October 8, 2009
Review by Cam
Perfect weather in Eugene for standing in line,and then..we got
upgraded(thanks bobdylan.com)for early entry.In the bleachers for the
oldsters in the crew,and some in our group said the best seats in the
house.I like the floor in front of the soundboard,but hey,I'm forever
-Watching the river flow is a natural start to a show in Eugene.And The
thrill of seeing Bob and Charlie on guitar together again.Nice.
-A surprise to me "The Man in Me" can't hear Donny on trumpet;a trend for
the night.Fun to hear the song.
-Beyond here lies Nothin...New.I'm still digesting the new record.At this
point it's clear Charlie is going to ramp things up.In fact I left the show
praising Sexton more than Dylan,although Bob was mighty.It's like Charlie gets
Bob to rise to the challenge engaging him a lot more ,as stated in other reviews
here.Sexton's energy and presence,combined with the excitement of the new
stagecraft=Bob is fired up. -lovely "Don't think 2wice" -"Till i Fell in Love
whit You"...nobody can strangle a fancy Gibson held in the early Wyman/Richards
upright position like our Ghostly Host. -And I'll Go mine..full tilt
boogie...another trend,long arpeggio lines of the theme,and also at some point
in the night Bob sang some verses in a "scary Nursery Rhyme"descending scale
thing that sometimes worked.And sometimes did not. -My Wife's Hometown-Howlin
Wolf from Minnasota.Fun Stuff. -Desolation Row.I notice Stu for the first
time...stock still on stage right,strumming the basic chord shapes.Nice reading
of the strange epic. -A new 'Cold Irons Bound" with the spooky shadow
uplighting.Love the song,Gimme more. -I Feel a Change Comin on...another
newbie.Brisk. -Highway 61 somehow ALWAYS rocks!Even more so when there is a Rock
and Roll guitar to push Bob. -Po Boy.new arraignment.Maybe not as snappy as the
record.You decide. -Thunder on the Mountain...a lesser copy of Summer Days in my
opinion,but enough for everyone to rave-up. -Ballad of a Thin Man.Menacing as
The traditional encore and band intros are in there(Charlie gets BIG
applause).And the Lineup.
Rolling Stone..rockin.still the best song ever.
Joline-not the best song ever,but fun.
Watchtower....and the best way to end a show is to melt their faces.
Final thoughts:Charlie Sexton is kicking Bob and Band up several
points.Can't hear Donnie well,though his steel is great.Great to see Bob on
Guitar and sometimes center stage harp only.Stu might be superfluous and Tony
and George are Rocking.This Band is Rocking again!! Go see em if you can.
Review by Jeff Harrison
Ten years ago I saw the best Dylan show I'd seen since Gainesville '76,
right here in Eugene in the small UO ballroom (a show which fortunately
circulates as an excellent soundboard, so I can re-listen whenever I want.
Since then, though, a couple of shows were not so good--and I swore I'd
never again pay to see Dylan. As the Eugene show approached, I was torn:
stick to my oath or succumb to my students' and friends' basic advice, "Of
course you have to go." (I teach a Dylan course at the college where I
work, and those students were especially convincing.) As it happened, I
got a free ticket, so "it was all good." Having read reviews of the first
three shows, I knew Charlie was back, and folks said the energy was up.
Still, though, my expectations were low. But it didn't take long for me to
realize I was way off. Within a couple of songs ("Watching the River Flow"
has never been a favorite of mine) I was on the edge of my seat and
frequently laughing with joy. I've often remarked about Dylan, "What a
weirdo!" (as Ronee Blakely called him back in '75)--but this night I just
kept saying, "What a guy!" How does one get so much better so fast--at age
68?! Sure, Charlie might be the major catalyst; but something else is
going on here, and I can't figure out what it is. But it's really good!
For one thing, Dylan played more than two notes on the guitar. You know
that strange explanation he offers in Chronicles of how he discovered an
easier ("better," he says, too) method of playing back in the late '80s--to
me it sounded like making every set of licks out of just two notes, and it
was lame. But now he stood pretty much alone, not letting anyone take over
when he faltered (and yes, he did miss many of the notes, but hey--) and
exuded pleasure (not exactly "smiled") as his fingers ran up and down the
"The Man in Me" was a huge and pleasant surprise. Who woulda thought?!
The other song-selection surprise treat for me was "Desolation Row."
Students sometimes complain that it's "too long" (short attention spans in
this generation?). Well, he left out the "Captain's tower" verse, and the
arrangement was intriguing, so I thought it was too short. And after the
show I saw some of the complainers, and they weren't complaining any more!
And even though I knew what the last three songs would be, they were not
disappointing. Sure, they didn't rock out with extended guitar work, as
some of these songs have done in the past (I did miss that on "Cold Irons
Bound," actually), but the passion and energy were palpable, and that means
a lot. So out in the lobby afterward, everyone was buzzing and asking. My
answer was, "Man, I would've PAID to see that!" So I've discarded my silly
oath, and look forward to the next time, even imagining he could get even
By the way, I'm not sure I ever heard a note from Stu or Donnie, so I was
loving this band as a power quartet. Maybe that's what it oughta be.
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