Reviews

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Riverside Theater

November 6, 2008


[David Moyer], [Jerry Spanbauer], [Doug Odom]

Review by David Moyer



It was rather unusual even by Bob standards.  It's hard to describe what
sound they were going for.  Some type of swing thing at times, perhaps.
Highway 61 was its usual blistering self.  The rest of the songs were very
different from previous tours or the previous sound of this band, which
makes me wonder if they are experimenting and trying to get to something
they haven't quite found, yet.

Twenty-six trips and I think it was the first time I heard Love Minus
Zero/No Limits, so that was a treat.  It is also the first time I have
seen him take center stage to sing without an instrument.  Another new
twist was during Just Like a Woman, when he did not sing the refrain on
the first couple verses and let the audience sing it.  No guitar, but a
fair amount of harp.  Some solos, but a lot of accentuating the rest of
what was going on.

Bob came out in white hat.  No backdrop except for Girl of the North
Country.   The Camera's Eye came down for the encores.  They had old
rectangular microphones that looked like you might see on Ed Sullivan or
Lawrence Welk.  Don't ask me why.  They were different for some reason.

The guitars were all opposite the keyboard this time.  Stu played more
electric than before and took more of the solos.  The keyboard was turned
up at times during various jams, which isn't always the case.  I thought
the bass was way too loud, and although I thought Bob sang OK, the vocals
seemed down in the mix or a bit muddy at times.  He played his voice
against the musical crescendos at the end of verses in Hard Rain in a
noticeable, different style.  I prefer the Hard rain where they get in
your face and you feel as if you actually are being bombed, but you know
you are going to get a lot of different things when you go, you just never
know what they will be. 

Normally I can do without Tweedle Dee, but I actually enjoyed that one
last night.  Kind of a Texas feel, perhaps.  But while it's hard to go
wrong with Tangled Up in Blue, this was my least favorite of the live
versions I have heard over the course of the last 14+ years.  And,
something else happened for the first time in a long time.  I flat out did
not recognize Girl of the North Country.  I suppose that makes me seem
like an amateur Bob addict, but I am telling you it was a very strange
version of the song, and truth be told, I'm not sure I see the point of
it.

In fact, I've kind of dubbed this my Bizarro World Bob concert.  It was
quite a unique show.  I have been trying to figure out what I think of the
show, and I guess I decided that I liked it and appreciated that hey were
playing live and doing their thing, and certainly it was enjoyable.  What
they were doing exactly is still more of a mystery to me.  I wouldn't put
it up there with the best shows I've seen, but as always, it was well
worth the trip.  

[TOP]

Review by Jerry Spanbauer



Took in Dylan last night at the beautiful Riverside Theatre in downtown
Milwaukee and I thought I'd share a few observations. I am a veteran of
about 30 shows beginning in 1986. This is the third time I've seen him at
this venue after also seeing him there in 1990 and 1994. (On a personal
note, I was happy to be accompanied by my best friend (also a veteran of
20+ shows) who had been badly injured getting hit by a car while riding
his bike six weeks ago to the day. He didn't think he was up for it but he
gutted it out and was glad he did. I was also joined by my beautiful wife
Karri and a friendly chap named Chris who had arranged to buy an extra
ticket from me. Between the four of us there have been about 100 Dylan
concerts.)

-The show had sold out quickly when the tickets first went on sale and the
demand was quite high. I noticed many looking for tickets on the way in.
-With a couple of frumpy exceptions, the entire lower level was on it's
feet the entire show. -Was obviously surprised by "Thunder on the
Mountain" in the opening spot and think this was a first. -Bob had several
unique organ runs throughout the evening and took a surprising amount of
solos. The "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" run in particular was fantastic
and had me laughing for several minutes. -Tons of harp with sharp,
committed solos. -Sometimes we take the outstanding rhythm section work by
Tony and George for granted. Every time we see Bob we get fixated in
particular by Tony's fine musicianship. -There were some fantastic guitar
figures on "Lonesome Day Blues" with Denny achieving a unique and
successful sound unlike anything I've ever heard. -"Tweedle Dee & Tweedle
Dum" featured the center stage Bob and his interesting gyrations. -Another
crazy rearrangement of "Tangled Up In Blue" that had it's moments. This is
one in particular that I miss Bob's guitar on but it's a great song
nonetheless in any guise. -Very solid "Love Sick" and "Highway 61
Revisited" -"Ainít Talkiní" didn't grab me live as much as I thought
it would. -The band achieved highs on "Summer Days" that I thought this
band was incapable of a few years ago. They've really found their voice
and had many memorable exchanges throughout the evening. -Bob talk:
something to the effect of "thank you, friends" and a full band
introduction. -Very solid show that probably didn't change anyone's life
but was quite enjoyable. We'd like to see Bob pay more attention to his
undervalued 70's and 80's catalogue. One 70's song and no 80's songs is an
outrage! Songs I'd like to see Bob get back to or take a go at (to name a
few): New Morning, Time Passes Slowly, Going, Going, Gone, I And I, Slow
Train, Meet Me In The Morning, New Pony, Shot Of Love, Groom's Still
Waiting At The Altar, Sweetheart Like You, Never Gonna Be The Same Again,
and Man In A Long Black Coat. I'd also love to see him take a stab at
"Girl From The Red River Shore." 

Jerry 
Oshkosh, Wisconsin
dylankicks@sbcglobal.net

[TOP]

Comments by Doug Odom



It WAS rather unusual by Bob Dylan standards.  Arrived early to Milwaukee
and settled in at Mo's Irish Pub for more than a few cold beers with my
friend Richard, who discovered Bob about fifteen years ago and still is
hanging on for dear life.  Mo was play'in Bob loud on the house speakers
and the upstairs bar was rock'in.  I've taken a lot of friends and
relatives over the past 25-30 years.  They either get it or they don't. 
Dickie got it the first night when Bob opened with Maggie's Farm down at
the Holiday Star. 

The Riverside Theater was a wonderful venue.  One of the smaller
stops on this recent go round.  Dickie and I have had the pleasure to
see Bob Dylan in similar sized theaters/clubs and its a must for any
die-hard.  That being said, I have not, in thirty years, seen Bob so
animated and interact with the audience as much as he did that night
in Milwaukee.  The voice was as good as ever and every song on the
set list was a treat.  He seemed to out do himself on each song as
the night went on.  I left unsure of what I had seen.  I knew I had
not seen anything like it before.  He played all my favorite song
that night because my favorite is the one I happen to be listening to
at the moment.  Thanks to my dear friend Mark for the tickets and to
his children, Gwen and Tommy.  I hope you kids enjoyed your first
Dylan concert with your Uncle Doug as much as I did.  Wish you had
been there John.

[TOP]

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