St. Paul, Minnesota

Xcel Energy Center
October 29, 2006

[Scott Lyson]

Review by Scott Lyson

One of the benefits in living in Bob Dylan's homestate is that at his
concerts you get the chance to hear him say something. Which apparently
doesn't happen elsewhere. Never thought though that the crowd would be
cheering for more cowbell though...

The first time I saw Dylan in concert he opened with Tombstone Blues, the
second time, Drifter's Escape both great rockers to open a show. Last
Sunday he opened with one of the first songs he ever played live
electrified, another great rocker in Maggie's Farm. Right away the band
was top-notch and Dylan was on his A-game. She Belongs to Me was the only
song I didn't immediately recognize. Good song, didn't do too much for me.
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum though, awwwww yeah, one of my favorite Dylan
songs. Superb guitar work with Denny Freeman and Stu Kimball trading blues
licks througout. Sitting dead center in the arena some 8 rows back was
great,  could see Dylan's facial expressions and a good look at the
fantastic guitarwork of Denny Freeman. When I saw this band last year I
recall Stu and Denny sharing in the lead guitar duties, but Denny has
stepped up and he has solidified himself as the lead guitarist.

"Let's go!" Dylan says and the band goes into the first new song off of
Modern Times. When the Deal Goes Down proved that the new songs were going
to be awesome songs to hear performed live. It's a very mellow song on the
album, but this fabulous band makes it a great loud song live. Some in the
audience did sit down as it is a softer song, but they were quickly back
on their feet when the band got in to the great groove of It's Alright, Ma
(I'm Only Bleeding). Simple Twist of Fate got a huge reaction, especially
when Dylan played a great solo on his harp.

This is where things were kicked up a few nothches. Rollin' and Tumblin'
got the crowd up dancing. One of Denny's finest moments. His guitar
playing, his slide and blues licks blew me away. Dylan's singing on this
was great as well, putting emphasis on his new set of lyrics for this
classic. After a great ovation for the blues rocker, most of the crowd
seated itself for the quieter, yet chilling Masters of War.

The next three songs were part of my "Highlight 3". At most concerts I
attend somewhere in the middle of the set are a trio of songs that blow me
away. Springsteen, McCartney, and Dylan most notably have done this. Dylan
did it again tonight starting with a song I really didn' expect to hear. A
great rock version of Tangled Up in Blue. Everyone really responded to it,
a classic radio hit. Even got a reaction from the younger teens in the
crowd, which didn't know a lot of what was being played. Next was another
song I certaintly didn't plan on hearing but we were treated to another
highlight, the fantastic Don't Think Twice, It's Alright. I knew what the
next song would be, of course, one Dylan's best. The Minnesota inspired
Highway 61 Revisited. Last time I saw him he played a much slower version
of Highway 61, but this time it was back up tempo and always glad to hear
it. Denny's guitar work never ceasing to impress.

Nettie Moore was another new song and it sounded great live. Kinda hoping
to hear Workingman Blues #2, but wasn't dissappointed. After Nettie Moore
a fan screamed "Visions of Johanna! We love you Bobby!" Then the last song
of the set was another favorite live tune from Love and Theft. Great old
time rocker Summer Days really got the crowd moving. That was it for the
set. The band left in the dark. During the concert a few people were
asking why Dylan's eye logo wasn't a back drop. We soon found out why.

The band were back for a three song encore started by the new classic
Thunder on the Mountain. Right when the band started playing the eye
backdrop unraveled itself to an extra boost of applause. There's no doubt
that Thunder on the Mountain deserves an encore slot, it's a magnificent
song and fit very nicely as it lead into the greatest rock song of all
time. Like a Rolling Stone. That's all you need to say. Greatest rock song
of all time. Before my favorite live song, All Along the Watchtower, Dylan
introduced his "best band of all time". His band includes George Recile on
drums and Donny Herron on pedal steel and violin and mandalin.  Before
singing Watchtower he said "One of us was born in St. Joseph's Hospital.
See if you can guess who." The answer is St. Paul native bass player Tony
Garnier. For a few lines Dylan voice would echo, which works very well on
songs like Cold Irons Bound, but I didn't really care for it on
Watchtower. Awesome solos from Freeman. After the song fin ished the band
assembled in the middle of the stage for a nice pose. Dylan dressed is his
black cowboy attire. The rest of the band dressed in gray suits with black
hats, Recilie in a black shirt and gray hat. The band left and the lights
go out. As I was headed out a few guys were commenting on Tony's bass
playing. One saying he was going to form a fan club for the bass player.
Dylan and his band put on a wondeful show!

The best of the three Dylan concerts I've been too. The Foo Fighters
opened the show with an acoustic set which was quite enjoyable. I'm not at
all familiar with the Foo Fighters but I enjoyed their set. Dave Grohl is
a funny guy and did quite a bit of chatting with the crowd. It was the
first time I guess that Dave was wearing a suit jacket for a concert.
Trying not to appear like a bleeping blank at a Dylan concert. As he was
introducing the band the players would take a little solo. So when he
introduced the percussionist, the mention of cowbells got a roar from the
crowd. So I was treated to a dancing cowbell solo. No way I saw that
coming. It was a fun set no doubt. Dylan's singing this night was
unexplicably easy to dechiper. I noticed his new keyboard which he played
quite often as an organ. He's fun to watch, smiling at his band and
dancing around his keyboard. Making gestures with his head moving to the
music. Once laughing, spitting on his keys. They were having fun and s o
was I. Excellent show, memorable experience!!


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