Kissimmee, Florida
Osceola County Stadium
May 28, 2005

[Tampa Steve], [Luis Vgaz], [Stephen Whyte], [Holly Knowles]

Review by Tampa Steve

Afternoon/evening outdoor shows this time of year in Florida are always
risky weather-wise but the gods gave us a break today.  The afternoon was
dry and breezy for the openers, and after the sun set it just got better. 
Willie Nelson's bus pulled out of the backstage parking area, nixing any
chance of a duet.  Right about that time the surreal comedy announcement
came over the speakers and Dylan and band, all dressed in black, took the
stage to a warm cheer.  Notably, there was no between-set music played
over the PA.  I don't recall attending any concert, anywhere, where there
was nothing but the murmurings of the crowd holding up the atmosphere
between acts.  Once the players took their stations it didn't matter at
all.  They confidently plowed into Maggie's Farm and never let up.  The
mix was pretty fine from the get-go and everyone on stage seemed comfy and
ready to rock without noticable confusion nor adjustment.  

Dylan is by far the best re-interpreter of his own songs.  Just when you
thought you had heard every possible permutation of groove and
arrangement, here comes a new (and great) one. The singing was mostly
fantastic, though I get a little frustrated with the "melodies" Bob
creates by singing the root note for most of the line, then exactly one
octave higher for the last syllable.  Luckily, he did not rely on this
device too much this evening but fell back on it increasingly as the show
went on.  Otherwise, he sang actual melodies and definitely cared that the
songs were getting across.  His stance behind the piano is like that of a
much younger man, and in profile he often looked just like his former
self.  He even sounded younger than I have heard him sound in many years,
with a bit less of the growl on the voice than usual.

The band, while perhaps not as flashy as some past versions, was the most
sympathetic combo I have seen Dylan play with in ages.  Recile reads the
conditions on stage like a master and responds with the perfect lick every
time.  Stu Kimball provides expert accompaniment as well, equally at home
on acoustic and electric, and clearly has most-favored guitarist status on
this tour, for good reason.  Given his position on stage, I'm sure Dylan
hears his every note and clearly he digs this.  Young Donnie Herron is
free to move about from steel guitars to fiddle to mandolin, and he is
busy doing so, adding greatly appreciated icing on the cake.  Tony G is
solid as ever, smiling and guiding the band to the big endings.  The only
outsider seems to be Denny Freeman, who is a fine player but gets lost in
the shuffle.  He certainly did no harm however, and added sweet solos to
the jazzier segments.

While there is still plenty of improvisation, there is definitely less of
the rambling, Grateful Dead-style jamming of past years.  It is fairly
clear now who is supposed to be soloing, and they each try to make a
definitive statement when their turn comes.  Dylan telegraphs his upcoming
harp solos by waving the thing in front of the band.  The other guys do a
good job of yielding to him and each other as well.  The chemistry is hot.
 The guys backed off every now and then to allow some piano to shine, but
Bob was apparently not into making a big deal of his keyboard skills.  I
am sure he could play an interesting bit if he wanted to.  Here's hoping
he gives it a shot tomorrow.

Virtually every song was a winner, though Hollis Brown sticks out as a
highlight in my mind.  It had the requisite chilling effect as Dylan
worked his way through the creepy story.  Everyone was rapt.  It did not
even occur to me that there was no backing singing at all until Tears of
Rage came up.  I haven't been paying much attention to the stats, so I was
surprised to hear this one but have to admit to missing just a simple
harmony during the choruses.  Otherwise, the tune was an ace choice and
was played with conviction, just like everything else.  Bye and Bye was a
bold pick coming off this, and in less able hands could have sunk the
vibe.  But that is the thing about Dylan.  He demands that everyone on
stage pay attention at all times to every nuance.  This is why the songs
(usually) come off so well, time after time.  They are different in many
fundamental ways from night to night, tour to tour, and thus retain their
original edgy effect.  No one, including Dylan, is ever sure quite how
they will sound and resonate with the audience.  Tonight, the fact that
every song was connecting was palpable not just because of the obvious,
medium-loud cheering, but in a deeper, inaudible satisfaction that you
could read on everyone's face and see in their body language, on-stage and
off.  Dylan seems completely attuned to this, never mind that this may not
be "his" crowd, here in Central Florida.  They "got it" tonight.

Hearing Don't Think Twice as the first encore song was a very pleasant
surprise.  Well done.  Expecting a rock version of Watchtower next, I was
perplexed by the new arrangement and it sounded like the band had some
struggles with it as well.  After that, I thought they might call one more
tune to solidify the end of the show, but that wasn't happening.  The band
stood shoulder-to-shoulder, drank up the applause and headed out.

