Reviews

Omaha, Nebraska

CenturyLink Center
Arena

October 23, 2017


[Peter Costello], [Laurette Maillet], [Dave Downing]

Review by Peter Costello



Walked up to the centurylink center last night with barely two dimes to
rub together and was promptly met by a gentleman who handed me two
complimentary tickets, as my long time touring friend, who arranged my
ride, was in need as well.  The gentleman handed out another few tickets
to some girls i didnít know.  My timing, as usual was impeccable (this
is only true for tickets, when sold out or i am in need) and I was very
grateful for a ticket while times are tough for me at the moment.  I
donít usually have  have good luck with other things in life, but the
ticket thing for me for some reason has always worked out.

As usual my regular tour partner craig was off on his own before we could
locate our seats.  I have  went to way over 100 different dead, dylan and
other shows with him but can only count a handful of shows i have seen
with him.  This is typical and i donít question this or mind.

Caught the tail end of Mavis set, and as usual her and the band were on
it.  While the crew readied the stage for bob, i decided to use the
bathroom and inquire about a beer.  Kind of strange for me these days, as
i worked for IBM for 15 years and for at least the last 20-25 years i
could not tell you the price for a gallon of gas, how much a beer was or a
pack of cigarettes cost,  much less how much a ticket to bob dylan was. 
anyway i had to pass on the $9 century link center beers, been this way
since i trained my replacement and IBM moved my job to India a few years
back.  this seemed a little outrageous for a beer , but it's their world and i
don't need any chemicals to enjoy bob, as i was high enough over the comp
ticket for a show i have been anticipating since the day it was announced.
 as usual i have been infatuated with the new stuff,  Tempest, Fallen
Angels and the others  stuff bob has put out lately.  Tell Tail Signs
rarely goes a week without a rotation on the turntable as well as another
self portrait,  that "if not for you" with bob on piano just reduces me to
a puddle on the floor every time i hear it

anyway,  not sure how this happened,  but it seemed the security detail
led me to a fifth row seat center when my ticket stub clearly said
furthest seat possible from the stage.  i asked no questions, especially
as i watched the same security detail  escort a number of others off the
floor for coming too close to the front of the stage ..but the security
guy clear pointed to a couple of  empty seats in the fifth row when i
could no longer move any closer.  needless to say i was in heaven.

bob opened with a little, for lack of a better term,  "ditty" , beautiful
little piece, before going into things have changed. the sound quality was
perfect and bob looked great in a white jacket with black striped pants.
he doesn't look like he has aged a bit since last summer, maybe even
looked younger .. ikd  .. the first three songs were bob staples and
really just broke the ice for what was to come.  why try to change me now
was the beginning of what i was looking for,  and just got better for me,
from that point on .  summer days, honest with me and trying to get to
heaven all featured new arrangements and were seriously awsum, they really
highlighted bob's genius and the only word that comes to mind is
Chameleon.  the summer days was as good as any i have seen with larry
campbell. as good as the columbu ohio or stabler arena shows for the early
2000s,    charlie and tony really have the band in top form and prove to
be just as good a band as  i have seen bob with before,  including petty,
the dead g e smith larry campbell and the missed david kemper...

pay in blood was one of the songs i was really waiting for.. i have seen
this song before, but not since i have fallen in love with it, and was
also super happy to get september of my years... the tangled up in blue
showcased a new arrangement with new lyrics that for some reason blew my
mind again .. bob always does that to me.. not sure why i did not expect
this.  early romans kings rocked and charlie was just on it ..  thunder on
the  mountain rocked and highlighted Georges abilities.  the only way i
could try to explain it is, i would guess, is he had some tough shoes to
fill,  but over the years and especially after last night he has my total
respect and approval. not that he needs it  just my opinion .. he has come
along way.  long and wasted years and autumn leaves wound us down and
really took me to a serene  place to close things up ..

the two encores were well played and bobs piano playing seems to be higher
in the mix and some how better, not sure how to explain it but a few times
last night, it seemed,  if i closed my eyes,  it may have sounded more
like jerry lee lewis or little richard .. just seems to be something more
their than the last few years. my friend craig says i always say that and
maybe i do but does not mean it's not true or i don't feel that way.. the
only way i could sum up last nights show is to say bob has proven to be
like wine, he only gets better with age .. i can only hope the same fate
awaits me .. my first bob show was vienna austria july 21st 1981, and of
the 200 or so dylan shows i have seen since then, this would rate up at
the very least in the  top five if not higher, hard to say or pick.  i did
try last week, with  help from   bobdylan.com and bill pagels boblinks to
get an exact count on the number of dylan shows i have seen but this has
proven to be harder than i thought it was going to be, as the 1998 through
2002 tours somehow have all rolled into one and i will need to fall back
on the ticket stubs to get an accurate count, but after having made
somewhat of an accurate account through the years 2000, i am well over a
hundred, so, i am guessing after i total in the last 17 years should put
me well over 200 .. i don't know,  we will see .. thanks bill for all the
updates and set lists post over the years, your web page has been a staple
for me ..

