Boston, Massachusetts

Agganis Arena
November 12, 2006

[Ray Padgett], [Jason Polanski]

Review by Ray Padgett

Well, last Bob Day for a while. And it was a great one. Had a nice pre-show 
get-together with Marcel, Cece, handlevandal, The Fortune Teller, dancin' 
neath the diamond skies, dangling rope, and one or two others. It took me 
a while to haggle my way into the bar to hang out with them, but it was 
worth the stress. After a couple hours hanging out and talking Bob, we 
headed over to the show. I had, in addition to my backpack, a huge trash 
bag full of clothes from the Garment District's "a pound for a dollar" room. 
Thrift-store shopping at its finest, but I did get some funny looks from some 
people at the venue. They let me chuck it all under a stairwell though, so it 
wasn't a problem. It also allowed me to bring in a camera, in addition to my 
binoculars, but it turned out not to matter.

I was sad it would be my last time seeing The Raconteurs live, but maybe I'll 
catch them again down the road (although hopefully the White Stripes will 
get back together and make it a moot point). They mixed up their set list a 
bit this time, which was nice. They didn't actually add any songs, but they 
mixed up the order, kicking it off with Hands (good to get out of the way) 
before Intimate Secretary. It Ain't Easy vanished from the set, as did I think 
another song, but weren't replaced by anything. I'm not sure where the 
freed-up time went. Bang, Bang was incredible again, but for me the 
stand-out track from this set was Broken Boy Soldiers, which Jack rocked 
out. A cool feature of a few songs, this especially, is a mic he has set up in 
the back by the drum kit which is heavily distorted, making his words even 
louder and weirder sounding. Everything came out yelling like a banshee 
yell through that and it was fun to see him the few times he used it. Will 
probably just sound bizarre on the recording, but was great to see live. Blue 
Veins was better than the previous two I'd seen, and they wrapped it all up 
with Steady As She Goes.

I bought a poster during the break then got back into my seat with a little 
time to spare. The guy in the seat next to me, a senior at BU, was very 
excited about Bob when I talked to him before the Racs set, and pretty 
well informed...but then he left after the first Racs song and never came 
back. Very weird. I was hoping to convert him; he already had asked me to 
send him Cynthia Gooding and knew about the pool, but I never saw him 
again. Oh well.

I was hoping, for the third night in a row, for Absolutely Sweet Marie to 
open the show, and finally Bob granted my wish. Even though it was only 
done decently, it's still clearly a great way to open the show. The riff could 
be a little louder, but it was still fun to hear.

Things really got started with Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) though. I had 
been hoping for this song, and thought it was likely because it was Sunday, 
but was overjoyed to hear it nevertheless. And what a great version. 
Delicately done and sublime. An early highlight, and my first new song.

I recognized the opening riff immediately to the next song, but couldn't 
quite place it until he started singing. I just wasn't expecting Honest With 
Me at all, much less in the third slot, but it was great to hear (and, 
amazingly enough, to only Love and Theft song of the night). The 
signature fill between lines was gone, but a version of it showed up in 
between solo lines (only with the chord played three times, instead of 
two). It was very well done too, best version I've seen, and the show 
was certainly off to a great start both setlist and performance-wise.

I was a little disappointed to get Positively 4th Street, the first song that 
I'd already gotten this tour, but my frustration quickly abated as I heard 
the delivery. Much like Chicago's version, the bitterness was quickly stated, 
but furious nevertheless. This song is as good as it's been for years, and 
didn't have a hint of upsinging.

Wow, Masters of War, I didn't see that coming either. While not 
ground-breaking, the set had been quite surprising so far. It was a solid 
version, though it didn't particularly stand out for me.

Alright, another first time for me, and one I definitely didn't see coming, 
Til I Fell In Love With You. And another highlight, not quite as good as last 
fall's versions, but still one of the best Time Out of Mind songs live these 
days. Totally reinvented from the mediocre album version and another 
huge highlight.

Easily the second best live song off of Modern Times so far,When the 
Deal Goes Down was done to perfection. This song didn't get the 
attention it deserved when the album was released, but at least Bob 
seems to understand what a great song this is. It's not often you hear 
Bob play a waltz, and a woman in front of me took advantage of that, 
waltzing around by herself all over the floor. Kind of weird, but it was 
nice to see her so into it. With her and the romantic couple in Chicago, 
this song seems to fire up the emotions.

But Cold Irons Bound was nice to hear again, and made three very 
recent songs in a row, a rare occurance. It was done well, but nothing 
too outstanding. Quite a number of people (myself included of course) 
cheered on the "winds in Chicago" line, so I clearly wasn't the only one 
from out of town. I feel like the riff wasn't quite as prominant as it was 
this summer.

