Clearwater, Florida
Bright House Network Field
May 29, 2005

[Tampa Steve], [James Hope]

Review by Tampa Steve

If anything was missing from last night's show, it got taken care of
tonight.  All the same energy was present, but the minor things I griped
about yesterday (except for some harmony vocals) were all present and
accounted for.  Denny Freeman, for example, stepped out considerably more
often to add spice to tunes that could benefit.  Watchtower in its new
incarnation became the monster closer I knew it could be.  Donnie Herron
was even more active as a soloist and colorist.  Dylan himself even
managed to sneak in a few tasty piano licks here and there and played some
really fine harp.  He sang like a champ, too.

Some high points:  Drifter's Escape in its latest form is a perfect,
rocking opener.  God Knows rambled a bit, but is clearly a fave of Dylan's
(and mine.)  Tryin to Get to Heaven has a spiffy (new?) arrangement
wherein the chorus lyrics are stretched over several chord changes.  High
Water was for me the high water mark of the show, with huge dynamic surges
and smart instrumentation.  

Again, I must mention that George Recile is one of the very rare drummers
that can make bold statements without ruining the songs.  The dynamics of
this band absolutely depend on him and the whole show is easily twice as
good as a result.  Likewise, Stu Kimball skated the edge of
just-barely-on-kilter with fearless, dangerous guitar licks that had
everyone grooving.  And I cannot forget the stalwart bassist Tony Garnier
who is so solid he cannot be shaken even by the most unexpected on-the-fly
re-arrangements of the songs.  Plus, he gave us loads of jazzy flavor on
Summer Days.

Tons of satisfied fans filed out of the show with huge grins, including my
old pal Mark who is almost never that turned on.  As I always say, if the
Mark-o-Meter is happening, then the show is happening, and so it was.


Review by James Hope

Humorously I ask, "Do you think Bob may have read my review of the first
show (5-25, Ft. Myers)?"  Gone were the Band's "matching zoot suit bowling
shirts".  Gone was the set-list skewed towards "Greatest Hits 1 and 2"
tunes.  Still in the mix was the awesome, awesome, awesome, Summer Days--
now moved to the showcase slot of last-before-the-encore.  Added was a
surprise substitution of The Times They Are A-Changin' as the first
encore, instead of a predictable Don't think Twice, It's Alright.  And
kept in place was the show's closer, a super-high energy All Along The
Watchtower, which Dylan stretches out by repeating a verse, giving the
audience one last time to savor the notion that 'Elvis is about to leave
the building'.    

A few additional thoughts on the show: While it was nice to hear
Positively 4th Street, it is too incongruous to hear biting, sarcastic,
lyrics sung in Bob's "Mr. Nice Guy" mode.  The treatment gave it the
feeling of "Happy Birthday to You...", whereas we Dylan fan's all know
"What a drag it is to see you!"  If I recall, God Knows was also sung in
Dylan's less-favorable up-speak, where the singsong quality of the rhyme
is accentuated by singing every line's end as if it were a question.  He
avoided this (lazy?) way of doing things on Love Minus Zero and Tryin' To
get To Heaven, both of which were excellent.  Then too, Bob's passion for
the lyrics really came out in Lonesome Day Blues, where he sang with great
gusto, "Set my dial on the radio... I wish my mother were still
aliiiiiiiiivve!"  (Similar to the intensity of Summer Days, where he
crooned the immortal line, "I've got my hammer ringing, pretty baby, but
the nails ain't goin' dowwwwwwwwn!")  Drifter's escape-- one of my least
favorite songs, was actually very good; Down Along The Cove was
unremarkable.  High Water was performed in a heavy rock style that was
kicked up 5 notches from the album version, and demonstrated that Dylan's
tight band is also a powerhouse of sound.   

As 4 nights ago in Ft. Myers, I managed to be on the rail, directly under
Bob the whole night.  As usual, he had his set-list placed flat on a slide
guitar pushed up against his keyboards, as a makeshift lectern.  However
it also seemed inarguable that he had lyrics to ALL the songs, not just
the obscure ones, and appeared to be reading every line, even familiar
choruses.  While this would account for the reason Dylan never makes eye
contact with the audience, does he really need this low-tech
teleprompter-like arrangement after literally decades of performing All
Along The Watchtower nightly?  Strange.

For all those wondering about Willie Nelson's show (the Reviewer for the
St. Pete Times was hoping Bob and Willie were going to sing a couple of
duets... 'yeah, right'), Willie was certainly part of the night's allure. 
However, the show-stealer for Willie was his young son's extremely brave
attempt at S.R.V.'s Texas Flood.  It was endearing to the crowd to see a
13 year old looking 16 year old (my guess) belting out "Well it's flooding
down in Texas...", and scorching some guitar licks, ala a Jr. Stevie. 
Papa Willie looked on approvingly.      If at all possible, you need to
see this show, and take the next generation (son, granddaughter, etc.)
before this 64 and 72 year old combo just can't make it to the next Minor
League Ball Field to give you the best $49.00 general admission show on
the face of the earth.



page by Bill Pagel

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