October 9, 2008
Review by Garry Pappin
The Gordon Fieldhouse at the Rochester Institute of Technology provided a
smaller, yet somehow less intimate setting for the concert - possibly the
lack of above floor seating until somewhere beyond the 10th row of floor
seats - i.e., no bowl effect around the stage and fewer people in close
proximity to the band. Amos Lee seemed to suffer from this remoteness,
and near the end of his set, he commented on the lack of crowd response.
Maybe he was spoiled playing in a licensed venue the night before in
Syracuse. The RIT crowd was definitely sober!
Elvis Costello performed another blistering set, demonstrated his
tremendous rock and roll voice and charming storytelling. He explained
how he is a third (or was it fourth) generation performer, and shared some
of his father's cryptic advice with us. Alison was a bittersweet standout
and the "my aim is true" lyric was infused with a range of emotions and
meanings. Elvis also commented that he liked the way his guitar sounded
in the fieldhouse, and added tongue-in-cheek that it had the best
acoustics of any gymnasium he had ever played in - he was right, the sound
Bob Dylan and band started off with a rousing Rainy Day Women #12 and 35
providing his show with an energetic start that even the quiet RIT crowd
could appreciate. Bob was in good voice all night (typically getting
stronger as the night went on), and perhaps due in part to the excellent
acoustics, the lyrics to all songs were exceptionally clear as were the
nuances of his phrasing. Highway 61 especially benefitted from this
clarity and stood out as the rock and roll classic that it is. Similarly,
Things Have Changed, Desolation Row, Ain't Talkin', and Masters of War
have never sounded better and provided many special moments within each
song - formed either by powerful words, vocal delivery, or the interplay
and synergy of the band (who Bob apparently forgot to introduce). Thunder
on the Mountain, and as mentioned in other reviews, a sweetly understated
version of Blowin' In The Wind, completed a great night of music from what
has to be the best bar band ever. So good in fact, that on this night,
they needed no introduction.
Review by Wilson Fisk
"So let me start this by saying that I can't imagine Bob ever putting on a
show that was much better than this at his current age or the current
status of his voice... I saw Bob in Albany on the 6th as my first Bob
Dylan concert ever, after having read numerous descriptions on this site
of his performances and seeing youtube videos and knowing what to
expect... Needless to say I wasn't expecting Dylan 65-66 touring through
England... Well I must say I was slightly dissapointed after the Albany
show. And there are many factors for that. One was the heat in that venue,
which was ridiculous... Second was the setlist, which was ok, but not what
I was hoping for after seeing the setlists so far on this leg of the
tour... All in all there were some very good performances at the Albany
show that I was very happy I was there to see(When the Deal Goes down,
Don't Think Twice, Simple Twist of Fate, All Along thr Watchtower, Hattie
Carrol), but it was just a bit "underwhelming"... Also the crowd for the
most part was stale, and you could tell they were expecting a "Greatest
Hits" show... And basically, I didn't feel Bob's energy was very high nor
was he into performing that night(which I expected to be a reality based
on what I have read on this site)... . . . . . Well, Tuesday night in
Rochester was a completely different story. I don't know if it was because
I had Front Row Center seats and was right infront of a speaker and didn't
see the crowd but rather just Bob freakin Dylan in all his glory, but the
energy was KICKIN!!! I can honestly say performance wise by Bob and his
Band, there wasn't one dud in the set... There was actually moments when I
was having visions of Bob and The Band(The Hawks). Bob the entire night
was playful and kid like, with his leg movements, wiggles, gyrations,
devilish smiles, complete bend downs onto his knees to the keybord and
finger points into the crowd(I'll get to that later)... The night started
with Bob on Guitar with "Rainy Day Women" and his words were clear and
crisp as could be with his current voice. His pronunciaton of "Stoned" was
hilarious, and after every one the crowd went wild. The band and Bob were
high energy right from the first second... Then came "It ain't me Babe"
which I somehow recognized from the first note, and the
re-imaging/updating of this song was really great. Again, crisp and clear
lyrics with, with a real sense of convition in the delivery. I thoroly
enjoyed this performance... Next came "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues", and
Bobs' guitar playing on this was the real treat. Through this performance
I cought myself looking down several times just to see him playing the
guitar and hitting the strings. Another great energy, clear performance...
