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Review by Ryan Shadbolt
This particular performance seemed much different from the previous two
shows that I have seen. Although I am new to the scene, I have been
following the info on Bob very closely over the last couple of years. I
certainly do not propose to be an expert, but I would like to mention some
of my recent points of view.
This show was good and Bob was in good spirit, but I am finding that the
setlists are very similar as of late. Duncan and Brady was very good, as
was a newer rocking version of Desolation Row. TUIB was well sung, but
what has happened to the occasional harp solo? Standing in the Doorway
and Simple Twist were the only "somewhat" surprises of the night. I was
really enjoying the newer version of Cold Irons Bound. That song always
Out came the band intros, and guess what, out comes G.E. Smith from
Saturday Night Live. He jammed along with Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat, and
also during Watchtower, Hwy 61, and Blowin' In the Wind, but as the
setlist suggests, it seemed as though his guitar wasn't on during Blowin'.
Dog's Run Free and I Shall Be Released were well sung, but were of no
surprise since the encores have been pretty much the same over the last
month or two.
The crowd was a disappointment to me and the I think it was to the Bob and
the boys as well. The famous formation was very brief on both occasions
as a result.
I will leave on a positive note. I would like to point out how much I
enjoy the style of his more recent shows (since April 99). I like how the
show starts with 6 acoustic songs followed the 6 electric. TUIB really
gets everyone ready for the electric set. I am very interested in finding
out why Bob decided to make that drastic change, I feel it has served
well. I was in the third row and I had hopes of getting a cue sheet, but
as usual, they were quickly snatched up after the show. However, I did
manage to get one of Charlie Sexton's Fender picks.
Thanks again Bob,
Review by Jacki Pajas
Last night in Oxford was a good show. We were lucky enough to get seats
right by the mixer so the sound was great and we could stand up with
dancing room all night with no one getting upset. The band was great, as
usual, but the audience didn't seem to quite connect all evening. It was
"Parent's Weekend" on the campus, and half of the crowd didn't know why
they were there until Don't Think Twice, which was unfortunately #17 of 19
selections. Like in the middle of the encore.
We did gt to hear "Chimes of Freedom", and it was the first time for me to
experience the pleasure of the little jazz club routine on If Dogs Run
Tonight, however, was one of those rare Dylan shows that light up in the
first few bars of the opener, with an immediate
connect between the band and the audience, and then just gets brighter
and better as the setlist goes on. NOTE: We saw this show from the front
of the stage at the right, 15 feet from him. (Ya gotta love those laid
back Ann Arbor crowd management guys - get as close as you want, don't
try to jump on the stage or get physical with anyone and enjoy the show!)
However, the Ann Arbor crowds adore Dylan, and I think the feeling is
mutual. The shows at Hill Auditorium are some of the best I've seen, and
I've been doing this for over 30 years. Saw my first Bob show in Ann
Extra added attraction - G E Smith showed up. My friend and I were 5 feet
from him when he was putting on his guitar. She grabbed me and pointed
and said "I think that's G E Smith. Look, is that G E Smith?" He heard
her, the crowd had settled after Cold Irons at the appropriate moment.
Looked over and laughed and shook his head up and down to answer her
question. Then Dylan announced him - said something about a guy or band
that he used to play with, and he went out and they SMOKED Pillbox!!!
Bob was laughing out loud when he would come up from a crouch, and Larry
was grinning from ear to ear. Tony and Charlie just kept moving closer and
closer toward the other three. All of a sudden there were five live
guitars in a row on the stage with five men jamming their freaking brains
out!!!!! Every section in the auditorium was standing. Smith came back out
for Watchtower and Highway 61 in the encore, and we got a little more of
This was a serious Dylan crowd. Everyone talking about the nuances (Is the
dobro out? I hear Bob plays acoustic on Dogs and Larry and Charlie play
electrics. Get ready folks, there's the Incense guy. etc). Their reaction
to the new Cold Irons literally overwhelming. You could feel the wave of
it. The intro was sort of different? Everyone was hanging on each note in
anticipation. Light conga sounding drums was the first big change,
although the intro was lighter, too. I do not mean to imply (Light,
lighter) that there was a diminished intensity. Quite the contrary - the
thing heats up in a few bars and grabs you! Bob seemed particularly
interested in the audience. The reaction of the crowd was probably
quite impressive from the band's point of view.
