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Review by Mark Rothfuss
I went spent my wonder years in Cincinnati at a typical suburban
school called Anderson High. 3 and 1/2 years ago I left to come to the
University of Kentucky. However, most everyone else took off for Miami
University. Thus, earning it the title "Anderson High of the North." I
approached this semi-class reunion with a great deal of trepidation. Sure,
some of the cooler people I knew would be there, but what shocked me was
that everybody I knew was there. EVERYBODY! The very people who laughed at
Bob, and mocked my enthusiasm, as juniors or freshman, have suddenly began
worshipping him like a God, or at least like a Jerry Garcia. I'm not sure if
this is a result of their maturing, or their collegiate enlightenment, or
what. But it was certainly a night of "I told you so's!" on my part. There
was one person that I didn't see, that I was hoping I would. My SAD-eyed
lady of the lowlands. I wonder if she still has the Bob tape I made her
back in 95.
Ok, enough of that. Onto the review. Phil Lesh attracted more neo-hippies,
than a load of steaming sh** attracts flies. I don't wanna be judge mental,
because I'm sure he and his friends are fine musicians, but I really, really
miss Paul. I had a floor tix, right on the isle and was bumped and bruised
several times through out both acts as doped up wanna-be-hippies spun out of
control in their decapitated-chicken dances. Who do these idiots think they
are fooling? Dylan was not a hippy, nor is he currently a hippy. Point is,
the atmosphere was less than perfect for full show enjoyment...way to many
distractions. Im all for having a good time. I mean I am only 22, but at
least they could try listening to the music for one or two songs.
Bob opened with a solid I am the Man, Thomas. I'm quite familiar with this
song now, and I really enjoy it. It got the very young crowd up on their
feet, where they stayed for the ENTIRE show.
Mr. Tambourine was pretty good. Decent phrasing. Nothing spectacular. As
usual he dropped a verse, and there was some confusion on the lyrics. But
that's what makes Bob so Bob.
Masters of War was very well received, and done with painstaking care. Very
delicate vocals, which accentuate the undeniable edge of the lyrics. It is
Baby Blue...not a personal live favorite, yet done with some dedication
tonight. There are about a million songs i'd rather have heard, but the
Dylanesque phrasing on the verses made it worthwhile.
Tangled Up in Blue...Up until this point, I thought the show was moving
along rather sluggishly. After all, the last three songs can fairly be
called "slow songs." However, Bob was down right inspired on TUIB. Of the 28
versions Ive personally witnessed live in the last 3 years, this was by far
the best. In fact, with the exception of the Real Live version...this could
be the very best of all. Perfect in every way! He was on top of it
lyrically, vocally, musically, and, errr..."harmonically." Incendiary! Hard
to believe that a song so often played, and so often heard can on some
nights be the jewel of the set list. We got both the "mind was slippin away"
verse, and a divinely raw harmonica solo at the end.
Watching the River Flow...at first I didn't recognize it. They seem to be
using a new intro riff, that sounds more like "pillbox" or even "RDW."
However, with the legendary opening line I fell directly into Bob's groove.
Bob was a-dancin' and I was a-rockin'. Very well done!
Masterpiece...didn't see this comin'. It was not particularly well
rehearsed, but the feel of it was undeniable. Very loose and very mellow.
Bob was all over the map on the lyrics...but I loved the "Oh, what I'd give
for one more rum and coca-cola" variation. Im not sure what he's trying to
tell us...any interpretations are welcome. He closed by saying, "That was my
ode to perfection." Hilarious!!
Memphis Blues...AGAIN! Arghhh, Ive seen this at almost every show this year
and it keeps getting lazier. He completely botched the first verse, and
bailed on the song halfway through. The band looked a little confused
throughout. Sometimes I wish that if he has to play crowd pleasers, he would
at least pretend to care.
Not Dark Yet, on the other hand, was delightful. Done very similar to the
album, and consequently most live performances...it was a very nice moment.
The crowd really seemed to enjoy the "Don't even remember what I came here
to get away from" line. I guess everybody has TOOM by now.
HWY 61...was HWY 61.
Band intros...I cant remember if these were before or after HWY 61. He told
a joke of sorts...here is the jist-
"Last night Larry stubbed his toe. He stubbed his toe. So, we called a tow
truck. They never showed up."
Then he introduced David Kemper. "on the drums, David Kemper. He's allright.
(pause) You guys know him."
Forgive my inaccuracy, but I forgot my notebook. Anyway, his delivery was
perfect. He's a funny guy, you know.
Love Sick...was also well received by the very young crowd. Spooky, and to
Like A Rolling Stone...like TUIB earlier in the night, this oft-heard number
was exceptional. Since, they've added Charlie this song has taken a new and
much better direction than in years past. His quasi-mike bloomfield riff,
really drives it home. Bob was hard to sing along with, but actually not too
hard. From the highest rows, I could hear screams of "How does it feeeeeel."
Blowin in the wind...same as usual. A bit sub-par. Bob and band were a
little out of sync...particularly, when they had to sing together.
