Austin, Texas
The Backyard
April 19, 2003

[Dusty White], [Casey Taylor], [Brian Doyle]

Review by Dusty White

Well, where to begin. Bob playing at the Backyard was a dream come true
for Austinites. It's truly the only venue to see a show here, until it
gets to hot. Unfortunately we missed the Waifs set due to (no avail)
trying to dump some extra tickets. Two things that threw me totally off,
was Bob behind keyboard and no Charlie Sexton. I try and stay away from
too much info. so I don't spoil the surprise. Bob's voice seemed strong
but at times the usual mumbling. The start of the show seemed a little
shaky. Some of the songs I couldn't make out, but the band seemed to be
running on all cylinders by "Saving Grace". Bob's sound seemed almost
funky compared to the last times in Austin. It was the keyboard (most of
the show) that took some getting used to. Now I've yet to see a Dylan show
that I didn't like, but the man is such a force behind his six string that
I wished he'd kept it out a little longer. "Lay Lady" and "Just Like A
Women", was too good to be true. The smoking  "All Along the Watchtower"
was the icing on the cake. Can't wait for Part II tonight...



Review by Casey Taylor

The set List is irrelevant.  I am a caterer that serviced the masses. 
There were about 4500 folks out here this evening.  It was an overcast
afternoon when I arrived during the sound check.  I was admonished by
"whomever" for being a lone listener in front of the stage.  My apologies
were well received and accepted.  The Waifs did swell, nice presentation. 
The skies cleared, then became overcast again, it turned out to be a
glorious evening...light sprinkles, and lo and behold Mr. Zimmerman on
Keyboards most of the night.  Dressed so dapperly in a Black Suit and
silver tie, he was very loose, and in control of his band.  The Back Yard
is an incredible venue for musicians, however I miss the closeness of an
enclosed venue.  The crush of the crowd and the humidity took it's toll on
at least two women being carried off. (Check w/ Security R.C. who work's
the pits)  This was the most professional band I have witnessed in a long
time.  The Set List follows: 1) Tweedle Dee & Twiddle Dum 2) Tell Me That
It Isn't True 3) Tombstone Blues 4) Saving Grace 5) Things Have Changed 6)
Just Like A Woman 7) ? 8) ? 9) ? 10) ? 11) Lay Lady Lay 12) Bye & Bye 13)
Honest with Me 14) Summer Days Encore 15) Like A Rolling Stone 16) All
Along The Watch Tower

Like I said, the set list doesn't almost makes me angry that
it is so the same from show to show.  However I do give the boys high
marks for such a well performed show. Over the years that I have seen Bob,
the best was New Orleans, early 90s, this was good however, perfunctory,
tomorrow I expect the same.  My Gosh it's Easter, Can' he at least do
"Gotta' Serve Somebody"?  

