page by Bill Pagel
Review by Jeff Gerdin
It all worked out great. I had to miss the Chicago show because of a
previous commitment, so I made the road trip to Dayton with my girlfriend,
Jan, who had never seen Dylan before. What a great first show to see! If
it had been any colder outside, the hour wait in line would have been a
bummer, but as it was it was a good chance to get psyched about the show
listening to all the Dylan chatter. The long line was due to tight
security, which I am all for, but they could have used a few more security
guards. The show was all general admission and was not sold out. The
Hara Arena as a venue has seen better days. It looks more like a roller
derby arena or a minor league hockey arena than a rock venue, but the
sound was good which is what counts.
This was the first chance I had to see Dylan play piano. In case you
haven't seen him, he plays standing up and sort of does that Dylan
"twist". I really enjoyed the piano songs as they were mostly songs I
had never heard live or arrangements I have never heard before. In
general, I thought his singing was actually better when playing the piano
than when playing guitar in a lot of cases. But the band keeps sounding
better and better every year. He keeps on making it interesting and
I liked Seeing the Real You at Last, but don't think it is as strong of an
opener as the bluegrass numbers he was opening with the last several
years. We got that second this time in In the Summertime. Great mandolin
and harmony vocals. I really liked the new arrangements of Tombstone
Blues, Ballad of a Thin Man and It's Alright Ma. They are more propulsive
rock than the acoustic versions of the last couple of years. I am
grateful that Rainy Day Women and Like a Rolling Stone were omitted. The
last couple of times I had seen Bob, the band was really going through the
motions on them. I am glad that we got to hear a couple of other songs
As for the covers - I agree with the reviews from other shows - Bob's
voice somehow becomes clearer for Old Man and Brown Sugar. Great covers
of great songs. Brown Sugar sounds like the Stones with Dylan as lead
singer. In a way it's too bad that the crowd really only got up out of
their seats in the middle of the show for Brown Sugar and it's not even
his song. The Zevon songs were ok. He keeps them short with no real
jamming to speak of.
I though I'll be Your Baby Tonight was just awesome. They have made it
into a country swing tune with Larry's steel absolutely making the song.
Boots of Spanish Leather was sublime - Jan's personal favorite of the
night. Drifter's Escape rocked as usual - but the cool thing last night
was the harp solo. In past shows I've seen him sort of do these one hand,
one chord harp solos. Last night he used both hands and played a blues
solo through the vocal mike.
I liked the waltz version of My Back Pages. I had not seen it done this
way before. It really works well with the fiddle. Of the songs from Love
and Theft - Honest With Me was off. It lacked energy for a high energy
song. (FYI- Larry played what looked like an electric dobro standing up
not pedal steel as listed in the set list). High Water was great! I had
heard that they had gotten rid of the banjo and that the song didn't work
as well. I liked it. It's hard to mess up a great song. I don't know if
I like this version better, it is just different. Moonlight was nice if a
little disorganized. Summer Days got off to a rough start. It seemed
like Bob lost his place lyrically, but the all out jam session that ensued
brought down the house. Tony was slappin's the bass and the guitarists
I liked the two song encore instead of the five from past years. We got
the usual great harmony version of Blowin in the Wind and the Charlie as
Jimi Hendrix version of All Along the Watchtower. Overall a great show
both for what was played and what was left out. I have seen Dylan at
least once every year since '94 and Jan had not seen him before, yet we
both walked away feeling we had seen a great show. Glad we made the trip
to Dayton. Can't wait to see him again!
