lights turned down low,
Bob center stage, outdoor mayhem, ghosts of the past
meddling with Bob's forceful delivery, guts and fury for
the eloquently spoken word.
15. Like A Rolling Stone- Momentous, nice to get lost in
the second and third verses, beautifully crafted
16. All Along the Watchtower- Great as always, short,
sweet, plays to the point and climactically leaves the
listener suspended by its end wanting for more.
17. Blowin’ in the Wind-Best version heard live so far,
walked on its own two feet, beautiful violin.
**Bob Dylan once again was in perfect form! Sound was
crystal clear, beautiful evening. The last night on
summer tour made it a monumental event with his new record
release looming two days away.
Top favorites included: High Water (For Charley
Patton)-I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight-This Dream of You.
Review by Don Ely
'Twas another travel day for the Hyundai and me, but what's another 300
miles when you're on the road and havin' fun? When you've got the likes of
Midlake, King Crimson, Cocteau Twins, The Damned, Hawkwind, Howlin' Wolf,
Aimee Mann, and Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band on the CD player to
keep you company, a five-day, 1900-mile round trip goes by with the snap
of a finger and thumb. And that's without mentioning the often
breathtaking scenery of the Eastern states. A great road trip is akin to
being in a movie, not pausing in one place too long, changing scenes
frequently, almost constantly in motion, except when breaking for rest.
Even actors need their sleep.
After attending Bobshows in Lewiston and Holyoke I decided to take a night
off and skip Uncasville. That show was indoors, there was dodgy weather
forecast for the region, and I knew lodging would be expensive on a
saturday night near the casino. While at home I had looked into the
possibility of a reservation at Mohegan Sun, but no way I'm payin' 300
bucks for a bed for one night. Instead, Brattleboro, Vermont laid but
forty miles north of my present location in West Springfield,
Massachusetts and was a favorite hideaway discovered while on a previous
Bobtrip, so the decision was easy. I would spend the afternoon in town,
get dinner at Village Pizza, and enjoy a rainy evening in one of the
spacious, well-furnished, and fairly-priced rooms at the Colonial Motel.
Open a window and that fresh Vermont air will lull you to sleep like a
It was a good call on my part. My cash reserves were running low, and I
really wanted to go to the show in Hershey. In fact my moneys were so
depleted I was prepared to come home from Brattleboro, but I called my
credit card company one final time and bingo! they had received my
payment. I was going to Hershey! There were several reasons for wanting to
do this show: it was last of the summer tour; Bob Weir was the one-off
opener; and that meant the Dead crowd would be there, which usually
guarantees a good time. Plus, I knew there'd be a 0.00001% chance Dylan
would debut something from Tempest! There is precedent for this crazy
notion, when he unveiled " If You Ever Go To Houston " in Dublin the
spring before Together Through Life's release. After a long drive through
four states I arrived at the hotel and left for Hersheypark about 7:15,
fifteen minutes before Bobby Weir was set to go on. Once parked I followed
the notes of his guitar and his singing and hustled toward the stadium.
Hershey, Pennsylvania is of course the home of Hershey chocolate, and
Hersheypark means many things to many people. It was almost surreal
watching families and tourists ride in little trains as their guide
cracked corny jokes over a loudspeaker, while on the other side Deadheads
tailgated to their own rhythms. As I queued for my ticket the attractive
gal ahead of me looked behind and asked somewhat anxiously, " Where's my
boyfriend?! " I stepped two paces to my left and there he was! Maybe I
shouldn't have had that pizza after all!
Through the looking glass I walked onto the field where life was in full
swing. The Star Pavilion is really just a stage erected at the open end of
Hersheypark Stadium. There was no tent or other cover over the pricier
seats, and beyond these was the lawn, not too large nor too small to
accommodate all the movers and groovers. Paved walkways take you to the
back of the gently-sloping hill, and at lawn's end is a chest-high wooden
fence to lean on while watching the show. Behind the walkway is the fence
that encloses the park. I'm more of a recent Grateful Dead convert; for
whatever reason I never really got into them while growing up, maybe
because I never heard too many of their albums and even fewer of their
shows. It wasn't until Phil Lesh and Friends ( with Warren Haynes at the
time ) opened tours for Bob Dylan in 1999 and 2000 that I finally " got it
". Sadly Weir's acoustic set lasted only a half hour; his final number was
the " ashes, ashes, all fall down " song ( apologies for not capturing the
title ) coupled with Buddy Holly's " Not Fade Away ", perpetuated by
everyone from the Dead to Dylan to the Rolling Stones. Later in the week
Bob Weir would headline the Tower in Upper Darby, PA before resuming the
Furthur tour at Red Rocks later in the month. We saw the most recent
Furthur date on July 18 three miles from where I live outside Detroit, and
it was the highlight of my summer.
Surely, " I'll Be Your Baby Tonight ". Bobby Dylan didn't tease and make
us wait too long before launching into that one. Everybody says that when
he digresses from his common opening numbers it's going to be a special
night. Right again. " Man In The Long Black Coat " rode in at no. 2.
Haven't seen this one in awhile, and never in this sprightly arrangement;
while I prefer it be played dark and foreboding as nature intended, I
quite enjoyed this rendition. " Tangled Up In Blue " has become Time To
Get A Beer so I addressed my yearning for one last Yuengling. I was
impressed to notice that tonight's poster included Bob Weir in it's
design; I didn't think they would make that distinction just for one show.
Suddenly, in a flash of lemon haze with the Dead Head Kids all was
clarity. A dangerously cute vixen sidled up to me and while I don't
remember what she started saying, I do remember mention of the word "
fiance " within her first three sentences. She was too damn cute to be a
minute over nineteen ( " She's nineteen years old! ", cried Muddy ), but
we connected on some intuitive level and were groovin' the night away. She
cracked me up when she effortlessly removed a slat from the fence just to
get on the other side! I'm not condoning vandalism, mind you, but in the
moment this was quite funny, especially when all she had to do was walk a
few yards and go through the opening. " This Dream Of You " had me in
Heaven, so of course by " Tryin' To Get To Heaven " I was already there.
You knew that one was coming, didn't you? " Honest With Me " has been so
seriously reworked it fooled me into thinking it was a Tempest track.
Imagine this veteran of 79 Bob Dylan concerts telling everyone around him
we were getting a brand new song! " Ain't it just like the night to play
tricks on you... "
The mighty " Visions Of Johanna " was bestowed upon us. " Voices echo this
is what salvation must be like after awhile ". I was minutely distressed
when a couple weeks ago Bob was playing this every night; " Johanna's "
potent imagery is diminished if the song is performed too frequently when
it tends to be rushed. Tonight's was as divine as any I've ever heard.
This was one of those shows I didn't want to end. The band was on fire,
relaxed and stretching out on this last night of the tour. Tony Garnier's
bass playing was particularly hot to my ears. " Highway 61 Revisited " and
" Ballad Of A Thin Man " were end-of-the-road showstoppers. But, like all
things good, we've gotta pack up the bus and all head down that road that
takes us home until the sun rises once again. We will rejuvenate ourselves
with the autumn winds.
Don Ely Rochester, MI
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