Sun City West, Arizona
Maricopa County Events Center
April 8, 2006

[Brian Doyle], [Mike Martin], [Lani Savage], [Scott Eisner],
[Paul Schlafman], [Diamond Sky], [Mr. Coyote], [Andrew Johnston]

Review by Brian Doyle

It’s been many miles since leaving Denver for Reno and what an amazing run
of shows this has proven to be. I have seen everything from 8 foot snow
banks to the now Desert Sun of Tucson, Arizona. This is a great and
wonderful country we are blessed to live in and be proud to drive and come
and go as we please. Driving has been long and weary, and I sure wish
people obeyed the “Colorado Left lane Rule”, which means you get out of
the fast lane and into the slow. It’s law there and I am proud I helped
enact in legislation by contacting my representatives. The distances
between shows has been something, not complaining, but difficult to follow
as I have taken many personal diversions from the route. There is much to
be said for the scenic side of catching a ride on the Bob Dylan express.
The biggest surprise of the tour started with the show in Reno. Little did
we know that this set list would more or less carry on for three straight
nights. The new sound was just so extraordinary that even I was caught a
little off guard. Bob on the organ is a great blend, and add me to the fan
list of the change of things happening here and unfolding nightly. The
Maricopa Events center, formerly the Sundome, is set back on RH Johnson
road in sort of a residential area just down the road from Bell Street.
The venue is quite nice, sort of a Spanish flair to it, with an outdoor
veranda, and great southwest décor. The local radio station had a contest
for front row seats with a drawing a half hour before Showtime. After the
concert they handed out numbered (to 2000) cool looking Bob posters.
Sadly, the police were very intent on clearing the parking lot, so the
after the show chat was closed early. Bob’s new XM radio adventure could
surely include some after thoughts following the performance, from the
fans that could give little tidbits for the regular Bob show. The crowd
was slow to enter and slow to seat, and lots of confusion during the
Haggard portion as people were having a difficult time finding seats, and
frankly the security and ushers were of little or no help. Merle was a
pearl tonight and though the set ended in an eye blink it was good, even
included an aborted “Okie” has he had the night before. The sound was
amazing, sitting in the VIP area center, and sure the back of the room was
also excellent. The bathrooms were inadequate for the crowd size, and long
lines at the Beer stand which is probably good because so many people were
already intoxicated and this would have made it even worse. Yes, I saw
Bill Walton, as I have at many shows, and again, people were polite and
not demanding autographs, just friendly, and I did not see him turn any
one away. Bill is a total gentlemen, though sitting he is still as tall as
most people. Bob and the boys slithered onstage about 15 minutes after the
Haggard set in total darkness. Of course, Copeland’s music had already
began, and a flawless introduction assured the crowd that the Man was
here, and little did they know the juices from the stage were about to
flood the place. “Most likely you go your way (and I’ll go mine”
resonated, a great opener and one not expected. It was clear that Bob,
looking ever so dapper and fitting into the Southwest with his “costume”,
would tear the walls of the place into ruins. The crowd was quiet except
for the obnoxious two “Poolies” who were intent on delivering lines to the
songs before they were sung and talked freely throughout the show like
little schoolgirls waiting for the yellow bus. Irritating to say the
least, and in fairness it was only the one who ,when you looked at him
,appeared to be in the twilight zone, nothing there, and not drug or
alcohol induced, just a zombie in the real sense. We gave him disturbing
looks and berated him good during the encore. He claimed to be from New
York and to have attended first 50 shows, then 500 Dylan shows…….I mention
all of this in hopes that he reads this, assuming he can read, to let him
know what one person can do to ruin a show that should be among the best
performed. I am not usually so hell-bent on people, but really Mr. New
York, do us all a favor and stay home, save your money for “all the CD’s
you have and be nicer to friend, I think he actually wanted to enjoy this
himself. Mr. Dylan than began one of the most moving “Mr. Tambourine Man”
that I have heard, the song alone made the whole trip worthwhile. Gentle
plunks of the organ and Tony’s Stand up bass, and the voice just perfect,
sincere and poised. Stu and Denny and Donnie blended perfectly and Mr.
Dylan was pleased as George gave perfect drum kicks and it all wrapped
together so nicely. “Down along the Cove” was down tempo and more in line
with the new sound, a great song, but again, the quiet crowd and security
people wouldn’t let stand anyone up to salute the performance the way it
should have and could have been done. “This Wheel’s on fire” is just a
great selection to whip out at this point and good thought was put into
