Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville Slugger Field

July 8, 2009

[Francis King], [David A. Friedman], [Ted Haycraft]

Review by Francis King

On Wednesday, my wife and I drove up from Nashville to the city of
baseball bats for my 48th Bob Dylan concert since 1974.  My expectations
these days are tempered by the fact that the man is now 68 years old, has
been doing this for almost 50 years and, accordingly, it is astonishing
that he can still pull it off at all.

The show in Louisville was a mixed bag.  Dylan played electric guitar on
the first three songs, Watching the River Flow, Man in the Long Black Coat
and Just Like Tom Thumb?s Blues.  Aside from the pleasure in hearing Coat
done live (a rarity for me), these first three were somewhere between
pedestrian and weak.  The current arrangement of Tom Thumb was boring.  I
usually delight in Dylan?s experimentation and rearrangement of his tunes;
it has always been one of his great strengths as a performer.  This
arrangement of Tom Thumb, however, was just dull.  Dylan?s attempts to
play leads on his electric guitar have always annoyed me somewhat.  He?s
really terrible at it.  I have always thought he was a passable electric
rhythm player, and that he was a much better acoustic player than he was
given credit for (will we ever see him play acoustic again?). But,
electric lead?  Forget about it.  Bob should leave the leads to Denny
Freeman.  (Speaking of which, I think Bob would do well to let Freeman and
Stu Kimball have more guitar playing range a la Larry Campbell and Charlie
Sexton.  That band was looser, gutsier and just plain better.  But, I?ll
bet Freeman and Kimball could get a lot closer if unleashed.)

Dylan moved to the organ for an alternative rendition of Rollin? &
Tumblin?, which did not hold up to the Modern Times version, although it
was o.K.  The same could be said of the next number, Spirit On The Water. 
Things Have Changed, missing its defining melodic theme, was

The show then picked up considerably.  Bob did a solid performance of Did
You Ever Go to Houston, followed by a heart-felt revival of A Hard Rain?s
A Gonna Fall.  Highway 61 Revisited was well done (as usual) with Dylan
playing some very cool organ licks.  (His organ playing is actually
getting increasingly good, although I liked the honky tonk, almost
jazz-like doodling of his electric piano tours better.)  Po? Boy was
reasonably well done, and Thunder On The Mountain and Like A Rolling Stone
were quite strong (Rolling Stone better than I?d seen him do it for quite
some time, in part because Dylan?s organ was very good on that one.)  The
encore performances of Jolene and the overdone All Along The Watchtower
(as predictable as the sunrise) were very solid.

Overall, while a number of the individual songs were somewhere between
just o.k. and disappointing, the performance was enjoyable.  Dylan?s voice
was strong, his organ playing interesting and improved and the band ?
despite not being quite in the Campbell/Sexton league ? is very good. 
Dylan is still well in command on stage and, as I said up front, at this
point, it just amazes me that he can still do it at all!


Comments by David A. Friedman

I reacted differently from Francis.  I thought the show was lively, Bob
and the band were engaged and playful, there were some terrific
back-and-forth jams while Bob was on the keyboards, and the songs were
very solid.  Hard Rain, If You Ever Go to Houston and Tom Thumb's Blues
were particularly strong.

David A. Friedman


Review by Ted Haycraft

Very appropriate for him to begin with Watching The River Flow since the
venue is sitting right next to the Ohio River! Loved this show's version
of Man In The Long Black Coat - done in a very sultry swing and he sounded
in particularly very good voice with this song (& would continue to do so
for pretty much the entire evening IMHO!). Next was an jaunty upbeat (?!)
and rockin' Just Like Tom Thumb Blues followed by a herky-jerky & lurching
Rollin' And Tumblin' where I could really hear Bob's organ playing and he
appeared to be pretty pleased with this performance. The version of Spirit
On The Water here was very bouncy and Bob sounded to be very vocally
invested with it! Things Have Changed followed and to me it sounded like
it had a Duane Eddy/pre-British Invasion American Rock & Roll sound and I
got a kick how he added the words "I was wrong!" after the line  "Just for
a second there I thought I saw something move"! He was also having fun
with lyrics like "locked up tight" with a fun choppy delivery! Then yay! -
one of the new songs was next: If You Ever Go To Houston - it sounded
great though the ending seem to be a little awkward. This show's version
of  A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall also was sung with a 'choppy' delivery and
its ending had a really nice build up with some really cool phrasing where
at the same particular point in each line the word there was elongated -
very nice! I'm not the biggest fan of Highway 61 Revisted (I know, I know
- heresy!) so nothing too exciting here with this performance (at least
for me) though I did noticed he seem to get somewhat jovial at the end of
it (!?). Wow! - next was a total reworking of Po' Boy - so different! The
band seem to be very tentative with this (was this a last minute change? I
noticed that right before the concert began it appeared that one of the
main roadies was making a change to the Set List...?!??) but I really
loved hearing it but this was the one song that the bulk of the crowd seem
to check out on (a few of us sounded our appreciation for it when it
ended!). This was followed by a very fast Thunder On The Mountain with (as
always) great George Recile drumming and a Like A Rolling Stone in a nice
comfortable mode. This song ended with him smiling real big at Donnie and
then stretching out his arms & hands at us. Only two songs for the Encore:
Jolene (again yay! for another new song!) and All Along The Watchtower
(still sounding in very good voice!). Overall a really nice show - Bob
appeared to be in a good mood & performing at a top notch level and the
audience seemed to be appreciative of it (& more attentive than some
recent past shows I attended). (Only major problem I had overall with it
was why do we - or is it just me? - never, ever hear any of Donnie's
instruments in the mix in any of these recent shows?!??)

Ted Haycraft
Evansville, Indiana


Click Here
to return to the
Main Page

page by Bill Pagel

Tour Guide
Tour Guides
Bob Links
Set Lists
by Date
Set Lists
by Location