page by Bill Pagel
Review by Brian Doyle
It was a long drive from Denver after hitting New Mexico and then the
Pepsi Center show the following night, to Kansas City on Monday. We
arrived in the area and crossed the bridge to Missouri to locate the
Uptown theatre. It was fairly easy to find, sitting right on the corner of
Broadway. The building looks very unique. In front the lit Marquee had Bob
Dylan Sold Out like an old time movie theatre would look in a small town
years back. The top has a dome that looked like an old church, otherwise
the front reminded me very much of several small theatre venues in
Boulder, CO. The will call window had not yet opened, and a group of 25 or
more people were already lined up outside at 3:15 pm. We parked across the
street and then waited in line a while, until we found out that for $10
you could go inside the adjacent joining "bar" area for pre-show drinks,
and that also included two free drinks with your ticket purchase. It
seemed like a good idea, at least warmer, so we plunked down the 10 spot,
and I enjoyed two free diet cokes as the crowd got larger inside. I
thought later, I could have sold my drink tickets and at least got five
bucks back, but oh well, Mr. Frugal let go of a big fat ten and it turned
out very well.
The fine folks at Ticketmaster had not yet delivered the will call
tickets, and it was getting late. The doors were supposed to open at 6:30,
it was probably that time when they allowed people with will call
confirmations to go inside and get the actual tickets, and kept the actual
ticket holders at bay from the bar area. This was not a popular position
for the manager, but, I extended a few kind words and he allowed us to
stay in the Theatre without exiting after we got the tickets from Will
Call. I walked right into the concert area, and by then three or four
people were running the 100 yard dash to the rail, and I was able to
secure a very nice area that turned out to be about 10 head counts back
from the stage. The folks standing outside were not allowed in ealier than
the bar patrons, not sure on the ethics of that, but that's just the way
it was. The venue was magnificent, very ornate and restored to a nice warm
ambient setting. I am not sure how to describe it, maybe along the lines
of architecture from the Aisia Minor Historical era, brought to life in
contemporary style. It was very narrow, pillared, and the floor slanted
slightly upwards from the stage. About three quarter back on the floor, it
was odd, the seats were there. The balconey was sweet, but the first row
rail had allegedlely been saved for "Mr. Dylan's group" according to the
usher, so the floor was certainly the best option. The stage was so narrow
that the front upper lights were not even installed, and they would have
detracted from the stage motiff anyway. I was hoping for a great show, the
venue sort of reeked of that 1965 type feeling. It was simply a great
place to see the magician, and tonight was a show I will long remember. It
lacked the antics of the Denver show, and maybe even a little of the "fun"
the Band had, but Bob was all smiles tonight and seemed to be pleased that
the place was packed. It was such a small venue, and people were somewhat
noisy, but what could be expected in such a high energy place?
Al began the intro after the usual preliminaries were complete (the
burning incense, the music my friend refers to has the Campbell's Chunky
soup starter, etc.) Dylan emerged with the band, it was very dark without
the front upper stage lights, but the stage was lit well enough to clearly
see the entire band, sort of tightly tucked in tonight. "To be alone with
You" opened again, and it was well received. Good delivery, clear and
crisp, and so professional. "In the Summertime" was again in slot two, and
was the best of the three I had seen or heard the last few days. The Piano
is much more outfront in terms of hearing, and Bob seems to be in kicking
style as he pounds mostly chords and drives and directs the band towards
the music. "Tombstone Blues" arrived next, and really packed a little dose
of nostalgia into the joint. Security was roaming the area, very intent on
busting the camera poppers, and I saw several being towed away. Dylan
shined in his rendtion of "Accidently like a Martyr", and it almost seems
like a song Bob would write. It's being sung in a very careful and
touching manner."I'll be your Baby tonight" was very well phrased and
timed, and everything was in sync. "Brown Sugar" followed, and it has
continued to be a crowd pleaser, and always turned up in volume compared
to the rest of the show. It seems odd that Bob has latched on to this one,
but I have to admit, it's not everyday you hear him doing that one! I felt
sort of cheated by the number of covers he is doing, but the Zevon
material is worth a good listen. It's very somber, and focused, and what a
great thing for the soul. "Girl from the North country" was just a tender
moment, perhaps the acoustic highlight of the night and always a treat to
hear. Then, Bob pounds, sways, and swoons his way through "It's allright
Ma", now transformed into a an almost "Doors" feeling and sound, albeit
without the grit and sand, it just is so different from previous
deliveries. This song has been in slot 8 for while now, and it's going to
stay there I am sure. "The times they are Changing" follows, sort of
starts out like "Lonseome Death of Hattie Carol, and again the song is
dedicated to the late Senator, this time by name. I think Dylan must have
heard that some crazies thought he had dedicated "Old Man" to him in
Denver, which would not exactly fit into this now moving tribute.
