Review by Howard Weiner
At 7AM, I was awoken from a deep sleep by an agitated alarm clock.
After shaking off the cobwebs, I realized it was time for Fall Tour '06.
I showered, packed, threw on my Sly & the Family Stone t-shirt and
headed out the door. On my way to the soot-laden underground
tunnels of Manhattan, I took in the sounds and sights of a typical
weekday - cabs and trucks a- honkin', jackhammers a-poundin', and
helicopters buzzing overhead. Businessmen in suits (they will crush you
wealth and power) and pretty ladies were worrying, hurrying, fussing
and fretting. On the F Train bound for Penn Station, I wondered where
the woman in front of me with the pip-squeak dog was headed. They
both had faces that begged for love. My destination was Portland, Maine
for a lobster dinner and an evening of entertainment from 'the man who
forced folk into bed with rock.' Thankfully, old habits are tough to break.
Trains are the way to travel my friends. While enjoying the fall scenery
and listening to I tunes on the northbound Acela Express, I recharged
my phone, digital camera, and mp3 player. I can't handle planes anymore
unless it's absolutely necessary. I was drifting in and out of dreamless sleep
as I listened to Beatles outtakes during my two hour bus ride from Boston
to Portland. As nightfall descended on Portland, I had an appetizing 45
minute struggle with a pair of lobsters at an establishment by the
waterfront named Dimillo's. Although the beers were $3.21 and the ladies
were treating me kindly, I had to get down to the Cumberland Civic Center.
The GA crowd was already jam- packed as the opening band finished.
Instead of battling my way through the crowd, I scored an obstructed
view seat with a cranking speaker at the side of the stage.
I expected Bob and a Cowboy Band to take the stage, but these rocking c
ats opened a can of whoop ass on Portland with Cats in the Well. It was a
tornado of sound. Catching Just Like Tom Thumbs in the second slot was
sweet. After going back to New York City we were Stuck in Mobile with the
Memphis Blues. Bob's vocals were powerful and turned up loud in the mix.
Thanks to a giant speaker ten feet in front of me, my ear drums were
stretched to the limit, with Bob's voice shot through my bewildered brain.
High Water was a wild stomp. The band was smokin', they got the beat
down to the nitty-gritty. I had a good view of everybody but Bob. All I saw
was the top of a cowboy hat, but I felt like I was sequestered with him in
a spider hole. The intensity escalated as Stu Kimball aggressively strummed
the opening chords of Tangled up in Blue. Placing it fifth in the order was a
good call, it really got the audience pumped. There wasn't much jamming on
this, the emphasis is back where it belongs, on the words. Any musicians can
endlessly noodle away on this song, but these guys put the spotlight where
it belongs. With all these timeless classics, I forgot about Bob's new album till
he sang When the Deal Goes Down. I had heard a few versions of this from
the tour, but it was so much better in-person.
It's Alright Ma dragged -only sub-par number of the evening. It's due for a
well deserved vacation. My initial reaction to the ensuing Watching the River
Flow was 'oh no, not again,' but Bob rocked it madly. It was immense and
thunderous. Bob's cowboy band had the joint jumpin'. I'm happy to report
than any reports of the band slipping are inaccurate based on this evening's
performance. Most Likely You Gou You Way was a satisfying next course. But
oh, the Desolation Row, seek out a tape, it was majestic. Dylan really hasn't
pulled it off a huge version of this since he moved to piano, until he hit Maine.
The Portlanders were as engaged and enthusiastic as any crowd I can recall
recently….good times in Maine!
Highway 61 Revisited was amazing. Once again, with this band, less is more.
The jam wasn't as long as the Sexton- Campbell days, but I'm loving the
sound these guys put forth. At this point some of you folks might be thinking,
I'm a sycophant, but before you call me any dirty name, you better think twice.
Talking about Nettie Moore, no dice on this night, Dylan surprised us with Spirit
on the Water. The women were swooning; it came off better than I thought
it would. The crowd really responded to this one. There was some great harp
work here, and on several other numbers. I continue to sing the praises of
Denny Freeman. I dig his tasty lead guitar forays. Bob and the band had a
whomping good time closing the set out with Summer Days
Dylan truculently strolled back to the stage. He had the swagger on this night.
