October 31, 2009
Review by Oscar Montes
Great day! Last Thursday I met the coolest man in Chicago, even that he’s from
Madison, Jack, who heard a conversation I was having with a woman and he
remembered my name from the reviews of last year’s Bob shows in Mexico. He
invited me to a pre-show party today in Chicago and I met a lot of great hard
core Bob fans, like Ed & Michelle, Susan & Al, Judd, Jay, Keith, Denise, etc.
Thank you Jack, without you it would’ve never been possible!
Halloween night for last Bob show in Chicago, a lot of people in the streets
wearing customs, and a lot of them wearing them in the Aragon Ballroom, that was
The show, four nights in Illinois and four different openings, today it was the
time for Gonna change my way of thinking, wonderful beginning for this night!
Then Lay, Lady, Lay with Bob on guitar; the crowd just loved it. The first song
of the night from Together through life, Beyond here lies nothing’, great
performance. A great surprise was next, To Ramona with Bob on harp, very like a
waltz rhythm but it was so great! It’s all good was the following, we were
having a lot of fun in the audience while Bob was performing this song! The
lonesome death of Hattie Carroll was a highlight, a lot of people were expecting
Bob to sing it! Once again Cold irons bound made all the Chicago people go
crazy, great harp of Bob. This dream of you was a little bit slow but it was
great to listen to.
Then it came a wonderful moment when Bob passed the leading of the show to Stu
Kimball, so he could play some seconds a song to the audience; I really don’t
know what song it was but it wasn’t Bob’s. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum with Bob on
keyboard then moving to center stage with harp was nice. Forgetful Heart with
Bob on harp and center stage was so great, wonderful, I must admit I was waiting
for him to sing it in this tour!
The highlight of the night for me was Highway 61 revisited, I know that in every
review they say it was so powerful and a lot of energy but tonight’s was more
than that, was beyond and more, wonderful! Workingman’s blues #2 with Bob on
center stage and harp was sweet and nice. Then it came the time for a great
Thunder on the mountain, people dancing once again Rock n’ roll on the floor!
Ballad of a thin man with Bob on harp and center stage was next, the crowd also
loves this song.
The encore, Like a rolling stone, great performance, we enjoyed it a lot!
Jolene, great Rock n’ roll. Bob finish the show with All along the watchtower,
as powerful as the nights before!
I hope I can make it to some more Bob shows next year! If it happens in Chicago
it would be great! I have to go back to Mexico City next Monday. Thanks to all
the guys I met this week in the wonderful City, thanks to some of my family who
lives here, and thank you Bob, thank you for your music and for making me change
the way I see life.
Review by Dave Moyer
Jovial Bob Reaches into Bag of Tricks for Unforgettable Show
I believe this is the third time I have seen Bob on Halloween, but never
have I seen such a happy-go-lucky, devil-be-damned Bob. Whatever shows may have
been in the top five before, sorry former number five, you are out. This one
was a real keeper.
I saw the set list from Friday and thought, oh, “Every Grain of Sand”, I
missed it. Never mind. Plenty of other songs last night. “Gonna Change My Way
of Thinking” opened it. When I saw he was opening with this song rather
frequently, I recalled the hard driving version song from *The Gospel Songs of
Bob Dylan* and hoped that when it was my turn, I would be fortunate to get it,
and I did. And I must say, sometimes you can tell from the opener, you are in
for a “treat” that night—well, were we ever.
They rocked. Even a song I never felt the need to hear live, “Tweedle Dee
and Tweedle Dum” was excellent. Songs like “It’s All Good” were transformed
into rocking delights.
Typical crowd pleasers like “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Thunder on the
Mountain” and the standard “Like a Rolling Stone” were elevated to new
levels. To go on would sound too much like a Bob fan gushing over Bob, but I’m
not kidding—it was that good. “Ballad of a Thin Man” in the final spot before
the encores is tremendous. We may not know what’s happening, but we know enough
to like it.
I almost feel sorry for Stu and Donnie, who disappear into their
complimentary roles as Charlie’s return is heralded by us Bob-junkies, but
make no mistake—as Bob’s muse, he is unparalleled. Can that guy play or
what? He seemed to do by himself what three guitars were doing in the
“glory years” of 2000-2002. Welcome back and don‘t ever leave again, you
The band was clad in leather, and never before have I seen the
shoulder-shrugging, center stage-strutting Dylan so animated and obviously
enjoying himself. They laughed amongst themselves continuously throughout
the night, and yes, Bob spoke. I swear he did. Twice. First, he
introduced his special guest Tom Waits, who turned out to be Stu, who took
the mic to sing a verse of a song entitled “Jesus Gonna Be Here”. Then, he
tried again to welcome another guest, Willie Nelson, but it appeared that he
could not coax Tony, of all people, to play along with the gag, and they moved
My running buddy Dave and I enjoyed our usual unexpected occurrences. What Bob
excursion could be complete without them? This may have topped our trip to the
Val Aire in Des Moines, which upon arrival, appeared to resemble an Elks’ Club,
or our 14-hour drive back from Cape Girardeau, in which Dave, in the passenger
seat, woke up just in time to wake me up so that we collectively missed the semi
to our right. This time, we met a visitor from Milan, Italy, who was seeing his
80th Bob Dylan concert. Oh, I felt so small to admit that I was only on number
28. But this did not take place until after we shared nachos at a nearby gay
bar. Dave saying to me, “Dave, I think this is a gay bar.” And I, confirming
his speculation after returning from the bathroom and reporting back that an
autographed picture of Greg Loughanis adorned the wall above the urinal. We can
laugh about it now.