the set list tonight, The fire was burning and the wheel of fortune,
storyteller, band director, organ grinder, carnival roadie, Mr. Dylan was
out front in the vocals and being very careful to sing, yes, SING, his
voice his better than ever and though some disparage the new arrangements
you just have to hear them. Bob’s harp is brilliant and poignant, very
moving and inspired indeed. “Absolutely Sweet Marie” was sweating with
sincerity and no one questioned where Mr. Dylan as tonight, he was all
over the songs, The violin was in perfect sync with the lyrics and I don’t
think there was a single flub in the whole show. The familiar thump of
“Masters of War” filled the whole room and the song is so timeless. The
list tonight drew songs from way back, and of course you know by now, not
a single “Love and Theft’ delivered. I think Mr. Dylan is setting us up
for the new sound of his record, definite blues and slow country sound,
but so sweet and filling and tonight it’s Manna in the desert. That’s all
about to change though as Mr. Dylan fills the desert with “Watching the
River Flow” and suddenly the “Promised land” is in reach, but like Moses,
we can’t strike the rock twice or we may never see it ourselves. Then Mr.
Dylan offers the sacrificial “Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll’ and
indeed, the phrasing and nuance and voice lifts and descends to bring
tears to the highs of the beholder, great stuff, and I can’t say enough
about that voice that’s the burning bush in Sun City, and for the world
for that matter. It’s time to buy tickets for this amazing new tour, so
run, don’t walk, and who knows what’s in store following the past two
nights. Them, Mr. Dylan suddenly switches gear and released the strongest
performance of “God knows” that I have ever bore witness to. The Old
Testament is not gone, but the new one is on the horizon, and it’s
POWERFUL. The place rocked and the pillars were about to crumble in the
temple, clear and strong Mr. Dylan was in fine form on this one! “Don’t
think Twice” is next on the table and again, all is in perfect harmony and
blends so nicely, one the classics and again, really better now than ever,
and certainly lends credibility to the songs from the past being reborn as
they are. Mr. Dylan lacked some musical experience then, but is now able
to transform these to magnificence! If he could play like he can now,
then, what a delight. We are so fortunate that we live in the times of
great music, and history will be kind to these people, and in three
hundred years people will fully appreciate the state of current affairs.
It will be fortunate that Mr. Dylan has been so well archived, the GREAT
white wonder that sings for the lonely, the downtrodden, and the
forgotten. Bob is a poet who continues to draw the feeling that is
personal to each and one that cannot be shaken from the heart. It doesn’t
matter what he wrote about, it matters what it means and evokes in the
listener. Bob brought his finest ertwork to the theater this evening.
“Every Grain of Sand” brings the news of salvation to the world and here,
it is rendered so sweet, and fills the soul with the inspiration of the
place we are going when the world ends, and yes friends, it ends for all
of us here, and then the real journey begins. What a show, this one
completes the focus, and touched me in a way I can never describe. Who
would have ever guessed that “Rainy Day Woman 12 & 35” would make it’s
appearance here in the desert? It’s full of water and a spring,like an
Oasis it swells into the night like the River Jordan and cleanses the
darkness and brings light to the Universe. Check the list, there’s lots of
Water references here tonight and we have all been baptized, some know,
some don’t, but all the same they have been touched. Touched with the
emotions only a Poet can pierce your side and stick in  your heart. Bob
and the band depart without the old line up routine and disappear into the
twinkling darkness for the encore break. Mr. Dylan closes the show with
“Like a Rolling Stone” and it’s hot, and then swelters into a rousing “All
along the Watchtower”. The crowd is out of control after the encore and
security is asleep at the wheel or flat given up, poor job for sure as
they allowed every drunk from the long beer lines to stumble down front
and ruin the entire encore for everyone who had appreciated one of Mr.
Dylan’s finest renditions ever, and I mean that. Bob was very emotional
tonight and the final line up was long and Bob actually blew kisses to the
audience! Forgive me for typing this so fast; it’s been a long and winding
road, but great fun and great people. I am looking with keen interest
towards the show here tonight in Tucson. What will the Crystal Ball beckon
with then? Perhaps Mr. Dylan and crew are tossing songs in a hat and
pulling out whatever, but don’t bet on it, as we all know, we hear Mr.
Dylan but we will never know him. God Bless this great land, and Mr. Dylan
keep climbing Jacobs ladder into the stars and with mercy God will reward
you as well as the pastures are plenty but the gate is narrow. Thank you
Bob Dylan! .