This show was amazing. It's always so much better with a great crowd, and
these Ann Arbor folks know how to do it well.
Oh yeah. Special for me was hearing I Shall Be Released. It was the
alternating #17 choice from the encore setlist. He was really on tonight,
animated with every line. It was incredible!
There are tickets left for the rest of this very short and unusual tour.
Get there if you can. The more real Dylan folk in the audience, the
better the show.
Review by Dan Lafferty
Last night, my lifelong wish to see Bob Dylan from the front row came
true, and I wasn't disappointed in the least. Bob was definitely "on"
last night, moving and smirking and wailing as strong and emotionally as
I wasn't surprised to hear "Desolation Row", but definitely pleased. It
was a solid, satisfying rendition, rocking but still true to the spirit of
I WAS surprised at "Mama, You Been On My Mind", one that hadn't even
occurred to me to hope for, and it made the entire night worthwhile. It's
a perfect example of how Bob can take an already perfect, beautiful song
and somehow make it even more perfect and beautiful.
Just as fans were starting to tire of "Tangled Up In Blue" and groan at
the thought of it, new life seems to have been breathed into it. It was
my personal favorite performance of it that I've ever seen of the shows
I've attended. What is it? The lights? The drums? There's something
there, and the song is born again!
Quite simply, "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Blowin' In The Wind" were the
BEST renditions I've ever heard anywhere. EVER. Period. They were
perfect. Flawless. Moving. I was hypnotized.
Unfortunately only one number from Blonde on Blonde, "Leopard-Skin Pillbox
Hat", but the overall performance more than made up for that one minor
Review by Parth Venkat
I am anything but an expert on Dylan on tour. I am 17, own all his
albums, but had never up untill last night seen him live. (I was ready to
kill myself when i missed dylan/simon and then again dylan/lesh because i
had to go out of town each time). I don't think I had ever been more
excited for anything in my life. My seats at first glance seemed to be
the worst in the house, the very back top left corner. But it turned out
to be awesome because we didn't sit for a second, saw everything and
danced our hearts out. The first 4 songs, were dissapointing was too
harsh, but not great. I love desolation row and Duncan and Brady, and the
versions were very good, but not amazing. Then he hit tangled up in blue
and everything just took off. The lights, the extended guitar solos, were
just awesome. After that moment, i didn't stop dancing for a second.
Everysong just built up and up and up, till when he announced G.E. Smith,
and they played the greatest version of pillbox imaginable. It was just
Wow. When he walked off the stage i really did not think he was coming
back. When he did, it was just pure heaven. Like a rolling stone was
just brilliant. He phrased it so differently than either the highway 61
or self portrait versions. By this time, after singing in my horrible
tone-deaf manner, my voice was gone. My heart was pounding, i was
drenched in sweat. I was sure he was done. At that point, i was in awe
of the concert. And then he played a couple of notes, and i just yelled
out, "He's still going!!!" WE just kept asking ourselves how long he
could keep the encore going. The crowd went crazy during all along the
watchtower. Everyone was up, you could hardly hear bob's voice, it was
just the crowd going nuts. Then after highway 61 blew us all away, he
walks off, and we are sure he's done. Then he comes back, and sings
probably the greatest version of blowin' in the wind possible. It was
just impecable. After the concert, i was drenched in sweat, i couldn't
breathe, my heart was pounding, i couldn't talk. My friends and I just
danced and went crazy during hte entire thing. It is a night i'll always
remember, and I will make it to his next show in michigan, for sure.
Review by Eric Shaver
Hill Auditorium is just a fantastic place to see Bob Dylan. The show was
high energy and the music was brilliant. Bob sang extremely well and was
absolutely into the show. I really enjoyed his reinterpretation of some
of his songs. He's definately not going to let his wonderful songs lose
their bite. Highlights for me:
Desolation Row-Excellent version with clear cutting vocals. A true
Twist of Fate-Cool arrangement, with cool blue lighting. Almost felt like
Bob was performing in a nightclub.
