November 10, 2010
Review by Thad Williamson
Overall I thought it was excellent--I had low expectations but they were easily
exceeded. The band is now both tight and tasteful enough that it is going to
sound good no matter what does or does not come out of Dylan's mouth. The
arrangements could have been done by Wilco--nothing excessive, no mindless loud
repetitive jamming. A good example is "stuck inside of mobile," a song that
Dylan's band butchered at times in concert in the 90s but now is set in a
tasteful, laid back groove that you could listen to all night. Several of the
songs had dramatically different arrangements, particularly Love Sick, Tangled
Up in Blue (yet again--this is one Dylan has tinkered with damn near every
year), Tweedle Dee, Simple Twist.
Dylan himself has three distinct intonations: attempting to sing on key in a
relatively high register, a growl/talk thing that is almost atonal but not
amusical, and an out and out bass. The bass part is a new development (in last
couple of years, or since I sawy him last). It's not Johnny Cash, but I was
impressed that Dylan was able to sing on key in a pretty low register when he
wanted to--and he mixed the intonations up effectively. Instrumentally, most of
the songs he was on keyboard, was on guitar for 2 or 3, and did the a capella
mic thing for a couple of the songs as well.
For me, Desolation Row and Working Man's Blues were the highlights, followed by
High Water, but it was solid and interesting all the way through. In Working
Man's Blues he grabbed the mic and really spit out the final verse with emphasis
on passion, as well as arm gestures. He also even made Like a Rolling Stone
sound compelling which is not easy after a zillion performances of it.
On another note, nice job on the lights setup, include the silhouette of a woman
at the end of "It Ain't Me, Babe."
I think Tony Garnier should be credited on Dylan's tombstone with extending his
performing career at least ten years. He's got the band and the arrangements
such that Dylan is not going to embarrass himself, and has a chance on any given
night to turn in several inspired performances.
Review by Alexander Leik
Where to begin. In 2007 I stopped the never-ending tour of Bob shows that had
become my life. I had 2 little ones and needed to rearrange my priorities. My
last show before the hiatus was Sept 27, 2007...oddly enough in Charlottesville,
VA. In 2009 I grabbed a show in Fairfax, VA, a suburb of DC, my new home. It's
ironic then that in my 12 years living in C-ville I travelled the country to see
our hero while he avoided my hometown until 2 days before I moved. Tonight's
show delivered far more than the 2007 show at the venue not names after Led
Zepplin's bass player.
I met my attorney at his house around 530pm and after catching up on old women
and new lives we were in the arena by 745pm. Let me say that I spent the 90 min
drive from the DC area listening closely to Modern Times for the first time in
years, inspired after overhearing one Reg Dwight say it was his inspiration for
his recent work with Leon Russell. And it may have been the best prelude to a
Bob show I have had in some time. It really is an album that could have been
made several times over in lives we all wish we had lived. And that was the
moral of the C-ville show for me.
I was expecting Rainy Day women to open, after a few nights off in favor of
Leopard. The crowd was sparse, JPS holds 15,000 if all seats are sold, but they
only sold the floor and lower level, and it was far from sold out. We were 4th
row center, perfect view of our hero and his band, and on the aisle, which was
key for my attorney, who likes to shake, shake, mama.
It ain't me Babe set the tone for this show, and it was the first time I
realized that the youtube clips I have been looking at for the past year just
dont do justice. Bob was playing guitar leads that were reminescent of Rollong
Thunder days, and it sounded wonderful. Mobile was third and Bob stayed on the
guitar for this. I have heard better, but the novices in the crowd ate it up.
When Love Sick started, I immediately thought of what I had been hearing on
youtube - disappointment. But soon enough, Charlie took this in a new direction,
not just the slide solos, but this riff that was sinking in between Bob's vocal,
almost like an extra bar, I don't know how else to describe it. Keep in mind I
had not seen the show since Nov 2009, so it was new to me. And it made it one of
the highlights of the show, totally unexpected. Levees Gonna Break had the first
real "jam" of the night, which my attorney truly appreciated, being a big fan of
the "jam bands".