I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall
go in and go out, and shall find pastures. (John 10:9)

Brian Doyle


Review by Mike Martin

A few words about Bob's visit to "Phoenix" Saturday night. Well, it was Phoenix, 
sort of.  If you're a fan who lives in the Northwest Valley of the Sun it was very 
convenient for you. How many are there of you in those retirement communities?  
For the other 3/4's of the population here it's a long drive to Sun City- from ASU 
in Tempe, or Scottsdale, Mesa, etc. It's a nice facility but I'm hoping next time, 
assuming there is a next time, Bob and his promoters will consider a more centrally 
located facility, such as the Dodge Theater in downtown Phoenix. That's my only 
whine. Also, not much of a "there" "there" as Gertrude would say. Sorry Sun Citiers. 
The half price appetizers and drinks at Applebee's had to suffice. That said, I thought 
Saturday's show was one of the best I've seen. The staging was beautiful, including 
the lighting and backdrop, a beautiful drape valance over fiber optic "star" drape. 
The sound mix was wonderful, with Bob's vocals loud and clear.

First, a quick comment about Merle Haggard, who was very good. A real pro country 
band playing a vamped up "Okie from Muskogee" when Merle came on and when he 
finished.  Merle even started to sing "Okie" midway thru the show then cut it off 
after about 10 seconds, saying "sorry, sorry", with no further explanation.  Hilarious- 
or at least I thought so. His song "Mama Tried" was a hit with the Deadheads in the 
audience. The Deadheads, and others, wanted to dance in the aisles all night and I 
watched with mixed emotions as the security staff never let it happen.

At about 9:10, "Fanfare for the Common Man" started playing which eventually 
segued into another Copeland song, "Hoedown", to which Bob and band hit the 
stage. I had not checked the Las Vegas set list, to know that he had changed all 
of the songs after his first week of Maggie's Farm, etc, so that's what I was 
expecting. It didn't matter, because the set in Sun City was completely changed 
again from the night before. Bob and the band were book ended by the guitarists, 
Stu on the audience left, Denny on the right. The whole band was dressed in grey 
suits and black shirts, except for Bob. As has been mentioned before, Denny and 
Stu are different than Larry and Charlie, but I thought Denny's solos were tight and 
rockabilly tinged. The only solo I noted from Stu's was his Hendrix-like take on 
Watchtower, one of the two repeat songs from all shows, the encores of LARS and 
Watchtower. I don't know how they keep it fresh, but both of those songs were 
strong performances.  A lot of soloing by Donnie on the steel guitar, something that
has been noted in previous reviews.

The show was a strong, eclectic selection of Bob's songs-- Watching the River Flow,
a great and timely version of Masters of War, the crowd pleasing Rainy Day Woman 
and much more. I miss Bob on guitar and his "96 Tears" style keyboard playing is 
"interesting", although a couple of times I wish he wouldn't have played the high 
pitched keyboards at all during certain passages. Maybe he should emulate Brian 
Wilson's in-concert organ playing technique on occasion. But without a doubt his 
harp playing was wonderful as usual.

For so many years now, ever since his well documented "creative renaissance" Bob 
has been treating us all to his performances. When will he decide to hang it up? 
Only he knows. As long as he's out there, I'll be there too. To state the truly 
obvious Bob and his music are something very special and unique, a gift for us all.