May The Blessings be,


Review by Brian Doyle

I left Denver around 10am on Thursday to head for the heartland of Texas
to see the one and only Bob Dylan and his band in Dallas on Friday night.
In tow I had my faithful and aging Dogs, Candy, Spring and the youngster,
Poppy. I decided to opt for the 1-70 to 1-35 connection instead of the
scenic route from Southern Colorado. Weather and time were on my side, I
drove to just the other side of the Texas border for the descent to
Dallas. I grabbed a few winks at the Rest stop and was in Dallas early
that morning. It was a little overcast and chilly, not bad, but the warm
shower brightened my day before heading for the Granada.  I am only going
to mention a few things on that show, it seems well covered. The venue was
worth the drive, one of those rare occasions where you get to see Bob in
an almost bar like atmosphere. The stage was at the bottom of a series of
bar rails, areas that would normally have table and chairs I would guess.
Bob did do a little chatting that evening, telling people before
"Tombstone Blues", "Thank you, and here's a song I wrote before I knew
anybody down here". The band was a little out of sync, I think Freddie
Koella had just arrived and was actually playing with them for the first
time, as in, just off the streets and let me dust off my shoes. "Saving
grace" was of course a highlight for Good Friday, and Bob seemed to carry
the weight with his vocals, and Receli's drum filled the gaps, and Larry
and Freddie played off each other, and Tony was just the usual Tony.  The
place was crowded, and noisy, and Dylan did smoke the place where there
was no fire. A rather noisy fan was started around "Just like a Woman" to
cool the place down a bit. Next we were treated to a fairly rare "Never
gonna be the same again" and then backed by a great "Dignity". Freddie
Hart's "Easy Loving" was indeed a surprise, and the rest I think is pretty
well summed up. More about the band when I discuss the Asutin shows,
promise. The ran shack Oyster joint across the street was awesome, looked
like something out of the 1930's, probably was. It's the only place whre
you pay by the honor sysytem on your way out the door. Great Gumbo, even
though I had to fish the sausage out of my bowl for purposes that go way
beyond the scope of this brief narrative. ( I believe Dallas was the first
all electric set since the 60's)
 On to Austin, where things really take off:
I got a good night sleep at the Red Roof, although a bit worried when a
cop was standing at the bottom of the steps leading to the room and I
could hear my woofer, Poppy, howling at the moon. I guess it's ok for dogs
to bark in Dallas, he didn't say a word. I was glad I had left them there
in case the heat flared up. So, now I have named the Red Roof Inn the Red
Woof Inn. Then, it was off to Austin, a bit more pleasant of a drive then
the one I did a year ago when I left Austin to be back in Dallas at 6am
after the show at the Erwin Center. I made a slight detour to the airport
to pick up my life partner, probably the only woman I know who would fly
to Austin and NOT SEE the Dylan show. Anyway, I guess that's why I love
her.  The Backyard is about 20 minutes west of Austin, and a venue I won't
soon forget. The security there was pretty tight, not sure if that is
standard or just looking for those cameras. Once inside, it's a very
rustic and down home place, a fence surrounds the area, and the stage is
set perfectly to see the Texas skylight and the trees that sprung eternal
with the fresh green sprigs of Spring. Awesome. It was warm enough to
enjoy the show, and the place truely came alive with the sounds of
silence. The Waif's opened the show, pretty much on time, and were really
a treat. I'm not sure I would agree with Bob that it's the best act he's
seen in five years, but living on that bus all the time doesn't allow for
much excursions. The Waif's are a simple band, a male guitar player, and a
drummer, and the core of the band the two sister's, Donna and Vickie
Simpson. (not related to Bart) They mix a blend of harmonica and acoustic
guitar and play some folkey Australian songs along with a brief story for
most of them. I like the song about the Highway One, and about their
Grandmother who married a USA soldier. I suppose I should have bought
their cd, but I didn't feel like moving from my perfect vantage point. The
set lasted about 45 minutes, and they gave a very well delivered set
knowing that people had come to see Bob. Kudos to the Waifs. Bob came on
at aproximately 8:39 pm, to the now standard introduction from Al. The
band began with a more polished "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum". A very well
versed "Tell me that it isn't true" followed. Bob hung the words, "Tell me
that it isn't true, almost speaking instead of singing, and just a few
miscues when Freddie broke with jam when it was time to sing, not really
noticed, without benefit of instant replay. "Highway 61" fired right up,
not confusion tonight, a little tinkle from Bob's piano, and then a gusto
"God said to Abraham", the song rocked, great beat, and in time, and
strong shifts to verse with clear and crisp vocals. Well mixed for the
venue tonight, and the jams were tight in the song. Not drifting, intense
licks and intricate, something that Freddie has moved the tour into a more
Rocking and Rolling experience as opposed to the C and W feel of Charlie
Sexton. Speaking of Charlie, he was standing right behind at me at one
point, and later on the stage right with the crew. Bob has really taken
the piano as his podium, and the song and Dance, Music Man that I
described last year, has crossed the line. He's the conductor, staging the
show from the pit of the piano, positioned at an angle on stage right so
the Maestro can move and cue between the Band, his orchestra that has come
to town to burn the doors off the barn. It was a barnstrom here tonight,
great crowd, and really a treat. "Saving Grace" was especially moving, the
darkness of the backdrop, and cool Texas air. What could be better?
"Things have Changed" was offered next, strong emphasis on my Head in a
noose and All Hell to break loose. The little Oscar is also still on the
right of Bob, proudly displayed as it should be. People are crazy and
times have changed, and Bob continues to morph as he emerges in his age.
The harp intro for Just like a Woman is short and sweet, I think everybody
knows it's Bob who's got new clothes. "Drifter's Escape" snorts down the
stage and fills your head, it's a refuge, a retreat from the setlist, and
then ""One too many Mornings", Bob picks up the acoustic for the only time
this evening. The silent night was shattered, nobody can ever aptly
describe the beauty of Dylan's voice, as it blends and whines, and we are
all left a 1000 miles behind. The pickings with Freddie are accurate, and
intricate, and enough to make a grown man cry. It's never about what Bob
meant, or said, in a song that is important. It's the feeling that is
evoked when the words are melded to the music and it fills your heart with
what ever your heart will hear. They have ears to hear but do not hear.
It's like the Psalms, we can read the words but never really get the
message because we have no clue how they sounded with the music, the song
the people remember, the words they recall. "High Water" is out there
next, and it floods the joint, southern style, and powerful. I am little
shocked that "Lay Lady Lay" follows, given that we have already heard
"Just like a Woman", he snorts the phrases, more words than singing again,
but rasps on the "big brass bed" and then a pleading "stay lady stay" like
he is echoing memories from his past. His piano is twinkling, very much a
part of this song. Bob mellows with a spendid low key "Bye and Bye", no
sugar coated lies, just a great feeling that makes you warm as you stand
in the scrubs of Texas, which is exactly where the Backyard is situated.
Too bad to many people use these quiet, poignant times for office gossip.
"Honest with me" is swinging and beating next, the Maestro is building to
the Crescendo, and it just flat works. The piano intro to "Standing in the
Doorway" was gentle, then Dylan burns the phrase "I've got nothing left to
burn", and this version is simply the best I have heard. His words, his
phrases, all well timed and delivered. Why do I get the feeling these guys
might have been up all night in the hotel working on timing? Considering
Dylan has all but given up the electric guitar, I think it would be unfair
to be too critical of Freddie, he's has a lot of work and fills in the
missing areas well, just more finesse, it will take time to be
appreciated. Tonight Dylan introduces the band, must have forgotten in
Dallas. "Summer days" has clearly become the rockabilly favorite, it
smokes folks. It rocks like nothing else, a perfect set up for the encore
songs. "Like a Rolling stone" swelters, good thing it's Springtime or the
place would have ignited. "All along the Watchtower" is turned way up,
there is no way out. No reason too get excited? You have to be kidding.
Freddies riffs are very classic, not the hendrixized sound at all, and the
final "Wind began to howl" was echoed, great job at the board tonight. It
crashes to the end, the show is over. I can't wait to write about the show
tomorrow, never thought Bob would ever play Easter Sunday.

Brian Doyle


page by Bill Pagel

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