Review by Barb Henry and Chris Bellessis
THIS WAS OUR THIRD DYLAN CONCERT THOUGH WE'VE BEEN FANS FOR DECADES. FIRST TIME
SEEING HIM AT A GENERAL ADMISSION VENUE, FORTUNATELY WE GOT TO HARA ARENA IN TIME
TO BE CLOSER TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE THAT MUST HAVE STARTED FORMING ABOUT 2 HOURS
BEFORE THE 8:00 START TIME. BOB AND HIS BAND WALKED OUT A FEW MINUTES LATE TO AN
HIS FIRST FEW SONGS WERE STANDARDS FOR THIS "NEVERENDING TOUR," BUT WHAT DELIGHTED
US MOST WAS THAT HE PLAYED KEYBOARD MOST OF THE CONCERT. (WE'D JUST SAID WE'D LOVE
TO SEE HIM PLAY PIANO AND OUR WISH WAS GRANTED.) WE'D BEEN CHECKING SET LISTS FOR
THE LAST MONTH LOOKING FORWARD TO HEARING THE ROLLING STONES' "BROWN SUGAR," AMAZED
AT HOW BOB'S VERSION ROCKED. NEXT, BOB GRANTED OUR ULTIMATE FANTASY REQUEST PLAYING
"BALLAD OF A THIN MAN," ONE OF THE MAJOR CONCERT HIGHLIGHTS FOR US.
WE ALWAYS DIG "IT'S ALRIGHT, MA," BUT WERE SURPRISED HOW GOOD "BOOTS OF SPANISH
LEATHER," SOUNDED LIVE. WE ALSO LOVED THE BLACK BOOTS BOB WAS WEARING THE WHITE
FLAMING HEEL AND TOE ACCENTS. "DRIFTER'S ESCAPE" AND "MY BACK PAGES" WERE AWESOME.
"OLD MAN" WAS A BEAUTIFUL PERFORMANCE; NEIL YOUNG WOULD HAVE BEEN PROUD. "HIGH
WATER" WAS ANOTHER REQUEST WE BROADCAST TO HIM TELEPATHICALLY…HE GOT THE MESSAGE.
LOVED HEARING HIM SING OUR FAVORITE LINE FROM THAT SONG, "THROW YOUR PANTIES
"MUTINEER," WARREN ZEVON'S SONG, WAS SUNG WITH A SMOOTH, MELODIOUS VOICE.
"MOONLIGHT" WAS ALSO BEAUTIFUL. BOB SEEMED TO BE ENJOYING HIMSELF EVEN MORE
TONIGHT THAN THE OTHER CONCERTS WE'VE SEEN IN THE LAST COUPLE YEARS; LOTS OF
SMILING AND DANCING.
THEN CAME THE BEST SURPRISE. WHEN BOB CAME OUT FOR THE ENCORE, HE ACTUALLY
SPOKE…SEVERAL SENTENCES! HE SAID "THANK YOU," A FEW TIMES TO OUR CHEERS &
APPLAUSE. WE THOUGHT HE SAID SOMETHING LIKE, "I HOPE YOU'RE ALL HAVING A GOOD
TIME TONIGHT," AND THEN HE INTRODUCED THE BAND. NEXT WE GOT "BLOWIN' IN THE
WIND" AND "ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER," STANDARD ENCORE BUT PLAYED WITH VIGOR
OUR SEATS WERE THE BEST EVER; SECOND ROW ON THE SIDE WITH AN UNOBSTRUCTED VIEW
BY THE FIRST ROW FANS WHO STAYED IN THEIR SEATS, (THANK YOU.) WE ENJOYED THE
CONVERSATION OF THE BRITISH FANS BEHIND US COMMENTING ON SHOWS THEY'VE SEEN SINCE
THE 70'S. THE BULLDOG-LIKE COP BEFORE THE CONCERT WAS ENTERTAINING, TRYING TO
SCARE THE CROWD ASKING, "WHO'S SMOKING MARIJUANA," EVEN THOUGH NOBODY WAS. AFTER
THE SHOW WE GOT GREAT BOOTLEG T-SHIRTS IN THE PARKING LOT FROM A COOL DUDE
ACCEPTING CASH-ONLY TRANSACTIONS. BOB, THANK YOU FOR ANOTHER OUTSTANDING
PERFORMANCE. WE'LL BE BASKING IN THE AFTERGLOW UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN.
BARB HENRY & CHRIS BELLESSIS
THE BEST FRIENDS TOUR
Review by Josh Hawkins
Hara Arena is a cavernous building on the outskirts of dayton better
suited for monster truck races and wrestling, but as somebody who has
attended a few concerts there over the years, i'm willing to put up with
the horrible sound and vomit stains from Foghat concerts past for the lax
security and general admission floor. Being long overdue for another dose
of dylan (my last being morgantown a year ago), i was pleased to hear that
it would be at hara as opposed to the completely sterile Nutter Center up
This was my 10th Dylan show since '98. I arrived in the parking lot at
7:15 and got in line. Ashcroft himself must have been handling the
searches at the door, as the line moved at a tree sloth's pace and we were
all freezing our asses off. As always, once we got to the head of the
line after what seemed like an eternity, the opened up two more lines and
we breezed through with no search at all. Whatever.
