Eastlake, Ohio

Classic Park

July 11, 2009

[Carsten Molt], [Steinar Daler], [S. Sanders], [David Reilley],
[Jason Palmer], [Charles Cicirella], [Marsh Birchard]

Review by Carsten Molt

Classic Park is located in Eastlake, Ohio, which is an eastern suburb of
Cleveland. The ballpark is pretty nice. It is located on a busy four lane 
road, which necessitated a pedestrian bridge being built from the parking
lot (across the street) to the ballpark.  Dylan played at the same
ballpark in 2005.  Severe thunderstorms had been forecast but they never
materialized, although it was hot and very humid.

i entered the stadium around 6:40 to catch the second half of a wretchedly
awful set by Willie Nelson. A number of people seemed to be enjoying it
but there is no accounting for taste.

After Willie, John Mellencamp played a pretty good set of his signature 
roots rock. His set mixed some of his older material with a couple of
songs off  his latest album, "Life, Death, Live And Freedom" and a couple
of new, unreleased tunes.. He gave a energetic performance and was well
received by the  audience.

When Mellencamp ended his set, i managed to move forward and get a nice 
spot to stand about 4 people back from the front of the stage.

The Nag Champs incense was lit and the intro music played and after the 
customary announcement, the stage lights rose and the real fun began.

1. Cat's In The Well- This was the expected show opener and while Dylan's 
voice was a bit gruff, the sight of seeing him on guitar made up for any
vocal shortcomings. i prefer the song when it is played later in the show
when it is  allowed to stretch out a bit more.

2. Seņor (Tales Of Yankee Power)- I am always glad to hear this song and
it  was really well done. Dylan delivered the song with a warm burr on his
vocals while his guitar playing was sparse but fit in well with the
spooky  accompaniment the band was providing.

3. Rollin' And Tumblin'- Dylan switched to his keyboard for this song and 
while it was performed well, it never really caught fire until the last
verse.  Denny Freeman did step up with a pretty nice guitar solo during
the jam.

4. Blind Willie McTell-  Wow! This was an excellent version of a great 
song and one of my favorites from his repertoire.  Donnie Herron added
some nice banjo picking to the arrangement and after a passionate vocal 
performance, Dylan ended the song with a very good harmonica solo.

5. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum. As the song started, Dylan walked to the 
center of the stage and performed the song with just his harmonica which
he played in between the verses of the song. The band was locked into a
nice voodoo  rock groove that added a fresh flavor to the song.

6. If You Ever Go To Houston-This was delivered perfectly with the organ 
replacing the accordion that was played on the album version.Dylan sang it
with  a lot of conviction and the bands playing carefully framed Dylan's

7. Things Have Changed- The only song of the show that wasn't very good.
In  fact, it was pretty bad. Dylan mumbled the lyrics in a careless manner
and the  band went through the motions in a bored fashion. Donnie Herron
played some nice violin towards the end of the song but  it was too low
in the mix to make much of a difference. 

8. Workingman's Blues #2- i was hoping to hear this and Dylan delivered a 
beautiful and moving rendition. Dylan was in total control and held
nothing  back. He was improvising his phrasing from line to line, some low
singing, some  high singing, while never sacrificing one iota of emotion
or diction.  This  and "Blind Willie Mctell" were the definite highlights
of the show.

9. Highway 61 Revisited- As this song began, Willie Nelson's son, Lucas 
came on stage and plugged in his guitar. The song was pretty strong. 
Lucas seemed very nervous and didn't add or detract from the performance.

10. Ain't Talkin'- This tune was high on my list of songs that i wanted to
see. It was as good as i could have hoped for. Dylan put a lot of care
into his  delivery and each line was more chilling than the last. Donnie
Herron played some excellent violin that floated around Dylan's vocals
like a restless ghost.  Lucas Nelson was still on stage but kind of just
stood there in the background looking terrified.

11. Thunder On The Mountain- A kind of overly fast version but Lucas
Nelson got a chance to play some lead guitar which was pretty good. 
After his guitar solo, Dylan grinned at him and gave him a quick thumbs 
up sign.


12. Like A Rolling Stone- This got a big cheer, as usual. It turned out to
be a better than normal version with the crowd singing along on the
chorus and Lucas Nelson and Denny Freeman played some tasty dueling
guitar lines. It was a fun rendition of a song that i heard more than
enough times.