Then they played "Positively 4th Street" and I was like "Can this even get
any better? 4 classics right in a row to start off? Come on, whats going
on here?"... lol... Another very good performance. Not so high on the
update of this song musically, but it was a very good perfomance of it
none the less.... And what would come inevitably was the new songs, so
would there be a let down as with the Albany show?... NO SIR!!! A truly
excellent version of "Rollin and Tumblin", with extra emphasized
pronounciation of "SLUT" that made me laugh... Again, I keep repeating
myself, but the band and Bob were so high energy and concise... Next was
"Workingman Blues" which was a really great performance, just based on how
clearly Bob sang it. And ofcourse the way Bob sings
"Workingmaaaaaaaaaaaaan Blues" is a delight to hear every single time.
Really showed the power he still had in his voice... "Things Have Changed"
came on, and I could tell it was going to be better than the Albany
version. Better instrumentation, less cluttered, yet still loud and
rousing. And again, Bob's Lyrics were very clear, and I understood every
single line... Now came a Major downer in the night, as right at the end
of this performance a middle aged guy sitting behind me tapped me on the
shoulder and asked me if I had "Any idea how hard it is to watch the show
with you standing up while I'm sitting here" with his freind and their
wives sitting there looking all put off... At which point I looked at the
entire front row on each side of me and every single person was standing,
and I thought to myself "DOOOO YOU SEEEE WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? HOW IN THE
HELL COULD YOU BE SITTING DURING THESE PERFORMANCES? THEY ARE KICKING ASS
AND TAKING NAMES, AND YOU WANT ME TO SIT DOWN IN MY FRONT ROW SEATS AND
ONLY SEE THE PERFORMERS HEADS"... Instead I simply informed the man that I
had payed alot of money for my seats, driven 4 hours, and I was going to
stand if I wanted too... And I suggested him and his freinds do the same.
As this was wrapping up "Desolation Row" began to play and as great as it
was, I found myself being self concious and feeling bad for the stale
sitting lady's behind me, and I ended up not really being able to enjoy
the performance of one of my very favorite songs... Which from all I could
tell was performed excellently... After "Desolation" I decided to go
against all my instincts and inner feelings and sit down to be polite to
the people behind me... As "High Water" played, and all I could see was
the performers heads bouncing up and down, I looked at my fellow Front row
sitters, including the person that was with me, all standing and enjoying
the performance and I began to really get pissed... The sound of it was
great and Bob's facial expressions were priceless, unforunately I couldn't
see anything more than that... "Spirit on the Water" comes on, same story,
people behind me still sitting, I'm still sitting, Bob is at his charming
best, the crowd explodes when he proclaims "You think I'm over the Hill?,
You think I'm Past my Prime?"... The sound was excellent. Words clear as
can be... That song ends... AND WHAT HAPPENS? "Highway 61 Revisited" comes
on and the noice from the stage was "Goliath" like, and I look back at the
people behind me, and they just sit there pretending they can't see me
looking at them, and I stare them down as if to say "Aren't you going to
get up", which they didn't, so neither did I... And Bob goes onto to give
maybe the best performance I had seen from him upto that point, completely
immersed in the song and the energy he was trying to convey... I was
sitting and could only see his head and shoulders mostly, but I could tell
something amazing was happening, he was bobbing and weaving, dancing and
smiling at the band as they looked at each other in a sort of amazement...
And he brought it home like he had never sung the song before, with a
crazy instrumental finish to the song, at which point BOB LOOKED OUT AT
THE CROW AND WITH HIS LEFT INDEX FINGER POINTED OUT AT THE CROWD as if to
say "Yeah, I just nailed that one and you know it"... Which was unlike
anything I had seen from him up to that point... I mean basically 99% of
the time he ingores the crowd or acts like they aren't even there, but
after this song, he couldn't control himself. He wanted to acknowledge the
crowd and let them know, "You people better be appreciating what I'm doing
out here tonight, Because I'm giving you all I got"... And which point I
said screw this and stood up and would not sit down another second of the
show. How could I be so disrespectful to a Legend like Bob Dylan during
such earth a shattering performance and not be ashamed of myself and the
thought that during that performance he had to look out and see that
someone in the front row was sitting? I felt like such a idiot... Well, NO
MORE!!!, screw the boring middle aged housewifes who came to see a horse
and pony show... "Ain't Talkin" was haunting and disturbing, as well as
being beautiful and concious. Extremely concise and on point, Bob's
keyboard play all night was dead on inspired... "Summer Days" blares, and
suddenly tons of people get up, and what can I say, Bob and the guys
raised the bar yet again, as unbelievable as that may seem... The real
treat of this song was the end though, and they seemed to play forever
with Bob dancing, Smiling, Looking at Donnie and Donnie smiling back at
Bob in amazement again, looking at the other guys as to say "Do you guys
see Bobby right now? Holy Crap" and they just kept following his every
move, and he just kept going... Smiles on his face, they finally finished
the song, and again, Bob pointed that left index Finger out to the
audience, letting them know, you better get word around about Bob Dylan...