Review by Lani Savage

The night was eighty degrees, as the amps and instruments were brought out
onto the stage the feeling of anticipation was intense. The cars in the
parking lot had license plates from everywhere, it seemed like everyone
there was from somewhere else in the country. When the place went dark and
the band moved onto the stage in the inky blackness it felt like the whole
building was about to explode from applause and screaming and stomping.
When the lights came up on stage, Bob looked really fine in a black suit
with great lines and a wide brimmed black hat.  Most Likely You Go Your
Way started out with Bob sounding more gravel than usual, but by the time
he started into Mr. Tambourine Man he was sounding silkier by the second. 
He moved, or almost danced really with the music and was energetic and
clearly excited to be there.  He was definitely enjoying himself.  The
music escalated and with it the excitement in the room built steadily
until Don't Think Twice when it totally  exploded.  Security tried to keep 
people from filling the aisles near the  stage, but once Rainy Day Women 
began they lost control and from then  until the close it was like a tidal 
wave of love from the room toward  Bob. There were some really cool
lighting effect with footlights that  made it seem at times like something 
happening a long time ago and lights  sometimes into the audience that 
really showed off the crowd's surging  sea of movement. After Bob's 
introductions of the band, where I'm pretty  sure all of the women in the 
room not already in love with Bob, fell in  love with him, it was hard to see 
or hear anything again with the applause and dancing and constant yelling, 
glorious. There were lighters  held up everywhere in the darkened room 
and after All Along the Watchtower Bob walked right up to the front of 
the stage, with the band on both sides of him, holding a lighter of his own 
back to the crowd. He really looked joyful, like a teenager.  He waved and 
blew kisses from one side of the room to the other.  It was a magical, 
historic moment, breathtaking, almost unbelievable.  I feel sorry for 
everyone who missed this show, but most of all I feel sorry for myself that 
I haven't spent the better part of my life following the band across the
globe. Oh well, if we start planning now...     

Lani Savage 


Review by Scott Eisner

This was the first Dylan show I had seen since I attended 2 of the shows
at The Pantages last March.  I must admit I was a bit apprehensive to make
the flight from Los Angeles to Phoenix given that the shows last March
were not among my favorite.  However, I must confess everything about the
night worked out better than I could have imagined.  The venue (the
Maricopa County Events Center) was magnificent.  I thought the sound was
as good as I can remember from any shows I've attended in the past 6
years.  The set list was most imaginative.  The standouts were a
beautifully, heartfelt redone Mr. Tambourine Man, a stunning reading of
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, a rocking version of God Knows and a
tender version of Absolutely Sweet Marie.  I can only say, if Bob and the
boys make it any where near your community, this show is an absolute must.
Bob's voice is in rare form and the band is solidly behind him note for

Thanks Bob!  See you soon.  

Scott I. Eisner, CPA


Review by Paul Schlafman

Bob Dylan left Sin City (Las Vegas) after Friday night's concert and
arrived in Sun City, Arizona Saturday evening to entertain 7000 people. I
don't know what the Las Vegas people did to Bob to hurt his feelings, but,
he changed his set list dramatically.

Merle Haggard was the opening act. He was a real pro. His voice was strong
and his band was great. He is a gracious, humble man who takes his hat and
sunglasses off several times in between songs to accept the audience
applause. He genuinely seemed disappointed at the end of his 50 minute set
("Well, that was a short set," he said). 

Then it was time for Bob Dylan. His band has changed since the last time I
saw him in 2001. Charlie Sexton and  Larry Campbell are gone and their
talents are missed. No songs from Love and Theft were played, so Charley
and Larry's departure wasn't as excruciating as it could have been. I will
always think of this concert and the last concert I saw in August 2001
(also in Sun City) as bookends. No Love and Theft in either one.   Bob
sounded great. His arrangements on old songs are always interesting, but,
when you don't play guitar, you can't make a "guitar face".

Highlights? Oh, yes. His lovely singing of Mr. Tambourine Man sparkled.
Talk about poetry in motion. The words just kept flowing out of his mouth
like beer on tap. Nobody says "when" to this bartender.