I met some friends unexpectedly in the hall and we talked for a while and
once we heard copeland start up we headed in. OF COURSE TicketBastard had
screwed up my order for a floor ticket and I was shuffled into the seating
in back. Ugh. I won't go into this too much, but it ruined the first four
songs for me. I was stewing. I had trusted them to actually send me the
RIGHT ticket and all. I hate sitting in the back. It's like watching a
show on TV, although more often than not, there's better sound in the back
at most venues. But, hey, I came here to DANCE, dammit, and ya can't do
that in back. Thank God, the nice couple next to me had a floor ticket
and traded me because they wanted to sit. Good people.
I believe I got on the floor for "I'll be your baby tonight," the first of
three JWH numbers he did. This version was tight yet playful. Bob and the
band were firing on all cylanders. I was excited to see the change-up in
his set that started in seattle. The change has clearly invigorated him.
He tickled the ivories throughout the night, but never in a lead capacity.
Arthritus? Say it ain't so!
The crowd was a mixture of young and old, hippies and CEO's. Crowd
diversity is always nice, but this crowd seemed to be there because it was
BOB DYLAN.....as one would go see the stones because it was THE STONES.
Naturally, they loved "Brown Sugar" (although Bob looked slightly bored
with it.......how about "Casino Blues," Bob?) They sat uncomfortably
through the the more obscure numbers like "Boots of Spanish Leather"
(which for me, was THE highlight of the night; it exuded warmth on the
cold November night and the strings chimed like bells.) "Old Man" again
surprised the crowd and it was very respectable. The two Zevon tunes were
well played, but i was hoping for "Lawyers, Guns and Money." Que sera
The L&T numbers continue to mature. "Honest with Me" rocked hard
"Moonlight" sparkeled, and "Summer Days" had everyone up and shaking.
Other reviewers have noted the growth of this one. Search out a good
bootleg from this tour as they appears and turn this one UP!.
I blew off the encores (i don't care for either tune, and despise traffic
jams). Without funds to go to head to Kent, and with a baby son to see at
home, I headed off. Great show. Here's to the NET and to Bob coming back
to Ohio next spring!
Review by John Pruski
Bob Dylan in Dayton Ohio, general admission: my oh my, what a show! Before
this Fall 2002 concert swing, I'd not seen Bob Dylan since last November's
DC and Philly shows, having moved this winter from the East Coast to the
Midwest. So quite naturally, I was dying to see and hear Bob play piano.
I've never seen him play piano before, and I've been seeing Bob since the
70's. But, while I always love everything Dylan, I really feel that last
night's show was indeed something extraordinary! I'm curious to hear
everyone's reaction to this great night on this highly noteworthy fall
tour by "Bob Dylan and his Band."
Normally, I tend to like the initial of any string of consecutive Dylan
shows, perhaps this being a by-product of me not yet being road weary, who
knows. So, in heading down I-65 to Dayton after Friday's very nice Chicago
show, I just assumed that I would leave Dayton's show still preferring
Chicago. I was more-or-less dead-center front for both of the past two
nights, so physical positioning did not influence me, but yet I have a
clear preference of Dayton over Chicago. Indeed, independent verification
that last night's show in Dayton was something very special could perhaps
be inferred from the fact that even Bob was rocking out so much that he
spaced out introducing his great band during the main set, doing so only a
bit latter during the encores. Yes, Dayton was that good!
We all began our night camping in line and then being searched,
thoroughly, with the police even opening everyone's wallets. Then came our
mad dash for the stage front, where most of us sat for the hour prior to
show time, occasonally starring adoringly at the huge "Eye" Curtain
backdrop. The show started at about 810, just a few moments late, as had
the Chicago show the night before. From the get-go, Dayton's opener of the
fantastic Real You had everyone grooving, seemingly more so than did
Chicago's Maggie. Some of this greatness of last night's show could
presumably be attributed to the more positive vibes that seem to emanate
from the crowd to the band during general admission seating (well
standing) shows, but whatever it was, the band had it in Dayton, and had
it all night!