"Drifter's Escape" is up next, always a debate here as to doing this or
"Wicked Messanger", must flip a coin or something. "It's all over now Baby
Blue" is gently and cleanly offered at the table. It's a good version and
leads right into a solid "Old Man", catching some Neil feel, and not bad
at all. "Honest with Me" just rips the joint, the place is starting to
burn, the steam is coming up from the manholes, it's on fire. so, next,
the debate stirs, Dylan leans into a "Simple Twist of Fate", and it seemed
to make the 800 mile journey a little shorter. I have always appreciated
this one, sitting in the park with Mr D and maybe dancin with him as well.
"Highwater" is back, and really, they should recall the canned version and
put out the real deal, the banjo is not missed and the song reaches an
entirely different level. It's smoking here now, time to call out the Fire
Marshall's, but even they wouldn't have much luck here tonight. "Mutineer"
is the quencher, it dries the thrist in some different ways. "Bye and Bye"
is old time music, river music, on the plantations, just do me light
tonight. Great version, now at home in the arsenal of love that pours from
the stage and the voice of the Man who put "rock to bed" (no, not Rock
Hudson you tormented souls). Now, it is time to blow the roof off this
popstand with "Summer Days', this flats kicks you in the arse, and rocks
like no other song Dylan would play tonight. It's his baby now, and Summer
days are certainly over. Oh, and so is the show for the most part. The
formation is all smiles, just like Barry Bonds when he hears the sweet
crack of the bat and the ball is already sailing over the wall. This
temple has been torn down tonight. True to form, the band meanders back,
offer a very chunky "blowin", and close with a sizzling "Wachtower". Wow,
a tour de force, Bob Dylan and the modern hawks, Charlie, Larry, Tony, and
George, tight as drum, maybe the best show I have ever seen. Seems like
I've said that before. But, really, a stand-up, stand out show, and Bob is
even talking at the end of Watchtower, though I could not make out what he
was saying. His mike was already shut off, but surely others up front on
the rail had to hear this. If there is a flaw here, it's the covers. What
other songs might have been mesmereized tonight from Mr. Dylan's own
little library? Can't wait for Ames, and for what's next from the magic
man. Thanks Bob and his mangement for engaging such a small venue.
Review by George Dugger
It wasn't Twelfth Street and Vine but it was Thirty-Seventh Street and
Broadway, which is not that far away (4.44 miles and 7 minutes according
to MapQuest). After 5+ decades of life and 5+ hours on line, I found
myself about 20 feet from Bob's piano position two rows from the front
rail and immediately adjacent to the angling side rail directly in front
of the right speaker stack. Unfortunately I eventually also found myself
about 5 feet away in mostly plain view from the spot where venue security
chose to occupy. Thus photo taking was severely compromised. The fair to
middling results can be found here: http://www.sunflower.com/~gadugger/
The line was surprisingly short for this all General Admission show when I
arrived about 2:30 pm. The cloudy, misty mid-40's late autumn work day
probably reduced the number of early arrivers. A wardrobe truck was being
unloaded near my spot in line and when the building doors were briefly
opened I could confirm that the front half of the ground floor of the
venue was sans chairs. Plan B, first row of the chaired balcony, was
looking better all the time.
It was through these doors that later the early part of sound check
could be heard. The line shortly thereafter suddenly advanced about 20
feet so the main part of the sound check could no longer be heard.
Interestingly part of the cargo being unloaded from the wardrobe truck was
a stack of black female upper torso bas-relief style mannequins. I hadn't
read anything about female backup singers on this leg of the NET so
thought perhaps "Just Like a Woman" Bob had a secret other than that
marriage and child in the 80's. ;) Generally not being a dummy, I
subsequently realized that the mannequins were used to model t-shirts,
etc. at the merchandise table.
