Tampa, Florida
Ice Palace Arena
February 2, 2002

[Christopher Dunn], [Kevin Larson], [Donovan Miller]

Review by Christopher Dunn

Despite the snarling traffic and closed streets in Tampa due to the
Gasparilla festival), the near capacity crowd showed up on time, and Bob
and Band did likewise.  Owing to a few strings of beads adorning one of
the monitors, I surmise that Bob and others took in a little of the
festivities!  There was a real festival atmosphere (a tamer version of
Mardis Gras, I would say) inside and outside the Ice Palace.

What a misnomer for Saturday night!  Ice Palace?!  Hardly!  The usually
eclectic crowd (adolescents to 70-somethings) was ready, and Bob and boys
delivered a steaming, hot, vibrant set.  Looking at the setlist, one would
be forgiven for thinking, "Oh, just another 1999 cum-2001 show."  Sort of
TOOM meets L&T.  In fact, the most interesting thing for me is comparing
this Tampa show with the final 2001 one in Boston.  In the latter, he was
really grinding it out (I mean that in a good way).  He was serious; sort
of a post-9/11 thing.  His feet were firmly on the ground ("ground zero,"

But in Tampa, he was floating.  Not in an ethereal sense.  Rather, he was
flitting about from one musical and emotional destination to another.  It
was truly a magic swirlin' ship (very appropriate, too, for the pirate
theme of the street festival!).  It would be far from the truth, however,
to say that his "senses had been stripped!"  In fact, this was the most
impassioned concert I have seen in many years!  Bob was, for the most
part, his usual deadpan self, but one could easily pick up a subtle curl
of the mouth, a gleam in the eye, a connection with the crowd, and
eagerness to play as hard as he could.

Again, the setlist was not particularly imaginative, although it was great
to hear such a haunting, spine-tingling rendition of "Boots of Spanish
Leather."    But everything he did, every song he sang, every note he
picked, every knee he bent, every harp he blew, had passion, meaning, and
an intense sense of purpose...and fun.

As we all begin recovering from 9/11 and lose some of the heavy weight of
the horror, smiles begin to return, feet begin to tap, hearts begin to
glow.  Whatever is going on in Bob's head has always been something of a
secret, but the ferocious weight of the fall 2001 tour has been replaced,
to some extent, with a lightness of spirit.  Bob's voice was glorious.  I
can't think of a time when it's been better (two months of rest helped, no
doubt).  But, when he sang, "And I'll stand o'er your grave, 'Til I'm sure
that you're dead" there was not doubt what his feelings were!  Did I say
"sang?!"  Silly me.  Revise that to read, "when he spat."  

For those of you who want to know about the new drummer (George Receli),
well he's great, considering that he's has limited rehearsal time.  Given
his pedigree, I was surprised at how laid back he was, and his occassional
use of a bongo drum was a nice addition.  Tony was keeping a close eye on
him, which was a good thing, as Bob continued his seeming obsession with
Charlie.  Dicky Betts came on for RDW12&35.  He really smoked.  He played
off Bob for a really extended solo, with that piercingly sweet Gibson Les
Paul sound.  It was for the ages.

An outstanding show.  In all honesty, it was up there with the best of
them.  As a white-haired woman said to her companion on the way out, "That
was awesome!"  

Christopher Dunn

[TOP] <

Review by Kevin Larson

The times-they-r-a changing since 9/11 and it is tough out there...High
Water everywhere.

Bob was a combo platter of "keep it real" - all business and "keep it
light" - to have some fun in Tampa at the Ice Palace.  The party
atmosphere around Town with Gasprillia (Pirate Madness) had the Saturday
night crowd ready to rock.  The crowd had a healthy buzzzz (I mean that)
and one could only image the rocky ride home on all those well-lubricated
pirate ships.  

HIGH WATER (For Charlie Patton) - Hot, Hot, Hot at times the ICE Palace
provided the stage for Bob to be the country squire with a chip on his
shoulder sounding the horn - It's tough out there while finding time to
bob and weave, bob and weave, bob and weave with a toes a tapping.  High
Water was the apex of this show built around good country strumming with
occasional messages to "strap-it-on" the world as we know has changed and
a rocky road lies ahead.  With the big old white cowboy hat balanced
squarely on his little mop, Bob was telling the World - hear comes the
good guys like a patriot ready to sell American music and culture to the
pending crowds on the European leg.

