October 4, 2007
Review by Dave Costa
One of the reasons i especially wanted to see this show was
elvis. I bought "my aim is true back" back in 1977,
and his voice was brilliant.
The set was brilliant, and "what's so funny"
was a gas to hear, as well as his contribution to the "cold mountain"
soundtrack "the scarlet tide" which alison krauss did on the soundtrack so
Zimmy was a bit foggy and tentative at the start
his voice sounded like it had been sitting in dry ice,
and he well represented the "voice like sand and glue"
that bowie described in "song for bob dylan"
on hunky dory in 1971.
that being said-
pill box hat was a gas...i remember meeting two women back in 1995
at an outdoor boston show who had seen him do it a passim
in cambrige back when he toured with baez
the band, and bobby, came to life as the show went along...
they hybernated up until "workingman's"
but from that point they just caught fire
highway 61 was awesome,
summer days was amazing,
and ain't talkin' was delightful
i was overjoyed to hear "masters of war"
i had been watching the set lists here on this site,
and had felt karmic energy that we were due for it tonight
so perfectly true, today as in 1965....
guess what kids?
he smiled repeated big smiles in the encore!
by that time the audience had caught fire,
and i was delighted to see him for about the 12th time
Review by Jeremy Miller
It was a nice night to get out and see Bob perform with his band and catch
Elvis Costello to boot!
I have seen Bob at this venue twice now. He was here back in Nov of 2006
and I was lucky enough to have caught one of the best Bob Dylan shows I
have ever seen!!! Unfortunetly tonight was not the same case.
I think a large part of this was the crowd and the fact that unlike last
year, this time around there was assigned seating on the floor (no General
Admission) which made for a very dull and boring crowd to say the least! I
sat directly acorss from Bob way up high and had a great view of the stage
and crowd below me on the floor....all seated bearly moving.....when
people would try to get up and dance they would hassled by people behind
them and eventually secruity....I mean how can you be expected to sit down
during a live performance of Highway 61 by Bob Dylan, in the flesh!!! Just
Being a performing musician, I always feel the crowd has a large part to
play in the "mood" or overall experience of a concert. Last year the
entire floor section looked like a sea of movement as hundreds danced and
girated to the awesome rock and roll blistering form the stage! Bob was
lovin it, the band was resopnding, Crowd was going crazy after leads by
Denny......this time it was like hearing a jazz band were there is a small
and akward applause after solos and the only cheers came when the "catch"
or name of the song was sung......just weird. Seemed a much more boring
and dull experience compared to last time. However....
Highlights were a great version of Chimes of Freedom! He's only played
this about 4-5 times since April and it was one my buddy was hoping
for....got a huge grin out of him! Master of War is such an incredible
song to hear performed....don't nessicarily like the "version" he is doing
but it could not have mattered less. My 1st time live...I was moved.....
Really liked Ain't Talkin! Was surprised at how much I liked the mood and
tempo of this number! I think Leopard Skin PBH works as a great opener!
Overall the bands performance and Dylan's singing were good and I loved
seeing Bob on guitar again....think the overall sound is better too! Wish
he would stick to guitar for a few more songs than 3-4.....Go out and
catch this tour if at all possible......even though the show did not
"thrill" me like last year.....I couldn't have thought of a better way to
spend a thursday night!!!
Review by Zoo Cain
Amos Lee band, loose tight,lean and rolling. I must confess,I'm here to
see and hear Bob Dylan. The man and his great group trump all others, in
my lexicon of great acts to see. Bob played here in Portland,Maine
November 8, 2006. I've been craving the music,that Bob and his band
manifest ever since. Having to wait eleven months isn't too bad. If my
wife and I didn't have a gallery-gift shop in South Portland,I would
travel further to see this amazing troubadour. For me Bob Dylan and Woody
Guthrie are one and the same. They even look alike.I thank god i get
their amazing planet-altering influence. Angels want to wear my red
shoes. Elvis Costello in great form. Great show by Elvis and his
guitars. He is obviously very invigorated. What's so funny about
Peace,love,and understanding? Great old song by Elvis, during these
Intermission and now the great legendary Bob Dylan and
fabulous band. Leopard-skin-pillbox-hat. The band trying to
read an elusive Dylan tonight. Don't think twice its Alright,
restrained, but right on. Its going to be an interesting night.
