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Review by Adrien Begrand
There wasn't quite the amount of excitement in the city as I thought
there would be as I prepared for my first ever Dylan show...Saskatoon,
which is a totally puritanical, right-wing, un-hip city, could only
muster up around 4 to 5,000 people for tonight's show. Needless to say
there were plenty of empty seats in the upper reaches of the arena.
And they weren't all there for Bob. Opening act Jann Arden had about as
much drawing power as the headliner, and the crowd was very excited when
she started her 45-minute set. Arden has a very loyal following on the
Prairies, and almost all her songs were greeted with enthusiastic
applause. I'm not totally into her music, but she won me over with her
charm and hilarious banter with the crowd (looking at the hordes of
needless security lunkheads along the edge of the stage, she said, "Do
we really need all this security?...well, I am sick to death of being
mobbed."). Her best line was directed towards Bob: "So you're wondering
how I got this gig, huh? Well, me and Bob have been involved for quite
some time now. It's sooooo heavy...we're spendng all our time on a great
big brass bed...It's fuckin' amazing!"
After a too-brief intermission (the crowd was caught unawares and were
scrambling to their seats for five minutes) Bob & the guys made their
way to the stage.
GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY
I was delighted to hear this song...I was hoping it would be this
instead of 'Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat'. I've never heard the current
version before...it had a more driving beat to it than the original
version. Bob came out reserved...the crowd sat.
I'LL REMEMBER YOU
The only one I wasn't familiar with...was excellent, though. The crowd
COLD IRONS BOUND
Amazing performance. Bob started moving around a bit, but the dead
Saskatoon crowd sat some more.
JUST LIKE A WOMAN
Beautiful version of the classic song...Bob played a two-minute harp
solo at the beginning, to lots of cheers. I thought this version was a
whole lot better than the ones done at MSG back in January. It was
obvious Bob was in a good mood, and the crowd cheered appreciatively,
but still sat.
Was Silvio. Great song...I still love the tempo change near the end.
I'll never get sick of that song. Bob started dancing around like he
does, but to no avail. The crowd sat.
IT TAKES A LOT TO LAUGH, IT TAKES A TRAIN TO CRY
Wonderful surprise! One of my absolute favorites...the band slowed it
down a touch, and ground it out over about six minutes. Very loud, VERY
tight, and brilliantly mixed: the sound guy deserved a lot of credit
tonight. Amazing song. The crowd sat, unfortunately.
THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'
Another harp solo at the intro. Great performance. Nicely enunciated!
Went over very well, but the crowd sat. And sat. And sat.
MASTERS OF WAR
Fierce performance. The last verse was vicious, with Bob growling the
last lines. Crowd sat.
DON'T THINK TWICE, IT'S ALRIGHT
Another very pleasant surprise! I love the song, and so did the majority
of the audience. Not enough to make them stand, however. Tony ditched
the upright bass and went to the regular (and infinitely smaller)
acoustic bass guitar. David had the brushes going, and the song had more
of an upbeat, country feel to it.
TANGLED UP IN BLUE
Was TUIB. My absolute favorite. Just like all the other performances
recently, which is just fine with me! Crowd cheered exuberantly, but
BALLAD OF A THIN MAN
YET another big big surprise! Once the LOUD guitars started, they seemed
to ignite the crowd. The crowd stood. The crowd cheered. The crowd
rushed the stage! When Bob wasn't sneering the lines of the song, he was
grinning at the crowd triumphantly, seeming to say, "Aha, NOW I got you
up!" He really started hamming it up from then on. The performance was
incredible. Still sounds as acerbic and angry as ever.
HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED
Obviously Bob didn't want to lose any momentum. He had worked hard
enough getting the audience involved, so the band chugged away fiecely
at the classic tune. Bob really started moving during this one, looking
like he was enjoying himself.
Was Love Sick. Great version of the best song on TOOM.
RAINY DAY WOMEN
I don't have to say this had everyone moving...not my absolute favorite,
but it did raise the roof.
BLOWIN' IN THE WIND
Nice version...Bob now had the crowd in the palm of his hands.
'TIL I FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU
There had to be at least one more new one...awesome bluesy performance.
The seventeenth straight brilliant performance...we were all begging for
more at the end, but much to our dismay, the house lights went up.
All in all, a wonderful time was had by all, and it was a night I'll
never forget. Although I wanted to hear new stuff like 'Can't Wait' and
'Million Miles', I should consider myself lucky Bob whipped out a couple
more classics instead. Clearly this was more of a "best-of" show...the
reserved crowd, which is constantly fed a diet of geezer-pleaser classic
rock on all Saskatoon's subpar radio stations, were not familiar at all
with Bob's wonderful TOOM.
As I walked out of the arena to the car, looking at the vibrant,
swirling turqoise northern lights ahead covering the entire northern sky
(beatifically hearing vague traces of skipping reels of rhyme), there
was no doubting I had the time of my life.
Review by Margery Konan
I have some interesting anecdotes to add to the review posted for the
We arrived in Saskatoon several hours before showtime and decided to check
out Saskatchewan Place -- a massive building, northwest of the city, near
nothing at all. We got there between 5 and 6 - and we could hear a band
playing as we entered the arena.
Peeking through a crack in the window covering, we could see Larry
Campbell & Tony Garnier - it was the soundcheck.
And they were playing some really cool tunes!
Larry sang "When will you arise?" .... "Dust upon your eyes" from
- Dead Man! - Also,
- Babe It Ain't no Lie -
- Friend of the Devil - and
- Gates of Eden !!!!
Before this, we had roamed the "downtown core" of Saskatoon looking for a
place to have a coffee, only to find that the entire city is closed on
Sunday, save a downtown shopping mall and a restaurant called "Earl's."
Samantha and I sat down at Earl's and learned a few things. "Bob Dylan"
had reportedly requested a menu from this place and there was a buzz that
something might happen there after the concert.
Of course, we didn't have any illusions about Bob turning up at a public
restaurant, but we ended up back at Earl's anyway after the show for some
hot drinks. (It was -7 degrees Celsius that night: the windows were
filled with frost) There, staff verified that an order had come in at
around 9:30 for a ton of food - from Bob's band. Earl's had packaged it
all up with nametags, such as "Larry" and "Crystal" (??)
A couple of notes from the actual show:
Bob sings some new words in "Gotta Serve Somebody" -- I couldn't make them
all out, but one addition is:
"You might be a woman, you might be a man"
And the chorus gets a new twist. No longer preachy, Bob now sings
"We ALL got to serve somebody"
In "Tangled," he sang "HE was married when they first met, soon to be
divorced... SHE helped HIM out of a jam I guess, used a little too much
The show was excellent, musically tight, full of Bob's subtle yet dramatic
gesturing, smiles, and poses. The Saskatoon crowd deserves a lot of
credit for standing & rushing the stage at the end of the acoustic set
(unlike in Edmonton & Calgary). Bob's interaction with the crowd is
playful but dignified these days (less of the leering, more of the simple
nodding). One Edmonton reviewer aptly called Bob's look that of a "cosmic
One last note. There was a car parked RIGHT in front of Sask Place all
evening--when we arrived for the sound check this was one of about 3 cars
in the lot--with green Saskatchewan plate-lettering "DYL 566" Could this
be a coincidence?? Congrats to that devoted Saskatchewan fan!
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