13. Jolene- I knew this song was coming but was surprised by how 
good this song was live.  i enjoyed it on the album but this was a totally
different beast live. Dylan was really enjoying playing around with his
phrasing and was mugging it up during the instrumental parts. Lucas
Nelson seemed comfortable with this song and played it for all he was

14. All Along The Watchtower- The predictable show closer. Lucas played  
a decent solo during the jam. Dylan delivered it strongly and it was a 
pretty good performance of a song that often seems to be played on 


A. Dylan's band was very good all evening. They were working well together
and did a good job of coloring Dylan's vocals. Stu Kimball and Denny
Freeman  seemed to be comfortable in their respective roles. i still
don't think that Freeman has much personality, though. George Receli 
was as solid as ever on his drum kit and Tony Garnier's bass playing was
appropriate and tasteful.  Donnie Herron was excellent all night long
whether he was playing steel guitar, mandolin or violin. 

B. Dylan seemed in good spirits and well rested, although he was sweating 
profusely, which is to be expected on a hot and humid night. His vocals
were strong and warm and he put a lot of care into his delivery. He didn't
play a lot of harmonica but when he did, they were good solos.

C. Lucas Nelson was alright when he sat in for the second part of the set.
He seemed a bit tentative and nervous but seemed to be more comfortable
during the encore numbers.

D. The crowd was very cool and well behaved. There were some loud drunks 
during Willie's set but Willie seemed pretty well sauced, himself.

In summation, the show was excellent and i had a great time.  Of course, 
these are only my opinions and i apologize for the typos and length but i tend 
to ramble. Any comments of differing opinions are welcome, In Bob we trust,

Carsten  Molt 


Review by Steinar Daler

After a nice Willie concert and an even better John Mellencamp, Dylan and
his band entered the stage as the daylight vanished. After a normal Cat's
as an opener, the first highlight of the night was a nice version of
Senor. Bob put down his guitar after those two songs and started what
turned out to be a very solid rock'n roll show with Rollin & Thumblin.
Next up was Blind Willie and that was the only song that were not as good
as usual. Some staccato singing at the end destroyed it for me. Bob went
centerstage again for Tweedle Dee and it really rocked. My first hearing
of a song from Together through life was next. If you ever go to Housten
worked perfectly. Things have changed was good as well and Workingmans
blues as good as the versions he played in Amsterdam this spring; that
means fantastic! For H61, Lucas Nelson joined Bob on  stage and stayed
there for the rest of the concert. He added some nice guitar solos here
and there and made Bob give his best, not at least on Ain't talkin'.
Thunder was as impressing as the the thunder and lightnin that met us this
morning when we arrived in Cleveland. After a short brake they + Lucas
returned for a great trio of songs; LARS, Jolene and Watchtower. Jolene
was much better than on the CD in my opinion. A very good concert indeed.
Absolutely up to the high standard of the European tour this spring. His
very good vocals on Workingman and Ain't talking still reconates in my

Steinar Daler


Review by S. Sanders

I'm sunburned and exhausted, but it was a good night.

The Two Man Gentleman Band opened. They were an amusing, old-time-feeling
band. They seemed to be big on the kazoo. 

Willie Nelson then took the stage and, having never seen Nelson live
before, I was impressed with his energy and vocals. I feel like Willie's
voice may actually be improving with time. At first, I was not impressed
with his backing band, but as the night wore on I warmed up to them.
Lucas, Willie Nelson's son, preformed with Willie on the guitar and even
sang vocals for a while. I really enjoyed his style. His voice reminded
me of a Willie Nelson/Stevie Ray Vaughn hybrid. The crowd let out a
collective sigh when Willie Nelson tossed his headband into the audience
at the end of his portion of the show.

John Mellencamp was next. His performance was also full of energy. At one
point in the show he asked the crowd if they'd rather hear a "brand new
song that isn't on any album yet" or one "everyone would know." In our
section of the stadium, everyone cheered for the second choice, but
Mellencamp performed a song that apparently he had only played once befor
in the middle of the stage with his acoustic guitar. He laughed when he
seemingly messed up a chord. It was nice.

Bob Dylan's set was great, but my group felt that his band was drowning
him out. The drummer particarly seemed to be what was preventing us from
hearing Bob clearly. The harp parts were great and I could really hear
Bob on the keyboard this time.  We enjoyed seeing Lucas Nelson preform
with him. Some of my highlights included "Like a Rolling Stone" and
"Workingman's Blues #2."

Over all, it was an exciting show at a cool venue, but we were all stuck
on the time we saw Dylan in 2007. It feels like he's aged considerably
since then.