Watching the River Flow, letting the music romp a bit. Chimes of
Freedom. Bob has gone from guitar to keyboards. Rollin and Tumblin
can't help but gallop, thank god. Bob still refuses to let it rip. He's
holdin on. This dude's intense tonight. Take no prisoners mood. Tearing
into Working Man's Blues#2, bit by bit. Cry Awhile, once again a trot,
rather than any kind of full gallop. Somehow it works in its intense
fashion. Now for a waltz, When the Deal Goes Down, very pretty poignant
song. Hooray for Tangled Up In Blue. The band ready to roar. Denny
paying great guitar,solid as ever Tony on bass, George on drums,
fantastic, Donny slide, viola, Stu on rhythm guitar,totally into rockin
out. Spirit On the Water a whole new skipping trip. Okay a full out and
out rocker Highway 61 Revisited. Thank you God. Thank you Bob Dylan for
a classic rocker. Wow great roof-raiser. Band un-restrained, cooking.
Summer Days, vocals spot on. Ain't talkin just walkin, smooth and
stirring. This concert, pretty much a mystical walk in the almost
darkened woods. Trancendant rock shuffle to the heavens. Masters Of War.
Whooah baby, the man of the century, sings it he way it is. Massive
encore call. Songs we live for,Thunder on the Mountain has everyone
going mad. Way over the top,thunder. Then into a glorious All Along the
Watchtower. Bob,the band, the audience, all One at this point.
South Portland, Maine
Review by Ernest Gurney
It was a slow, slow train coming for Dylan and crew October 4th at CCCC in
Portland. After excellent opening sets by Amos Lee and Elvis Costello, Bob
strode out during the much-heralded intro blurb, lookin' so durndy and so fine
in his 3:10 to Yuma black shirt, pants and broad grey hat. Boot heel twisting
into the floorboard, he signaled the pace of the evening with "Leopard Skin
Pillbox", leashed tight into a slow-down blues. "Don't Think Twice" in excellent
voice and enunciation, then "Watchin the River Flow", all with Bob doing fine
feathered leads on guitar. A friend of mine long ago complained that Neil
Young was always "hitting the wrong notes". "No", I replied, "just ones you
don't expect". That was Bob on lead last night, skidding to the right or left
of where you thought he'd be. And all in that slow churn of an uphill train.
The surprise of the evening was "Chimes of Freedom", Dylan a little less
articulate than he could have been, but fortunately, we all knew the words
by now. Still, the band played low and slow. Things looked up when "Rollin
and Tumblin" busted the throttle on the band. Up til that point they seemed
subdued, restrained like a heart attack waiting to bust. However, when the
"tumblin'" finally settled, and the heart attack once again avoided, the
concert went back to its laconic reverie. From "Workingman's Blues" to "Spirit
On the Water", Bob kept things in a blues bar at 3 a.m., with some tinkling
keyboard and a soft-shoe shuffle. Once in awhile, the songs were brightened
with some fine harp-work, although he always starts the solos like he just
picked up the harp this morning and is still doodling with it. Then, off he goes
into innovative crisp, broken and blended structures. A joy to hear.
It's song #11 before Bob drops the collar and lets the band go for a run down
Highway 61. The audience has been waiting patiently (as well-heeled patrons
are wont to do). Bob normally has GA seating, which means that some fervent
people can get up front (perhaps kick the band up a bit?). The cost-structured
seating of this concert meant that people seemed to plant their rears in their
assigned seats and act like good little boys and girls. Anyway, that prim
demeanor started to shred a little with Highway 61. The scene looked like it
could possibly break into a rock concert!
Then back into spooky slow blues with "Ain't Talkin'" (except for the jerks
behind me, who decided that if Dylan wasn't gonna talk then THEY would!).
This was the first time I heard this song live and it would have been much more
pleasant if I hadn't needed to filter mindless pap outta my ears. Dylan, pushing a
word here, a phrase there, pushing the song around like bread dough. Too bad
I didn't get to hear all of it.
By the time "Summer Days" arrived, things already felt a little gone. No rock
concert tonight. More like an atmospheric intimate blues band that somehow
found itself outside the lounge and trying to fill an arena. Great music, less than
perfect setting. Having said that, Dylan did a magnificent job on "Masters of War".
