Nashville, Tennessee
The Trap
April 29, 2003

[Cary Grace], [Charles Cicirella], [Matt]

Review by Cary Grace

Went to see Bob at The Trap here in Nashville last night, and it was a
strange experience to say the least. I hadn't seen him on this tour/in
this current band configuration yet.

The venue was small, packed with wall-to-wall people, and hot. I was able
to get a good spot over to the side of the stage where the keyboard was
set up, and could see Bob's face clearly throughout the show. He didn't
seem happy to me. Lots of angst. Tony Garnier gave him several looks early
on in the show that seemed to say, "What the hell?"

Something tells me that the band hasn't gotten quite comfortable with the
keyboard thing yet. "Don't Think Twice" was a train wreck--but a beautiful
trainwreck (if there is such a thing)--probably due only to the fact that
Bob poured so much angst into it. The dynamic of the band has changed
dramatically since I saw a show last, and it just didn't seem to be
working as well.

I must say that I found myself wondering where he got that awful new
guitar player. The guy was obviously talented, but appeared to have no
sense of timing whatsoever and just couldn't lock into the groove with the
rest of the band at all. The band sounded pretty good until a guitar solo
came around, and then it all just kind of fell apart. I was almost
embarrassed for him, especially since the lead guitar was way up in the
mix. He should have stuck to playing fiddle.

The second half of the show was much better than the first half. Dylan
seemed to take a while to get warmed up. I've seen shows before that he
just launched into full-force, and from the first word he was giving it
all he had. This one didn't exactly happen that way, but it had it's magic
moments. I particularly enjoyed "Things Have Changed" and "Dignity."

Now, as far as Bob's mood, I just didn't feel as if he was having as good
a time as he usually does at all. After the encore he made some sort of
gesture prior to blowing a kiss in the direction of the audience that I
wasn't quite sure about. Almost looked like a "thumbs down."

I'd be interested to hear any interpretations of his mannerisms or guesses
as to his state of mind from others who were there.



Review by Charles Cicirella

It's always hard reading other people's reviews when a new Bob Dylan tour
begins especially when band members have changed because I mean obviously
you really need to see/feel/experience/witness for yourself exactly what
type of chalice we will be sipping from this time around and I must tell
you, in my opinion,  it is pure platinum and you must run not walk (if you
are willing and able) to a Dylan concert if you have the opportunity
because you really need to, like with any art that is truly great, judge
for yourself especially concerning the new guitar player Freddie Koella
who so many are giving a hard time and which is so undeserved and to be
quite frank UNBELIEVABLY RIDICULOUS. First from hearing the field
recordings I was fortunate enough to hear from Dallas and Austin I knew
immediately this guy was adding yet another dimension to Dylan's sound -
things are really coming more and more together - evolving as all great
art and music should and will given the proper ingredients and mixture of
those ingredients - check out, "Dignity", if you can and from George's
beautifully BIG HUGE drum sound to Tony's driving solid bass lines to
Larry's guitar poured straight from the ether to Freddy's palpable guitar
feast for the ears - the suggestion that he is taking attention away from 
Bob either in his actual physical style of playing or in his solos is pure 
rubbish - Dylan and trust me at The Trap the place well as many audience
members said it was like Bob Dylan in your living room - the place was so
small I think it may have even thrown Bob for a loop for a few moments,
but hey it's only rock and roll and we like it (of course it's not only
rock and roll, but you get what I'm saying) and what rock and roll it was
- those who say Bob was off or perhaps distracted well if this is what Bob
sounds like and what the band sounds like on an off night then I hope for
more nights like this because it was truly an inspired and powerful
performance and one I will never forget! To bring up before anything else,
"Don't Think Twice", and how it did not quite come off is sad as the first
review did, but this was truly the only song of the set that did not
deliver the punch or intensity as the other songs did though even this
song was a memorable version for Dylan's phrasing which was impeccable.
This is a different Dylan - a man who appears to have made peace with many
of his demons and then decided as he has done all throughout his career to
put those demons up on public display after making sure not to give too
much of himself away in a directly personal way of course Dylan can and
does more often than not say more to us in his indirect-genius-fashion
than any of those who have been playing as long or nearly as long as he
has been. Back to what I was saying above about Freddy you can tell as you
watch Bob on stage with Freddy that he is quite pleased to have him in the
band and that when Freddy advances to the center of the stage shaking his
leg and soloing on, "Summer Days", (for instance) that it was on Bob's cue
that Freddy has done this and Bob is no fool because Freddy can and does
play some mean licks - there has been a changing of the guards get with
the program people this is who Bob and the rest of the band has decided is
the new guitar player now why not cut the guy some slack and enjoy the
amazing music being created and destroyed and created right before our
very eyes and ears instead of wishing and or pining for things of
yore..... things have changed - yes indeed things have changed and like I
said above this is a new Dylan. I found myself literally crying during the
second song of the set, "Tonight I'll be Staying Here With You", and also
during, "Standing In The Doorway", matter a fact after this number I
turned to the guy I was standing next to with tears in my eyes and said I
am crying and the guy answered, "So am I", and indeed he to had watery
eyes and neither one of us was ashamed or embarrassed to admit it so I
don't want to disagree with Bob and his thumb's down assessment of the
evening's performance and yet if you can affect people like this with your
music well the night was not a total waste by any means.