We all know what the encores are going to be, but the climatic opening of
Thunder on the Mountain was almost too much to handle. This version smoked
once it built some momentum. You gotta love Like a Rolling Stone following
that. I never fail to get a thrill from witnessing Bob perform that. Bob said
"Thank you…friends," and he meant it. Then it was the pre-Watchtower band
intro where Bob said a few things out of the ordinary. After another pounding
Tower, Bob stepped to the stage to receive the raucous applause from Portland.
He was genuinely moved by the crowd. The first of the five shows I'm going to
see from this tour was brilliant. I'm looking forward to my first Nettie Moore. I
got a pile of sins to pay for and I ain't got time to hide.
Review by Stephen Harding
This was my thirtieth time seeing Bob Dylan. It was my wife Beth's ninth
and my friend Charlie's third or fourth and we all thought this was one of
the best shows we've seen him do. Charlie's band does a great version of
My Back Pages. Even my nephew JP was there for his twentieth or so show.
So we're all huge Dylan fans. The band was tight and the set list had
enough classic material mixed with new songs to satisfy everyone young or
old. The audience seemed to be a mixture of exactly that. The place was
packed early to see The Raconteurs and they didn't disappoint. They do a
great version of "Bang Bang" that I can remember Nancy Sinatra singing.
Jack White is such a presence on stage that you can't take your eyes off
him. But Bob Dylan was right on all night with a very lively show. He
danced a little and smiled a lot and just seemed to really enjoy himself.
His voice was strong and clear. There were a couple of waves at Stu
Kimball that I didn't understand whether it was to play quieter or what.
Denny Freeman is a great guitarist who seems to be a perfect fit for
Dylan's music. Donnie Herron did a couple of solos on the electric
mandolin that made you sit up and listen. It's not often that we get to
hear that played and played that well. George Recile is probably the best
drummer Dylan has ever had and as they say if Tony Garnier is the music
director then he must be applauded for doing such a good job with song
selection, pacing and having the band pay attention to him when he knows
Dylan wants to go an extra few bars with a harmonica solo. It's the
constant remixing of the arrangements of the songs that never lets it get
old for us. I won't repeat the set list because you can find that on this
web page but highlights for us were, High Water, It's Alright Ma, and for
my wife Desolation Row. When he did Spirit On The Water and neared the end
of the song and sang "You think I'm over the hill, you think I'm past my
prime", the audience reacted strongly to tell him that he's not. It was a
nice response that I didn't see coming. I know it's been talked to death
but I do miss Larry Campbell and Charlie Sexton competing on Summer Days.
Sometimes they would really get the place flying with that song. All
together a great show. And now we're on to Boston for the show Saturday
night at BU with my two children joining us.
Review by Ernest Gurney
It was a sellout crowd at the Cumberland County Civic
Center on a record-setting sunny day and an
unnaturally warm November night in Portland. The
sellout status was expected, not only due to Dylan’s
first Maine visit in a couple years but also the first
Maine appearance ever for the opening Raconteurs. Add
that Jack White had never visited Maine in any
incarnation and well, who cared if it was a work
The Raconteurs started a few minutes early and
definitely made their presence not only known but
FELT. Patrick Keeler’s zenzone drumming and Jack
Lawrence’s bass set the low ground and Brendan and
Jack went into the stratosphere. All sound ranges were
explored. Jack White is an amazing guitarist who must
be seen live to be truly appreciated. Changing guitars
in mid-stream, dashing off screaming riffs with a
flick of the wrist, he deserves every accolade he’s
ever received. Banter was minimal but friendly,
members introduced and Jack (of course) with his “I’m
Jack White for as long as you want me to be”. Jack
mentioned hitting the bars of Portland the previous
evening to catch the tone of this city by the sea, and
thanking the fisherman for feeding the world. But
enough of that. The Raconteurs played a cement-shakin’
opener that included jewels such as Steady As She
Goes, Call It A Day, Yellow Sun and Hands. Add to that
a driven “wails of disbelief” version of an old Sonny
and Cher song Bang Bang and you already had your money
back. And Bob hadn’t even peeked around the corner
The Raconteurs wrapped the hour-long set and the wait
for Bob and crew began. The break was a little long
but Bob came on promptly at 9, which actually
surprised me, as I generally cut him 10 or 15 minutes
slack. The floor was about ¾ wall to wall people, the
seats were packed and Bob was being celebrated even
with the opening strains of Copeland.