Personal favorites were truly superb renditions of both Thin Man (Mr.
Jones) and Back Pages. The non-Bob compositions were also really something
to behold, from the laid back Martyr, Mutineer (both Warren Zevon penned),
Neil Young's Old Man, to the crowd-pleasing up-tempo but brief Brown
Sugar. The flow of entire concert was very well constructed, and the
energy levels so high, that there were no low points whatsoever. The mix
of tunes with Bob on piano vs. guitar, of acoustic vs. electric songs, and
of fast vs. slower tunes was really perfect. The slower songs perhaps seem
more introspective this tour than usual, of course Warren's definitely
having that feel to them.
The main set ended with the jazzy Moonlight and burning Summer Days, both
great. Summer Days is really such a great closer, the band really rocking
out to the max during it. Charlie was visually less flashy during Summer
Days last night (not sitting and soloing on the drum rise, nor twirling
his guitar on end as he had done in Chicago). Nevertheless, Dayton's
Summer Days brought prolonged and thunderous applause from us during the
band's formation at the end of the main set, again Bob having yet to
introduce the band by this point in time.
Bob was great on the piano, with perhaps Honest having my favorite runs
from our hero of the night. As in Chicago, Charlie played a note or two on
the piano, last night with his hand, rather than with his boot as he did
twice in Chicago. And Bob repaid the favor, swinging around from the
keyboard and plucking Charlie's guitar neck for a moment. The interaction
between these two gentleman, and that of the whole band for that matter,
is just way cute! Charlie's playing slide on the wrong song for a moment
catching a smiling Larry off guard; Bob opening his eyes after a
particularly tasty guitar run to find Tony's staring over his shoulder
bringing a broad grin to Bob's face; Charlie's kicking one of George's
cymbals during Summer Days making George crack up were but a few of the
good natured band interactions in Dayton that caught my eye.
Vocal lines from Bob that really hit me included the "Chicken" from Ma and
the "Foooor Babe" for Babe. Bob had several nice guitar leads, and
actually at one point during Drifter where Charlie and Larry usually trade
leads, I was looking to see who was playing particularly tasty leads and
was really surprised to see that it was Bob, out-dueling his two hired
guns at their own game. Bob also played a few great harp lines toward the
end of Drifter.
George's drumming was great, as were his Congo parts in Honest and High
Water, and his brush playing on Babe. The song ending up-tempo beat on
Boots was really nice as well. Larry was great and shined on every one of
the many instruments he played, and he played an especially beautiful solo
on Boots to boot. His violin on Back Pages is always a treat, and that of
last night was no exception. Charlie seems to have really found his niche
and is seemingly much more at home in the band nowadays. I noticed his
tasty reverb/organ guitar so many times tonight (in Summertime, Thin Man,
and Watchtower). Charlie was simply scorching, however, with or without
these effects. And the glue of the band, Tony, was rock solid as par for
Dylan 'n' Dayton was just a great great show; y'all have fun at the rest
of 'em while I sadly return to work for the rest of this landmark tour.
John Pruski, Sunday 3 November, St. Louis
Review by Carsten Molt
On a cold but sunny afternoon, jillsy(water_outta_rocks)
and myself made the five hour trek to see Dylan and co. at the Hara arena
in Dayton, Ohio. We areeived at the Arena later than we hoped to but still
managed to get there well before show time. We were pretty far back in
line but still managed to get a pretty good spot on the floor in front of
Charlie. Before we entered the venue, we were frisked by security and the
security guard who frisked me, gave me a really thorough frisking. A
little morethorough in my groin area than was comfortable but i guess in
these uncertain times, better safe than sorry. This was my first show
since August so it was my first oppurtunity to see the new songs and to
see Dylan on piano.
At 8:11 Pm, Dylan and his band came out to the long introduction. Dylan
was dressed in a black suit and no hat while his band was dressed in grey
suits. Now, on to the music:
1.Seeing The Real You At Last (Bob on piano)-i really like this song and
they gave it a strong reading. Dylan played some nice piano fills as the
band rocked on behind him.
