Review by Jay Solomon
Bob and the boys were back in Vancouver and played a great set. The sound
was surprisingly good for an old hockey arena, the Pacific Coliseum. Bob
came out to the usual fanfare and the self-depricating introduction. The
synopsis of his life by that hapless and talentless critic, must be the
most preposterously ridiculous reduction of a brilliant artist's life
Bob gave us a few smiles during the set but it was mostly all business.
The group's sound is now much more dynamic than the shows in Vancouver
last July. They are looser and Bob seems more focused on his own part of
the performance. They are really a tour de force. Bob looked well
rested and performed with energy. No hat until Highway 61. Why his head
got cold just before highway 61 is anyone's guess. Bob had a burning
intensity and determination during the entire set. There were no lulls in
the action. The show was a tribute to the blues in all its forms. It was
thrill to be hearing the first live versions of When the deal goes down
and Workingman Blues #2. Both were delivered with the tenderness afforded
to newborn babies. The versions matched the originals with the exception
of the vocals being rougher around the edges which really suited the
songs. Bob's vocal delivery was powerful all night. Every song was really
a highlight, even tangled, rolling stone, and watchtower, were belted out
like it was the first and last time they were going to be sung. The
audience on the floor stood for the whole show, enthralled by the
performance. Any tickets left for Seattle???
Review by Peter Campbell
To say Bob transcends generations is a wild understatement. Our groups'
ages last night were 52, 50, 17, 16 and 13. The biggest Bob fan was the
youngest. The rest of the 12,000 fans was a similarly eclectic bunch of
grandparents to pre-teens, aging hipsters, goths, rockers, businessmen,
truck drivers and assorted lumberjacks all gathered for the singular
purpose to party with the Legend and despite a shaky start every face I
saw leaving the PNE Colleseum last night was plastered with a massive grin
all talking wildly about the great show they'd just seen.
I don't know much about the Kings of Leon and I doubt that many in the
crowd did either. That, coupled with them cranking the sound way too loud
and a blindingly horrible light show didn't get the crowd going too much,
but who cared. Bob was in the building.
After a quick change up, Bob and his band took the stage to suddenly
awesome lighting and sound quality that just got better as the night
progressed (whew!). Launching off with 'Cats in the Well'; Bob's voice
sounded like a couple of bullfrogs were trying to break through a mouth
full of marbles, struggling to even release a scratchy noise on some
lines. His voice started to settle down a little for You Ain't Goin'
Nowhere. By the 3rd number, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum his vocal chords had
totally warmed up and Bob was in great voice the rest of the night. For me
it was a night and day comparison to last years Vancouver show at the
Orpheum, even though that one was pretty darned good. Last night Bob
killed it and you could see he was having a great time at the keyboards.
On the trip home, the kids who had just seen him for the 1st time were
raving about his sweet footwork and dance moves. The only let down was
that he didn't play guitar at all despite teasing the audience with one
propped right beside him together with a center stage microphone seeming
ready to go. Neither the guitar nor the mic got used.
He only threw in 2 songs from Modern Times. 'When the Deal Goes Down' and
'Workingman's Blues'. For me they were absolute standout's. A sweet mix of
oldies had everyone rocking along once we got our minds around the changed
arrangements. Some of the rearrangements worked outstandingly well, some
could use a little tweaking, but the constant was the amazing musicianship
and tightness of the band, whatever genre of roots music Bob chose to
delve into, they were totally at ease with and right on the money.
The predictability of the encore didn't matter one bit because that's what
everyone wanted, and it brought the house down. Everyone left fully sated
and raving about what their particular favorite moments of the night may
have been. In the words of my 13 year old son on the way home "Dad, that
was the best night of my life so far". What more can you say.
Review by Richard Sheehy
Last night's show at the Pacific Coliseum was in stark contrast to Bob's
appearance last year with three shows at the intimate Orpheum Theatre.