S. Sanders


Review by David Reilley

This was the 23rd time that I've seen Bob and I was fairly disappointed. 
The sound quality was fine, the band was fine and Bob sounded pretty good.
 The problem was his song selection.  Due to the three star bill for this
tour, we were dealing with a truncated set list.  I was pretty sure we
were doomed when he opened with "Cat's In The Well".  "Senor (Tales of
Yankee Power)" was fine, but from there things turned uninteresting. 
There is no excuse to ever to do "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum", as it is a
lousy song. "Blind Willie McTell" is a great song, but it suffers in an
open-air, summer, party atmosphere.  "Ain't Talkin' " went on forever and
had folks heading for the exits. "Things Have Changed", "Workingman's
Blues #2" and "Thunder on The Mountain" were all interesting, but would
have faired better amongst other selections in Bob's impressive catalogue.


Review by Jason Palmer

The thirtieth or so Dylan show I've seen since '96 was one of the best. 
It's the first time since Stu and Donnie took over for Larry and Charlie
that I didn't miss their guitars and vocals.  I was skeptical reading
Dylan's last Rolling Stone interview and his raving about this band untill
last night.  Cats In the Well was an expected but reasonably strong
starter.  A very upbeat Senor followed with Bob playing a nice lead
guitar.  He took the keyboard for a very changed up and gutsy version of
Rollin' and Tumblin', sounding much more bare-bones and bluesy than on
previous tours. A very stirring Blind Willie Mctell followed then Bob took
center stage and his harp again for the best Tweedle Dee I've ever heard. 
Midsong he went back to his keyboard and really belted out the rest from
there.  If You Ever Go To Houston was much better than I had imagined. 
He's playing it a lot lately and you could really tell he was enjoying it.
 He seems proud of the new album and of course his Oscar was on display. 
So was his ability to change up songs from his last few albums like the
one he won the Oscar for, Things Have Changed indeed.  An incredibly
different Workingmans Blues #2 followed, with Bob playing the piano as
well as anyone he could hire to do it.  Lucas Nelson then joined the band
on guitar for Highway 61 and remained the rest of the set. Bob introduced
him by saying "You all know this guy."  Ain't Talkin was more fast-paced
than previously performed but so deliberate in the vocals.  Thunder On The
Mountain and Like A Rolling Stone sounded much the same but both very
strong.  Jolene was expected in the encore but probably still the
highlight of the night for me.  This new tune really shows the band's
prowess and Bob sure seemed to enjoy delivering it.  Watchtower sounded
much the same also, but having Lucas Nelson's third guitar through the
final six songs rally helped.  Bob's vocals were at the best I've seen him
in years.  He's no longer trying to hit the high notes and less growling
on the bottom end.  He's found his voice and his band and his place as the
leader of the finest band on the concert circuit- again.  


Review by Charles Cicirella


HOLY CRAP BATMAN who would have thunk it? I know I never would have
believed Bob and his cowboy band could even come close to the punishment
they doled out at Eastlake in 2005 and yet last night they not only came
close to Eastlake '05 they surpassed it. It was mind melding - seriously
when I walked away from the rail after it was all over my brain was on the
ground writhing and smoking up a storm in need of water and oxygen. And
speaking of smoke I love how it appears (I believe this began on Blind
Willie) that smoke is pouring straight from the top of Bob's head - like
the man is himself on fire and loving how absolutely freeing it is to burn
forevermore. If Edgar Allan Poe had had a band I believe last night would
very much be what a concert from him would have been like. I say this
because last evening was dark and menacing as well as brooding and
bombastic, but it was also celebratory and revelatory as Bob welcomed us
into one room after another in the Masque of the Red Death showing us just
how good of a time can be had even when the end of the world is breathing
down our necks and pestilence is nipping at our heels. 

I was most fortunate to be situated between two of the most beautiful
people I have ever encountered at a Bob show. When we met in line we were
rank strangers and yet by the end of the night I felt as if something had
changed - that the cosmos had shifted and I was standing here aligned with
my family and I am not just talking about the two beautiful people I was
standing between because it's strange how when Willie is playing (and this
isn't Willie's fault - can't blame him for the obnoxious behavior from
some of his more lubricated fans) there is such a negative vibe from the
crowd and yet when Bob plays (and I felt this especially last night) it
really becomes a love fest and when it was all over everyone was hugging
and beaming and saying what an incredible show it was and no this doesn't
happen at every Bob show obviously, but when it does it is such a blessed
feeling of exaltation to experience and be a part of.     

Of course the Lucas Nelson factor is something you really had to see and
did it ever shake things up (well in actuality it really seemed to shake
Bob up as guest musicians always seem to) and lifted the night ever higher
and higher. I loved how on Watchtower Bob didn't start singing when he
should have on one verse and the look on his face like Whoops and how he
then made another pass at it and how it just threw everyone (band and
crowd alike) into overdrive as Lucas studied Bob and Bob studied Lucas,
but it didn't slow either of them down as we all drove ninety miles an
hour down a dead-end street toward Heartbreak Hotel or Armageddon. 
At the end of the night when they did the lineup I guess
Tony told Lucas not to smile and so there was Lucas (with his Bob fan
tee-shirt on which made the whole event even more surreal and pitch
perfect) all serious with one arm around Tony and the other around Bob (it
was so crazy and beautiful to actually see Lucas's hand on Bob's shoulder
but not surprising because you could see the whole entire time he was up
on stage how much admiration, respect and most importantly affection these
two men have for each other). 