2.In The Summertime (Bob on piano and Larry on mandolin)-The first time i
have ever heard this song and although it was nice to see, it was not as
good as i was hoping for. i'm not saying it was bad, i just would have
preferred a more tender ereading than they gave it. The harmony singing by
Larry and Charlie was great, though.
3.Tombstone Blues (Bob on piano)- i have always liked this song live and
this was no exception. Dylan started doing his knee bends and shaking his
hips quite a bit. Larry was sharing big smiles with George Receli during
the song and they continued to share these during the remainder of the
4.Accidentally Like A Martyr (Bob on piano)- The first of the two Warren
Zevon covers Dylan played this evening. It was short and i didn't care for
it very much. It was competently played but it didn't do much for me.
5.I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob on piano and Larry on pedal steel) - When
it started, i thought it was going to be "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" but
i'll never complain about hearing this one live. It was nicely sung and
Larrys pedal steel complemented Dylans piano playing very well.
6.Brown Sugar-Dylan strapped on his guitar for this Rolling stones cover
and it was a lot of fun. This was definitely a crowd pleaser and the band
had a lot of fun. Larry, Charlie and even Tony sand along on the "Yeah,
Yeah, Yeah, Whoo" part. A definite highlight.
7.Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on acoustic guitar, Larry on pedal steel, Tony
& Charlie on electric guitars) - This was my frist time hearing this and
it was a big surprise for me. This was a really good rendition and Dylan
sang it strongly with a lot of conviction. He did a couple of knee bends
and shook his haed from side to side during the jam.
8.It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (acoustic)(Bob on piano, Larry on
cittern, Charlie on electric guitar and Tony on standup bass)- i like the
new arrangement of this warhorse. It got a big roar from the crowd but i
have seen it quite a few times and although it was pretty good, i would
have been fine if they dropped it for awhile.
9.Boots Of Spanish Leather (acoustic)-Woo Hoo! i have always wanted to
hear this song live. it is my favorite Dylan song and this was my first
time he played it at a show i was at. It was as good as i hoped it would
be. It brought tears to my eyes. No kidding. Definitely the highlight of
the night for me. Definitely one of the 5 highlights of my 21 Dylan show
experiences. Goosebump heaven.
10.Drifter's Escape (Bob on harmonica)- i was still reeling from the
previous song and Dylan gave us a great version of this. Another of my
favorite Dylan tunes and it roared and snarled. Dylan puncuated the song
with his only harmonica solo of the night and it was a good one.
11.My Back Pages (acoustic) (Larry on fiddle)- Another of my
favorites(they seem to come in bunches) and it was sweetly sung. Larry is
such a good fiddle player. i wish he would play it more. The only drwback
to this version is that Dylan didn't play the harmonica on it. i really
enjoy the way the harmonica and fiddle wrap around each other but it was
not to be this evening.
12.Old Man (acoustic)(Bob and Larry on acoustic guitars, Charlie on
electric guitar and Tony on electric bass)- This Neil Young song was great
with Larry and Charlie singing on the chorus. The crowd also sang along
with the entire tune. It is kind of odd for Dylan in his advancing years
to sing a song like this.
13.Honest With Me (Bob on piano)- This was my favorite song on "Love and
Theft" and is still a good song even though i have heard it every show
since it was released. In my opinion, Larrys slide guitar makes this song
and tonight was no exception.
14.It Ain't Me, Babe (acoustic)-This was not dylans strongest performance.
It was kind of boring. i used this oppurtunity to use my binoculars and
wacth Dylans facial expressions. he did a lot of raising of the eyebrows
and tried in vain to supress a couple of smiles.
15.High Water (Bob on piano) -i miss the banjo on this but it rocked none
the less. Charlie strolled over to Dylans Piano and played a few
eztraneous notes on Dylans piano during the jam. Dylan growled the vocals
really well. During the jam, Dylan backed away from the keyboards and
snapped his fingers to the beat and walked around tha stage in a amiless
fashion. He wiped the sweat from his face and dove back into the heyboards
16.Mutineer (Bob on piano and Larry on pedal steel)- The secong Warren
Zevon cover of the evening is light years better than the 1st one. This
song has many shades of emotion in it and Dylan really inhabited it as if
it were one of his own compositions.