Cold Irons Bound-The band rocked it's collective ass off. What an
arrangement. Totally different than TOOM and in my opinion way better.
And I like the version on the album.
All Along the Watchtower-Songs don't get any better than this. G.E.Smith
was a special guest and sat in on the last five or six songs. Trading
solos with Larry and Charlie this song took on a life of its own.
I would like to thank Bob Dylan for putting on such a wonderful show.
Definately worth every penny. You must check out this show when it comes
to your town. You won't be disappointed.
Review by Dennis Krawczak
It has been more than 48 hrs. since the concert in Ann Arbor ended and
I'm still all shook up.I've seen Bob 3 times before but never in a
small venue.My wife,Joyce and I sat right of the sound man, 16 rows
back,excellent for sound and vision.All the songs were beautifully sang
and played.It was obvious from the start that this crowd loved Bob and
when it was over it was obvious that Bob loved us too.I believe he was
actually moved by the response of the audience.Joyce said she detected a
tear in his eye when they were doing the standing staring thing. I don't
know if thats true but he made us feel his love and I hope he felt ours.
My biggest song surprise was my favorite, Simple Twist of Fate, and I see
he hasn't played that in quite some time.Hats off to Mr. Dylan ,for being
a true troubadour,taking his music on the road and keeping real music
alive.Best wishes to Bob, the band and entire road crew for a safe
completion of this leg of the tour.
Review by Don Ely
I set out for what was to be my 15th Bobby Dylan show,this one at the
friendly confines of Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor,Michigan.All of the gigs
I've been witness to occurred in the 90's and beyond,exceptions being 1981
& 1988.This time I was in the company of good friends Dan Teo,Bubba,and
Lori.After some parking misadventures(parking can be murder to find in old
A2),we entered the concert hall.Hill is an older building administered by
the University of Michigan,not too large and with good sound from most
locations.I had been there many times since 1980,catching the likes of
Gary Numan,Elvis Costello,Blues Traveler,and Bob Dylan previously.If there
is a drawback to the place,it is that there are no concessions,only
drinking fountains near the restrooms.This minor problem was circumvented
by Lori,who had the foresight to bring bottled water in her purse.We
entered the auditorium and walked down the aisle,down,down to our seats in
the third row(yay!)I had found the onsale date through frequent Boblinks
watching(Thank you,Bill Pagel for your intense dedication to this site!)
Dan was already there,having had to meet us due to another engagement that
afternoon.Everyone in the immediate area were abuzz about their great
fortune in seating.And then it was showtime!The band came out,we were
maybe 15ft away from Larry,and of course Bob followed them onstage.He was
resplendent in his suit with striped pants and black-and-white cowboy
boots.How many of these does he own?Kinda reminds me of Schroeder with his
closet full of Beethoven busts(that Lucy keeps smashing)!The band launched
into "Duncan and Brady" and then "To Ramona" as has been customary
throughout most of this tour."Desolation Row" followed,seemingly a better
version than I had seen in Madison,Wisconsin the Sunday prior."Mama,You
Been On My Mind" was next.This is a favorite composition of mine,it amazes
me that Bob still performs this one from his earliest days.Perhaps someday
somewhere he and Joan Baez will duet on this emotionally charged
song."Tangled","Soldier's Grave",and "Country Pie" were next on the
setlist,the latter the whimsical "Nashville Skyline" throwaway given
elevated status by this band of Larry Campbell & Charlie
Sexton,guitars,longtime cohort Tony Garnier,bass,and ace drummer,David
Kemper.It's interesting,but most people I've talked to at shows unfamiliar
with who's in Bob's band remember Charlie from his days in the 80's when
he was being groomed by the industry as a "Next Big Thing".Bet he'd like
to forget those times;it sort of reminds one of all those unfortunates
having to carry the "New Dylan" tag(remember Steve Forbert?) The next
number,and personal highlight of the evening,was an extremely warm
"Standing In The Doorway",one of the "Time Out of Mind" selections I had
not yet seen performed.I savored every lyric as the band took their time
playing the song,and I and the audience were firmly tangled up in Bob's
