November 3, 2012
Review by Marty Traynor
Naturally, the question on the minds of diehard fans entering the Century
Link Center was whether Dylan would perform songs from Tempest. Nope.
Having gotten that out of the way, let's turn to the show we did see
rather than the songs we did not.
The opener, "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" was encouraging, with a nice
country swing feel and sweet pedal steel work from Donnie Herron. Then
Mark Knopfler joined for the next four songs, playing very nicely as sideman
after his very fine and well-received opening set. "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'"
was the first highlight. The interplay between Dylan's piano and Knopfler's
guitar was great to hear. Then a stately, stylish "Every Grain of Sand'
provided a second highlight, though Dylan's inability to carry a melody was
evident as he talk-crooned the lyrics.
Then "The Levee's Gonna Break", an up tempo number you'd expect to
bring up the energy after a great slow song, was…not energetic. It
seemed to go on forever, Finally, during the second instrumental break,
Charlie sexton seemed to awaken and this inspired Dylan to pick up the
pace to the end. Then a very fine arrangement of "Blind Willie McTell"
furnished another highlight. Dylan stood in center stage for this one
(thankfully, no piano - this was not a good night on the ivories IMO) and
played some nice harp, including some great interplay with Sexton. Donnie
Herron's banjo was the anchor.
The closing few songs bore no surprises. The best of them was "Ballad of
a Thin Man" and the worst was "Thunder on the Mountain" which really
needs to cede its spot in the line up to "Duquesne Whistle". During
"All Along the Watchtower" it came to me that Dylan is trying to play
guitar solos on his piano, and it doesn't work very well.
Overall, there were some highlights as noted, but this was not a
contender for show of the year.
I thought the crowd was definitely small compared to my expectations - there
were about 3,500 in attendance according to reports and there were about
twice as many empty seats. The crowd was also relatively sedate, much less
boisterous that a normal Saturday night crowd.
Dylan lets Knopfler play his guitar more up front in the mix than he allows his
own guitarists, often wasting their talents while he plays endless piano runs.
When Knopfler plays, Charlie Sexton in particular seems to be underused.
Dylan's harp work is solid and has a sensibility to melody which seems lost in
most of his piano playing and singing.
Slower songs seemed fine - "Visions of Johanna" was nice, for example, but
then songs like "Highway 61", while competent, were not at the level I have
seen many times before.
Review by Bob Hughes
50 years of Bob concerts where I have seen the truly awful and the truly
great. Having seen him 4 times in the last 2 years I am familiar with the
band line up and seeing Bob on piano. Others will comment in more detail
on the set list.
From the 4th row I had a good view and last nights show was mediocre at
best. Pedestrian for most of the time that never really stirred the crowd.
There were highlights with Levees Gonna break and Willie Mctell.
But Highway 61 usually guaranteed to bring the crowd to its feet missed the
mark and by the time we got to LARS and Watchtower we were in the land
of the uninspired which was a shame because Bob was singing, holding
notes, no upsinging and you could hear every word.
But something has changed and been lost in the band dynamic. Stu Kimball
was the star last night taking the lead but Charlie Sexton was a lost soul,
relegated to the side line, playing mostly rhythm guitar and often not
even doing that well. Even Tony Garnier seemed lackluster and somewhere
else. Maybe 3 consecutive nights of shows up to Omaha has taken its toll
but it was more than that. There was a tension on stage and not a good
tension. Maybe the appearance of Freddie Koella earlier in the tour is a
portent of coming changes.
Review by Laurette Maillet
I take a night Greyhound bus to Omaha from Denver. Reaching the town at
5:45 a.m. I wait until daylight in the station before taking a walk downtown. I
find the Century Link Center and check in a EconoLodge Hotel. A bit expensive
but I don't have much choice, there is no Youth Hostel here. It's a University
town. In the late afternoon I take a walk downtown. Nothing is moving in
here. Few people in the streets, stores are closed, I can't even find a marker
to buy food and drink. It seems like a Sunday but we are Saturday. I return
to my room to be ready for the show.
The capacity of the venue is 16000. I doubt that will be sold out. I walk to
the venue side by side with a Mark Knopfler Fan. We exchange. Arriving at the
CenturyLink Center I spot Stu outside. I want to shake hands with him when I
realize I'm wearing gloves. I take them off and he gives me a hand shake. I
doubt he recognizes me. But it's nice anyway. I find myself a ticket for 20$,
up on the side.
For Mark I take an empty seat above the stage. I have a good view of the
Band and I can move my body without disturbing anyone. The audience is
reacting warmly. Mark is happy - or seems -. Hard to tell with him. Easier with
Bob who doesn't hide his feelings when he's mad or happy.
At the intermission I move down the floor section.
I stay by the sound board for there is hardly an empty seat in the front.
Bob is on, dressed as usual; hat on, black suit - pants with white straps- white
or black shirt, black boots. That the clolours on this tour;Black and White.
"I'll be your Baby tonight". Yes Bobby, happily!
Mark is on stage for the second song; "to Ramona". I sing along and I don't
believe Bobby will mind since he can't hear me. He will skip one verse as usual.
"Things have changed" with again Mark on stage. Bobby seems truly happy. So
far - from where I stand - he looks really young. Even more fit than Mark who
starts to be round and 'banding over'. Bob is straight and class with his suit.
