page by Bill Pagel
Review by Lou Leary
The U.C. Davis ARC is a large gymnasium, which provided an excellent venue
for Bob Dylan's Monday night appearance in the greater Sacramento
metropolitan area. (He is on a west coast tour that includes a number of
University of California campuses.) The acoustics were fine, and the
incense was pungent as Dylan hit the stage pretty soon after the announced
8:00 pm start time.
Previously, Dylan has played in larger Sacramento venues - the Arco Arena
(with Paul Simon) and the Memorial Auditorium (his last two shows) -- so
perhaps his drawing power is diminishing. However, for a 63 (64?) year
old rocker, the nearly full house at the UC campus location augured well,
with hopes that he will come back in future tours. The crowd was much
younger than previous Dylan shows in the area - likely due to the show
being located right on the campus of a major California university.
Bob played only piano during the performance, with frequent harmonica
blowing, He "bobbed" and weaved through an exhilarating set, the
highlights of which (in my humble opinion) were "Cold Irons Bound",
"Highway 61 Revisited", and "Don't Think Twice." His voice was stronger
than previous shows in the area, and folks who attended the initial San
Francisco gig last week said that he was much better vocally in Davis.
However, this may just be his getting accommodated to touring again after
the month or so he took off since the Willie Nelson tour.
Last week I saw Annie Lennox and Sting at a nearby venue. They were
energetic, and gave good value for the concert dollar, but I did notice
that they performed the SAME song sets that they have been doing for the
last year, and, in the case of Sting, for the last two years. If one
examines Bob Dylan's set lists for this west coast tour, one notices a
wide variety of songs. He concludes with "Like A Rolling Stone" and "All
Along The Watchtower", but, before that, he really mixes things up.
"Saving Grace" was Monday's surprise song.
Dylan's only comments on Monday night were to introduce the band. At the
end of the show, he waved the bunch of roses that someone had passed up to
My other conclusions are this:
How many other rockers are out there at his age, holding a nearly full
house of young college student in thrall?
Dylan must be a good employer because he has kept Tony Garnier and Larry
Campbell for a long time!
T shirts shouldn't be priced at $25-$35!!!
Review by Bill A.
Total Bobness tonight! Help yourself quite a bit to get in early and down
low on the floor. Sitting around, for about an hour, some start weaseling
their way up about 10 til 8. Totally different band tonight. To be alone
started out with the band in a country-rockin jam, as Larry took the
simple second lead on the tele, knew it was going to be a different nite.
With the slow building Senor, Bob took control of the band and forced
alternating nuances of loud and tender into the slow building ballad. The
band was really dynamically excercising now. Tweedle Dum finds Stu placing
that weird guitar lick in various places, with Larry and Tony holding the
riff. Stu really did play it a little clearer than the Berkeley show, not
overplaying, but restrained, yet sometimes oddly out of time yet
positively negative creative tension moving forward. This was the first
revelation of what I refer to as Joe Strummer meets the Mothers of
Invention. Let me explain- sometimes Stu's guitar part was more quirky
uncomfortable noise than flowing with the music. But unlike the previous
nite, where things might unravel, probably due to the monitor mix, Recile
was up to the task tonight, not only here but elsewhere and always
shunting the perverse leads with attacks on the kit to push the wall of
sound back into the 'world-beat-country groove-about the piano'.
Red sky was solid. About this time, the college age crowd about 5 folk
from the piano had some dirt weed circulating freely. Alright ma - Recile
red eyed, goatie'd Led-Zepesc rhumba pushing the band around now. A
version much more confident than the regular item of 2 years ago.
Moonlight another slowdown- very sweet and tender as it opens with Tony's
bowstring low across standup bass. Recile again another pounder-"I'm 20
miles out of town" - (yes you were) When the band looked for a groove for
Tom Thumb's it was Bob - beautiful to be able to follow the vocals. 61
revisited - again, almost an audition for Strat. seems like the band was
expecting an over the top driving lead, but we get a revisited Strummer
meets the Mothers noise crunch. Larry cringes, more than once. Bob forces
the issue, and doesn't so much as nod his head for yet another solo, but
does nothing but a slight cue, then again. He fricken milked the lead
guitarist dry. Then again. Everybody's relieved when its over. Empathy for
There was a point in the show Bob was singing words at Recile about a
Motheresque return to the riff, and the drummer answered scattering a
solid defiant response finding the one, and made the next return even more
amazing. Bob then answers "thanks". The band was communicating very well
most all of the night. Larry's pedal steel and cittern were there, but I
can't remember anything standing out other than the opening number. sad^
(short-term memory loss)
With Recile standing behind the kit, Bob seemed to cherish the couple of
roses, slow -quick half bowed, standing with the rest of the band, bent
arms open his wrists flashed his cuff links to grin, past the previous
nites show and they left. It was total Bobness.
Comments by Ray Copeland
I sat next to a couple of 10-12 year old brothers at the UC Davis concert.
They were with their parents. At one point before the show began one boy
says to the other very slyly. "The sun is not yellow, it is chicken" and
then both cracked up. I quizzed them about what song that line came from.
They knew the book, chapter and verse. That was a very special moment. I'm
still laughing about it. At the end of the show Bob introduced the band.
He then raised each arm and pulled his sleeves down one at a time and then
spread his hands out suggesting that there was nothing up his sleeves
(what you see is what you get). I went to the UC Berkeley 10/17/04 and UC
Davis 10/18/04 shows. It was great fun standing in line listening to all
the tales of Dylan concerts past.
page by Bill Pagel
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