Desolation was the time people took the bathroom break or grabbed a beer. Big
mistake, because it has this mix of modern version and album version. I always
held the 1999-2000 version in high regard as the pinnacle of this song, but this
version tonight reached a bit beyond that. Bob wanted to do a harp solo, but
blew one note and cut it off, not sure why. TD & TD saw some more fine guitar
work from our hero, and Stu & Charlie served as his tour guide quite well.
Tonight was only the second time I have ever heard Simple Twist of Fate, in
almost 70 shows. the last was 2003 in NYC, and this version soared. It had me
thinking of Jerry, and I am NOT a Dead head. But it has this eery tribute about
it, and it worked. LOVED IT!!
The remainder of the show...no surprises. But solid work the likes of which I
was not expecting. Last year I wasn't crazy about the TUIB versions I was
hearing. But seeing it was a whole different story. Its a timeless story many of
us have lived, and Bob wants to keep it fresh. Some very nice harp work.
Workingman's Blues #2 still delivers the great "new" line about being kicked
while youre down. So many people have that feeling now, and it gets a great
response. Thin Man saw some sloppy harp work, at least I thought so, and that
may be my only criticism of this show.
As I took in the encores, I couldn't help but find a renewed enjoment in
LARS...maybe it was listening to the 66 version on the way down. We will never
hear that again, but Bob was animated tonight and enjoying the crowd, and belted
out "How does it FEEL" in unison with the several thousand in attendance. He may
play off the significance of Rolling Stone magazine's ranking of the song, but
simply put, there are people who sit for 2 hours to hear that. And they always
seem to feel rewarded, belting it out with him.
So,my take aways and advice, there is definitely something going on that the
recordings are not capturing. Tonight was one of those nights that makes the
gaps in between shows well worth it. Tonight our hero delivered. No surprises,
just a solid show and guitar work I have not heard in some time. And the finale
was him tossing his harmonica into the crowd!!?? I cannot recall ever seeing
that. Has that been a constant on this tour?? Enjoy!!
Review by Don Ely
On Wednesday, November 10, I drove the 300 miles south to
Charlottesville, Virginia and encountered temperatures above 70 degrees, a nice
reminder of summer before the onset of the snowy season. Fall colors were still
splashed across the state which made for pleasant travel up the Shenandoah
Valley. Again my hotel was close to the venue and I made the trek on foot. The
John Paul Jones Arena is named for neither the Led Zep bassman nor the nautical
master, but an University of Virginia alumnus and benefactor ( who lived most of
his life in Memphis! ). It was set within the campus, but I didn't get the sense
of it being a college venue as I did with the arenas at Pitt and Penn State. I
had the best seat of any on this tour at fifth row center; at all four of my
gigs I was never further than sixteen rows from the stage. There seemed to be
more young people at Charlottesville than at any of the others; I thought it
noticeably odd that concerts in college towns didn't have many students in
attendance. Bob Dylan has always garnered a youthful following even in his " old
" age; could it be that the current generation is unaware of the vibrant magic
and living history that is Mr. Zimmerman? The band were grouped tightly together
on stage, enhancing the feeling of sitting in Dylan's living room as he plays
some of the best songs ever written. Unfortunately this show was not as clean as
Pittsburgh or University Park, executed more closely to Ann Arbor on October 28.
It was hampered mostly by Bob's off-key guitar which bruised some songs and
ruined others like " Simple Twist Of Fate ". This affected the rest of the band
on the songs Bob played guitar, resulting in their difficulty " hittin' the note
". The improvisational bit at the end of " Desolation Row " was kind of
disjointed. It was not disastrous, but overall not the best show of the tour. "
Love Sick " was superior to Ann Arbor, and " The Levee's Gonna Break " was
strong, as were many of the numbers later in the set. I've said it many times
before, but even on an off night Bob Dylan and His Band are better than the
rest. And, glitches aside, Charlottesville loved this gig; I couldn't blame
them. After the American classic " Like A Rolling Stone " as the boys fell into
Formation, Bob handed something to someone in the audience far to stage right. I
couldn't see what it was, but it didn't look like a setlist. Somebody got an
early Christmas gift from Bob Dylan!
I caught 3 Bobshows this year. It was a great road trip and I
was up for it. Virginia was a new state in my desire to see Bob perform in all
fifty, which I know will never happen because there's not enough time left for
either of us. My total now stands at 73 shows in 22 states since 1981. I wish
the best of everything to Bobcats the world over. God Bless Everybody!
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