The friendly bikers enjoyed the show big time.... Not seeing Bob since his
tour days with Jerry and the Dead...  In between high-fives, beer breaks,
and head bobbing they were digging the message..."He (BOB) has a lot to
say", no kidding.  The message was there and High Water was the mode of
travel you have to know, it is tough out there High Water everywhere was
melting the ICE in the Palace... Powerful with red alert meaning, DA it
was my favorite song of the night. High Water... better keep your chin up!

COLD IRONS BOUND - Cold Irons Bound was wicked with the warning that the
"Winds in Chicago nearly ripped me to shreds" was the perfect welcome I
needed for the arrival of the five Chicago natives (ages 42 - 72) who took
in the show.  Our group had a great time watching the kids party and hang
it out for fun, fun, fun on Saturday night. My pal Wally (72) is on the
bus and loves to party with Bob (musically) on our houseboat trips to
Canada; we drive through Bob's hometown in Minnesota every year... The mix
was rough and abrasive that beat home a call for action. The coarse vocals
here was multiplied by the groups shared guitar solos the all went deeper
to the new drummers aggressive drumming.

RAINY DAY WOMEN #12 & 35 - Dickie Betts was a great surprise and
appropriately enough the party theme this song creates seemed to be
linked to him being excused from the Allman Brothers.  Party, Party,
Party, Bob kept Dickie in the back seat until he was permitted to jump in,
perhaps Bob was waiting for Dickie to find his way and feel the opening or
Bob was sending a little message.  Finally for the second half of the song
Bob who had some nice lead work going let Dickie kick it up a notch with
some top shelf lead that ran above the frolicking force of this standard. 
Wally loved how Bob had the places rocking and rolling to this classic.  I
had eye shot for Dickie during the remainder of the show and he seemed to
be looking for chance to strap it on again. I really thought Bob would
bring out Highway 61 and give Dickie another chance.... Never happened. 
Dickie was ready, ready, ready... it's tough out there - High Water
Everywhere, this is when I notice the Green Party beads on Bob' monitor,
harp shelf, and toy box.  Pretty sure these same beads were to make the
trip to Jacksonville (review to follow).  I am slow to get this review
completed, only finding time on the plane back from Hartford on Fat

HONEST WITH ME - This version did not carry the impact like recent shows
last fall in Chicago and Milwaukee but it was still pretty good.  The
change in drummers is noticed here.  The new guy missed the heavy beats
just before "face like a teddybear" which must have been corrected by Tony
the ever present rhythm master because just down stream a few strong
catch-up, make-good, double-downs hit the mark and the honest mistake was
corrected no harm no foul.

The versions of It's Alright, Ma and Lay, Lady, Lay were outstanding and
Bob was kicking with the right foot keeping time which he had in motion
most of the night.  The Tampa show for me was all about High Water and a
nice change up with Dickie Betts. Next stop Jacksonville. 

[TOP] <

Review by Donovan Miller

This is my first "Bob" review, so here goes. I'm going
to try and see as many shows on this tour as possible.
This was my first show ever, and let's just say that I
wasn't let down. There was an incredible feeling of
excitement when The Master took the stage. How about
that introduction! I recognized the first song from
Ralph Stanley, and Bob surely made it his own. The
Master was in full command for the entire acoustic
segment, Particularly "It's Alright Ma." "Tweedle Dee
and Tweedle Dum," Bob's commentary on last year's
election scandle, rocked the house, and The Master
clearly enjoyed rocking with the band. Charlie's
playing with Larry was really tight. "highwater"
really stood out. "Tangled" was maybe the only point
of the show that I thought strayed a little bit. I
think Bob has been playing this one too long or
something. I've heard it many times on live tapes and
seen it on set lists for so long, that I think Bob
should leave it for a while. "Cold Irons Bound" was
great, but the real highlight had to be "Blowin'" Just
absolutely magnificent. I'm looking forward to the
rest of this tour. I miss Kemper, but the new guy
seems to have really energized Bob and the band.

[TOP] <

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