The two opening songs were Cat’s In the Well and Just
Like Tom Thumb’s Blues. Having just heard these a
couple months ago in Pawtucket I was worried that this
was gonna be a deja-vu Dylan night, which CAN happen
even with his repertoire. In any case, Dylan’s voice
was cleared in this version of Cat’s, and Tom Thumb
removed the mariachi feel it had in Pawtucket and
replaced it with a bolder cut to the guitar riffs,
Dylan reelin at the keyboards and biting into words.
This was followed by Stuck Inside of Mobile, probably
one of the best live versions I’ve heard, very
articulate phrasing. The high point of the evening was
a complete surprise and first became obvious with the
following High Water. I turned to my friends and said
“who plugged in Bob’s keyboard??”. It’s been a
maddening element of concerts past that Dylan would be
ramblin at the keys and NO sound but guitars, bass and
drums were anywhere in the building. Well, tonight was
very different! Actually getting to hear Dylan pushing
and pulling against the guitars, or coloring along the
bass line made this concert pretty unique. High Water
was also Dylan’s initial foray into harp work, which
he extensively brought to more than a few songs
throughout the evening.
I’ll not get into much of a play-by-play for each
song, but I can say honestly that every one was
uniquely delivered and well-played. There were a
couple missed cues, which led to a “circle til we come
there again” approach by Bob and the band on a number
or two, but generally the music and lyrics were tight
and articulate throughout.
High points were Deal Gone Down in an elegant waltz
structure and heartfelt vocals from Bob; also Watching
The River Flow, well-played and the first time for me
to experience it live, and of course It’s Alright Ma,
just ‘cause even the president of the United States
must sometimes have to stand naked. The perfect
post-election phrase. Tangled Up In Blue, Highway 61,
Summer Days were in the mix I heard at Pawtucket and
yet somehow not pedestrian at all. Still unique and
innovative, time after time. Of the three from the
recent album, I’d have to pick Thunder On The Mountain
as my favorite, just due to its pace and musicianship.
The most affecting part of the night however came in
Spirit On The Water, when Dylan refers to possibly
being past his prime. The crowd responds with a
unanimous “No”….and then Dylan comes back with “we can
have a whoppin’ good time” and the audience roars its
agreement. Can I hear an amen, brother?
Dylan followed that tease with Summer Days, which
ended the official part of the concert and put the
audience in encore mode. The aforementioned Thunder On
The Mountain led it off, followed with the requisite
LARS, wherein my companion noted that Dylan was
peeling the lyrics off more like poetry than song.
Yes, very yes. And then, thank you Bob, my favorite,
All Along the Watchtower and “no one knows what any of
this is worth”. Dylan always has a great time in
Portland and the audience definitely loves the time as
well. It’s always one of the warmest times for
everyone involved. From my perspective, being a Maine
native, it was a night spent with a lot of friends,
plenty of times passed by and regained in memories.
The CCCC may be a cement box with plastic seats, but
once in awhile it’s a pretty amazing place. Last night
was one of them.
Review by Ray Padgett
Back on the road for three more Bob shows. Yee-haw! And for this Portland show
I also had a Dartmouth friend tagging along for her first show. We drove up and
found a spot on the floor for one of the few General Admission shows this tour.
I'm never as big of a fan of GA as some people; unless you're on the rail, it means
part of your attention is inevitably taken up by the people around you instead of
the show, and tonight was no exception. I had one guy behind me who created
a five-foot radius about him by playing violent air guitar most of the show. A guy
with really long hair to my left was head-banging, even during the slow songs,
whipping everyone around him with his hair. Not to mention the stoned guy trying
the whole show to make it though a solid wall of people to his "woman". He never
made any progress and, if she existed, she sure didn't seem to have any interest
in him finding her either.
As a whole, the crowd was very different than any I've seen at a Dylan show.
More young people than anything, mostly high schoolers. Whether this was the
appeal of The Raconteurs opening or the fact that a show like this is a rare event
in Maine, the local kids were out in droves. It made for a very enthusiastic, if not
particularly knowledgable, crowd. The enthusiasm then led to the most interactive
I've ever seen Bob...but first The Raconteurs.
