Washington, DC

George Washington University
Charles E. Smith Center

November 13, 2010

[Steve Sorensen], [George Spanos], [Roger Bedford], [David Mendick], [Paul Heisey]

Review by Steve Sorensen

It was general admission, but still my wife and I found a couple of great seats.
It was standing room on the floor, but we found a couple of ideal seats on the
left side, about the third row up from the floor and slightly back. This gave us
a clear enough view of the band and a straight-on view of Bob facing our

Known to usually start on time, the concert began about fifteen minutes late. I
suspect because Bob made a last minute change to his set list. There were at
least two or three of his stage hands scrambling to exchange some paper work on
the stage, one on Bob's keyboard. But this was all good. It helped add a little
more anticipation with the huge crowd gathered.

There seemed to be a lot of college students. It was held at the Smith Center at
George Washington University. We had heard the students got in for a reduced
price. But there were plenty of older folk there, too. I played Bob when I was a
DJ beginning in '68-'69.

It was a mix of the older and the newer songs. His band was together and solid
right from the start. What talent! Each song seemed to flow nicely into the
next. There was one point where Sexton did seem to try and make sure Bob and the
band were together, but it may have simply been their adept style of mutual
understanding of what was happening coming across at a special moment. 

I prayed he would play Ain't Talkin', which he had not for a while. And he did!
Followed by Thunder On The Mountain! What a great pair of songs. When he and the
band launched into a very energetic encore of Like A Rolling Stone, the crowd
was thrilled and sure showed it. As he was saying goodbye at the front of the
stage before exciting, I loved his manner and gesture giving credit to where
credit was due. It was a blessing being there in more ways than one. I asked
about the Dylan posters for that engagement before leaving, but they were sold
out. I am sure many special memories were created that evening. For me and my
wife there sure were. We love him.

Steve Sorensen
Columbia, Maryland


Review by George Spanos

I made it to the Smith Center at 3:30 PM where I met my friend, who had arrived
at 9:30 AM and was second in line. The doors opened at 6:45 PM, and we made it
to the center rail where we enjoyed a great view approximately 30 feet from
Dylan. The setlist was impressive, even if I personally prefer "Leopard-Skin
Pill-Box Hat"  in the opening slot. Highlights for me were "Seņor (Tales Of
Yankee Power)",  "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues", "Desolation Row", "High Water
(For Charley Patton)", and "Ain't Talkin'".  Dylan played a cool little guitar
figure on "Simple Twist Of Fate", a performance that has garnered a great deal
of praise (see YouTube link below). His voice was a little less gruff and growly
than what I've heard recently, with Dylan occasionally hitting some of the
higher registers on "Just Like A Woman"  and "Like A Rolling Stone."  A pleasant
surprise was Stew's playing, especially the picking on "Ain't Talkin'", which
generated some rare Kimball call-outs from the audience.  Charlie, as usual, was
a show within a show, looking great and playing better, although his guitar was
a bit low in the mix from my vantage point. 

Though security was tight, fingers are crossed for the success of the several
videographers and audiographers in attendance.  A sound upgraded DVD of this
show would make it the first fully-realized 2010 field recording since the March
31, 2010 Seoul, South Korea show and an excellent representative of this year's


Review by Roger Bedford

This show sucked!!! I took my 15 year old son Zane.  Since he was little we
have seen many, many shows at different arenas and states. They were a
fantastic good time.  (I shall never forget one at Waterville Civic
Center in Maine.  We were both dancing with these Deadheads.  Zane was doing
the pogo and punching the air.  Priceless & totally rock 'n' roll.)  At
George Washington University we could not understand a word he was singing
or whether it was actually English.  This was very disappointing. I have not
seen him for a few years - kept missing him for one reason and another....
usually away when he came through.  Frederick baseball tour, or Hershey park
a couple of years ago maybe... were the last ones. Not bad performances.

