Los Angeles, California
Pantages Theatre
March 26, 2005

[Keith McMullen], [Tim Thelen], [Roderick Smith]

Review by Keith McMullen

The legend is 63 with enough laurels to rest a hundred 
singer-songwriters, but this show was that of an amorous criminal as he
showcased his most recent work, performing 7 songs from Love and Theft. To
my ears, things got off to a ragged start with Maggie's Farm, If You See
Her Say Hello, and It's Alright Ma. The mix was a bit muddy, and the
vocals sounded more garbled and strained than usual. Bob was locked into a
repetitive vocal riff that made the songs sound uni-dimensional. But, he
was animated, crouching over his keyboard, squirming to the music, often
with his left leg raised. I was squirming with him, slightly
uncomfortable. The band looked uninspired and flat, motionless and erect,
save the gypsy violinist who looked like she was trying to ignite the
stolid ensemble - sawing passionately on her fiddle, lithely and
sensuously waltzing around center stage, smiling seductively from musician
to musician. "Come on boys, it's Saturday night." Whatever discomfort may
have attended her initial performances has vanished without a trace. This
woman came to play. I was waiting to take a restroom break during one of
my least favorite songs, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, but it was with that
tune that the mix came together and the band began to heat up. The sound
of the violin began to soar, and Dylan's vocal stylings became more
nuanced and clear. The band began to move. The kindling began to glow.
Then after a melodious acoustic version of Girl of the North Country, the
place caught fire with High Water, and the rest of the evening was a
relentless burn. Nonstop gooseflesh for this listener. Five of the last
seven songs were from Love and Theft, and each one was stunning, including
Mississippi as the first number of the encore. How many sixty-something
artists, in the autumn of their careers, with a fan base built on some of
the greatest songs in history, can drive an audience into a frenzy with a
new band playing his most recent material? This guy performs with more
fire as an elder statesman than he did as a folksy kid. The evening was
topped off by All Along The Watchtower with more than a nod to what Jimi
brought to that old tune. They say what goes around comes around. I hope
Dylan keeps coming around for a long, long time.

Keith McMullen


Review by Tim Thelen

this review is a quick comparison of opening night and closing night
(the only 2 shows i was lucky enough to see on this 5-night run).

it's amazing how much things can change over the course of a week.
although bob pulled out a couple of gems tonight ('if you see her, say
hello', and 'mississippi') the first night saw bob in better mood -
gassing and boogie-ing with stu MUCH more.  tonight there was practically
no interaction with his guitarist, and his vocal delivery was slightly
less inspired than opening night.  interestingly, the crowd was more 'up'
tonight compared with the practically dead monday night audience.

highlights for me were probably 'hollis brown' and some of the harmonica
solos - which bob played out near center stage.  the first night, bob only
came out from behind the keys to "end" a few songs by fidgeting in front
of the drummer.  personal highlights on monday might have been 'highwater'
and a great version of 'just like a woman' (usually not one of the songs i
want hear.)

'tweedle dee' was really tight on monday, but tonight the band just
couldn't get into the groove.  as hot as elana is on violin, she seemed to
be rushing her parts drastically, and the only time the song kind of
grooved was when they took it down to a near whisper.  now look, i don't
mean to be too critical here - both shows were excellent and by the way,
merl haggard can go fuck off.

all in all, i think this band is great new experiment.  this is the
first tour that i've seen with stu kimball and i think he's excellent.
perfect for bob.  obviously, larry campbell is difficult to replace, but
the steel guitar/banjo/violin guy has a good presence, and the other
guitar player sounded alot more confident tonight.  his style seemed out
of place on monday, especially on 'watchtower.'

anyway, bravo bob.  i don't know what you're running away from all these
years on the road, but we sure do appreciate it.

tim thelen


Review by Roderick Smith

Pantages Music Box Souvenior

This hand-crafted music box features Egyptian Goddess  Hollywood dream
architectural marvels celebrating the conquest of art over the
mechanization of the human spirit. 14 song steelcomb tine musical movement
plays the wonderfully romantic illusionary songs of Bob Dylan. The perfect
gift for your beloved.  Box is inlaid in gold and bronze with turquoise
roman glass illuminating its interior lid surface.  Self winding movements
offer endless variations on this 20th Century musical bard. The
extraordinary antique features intricate Swiss clock movements with a
dancing ballerina in sterling silver holding an amber carved violin while
a top hated piano player rocks back and forth in front of swaying
musicians.  Dazzling to watch and cheerful to the ear. Opening the lid
sets this musical ensemble in motion revealing tunes in random order. 
Simply close the lid and reopen and endless variations seem possible.  It
is unknown how this music box functions.  Experts have agreed that any
attempt to investigate the intricate mechanisms within would be futile and
dangerous to its operation..  Suffice to say  it  is considered one of the
marvels of the world.  There are societies founded devoted to the
understanding of this relic of artistic craftsmanship and vision. At a
recent convention songs of the steelcomb tine movement were examined for
any clues as to their point of origin and true authorship.  Fourteen songs
were selected and recorded for yet further investigation. Some listening
we're troubled by one tune that seemed to stop the delightful mechanism
controlling the charming movement of the figures.  Conservators dealing
with this before have noted its title as Ballad of Hollis Brown. Its dark
sound and the effect it has on the box itself were of concern to many
enthusiasts of the Pantages Music Box.  A song about poverty and despair
and hunger and death leaves little room for charm. Not all there were
affected by this song, many still peer wide eyed at the intricacies of the
box but others felt doubts arise from its playing, as though cold winds
could rise at any moment and blow the doors down and send the box and its
countless enthusiasts flying into outer darkness. As a result most argue
that closing the lid is the best approach in that this troublesome tune
would not likely appear again for  time being. In the era of
"wisdomlessness" in which they all lived this seemed the most practical


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