As a huge White Stripes fan (having seen them live in August '05), I was very
excited by Jack White's side project...and somewhat disappointed when the
CD came out. It grew on me a little over time, but it seemed not much different
than a lot of generic pop mixed with indie rock bands. At any rate, I was very
glad to have them open for Bob at some of my shows, for the simple reason that
I probably wouldn't have paid to see them otherwise. And I would have missed a
very good show. I get the sense that anything with Jack White onstage would be
great, and they were no exception, making the best of the songs that didn't seem
to have too much potential on record. Kicked things off with a nice Intimate
Secretary, then into a great version of Level. Steady As She Goes followed, earlier
in the set than I would have expected, but with the guitar parts slightly rearranged
to great effect, before a not-too-memorable It Ain't Easy. I don't remember the
exact order of songs after that, but some highlights were a very nice cover of Bang
Bang, switching back and forth between loud and fast and low and soft, and Yellow
Sun. The "wow" moment of the set, however, was Store-Bought Bones. The first
few minutes were a really slowed-down, riff-free, call-and-response version of the
song. It was very cool to hear, but I did think, "The album version is more fun."
And then on "You can't buy what you can't find what you can't" they just
repeated it over and over again, gradually getting faster and faster until their
suddenly at the break-neck pace of the original. Unbelievable to see. The set closed
with Blue Veins (disappointing, as it just seemed a vehicle for excessive
soloing) -> Hands.
The break between the two sets was long, much longer than it had been for Kings
of Leon. Maybe the Racs had more stuff to take off or maybe Bob was just feeling
lazy, but whatever the reason it just dragged on until past nine. The whole time
was spent, of course, jockeying with everyone else for better positions on the floor.
GA shows are so stressful. Eventually, however, Bob came on, as he generally does.
I saw Donnie pick up the violin and thought I got my main wish, Absolutely Sweet
Marie as an opener. Well, not exactly, it was Cat's in the Well, but I was still
overjoyed for anything but Maggie's. That meant no She Belongs to Me, Lonesome
Day Blues, etc. It was a great version. Bob's voice was still in gruff warm-up mode,
but he wasn't letting that stop him.
I recognized the opening bars of the next song very distinctly, but couldn't quite
place it. It was only when I heard the word Juarez that I realized I was getting my
first personal debut of the night, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues. It was a very nice
version but, as would be a continuing pattern throughout the night, it was hard
for me to focus. The crowd was so tightly packed that I was getting bumped and
hit over and over as people around me were talking, blowing smoke in my face, etc.
Nothing much worse than a normal GA show, except the crowd was younger and,
probably as a result, much closer together. I was very excited to already get a
personal debut though; the inevitable first show where I don't get one has been
avoided yet again. And Denny's first solo was great.
I expected High Water for some reason next, but nope, Stuck Inside of Mobile.
I haven't heard the great Auburn Hills version everyone is raving about, but I don't
think this was it. It's one of those songs that I really like, and is never really done
badly live...it just isn't done well enough to warrant being included in the set as
often as it is. A decent enough version tonight.
Ok, here's High Water. This song is always done well live, and tonight was no
exception, but having just gotten it in Chicago a couple weeks ago, I wasn't that
into it. The Chicago one was better too, I think.
I wasn't expecting Tangled Up in Blue so early in the show, but there it was. I'd
heard this in Chicago for the first time and I was very glad to hear it again. The
audience reaction when the heard the opening bars was ridiculous; gotta give
them credit for all knowing Dylan one song not from the 60's. It seemed to inspire
Bob to deliver a very nice performance, not straying too far from the original, but
well done nevertheless.
It was about time for a Modern Times song, and I was glad to hear When the
Deal Goes Down. Its Chicago performance is the best MT performance I've seen
yet, but this one wasn't far behind. Still quite faithful the original, but nice
nonetheless, and featured one of Denny's best solos of the evening.
It's Alright Ma simply needs to be given a break. It's never poorly done...but it's
never particularly well-done either. In this arrangement he words come too fast
that Bob just barks them out the same way every time. It's always the same and,
amazing a song as it is, has gotten tiring.
I was, however, happy to hear Watching the River Flow, as I hadn't seen it live
since Chicago '05. The crowd around me was being particularly boistrous during
this one, however, so I don't remember many details.