17.Moonlight (Bob on piano and Tony on standup bass)- yawn. i i don't like
this song very much but it was played competently. During this song, i
noticed that Tony was standing in the back playing his standup bass but
his eyes seemed to be glazed over for a couple of minutes before he shook
himself back to what he was playing. On this dong, i can see why that
18.Summer Days (Tony on standup bass) -WOW! They really pulled out all the
stops here! This raged on and on and on. At one point, Larry turned to
Tony and ripped off a very fast series of notes, Tony put his hand on
Larrys arm as if in fear of Larry tearing his arm out of joint. The jam
went on with Receli pounding out the beat and Dylan and Charlie trading
licks all over the place. Dylan stood center stage rocking back and forth
on his heels and wiggling those ancient hips. He stumbled over the first
word as the final verse started but recovered quickly. After the final
verse, they brought the song up to a boil again before ending it to a
deafening roar from the crowd. The lights went down and came back up to
show the band in formation. Larry had an earsplitting grin on his face.
19.Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)-i was hoping for "Knockin' on Heavens
Door" but Dylan gave us this instead. As i've said before, i don't like
this song at all and this was no diferent. Dylan even flubbed a line.
Larry and Charlie sang the chorus well, though.
20.All Along The Watchtower-This ended the show on a high note. It rocked
as well as usual but paled in comparison to the Summer Days that we had
A) A couple of times, Charlie was off the stage when a song started and
didn't come back on stage until half way through the first verse. He also
seemed to get tangled up in his guitar cord several times and hept
flipping it out of his way. He is a great guitar player when he is not
mesing with his monitor, tripping over his cord or what ever he is doing
side stage during the first verse between songs. SOmeone threw something
on stage to him and he kicked it into the area between the stage and
B)George Receli and Larry Campbell were having a great ime interacting on
stag and shared big smiles through the whole show. Larry is the perfect
foil for Dylan. He always is in tune to what Dylan is doing and adds a lot
to the show on what ever of his myriad of instruments he is playing.
C)We attended the next show on Kent. Jillsy(water_Outta_rocks) has that
review up on the msg. board and on Bobdates.
Review by Don Ely
As a faithful tracker of setlists on the Boblinks page, it was with fervent
anticipation that I approached the Bob Dylan show in Dayton, Ohio. I had seen
that after three years Mr. Zimmerman had eschewed the acoustic openers, and was
excited by the choice covers he had chosen for this tour leg. As I approached
Hara Arena an hour before showtime, I could see two rather long lines had
formed on either side of the entrance to this general admission concert. Who
still promotes GA shows in this age? Haven't there been enough problems caused
by this arrangement over the years? Obviously not enough lessons learned. So
I swallowed hard and queued up with the rest of the faithful. Almost immediately
I struck up conversation with Mike From Cincinnati ,who like myself had traveled
solo to the gig. I also had the opportunity to meet Jokerman13, a regular Boblinks
participant who has attended 300+ Nights of Dylan. At last I had run into someone
to rival a most enthusiastic Deadhead! I need to go to 12 times as many shows as
as I've been to to even come close to that! Jokerman said Bill Pagel was in the
house. I would have liked to have met him, but that's for another time. Finally
we were through the tight security and inside the old hockey rink. This was my
first visit to Hara, but I know they've had rock shows since at least the 70's.
Ozzy Osbourne and the like. Mike and I decided to hang together and though the
place was filling up fast, found a pair of pretty decent seats on the left side
of the arena up front off the side of the stage. Turns out the sound was good from
this vantage and we probably did the best we could short of being on the floor.
"Seeing The Real You At Last" kicked off tonight's spectacle. Bob has spent the
last few years concentrating mostly on his sixties material, or on songs from the
current album, but there are numerous songs of great merit from lp's such as
"Infidels", "Empire Burlesque", and "Oh Mercy" that I wish he would play.