Every Grain of Sand solidifed this as the best setlist in a while, some real 
gems being tossed in. I'm not as big of a fan of this song, but he really 
nailed it tonight. Absolutely gorgeous. I've managed to see this song 
three times live in thirteen shows, which is pretty good.

Rollin' and Tumblin' still sucks live. Denny's "solos" weren't such at all, 
just him playing the guitar chords up and down the neck. Awful. 
Hopefully hearing this so late in the set meant we weren't going to 
get Highway 61.

I was hoping we'd avoided Tangled Up In Blue, but it seems to have 
become a regular. It's funny how one of the songs I really wanted to see 
live before this tour started has already become dreary. Just shows you 
the power of setlists. This version was somewhat different though, as Stu 
had changed his riff. It was lower on the next, and the second chord was 
higher than the first. An interesting change, and made it nice to hear. 
This was one of the best versions I've seen though, with no flubbed lines.

I'd been waiting five shows for Nettie Moore, and this was my last chance 
this tour. And not only did I get it, but boy did Bob deliver! The easy 
highlight of the show, and a highlight of my concert-going experience 
overall. I'd heard how great this one was live, but had avoided listening to 
any recordings so I could hear it live for the first time in person. It was 
everything it was cracked up to be and more, even better than the 
already-great album version. During the verses there was a little more 
instrumentation than on the album, but not much, and it was sung very 
faithfully. The main difference was he did something totally different with 
the "Oh I miss you Nettie Moore" line than on the album. I don't think it 
was quite as good, but it was fun to hear anyway.

I guess with the elaborate light show, every concert has to have 
Highway 61 Revisited these days, but seeing it end the set instead of 
Summer Days was a welcome relief. Every little surprise is a good one, and 
having only one of two songs each concert is great as far as I'm concerned. 
I'm not sure which one the band does better, so perhaps alternating them 
would work fine. They both could use a periodic break.

Thunder on the Mountain is always good as the first encore song, but I feel 
like it could use a bit more oomph. The instrumentation is a little muddy.

As I've said in my previous reviews, taking away the lights from Like a Rolling 
Stone kills it dead in the water. This did feature my funniest audience 
moment of the night though, where a guy who'd been higher in the stand 
came down next to me at ground level and started spastically dancing. The 
best part was, since he was trashed, he would yell every line after Bob 
would so out of tune it would seem he was trying. He was also about as 
off-rhythm as one could be. Normally this would be annoying, but he was 
just so horrendously bad and obnoxious that it was just funny to hear him 
and watch everyone's reactions. Definitely livened up another warhorse.

I was sick of him by All Along the Watchtower, though, so I headed up to 
where he had been. It was the best version I've heard this tour, not 
hard-rocking enough, but getting closer. The riff is more defined than the 
mess it had been, and it definitely was closer to the energy it used to have.

After the show I scurred out, got a ride to South Station with The Fortune 
Teller (thanks again!) and caught the late-night bus back to Hanover. 
Til next tour.


Review by Jason Polanski

Second night in Boston for Bob. A bit of a tough choice for us road
weary travelers although the body can still find a way to dance to good
ole rock and roll. Having been overwhelmed by Saturday night, I found
Sunday to be more back to normal for Bob. But that's a quality version
these days, and Sunday's set was so much better!

The two major highlights were huge highlights. Also both Modern Times
songs. I found myself very trapped by the beauty of When The Deal Goes
Down. Each word is both pretty and tough. And then Nettie Moore! One of
the best vocals by Bob ever!! Yes I just declared that! Not to sound
like an overly excited fan still reeling from a Dylan show, I really did
find his singing on this to be out of this world. The stacato stabs at
such great lines like the "cowboy band" and the "whiskey" and "frankie"
and "albert" were perfectly complemented by the beautiful waltz his
voice found on the choruses. 

On Positively 4th Street he reverted to his Saturday "attitude" by
walking away from his solo, by engaging the words, and then verbally
commenting to himself as if he was in awe of what he had just found.

Then there was also the body movements. Reminded me of the way Neil
Young leads Crazy Horse through a jam. The idea that musicians can
follow each others changes not by chord sheets or prearranged plans, but
by body movement. At one point during the show, Bob was doing this sort
of timed sway that Donnie would copy to the point that they were sort of
dancing together. 

On the other hand, the show had a slightly lower energy level. Good or
bad? I noticed this on Thunder On The Moutain which found the band and
Bob losing the Chuck Berry rock in exchange for jazzy breakdowns. They
weren't out front about it, but you could here the song heading to the
same places that they have brought Summer Days on so many nights.

And when listening to the tapes, definitely don't skip Rolling Stone. It
was quite nice. Can't wait for Amherst.

Jason Polanski


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