lolAt some point during one of these songs, the mic above Tony's drums
fell down and a guy came up to fix the adjustment while Bob was singing
and he kept singing, but he just had this look of digust and anger on his
face like he wanted to choke the guy... It was pretty funny yet scarry at
the same time because I kept waiting for Bob to stop the song and yell at
this guy... But that right there should tell you how hard they were
rockin. The Mics were even falling down... lol As the last song of the
set, Bob did "Masters of War", and it was definitively better than the one
in Albany, which says a bit because the one in Albany was pretty darn
good... But at this point in the Rochester show, you could tell things
were just rolling and nothing could go wrong. They were in a groove and
there was no getting out of it. When he sang the verses, it was as if he
was yet again, singing them for the first time. Snarling and condeming,
making his statement clear... And they closed out that song and left the
stage.......... At which point I turned around and said I was sorry for
enjoying myself and I tryed to logically explained to the people behind me
I was not trying to be rude or or ruin anyone's fun, but it just made no
sense to he sitting during this truly great performance by a Legend... To
which only the 1 man in the group replied "Well you are being very
Rude"... To which I just turned around and gave up and cheered for Bob to
come back out for the Encore... "Thunder on a Mountian" was, well,
Thunderous. Words clear(unlike Albany), performers concise, Bob gleeful
and having a ball. As a matter of fact, I think he was having so much fun
that he forgot to say his "Thank you" and introduce the Band, which he
didn't do at all at this show but did do at Albany. This one was all about
the music, and in that spirit, they played a truly inspired and beautiful
"Blowin in the Wind", a song and a performance that I will remember seeing
my whole life. Bob sang the words, and made you feel them. Made you
question them. "How many ears can one man have, before he can hear people
cry?". Closing out the song and a wonderful night, Bob began to play his
Harp as if it was attached to his soul, and it was so powerful and moving
that it was like a entirely new verse that had never been written, and
never had to be. It said everything it needed to say... so tragic, so
beautiful, so iconic, so epic... And on this night, it was the only way to
end the show. A TRULY GREAT BOB DYLAN CONCERT!!!... I have now only been
to 2 Bob Dylan shows, both within a few days, late in his career... So I
admit that I may not have the perspective nor the expereince to make such
a claim... But I really can't imagine at this point in Bob's life and
career, him ever sounding more clear and concise... Him ever seeming more
playful or joyed to be on the stage, while still being the defiant Dylan
he is... Him ever having more energy... Him ever giving a more inspiried
performance of his songs than he did on October the 9th the year 2007 in
Rochester New York."
Comments by Victoria L.
it was all about the white hat.
the great white hat.
the hat was so perfect, so exquisitely positioned.
so well defined, so crisp.
i could not ignore it, i couldn't look away from it.
it was traditional, elegant,
unexpected, in the wrong place.
it came from some other time.
it somehow pleased me as soon as i saw it.
i recognized it immediately.
it spoke volumes.
it was deliberate. it couldn't hide.
it didn't match. it wasn't subtle. it almost didn't make sense.
it was wonderful. what did it mean?
it took me around the world and back.
it brought me to all kinds of places in my mind.
it had all kinds of history i knew i didn't understand.
how far back does he go?
it had this beautiful well on the top. someone somewhere placed it there.
it had some kind of delicate confidence to it. it never moved. it really
belonged there somehow. it was some kind of symbol of something. i had to
keep watching it.
i hope i can see it again soon.
Review by Jason Jarvis
Having seen Bob maybe 3 dozen times since 1995 or so, and even 3 times
before with this particular band, I gotta say tuesdays performance was the
weakest I have seen. Maybe it was the fact that RIT Gordon Field House is
a dry venue (no beer or alcohol of any kind) but the crowd just didn't get
into it at all, it took Thunder on the Mountain in the encore slot to get
people off their feet. Summer Days didn't even get many people up and
dancing (a few).