Tonight my wishes were granted. As the band tore through "Real You" I could tell
this would be a special night. The band fashioned a tight connection to my heart
to be sure! I like the notion of Bob on piano. It gives him something to do, so
he's not standing up there naked on stage, and keeps him away from the guitar!He
can bang away to his heart's content. Ain't no sour notes tonight,no not one!
"In The Summertime" was the second number; I am thrilled this one has a regular
place in the set. As with the opener, I had never seen this one performed,not even
at my maiden Bob Dylan voyage, Clarkston,Michigan, June of '81, right around the
release of "Shot Of Love". Slow Train/Saved/Shot o' Love is another favorite period
of Bob's music and I appreciate every song I get to hear from this time frame. This
one was beautiful. "Tombstone Blues". Yet another new arrangement for an old
warhorse! This most prolific of songwriters can virtually triple his output by
restructuring his catalog, creating something new and satisfying from his recipe
box. And by reinventing the songs of others. "Accidentally Like A Martyr" was the
first of two Warren Zevon songs to which Bob lent his unique interpretation.This
leg of The Never-Ending might be dubbed the "Givin' It Back" tour. He salutes his
comrades and contemporaries with beautiful renderings of their works, and it is
clear Bob has been especially moved by the plight of Mr.Zevon, who has chosen to
walk with Grace and Dignity as he reaches his terminus. I loved this performance,
too. Four for four, so far. A wonderful country version "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight"
followed, Larry clear as a farmhouse dinner bell on pedal steel. And then,"Brown
Sugar"! This one was every bit as good as imagined, again the band was tight tight
tight, and the leads (not sure if it was Larry or Charlie) smoked like Mick Taylor
back in '72. I've heard the bootlegs, it was that good! A great crowd-pleaser as
well,and the song's inclusion seemed to take many by happy surprise. The stellar
setlist continued with "Ballad Of A Thin Man", sounding more like a dime detective
novel than ever.I always enjoy hearing this one.
Occasionally a song sneaks up on you, begins to caress you before you're aware of
who it is, culminating in a warm embrace. Such was the case with "Blind Willie
McTell" and "Visions Of Johanna" when I was honored with their presence. On this
night, I initially believed Bob began "Girl Of The North Country"; it wasn't too
long before I realized this was actually "Boots Of Spanish Leather"! This is one
of those Holy Grail songs I have waited my whole Dylan Fan life to hear. Bob
doesn't write many overt love songs, but this is one of his best,and one of the
best ever written, period. Full of longing for a lover who remains on a distant
shore, the band played this acoustic number with deserved empathy for it's
protagonist who endures separation half a world away. I have loved this song since
my earliest days when I discovered the wonders of Bob Dylan, and to get to hear it
after all this time was phenomenal. If the rest of the set sucked, this would have
made my night anyway.
But of course that was not the case! Another gold nugget, "My Back Pages",
materialized to the delight of all. "I was so much older then,I'm younger than
that now". That line describes Bob Dylan himself, a real troubadour (no longer
troubled, we hope plying his trade in the 21st prefab compartmentalized-categorized
or where do we put it-soul for sale-can't get along-before we explode century.
"Old man, look at my life, I'm a lot like you were". Neil Young's line joins with
Bob's hand-in-hand. hey could be referring to the anyman in all of us, which is why
it is so poignant Bob played his "Back Pages" and Neil's "Old Man" back-to-back.
Reflective yet reborn. Tonight this highlight among many was crafted with precision
in the hands of artisans who still give a fuck. Charlie's notes ringing true, and
the crowd givin' it back. I can still hear it in my head.
I like the idea of "Love And Theft" being shifted to the end of the set. "Honest
With Me", and a sweet "Moonlight" both stood up and were accounted for, and a
sincere "It Ain't Me Babe" and Warren Zevon's "Mutineer' were wedged into this
portion. "Summer Days", played like their lives depended on it, closed things out
before the minstrels stood on stage taking in the admiration and...givin' it back.
Superior to the gigs I caught on the Great Plains this past August, which were
mostly Bob Dylan great-as-usual but not exemplary, this show was indeed a treat.
Could Kent be even better? Between now and then I would uncover a little Charley
Patton history in nearby Richmond,Indiana. Tune in tomorrow, same Bob channel, same
page by Bill Pagel
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