The tone of those Orpheum shows was more introspective, the connection
with the fans more immediate. Now, with the hype surrounding the new
album, the big tour of arenas as opposed to theaters, there is a (probably
appropriate) shift in Bob's live presentation. It's Bob, larger than
It was a virtual sellout, 12,000 in attendance. The Coliseum is an
aging hockey arena, not known for its acoustics. It's been the site of
many great moments in rock and roll since the early 70's (caught my first
Dylan show there in 1978), but it's hardly an ideal venue for listening
attentively and appreciating subtleties. In any case, the audience was
wired and the crowd on the floor was on its feet throughout the entire
The band seemed a little cold for about the first half hour or so. Not
surprising, this being the opening show of this leg of the tour, after a
three-week layoff. They eventually hit the pocket and grooved hard for
the rest of the show. Bob appeared relaxed, at one point cracking up at
some clowning in the first few rows. He remained at the keyboard
throughout. There was a solitary mic position center stage, and a Strat
on a stand near Bob's keyboard. I was hopeful, but nothing came of it.
From the first notes of "Cat's In The Well," the crowd (at least on the
floor) was on its feet, enthralled by Bob's presence. I was thrilled to
hear "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere," one of my personal favorites. "Tweedle
Dee & Tweedle Dum" rocked, and kept the crowd swaying (if not dancing
wildly). The band nailed a grooving shuffle for "Watching The River
Flow," another danceable tune. My favorite song of the night was "It's
Alright Ma," in the form of one of those almost unrecognizable
re-interpretations that Bob loves indulge in. It was a kind of ponderous,
heavy, bluesy take on a very familiar piece of his canon. I thought it
killed. The crowd predictably went nuts for "Highway 61," which, again,
was delivered with the kind of intensity befitting the environment.
"Desolation Row" suffered from not resembling the trancelike reverie of
last year's surreal version at the Orpheum. It seemed perfunctory,
workmanlike. The dreamy quality of the lyrical narrative (if you can call
it that) seemed lost in the big arena. "Tangled Up In Blue" was, oddly,
pretty faithful the original arrangement, but it was another highlight
(for me, anyway).
The band really threw it down during the encore. During "Like A Rolling
Stone" (another essentially faithful version), they really dug in at each
chorus, as if trying to elicit a reaction to each "how does it feel." The
crowd was on its feet, and generally ecstatic, but it failed to react in
that way. On "Watchtower," George Recile was driving really hard, and
bashing out Keith Moonish-accents that kicked up each chorus to higher and
higher levels of energy. Through much of the show, they seemed to be
playing to the last row of the massive arena. From the 7th row, it was
overwhelming. It seemed like . . . well it seemed a big, arena-style rock
The band was superb. There were numerous, stirring solos from Donnie
Herron and Denny Freeman. Stu Kimball's rhythm guitar was impeccable (an
under-appreciated role in many rock bands), especially his acoustic work.
His intro to "Tangled Up In Blue" was sublime. I also really enjoy his
solos, which he doesn't seem to do as much as he has done in the past,
unfortunately. Tony Garnier, the secret (or not-so-secret) musical
director of the band, really drives the grooves with his rhythm section
partner, the rock-solid George Recile.
I'm not up on my Bob news, so forgive me if I'm stating the obvious.
They were recording last night's show -- professionally, that is. There
were mic stands at each end of the stage, each with two shotguns in an x/y
pattern pointing at us. There was also a giant mixing board stage right
with about a thousand faders, knobs, etc., and an engineer twiddling. I
assume the whole tour is being recorded for a possible live release, in
order to showcase new interpretations of old songs, as well as the finesse
and power of this great band.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Kings of Leon. They were tight,
rocked hard, displayed more than competent skill as musicians and earned a
very positive response from the audience. On top of that, their original
songs were surprisingly interesting compositions, containing subtle twists
on the boring conventions of rock song-writing. They piqued my interest,
and I will be checking out their releases for sure.
Review by Erik Nelson
Just when you think you are out, they pull you back in.