Shortly after the first time the line advanced, the line advanced again
and some people were being let inside at a door just south of the main
door. Initially I thought this was the "Will Call" people getting their
tickets. (Editor Note - A brief Ticketmaster rant follows. Skip ahead if
Because this show was not confirmed until 11 days before the performance
date and tickets didn't go on sale until 9 days prior to the show date,
Ticketmaster did not offer snail mail delivery or the relatively new print
your own ticket option. You either pay $15+ for special delivery or use
the Will Call option. I was ordering via the Internet and hadn't
anticipated this so initially went the cheap route. Upon further
consideration I decided this was a mistake at a GA concert and envisioned
a big mess at the venue with perhaps multiple lines depending upon whether
you had your ticket.
Thus later the same day (Saturday, Oct. 19) I sent Ticketmaster an
e-mail requesting a change in my method of ticket delivery. As I had not
received a response by Monday morning I called a local Ticketmaster number
and eventually was able to speak to a live person and arrange for 2-3 day
delivery. Delivery did occur Wednesday, the same day an automated e-mail
response was received from Ticketmaster stating that due to the volume of
e-mail received I would receive a response in another 2-3 days. When I
tried to reply to this e-mail and indicate the problem was resolved, my
message came back as undeliverable. I never did receive the follow-up
message from Ticketmaster. My strong advice is to avoid their e-mail
system and to avoid the Will Call option altogether regardless of the
price of special delivery. Of course the special delivery option is not
One of my line neighbors did exactly what I did starting out specifying
Will Call then switching, in his case, to Delivery by Friday evening.
Friday comes and goes and the tickets are safely delivered - to
Louisville, KY. After considerable and extended hassle (which is no way to
treat a "king") he did get in the concert and the two others in his party
who arrived later eventually got in and had their hands stamped with a
"B" signifying Bob's guest list. I have heard/seen of a number of other
Will Call problems associated with this concert. Nominally free, Will
Call exacts it own high price.
(End of rant)
The second line advance mentioned above and the entry of some people in
line was not related to Will Call but was related to More Money, which
still doesn't talk but swears. For $10 the venue would give you two drink
tickets and let you inside to wait in a bar area and later you supposedly
would be admitted a little early. This was another wrinkle I had not
anticipated and I was loathe to fork over the cash and skeptical about
getting out of the main line. So I went back to the line and briefed my
two line neighbors with whom I had gotten acquainted. ****** (My short
term memory is long gone) from Omaha (we had both seen the August show in
Omaha) seemed reluctant to pay the $10 but then Dave very generously
offered to foot the bill (I will be providing the Eugene boot from the
current tour as a thank you). Amazingly enough, Dave and I had both seen
Dylan and The Band in 1974 in St. Louis.
Only 150 people were supposed to be let in the bar area but that number
was quickly surpassed and my tolerance for claustrophobic and smoky
conditions was soon tested. I was way overdressed (temperature wise) for
an indoor wait. The two beers were not worth the $10 but the use of the
bathroom certainly was. A local restaurant (Sydney's) had earlier provided
free coffee to those in line with the hope of getting some food orders
later. After that and two beers, access to the facilities became very
Officially, Will Call persons were supposed to be able to get their
tickets when the box office opened at 6:30, one hour before show time. It
had been announced while we were in line that Will Call would start to be
processed about 5 pm but of course this did not happen. A single door out
of the bar area finally was opened about 6:30 and the squeeze began in
earnest. I picked a good path and actually made it through pretty quickly
first passing by security then the ticket takers. It was so packed that
searching was minimal or nonexistent Once past this gauntlet people were
proceeding quite calmly. I had just about decided to go straight to the
balcony hoping for the first row but decided to take a look at the main
floor. Surprisingly people at the rail were only about two deep so I got
the spot described above and even though I had gotten separated from my
line neighbors we all ended up about the same spot.
The last hour of waiting went pretty fast. It was interesting watching how
the crowd filled in choosing between the main floor stand up front
section, the farther back sit down section and the balcony. The venue is
quite small (about 2000 persons depending upon the configuration) with a
very nice art deco neon sign out front and nice architectural details
I didn't see the incense being lit, but when the smell hit you knew
things were about to start. I could hear the nearby security person
getting their instructions "No smoking and no cameras" Later I could hear
the venue security guy reporting that he saw a possible camcorder near the
soundboard. Additionally about in the middle of the concert, two of Bob's
principal security guys waded into the crowd directly to about row 3 dead
center. I couldn't determine the object of their concern but I don't think
anybody was escorted out. Interestingly while walking out of the theatre
afterwards I saw a posted sign saying that smokers would be ejected.
