October 14, 2010
Review by Bill Morris
It was a nice cool October night on the UNC Charlotte campus as I walked around
dozens of geese and watched four deer (really) run in front of me as I walked to
Halton Arena. This was my 8th Dylan show, going back to the 1978 'alimony' tour.
It's hard to believe how much better Bob Dylan is now compared to then.
They kicked off well with 'Pill Box Hat'. Already Bob was animated at the keys
and looking sharp in the usual old west undertaker / riverboat gambler finery.
Through my binoculars I noticed the Oscar and what may have been his Pulitzer (a
ribbon, maybe?)close by. Vocals even better than last summer's show in
Greenville, SC. These rest of the band thumps so hard- you can tell they have
kicked things up several notches this year.
Great harp on 'Lay Lady Lay' and some crowd- embracing arm gestures, even.
Picking up his 'git-tar' as he said in the band intros later, he threw out some
jagged leads on 'Tom Thumb' and simply crushed a solo. A real highlight. No real
surprise numbers, but I enjoyed 'Beyond Here' from TTL. Highway 61 and Thunder
just took off. Absolutely awesome. Great mix, I even heard the steel buzzing
away. Bob is going for a soulful Booker T sound on the keyboard, and you could
really hear it over the rumble.
Great encores, with no surprises-Jolene, LARS and Watchtower....an ass-kicking
band having a good time. Make sure that you see them.
Review by Jesse Jones
This was for me a surprisingly strong show. I mean, I love my relatively new hometown
of Charlotte, NC, but the UNC Charlotte basketball arena hardly seemed the venue to
inspire a great performance by Bob Dylan. But there was a good crowd, mostly hardcore
fans, and the place was rocking from the beginning of Leopardskin Pillbox Hat, through
the surprising third encore, All Along the Watchtower.
The setlist was itself a treat for me, with personal favorites such as Tom Thumb's Blues
and Hard Rain.
And I love Bob, but I am going to say what we all know, that he is best when he is not
at the keyboard. He is much more engaged with the audience, his vocals get the
attention they deserve, and he is not making those annoying sounds on the keyboard
that fall well below the standards his band is setting for musicality. The harmonica solos
are, well, brilliant is the only word for them, and his guitar playing is far, far better than
his keyboard playing.
I particularly enjoyed Bob swapping guitar licks with Charlie Sexton. This was my first
Dylan show since Sexton re-joined the band. What an enormous difference Sexton
makes! He almost – emphasize “almost” – upstages Dylan himself! He is Leon Russell to
Joe Cocker. His guitar work soars and yet fits perfectly in the sound Dylan has so
carefully honed. But he is constantly moving, so engaged in the music we so love.
Donnie Herron's playing trumpet on Beyond Here Lie Nothin' was a treat. Is there
anything Herron cannot play? I love the new arrangement of Tangled Up In Blue.
Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) was the fist song I ever hard Dylan
perform live (Atlanta 1974), and yet I am embarrassed to say it took me until the
title line to recognize it; the band had fun with it.
Listening to Watchtower I realized how engaged Dylan's vocals were, and how well
he had the crowd with him. It was a splendid night.
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