So move aside Springfield, the Kohl Center, World Music Theater, we need
more room for this Aragon show to stand beside you. Just release the live
CD and DVD of this show now and be done with it.
Review by Charles Cicirella
Tricks & Treats 10/31/2009
First night was really good (quite possibly even great) - the second night was
most certainly great bordering on truly sublime - the third night was completely
off the rails!!!!!!!!!!! Some of the many highlights the first night were Girl
Of The North Country, Beyond Here Lies Nothin', Workingman's Blues. The second
night Leopard Skin, Man In Me, Sugar Baby, Cold Irons, Honest With Me all
grabbed me by the throat, but it was Every Grain Of Sand that I will never
forget. It was one of those Bob moments that is instantly etched into your heart
forever! In all honesty though there were no clunkers the entire run. The third
night though Bob truly stepped out of the dark wood and jumped on the monkey's
back. If you have yet to experience Change and are wondering just how truly great
it is well let me tell you mere (mortal) words could never come even a teensy bit
close to the venom-soaked-sonic-liberation this opener packs. I was saved from the
world and all its man-in-peace-empty-institutional-conditional-unmade bed-nightmares
when Bob gave unto us this sermon from on high (I say from on high because the
stage was at least ten feet high and I'd guess even taller than that). Last night's
Bob was a Bob I have not experienced since I'd say the mid to late nineties. He
was completely dialed in of course but he was also loose as a goose and clearly
having a whopping' good time. The Tom Waits trick (Go Stu!) was hilarious (and I
was one of the many I'm sure who thought Tom would actually come out) and then
later he announced another special guest Willie Nelson with Tony and everyone
looking around for Willie and then waving goodbye to him - it was fun and really
surreal (someone said the band was even playing some of a Willie song during
this bizarro moment). I loved during Stu's "Tom moment" how Bob came walking up
behind Stu like Bob was gonna go "BOO" and scare him! Another reason I say last
night was a Bob I remember from the mid to late nineties is because you never
knew what was going come next. I swear the vibe was like anything was possible.
I'd not heard Forgetful Heart during the ballpark shows and man that vocal and
harp chilled me to the bone. Every song was a moment of heart wrenching
meditation and searing power punched mayhem and I will never be the same again!
Quickly I have to mention the stellar job Jam did all three days keeping the
whole GA Line thing running smoothly. I have never seen a more classy and
orderly operation than Jam and when they're at the helm you know you're in great
hands - they never disappoint. Thank you Andre for actually caring about us and
making sure our experience came off without a hiccup. When Jam is in the house
it's all good.
Comments by Kevin Carolan
I was wrong !!!! He did raise the dead. Quite simply the most enjoyable
Dylan show it has ever been my privalege to witness, a riot from start to
finish, One small point, Bob did not play keyboard on Stu'shilarious Tom
Waits spoof .Bob was like everyone else was helpless with laughter.
Review by Al from New Hampshire
first two nights were so-so. acoustics at the Aragon are harsh. that plus the
fact that some of the arrangements are off steal any chance for building any
crowd energy. but the last 8 songs are always done well and the shows are thus
not disasterous, but nothing that'd make you want to come back for more.
but last night kicked butt. same crappy acoustics, although perhaps the sound
guys have figured out the Aragon some and so maybe a bit better. also i have
ear plugs (thanks Derrick) in this time for some of the harsher/louder songs, so
i was thinking maybe this is why the concert is better -- but it definitely
feels better right from the start. I mention that to a new acquaintance
(Brett?) standing next to me. Much better show tonight, i say to her.
then mid way through, Bob introduces Tom Waits! Tom starts to sing -- only from
where i'm standing (very far back) Tom's looking kinda tall. It's STU !!!.
Joke lasts about 20 seconds. Its party time now. A few songs later Bob
announces that Willie Nelson's here too. Step out here Willie he says. This
time the whole band's Willie -- who doesn't sing but just waves to the crowd.
the small percentage of folks who have been to see Willie get the joke. Most of
all, the band gets the joke.
high energy now to close the first part of the show. Bob's on fire. Charlie's
on fire. the place is rockin'. shorter than normal break after Thin Man -- or
is it the adrenilin i'm now living on that's distorted time. LARS of course,
band intros, and an absolutely blistering Jolene. then Watch Tower, people
dancing. Will he do just one more? Blowin' in the Wind perhaps? Nope. time to
leave. is that my legs i'm walking on? or do i just float...
Review by Trevor Townson
Off to see the dinosaur on day three, now this really could be a boy named Sue
as it is not possible to sex a T-Rex fossil even when it is the most complete
in the world. Fascinating to think that long before banks it was monsters like
this that ruled the earth. Having seen the two shows already and
knowing that I could leave it a little later and still get a good spot due to
my early entry pre-sale ticket I was making a later start than I had previously
done to the venue by taking a stroll around The Field Museum.
