Oneonta, New York

SUNY College at Oneonta
Alumni Field House

November 18 2008

[Monica], [Howard Weiner], [Bonita Wollard]

Review by Monica

Mr. Bojanles, No, Mr. Dylan plays Oneonta
"I knew a man Bojangles and he'd dance for you
In worn out shoes
With silver hair, a ragged shirt, and baggy pants
The old soft shoe
He jumped so high, jumped so high
Then he lightly touched down"

Dylan and the boys touched down in upstate New York the 99th show of the
2008 tour. Oneonta is a quiet little town tucked in among some tablerocks
north east of Binghamton, south east of Syracuse, New York and due south
of Montreal. Birth place of Jerry Jeff Walker country music singer most
notably famous for penning Mr. Bojangles. This show took place in the
gymnasium of SUNY Oneonta College, billed as a General Admission show and
for a short time tickets for early entry were available and for once Karma
brought us front row center. We were jazzed up from Saturday's wonderful
performance in Kingston and hopeful that the show would not let us down.
It all started with a romping Wicked Messenger and there was no wiping the
smile off the crowd's faces. No moss grows on a rolling stone and the
freshness of It Ain't Me Babe, The Levee's Gonna Break, My Back Pages,
High Water For Charlie Patton, Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis
Blues Again, had you finger snapping and toe tapping. Dancing and swaying
to Dylan and the boys as they serenaded the packed to capacity gymnasium
with Ballad of A Thin Man, Honest With Me, Working Man's Blues (as the Dow
Jones sinks), Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum. The usual songs were there in the
line up, Highway 61, Nettie Moore, (can one be any sadder?), and Thunder
On The Mountain; nothing really new there. Bob and the boys wrapped the
evening up with a shift in the position of the encore. Like A Rolling
Stone,was played as the last song of second set. Then Bob and the boys
ended the evening with All Along The Watch Tower, and for the last song,
(which seemed to be the highlight for most folks); Bob bagged the Harp to
grab his electric guitar, and after fiddling with his tone and volume
knobs found the sweet sound of Blowin' In The Wind. Very nice. The pied
piper dressed in black suit with a yellow satin stripe up the pant leg,
pointed toed boots and his usual hat, delivers some renditions of his
prototypical repertoire that may cause some to pause and turn an ear and
strain to hear the old familiar chord and then a smile breaks loose and
you find yourself enjoying the 2008 version just as much as the 1960's
version. Perhaps that is why you're here at the 99th show enjoying the
talent of this ever evolving musician and his cowboy band. It appears
Dylan and his band have conquered the mundane of playing night after
night, year after year by reworking the favorites of the fans. One can
only imagine what boredom would ensue if these songs were delivered the
same night after night from what was laid down on vinyl somewhere in the
distant past. Gone are the days when he stood center stage with his
acoustic guitar and belted out Mr. Bojangels but hey that is what your
record collection is for.


Review by Howard Weiner

It was a glorious road trip to Oneonta. I enjoyed the two hour
bus ride from the Port Authority to Kingston while listening to Tell Tale
Signs. After checking into a forlorn Super 8, my long-time friends King
and Blaze picked me up for the last leg of the journey. Sticks, deer, a
mountain and ninety miles of road headed west were all that separated us
from Oneonta. It was a cool crisp autumn eve. We listened to Tell Tale
Signs all the way – “Some of us turn off the lights and we lay off/ In the
moonlight shooting by/ Some of us scare are selves to death in the dark/
To be where the angels fly/ Pretty maids all in a row lined up/ Outside my
cabin door/ I never wanted any of them wanting me/ Except the girl from
the Red River Shore.”

The Alumni Field House at SUNY Oneonta was quaint, smaller than it 
sounds. The backboards were raised to the low-lying rafters and the 
concessions consisted of bottled water for $1.  They took our tickets 
from us and put them in a yellow sack and returned them after the 
show instead of giving us stubs. I’m not sure what that was all about. 
Dylan set the tone by opening with “The Wicked Messenger.”
Getting up front was a hassle-free experience and the music was
thundering. Under dim lighting, Bob looked dashing in a black suit with
matching silver medallions, gold tie and white top hat. Bob slipped 
out from behind his organ for a stroll to center stage on 
“It Ain’t Me Babe.” He side saddled by the microphone twisting to his right.
Between singing lines, he added some tasty harp licks, circa 1966. His
gesturing and posturing was fascinating all evening. Garnier’s bass was
blasting my brain during “Levee Breaks.” Dylan taunted the college kids
singing, “I was so much older than/ I’m younger than that now.”  Donnie’s
banjo sounded great on a brilliantly rearranged “High Water.” Near the end
of each verse, the Cowboy band switched gears from thrashing blues to a
feel good ragtime sound – the world of American music has gone berserk.