Moving along.   Bob's voice the other night seemed to me completely
shot, and the way he enunciated the lyrics did not help one bit.  For me
hearing the words no matter how growled or raggedy is a major part of the
attraction.  Was it the sound system?  Did they have some kind of garbler in
the mixing desk??  I also noticed he was rushing and chopping the lyrics off
short as he sang, almost barking them, so even if his voice was good, it
would still have made it difficult to hear.  We started on the floor and
moved upstairs to the seats.  No difference.  Zane said the music was
overwhelming his singing, and I think that may have been a part of it. The
band was good but the whole show seemed to lack lustre.  The audience
weren't that animated either.  No one was dancing, all standing or sitting
still.  The thing I don't get is I have read reviews on the your page and
elsewhere and they all rave about how good he is "a man totally on top of
his game" etc.  I felt like shouting "THE KING HAS NO CLOTHES!!" I nearly
walked out... and Zane would not have needed much persuading.  That is
probably the last time I will ever go and see him...

or was he just being artsy...?  sloppy singing and wierd interpretations?
I hate to rag on my man Bob and if this was just a bad night then I'm fine
with that.  I recognize it must be hard getting up there day after day...
and trying something different is surely commendable, even if it doesn't
work.   But if this is standard fare then hummmmmmmmmm....

What I am wondering here is: are we getting unbiased, objective reviews...
what is going on?? I am keen to read someone else's opinion.

hey Bob: if you're reading this>>> thanks for all the good times man!
(Those 9:30 club shows were the best!)


Review by David Mendick

On this trip to Washington took my son on a pilgrimage to hear the disciple.
I made him come knowing he`ll thank me later. He did.

The venue was packed with old timers like me and loads of gw students. Dylan
was in fine form and in a great mood - I haven`t seen him this animated in
years. He was smiling, kidding around, having a good old time.

Some very unusual arrangements but mostly all highlights. I don`t get the
summer days love affair nor thunder on the mountain but most others were
brilliant. Lots of keyboard. Some guitar but best of all , just at the mic
with harmonica.i think that in over 30 years of seeing Dylan this
performance of desolation row was perhaps one of the best moments. I turned
to my son during the song  and hugged him for being there to experience it.

The backdrop was phenomenal with the overhead camera on the band and the
finish - yeh, how about the finish. Dylan now steps out of the line-up and
like a preacher raises his arms to engulf his congregation.amen.

David Mendick


Review by Paul Heisey

Actually, this is less a complete review and more a comment.  Just so
you know a little about where I might be coming from, this was only my
third Dylan concert, all in the DC area (George Mason U in 2006,
Aberdeen Ball Park in 2009, and this one).  I have followed Dylan since
the great days of the 1960s, but never once went to a live show before.
Late 1970s I started listening to everyone who said he was "over the
hill, past his prime," so I didn't keep up with material coming out at
that time.  Still listened to the older classics.  Came back with Time
Out of Mind, which my mother, of all people (she couldn't stand
listening to Dylan when I was a kid) sent to me, and then started
filling in some of the gaps.  Hell, I even like a few things from the
1980s, when he was really "written off as a has-been."

In any case, I follow the reviews with interest, particularly the
implicit debates between those who think the emperor has new clothes and
those who find that the man still has it.  I know a few people around
here who worship Dylan and yet won't go to a concert anymore because
they think he's only going through the motions.  And I also note the
question of whether Bob keeps reining in his guitarists, in this case
Charlie Sexton.  Sometimes I wonder if people have even been to the same
concert.  In my opinion, Dylan's vocals were the clearest I've heard in
the three shows I've attended-really had no problems following the
lyrics.  Did think he missed one of my favorites about Ezra Pound and
T.S. Eliot in "Desolation Row."  Not complaining, though.  In many cases
I also knew which song it was going to be before he started to sing,
except, amazingly, "Just Like A Woman" which my 16-year old daughter got
right away.  A couple of times I did think Charlie seemed a little out
of synch, so I wished I had something to compare it to as I hadn't heard
him before (except on recordings from a few years back).  But all in
all, a very satisfying concert.  No transcendent moments like "Forgetful
Heart" last year in Aberdeen, but some definite high points.  My
daughter Sarah said "the old man's still got it," and I'd have to agree.


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