The whole night was a highlight but let me just quickly mention Senor
(which is one of my all-time favorite Bob songs). He did it back in
Eastlake in '05 and this version was just as scalding and salacious. Blind
Willie was hot and musky (like a John or Alan Lomax field recording on
steroids) and when and if a recording surfaces listen to how he delivers
the word "Saint" almost as if he can't wait to expunge this expletive from
his mouth. Also Ain't Talkin' - the Lucas Nelson factor on this was
especially poignant and pungent as Bob unrolled before us a cinematic
masterpiece like a plague of locusts or John the Baptist's head. 




Review by Marsh Birchard

Eastlake rang my bells.   Cat's In The Well, always a kick-out-the- 
jams opener.  "May the lord have mercy on us all":  I've always  
believed, concludes or modifies the title of his previous album ---  Oh
Mercy -- a phrase which is, idiomatically, an exclamation of surprise and
almost an injunction or imperative, as opposed to " May the lord have
mercy" which is more a supplication asked in humility.   More rational, if
no less, urgent.  It sets the tone.

Then, happy surprise!  Senor delivered with care and respect.  I  
wonder if it's a nod to the paternal figure of Willie Nelson, whose son,
Lukas, made an appearance with Bob later in the show.  Again, a song
asking for mercy in its own way -- pleading for wise counsel.

Rolling and Tumblin followed: felt kind of mangled.  Then McTell.   
Paul leaned over after Blind Willie and said, "we will never hear  
that song better than its orginal recording".  True dat.  Bob just  
can't bring himself to sing the blues like Bob Dylan.  It's  
remarkable how different the voice is between album and live.  Sure, it's
always been his nature to take chances, but I'd suggest it is more the
exigencies of long tours that dictates his vocal performance  these days. 
Conservation of energy is essential.  We wait for the moments like Senor
and Workingman's Blues and hear only the echoes in run-throughs like
Blind Willie and Things Have Changed.

Bob in his incantatory mode much of the evening -- a clipped delivery on
the 2 and the 4 -- is the best I can describe it.  Ain't Talkin' is
fortunately built for this delivery.  Coincidentally, I read this today,
from Alden Nowlan: Essays on His Works, editor Gregory Cook (Guernica
Writers Series, Toronto Canada, 2006): speaking of line breaks in his
poems "...  some of the divisions are intended to make the reader slow
down-  to read certain words in units of 5 instead of 10, for instance. 
And sometimes the break adds an additional level of meaning in that the
reader is led to believe that I'm saying one thing and then an instant
later he finds that I'm saying something  else that doesn't supersede the
first thing but amplifies it, or modifies it.  ... There's a deliberate
instant of ambiguity, you see, which reflects the ambiguity of life. 
.... Now I have no intention of giving you specific examples. .... That
would be like a pitcher walking in before the pitch to tell the batter
what kind of a ball he was going to throw him. ... the objective of the
poet like the objective of the pitcher in baseball is to make the batter 
understand -- too late. "

The first half of the set built to the concluding statement of Workingman's 
Blues, which was the fulcrum of the show.  With the cat down in 
the well and asking if this is armageddon, and rolling and tumbling
into houston ---  the direction was down.  Down the well Down the river
Down hiway 61.  In the last outback at the world's end.  If the bible is
right this world will explode.  Sooner of later you too shall burn.  It
was bob in all his apocalyptic glory.  "What direction you takin' us in
next Bob", Robbie Robertson once asked him, leaving Bob gasping for air.

July 2009, Bob promotes a stimulus program made in America but  
certified in another time.  In the chronology, this is Depression Era Bob.

The importance of the record of these shows seems contradictory on an 
ephemeral summer's evening in a suburban minor league baseball park.   I
don't need to confess, I will listen again.

I am so pleased that the sets these days favour the recent material and
it is no longer an oldies showpast.  So in summary --  A querying Bob 
asking a mysterious power where we're headed and commiserates with 
the working man, before  insisting that it ain't him whose talkin' --  he's 
just walking down  high street looking at girls -- what we are actually
hearing is  thunder from on high and howling wind.

No buckets of rain.  Buckets of tears.  The day before Eastlake Jamie 
would have been 53.


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