Down On The Cove was downright punchy and Rainy Day Women was good,
cheesy, fun and got the young girls at the front of the stage dancing. The
Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol had a fairy-tale, rap kind of reading. I
don't know how to describe it, but it sounded like a bedtime story from
Under The Red Sky.  

Bob went with his "head-tilted-down-like-he's-talking-to-Ed
Bradley-of-Sixty-Minutes" pose for most of the evening, but Every Grain of
Sand raised the heavenly spirit inside of him as his head/neck moved to a
90-degree angle.

Reports of his bandmates being tentative in the earlier shows was evident.
Denny Freeman reminded me of a school kid waiting for the crossing guard
to wave him across the street. Donny Herron's ho-hum fiddle solo on
Absolutely Sweet Marie was a  precursor to the next five minutes as the
song couldn't get out of it's overall disorganized, clunky, uninspired
mess. Didn't the fiddler in Visions of Johanna step to the road? Well,
this fiddler was relegated to the back of the stage.

Oh, and I loved the encore as All Along The Watchtower shook the floor.
George Recile's deafening "bang" every ten seconds was like a bolt of
thunder warning of something bad. I don't know what, but I don't want to
be there when it happens.

Bob blew kisses at the audience before heading off the stage. He really
does like us. Never say goodbye Bob.   


Comments by Diamond Sky

I saw this band with the now defunct violin player on their last show on
the 05 tour at the Pantages..they did not have a clue..this show, showed
they are a band worthy of Dylan, they found the groove, they rocked..Dylan
was great..his semi-clear voice only occasionally degenerating into a
sandpaper growl....great song selection here..Hattie Carol,  You go yOur
way I'll go mine,..  Wheel's On Fire...I have to say I was mightily


Comments by Mr. Coyote

The setlist was pretty awesome and the new lighting schemes were
definitely different. The only thing was that it seemed the band is
actuallly still looking for the sound. Bob is playing organ so that gives
a totally differnt texture to the music. Denny is still playing to the
piano which was a more a klunky sound. His solos were very obtuse to the
rest of the band. He either needs to change strings or maybe switch to a
Les Paul which would give a more fluid sound to mesh with Bob's organ. I
am sure by the end of the tour the sound will have meshed. However
compared to last spring which were close to magic, last night was more
like a warmup to what is to come. Sorry I can't see the tail end. Come
back in the fall for the Fair  Bob.


Review by Andrew Johnston

Please, a moratorium on the Charlie and Larry whining. They are gone and
they ain't comin' back. We drove up 2 hours from Tucson to see the almost
65 year old Dylan near the start of his current tour. After seeing him
last year twice, I thought his voice would have given out a few months ago
and he'd be done for. We had seats in the 7th row. We were sitting about
10 seats over from hoops man Bill Walton. I'd hate to be sitting behind
him. Hopefully he has not resigned to Sun City West. When he started
singing Mr. Tambourine Man, I had to look carefully at the stage. He
sounded like an older version of Froggy from Little Rascals. I was
worried. Then things seemed to smooth out. His voice sounded just fine the
rest of the night. Masters of War and God Knows were incredible! The
Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll was beautiful. I thought the band sounded
good. I think he could give up Stu and/or Denny and just keep Donnie. It
seemed like there was a lot of focus on the pedal steel and lap and it
sounded great. I was glad to see he still has all the old dance moves.
Let's see what Prince can do when he is 65. There are 2 negatives I have
to bring up. The first is that ridiculous light over his Oscar. I used to
think his showing the Oscar on stage was some sort of gesture of gratitude
and appreciation. Could it be that it is a ridiculously sarcastic gesture
instead? The second is the organ. The electric piano was tolerable. This
is just to much. Primarily because one could barely hear it above the
other instruments. I was expecting a beautiful harp solo on Every Grain of
Sand, instead, difficult to discern organ. Those objections aside, he puts
on a great show. I'll see him anywhere, anytime. Best of all, we'll see
him in Tucson two days later.

Andrew J.


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