Reviews

Phoenix, Arizona

Arizona State Fair
Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum

October 17, 2009


[Howard Weiner], [Rick Greenwald], [Tyler]

Review by Howard Weiner



Arriving three days prior to the Bob Dylan Show, I hastily split Phoenix in a
shuttle van heading north with six strangers. Our ninety-five minute jaunt
featured cactus and tumbleweed and tumbleweed and cactus. We blew by Carefree
Highway, and then passed a town called Bumble Bee on our way over Mingus
Mountain, elevation 4000 feet. Freefalling down the backside of Mingus,
somewhere near Cottonwood, the Red Rocks of Sedona beckoned on the horizon. For
two days, I basked in the breathtaking beauty of Sedona as the sun illuminated
the Red Rocks and shadows danced on the mesas. With my soul and spirit soaring I
returned to the Valley of the Relentless Sun where Phoenix was experiencing
record breaking autumn heat Ė 100 degrees. 

Dylan performed at the Phoenix Memorial Coliseum, situated in the gut of the 
Arizona State Fair. I didnít observe any advertisements for the Dylan show on the
fairgrounds, it was swallowed up by the carnival hoopla: Ferris Wheel, freaks,
barkers, neon lights, wild rides, candy apples, cotton candy, snow cones, Indian
fry bread, Polish sausages, Cajun corn dogs. The new culinary delights were deep
fried scorpions and smoked lizard on a stick. ††††††††††† 

I waltzed in around 7:06 as Dylan and His Band were concluding a Catís in the Well
opener. The sound was thundering and the thick howl of Dylanís voice exploded
into every crevice of the coliseum, but by the time I found my seat, two more
tunes expired, Lay Lady Lay and Baby Tonight. Dylan appeared like a panther in
black cowboy hat and his band looked sleek in shiny black leather jackets. It
was fabulous to hear and see Charlie Sexton on lead guitar, again.

Donnie let his trumpet blow as I caught my first Beyond Here Lies Nothing.  Love 
Sick was a thrill in the sixth hole, and Charlieís crackling leads made If You Ever 
Go to Houston delectable. Dylan was prancing around and jiggling behind the 
organ (first three songs he was on the electric gee-tar). Dylan swaggered to the 
center of the stage, harp in hand, and delivered an animated lead-singer 
production of Workingmanís Blues. He waggled his finger at the crowd as he 
preached the chorus, demanding his boots and shoes. Thunder on the Mountain 
was wild and wooly, Sexton tore it up. Staring at Thunder Mountain in Sedona 
for two days, I looked forward to seeing Thunder, but also realized the show 
was about over. Dylan wrapped up his brief fairground outing with Ballad of a 
Thin Man and the same old encore trifecta. Concert over at 8:30, it was obvious 
to this observer that Dylan had to adhere to a time slot restriction. It was a 
shame because he had his mojo working.
 
With my old NYC friend Jim and his lovely wife Susan, and a drummer named 
Hutch, we sucked back multiple rounds of Hoegaarden at the Loose Leaf.  We 
headed back to Jimís Phoenix pad where his magnificent twenty-seven pound 
pussycat, Rick, gave me the creeps and an evil eye all night. Apparently, Rick 
has attacked two guests before leaving behind a bloody trail and one black
eye. I was eyeing my 100th Dylan show in Vegas the following night, so I fed
Rick treats until 2:00 PM and petted him with tender care. Iím pleased to
report that Iím at The Mirage enjoying a Champagne Buffet Brunch at this 
very moment. Howard Weiner www.visionsofdylan.blogspot.com 

[TOP]

Comments by Rick Greenwald



"I'm countin' on you, love, to give me a break . . ."

So sang Mr. Dylan a while back, and something I should remember. The Phoenix 
show was really good, despite very poor acoustics and a somewhat rowdy crowd 
(I saw a fistfight in the upper rows during Highway 61 which required 
intervention by the ushers).

The show was brisk and rocking, with some real highlights, including the Nashville 
Skyline doubleheader of Lay Lady Lay and Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You.† 
Bob seemed to be deeply involved in the shows, contributing a couple of guitar 
solos and with his organ higher in the mix.† And Love Sick was magnificent, rising 
to the heights on Bob's world-weary vocals.

So what's the complaint?† Well, I was at the show a week earlier in Berkeley, 
which seemed to be of a higher rank than this one.† Last week, Bob played a lot 
more harp, seeming to just jump in for some unplanned solos, as well as moving 
around the stage frequently.†

And last week, the new band and level of musical commitment from Dylan was a 
surprise, while I expected as much this week.† Even this night of music, with a 
handful of spine-tingling moments, left me wanting more.

I mean, geez, if I am this jaded a week after one show, it explains the multitudes 
waiting for Dylan to return to his folksinger form of the the early 60s, or the thin 
wild mercury music with The Band, let alone the multiple musical personas worn 
in the decades since.

So unless you are the type who is able to always hear with new ears, just stop 
reading this - stop trying to anticipate, and just go see our musical treasure.

[TOP]

Review by Tyler



I haven't seen Dylan since the last time he was here way too long in Dylan
years so I was stoked for the show. Unfortunately the last few ticket rides got
in the way of the first two songs. Cats the song I have been wanting to here
since seeing Dylan, bummer I missed it. Anyway I got in time to hear Be your Baby
Tonight good arrangement with Dylan on the guitar, only thing is he may have
wanted to trade licks with Charlie to make things more balanced. Speaking of
Charlie he is a welcome addition but judging by the set lists they are playing
lately they seem extra safe, maybe to break him in. Next standout song was Love
Sick very well executed considering Charlie contributed to the original. The new
songs played live very well from the Modern times and Together releases. Memphis
Blues did have a different arrangement a la Charlie that almost feel apart but
was rescued by going back to the original arrangement, it was okay just not very
well timed. Everything else was pretty standard it would have made me tear to
hear Visions but it wasn't meant to be or a Shooting Star would have been nice.
All in all a real crowd pleaser set. It always amazes me that people comment on
not being able to understand his lyrics but that is the art of Dylan however I
did notice as the show went on as it got louder and louder things started to
blare including the vocals. So things don't seem to convey as well when it is
extremely loud. By the way great lights. Come back to the fair every year I am
sure you will always have a crowd and guaranteed ticked sales. Peace       

[TOP]

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