Victoria, British Columbia

Save On Foods Memorial Centre

October 23, 2008

[Jerry Tenenbaum and Lucretia van den Berg], [Mitch Meyer]

Review by Jerry Tenenbaum and Lucretia van den Berg

Give Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize for Literature!  Give it to him NOW!
The words of these song poems evoke this reaction.  The words speak to the
people.  The topics are immediate and timely and timeless. So, let's get
on with it.

The show was superb.  Having seen a few shows in the past, this one
started with Bob and the band on their game immediately.  'Rainy Day
Women' was exciting and solid.  The sound was good for a large hockey
arena and the words were clear.  'Stuck Inside of Mobile' is always
presented well and tonight was no exception.  The new arrangement of
'North Country Fair' was beautiful and the joy of the lyrics came through.
The banjo in "High Water' was prominent and very metaphoric.
Themes came through tonight as Dylan played 'Chimes of Freedom",
'Hard Rain' and "It's Alright Ma' and politics, freedom and the terror of
war were presented front and centre  with an urgency that is today's

Dylan and the band can rock big time.  'Honest To Me', "Highway 61'
and "Thunder On The Mountain' all shook the listener from toes to the top
of your head.  At times it felt like an arrythmia could be set off in the
heart's conduction system.  And yet, it was all highly listenable and
played with precision.  But the best was "Just Like A Woman'.  Throughout,
Dylan was having difficulty with his keyboard. He had to leave it 2 or 3
times while technical help was offered.  For "Just Like A Woman' he picked
up a guitar and with that became animated and it was  obvious that he was
there for us.  At the end of "Highway 61', he tipped his large=3D3Dbrimmed
white hat to the audience. "Beyond The Horizon" was a little ragged in its
playing but the vocal was great.  My favourite recent song was 'Ain't
Talkin' and this was truly a gem tonight.  The encore was "LARS' and 'All
Along the Watchtower', both played with finesse.  Hand gestures in many
songs were a new feature to us. In 'All Along The Watchtower' Dylan would
extend his hand at the end of a line on a number of occasions. Coupled
with some elegant footwork at times with bending at the knees, this was
Dylan in a very positive mood to these attendees.

Not many can rock like this band.  More importantly, the words were
highlighted in the foundation of music presented by a most excellent

Jerry Tenenbaum
Lucretia van den Berg


Review by Mitch Meyer

Having caught the first show of Dylan's first tour this year in Dallas on
February 21st, my friend David and I decided to try it again. this time
flying north to catch the first show of this new segment of the tour.  We
flew up from San Francisco yesterday, met a bunch of his friends in
unbelievably scenic Victoria in the rare late October sunshine, and were
primed for the show in a new hockey arena.  Whereas my overwhelming
impression from that stunning show in Dallas was an intense, combative and
even demonic Dylan (and the local newspapers the next morning headlined
with the words "Demonic Dylan"), tonight was very different, but
nonetheless superb.  Tonight Dylan was frisky, loose, and relaxed, but at
the same time singing every line with enormous meaning and emphasis.

Dylan didn't seem annoyed at all when his electric keyboard ran into
problems on the first song, and the problems continued throughout most of
the first half of the show.  He just grabbed his microphone, removed it
from the stand, and wandered to stage center to sing like the old time
crooners that he reportedly reveres.  Finally, when the keyboard went awry
again at the start of "Just Like a Woman," he cooly walked to stage
center, strapped on his guitar and led a long instrumental introduction
while he got comfortable with the sudden change.  In the end, the
improvisations caused by the keyboard problems only made the show more
spontaneous and special. I've seen Dylan appear to get very aggravated
when he had technical problems.  That he didn't seem to at all tonight
shows that he was in a very relaxed and comfortable state of mind from the
outset.  As he sang, he frequently waved his right hand at the band to
direct them, and his left at the audience to increase his communication
with them.

The set list was superb.  I can't begin to talk about highlights because
it was one terrific performace after another of one great song after
another. If I had to mention a few that stood out, it would be "Stuck
Inside of Mobile," where he now emphasized the "Oh, mama" plea like on the
original, rather than running by it like the last few times I've seen him
perform the song, "It's Alright Ma," "Till I Fell In Love with You," and
"Just Like a Woman," sung very much like the original.  But, again, every
song was spot on terrific.  The only adjustment in the group since the
Dallas shows in February is that Stu Kimball now stands between Denny
Freeman and Tony Garnier at stage left, rather than back behind Dylan in a
corner at stage right.  This seems like a big improvement, with Stu more
in the middle of the action and his rhythm guitar much more prominent in
the mix.

A few locals told me that they saw Dylan in Victoria a couple of years
ago, but they came away with the impression that he wasn't that committed
to the performance and seemed somewhat removed.  They felt very different
about tonight's show, feeling that he was animated, loose, and giving it
everything he had.  The crowd was great, with plenty of older people and
plenty of young people, and with few interruptions during the song.  On
the main floor around us, everyone was paying rapt attention and standing
and grooving for the entire show.

As my cousin in Boston has impressed upon me, a Dylan show is like one
long sermon, expressed in song.  Tonight, with an amazing selection of
poetry ("the sky cracked its poems in naked wonder") sung in an array of
American musical styles of the last one hundred years, it was indeed one
moving and thrilling sermon.

Tomorrow will be back on to the ferry with our rental car, through the
eye-poppingly beautiful waterways of Vancouver Island and across to the
mainland, and then to the much bigger city of Vancouver for the second and
last show of our British Columbia Dylan romp.


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