September 29, 2007
Review by Tammy Nates
The venue was at the University of RI, Ryan Center. It was a cool, clear night
and the crowd walked a long way to get to the Center to see Bob Dylan. We
had good seats on the Floor a little left of center. A very good view of the
stage, the performers, and Bob's Grammy.
The show started at 7:00 pm with Amos Lee. They were surprisingly good,
and I'm actually thinking about buying a CD or downloading a few songs to
my IPod. He played for about 30 minutes. After a set change, Elvis Costello
came out and played for almost an hour. I heard several members of the
audience say that they were disappointed that he did not have a band but
played solo. Well, I personally thought that he sounded great. He was
funny, quirky, and sang his most popular songs.
At 8:55, Bob Dylan and his band made their appearance. As usual, the band
looked good, and Bob looked sharp as well. Bob started out singing
"Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat," which was a nice change. His voice was a little
rough at first, but warmed up after a few songs. Though, I think that the
acoustics in the Ryan Center were not that good anyway. Bob's keyboard
was set up on stage right, but he started out front and center on the
guitar. He played the guitar for three songs, and Bob's playing sounded
really good. The Band was hot tonight and their playing was excellent,
especially Donnie Herron and Tony Garnier. Bob and the band were in high
spirits last night and danced around throughout the show. They looked like
they were having a good time.
The first few songs were somewhat lackluster, but Bob really came to life
with "Rollin' and Tumblin'," which is a song that I really love. Last night's
version of "Spirit on The Water" was beautifully sung as well as 'Ain't Talkin."
The audience LOVED when Bob sang the lyrics "You think I'm over the hill,
You think I'm past my prime, Let me see what you got, We can have a
whoppin' good time." He also sang several of my favorites, "Things Have
Changed" and "Masters of War." If you think that Bob doesn't still have a
political voice, look at his selection of songs last night!!! "Highway 61" was a
highlight of the show and so was "Thunder on the Mountain."
As always, the encore was great. The audience was on its feet (finally) and
gave Bob the enthusiasm that this concert deserved!!! Before the last song,
Bob said "thanks friends" and introduced the band. After the last song, Bob
and the band stood up front and took their bows. I always love this part
because Bob is so "sublimely" dramatic. This time he was doing some kind of
hand motion……maybe his hands were tired…. Bob is infinitely interesting.
Overall, I thought that this was a great show!!! Bob was very energetic and
the band did an excellent job of playing tonight. Bob, we love your music,
and I hope that the endless tour keeps on touring endlessly!!!!
Review by Ernie Pancsofar
Below are my 10 highlights and connections to my 9th Dylan show in the past
3 years. This show could be titled: Rhode Island is Famous for You (for at
least one evening).
1) Pre-Concert Listening: Prior to the concert I listened to tunes by artists
who influenced Dylan either as a contemporary or predecessor: Blind Willie
McTell, Eric von Schmidt, Jesse Fuller, Blind Boy Fuller, Warren Zevon, Howin'
Wolf, etc. In a similar vein, while recently reading the Shelton entry in The
Encyclopedia of Bob Dylan, it was 46 years ago on this date when his career
enhancing review appeared in the NY Times.
2) Elvis Costello: I had not heard Elvis Costello on stage before and he was
a commanding presence. He is a SHOWMAN who entertains with humor,
zest and style.
3) Energy Level of the Show: This was a rather low energy show with
several ballad entries. However, this is not to imply that it was not well worth
the price of admission, which, by the way, is set at a very reasonable level
considering the talent of Costello and Dylan on the same ticket.
4) George Recile: Highway 61 really brings out the best in this A-1 drummer.
On other selections he surfaces when necessary and recedes into the
background at just the right times. Recile is a class act!
5) Mariner's Compass: A bright yellow and black (URI school colors ??)
adorned the stage floor. Dylan stood at True North during the first three
numbers while on guitar. Then, he moved to north by northeast for the
remainder of the show on keyboards. Our seats were at south by southwest
and we had a clear view of Dylan's expressions throughout the evening.
6) Red Trunk - Stage Right: Against a backdrop of black and gray (equipment
and attire), this red trunk stood out like the color red in the movie Sixth Sense.
To me, it signified the raw emotion contained in Dylan's lyrics that get to the
heart of current, everyday challenges even though the words were written
scores of years ago.
7) Subtle Changes in Lyrics and Beat: This is one of the essential reasons to
continue to marvel at the mastery of Dylan over the phrasing of his lyrics -
often to a new arrangement or in a different key than I may have heard
before. His spontaneous interpretations are a trademark of his performances
and his band must keep constant alert to when and how he changes his
attention to detail for that specific song. He is like a painter who currently
provides us with a unique opportunity to view his re-creation of a previous
painting but with more blue and yellow and less red than before. The
finished product leaves us with a different impression and image.
8) Donnie Herron: I believe him to be one of the most versatile and
talented of Dylan's band members. However, his is often so far down in
the mix that I seem to miss his contribution. However, upon reflecting on his
work, I wonder if he is a link in the total sound whose absence would be starkly
apparent if not there, but whose work blends in so well that you don't notice
how well he contributes to the whole.
9) In Context: Each time I revisit Dylan's work my life has changed. I am
the sum total of all my previous experiences and the synergy with which they
interact. Thus, I am a different receiver of his ART and he is a different
deliverer of his ART. This combination advances my appreciation and puts his
work in a different context each time I have the privilege of hearing him live.
10) Miscellaneous: As I scan the set and players, one item appears missing.
In most of Dylan's previous appearances someone often comments about the
sparkle that shines from his diamond ring on his left hand. No ring was evident
tonight. Perhaps this is just coincidence.
Review by Patrick McCabe
Trip down from Boston, missed Amos Lee although I
heard he was very good.
Walked in found my seat and the lights went down and
Elvis came on. He did a 45 minute solo set that was
great I have only seen him once before and that was 20
years ago at Harvard University, solo then as well,
both shows were great. The funniest part was when one
section of the audience decided to sing along and
Elvis went along with it to great effect. He also
worked in Van Morrison’s Jackie Wilson.
A short break and Bob came on to new music no longer
Aarron Copeland’s piece, but something new with the
same vocal introduction.
He started with Leopard-Skin, but flubbed the words
after the first verse, but the band sounded great.
Bob was on guitar for the first three songs although
you could seldom pick him out of the mix, and it was
unclear what he was doing compared with Denny Freeman
who did great lead throughout the show.
Leopard-Skin lead right into Don’t Think Twice and the
words were perfectly clear. Next was Watching the
River Flow and then a break while Bob switched to
A new arrangement, for me, of Hattie Carroll which was
pleasant and soothing which contrasted with the words
of the song, an odd but nice arrangement. This was
followed by Rollin’ and Tumbin’ which although
rollicking was difficult to understand probably due to
the acoustics of the hall.
Hollis Brown was up next and again the words were
crystal clear as they were for most of the rest of the
show. Memphis, Spirit followed and again the tunes
were very professional.
Things Have Changed had Donnie on violin which worked
to add a new flavor to the song.
Workingman’s was awesome again the words were crystal
clear. Highway 61 was Highway 61, great song but I
have heard it for several of the last concerts.
It was the first time I heard Ain’t Talkin’ and it was
a treat, the arrangement sounded a lot like Willie
Summer Days and the Masters of War. Masters of War
was great, but I have never heard it close a set and
the effect of closing with this number simply added to
Encores were Thunder on the Mountain and All Along the
Watchtower. The sound was pushed up so high on
Thunder that it was difficult to hear all of the
This is the third show at this arena and the staff has
always been pleasant although no beer was sold.
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