I'm not sure why, but for some reason Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go
Mine was a major highlight. I'd been distracted when I saw it in Chicago, and here
he seemed to nail it. The crowd was loving it and I think Bob must have been just
feeding off that energy. It wasn't nuanced, it wasn't subtle, but it was one of the
most fun Bob performances I've seen in a while. And he capped it off with by far
the best harp solo I've ever seen him do, and better than the recent ones I've
heard on tape too. At one part he started playing these three notes over and
over again at lightning speed, never missing a beat (if everyone is familiar with
Dire Straits, you know that part in Knopfler's Sultans of Swing solo where he
starts playing that three-note pattern absurdly fast? Yeah, it was like that.) I
couldn't believe I was seeing Bob wail on that harmonica like that. Great stuff.
Another song I hadn't gotten in a year and a half, Desolation Row, is always nice
to hear. And it was generally well done, every character (and hair) in place. I don't
remember it in too much detail (stupid GA shows...), but I know Dr. Filth was in
there (though Nero and his Neptune were MIA). Also, for some reason after one
verse Stu moved right next to George and stood playing there the whole time.
The speculation, of course, was that he was creating a space for Jack White to
come on, but he never showed. After the song Stu went back to his normal spot.
and nothing more was made of it. Weird.
Highway 61 Revisited reminded me that I only had one surprise song left, and I
didn't think it was done as well as it had been in Chicago. For one, the flashing
light thing didn't happen until the second instrumental break, seriously
undermining its coolness effect. However, Bob had a nice organ solo to finish
I've heard people complaining about the disappearance of Spirit on the Water's
signature riff, but it's still there. It's just been transformed into something more
subtle, closer to a bass line. And I think it sounds great that way; hearing that
same dominant riff over and over again might have gotten repetetive (as the
current Tangled riff sometimes does), so it was nice to make it a less important
part of the tune. Which, incidentally, was another highlight of the night (and my
second personal debut). Yeah, yeah, it's time for another MT debut, but at
least he's nailing the ones he's doing. Well, most of them at least (incidentally,
the show didn't have Rollin' and Tumblin', which is already becoming a blessing).
And into Summer Days. Another good, if not hugely remarkable version, in a
night charicterized by songs delivered as such.
Into the encore break, now might be a good time to talk about a very strange
phenomenon that kept happening throughout the show. Basically, it seemed
like something was going to happen. Stu was grinning (believe it or not) and
motioning to Tony and George repeatedly. Donnie and Bob kept nodding and
talking to each other during the breaks (even more than normal). There was
definitely some tension in the air, but nothing ever happened. Who knows
what that was all about.
Anyway, Thunder on the Mountain was about the same as the two Chicago
shows. They timed it great though, having the banner drop down behind Bob
right as George came in with the drum crash. A very cool effect.
Like a Rolling Stone was killed by one fact: the lighting didn't come on the
crowd during the chorus. That is what makes this song fun, even for us
frequent concert-goers. The energy it fills the crowd with is unparalleled,
about as close to interaction with the crowd Bob has. When it was gone,
the song lost all appeal for me. And the crowd lost energy. Oh well.
All Along the Watchtower, as seems to be standard this tour, was slightly
subpar, but not too bad. Still a nice way to end the show though.
A one-day break to hang out with some Maine friends, then onto Boston
Review by Andy Wilson
Well I have to say that the Master has taken it to a new level yet again.