spell for the duration.In one of the 10/29 Madison reviews ,someone
pointed out the animated moves and facial expressions Bob makes while in
concert.You could see a thousand stories on his face during this
night;what a fascinating man!A ripping "Tombstone Blues" followed,longer
than the previous week.It was obvious Bob was having a great time.Next
were a beautiful "Simple Twist of Fate" and another new one for me,"Cold
Irons Bound".Very interesting to see how the band approaches this one
live,it must be a difficult number to play.Before the show we were
spinning the version from the live promo ep. Before the next selection,Bob
starts to introduce someone to the stage:"you may remember him from a few
years ago..." and out strolls G.E.Smith!Ecstatic cheers abound for the
returning guitar hero who toured with Bob 1988-90.He was also leader of
the Saturday Night Live house band,played with Daryl Hall and John Oates
thru their biggest years,and was the first husband of comedienne Gilda
Radner.Thus began an enthusiastic "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box" to close the
set.After a short time the group returned to the stage and "Things Have
Changed" burst forth from the amps."Like A Rolling Stone" was the 14th
selection,and then the wonderful "If Dogs Run Free".G.E. returned to the
fore for "All Along the Watchtower",played with conviction and a welcome
addition to the set after being absent for a couple years.A nice "I Shall
Be Released" followed,and the proceedings wrapped up with "Highway 61" and
"Blowin' in the Wind",again featuring G.E. Smith.The surprise guest
appearance was only the first time I had seen anything like that since
Mitch Ryder joined Bruce Springsteen for the "Detroit Medley" in Detroit
in 1981. After the show I talked to a gal from Victoria,B.C. who had
traveled to several gigs including Madison,and saw a friend,Rob,a former
co-worker(and fellow Bruce aficionado)I had not seen in three
years.Dan,Bubba,Lori,and I walked about the town,bought some cool books
from a street vendor,and found ourselves in a pub that was still open for
refreshments and good times.Great company and great music are an
unbeatable combination!Here's looking forward to the next time Robert
Allen Zimmerman graces our town.
Review by Ian Harrington
There have been several times that I have wanted to write in after a
show but, with the exception of one occasion, I never have. But at the
outset I would like to say that this will not be a review so much as a
minor soapbox tirade. That's not to say that the show wasn't deserving of
praise, it was excellent. Actually, it was the fact that the show was so
good that I have been motivated to write this.
Last night marked the 14th show I have attended since first seeing Dylan
in Halifax, Nova Scotia back in 1997. This time, my girlfriend and I had
fourth row middle seats and were a short fifteen feet from the microphone.
For several hours he poured through his repertoire touching both on the
classics (Tangled, Highway 61, Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat, etc), and the
largely forgotten gems (Dogs Run Free, Country Pie, etc). There was
absolutely nothing in his set that would warrant any disdainful comments.
What I think should be discussed is the unfortunate attitude of many
"Dylan fans". It has become increasingly difficult for me to determine who
is more cynical and jaded, Dylan himself or the people who claim to be his
biggest fans. What exactly are you left with after you have finished
comparing the set-lists, guitar and harp solos, vocals, venues, crowds,
taping and smoking policies of all the shows you've seen? From the
conversations I have overheard (most often in line for the men's room
between people who have seen 20 or more shows), it seems apparent to me
that you're left with very little. The next question becomes, if it is
really so bad, why do you keep coming back? My advice would be to simply
remember how you felt the first time you saw him. Sure, maybe the low end
was muffled a bit, maybe the guys sitting next to you could have used a
shower (I thought of this one during the Phil & Friends leg of last year's
tour), and maybe the woman behind you insisted on screaming the whole
time, but do you remember the smile on your face when you left? When did
you become so jaded that you could leave a show like the one at Hill
Auditorium and be less than fully satisfied? Next time, just sit there and
listen, maybe it'll all come back to you.