His words were definitive, unmistakable, pushed forward and in the masters faces.
He moved shaman-like behind the keyboard, his hands waving and shaking in
eerie reminiscence of Rolling Thunder and songs like "Isis". Then he was gone.
After much applause, the two standard encores descended like the rolled up
curtain that falls behind them. "Thunder" and "Watchtower" cracking and roaring
apocalyptically, letting the audience know exactly how it COULD have gone, if
Bob and crew had let the dogs out.
This Dylan set didn't have any "you shoulda been there" moments. Not like, say,
"Blind Wille McTell" at the Avalon or "Hoochie Coochie Man" at Augusta. Still, it
was a concert I wouldn't have wanted to miss, regardless. He and the band
always blend innovation and musicianship in ways that make you cock your head
like the RCA Victor Dog. It's always a fun ride, just rarely what you expected.
The two opening acts were pretty immaculate. I had not heard Amos Lee much
at all before. He not only got me interested in his music, but I actually kinda
wanted him to play a couple more songs (imagine that in an opening act?) Then
there's Elvis. I've seen him solo (with Nick Lowe at Colby College Waterville) and
with both Imposters and Attractions. I like the solo act the most. He's engaging,
humorous, mixing "Radio Sweetheart" into "Jackie Wilson Said", just as an example.
He's a literary magician and a full-throated, ranged and enraged vocalist. And he
plays a mean guitar! In one of those "you shoulda been there" moments, he
performed two new songs, one of them a premiere live performance (a song he
co-wrote with Loretta Lynn, about "the first wife", Eve.). He closed with an
anti-war song co-written with T-Bone Burnett that SHOULD be played on the
radio (if Radio Radio wasn't so corporate).
What a night!
Review by Seachrist
Bob Dylan and His Band have a secret. When they are in public it is
privately cracking them up. But it's not an inside joke as much as a code
of behavior. TG plays it best. He looks like pure murder. His eyes and
mouth silently say it and he never once wavers from this. Meanwhile, GR
permits himself a greater range, from outward hilarity to keen focus. And
he is one of the most natural musicians ever, completely free with every
deeply swinging note yet 100 percent confident. SK and DH are allowed
exactly zero solos each. They would blow the roof off and that's not what
this is about. DF gets them all instead and he works out some complex
mathematics. The set is very heavy on the 1-4-5 songs - not "crowd
pleasing" (hits) but it pleases them very much. Song and dance.
Commander BD directs: nodding, grimacing, pointing and chopping the air.
His right knee swings west, turning his hip north and dipping his shoulder
to the task. His key patch sounds 8 parts clean Hammond and 1 part each
accordion and smooth synth. The Oscar sits atop his bright red Leslie
cabinet. The mysterious, ever-present leg-steel horizontal guitar in
front of his keyboard serves as a stand for some papers tonight. What
does it do other nights? "Tangled up in Blue" enjoys some updates as he
was employed "3 times on a fishin' boat, 3 times destroyed" and a wholly
different verse, too. Sometimes, as during that song, BD articulates
cleanly and other times entire songs go by without any clear utterance of
English. I walk from my front-row seat all the way to the back of the
arena during "Spirit on the Water" and cannot make out a single word, even
though the PA is crystal clear and the vocal level rides well above the
accompaniment. The message remains. The performance matters as much as a
performance can. The room is carried, the day temporarily saved from
inevitable mediocrity. The earnest, 80s-haired girl dancing in the white,
seven-inch platform shoes and flailing, sweaty Doctor Blow next to me both
understand. They'll be going to Manchester, Albany and on, without me.
As "All Along the Watchtower" breaks down, a sideways off-cue by GR has
the drummer in stitches. One look and BD finally breaks character,
laughing hard for one-and-a-half seconds before erasing all traces,
expertly straight-faced as he saunters center-stage to drink in the warm
wishes. He turns and dismisses GR with an upturned thumb then remains
with the others one more minute. The Nag Champa cloud subsides and we are
tossed out into the too-warm October night. The next morning I am briefly
sad that I can't ride on that big, black bus with the special windows and
California plates just to see what kind of daily routine adds up to this
kind of night.
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