"Tangled up in blue" with Mark always here and one song I recognize
immediately; "Beyond here lies nothing". An incredible interpretation since Mark
is on fire. The dialogue between the guitar and the piano will add what was
lacking when it was only Bob on piano. The hit of the night. I'm having my
"Shot of Love". Bob knows. At the end he will say "Thank you Mark" and will
add "this was Mark Knopfler on guitar".
A sweet melody on piano and Bob starts "In the time of my confession ...
" Whoa! "Every grain of sand". So sweet!
"The levee's gonna break" powerful, the venue is on fire, people up and
I hear Donnie tuning his banjo. "John Brown"? "High water"?
Bob picks up his harmonica and I hear the first notes of "Blind Willie Mc Tell".
For the first time on that Tour.
I'm in heaven. I forget about all my troubles and communicate with Bob, over
there on stage. So far but so close to my heart tonight. It's like I sing - every
single word I phrase - with him, I breath with him, I move with him, I blow in
that harmonica with him.
Even if the rest of the show is something I know by heart it's not important
now for that's what I want tonight; be part of it.
"Highway 61" is powerful. Stu is putting all his energy in that electric guitar.
"Vision of Johanna" will water down the fire. The audience will listen with
respect, seating down for Bob is on the piano, almost invisible.
"Thunder on the mountain" put the public up again. I see the first rows
dancing and moving in rhythm.
"Ballad of a thin Man" more theatrical than ever. Even though I heard that
song so many times on stage, tonight it's like brand new. The echo and the
lights behind are moving me in another dimension. A Chagall painting coming
A the first notes of "Like a rolling stone" a huge roar echos around the walls of
the venue. No one is seated anymore. I have some hard time seeing Bobby.
But I know he's there, his body twisted strangely in front of his Grand piano.
A "thank you friends, I will present you my Band right now" and Bob introduces
his musicians one by one.
Then the first notes of "All along the watch tower" incredibly powerful. Stu is
adding a lot to that song.
Bob trots to center stage for his final bow. He looks happy, facing the crowd
all up for a standing ovation.
Minutes later Bob and the Band are back for a sweet " Blowing in the wind".
It seems that the venue is balancing softly in that wind, all up for an homage
to that incredible ARTIST.
An incredible performance. My Bobby is back!
Thank you Bobby Dylan. I'm not gonna say I Love you - for you won't believe
me -. I will say What an ARTIST I have so much admiration for!
See you in Madison!
Review by Darby "Dorrell" Lynch
for about 2 months straight - me and my buddy were on pins and needles
anxiously waiting his bobness and MK. pure and simple - fantastic show.
the NET is alive and well and going strong.
we live in st. joseph, mo. it was a 2 hour drive to
omaha. beautiful scenery and gorgeous country all the way up. couldn't
have asked for better weather. very nice fall day outside.
once in omaha, we checked out some record stores and grabbed some dinner
in the downtown area. the streets were brick and busy with locals coming
and going. most of them not knowing they had a living legend in town. i
knew it and that's all that mattered.
we got to the CenturyLink Center at 5:45. they didn't open the gates until
6:30 - an hour before showtime. we got in the secrutiy line at 6:15 and i
was the first in line. they had large signs in line saying "no video
cameras. no cameras. no laser pointers. etc.....if we confiscate your
camera, you won't get it back."
once 6:30 came, they opened the gates. the worker simply asked me if i had
a camera. i said no. that was it. no emptying my pockets or patting my
jacket or anything. just a verbal question and that was it. they might
have searched purses, but i can't say for sure.
once inside we found our seats and waited for MK. at 7:30, a Captain
Kangaroo looking gentleman came out with a British flag suit jacket on. he
introduced MK. his set list follows:
1. What It Is
2. Corned Beef City
4. Kingdom of Gold
5. I Used to Could
6. Song for Sonny Liston
7. Done With Bonaparte
8. Hill Farmer's Blues
9. Brothers in Arms
11. So Far Away
this was the only time in my life i've witnessed an opener get a standing
ovation and then did an encore. i can see why. MK was excellent. Hill
Farmer's Blues was the biggest highlight for me. he finished around 8:40.
an hour and 20 minute set. he could have kept going. would have been fine
shortly after 9, here came bobby d.
stu started I'll Be Your Baby Tonight before the lights went down. took me
off guard. when he started playing, i don't think his guitar was turned up
all the way yet. the bootleg will confirm my suspicion.
THC - bob was front and center. legs far apart and was swaying back and
forth. almost kinda dancing around. he was in EXCELLENT form! he was
feeling good and sounding great. very nice harp work too.
i noticed that when bob is at the grand piano, he kinda sits sideways
facing the crowd. and he sits right on the edge of that piano bench. and i
mean the VERY edge. also, i think it should be noted that bob has his
oscar sitting on the grand piano now.
TOTM - bob was sitting and the grand piano. once they got in the groove,
bob scooted his piano bench out a little more. and i thought he was on the
edge of it before!! at times, he would come up off the bench and really
get with it!
BOATM - they have started putting an echo on bob's voice during the
verses. at first i thought it was bob doing it himself. i'm not sure if i
love it or hate it, but it does seem to be a little much.
BITW - i've heard a lot of people say they didn't enjoy this arrangement.
i really didn't mind it. at first, it sounded a lot like Just Like A
Woman. the way the chord structure is, i really thought it was that song.
overall - it was a fantastic show. the volume wasn't near as loud as some
of the bob shows i've been to the past couple years. but bob sang with
much clarity (as much as possible) and was in great form.
keep on keepin' on, bob.
Darby "Dorrell" Lynch
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