Review by Jeff Green
Being a Michigan State University student, I showed my true faithfulness
to Bob when I travelled to that "school down the road" to hang out with an
old friend from highschool and to see my idol. I had been looking forward
to this show for quite some time, bought 5th row seats for my mom as a
birthday present, and was counting down the minutes to the show. Mind
you, Hill Audotorium is a beautiful place, acoustics are perfect for an
ACOUSTIC show. But anyway, I was all pumped, listening to some Bringing
it all Back home, trying to introduce my pal into my passion. He loved
Subterranean Homesick Blues, but knowing that it would never be played, I
threw in an old boot from a show I went to in July. He liked it. Okay...
Duncan and Brady - I have gotten to the point, where I sing the chorus of
the song wherever I go. People in my Econ class either laugh at me or
move away. Don't know which is worse. It was a solid performance tonight
- I've been on the road ... so looooong. - To Ramona - surprisingly, this
was the first time I'd heard it live, and thinking I was going to hear it
tonight, i downloaded a few versions of it off of Napster. (Keep Napster
alive!) I enjoyed it, but would have liked to hear another Song to Woody
or Tambourine Man with harp solo, (how I miss the harmonica in the 2nd
slot.) - Desolation Row - Lately, it's been my personal favorite; I
wanted to hear it to tonight, just to hear how he emphasized the words
Desolaaaaation Roooww. I liked it, but it wasn't Deer Creek. I really
just want to hear the whole version, again. - Mama - was a sweet song.
People started sitting down for this, though, - was making me irritated.
Harmonica here! I loved it! I just want to squeeze the man's frail body
when he gets down into a groove! Tangled was poor, he really needs to get
rid of this song. Searching has been another good one I like listening
to, but it also puts the audience into a lethargic state. Country Pie
started to get the crowd rocking, but I would like to hear another song to
start the electric set. Standing in the doorway was nice, but it bored
some people. What is up with Tombstone Blues?? Before every song, my
buddy'd ask me what it was called, and I'd tell him. When I got to this
one, I didn't even understand the chorus until the second time around!
(Better than 4th, I guess) I really wish the vocals could have been more
clear, here, as this is one of his better songs. Simple Twist - I was
surprised by this, and it made me smile. Really like this song, but the
arrangement was a little rough on the palate. Cold Irons Bound started
slow, but ended solid. Then there was the introduction of the band, and
what I think was the highlight of the night, when GE Smith came out and
played Pill Box Hat. This was INCREDIBLE. The smiling, deuling Dylan
going all out to top his guitar counterpart. He was having a great time,
I loved it! Smith's guitar-work is absolutely stunning. I am going to
have to watch some old SNL reruns, now! The encore was extremely upbeat,
however, Things have Changed has seen better performances. Like a Rolling
Stone got the crowd goin' again,but to me, it was missing something. It
never hit that over-the-top point the comes right before the chorus. It
seemed like it was on a rollercoaster, going to the top, almost making it,
and falling back down. Dissappointment, a little, but none-the-less, a
crowd pleaser. I really enjoyed the jazzy perfomance of Dogs, mellowed
things out a little. Watchtower kicked some serious behind. It was
all-out rock and roll - again, Smith was playing hardcore guitar, and
Dylan was feeding off of it. I loved it. - Released needs some work, but
I do like the idea of harmonization, they were just not together tonight,
and it sounded poor, kind of like dogs running free. Kickin' version of
HW61, possibly the best version i have heard. True, pure rock'n'roll.
Blowin' in the Wind sounded pleasant, and we got to see a final guitar
solo from Bobby; he is just so good. So it was a decent concert. The
last one my mom saw was in 64 before the motorcycle accident, and she was
satisfied, but she said she misses when it is just Bob with his acoustic
guitar, non-muffled lyrics. I went to the Pine Knob show this summer, and
never got a chance to respond to that woman who complained that Dylan
sings too differently from his albums. I love hearing the so many
different versions he sings, that's why I see him live - but I am getting
to the point, where I want to see one concert where he sings his songs the
way he released them, in his voice today. If he still has that passion
about Medger Evers or Hurricane Carter. I was just somewhat disappointed
with today's show; but I did love my seats; Bob smiled more than ever
tonight. He looks so good right now, so happy. Keep on rockin', Bob!