Dylan’s Wolfman howl worked over my eardrums as he shuffled to
center stage for “Stuck Inside of Mobile.” Somebody yelled out, “Hey
Dylan, eat some soup.” We were swimming in a sea of organ as Dylan
chastised us with “Ballad of a Thin Man.” His organ playing was
infectious, marching to its own beat. He also treated us to one of his
patented and repetitive two note harp solos. It never grows old, only
keeps getting better.  The rock and roll bombardment continued on “Honest
with Me”, “Tweedle Dee”, and “Highway 61.” Stu’s playing more leads than I
can ever recall, it mixed in nicely with Denny’s jazzy touches. The Field
House was dark during Tweedle, as Dylan was orating/ lead-singing – at
times he looked like he was balancing himself on a surf board; then he
looked like he was trying out for the lead role in West Side Story. There
was a lot of finger pointing and gesturing to the audience.
“Tweedle” was powerful and wonderfully strange.

The highpoints of the show were the slower numbers from Modern Times. 
“Workingman’s Blues # 2” was immense – booming vocals with chilling
poignancy against a delightful arrangement. There’s nothing wrong with
living on rice and beans. His vocal inflections and word play on “When the
Deal Goes Done” and “Nettie Moore” was gripping. Denny really added some
creative touches pulling out those Wes Montgomery – Grant Green like
riffs. Bob was extremely animated during his vocal presentation of “Like a
Rolling Stone.” He laughed into the microphone several times, as well as
laughing in Donnie’s direction. Dylan further riled-up the crowd by playing 
a Gibson Guitar that was thrice his size during “Blowin in the Wind.” The 
crowd was pleasant, but not the type of crowd you would expect
to whip Dylan into a frenzy. Whatever the reason, Dylan had IT going on in
Oneonta, New York – a small old-time railroading town with two colleges, 
a Minor League stadium for young Yankees working their way towards the 
Majors, and the Soccer Hall of Fame. It was another new stop for the 
Bob Dylan Show, in its 20th year – one of its most innovative, strangest, 
and finest years. Here’s to the next twenty. 

Howard Weiner 


Review by Bonita Wollard

This was a Excellent show, and I want to put emphasis on "SHOW"...

I've seen Bob 5 times now since last October, and this is by faaaaaar the
most energized, animated, and interesting as a performer he has been when
I've seen him.

From him going center stage and taking the mic off the stand and just
getting his Frank Sinatra on with "Tweedle", performing like a lead singer
with nothing to do instrumentally but move his body around and be
interesting... Britney Spears strips her clothes off in this situation to
entertain... Bob gets funky, and almost downright hilarious... 

Not to overlook the absolutely suprising and interestingly new version of
"It ain't me babe" that I can only desribe as a all out Blues song in this
incarnation, with probably the best harp playing I've ever heard from Bob
in person.

But to get to the Harp thing, I don't know if it is the new collaboration
with Hohner and wanting to sell more units, but WOW has something kicked
Dylan in the ass, and he's playing that little instrument with more soul
and passion that I could ever imagine him doing at this age... I was
genuinely taken aback by how many times he picked that harp up, went the
middle of the stage, and just played that baby til the wheels fell off...
It's a truly great sight to see, him so alive up there...

There was arm snaps, knee bends, and smiles abound... Even going into the
last song, he was still having fun, going center stage to the microphone,
and while singing middle verse, playing a little air guitar on his jacket
to see the response... So when he turned around and picked up the Guitar
and started playing on "Blowin In The Wind", the place went absolutely
nuts... That's the kind of night it was. Bob playing around a bit, and
then giving the people what he knew they wanted to see... A full of life
Bob Dylan.

This might not have been the most dazzling or interesting Set-list, but I
assure you, whatever was lacking in that department, was made up by Bob
and his new vigor, and almost eagerness to please and play to the crowd,
in his own way ofcourse... My point being this, Bob actually seemed really
happy to be up there tonight... And that's the kind of Bob Dylan show I
want to be at. It also didn't hurt that I made it up as close as can be,
and was on the rail... :)

Can't wait to see what's instore for the NYC show Friday Night... *crosses


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