The PA sound was not that good but it did not sound like the "Its what's
for dinner" music was being used. The new standard introduction was used
though it also was not totally understandable. Generally the sound was
pretty good considering how far to the right I was. Larry's playing seemed
more prominent this night, which again may be attributable to my location.
I couldn't hear much of George's cymbal work, which I liked a lot on the
Red Bluff and Eugene boots. Overall, with the exception of Tombstone Blues
and Honest With Me, I think that so far I prefer the non-piano live
versions of Dylan's original compositions. Bob did seem to have a good
time on keyboards often hamming it up (on his Hammond?). As with his
guitar playing there were a few discordant notes. I did not see any
evidence of Bob wandering around acting as a bandleader that someone
reported at a prior concert.
The set list was quite good overall though I guess Bob didn't see my
message on rec.music.dylan about Ballad of a Thin Man. I would have
preferred a more uptempo number as the opener. In the Summertime was very
familiar and enjoyable but I wasn't 100% sure it wasn't a cover until I
looked it up later. Things started cooking for me with Tombstone Blues
with the current arrangement being the best I have heard. Both Zevon
covers were faithfully rendered though it wasn't clear that the majority
of the audience recognized them as such. Brown Sugar delivered all that
had been promised by reviewers of previous concerts. Is this the first
time that Bob has allowed Tony to sing? He almost didn't make it to the
microphone in time for his part as his instrument cord was hung up.
Girl of the North Country was a nice change of pace leading into a very
rockin' arrangement of It's Alright Ma which has freshened this number
greatly. As he has recently, after The Times They Are A-Changin he
dedicated the song to Sen. Wellstone thought again his brief comments were
very hard to discern. Drifters Escape rocked hard as it has the last
couple of years and is one of my favorites. It was the only number that he
played the harmonica on and then it was very briefly. It's All Over Now,
Baby Blue had Larry on pedal steel as happened in more songs than typical.
On several songs there was a very nice lighting effect that I had not seen
before. One or more beams of light were projected laterally low across the
front of the stage catching the vertical metal rods of the microphone
stands and most notably of the pedal steel. This can be noticed in one of
the photos I posted. As usual the Dylan lighting personnel did an
excellent job with one exception that is discussed below.
The Neil Young cover was very warmly received. The only time I have seen
Neil in concert was in KC about 25 years earlier. Honest With Me was
another excellent rocker which should stay a staple in the set list.
Simple Twist of Fate was a surprise I believe being played for the first
time on the current leg of the tour. The Kansas City line in High Water
of course was well received.
The absolute high light of the night had to be Summer Days with its
visual antics and frenetic climax bettering the Omaha version I heard in
August. Tony did his new routine of trying to lift his standup bass a
couple of times and play it like a guitar then feigning that he had
injured his back in the process.
The two song encore started with a better version of BITW than I had heard
recently though I still would have preferred Knocking On Heaven's Door.
After the Watchtower conclusion the band assumed the Formation position
again but initially they did it in the dark as someone missed their
lighting cue. If memory serves, Bob was saying something at the very end
but again it was not decipherable. With the exception of the inability to
adequately capture on film some of the incredible visuals present at my
vantage point, this was my best Dylan concert experience yet.
Review by Darrell Lea
When Bob Dylan last played at the Uptown, it was January of 1980. The
building had just been freshly rehabilitated at the time. One would assume
the same could have been said of Bob as well. It was the "Slow Train"
tour, and the old songs had been temporarily dropped from the repertoire
for the new gospel sound.
What a difference twenty-two years can make! The carpeting and
cabaret-style tables have long disappeared from the venue. The theater and
surrounding neighborhood was just rescued from urban decay and old age
AGAIN just a few years ago, and this time around it's a simpler kind of
joint. The main floor area was open standing except under the balcony.
Balcony seating was general admission.