Review by Martin Abela
My regular travelling companion Edwin and I enjoyed a Sunday cruise
down the 401 from Toronto to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Along the way, we
discussed the news that our city council recently decided that in a
couple of years Toronto will be sending 300 truckloads of garbage
down the same road to Michigan landfills each day.
I found this rather embarrassing when I found that our host at a
relaxed pre-show party worked in the waste industry, and was quite
environmentally aware. He didn't seem to hold it against us. However,
I had brought a cooler of beer, and for what it was worth, I made
sure to bring all my empties and bottle caps, back to Toronto with
The goal of our trip was not environmentalism, but music. We were on
the road to catch Bob for one show on the last leg of the
never-ending tour in the twentieth century. Edwin will be moving on
to Massachusetts and New Jersey, but for me this is the last show of
I was hoping for something special.
The show was at Hill Auditorium - a large hall on the campus of the
University of Michigan. We parked a couple of miles away from campus.
I enjoyed the walk to the campus in the mild fall night. The streets
were lined with interesting book shops, coffee houses full of students
studying, and rep theatres with films like Godfather II and Blazing
Saddles listed on the marquees.
Hill Auditorium dates from the early years of the 20th century. Photos
in the upper lobby showcased others who had graced the stage like
Pavorotti, Caruso, Marceau and Rachmaninoff. Tonight was Bob's night,
I had a great view of the stage from my front row balcony seat. I had
stood by the stage for several shows in the U.K., so I wanted a
change of pace tonight. I had heard that the sound in the first
balcony was good, so I jumped at the chance of a front row centre
ticket up there.
I knew it was a good choice when Bob started singing "Duncan and
Brady". Bob's voice was loud and clear, easily discernible over the
guitar. It was no trouble noticing that Bob sang "Along came Brady
in his electric car" first, mentioning Brady's "Shiny star" later in
the song. When the band sang "been on the job too long", Bob
stretched out "Tooo Loooong" each time.
On Desolation Row Bob did a fine job on lead guitar. He started
playing to his audience a bit. leaning to one side, and bending his
knees. Seeing this much motion in third song made me start to realize
we were going to get a special performance.
Next was Mama, You Been On My Mind. Please to see Bob go reach for the
harmonica. An intense, if short, harp solo. It would be the only time
we would hear it tonight.
As usual, Tangled Up In Blue was in the fifth spot. It was memorable
tonight for the way Bob sang "I don't know what their doing with
their lives" He gave it an ironic humour this time - as if he can't
believe what others do with their lives, and all he can imagine for
himself is "heading for another joint". It strikes me that this is a
key phrase for Bob. It seems important to him that he always knows
there is another performance ahead of him down the road. That is the
focus for his troubadour life - always moving forward to play in
front of another group of people in another town.
The emotional polar opposites were next, "Searching for a Soldiers
Grave" and "Country Pie". It is a pleasure watching this band play
"Country Pie". They are so well rehearsed, you can see Charlie and
Larry laying down the guitar licks at just the right spot, playing off
each other so beautifully. This light-hearted romp is a great showcase
for Bob's two guitar players. I wonder how he would sound with an
additional guitar player?
After "Country Pie", Bob spoke for the first time tonight, but not the
last - "Thank you indeed. Thank You Ladies and Gentlemen".
The next song was a treat. Bob continues to give us great performances
of the songs from Time Out Of Mind. Tonight the first of two songs from
his most recent album was "Standing in the Doorway". Bob sang this
beautifully, soft and sombre. He played lead guitar, but just strummed
lightly, giving the song a gentle feel.
Tombstone Blues is a wonderful song to hear live. Not just hearing the
lyrics, but watching Bob's face as he delivers them. Especially the
raised eyebrows and grin when he sings the punch line "I am in the
kitchen with the tombstone blues".
Larry's country sound on the steel guitar dominated "Simple Twist of
Fate". Between verses you could hear Bob's distinctive guitar plunking
over Larry's country twang.