I had been worried that Bob would be wiped, seeing how this was his 3rd
show in 3 nights with about 1200 miles on the bus and a border crossing
thrown in for good measure, but my fears were unfounded. This was my 6th
Dylan concert dating back to 1997 and it was by far the best. It'll be
obvious to everyone checking the set list that the man was in a
sentimental mood. What I can also say is, I've never seen him more
animated, comfortable and happy on stage. Lots of dancing,
smiling/grimacing and gesturing. It was my first time seeing this band
lineup. I admit I was a bit skeptical going in, but they won me over
immediately. I found Denny Freeman to be a consumate
professional...extremely polished player with very tasteful chops. Donnie
Herron added nice fills on the pedal steel, and I thought he particularly
shone with some great flourishes on electric mandolin during an amazing
version of Desolation Row. It was incredible to see how he played off Bob's body
language...Dylan's head nods giving Donnie encouragement and confidence
as he went along. Stu Kimball's role is pretty straightforward as rhythm
guitar man. Tony and George were rock solid as always...locked in and
loaded to provide the perfect punch. I'm amazed at how vastly improved
the sound is for these arena shows. Bob certainly rose to the occasion
vocally. Despite the heavy schedule his voice was in fine form, his
enunciation never better. The same could be said for his harp playing,
which was featured prominently in this blues heavy set. It continues to
blow my mind how he reinvents himself and his songs with these new
arrangements. Particularly otherwordly was the heavy electric blues
treatment given to 'It's Alright Ma'. Similarly, 'High Water', "Tangled
Up In Blue', 'Watching The River Flow' and 'Highway 61' were given fresh
life with lots of punch from the band. Never had a Dylan band sounded so
polished and rehearsed...even on rarely performed songs like 'Just Like
Tom Thumb's Blues' which was a rush to hear. In fact, with the content
from Highway 61 and Blonde On Blonde I couldn't have handpicked a setlist
that would have been any more satisfying for my tastes. The 3 selections
from Modern Times were very well received. The lines from 'Spirit on The
Water' seemed to sum up the whole experience: "You think I'm over the
hill? You think I'm past my prime? Let me see what you've got, we could
have a whoppin' good time". Indeed we did in Portland. I don't know how
he continues to raise the bar, but rest assured, Bob has done it yet
Review by Greg Applestein
I’m 42 years old & I started listening to Bobby since I was 16 years back
in ’80. As it was the 80’s, I was looking for a different sound than what
was playing on MTV and a buddy of mine had Dylan’s Greatest Hits Volume #
1 looping in his tape deck one summer day & I’ve been hooked ever since! I
finally saw Zimmy back in ’90 w/ G.E. Smith @ IUP in PA, which was good
and had a reggae groove to it, & again in ‘94 @ The State Theater in ME
during his “MTV Unplugged” like tour and this was my 3rd show. But this
time I had a feeing it was going to be different as Portland was the 3rd
night in a row before the day off and I always get tix for the 2nd or 3rd
night as it seems the musicians really wind it out hard! I also knew not
to have any expectations & to be ready, open & receptive to whatever he
played. I was especially excited to hear some of the new tunes. And I
was even more geared up for my wife as she’s been listening to Dylan even
longer than I have but had never seen him live! I was not disappointed!
It was magical! We were on the floor to the left of the stage if you’re
looking at it-Bobby is on the right perpendicular to the band & his keys
are facing left so to see his face you need to be on the left if you’re
looking at the stage. And one more thing… don’t listening to any of the
BS about audio quality, his voice, his age, his shyness, the fact that he
doesn’t play the guitar any more, or that he’s not playing the songs you
want to hear. All of that is a load of crap! The audio was crystal
clear-they can do more now to perfect it in any venue than they ever
could-his voice is better that when I saw him in ’90 & ’94 combined-the
“up singing” is something he’s always done if you’ve really been listening
to him & he invented it an no one else in history has done it-his new
arrangements keep his stuff alive & exciting-the keys & harp add much more
depth, compassion, & color to his musical abilities lyrics-and his stage
presence & varied set lists are just 2 more reasons to see modern
history’s greatest singe, song writer, & performer-Zimmy is the total
“We both heard voices for a while, now the rest is history.”
The rest Cat’s in the Well-After The Raconteurs finished up, (fantastic by
the by… don’t miss Jack White & keep an eye on the drummer… they were part
Pearl Jam-part Zeppelin… a little grunge metal toward the end of their set
but very high energy and worth seeing!) my wife and I had gone down to the
floor to get as close as we could, Bob and the boys hit the stage around
9pm in Portland and got off to a raucous start! They hit the ground hard
and came up smokin’! Truly a great opener!
Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues-Magnificent! #1 in “The Night of the Living
Blues Tunes!” A great transition into some of the older stuff and by this
time Shell and I were moving to a more open area so that we could dance. I
had hoped he’d play it and I was outta my mind!
Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again-Excellent! This was
#2 in “The Night of the Living Blues Tunes”! As if we hadn’t had enough
already, Zimmy laid into this one like a shooting star! Best version I’ve
heard ever! At this point I must say that my wife was hooked like some
kind of fish! Anyway, it was her 1st Zimmy show and she was not
disappointed in any way, shape, or form! She was right into it! She knew
every word by her own heart.