Not Fade Away...probably, my favorite closing number. There is something
undeniably cool about Bob singing this at the end of every show. It seems
like he is really trying to make a point, that he "Aint a goin' nowhere." It
rocked, as always! My heart is still pounding.
All in all, I'd give this show a solid B. Could have been better had the
neo-hippies stayed home, but that's not Bob's fault. The set list was pretty
good, the singing was at times inspired, and the overall feel was very
casually cool. Worth getting the cd-r or tape, for TUIB and Masterpiece.
Thanks everybody and look for my Ohio State review next week,
Review by Bob
WARNING --- The remainder of this review is biased and subjective with little or no
technical content. My qualifications consist of 6 concerts in the past 2 years and a very
modest collection of cdrs, tapes and videos that penetrate my brain all day every day.
I was in Shock, Paralyzed and my brains melted when i heard the first notes of When I Paint
My Masterpiece. There are songs i hope He plays, there are songs i know He will never play
and then there are songs that i don't even have hope to hope about. Anyway, the other people
near me saw quite a site i'm sure during this song.
Songs that made me crazy -
Stuck Inside Mobile - i just can't help it, but that song blew my mind and made me dance
like a crazy man. But people around me had ample warning because i told someone bouncing
spastically during the Phil Lesh show to wait an hour and a half and they will see some
funny looking old guy doing the same thing.
Highway 61 -- Always.
Songs that melted my brains but didn't paralyze me:
Baby Blue -- Larry Campbell doing a magnificent job on the lap steel(i would like to know if
that is the correct name for the instrument)
Not Dark Yet -- another (not unexpected) "masterpiece"
And in the "learning to like better" category
Masters of War -- blistering toward the end
Tangled Up in Blue -- I really heard the vocals this time.
First timers for me
I Am The Man, Thomas -- outstanding
Watching the River Flow -- personal favorite
The rest of the show was a privilage to to see and i am thankful that i can be present to
hear what Bob has to say. (I only drove 10 hours round trip this time)
And for Phil Lesh fans i will try again next week at East Lansing and Columbus. I did enjoy
Alabama Getaway and one or two others i don't know the names of.
Review by Joe Cox
Here's another of my off-again, on-again series of Dylan reviews. This was not a good day
for me. The tickets got misplaced and only the extreme kindness of a girl at the venue got
me into the show. Also, I should have had a tape of this fine show, but (for the Cliffs
notes version) something went pretty wrong! I was late in arriving because of the missing
tickets and thus I missed the beginning of Lesh's set. Not that I'm complaining! Lesh did
sound pretty nice, but I'm not the biggest fan of that style of music- maybe it says
something really negative about me, but I prefer the Paul Simon sort of opener myself. Lesh
was technically sound and actually sounded pretty inspired (at least, for the part of the
show I saw), but rambling jams aren't my idea of a good time really. I do have to give him
kudos for a fine "Alabama Getaway". The Deadheads were out in full effect "dancing" in the
aisles throughout his set. Phil finished a few minutes after 9 and we got the usual half
hour delay for Bob graced us with his presence.1)I Am the Man, Thomas I really love
this song! I saw the first performance of it and it's become a definite favorite of mine.
Any of those old Stanley Brothers hymns is a keeper in my book. I would've probably enjoyed
"Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie" a little more; if nothing else because it seems like these days
when he plays that one, you know you'll get a good show. Bob was looking fine as usual
in his nice dark suit... his hair was a little messed up, but other than that, he looked
like his usual self. This was the typical strong performance that I've heard of this song;
Larry and Charlie filled in nicely with the backing vocals. Always a good start to a
show.2)Mr. Tambourine Man This one quickly eased me back into reality. I've heard
"Tambourine Man" about as many times as I'd really like to. Still, it doesn't really grate
on me as much as some of the more predictable songs do. Basically my barometer on this song
is "Does Bob play harp?" If he breaks out the harp, it really gets memorable. He didn't
break out the harp. It was a pretty solid performance, but nothing
earth-shattering.3)Masters of War UGH! Again, not a favorite of mine. I much prefer
"It's Alright Ma" or "Desolation Row" in this slot. I wasn't too impressed with the large
numbers of deadheads who were dancing in the aisles to this one. I mean really; I can see
dancing to "T-Man" but "Masters of War"? Such a danceable song; "I hope that you die"
Review by Joe
First of all I must say Oxford is more out in the middle of nowhere than I
expected. It took over an hour to get there from Dayton! Anyway...We got
held up a little bit by Miami homecoming traffic but not too bad. Made it
into Millett Hall at about 7:00. I bought a concert poster and the 3 bumper
sticker set before the show so they wouldn't sell out on me. Our seats were
at the back of the arena directly in front of the stage (slightly to the
left). Not great seats but Millett isn't that huge a place. Lesh came on at
about 7:45 and played for about 90 minutes. I must say Lesh was
disappointing. Not horrible but I found myself rather bored and ready for
him to finish so I could get ready for Bob. Lesh did play a nice Alabama
Getaway. Bob came on stage at about 9:45 and by this time we had moved our
seats so we were directly off to the left of the stage, MUCH better seats!!!