The second Time Out Of Mind Song was the new version of Cold Irons
Bound. Sparse, with lots of percussion work from David Kemper. Actually,
percussion from Tony Garnier too, since he played the tambourine for
part of this song. Hearing this song brought me back to Del Rio, Texas,
where I was three years ago this week. I had left my CD copy of TOOM at
home - but picked up a cassette copy at a Del Rio Mall. I can clearly
remember blasting "Cold Irons Bound" as I drove
my rental car through the Texas countryside after sunset watching the
horizon change from deep pink to black. Music has power to trigger
memories - and that is a particularly fine one.
Bob approached the microphone again after "Cold Irons Bound" This time
he said "I would like to introduce somebody who used to play with the
band. I am sure you know him well - G.E. Smith!"
G.E., sporting a red electric guitar, took a spot on the far side of
Larry Campbell. They played "Leopard Skin Pill-box Hat". G.E. played
a fine lead. He seemed happy to be on stage with Bob again. He kept
glancing over at Bob, and at Tony, smiling at them as he played.
G.E. took a cue from the others, and stood with his guitar for the
formation. As usual, after a minute the other players walked off,
leaving Bob alone for a few seconds before he turned and followed.
When they returned for the encore, G.E. stayed off, and the band
played "Things Have Changed". I once again tried and failed to picture
Bob if he really did "dress in drag".
The one song I was anticipating the most was "When Dogs Run Free". I
was not disappointed. Bob fronting a five piece jazz combo. Bob
singing the lyrics expressively, with humour. Worth the price of
admission. After the song, Bob - feeling particularly outgoing
tonight, said "that is an animal rights protection song".
I could see G.E. off stage behind Larry during "When Dogs..". He
was watching carefully, and seemed to be enjoying Bob's vocal
G.E. joined the band again for "All Along the Watchtower". The extra
guitarist brought a lot of power to this song. A great heavy metal
sound, with Bob's snarling voice over it all.
No playing by G.E. on the next song - "I Shall Be Released" I had
never heard this live before, so I was excited to hear Bob sing it. He
did a moving rendition, singing softly and emotionally.
Highway 61 was louder than usual and twice as rockin', with G.E. smith
back out again. G.E. Smith and Charlie Sexton were watching each other
playing. After the first verse, G.E. was playing Rhythm, and charlie
played lead. After the second versed, the swapped, with G.E. playing
lead. They watched each other carefully, in good spirit, from across
the stage. G.E., standing between David Kemper and Larry Cambpell, had
one leg up on the drum platform as he played. He seemed
casual, as if he had never left the tour.
G.E. also stayed out for the final song, the ubiquitous "Blowin' In
The Wind". Dan Krass believes G.E. was not playing though, and he may
be right. During the guitar intro, my friend Michele Simpson (who had
spent the whole show at the stage in front of Charlie Sexton) started
applauding with her arms stretched out before Bob.
Our man acknowledged this by moving towards Michele, bowing with
smile on his face, and giving Michele a wink. A fun ending to an
extraordinary show - a guest guitarist, and songs that ranged over
musical genres. With jazz, hard rock, country and traditional music,
Bob's range continues to delight me, and the many others who come out
to see him play.
Review by Shalu Zuger
The show started out about 15 minutes late, but Bob made up by playing a
few extra songs and bringing out a very special guest to play with him!
He started out with Duncan and Brady and this was my first time hearing
Bob sing it. Then he moved on to To Ramona. There was little smiles
here and there while enjoying playing. He really started having fun when
Desolation Row started and it was awesome as usual. At the end, it
appears he was coaxing the first few rows of audience with his facial
expressions of difficult playing and semi-dancing. He thanked everyone
after this song. I really enjoyed Hill Auditorium's dome atmosphere.
The sound quality was excellent! Mama, You Been on My Mind had the only
harmonica solo, it was mediocre. It sounded different than the album
version and I had a hard time recognizing it.
Tangled Up In Blue was in its favorite spot and sounded the same until the
band did a little extended play at the end. When Bob sang "headin' for
another joint", he gave a big smile and looked around as if he was
admiring the auditorium that he was at. What I thought was amazing was
the excellent job the lighting crew did. On Tangled Up in Blue, colored
lights were being flashed from different angles at different times and it
appeared to give Bob a 25' shadow from the front; Bob, Larry and the
entire drums and drummer from one side; and then 3 guitar players: Bob,
Tony and Charlie from the other side. Seeing those constantly changing
shadows looming over me made it hard to believe that it was all from one
stage and that it included the same person! It was like seeing Bob from
many points of view during his career. Because the lighting was
emphasized for Tangled Up in Blue, it reminded me of what many have
discussed about the changing of characters from male to fema! le and
hearing it being sung from different points of view. I encourage
everyone to take some time to look at the wonderful light display.
