Oakland, California
Paramount Theatre
March 15, 2005

[James Strohecker], [Sharon], [A.N. Roquelaire], [Mark Stevens]

Review by James Strohecker

Two words:  Much BETTER.
A much better concert performance than the night before.   Bob and the
band seemed to be more "on" than the night before.  And like the
previous evening, there were a few timely gems sprinkled into the
regular tour set list that both quieted the crowd and delivered the
message that the band was clicking.

Tuesday's highlights:
..Stronger, tighter rock approach
..Forever Young, that Bob dedicated to a person in the audience
..Stu Kimball stepping up and laying down some hard-charging guitar
..The band seemed more relaxed and were jelling; even Tony and George
seemed more engaged than the night before

Amos Lee opened with another soulful, acoustic, short set, followed by
Merle Haggard who started with a bang, hootin' and a-hollerin', and
fiddling up a storm.  The Strangers offered up a well-received Folsom
Prison Blues number, and Snowball to Hell, with a couple songs
sprinkled in that reminisced, and credited our military men/women for
protecting our freedom.  Deep country AND western roots that began, he
told the audience, in a beer joint in a little town outside of
Bakersfield.  Merle prepped the crowd for the pending Dylan
performance, then danced off the stage and the curtain dropped.
The curtain rose at 9 and Bob and band blasted into Drifter's Escape
as the intro song for the second night in a row.  This night was
harder rocked – Stu ripped some fancy riffs and the rest of the band
followed.  Already, the band seemed more spirited than the night
before, and as they headed into You Ain't Goin' Nowhere, Bob's voice
sounded full and clean.  The group stepped through Tweedle Dee and got
immersed in High Water (for Charley Patton) with a new, upbeat,
surging sound to the song – one that was highlighted by the banjo
twang, Stu's riffs and Elana's fiddling around.
Bob was looking sharp in a black suit with red borders on the lapels
and pockets, and his black cowboy hat.  He pounded his piano as the
group drove into Highway 61, followed by an up-tempo Tryin' to Get to
Heaven.  The latter used to be a ballad and now is more of a 'tweener;
and though the words echoed around the stunning, Paramount Theater,
the ¾ time on the song didn't seem to provide the delivery that this
normally provided.  The song just seemed to stall a little.
No matter, the band delved into a hot version of Down Along the Cove,
followed by This Wheel's on Fire – with Bob front and center, singing
with some guts, heart and soul.  Coupled with his red-trimmed suit,
this song and approach would really wow 'em in Vegas.
The group rolled into the final quad of songs and produced a really
rich, stepped-down version of Forever Young – one that Bob just belted
out with feeling.  Though it missed the harmonies of Charlie Sexton
and Larry Campbell of a few years ago, this really topped the charts
for the evening and the crowd listened and responded with

Clearly the band is beginning to hit their stride.  They are adding
new songs here and there and are maintaining a focus on the guitars,
piano, fiddle, pedal steel, bass and drums.  No Cittern or Mandolin
action or acoustic approaches.  Straightforward and, at times,
ripping.  Check them out if you can.

Random Shorts
Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzman of the (Grateful) Dead were seated about
15-rows up in the center, and seemed to enjoy the show.  Many
out-of-country attendees: from Germany, Italy and the UK.  Great
people, with lots of stories and good laughter.  Again, if you have a
chance to catch a show at the Oakland Paramount, do.  This place has
been refurbished and is just gorgeous.  And the acoustics are


Review by Sharon

I arrived early - 5:00pm, after all Bob's poster says."Don't Be Late",
after the Berkeley show last year with the lines around the block to get
in, I didn't want to be stuck outside, when the band took the stage. I was
able to park across the street directly in front of the box office and a
little up from the stage door. I got out to check out the area, and see if
there had been any Bobby sightings as yet. BUT.where were the crowds? What
happened to all the people who hang out at Bobby Shows? All of a sudden
the lyrics from Summer Days play through my head ""the girls all say you a
washed out star.." I wonder.have the fans finally stopped coming? What is
going on here.then it hits me.Gone - first come first served seating.
AH.we old geezers now know exactly where we will be "sitting" no need to
get there early. 6:10pm and concertgoers are meandering past the isle of
tour busses and into a theatre that still appears to have more staff than
fans. I walked around the block and found a young minstrel strumming his
guitar on the corner of Telegraph and 21'ST. I ask him if I can film him,
he says yeah I can play "lay lady lay" for you, I suggest he might want to
play me one of his own songs, and I will let Bob sing lay lady lay. He
smiles and agrees. He sings me a song, in a style that was reminiscent of
a younger Bob getting started. A talkin blues Woody Guthrie style song. I
tip the musician and thank him for his song, he smiles and I continue to
explore the area. At 6:30 I decide to go in and find my seat, which was 10
rows from the front center orchestra. As I look at the interior of the
Paramount Theatre in Oakland, I can't help but think..Bob you have given
us so much, you give us music and so much more. The carvings in the
ceilings and walls of the theatre were incredible, a field trip for an art
college, a history all its own. Thanks Bob for sending me there to see

The show started at 7:00 with Amos Lee, unfortunately the theatre was
fairly deserted still. Bob has found a very talented group to open his
show, If you see this band, they will win you over. Amos Lee informs the
audience that the band will be playing at a club in San Francisco later
that evening should anyone want to catch the show. He also says they have
CD's for sell in the lobby, which he will autograph. 