The band took the stage shortly after 7:30PM (to the familiar strains of
Aaron Copelands' "Rodeo"), and immediately launched into a rocking version
of "To Be Alone With You". The visual surprise of seeing Bob front and
center with his piano had been abated somewhat by the arrival of "Rolling
Stone" magazine in my mailbox earlier in the day. The new sound of the
group, however, was I surprise I hadn't really anticipated. Long story
short - this piano thing works! I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more of it
as the shows continue to develop over time. "In The Summertime" sounded
more like The Band to my ears than anything I've heard since "Music From
All in all, it was a very strong show start to finish. The addition of the
cover material seems to have raised the level of focus on stage quite a
bit. "Brown Sugar" rocked harder than any live version I've ever heard the
Stones deliver, and that's a fact! The group seemed to be taking great
pains to get the instrumental breaks on "Accidentally Like A Martyr"
right, and both "Mutineer" and "Old Man" were delivered with power and
Bob and group did well with their own material as well. "It's Alright Ma"
now has a bluesy, loping 6/8 gait to the meter. "Girl of The North
Country" was nice, but sounded suspiciously like "Boots of Spanish
Leather" until the singing started. Whether he changed his mind at the
last moment we'll never know. Larry played some superb steel on "I'll Be
Your Baby Tonight", and his contributions on mandolin and bouzouki/cittern
(or whatever it is he was playing) made quite the difference in the bands'
overall sound. For my taste, the most ordinary moment of the show came
with "Simple Twist of Fate", but that's just personal preference, I guess.
The set ended with a powerful version of "Summer Days", featuring a
rave-up guitar blow-out in the middle that would not quit! Bob almost
"took a knee" during the solos, but managed to stay upright until the song
ended. The encores of "Blowing In The Wind" and All Along The Watchtower"
were almost anticlimactic, but those are some of the "money tunes", so I
suppose it's right to give the folks some of what they came for.
All in all, it was a very good evening out, and one of the better Dylan
shows I've been lucky enough to attend - ten altogether, the first being
in November 1978. If I were a complainer, I suppose I'd have to gripe
about the incredible amount of beer being consumed by the audience. The
overall drunken state of much of the crowd made some of the quieter
moments later in the show a little challenging to hear, but I guess that
says more about the concert going public in general than anything else.
Hey, I got to see Dylan in a small theater again, and was home before
11:00 on a work night. Life is good!
October 30, 2002
Review by Michael Sanditen
We drove up to KC mid afternoon and headed over to the Grand Emporium to
see the scene there and found Harley who had been on tour as a stage
manager. Everyone involved with the tour is so professional and easygoing.
To all those posters bitching and moaning about Ticketmaster and the bar
scene adjacent to the Uptown.....get a life! Who could have asked for a
The show was my fifth one in two years and moments in these shows always
bring a glisten to my eyes. What characters make up this tribe.
Mutineer was a highlight. Did anyone see Warren Zevon on Letterman last
week? Obviously, a musician held in high esteem by great ones. Letterman
discussed Warrens fatal condition with him. Warren made the comment that
over 20 years ago he made choices about his lifestyle and was willing to
live and die with the consequences of his decisions. Such the existential.
His new album is titled "my ride is here". It was a moving show as Dave
gave Zevon over 30 minutes of time unprecedented on this venue.
I thought In the Summertime was awesome as Larry on mandolin displayed
the versatility of his tremendous ability. The last time I heard him so
good on mandolin was in Aspen during This World Can't Stand Long which
reduced me to tears inside such a beautiful outdoor mountain range.
Sugar was a sweet treat.....Old Man was short but strong remiding all us
old guys that we are alot like Bob. To those objecting to the cover
tunes...it is time for Bob to honor others.....he has Hunter/Garcia and a
few others along the way.
Girl of the North Country brought the tears back as it was performed
flawlessly. His tribute to KC during Highwater raised the energy zeitgeist
in the room! Before that, Twist of Fate was delivered in the most
sensitive way. What really amazed me about the concert was the way Bob and
the modern hawks can change the tempo by stealing your face with rock loud
chaos and guitar wars and turn the corner to deliver such softness and
beauty. True magic!
We drove back to Tulsa in the pouring rain and were only saying "wow" on
the tough drive home. Didn't matter a bit that it was 4 hours there and 4
hours back out in the cold rain to see and hear two and a half hours of
history. This is the finest band in the land right now. Magic and joy is
always worth the trip! And the trip continues thanks to Dylan's devotion
to his art form and fellow musicians. He seems to be living the life he
loves and loving the life he lives! Best of all......we get to go along
for the ride.
Michael J. Sanditen
page by Bill Pagel
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