Maybe because Bob didn't really deliver with his "A" game. There has
always been at least a spark of greatness, sometimes MUCH more than a
spark, at every single Dylan event I have ever been to. I hate to say it,
but Tuesday nights show just didn't do it for me, and you are reading the
words of one of Bob's most enthusiastic supporters.
Maybe next time I guess. Doesn't mean I didn't have fun, just didn't get
the hair on the back of my neck to stand up at all. Not even once.
Review by Wilson
Having last seen him at Rama in July, I looked forward to another Dylan
concert, especially since he was now touring with Elvis Costello. 30
years later and Elvis looks the same and sure knows how to work a crowd.
Perhaps Bob can learn a little from him on this tour.
University crowds are different and this was a crowd hungry for a good
time. From the accordian player at the entrance to the auditorium playing
the same line from Blowing in the Wind over and over again to the row of
security guards ensuring no one carried in even a book to the kids being
brought to their first Dylan show by their parents or even grand parents
you just knew it was going to be another great night. The weather
cooperated perfectly as storms brewed all around the Rochester area, but
Even though the playlists have become somewhat routine there is always a
nice surprise or two or three. Rochester was no different. He always
manages to throw a treat in the mix and the venue was wonderful. The
sound system in the Gordon Fieldhouse was great and the crowd was as
enthusiastic as ever.
It's been great to see Bob play guitar again, even if he's gone from
playing 4 or 5 songs to only 3 now. He also manages to still change the
songs just enough to tell you it's not the same concert yet again. His
slowed down, altered cadence of Positively 4th Street was inspiring. He
has also taken to treating the crowds to more harmonica work of late. The
band is tight and they know the songs and each other so well.
It was the same Rollin and tumblin but was followed by an amazing Working
Man's Blues #2. Things Have Changed and Desolation Row were exceptional
highlights and of course his new signature Thunder On the Mountain was
better than ever.
As the show progressed the crowd grew more enthusiastic as if they knew it
could only go on for a little longer, but the master kept going ending the
main set with a masterful Masters of War.
The standard finale of Thunder on the Mountain and Blowing in the Wind
were both exceptionally presented. The never ending tour looks never
ending and Dylan's playing and singing are better than they've been for a
The only real surprise of the night was instead of the now standard "thank
you friends, I'd like to introduce my band..." there was nothing. No
thank yous, no introductions, no goodbyes. Just a good time had by all.
Review by Joe Gioia
Maybe because it was John Lennon's birthday, maybe because the hall
had the sort of clear but huge acoustics of an ideal Iron Range
roller rink, or maybe it was watching the beautiful woman in the
spotlight next to the stage signing the words for the school's deaf
students in attendance, but Bob Dylan put on a rousing fine show at
the Rochester Institute of Technology fieldhouse on Tuesday night,
energized and, in his inimitable way, moving.
Taking the stage after an impeccable set from a solo Elvis Costello, who
is a far better guitarist and singer than he is generally given credit
for, Bob and his band popped a rollicking Rainy Day Women under our noses
(the American Sign Language translation of "Everyone must get stoned" was
a priceless sequence beginning with both hands in a sweeping circular
motion, palms down, and ended with two fingers at the lips and the right
hand apparently tossing off an invisible hat.)
In his own white hat and polka dot tie Bob led the band in black with a
deft if measured lead guitar for the opener and next two, It Ain't Me,
Babe and Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues.
No slowing down as he switched to organ for the balance of the show, and
he was sweating under that hat by the time the set was rolling to a finish
about an hour later.
Standouts? For my money a sharp Rolling and Tumbling, a surprising
Things Have Changed, and his cranked-up organ, with church chorus
intros and howling at the crossroad fills on Desolation Row, High
Water (for Charlie Patton), and Highway 61, all put the evening's
revival on another level for this writer.
The band was alive, and the last four numbers were done like encores,
ending with a Masters of War (dare I say his greatest gift to the world?)
made out of steel and some Thunder on the Mountain Blowing in the Wind in
the real encore to send everyone home.
I was fortunate to see the great Johnny Cash perform before he got
sick eleven years ago, in an audience of all ages and from all walks of
life. Bob's in that space now, and while his gifts given are sharper and
more demanding than those felt behind Cash's great reassuring voice, Bob,
like Johnny and Louis Armstrong before him, provides a full measure of
himself and the shape of our strange times, night after night, for all to
witness; the simple efforts of a musician whose life, whether he wanted it
or not, turned into a national vision a long, long time ago.
| Click Here
to return to the
page by Bill Pagel
| Bob Links
| Set Lists
| Set Lists