page by Bill Pagel
Review by Donald Romundson
I was at the Brown County Arena the last time Dylan played there in 1994.
Dylan was wearing motorcycle boots then, and the black leather vest. He
wasn't at the height of his popularity during that period. World Gone
Wrong was ignored by most of the general populace (and still is), and a
lot of people were still claiming they were avoiding his concerts because
of bad experiences in the 80's. I recall thinking that he had a very
young band. (If I'm not mistaken, Larry was in the band at that time).
At any rate, the concert was really good, although not even close to sold
out. Maybe that's why it took him seven years to come back.
Last night, there were considerably more folks in attendance, and a good
showing of university students. A lot of people wondered why Bob played
in Green Bay at all, but I was just glad to get another opportunity to see
I do not subscribe to the view that Dylan concerts are to be rated.
Without exception, every Dylan concert I have seen since 1994 has been
magical in some fashion. I find that there are nuances or features of
every concert that bring renewed awe and respect. That has continued
through this current Wisconsin swing: I felt we were treated with
something special in La Crosse, Milwaukee, and also Green Bay, with each
having its own special aspect.
It seems to me that Dylan concerts are not something to rank, they are
like different facets of a diamond. Every concert shows a different
sparkle, the diamond simply turning in the light to show different hues.
Ranking Dylan concerts is like ranking colors, it can be done but its not
really relevant. Not to say all shows are the same, but so much positive
comes from seeing Dylan in these days that I simply go whenever it is
As usual, there were a few turns and twists last night. First of all, Bob
did not begin the show with Wait For The Light To Shine. And a real treat
for me was hearing Song To Woody in the second spot. Bob played a real
inspired version and it was clear from the outset that the tone was going
to be much different than the previous several shows.
And, I have never seen Bob perform Its Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding),
and was really looking forward to hearing that song. I thought the
version of that song last night, as well as I Want You (featuring a great
pedal steel by Larry) were the highlights of the evening. By the way,
Larry and Charlie were superb last night. (Charlie was wearing these cool
tan cowboy boots). (*Check out his production of Lucinda Williams'
I am also beginning to really like Masters of War. Bob played an acoustic
version of that song in 1994, and it didn't do that much for me, but the
last few concerts have found me really changing my mind.
Bob also played Moonlight two nights in a row. In Milwaukee, his voice
was soft and high, and really sweet. I read the review in the paper the
next day, and they said he sounded like Bing Crosby. I cannot disagree.
That was one of those sparkling moments where Bob really impressed me with
the tenderness of his voice, a facet that he doesn't reveal so much these
The real kick was at the end, however. Bob played three encores. In
Green Bay no less. I thought as the show progressed, the crowd grew in
appreciation. Bob seemed to become more energized and playful, sometimes
taking a few quick lunges ahead like a fencer with his stratocaster, or
taking on the high notes with the harp with extra fervor, like on Wicked
Messenger. Ending the first set with Wicked Messenger and Highway 61
sufficiently aroused both the crowd and the band, and I think a lot of
people who had never seen Bob were truly amazed at how well he could rock.
It was great to see Bob come back for the second encore, and then a third.
The cheers for Bob at each juncture were outstanding. I heard so many
people after the show talking about how great the harmonies were on
Knocking On Heaven's Door, and also on Blowin In The Wind. Again, I think
there were many people who were amazed that Bob Dylan has such a broad
base of talents, encompassing such a wide range of musical styles and
Green Bay is building a new arena, and the old Brown County arena is
probably going down soon. But the old place with its poor acoustics, and
ceiling panels falling down sure was a good place to see Bob Dylan last
night. Bob with his black and white cowboy boots twisting into that
checkerboard stage. And the band as tight as I have ever heard them.
And despite hearing deafening cheers night after night, Bob is still
clearly having a good time, and still seems to really appreciate it when
people truly enjoy his art. And they truly enjoyed his art last night.
We are incredibly fortunate to have such a man in our midst. There are no
bad experiences these days at a Dylan concert. Only a man who has
rediscovered what is real.
Review by Bob Fresen
The show that Bob & Band put on in Green Bay was a winner. My wife & I
stood up the whole time back by the sound board and danced quite a bit.
The new and old songs flowed together nicely and the crowd loved it. It’s
quite a treat for us in this little, old, mid-western, great lakes town(an
area probably much like the one Robert Zimmerman grew up in) to get to see
one of the all time masters, Bob Dylan.
Its hard not to compare this Dylan show to Dylan shows seen in the past.
I first saw him perform at a 1975 Rolling Thunder Review Show in Boston.
In my mind, nothing will ever match-up to the energy and intensity of the
younger Bob Dylan at that show(“you can come back, but you can’t come back
all the way”). He came out in white face with a big white cowboy hat.
His rendition of “Isis”(I don’t know if he does that song anymore) was so
powerful that I thought he was going to explode. The duos with Joan Baez
were priceless. Of course, those days are gone forever and the next time
I saw Dylan was in 1999 in Milwaukee exactly two years ago with this band.