Tampa Steve


Review by Luis Vgaz

I've been to several Dylan concerts, but for some reason, I felt compelled
to follow Dylan around Florida. Me and my friend Demian just got in my SUV
and drove from South Miami all the way up to Kissimee and then to
Clearwater.  I also attended the Ft. Lauderdale gig- that was also amazing
by the way, but the review for that concert has already been written....

We got to Kissimee at around 4pm.  We stayed at the Quality Inn, Maingate
West.  At around 5:30 p.m., we grabbed a local cab and we were driven to
the Venue for the concert.  The weather was nice, the venue was pretty
decent, too.  The food for these concerts is always great- nothing beats
good pop corn, good beer, nachos, etc....

The greencards started on or about 6:00-p.m.---The are a young, cool
band--definately.  I haven't heard much of their music, so I really can't
comment much on it....

The Willie Nelson show; his show for Kissimee was nicer than the one in
Ft. Lauderdale- he played a beautiful version of You were always on my
mind--- what a great song....the only problem I saw with the show,
throughout the leg of this tour is that Willie's shows were not as diverse
as Dylan's

The Dylan show was AMAZING- what a great night---there were 2 highlights -
Stuck Inside the Mobile and Tears of rage....

Dylan came out at around took the support staff a while to fix
the stage....

Tears of rage was incredible: Donnie Herron seems to be doing a good job-
he is a very skilled instrumentalist.  When tears of rage started, Bob was
at the key board and he just directed the band to play the song--- Herron
ran from the pedal steel to the other side of the stage to grab the
mandolin (or was it another string instrument?)---and then the intro
kicked off--- right after the intro- he ran back to the other side to grab
the pedal steel again.... I was impressed---I am beggining to think that
the Mp3 recordings do not reflect the real quality of the sounds in the
live shows---this version was just as strong as the pre 2003
versions....Dylan did all the work himself with the vocals....If I recall
correctly, Herron played a KILLER pedal steel solo in between the 2nd and
third verse--- or was it a the end? (I had quite a few beers)---but the
best part was at the end---there was some stuttering by Bob, as he was
trying to decide what lyrics to plug into the third verse--at tthe end-
this was cured b the killer Harmonica solo he launched- from the middle of
the stage- facing the audience- the solo was on the correct key, matched
totally-- it just blew everybody away....

Stuck inside the Mobile- this was the second great song of the night for
me- what a version- long, but energetic---it drove the crowd
crazy....Danny Freeman is a darn good guitar player....

This new band is pretty good---I'm glad Bob always manages to find the
right people to play with him---this new band definately compliments Bob--

All along the watchtower was played nicely at the end-- the set list
seemed rather short---but after that burning version of Tears of Rage-
seriously, I can't come to think what else would I have expected Bob to
play---maybe a nice Like a Rolling Stone--- the All along the watchtower
he always plays at the end, is starting to get a little heavy.

All I can say is that the concert was great- I am a happy man.  The new
shows at these small venues allow the true Dylan fans to enjoy his show
from up close. 

Thanks rock, dude. 