Searching For a Soldier's Grave had Larry on Mandolin. Beautiful harmony
of voices and the extended play at the end was awesome! This was my
first time hearing Country Pie which was one of my favorites from the
Nashville Skyline album. Bob and Charlie were going back and forth which
added more excitement. I noticed that Tony has been using less of the
stand up bass; in fact, it was only used on a few songs. There was a
very good introduction to Standing In The Doorway and it sounded very
close to the album version.
He was having fun with Tombstone Blues with little smiles and many dancing
leg bends. Larry was laughing a lot. I realized tonight that while Bob
isn't always paying attention to the Band members every second, the Band
members give each other looks which sometimes suggest that they're trying
to keep up but aren't sure what chord Bob is going to play next and can't
see his guitar either. They rely a lot on each other to get feedback
with facial expressions of joy, confusion, challenge and boredom (I see a
blank look on their faces sometime which shows they could play this in
They played the beautiful Simple Twist of Fate with Larry on slide guitar.
Bob made it sound like he was telling a story to everyone which put a
different and more personal touch to it. He smiled when he sang "but I
was born too late". Larry looked quite impressed with the extended play
on Twisted that Bob did.
It sounded like a little psychedelic play with mashed sounds without words
that started Cold Irons Bound. This was a hard rocking sound and I was
amazed to see how much Charlie steps up. During the song Tony would
sometimes play tambourine. I have heard this song before, but this time
it sounded extra loud which could be the result of a smaller venue. This
band displayed how tight they were through this song, it sounded
electrified tonight! After, there were a few "thank yous".
Bob said that he would like to introduce a special guest that he last
played with 3 years ago. Welcome G. E. Smith!!! He was to play this
last weekend in my hometown of Royal Oak and a family emergency prevented
me from seeing him. I had no idea that he would be here to play with Bob
tonight! There were smiles all around and wild playing! Everybody was
looking around trying to keep up. It was exciting to have Smith at one
end and Sexton at the other challenging each other. Bob and Smith ended
up in the middle of the stage back to back exchanging riffs.
Things Have Change was next and I haven't grown unto it yet. Like a
Rolling Stone wasn't at its best. The band didn't look thrilled to be
playing it for the millionth time and Bob forgot and stumbled over a
couple words. When he sings "How does it fffeeeeeeeelll?" it sounds like
the produced voice that a lot of the pop singers are using (with out the
electronics). If Dogs Run Free was next and sounded jazzy with excellent
word timing and it is a good performance to add change to his shows.
After he sang this song, he called it an "animal protection rights song"
and followed with "thank yous".
G.E. Smith joined them back on stage for All Along the Watchtower. There
was twirling colors in the background and many smiles all around. Larry
was on slide guitar. Charlie, though never smiling, appeared to gain the
most benefit from playing with Smith. I Shall Be Released was next.
Bob seemed to be off on this one compared to the band's standard echoing
of him. However, this song seemed to be in a good placement within the
set. Smith came back on the stage for Highway 61. Smith seemed to be
making Bob and the band work hard to keep up with him. Charlie took 2
bows and mouthed thank you. Smith continued to stay for Blowing In the
Wind. Everyone enjoyed Smith's presence and it had a great impact on
competition and on raising the bar with everyone's playing. Smith even
stayed for the now traditional "line up" and it seemed to last extra long
this time as Bob slowly looked over the main floor and the 2 balconies to
take in the applause and praise. After formation was broken, everyone
went off to the right of the stage except Smith and Campbell who went left
and shared a hug on stage.
This was the best performance of Dylan that I've seen and I think it is
because expectations this night was raised with the presence of G. E.
Smith and it was held in such an intimate setting. I wish Smith could be
a guest for the rest of the tour!
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