Tampa, Florida
University Of South Florida

May 10, 2006

[Brian Jones], [John Garzon], [Tampa Steve], [Craig Olsen], [Mike Merrill]

Review by Brian Jones

I saw The Bob Dylan Show last night in Tampa, FL and I enjoyed myself very
much. I was extremely impressed with the band, sound, and overall vibe of
the show. There was nothing lacking in musicianship and flow of the songs.
In fact, from the 7:30 start of Merle Haggard (great set) to the last note
of All Along The Watchtower, the night went off smoothe and flawless. As
far as the set list, I was a little disappointment that there weren't a
few more choice numbers put into the show tonight. I have been following
the previous set lists on this website almost religously and was hoping
for maybe 1 or 2 more hits. I kinda expected the first three songs
(Maggie, She Belongs, Tweedle), but was pleasantly surprised to hear Lay,
Lady, Lay and found it very enjoyable and clear. I was very dissapointed
with tonight's take of Stuck inside of Mobile, and thought it seemed
rushed and a little uninspired. The next couple songs (Love sick, I'll be
your baby tonight, Ballad of a Thin Man, I don't believe you, Cold Irons
Bound), were all done very well and rockin, but seemed to be a bit of a
long segment without any ballads or memorable parts. I enjoyed the
rendition of Girl of the North Country, especially the instrument
variation and nice arrangement of the music, but yet again seemed to lack
the melodic punch that I have come to love of this song. Summer Days was a
decent closer and got the crowd up on their feet dancing. Bob and the boys
came back up for the usual closers (Like a rolling stone, Watchtower), and
I found these 2 songs to be extremely inspired and energetic. Maybe it was
the thought of the tour bus around the corner or the soft hotel bed that
they gave them a last gasp of energy, but it was much appreciated

Overall, I really enjoyed the show, and found the songs (yet not many
hits) to all be done very well and rocking. Good work fellas, and I will
see you next time you come to the sunshine state. 

Brian Jones      


Review by John Garzon

Oh, Bob, why?

This could've been such a great show. More on that.

I sat with my, admittedly, non-Bob-fan girlfriend, in Section A2. There
aren't too many bad seats @ the Sundome, so we had a good view of the
stage. The acoustics were fine.

The crowd looked to be about a hundred people--OK, maybe there were a
few more, but I saw LOTS of empty seats. A mix between older Dylan fans,
some newer, younger fans and what looked to be some USF potheads who got
the free/cheap tix (they left mid-way through Bob's set).

Merle did OK. Didn't come out for an encore, and strangely, didn't
introduce the band after a "set up." "Ladies and gents, I'd like to
introduce the Strangers... on second thought, here's one for the drunks
in the audience." And on he went playing. Strange. Predictably, Bob
opened with Maggie's Farm. Like every other song he was to play tonight,
he forced out the lyrics, almost breathlessly. Hey, I know the songs,
but the lyrics were indecipherable to most in the audience.

He went into She Belongs To Me, playing an elementary keyboard. He
remained behind the keys all night, only stepping to the side to
occasionally blow on his harp. Wish he would've strapped on the guitar

Then came the dreaded Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum. Why? With such a
catalogue of great tunes, why such a lousy song? It was torture, and
many in the audience left for more beer or t-shirts. Speaking of
t-shirts: The Bob and Merle souvenir lines were separated. The Merle
line was consistently 6 fans deep while Dylan's line was about 2 or 3
deep. Just a note.

Lay, Lady, Lay was nicely done.

Again, he forced out every line of Stuck Inside Of Mobile...

Love Sick, I'll Be Your Baby Tonight and Ballad Of A Thin Man went well,
if tough to follow.

It was a pleasure to hear him belt out I Don't Believe You...

Cold Irons Bound was not that great but Girl Of The North Country
sounded really nice. He took his time and actually sounded out the

The almost-closer Summer Days was next, if predictable. The band was
hopping on that. 

The tired sounding encores were Like A Rolling Stone and All Along The
Watchtower. I just wanted it to end. 