Review by Stephen Whyte

I am not ashamed to confess, dear reader, that Doctor Dylan has been a
significant ritual in my life for nearly thirty years now. I was already a
big fan, thanks to my dear-departed friend, Francois, before I ever
attended my first show, only four days before my fourteenth birthday, at
the Montreal Forum. That night was like experiencing an odyssey within the
greater odyssey of my life and, ofcourse, some of these nver-ending
odysseys along the way have been more conspicuous than others. I'm sure
that you know what I'm trying to say: those moments when all of the random
bits and ravening particles align and spiral and sparkle about you and,
voila, there you have it... the synchronous and indescribable. Last night
was one of those nights for me...and in Kissimmee, Florida of all places.
This, my latest odyssey, really began on Thursday night the 26th when I
(in the role of chuffed Papa) watched through tear-filled eyes, as my
daughter graduated with honours from Henry W. Grady High School in our
current home of Hotlanta. The next day, Friday the 27th, I (now in the
role of chauffer Papa) departed town at midday to transport my daughter
and her best friend south to Ft. Lauderdale where they were to embark on a
cruise to St. Thomas and St. Maarten (planned, incidentally, months before
this tour was announced). The drive down was such a high. The energy of
two remarkable young women in the confined space of a rental car, bursting
with excitement about their upcoming adventures was a joy to witness. We
listened to music of their choosing at full volume on the way down; stuff
like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Jets, Galactic and Modest Mouse (all of
which I really love - as my musical tastes are neither myopic nor
nostalgic). By half past one on Saturday afternoon, the girls were safely
ensconced aboard their ship, the 'Caribbean Princess', (which looked more
like a space ship than an ocean going vessel) and I was on my way back up
the turnpike to the Osceola County Stadium. I arrived around five, parked
and went looking for a ticket which I quickly acquired. I hung about the
car, had a lovely picnic I had packed and listened to Bob in Berlin. I
went in about six and happened upon a delightful spot; stage right and
just in front of Judy and Linda - two charming fifty-something Pasa Fina
(sp) horse women, all decked out in stylish western wear. They were
fantastic companions and great dancers. The Greencards were a wonderful
opener (I had seen them before in Austin) and are worth arriving on time
to see. The mandolin player for The Greencards has a very unorthodox and
electric style and the singer/bass player is talented, engaging and easy
on the eyes. Willie was Willie. If you have a bad time at a Willie show,
however rote, you are simply missing the point. He is one of the great
American treasures. I also happen to be a huge fan of his guitar playing
which was brilliant at times this night. The highlights for me tonight
were his son, Lucas, doing Texas Flood and the unexpected guest appearance
of the Calhoun Brothers book-ending the stage and singing a song they
wrote for Sister Bobby with Willie contributing some great licks. By the
time Bob was set, the ubiquitous incense was wafting out on a trade-like
evening breeze. The weather was perfect. Just before Bob took the helm of
the Mother Ship and we buckled up for take-off, a woman behind me in my
new spot up close stage left, told those of us who were listening of her
encounter with Bob in Terre Haute, Indiana a couple of years earlier. She
had uncharacteristically found her way to the spot where the band would be
exiting the venue and when Bob passed her she blurted out; "I've loved you
for forty years", whereupon he turned, and, as she put it, "bumped lips"
with her. Bob and His Band appeared shortly after this charming story was
told and opened with a smokin' Maggies Farm. We were To my
ear, it was as good a show as I have ever seen and the new line-up is, in
my humble opinion, groovin' (but heck, I have appreciated every
incarnation of 'and His Band' for the past decade and I never whine when
someone moves on because change is good as well as being inevitable). My
favourites tonight were Love Sick, Boots and Tears of Rage . Hollis Brown
was truly haunting and all of the standard rockers snarled and smouldered.
Bob played more harp than I have seen him play in a long time, looked
sharp and happy and, while still very low in the mix, contributed some
fine strokes on the piano. Lots of smiles and smirks from the band and a
memorable cheshire grin from Tony while playing stand up during Summer
Days. George Recile though, is the man as far as I'm concerned. He blows
me away every time. How is it that he seems to get better and better. He
was a monster in Kissimmee. I danced, shimmied and jumped up and down like
a punk rocker all night long. I will also never forget happening upon Ms.
Colleen from Clearwater again during Cold Irons Bound (I had met her
before during the Bob bumps lip story) at the edge of the infield in front
of a relay speaker column and a large video screen (it was really hot
dancing in the fray up front) where we proceeded to shake it together with
absolute abandon for the rest of the show. "There's some people that you
don't forget...". Please do stay in touch. It was also nice to meet
Colleen's companions; Doctor David, Harry and Gordon (did I get that
right) and to hang out in the parking lot with Scott and Sue for a little
bit on the tailgate of their pickup listening to and reminiscing about
Jerry G. In my elated state, I detoured East on my way home, swam in the
Atlantic ocean at four in the morning and watched the sunrise while going
down Highway One with all the windows open and Sheryl Crow blaring, 'Maybe
Angels'. "I swear they're out there...". What a trip. Chattanooga,
Greenville and I come. May God bless and keep you Bob

Stephen Whyte


Review by Holly Knowles

I have never seen Bob Dylan perform before May 28th. I
was warned by some that his songs tend to be
unrecognizable because he changes them so much. I LOVE
Bob Dylan so I didn't care. I was just happy to be in
his presence. 

The Greencards were good. They were a bit Bluegrassy
which I liked. The mandolin player was great! 

I don't know much about Willie Nelson so I can't say
too much except he sounded great and the songs I
remember from my childhood were just as wonderful
live. His sons did a great job playing with him and
one of his sons sang a Blues song. He was phenomenal!
I'm sure we'll be seeing more of that young guy!

Then Bob came out! I couldn't believe I was seeing him
in person. I looked at him with my binoculars and
noted how much older he looked. Of course, he just
turned 64. He was pounding away at the keyboards,
wearing all black with rhinestones on his shirt. 

Personally, I am not fond of Maggie's Farm. It is my
least favorite Dylan song. Dylan opened with Maggie's
Farm and his version that night was faster. I liked it
more than the original! Already, I got the feeling
that I would like this show. He played one of my
favorites, "Stuck Inside of Mobile...". It sounded the
way I know it, so my friends who said it wouldn't
exaggerated. He did play "If You See Her, Say Hello"
very differently. None of his songs were slow. One of
his encore songs was "Don't Think Twice..." That one
is my favorite Dylan song. I loved it! 

Dylan's voice was rough sometimes, but he was
wonderful. It was a great night with beautiful

Holly Knowles


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