Merle Haggard was an added treat too. Merle was dressed in a very fine pin
stripped suit, sunglasses with a blue tint and topped it off with his
black hat. His band, the strangers were delightful. Merle knows how to
interact with his audience. All those years in honky tonks pay off. The
band appears very relaxed on stage; Merle's voice is strong, his guitar
playing powerful. Great show Merle & The Strangers

Finally it is time for the poet laureate of rock n roll.Bob Dylan:

Bob is wearing his black suit, with red trim around the collar and red
embellished topstitching. His hat is off for the first few numbers and he
is absolutely adorable. His mood is up. He belts out Drifter's Escape,
followed by You Ain't Goin' Nowhere. Elana Fremerman is center stage
playin the violin, keepin her eye on Bob and playin hard. She is smiling
and Bob seems pleased with the way the show is going. George Recile works
very hard keeping the beat for all the musicians on the stage, Tony
Garnier stays back, close to George keeping the signals clear. Tweedle Dee
& Tweedle Dum, High Water (for Charley Patton) kept the energy going. Bob
let into a powerful Highway 61 Revisited, and Tryin To Get To Heaven,
which is one of my favorites. The absence of Larry Campbell showed up in
this song for me. Bob's vocals were crisp and clear, his delivery
passionate. Down Along The Cove was handled well by the new band. Then the
highlight of the evening Bob center stage, just a man, & his harmonica
facing his fans. He belts out "This Wheel's On Fire" there were other
musicians on stage.but I can tell you every eye was on BOB. He rocked,
when he sang.this wheels on fire.believe me HE WAS..and so was his
audience. Masters Of War followed, Honest With Me, and Forever Young. He
finished off the set with a very high-energy version of Summer Days that
had most of the band members smiling. It featured a friendly musical
sparing between Bob, Elana and Tony that was delightful. For the encore:
Sing Me Back Home, then Bob introduced the members of his band. The show
ended with a very powerful "All Along The Watchtower". The audience
realizing this is the exit song decided it was time to get out of their
seats and go ahead and dance in the isles. The band played on..and
on..everyone was having a good time, Bob danced more this show, his gait
was lighter when he walked about the stage. At the end, someone from the
audience presented Bob with a bouquet of yellow flowers that he graciously
accepted. As the curtain came down, you got the feeling that Bob could
have stayed and played a lot longer. no "washed out star".you are like a very fine wine - delicious
when first received, leaving the partaker with a warm, happy feeling, that
calls one back for more. See you tonight Bob thanks for a great show.


Review by A.N. Roquelaire

They came out pretty strong.  You can tell the new band has promise but
needs to get to know each other.  It seems like 3 people are needed to
fill Larry Campbell's shoes, in terms of ability.  The 3 put together can
muddy the sound at times.  Whereas before where Larry would have certained
assumed solo points, now is more or less just filler.  Stu takes most of
the solos, and is a pretty good guitar player but all of his solos are
follow the same idea.  The other guitar player only took one solo, on
summer days, and was sharp there.  the younger man, who sat mostly on the
pedal steel, also had a few good solos, as did the lady on the violin. 
But there was no understanding of where these should or would come in. 
The drummer is a bit too busy.   All that being said, there were moments
of being extremely tight.  Highwater, especially.  It is now played in a
loud rocking version.  You aint goin nowhere and Down along the Cove were
strong.  You could tell Bob was having fun.!

He talked to us at one point, mumbling over the crowd, but i did hear " this
one for yooooou"  Masters of War had a strong 6/8 groove, bordering on
jazzy.   Bob came out to the center to sing This Wheels on Fire and seemed
a bit shy doing so.  He faded back into the band for his harp solos, one
of which was not miked.  We were very appreciative to see him front and
center.  After the final song, he gathered his band together to recieve a
standing ovation.  A lady front and center held up a bouqet of yellow
flowers, which after a moment of forethought, Bob walked out to recieve. 
It was great to see him in a less guarded form.   ALSO, he did the first 4
songs sans cowboy hat! 
A.N. Roquelaire


Review by Mark Stevens

Extraordinary night (My 13th show), the band really gelled 
significantly this evening, and on every song!-it struck me after 
"Tweedle" that Bob was having to keep up with THEM for a change, and he
clearly seemed to enjoy the challenge-was smiling quite a bit and really
raised his game as far as singing a bit more carefully and playing some
very nice cut-above-normal harp, really expressive and not as melodically
repetitive as he sometimes can be harmonica-wise. The set itself was
really well-balanced as far as feels and tempos, and "high water" was
indeed the high water mark for tonight-epic in it's detail and range of
emotion, with some great improvised banjo fills from Don-it felt like they
were conjuring Big Joe Turner's ghost right before our very eyes. "Goin
Nowhere" and "Wheel's" were lovely surprises, and I'm fairly sure it was
the first time I've heard 2 "basement" songs in the same show. Spoke to
the band again tonight afterwards and congratulated them on such a unified
and powerful effort . Denny, Stu, and George were upbeat and Denny in
particular agreed that all the pistons were firing on this night. On to


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