-peter

[TOP]

Review by Laurette Maillet



The Express arrow bus arrives half hour before schedule. 
Kristen,† my couchsurfing host, will come and pick me up at the
station.† It is before 9 p.m. We have a pleasant talk and we watch
Friends on TV.† I go to bed. 23rd of October.† I relax and update my
blog.† In the early afternoon Kristen takes me downtown to the 'candy
store' then I am on my own. I walk the passageway before heading to the
Centurylink center.† A sign outdoor informs the public that no big bag
will be allowed inside. I start panicking as my bag is over sized.† The
security inside is of no help.† I go to Starbucks to connect and the Lady
there tells me the Marriots hotel next door might hold my bag. They say
they will. Cool! I bump into a Fan I met before at different concerts.
He's a goodhearted biker. He gives me money for the BD postcard I hand
him. Thank you my friend.† I start looking for a ticket but the scalpers
are not helping. Others are looking for cheap tickets. By 8 p.m. I am
still outside. Though I feel sorry I am not desperate. I will wait until
the end of the show, anyway. A nice Lady comes to me and tells me that one
of her friend is coming with 7 tickets. I believe I heard wrong but I keep
my eyes open.† A young fellow approaches and extracts 7 tickets from his
coat. All the poor fans gather around him. Each one will get a
complimentary ticket.† I rush inside and the security which had been so
tight don't even stops me. I take my seat as Mavis is taking the
public...there. 15 minutes break and Stu is on at 8.30p.m. So early!† The
venue is not full on the sides. 60% of the capacity.† The setlist is the
same as Las Vegas with that Sinatra song that Bob can not so successfully
perform.† But that is his choice.† The public is the oposite as
Denver.† Except 2 or 3 Fans in the first row, nothing is moving. Not even
on "Thunder on the mountain " that is the highlight.† I see George
drumming hard.† People don't live or die,† people just float. The rows
next to me are emptying long time before the encore.† I can do my Karaoke
performance.† Bobby is equal to himself.† It is a great show and a
miracle for me. I say Hi to Jason and joke about Bob wearing the same
pants night after night!† I retrieve my bag at the Marriots and call
Kristen who will kindly pick me up. The streets are empty.† Omaha will
leave me with the impression of emptiness.† Good night Bobby! Safe trip
to Ames!

[TOP]

Review by Dave Downing



The set list of 20 songs came from 13 different albums over a 55 year
career. The most songs (4) were from Tempest (2012),  then three from
Highway 61 Revisited (1965).

It's significant what was NOT played:
Rainy Day Women, All Along The Watchtower, Like A Rolling Stone
(My wife bought a t-shirt before the show covered in lines from LARS,
figures... But we've seen him play it plenty.)

In Omaha he played This Nearly Was Mine for only the fourth time ever, and
September Of My Years for the seventh.

The set list of 20 songs came from 13 different albums over a 55 year
career. The most songs (4) were from Tempest (2012),  then three from
Highway 61 Revisited (1965).

He played Highway 61 live for the first time in 1969 at the Isle of Wight.
Omaha was the 1864th. Blowin' In The Wind, the 1464th. (And in two weeks
it's my 64th birthday, hmmm....)

Desolation Row is always a treat, and less played, only 525 times in 52
years. Tryin' To Get To Heaven is more rare, 153 plays in 18 years.

True to form, many songs were nearly unrecognizable at first,  different
rhythm or tempo from recorded versions. Summer Days had a loping swing
feel, ba-boom, ba-boom, rather than the more oom-pah, room-pah Love &
Theft track.

Tony Garner started the night playing a 60s surf era Fender VI six-string
bass with a pick rather than fingers. It made his lines sharply
articulated and twangy, like Carol Kaye's Wrecking Crew work.

At earlier Dylan concerts, I was frustrated when I couldn't hear all six
instrumentalists clearly at all times. I thought perhaps the sound
engineers were taking liberties with the mix.

From a front row perspective, I observed that when Bob Charlie, Donnie or
Stu fade into the background, it's to stay out of each other's way. When
it's his turn to shine, each one comes through clearly.

Dave Downing

[TOP]

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