I hope I haven't offended any fans here. I'm a huge fan, too. Look, I've
seen Dylan 5 times in the past 15 years. I've been told he's cleaning up
the act and "caring" about the songs. I saw no evidence of this last
night. He raced though almost every number, just pushing out the
lyrics...every song sounding the same, none getting the treatment they

I love Dylan's stuff. I listen to it daily. I was just disappointed with
this performance. With so many great songs available, you'd think he's
play some crowd favorites or rarities (Boots of Spanish Leather, Isis,
Blind Willie McTell, I and I, Simple Twist of Fate...or anything off
Blood on the Tracks). Instead, he subjected us to poorly done renditions
of Cold Irons Bound, Stuck Inside Of Mobile and the awful Tweedle Dee &
Tweedle Dum. 

You're killing me, Bobby!

John in Tampa


Review by Tampa Steve

I did not expect Merle Haggard to play a completely different set from the
night before (in Orlando), but he did.  Sure, there were 2 or 3 repeated
songs, but he clearly intended to keep everyone on their toes, band and
audience alike.  Still no Mama Tried, Sing Me Back Home, or even Okie From
Muskogee, but we didn't need 'em.  His show was perfectly musical and
unpredictable at the same time, just as it should have been.  And I gotta
say his voice is as great as ever.

The mood in the hall before the Dylan set was a bit more attuned to the
rock show about to happen than it was in Orlando.  There seemed to be more
BD fans, but I am only guessing.  All I know is that once the set got
rolling, the crowd energy fed the band to the point where some
transcendent moments were inevitable.  The song selection helped, too. 
Lay Lady Lay was an early highlight.  There was some mucking about in the
lyric department (You can eat your cake and have it, too!) but the song
was full of inspirado anyway.  Stuck Inside of Mobile was a throwaway, but
Love Sick came in as a hugely punctuated reggae song and went out in full
rock glory.  Then, the next five(!) songs all had their own, fun twists. 
The newfound sound of this band just compliments the older songs
perfectly.  I could use a bit more rock at times (if it were up to me I
would let Stu rip,) but I am not going to complain.  

Cold Irons Bound stood out in that it has become almost unrecognizable in
that perfect, re-interpreted way that only Dylan can conjure up.  The song
is now better than ever.

I must give props to George Recile, who has become one of my very favorite
drummers.  Who else has treated Dylan's material with such sympathy and
grace in the last, oh, two decades or so?  Tony Garnier gets taken for
granted sometimes too, but his bandleading skills are exactly what Dylan
needs to keep the ship on course.  Praise to both of those cats!  And
let's not forget our un-named soundman, who was obviously very active in
his efforts to keep the songs sounding fresh and clear.  Whoever this guy
is, he is as valuable as any band member.  I have never seen a Dylan tour
where the soundman was so involved in the dynamics of every single song. 
Combined with Dylan's own attention to the melodies, and these latest
shows just shine like mad.

For my money, Summer Days always has a long way to go to rise above its
pedestrian foundations, and this night it did not.  Check out the New
Orleans version for that.  And I'll admit I hit the street before
Watchtower even started, but it saved me at least a half hour getting home
and I had already heard a great one of those this tour.  Great, new
arrangement yet again, if you can believe it.  It's all happening.  Don't
miss it!