Review by Matt

The Trap is a relatively small bar here in Nashville, a highly
untypical venue for a Dylan show. As the Nashville papers said,
expectations were high. I got to the Trap around noon to get a good spot
in front of the stage (standing room only) to find a small crowd already
waiting. Around 4 pm, a black Prevost bus pulled up to the curb near where
we were waiting.  As a crowd gathered, we were able to see Larry get off
the bus and head into the club. Several people in front of me were taking
pictures as he went in.  Amazingly, I noticed a guy immediately to my
left in the crowd, and as I looked at him, I had that feeling of "I know
that person." After 14 Dylan shows, I knew well enough that it was Tony
(Bob's bass player). I didn't recognize him at first without his hat
on, but when he flashed a huge grin at me and said "I don't think
they've recognized me yet" (referring to the people who with the
camera), I knew it was him. I have no idea where he came from, but he was
obviously playing a joke because the crew members by the bus started
laughing when they noticed him among the crowd.  After some small
chit-chat, he eventually wandered inside, but I must admit that I was
somewhat star-struck. 

When we got inside, we were able to find a spot about three-people
back directly in front of Dylan's keyboard (to the left of the stage).
After an unexpected opening act (Robinella?), Dylan came on a little after
9 pm. It was incredibly hot and smoky in there, and by the fourth or fifth
number, Dylan was soaked and dripping with sweat (as was I). Dylan was in
a white cowboy-style jacket, black shirt and pants, and black/white cowboy
boots. By the end of the show, Dylan's shirt was so soaked that it
sticking to him, front and back (and he's almost 62!).  Tony and Freddie
were in matching suits. 

I don't really know about Freddie; several times throughout the night, 
Bob and the other members of the band looked quite frustrated with him
(especially Bob and especially during "Floater").  He seemed somewhat
awkward and uncomfortable which seemed to have an effect on the band. The
interaction between Bob and the other members of the band was as
fascinating as ever, especially up close. George does overplay somewhat,
but he is technically great. As was mentioned in reviews of previous
shows, a lot is missing without Charlie, particularly (in my opinion) the
vocal harmonies between Bob and the rest of the band. There was none of
that, and furthermore, Bob played piano on EVERY song. Don't get me
wrong, I do like Bob on piano, but I also like Bob on guitar. 

Overall, the setlist didn't stray too much from previous shows.  Bob 
also continued the "strange" stage behavior mentioned in previous reviews-
coming out from behind his piano and wandering around the stage during the
instrumental breaks of some songs (apparently "directing" the band or
doing some sort of odd improvisational dancing). In my opinion, Bob seemed
to tire greatly as the show progressed. He seemed really into it until the
latter part of the show when it just seemed like he was going through the
motions.  He seemed ready to leave several songs before the encore. 

There were moments of Bob-talk during this show.  He introduced "To Be 
Alone With You" by saying that he had recorded "an album with Charlie
Daniels and I can't remember who else, but Charlie was enough." He also
gave several "thank-yous" as well as introducing the band before
"Summer Days." I left during "Watchtower" to try and catch an even closer
glimpse of Dylan as he exited the bar, and I wasn't the only one.
Security tried unsuccessfully to push us back, so I was able to stand
pretty close to the doorway as Dylan walked out of the bar.  He stopped
for a minute or two and talked to an extremely good-looking woman in the
doorway. Then, from my viewpoint directly in front of his bus, he simply
got on and closed the door to the private quarters behind him, the end of
a long day for both of us. 

Matt in Tennessee


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