Standing in line later in the day I get talking to a guy who had also
attended the previous two nights and who thought the first night better than the
second. Believe me it was definitely the second night that had been the
best of the two, trust me here but my opinion is definitely correct, second
night beat the first. As I had already expected these shows were going to grow
better night on night and with Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking as an opener my
expectations were confirmed from the start and this was certainly the opener I
had been hoping for.
Its All Gone really rocked with some blistering guitar work from Charlie in
perfect synergy with Bob on the keyboard. This was followed by that crowd
pleaser and favourite for many The Ballad Of Hattie Carroll In Plain D. I think
it is called that or something like that, anyway the crowd loved it and roared
their approval all the way through.
Tonight was Halloween so anything could be expected. We had some special
guests up front tonight including an on the rail Minnie Mouse and in the
centre The Phantom Of The Opera (dressed in the perfect image of a priest). My
buddy from the umbrella experience was also on the rail dressed as the oldest
founding member of the Bob Dylan fan club or something, he had told me off
earlier outside for not making the effort but I did not excuse myself by
explaining that I had tried but failed.
The festivities had started early for one guy as he comes staggering into the
front centre of the crowd where I am standing. I think his Halloween party must
have started about midday by the look of him but I must say he wore his
drunkard costume very well. Immediately he starts apologising to all around that
he will not disturb their enjoyment or block their view by being there. “No
worries” I said whilst thinking “will he among us without guilt please cast
the first stone as unfortunately I cannot!”.
The guy then makes a statement that if Bob sings Jolene he is going to jump
onto the stage. I would have loved to have seen his Risk & Method
Statements for that as I would not have attempted that task sober and under
perfect dry run conditions without a crowd or security to consider never mind
in his present state of balance. If I have one complaint about the shows at all
it would be about the height of the stage which did in fact give you a stiff
neck when standing up close.
Anyway by the time the opportunity arose to make his assault on the stage he
had somehow moved a little further back or me a little further forward but in
any case it did not happen so he had indeed in the end not stopped our enjoyment
by having Bob walk off stage to never perform live again. Actually I have seen
people breach the stage before and Bob has always handled it well and carried on
by hardly missing a beat.
Actually I was quite glad to be beside the drunk guy for the opener from
Slow Train as that was the one that I had wanted and the guy made me feel
less self conscious in raising my arms and cheering along with him
This was Halloween night so anything could be expected but it was still a big
surprise when out of the blue Bob starts to introduce Tom Waits onto the
stage. Lots of clapping broke out but it was difficult to tell if this was in
anticipation of Tom Waits actually walking out onto the stage or simply the
fact that Bob had spoken.
Tom Waits did not in fact come out onto the stage but bold as brass Stu
marches out and confidently picks up Bob’s centre stage microphone marching it
a few steps further forward before breaking out into a musical impression of
Tom with contorted face as he strummed his guitar. Bob just leaned back against
his keyboard shaking his head with a bemused expression on his face.
Later Bob pulls another stunt announcing Willie onto the stage however so much
noise broke out from the crowd at this point that was only as much as I
could make out but Bob and the band were waving towards the left of the
To follow later on was yet again a fantastic Working Mans Blues sung with real
passion but the best of the lot of the whole three nights was the quiet
centre stage tickets paid for, flights paid for, hotel bill paid for,
museum entry paid for, bar bill paid for Forgetful Heart from the evolving Rock
Crooner. To end during the band line up Bob even steps forward out of line to
raise his hands up to the crowd.
Apologies for not giving you too much about the songs but I go to listen to
them not to write about them and anyway my take is not your take. Go
listen to them yourself one day if you can and then form your own opinion.
Well it is now all over and I find myself not exactly sitting on top of the
world. Pretty close to it however as I wait in line for my trip to the Sky Deck
at the Sears Tower. The girl asks how many in my party as I raise my finger,
“Just the one then“ she says. This was for the purpose of having your
photograph taken prior to ascending. Not sure of the purpose of that so I ask
“is it necessary?”. She replied “we will not force you but it is kinda fun!”.
If only she knew how much kinda fun I was going to find it.
With Bob show number 74 in the bag I now find that I am visitor number
1,623,180 in my party of one for the Sky Deck. It sure seems taller once you
get up there and amazing even at that height there is music as around the Sky
Deck there is a sort of history of the City and on one wall there is “
Chicago Gave Us Music” referencing all the Greats of music that have come out
of Chicago - Blues by Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters - Benny Goodman’s
sensational band, the talk of the music world, Founder of Swing - Thomas Dorsey
founder of Gospel music and 1920’s Jazz original Leonard Bismarck “Bix”
Beiderbecke, Ma Rainey Jazz vocalist and last but not least that Jazz trumpet
great Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong.
Even that Dylanesque character Charlie Chaplin gets a mention in the films
section as he made movies from the Chicago studios including his most famous
In the end I even quite liked the noisy sub way in the sky, so it is away until
next time, goodbye Chicago, Brilliant.
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