High Water (For Charley Patton)-#1 in “The Night of the Parenthetical
Songs”! This one both threw us for a loop… it sounded good but I didn’t
remember that it was from the Love and Theft album but apparently a lot of
people seemed to.
Tangled Up In Blue-# 3 in “The Night of the Living Blues Tunes”
When The Deal Goes Down-Great to dance to with my wife! She was
beautiful!!! Bob’s voice was killer & what a great love song!
It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)-#2 in “The Night of Parenthetical
Songs”. And the ubiquitous reference to a naked President 2 days after
such a historic election & the aftermath… need we say more!
Watching The River Flow-The showstopper for my good buddy, who came to the
show with his wife, joined us for beers & the Raconteurs, and then split
up once we all hit floor before Bobby came out. Only to find out through
a few cell phone calls later that they danced around and hung out in the
same area we did, and never saw them! This one was the only one I really
hoped he played for my buddy Mike!
Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine)-#3 in “The Night of
Parenthetical Songs… kind of like what the narrator’s thinking before
“Don’t Think Twice” & “It’s All Over Now.” Again very good sound…
excellent vocals… all the way through the entire show! I don’t understand
why people say they don’t understand what he’s saying… that’s just
ridiculous… he and his voice sound better than ever!
Desolation Row-It was like he was “bringing it all back home”!
Highway 61 Revisited-Ditto!
Spirit On The Water-Old soft shoe-like-grab your partner and twirl him or
her around-or call them on your cell & let them listen in if they couldn’t
make the show!
Summer Days-I don’t know why there are so many complaints about this
one-Great version-Peppy-Maybe you’re not willing to just jump, jive, &
wail your asses off any more!
Thunder On The Mountain-Searing rendition! The eye logo backdrop came
thundering down as they unfurled it right after the intro chords and the
lights came up-what a thrill-it got the heart pounding for sure!
Like A Rolling Stone-Everyone knew every word “…And every one of them
words rang true and glowed like burnin' coal…” #1 on Rolling Stone’s Top
500 of All Time-Who can complain? In fact, tonight he played 4 of the top
500 of all time! What a set list!
All Along the Watchtower-The greatest closer ever written hands down &
performed by the single most important, diversely talented & musically
varied singer-song writer-performer of the last 50 years bar none!
What a show for my wife’s first one! She’s hooked now!!! I was most
happy about that & my buddy getting “Watching” & we haven’t stopped taking
about the show since. I’ve been listening to & have seen The Boss 3 times
since 1975 & listening to & have seen DMB 3 times since ’94 and while they
may round out my “Best Of” trilogy, Dylan naturally stands alone!
“Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl,
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.”
Review by Christopher Dumaine
The circus is in town . . .
The greatest city in the northeast played host to Bob Dylan tonight,
marking a return to Maine after a hiatus of four years. After all this
time, Dylan is still taking "good care of what belongs to him", and an
enthusiastic audience eagerly embraced him. Catcalls rained down in
response to the opening questions from a verse late in "Spirit on the
You think I'm over the hill?
You think I'm past my prime?
Let me see what you got.
We could have a really good time.
When the crowd on hand showed him what "a really good time" they were
having, he dipped and quartered to the crowd, right hand anchored to the
keyboard, left hand to the lapel of his black overcoat, grinning like the
Cheshire Cat. It was a treat to have him back in town. If Paradise won't
have him for killing a man, we'll take him here.
No surprise that "things have changed." Since his last visit to
Portland, nearly five years ago to the day, Charlie Sexton and Larry
Campbell had moved on. Stuart Kimball, Denny Freeman, and Don Herron had
joined the guild. It was the first time for many of us to see Dylan is on
the keyboard. Vocal harmonies are more rare: in fact nonexistent last
night. Material continues to take on new shapes: "High Water" had been
significantly reworked. Staples like "Stuck Inside of Mobile",
"Tangled Up in Blue" and "It's Alright Ma" all reflect the new
instrumental configuration, particularly the Dylan's keys.
From the opening, "Cat's in the Well", I thought I had bought
tickets to a carnival. Dylan's organ continually evoked memories of old
wooden carousel rides, round and round, up and down. Each song was
another ride on a different horse.
Still, Dylan continues to use his voice as his greatest asset. That much
hasn't changed. He's present in the mood of each lyric in each song.