It was a good solid show with some real jewels like “Not Dark Yet” and
“Every Grain of Sand”. But I felt sorry for the young people at the that
never had the chance to see him at his peak in the Rolling Thunder Review.
Anyway, I put on my white face with a pencil thin mustache in black and my
white cowboy hat (it was the day before Halloween) and went over the Brown
County Arena in the rain.
Like most of you, I have been following the set-lists for the current tour
on Bill Pagel’s excellent Dylan Links site. So I was tripped up by
Dylan’s opener of “Humming Bird” ‘cause I was expecting “Waiting For The
Light To Shine.” In fact I didn’t recognize the song at all but it had
some good lines about a train. I figured all the train tracks that cross
Green Bay had inspired Dylan that day to do something different. “Song to
Woody” was awesome. I had always wanted to hear that one. “Till I Fell
in Love With You”, a nice blues number, was a pleasant surprise. It had
some lyrics about the rain falling so I kind of related it to the day’s
weather. Another song that was a bit of a mystery was “Fourth Time
Around”. It had a such a Beatles-esk feel to it that I mistakenly
thought it was a Beatles tune (Norwegian Wood). Bob & the boys really
gave this song a magical quality that seemed to put a spell on the crowd.
Highlights of the night included “Masters of War” and “Mississippi”. This
is just a fantastic song on which they had some blue back-up lighting that
had a Grateful Deadish look. “Things Have Changed” made a great first
encore. The rendition of “Like A Rolling Stone” just blew me away and I
found myself singing at the top of my lungs “how does it feeeeeeeeeeel!”.
It felt great! Thank you Mr. Dylan for a magical night of diversion in
a world gone wrong.
By Bob Fresen
Review by Sharon
THE SOUND took form right from the first note til the last, and this,
their creation, both stayed with them, and flowed out from them. They
played as one. And each nurtured the sound with his own unique strengths,
and they beheld it and shared it among themselves in their eyes, even as
they shared it with us. And it was not staid, but kept its strength as it
rolled and showed the many views of its beauty.
Sensitive slower songs, like Song to Woody, Searchiní, or Donít Think
Twice,were every bit as vibrant as blistering rockers like Summer Days and
Wicked Messenger. The different timbre of each guitar as they played off
one other complemented each other exquisitely, acoustic against jazzy
electric (as in, fuh rinstance,the seductive If Dogs Run Free), squawking
against smooth (as in the scorcher Honest with Me), two out of so many.
And the bandís great pickiní, powerhouse harmonies and rhythms set the
perfect counterpart to Bob's sensitive vocals and lyrics, both of which we
all hold so dear, however they grow. Love and theft, roots and
avant-garde, classics reborn, thrill of the new.
- Nice undercurrent with the bow on the bass fiddle in Itís Alright Ma. -
Cry A While would have made Willie Dixon jump up and shout (Lawdy, I think
he did!) - A lovely, flowing 4th Time Around - Highway 61: besides the
percussion perfection against strong multiple guitar sound, seemed I heard
a wonderful horn section mixed in. - Things Have Changed: the vocal seemed
to me to go back to some 100 plus year old gospel feeling. Wow!
Bob spoke and smiled early on - after Til I Fell. Yeah! (I couldnít make
out the words. ) Did his share of lead guitar - I like it. Picked up his
harmonica off and on throughout, sat down and blew it on the sensuous
Moonlight. After a fresh Blowiní in the Wind, with moving three-part
harmony, he spoke again to a crowd section and gave a thumbs up. They gave
us three encores! And they left us at Heavenís Door - with much crowd
participation. Yes, great crowd.
Well, this account skips all over. But these are not ìmy highlightsî -
just a few illustrations. Highlights? Every song...from the first note til
the last! To call anything a highlight from this incredible evening would
be to neglect something else. Not a single misstep. Do I sound easy to
please? Iím not at all. Any song I wish they had played? Absolutely not.
Changes? That I call living art being formed before my eyes. I did get my
wish of last year to hear new songs live. But every old song was as if new
- also fulfilling! Okay, yeah, Iíd love to hear Bob at the piano. Maybe
...til the last note, and after.
When the house lights went back on, students Steve and Zak, whom Iíd met
waiting in line, (I think I met two of the greatest guys there) well,
their faces beamed like they might glow in the dark. I squeezed their
arms, gushing and babbling, then we parted, hoping thereís a next time
around. And the fair-haired, dredded Emily, another line acquaintance, who
had started out patient but glowing, as she read her philosophy homework
in the afternoon drizzle (I couldnít resist drawing that), and whose eyes
and smile had grown wider and wider as showtime approached, her arms like
wings at her sides jumping her up and down, again looked like she could
take flight any second. Outside, afternoonís drizzle had become nightís
mist, but warmer now. Then drove back to the comforting Lake roar.
And after. What then? Iíll keep it with mine. Big medicine, this,
viewing the tip of Kandinskyís pyramid. We got quite the dose, there in
I'm still babbling, huh?
Review by Mike Cool
page by Bill Pagel
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