I Am The Man Thomas- I had never heard this song and must say I enjoyed it
and it worked well as an opener. A short, simple and rockin' song.
Mr. Tambourine Man- Great version of this song. Same as when I heard it back
in February. I would have to say this was the highlight of the show for me.
Very slow sincere version. Bob's vocals were sounding great.
Masters of War- Very slow, serious version...nice.
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue- First time for me live! Reminded me a lot of
how he sang Tambourine Man (above), very nice.
Watching the River Flow- I really like this song live, not much else to say
When I Paint My Masterpiece- Big surprise! I immediately recognized this
song and was thrilled! Again a very slow serious song. He modified the
lyrics to say "Oh to be back in the land where I could have just one more
Roman Coca-Cola". At the end of this song he said "That was my ode to
Tangled Up In Blue- As always, the crowd favorite. From my view I could see
the entire crowd dancing, everyone was really into this song and he finished
it with a tremendous harp solo lasting at least a couple minutes.
Stuck in Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again- I was very glad to hear this
one, I'd been listening to Blonde on Blonde all day leading up to the show.
Not Dark Yet- Very good vocals on this one and one of my favorites from Time
Out of Mind.
At this point Bob introduced the band. He said "Larry almost didn't make it
tonight, he smashed his toe...we called a tow truck but it never came."
Highway 61 Revisited- Bob rocked on this song as usual, the whole arena must
have been shaking.
Lovesick- A Dylan concert wouldn't seem right to me anymore without Love Sick.
Like a Rolling Stone- Another big crowd pleaser.
Blowin' in the Wind
Not Fade Away
Another really good Dylan show! Can't wait to see him again on Wednesday!!!
Review by Debra M.
The weather was gorgeous and the fall foliage was at its peak. It was Parents
Weekend and a poorly-planned parade route held up traffic en route to
Millett Hall. Other than that obstacle---the parking facilities overflowing
with flower-children-a new generation and baby-boomers lost in time (I am
sure some Deadheads-although I was never a follower of the Grateful
Dead---Phil Lesh was enjoyable-whole group was pleasant enough---played
hard-perhaps they should re-group as the GRATEFUL ALIVE---since his liver
transplant and their obviously new family values---noted by Mrs. Lesh and
young children sitting on the sidelines).Now on to the main attraction----
crowd appeared to be capacity-10,000 or so. I won't go into the songs as the
set list is there. Voice was strong-band seemed together. I think Tony keeps
things humming along in the background but always seems to be
watching/directing to assure a flow to it all. At the time of band intros we
got treated to more of Bob's "dixie cup" humor----something like Larry
messed up his toe the other night---we called the tow truck but it never
showed up-----then after David was introduced the Deadhead crowd gave him a
little extra "hoot and holler" and he said "Yeah, he's alright". I believe
after Masters of War he said " that was my ode to perfection". He was
quite talkative---several "thank-yous"----but not smiling as some of the
past shows. Several people in "the fan club"seating area had only one
complaint and that would be wanting to hear more from TOOM. Those songs are
so poignant and he appears to enjoy doing them---voice strong and clear and
so very meaningful for so many. I have been convinced for awhile now that
some of those "rushed along incoherent songs" he is tired of doing but yet
someone always wants to hear HWY 611111111111111111111 GROWLED OUT. If Elvis
were alive I am sure we would have to suffer through "All Shook Up" a few
dozens times so that is just to be taken in stride. Dylan wouldn't even have
to sing-just show up and make us smile with the silly little jokes and the
fact that he must want to do it---remember this is the only life he has
known for 40 years---the traveling troubadour giving inspiration to now
another generation and helping the rest of us "keep on keepin'on". Hi to
Robby and Jude---thanks for listening !
Review by Mark Young
After viewing about 10 shows over the last 3 years, (including 2 at the El Rey
in L.A. and a Madison Square Garden "blast"), I'm truly amazed at how Bob
keeps improving. A few years ago in Dayton, about 1,200 saw what I thought
was a great show, with good musicianship and enthusiasm. Last night there
must have been over 10,000 in Oxford, OH, (not "Oxford Town, Oxford Town" in
MS), for what was an even better performance that, in the end, had most
dancing in the aisles. It started a little restrained but by the time I heard
the words "The streets of Rome are filled with rubble...." and realized he was
singing "When I Paint My Masterpiece", I knew it was a special night. (I
strained to hear the "...got me a date with Botticelli's niece..." line but
somehow missed it!) His harp in "Tangled" started to turn the fans on and
"Highway 61" rocked with guitar interplay that was tight and fast. It was
nice to see phrasing that seems to be improving on pieces like "Blowing" and
"Masters of War". In the past he might have blurred and garbled his way
through these pieces -- but not the Bob of the late '90's. You gotta love
his closing with "Not Fade Away"....you could tell he enjoyed it. All in all,
a memorable show. Maybe shake things up a bit and take out "Mobile" and throw
in "Series of Dreams" or "Grains of Sand" for perfection.
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