Reviews

Sauget, Illinois

GCS Ballpark

July 2, 2009


[Mike Mahoney], [John Pruski], [Kathy Davis], [K. Johnson], [Rodney Peck]

Review by Mike Mahoney



It was the first night in a ballpark, it was the second night of the tour.
Dylan and band turned in a strong,  well done--but pedestrian show.
Tonight he debuted  'This Drearm of You' off  TTL. Well done, but  lacking
the accordian  that gives this song it's  steamy borderetown feel. Even
though it was deep in the show, Dylan stepped back away from the keyboard
and went center stage with his guitar and  handled the song from there.
The new song  caught much of this crowd way off guard. It was hard to say
how many Bobcats there were in the crowd of 5-6,000, but not that many
recognized the debut of the song. Dylan apparently likes 'Foregetful
Heart. He played again in Sauget last night. Here's what's very different
about it. the staging. Zimm, in one of those black Rivedrboat Gambler
outifitsd (hey, were were just a few miles from the Mississippi River on
the  Ill. side of St. Louis) took center stage with no guitar, no nothing
but mic and harp. It had that feeling of when he'd do those acoustics sets
earlier in his career when it was him--maybe a little back up guitar and
nothing else. This was working without a net. Dylan and the band gave a
faithful rendition to the song  as recorded. He even walked to what
appeared to near the apron stage  left (as you faced the stage, showing a
rare bite of connection to the crowd. And, again, many did not recognize
the tune. Jolene was the third TTL song. He must be really proud of this
one, too. It's thr opener of the regular 2 song encore. They did a great
job with this. They are working with a great song. The problem, however
was this this tune is made to unleash the  music. It's tailor made for a
long, fun jam and , tonight,  at least, they kept it in check. Jolene,
though, has lots of promise as a  real stomper. For lots of people in the
crowd,  this was the 4th of July kick-off event. It was very much as
family event. Exhiibit A: As John Mellencamp wraps up a very, very strong
set up act,(missed Willie)  I make a dash for beer for the gang. As I 
slash thru the GA crowd I come out to the stand on the infield to find out
nobody is in line. Nobody. I'm not saying Sauget does not party, but that
was odd. But the  staff at the ballpark were execeptional. We had a little
knee and back problem with one of ours in the group and the staff were
very helpful in dealing with it as the show ended. This show fit the
audience who seemed eager but not dedicated to Zimm the way this page is.
So when Zimm plays  very faithful versions of Don't Think Twice (with a
littl;e Nashville bar band kick in the end), the folks love it. On Just
Like a Woman, the arranement is set up to let the crowd join the show!
Amazing. When hits the chorus on this song, he's got a  rest in the 
arrangement exactly long enough to let the crowd sing along. I  have never
seen that before. In some cases he'll rush right thru a lyric to avoid
this. he's  built it in to Just Like A Woman. Hwy 61 started like that,
too. But halfway thru the band and Zimm  launched into a  scortcher and 
made the song very interesting. A good show, A 'B'--including one 'first
ever performance' which is very cool. Three songs I have never heard
before (all off TTL). But let's hope they open it up a little more. Be
less rigid.

Mike Mahoney

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Review by John Pruski



Last night's Bob Dylan concert was great fun. As soon as I heard the new 
record I thought Jolene would be a great song live, which it was. Naturally, 
we all were anticipating hearing performances, perhaps even debuts, from the 
new TTL and Bob did not disappoint. I was surprised this morning in reading 
the set list on Bill's page, however, to realize that a full 50% of last nights 
14 songs (last night's show with three co-headliners was two songs shorter 
than Wednesday's Milwaukee tour opener) were from records released in the 
2000s (L&T, MT, and TTL).

I've seen Willie Nelson several times before, and he was in fine voice, playing 
beaucoup short versions (with his "little sister," as he called her, on piano) of 
many of his hits. I was somewhat surprised that Willie preceded John Cougar, 
even thought the previous time I saw Mellencamp, at the 30th Anniversary 
concert at MSG, I thought he was a great front man. I still think the same. I 
don't know his material, well except for Small Town which he played solo on 
acoustic guitar and which was great, but he is indeed an enthusiastic 
performer and, like Willie, put on a well-received show.

As soon as Mellencamp had finished (at about 8:45), the crowd's big push 
toward the front began, causing some people to reposition their picnic 
blankets and turf. Bob began at 9:15, first with two songs on guitar, and with 
three of the first four songs including water themes; we were after all basically 
on the bank of the Mississippi River. Bob, otherwise, played and grooved mostly 
on keyboards for rest of the show, although as I remember he did play harp at 
least on JLAW and Forgetful Heart. I thought his voice was very very strong, 
up-front, and clear throughout the night. I stood close to the left-front, in 
front of Denny's speaker, and thus couldn't hear much from Donnie on pedal 
steel, but could clearly hear Donnie the one time he played fiddle. 