He croons. He growls. In one verse he'll annunciate on every beat in the
rhythm. In another he'll show up so late as to make you wonder just how
he'll get to the next turn in time. His sense of the ironic makes you
wince. His sincerity reassures.
For me, the show came alive with the opening chords of "Desolation
Row". This is a gem in American music, and its delivery tonight
confirmed why. Maybe I had been getting adjusted to the newness of it all.
Maybe it was the indescribable exhaustion I've been experiencing the
last two weeks, and it was just me coming alive. Whatever. It all fell
into place when he reminded me that the circus was indeed in town. Before
I had time to recover, I looked up and the single light of a diesel
locomotive was bearing down on me, horn blaring. Too late. "Highway
61" was actually a railroad line, and I'd just been demolished. That
train just blew the goddamn doors right off the hinges.
The crowd seemed to realize the immensity of it, too. Dervishes dancing in
the isles. Wild screaming from all corners. We were ready for the exchange
of love and gratitude expressed during "Spirit on the Water".
"Summer Days", still largely true to its earliest live performances if
somewhat up-tempo, closed what had become an intense performance.
After a quick break, the fellas came back on stage to close out with the
standard triad on this tour. Stage-lights down and back up to the Lineup,
Dylan patting his chest with both hands and reaching out to the fans.
Stage-lights down; house lights up; exit Dylan stage-right.
Christopher I. Dumaine
Review by Dave Costa
i have been going to dylan shows since 1979
and this was my 9th show.
this has to be the cleaneast sound i have heard since i saw him in 1995 in
boston outdoors. i could hear every word he sang, and man is that
refreshing, he looked and sounded good and the band was brilliant
the raconteurs were a bit harsh for my taste, but i hung in there for them
these versions of tangled up in blue and of it's alright ma were
wonderful, musically and vocally...the band was on fire, as was the crowd
of some 8000 portland hadn't seen him since 1998 (if memory serves) and
the crowd was completely fired up
it did my heart good to hear watch the river flow
and the selections from modern times were magnificent
highway 61, watchtower and like a rolling stone were sharp and fresh
this is one of the best, if not the best, dyland show i have ever seen
Review by Zoo Cain
Bob Dylan is still on the road, just like Woody would be. I'm willing to
bet Bob does a lot of it, for Woody, as well as himself and us. Us, the
devoted folks that love, cherish, and understand the man, that has given
his life, to his muse, his art, to his main mentor, Woody Guthrrie, and
the Great Spirit. Bob Dylan, always gets a kick out of Maine, and its
inhabitants,and now he's back in Portland. What an awesome night! So much
for the opening act, though. Man!For the first time i got a relization of
how it must of felt to Pete Seeger, all those years ago, when Bob's band
got real loud at Newport. The Raconteurs,sent me running the other way
after a few songs.Say no more.ON the way way other hand when Bob Dylan
and his exceptional band, took off,right from the gate, the place wwent crazy.
The music was relentlessly terrfic.The buzz went on for two hours and a
quarter. and we all had a great,very memorble night.Bob and the band held
sway with us, through waltzes, blues,and full-tilt-boogie. Rock and Roll
at its finest.Thank You a hundred times.
South Portland, Maine
Review by Jeremy Miller
Portland was my first time seeing Bob Dylan since the mid 90's when I was
but 18 years of age. I would say a lot of things have changed about Bob,
his music, and the delivery of his art. However I can say one thing......
If you have ever been a true admirer of Bob Dylan or his music or
lyrics....PLEASE GO SEE HIM NOW!!!!! His show in Portland almost had me in
tears! His band is about as tight musically as any live band I have ever
heard....coming from a musician of 20+ years! His vocals are surprisingly
clear and I had no trouble AT ALL knowing every single song he was about
to play by either the first line of lyrics or the opening instrumentation.
Nothing confusing here, nothing off the wall, or "is that tangled up in
blue?" Just solid Dylan with a solid baking band! He was animated,
dancing, smiling, interacting with the crowd here or there and got such an
explosive ovation during and after "Nettie Moore" That he had one of the
biggest shit eating grins on his face that I have ever seen. This guy is
on tour for a reason and I can guarantee it is not the money!!!! Oh yeah,
and by the way, (sticking to the song by song reviews I see sometimes) WAS
THAT "JUST LIKE TOM THUMB'S BLUES" I JUST HEARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In one word
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