Tampa Steve


Review by Craig Olsen

It was over 30 years ago that I first saw Bob Dylan at a sold out concert
at the Boston Garden.  I have seen him every chance I could over the last
three decades.  There have been highs and lows.  The show he put on at the
Sun Dome in Tampa was definitely a high, maybe one of the best shows I
have ever seen.  First, Merle is the man.  His band started promptly at
7:30 and played for one hour straight.  He sang about blondes, bikes, bail
and booze.  He ripped licks off of his telecaster like a possessed demon. 
The Stranger Band is tight.  I counted ten musicians.  They were
fantastic.  After a half hour instrument change Bob and his Band came out
at 9:00.  More compact than Stranger, but ready for action.  Strats
instead of Teles.  They started in with Maggie's Farm and you could tell
something special was about to happen.  Bob was actually singing.  He was
playing the organ.  He seemed to be having a good time.  The fans in the
mostly sold out arena were singing and dancing.  At some point a party
broke out.  She Belongs to Me was next and it was a great performance. 
Dylan began playing the harp and the place erupted.  The tweedle song
followed and it is admittedly not one of my favorites.  Dylan lost his
place in the middle of Stuck Inside of Memphis, stopped singing and
repeated a verse.  I must admit I enjoyed hearing him sing "drink up your
blood like wine" twice.  If this concert could be said to have a low
point, that was it.  They kicked it into high gear with love sick and
never looked back.  I thought the Stranger band had snuck out for I'll Be
Your Baby, Tonight.  They turned it into a country rock classic.  Cold
Irons Bound was tremendous and a high point.  Girl From The North Country
was unexpected and flawless.  Summer Days was a true rocker and I kept
looking to see if Brian Setzer had joined in.  The encore kept it rocking
with a few Hendrix licks thrown in on Watch Tower.  From the way I see it,
you just can't ask for too much more from Bob.  He delivered all night.  I
saw fans dancing all night. This was a great concert.  \\

Craig In Lutz


Review by Mike Merrill

Having not seen Bob since a 1999 opener for Brian Setzer show at the Ice
Palace, that was OK but not great, we cautiously headed to the Sun Dome
Wedsnesday night. The venue seems to have improved it's acoustics since my
last show there, and Merle Haggard sounded great from all points of the
auditorium. He did a few of his signature songs, a nice "Folsom Prison"
and closed with "Think I'll just stay Here and Drink" to a good ovation.

Bob and band took the stage, with the keyboards set up mid back stage left
and the pedal steel/ multi instrumentalist Donnie Herron(from BR5-49 fame)
directly behind that. The band quickly launched into a rocking "Maggies
Farm", which sounded good, although the vocals were a tad rushed. She
Belongs To Me " was stone beautiful, and Tweedle Dee, while not a crowd
favorite, was well played. It was nice to see such an appreciative
audience, many stood and clapped after almost every song, and several
danced throughout the show. Nashville Skyline made it's presence felt in
"Lay Lady Lay", which sounded similar to the "Before the Flood" shows from
 1974 with the Band. Memphis Blues was the only rough spot of the evening,
with the band and Bob miscommunicating at times. It felt rushed and  just
not in sync with the rest of the performance. "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight",
"Lovesick", and "I Don't Believe You" all were well played with a nice jam
in the latter."Ballad of a Thin Man" was a suprise, and Bob enunciated the
lyrics very clearly, especially the verse -"Something is happening
...""Cold Irons Bound" started slow, but cauht fire into a delta blues
type jam that was well done and earned a big ovation. Then came the
night's biggest thril for me, Girl from the North Country, done with an
excellent arrangement, and well sung vocal, which earned a much deserved
standing ovation. They closed with "Summer Days", which ignited into a
fiery jam, and closed the show in good form. After a few minutes they
returned with Like a Rolling Stone, which had strong chorsues and juiced
the crowd, and then the final "Watchtower" taken at a slower funkier tempo
than I have ever seen it, with Bob clearly singing all the verses and
adding some spooky harmonica riffs. After leaving the stage for about 5
minutes, the band returned and stood facing the crowd, acknowledging the
fans applause and adoration. Bob looked genuinely suprised and held up the
harmonica to acknowledge us all, and they were off. All in all, this was a
solid performance, fitting in well with the reviews I had read of recent
shows. Some comments were made after regarding song choices, but I was
MORE than happy with what he chose, and even more so, HOW he played what
he chose. It is obvious, the band suits him well, and they are one of his
tighest ensembles ever. I'm SO glad we made the trek to Tampa, this was a
show for rmembering forever, possibly the most coherent, CARING
performance I have ever seen Bob Dylan give. Don't miss him when he visits
your town! 

Mike Merrill
Clearwater, Florida


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