After a lackluster, high note-at-end-of- somnambulant phrase performance
at the Pantages in Los Angeles in March of '05, I decided to finally,
reluctantly- but definitively- to give up my long time (since '74) Dylan
Then, in no particular order, Bob became my favorite DJ, and MODERN TIMES
So, knowing the latest tour leg was opening in my new home town of
Vancouver, and, that I had a chance to make history with by observing some
"first ever" premieres of some new songs, I bit the proverbial bullet, and
headed to one of the dreariest "most miserable holes in the universe" to
catch the show. There, a semi-packed, beyond enthusiastic audience gave
the Bob Dylan Blues Band the reception they deserved.
From note one, everything, the sound system, the Band and Bob were finally
calibrated. The dread up-singing is finally leaving the repertoire, Dylan
presented TWO premieres from the new album, which were perfectly sung and
enunciated, and throughout the night, we got some great Dog-With-A-Bone
harmonica solos. The man simply would not give it up playing with his old
Some random thoughts. Bob's wonderful circus calliope organ swirling
through a perfect DESOLATION ROW. The latest deconstruction and reassembly
of "DON'T THINK TWICE" with a stuttering and starting harp solo to close
it all out. The long due for retirement SUMMER DAYS getting a new lease on
life. An absolutely passionate premiere of "DEAL GOES DOWN", making the
song feel like it was written yesterday. Well, it kinda was, but
And, of course, WORKINGMAN BLUES. A great, great song. A great, great
Now, I have a favorite DJ, a favorite new album AND once again, a favorite
Review by Roger Cutler
My best friend and I took our girls (14 and 16) out of school to travel
from Victoria to Vancouver to see Bob once again. He hasn't failed to
deliver yet and it was well worth the effort. This was a great show!
From the eighth row on the floor Bob looked (no hat for most of the show)
and sounded great. The selection of songs (see set list) was
overwhelming. The band was very tight and Bob was engaged; adding various
body contortions as he pounded the piano. Bob was in a great space; at
times he was laughing with the members of the band and had to control
himself to continue the song. His harp playing may be stronger than ever
and, recognizing it as part of Bob's signature, it was always greeted
enthusiastically . Hard to believe a "senior citizen" has that lung
capacity. I continue to be disappointed that Bob did not pick up a guitar
although one was positioned teasingly behind him. Perhaps I'm stubborn
but I refuse to believe he can no longer play. This guitar is now more of
a prop perhaps paying homage to heady days gone by. As for other props,
his Oscar remains on a table on stage along side his various harps, all
under a lamp.
There were a number of highlights to this show:
1) Hearing the first public performances of works from Modern Times was a
privilege. Yes, I am bragging to have witnessed some Dylan history -
although isn't every concert? His performance of "When the Deal Goes
Down" was compelling and well received as most of the audience recognized
the song and showed their approval of his most recent masterpiece. A
similar reaction was provided when he performed "Workingman's Blues # 2".
It was interesting that he played two of the more somber pieces from
Modern Times, as I'd have bet the mortgage that he would have selected
some of the driving blues tunes such as "Thunder on the Mountain",
"Rollin' and Tumblin'", or "The Levee's Gonna Break", especially with the
band so tight. It will be interesting to see what Modern Times pieces
he'll play as the tour proceeds. 2) I've seen Bob perform many times but
this is the first occasion I was treated to "Tangled Up In Blue" since
Rolling Thunder Revue in Montreal. It was true to "Blood on the Tracks"
form and left me and the crowd spell-bound. To then hear "Simple Twist of
Fate" shortly thereafter placed us all in a time warp. 3) Bob's classics,
and now standard tunes on his recent tours (Highway 61, LARS, and
Watchtower) were 'electrifying' and illustrated why and how Bob changed
the course of music history. Particularly forceful was during LARS when
Bob bellowed out "How does it feel" the house lights would illuminate;
making us reflect yet again as Bob continues to stir us.
One final note: when we arrived home the next day, we were greeted by a
message on the answering machine from the girls' high school principal
advising that our daughters had been absent from school the past two days.
We all had a good laugh as I admonished the girls on squandering their
youth attending Bob Dylan concerts. After all, look what happened to the
rest of us.
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