I though the show really hit its stride during Things Have Changed, which 
included a stop-time part (as did at least two other mid-set songs) towards the 
end that had the band smiling. The crowd-pleasing JLAW was next, and in 
refrain of the second verse Bob sang surprisingly the line "Just Like A Woman" 
in unison with the crowd, causing most of the band to crack-up again. Speaking 
of the band, Stu played on acoustic the very recognizable parts of Don't Think 
Twice and JLAW. Otherwise, Stu played mostly rhythm, but he did take the first 
and third solos on HW61. Denny took the bulk of the leads, was mostly stoic, 
but even swung-kicked his leg during the rocking HW61. Tony was solid as usual, 
but I took more note of George's great drumming last night than usual. HW61 
was sandwiched between the slower Forgetful Heart and This Dream Of You, 
each from the new record, with Dream being a live debut (I think this was my 
first live debut since that of This World Can't Stand Long from Univ. of Delaware 
nearly ten years ago). 

After Dream's live debut, the two final songs of the main set and both encores 
were high-energy crowd-pleasers, and again the new Jolene sounded great, 
really meshing well with LARS and Watchtower. At the moment, however, I'm 
thinking the moody and atmospheric Forgetful Heart stole the show. Time will 
tell..... All-in-all, last night's Bob Dylan Show at the Gateway Grizzlies ballpark in 
Sauget, IL (within view of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis) was an excellent 
second show of this summer's tour. Many thanks to Bob Dylan and his Band for 
a wonderful summer evening!

John Pruski
[email protected]

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Review by Kathy Davis



This was the first time I had seen Willie Nelson or John Mellencamp 
and they were both spectacular. Willie engages his audience 
and his personality comes across as if you were talking with him
at a family gathering. His music, of course, is timeless and his voice and
guitar playing are still as good as ever. John Mellencamp got the crowd up
and rocking and his energy was infectious. I have seen Dylan several times
before, but tonight he was absolutely magnificent. He alternated between
piano and guitar several times and his voice seems to have improved
greatly. It was very clear and strong. I won't go through the whole
setlist, but some of the most memorable songs, for me, were, first, the
opener, "Watching the River Flow," which was a welcome surprise, with Bob
playing guitar. The audience sang along to "Just Like a Woman," and Bob
even reverted back to the original melody after beginning with an altered
melody, to go along with the crowd. "Forgettful Heart," from his new
album, which he sang at the microphone, playing only harmonica, was worth
the entire ticket price. The delivery was haunting and beautiful. "Highway
61 Revisited," delivered as it was meant to be, as a rocking, bluesy tour
of a mystical highway was well received also. "This Dream of You," was
very nice. "Thunder on the Mountain," and "Like a Rolling Stone," get
everyone moving again. The closer, "All along the Watchtower," was
altered but still fantastic. Bob ended it with a prolonged and very
 strong, "and the wind began to howwwwl," which had everyone
wanting more.

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Comments by K. Johnson



Great show ...enormous crowd�.. Willie was great and Mellencamp rocked the 
house with old and new tunes.� Dylan came on about 930 and played a decent 
set. Highlights were Highway 61, Rolling stone and a couple off the new album. 
Bob's keyboards were very audible.� His guitar playing was the best I've heared 
from him. Herron was low in the mix... couldln't even tell he was playing. Rest 
of the band was Ok� ..don't like how they stand there and eyeball bob all 
night....well worth the cost of admission, you could hear well from anywhere 
in the park.� Highly recommended from me if you have any doubts....

K. Johnson�
Illinois

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Review by Rodney Peck



Terri and I were tremendously excited about the chance to see Bob so soon
after an album release and this was all our talk on the trip to Sauget,
what songs will he play from "Together Through Life" and this was so much
on my mind that when Bob finally came out and opened with "Watching the
River Flow" I was ready to hit "skip." As it turned out, the first six
songs he played were ones all-to-familiar to Never-Ending-Tour
aficionados. Terri and I had battled the crowd in order to get up close to
the stage, and in the brief lull between each song I yelled out "Sing a
new one Bob!" But, then I got what I came for. Bob had been having a good
time up until this point, enjoying his tunes. After "Just Like a Woman" he
came out from behind his organ and his whole demeanor changed. He came
center stage, with no guitar(I'd never seen him do this before) and just
for a moment there, you could tell that here at this rinky-dink ballpark
in Sauget, Illinois, the great Bob Dylan was a little nervous about
singing his new song for the crowd. He chose my favorite from the album,
"Forgetful Heart" and as soon as I heard the first few notes I shouted out
at the absolute top of my lungs "GO FOR IT, BOB!!!!!!!" did he hear me?
I'll never know. I do know that he absolutely nailed it, singing with as
much care and passion as he must have the first time he performed "A Hard
Rain's A-Gonna Fall" in public and it was breathtaking, to say the least.

It was somewhat disappointing that he didn't feature "Together Through
Life" in the concert, and the other two songs he performed weren't the
ones I'd have chosen. But, I got the magical musical moment I came for
when he sang "Forgetful Heart" and I'll take that moment to the grave with
me. 

Rodney Peck

Keep on the Sunny Side
The Laughing Buddha
Founder and President;
Skillet Fork Society of Dylanologists
http://groups.myspace.com/skilletforksocietyofdylanologists

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