Norfolk, Virginia

Harbor Park

July 25, 2009

[Charles Robison], [Mike Hodnett]

Review by Charles Robison

What a great night for a concert at the ballpark!  A nice, hot (but not too hot)
summer Saturday in July.  The Wiyos kicked things off and were well received by
the crowd.  I'd love to see them in a smaller venue that wouldn't swallow up
their sparse arrangements.  Willie was next and played a hell of set.  His usual
hits, along with "Whiskey River," a few Hank songs, and some traditional tunes
really got the crowd going.  I've never been the biggest fan of John Mellencamp,
but he and his band really rocked it out.  Pretty much a greatest hits setlist,
with the highlight being an acapella version of "Cherry Bomb."

Now, onto Zimmy.  Great, great, great Dylan show.  Started off with a high
energy version of Rainy Day Women, and followed it up with It Ain't Me Babe and
a throttling version of The Levee's Gonna Break, which put the album version to
shame.  Make You Feel My Love was a welcome surprise.  The set was full of
rockin' tunes like High Water, Thunder on the Mountain, and Highway 61
Revisited.  The encore was predictable, but I love the most recent arrangements
of Like a Rolling Stone and Watchtower.  Dylan and the boys really ripped 'em
up.  My only gripe with this show was the the lack of songs from the new album. 
I've noticed he's only played about 4 or 5 songs from Together Through Life on
this tour, which is disappointing to me because I really dig the new songs. 
When I was first listening to the new album, I thought about how most of the
songs are going to groove onstage.  And for his last few albums, he really
brought the new material to the stage much more aggressively.  Anyway, it 
was a great show.  Can't wait 'til the man comes around again!

Norfolk, Virginia


Review by Mike Hodnett

We had scheduled our vacation to North Carolina's Outer Banks around this
show and were looking forward to the star-studded lineup.

It is a very pretty ballpark, but I get the impression that the venue's
staff resented this clientele.  Heavy thunderstorms were forecast, yet we
were rudely told that no umbrellas were allowed.  Fortunately, the rains
held off.  I understand that a concert featuring Kid Rock and Lanyard
Skynyrd was going on in Norfolk that night, so it may have held attendance
down.  I have been to ballpark shows with a less impressive supporting bill that
have been more crowded.

I had seen Willie Nelson earlier this year in Toronto (with Billy Bob
Thornton opening amid much controversy) mainly because he was touring with
Ray Price, one of my all time faves.  The show was nearly identical.  I
appreciate Willie more for his songwriting and his principled stand on
causes, than I do for his performing talent.  However, it was quite
pleasant.  A wedding party showed up in full regalia.  I think they left
after Willie.  Nice way to start life together.

Mellancamp is someone else I admire more than I dig his music, but it was
quite enjoyable.

The sound system was excellent for all performers.  Dylan's opener, "Rainy
Day Women" never fails to please.  "It Aint Me Babe" was clear and rocked
nicely.  "Make You Feel My Love" was surprisingly true to the recorded

If I could learn one thing about Bob, it would be what makes him decide what
songs go into his repertoire from time to time?  "Workingman Blues" and "Po'
Boy" are OK, but why all of a sudden to they turn up on this tour?

I agree with a previous reviewer about "Aint Talkin'".  It ranks up there
with his most outstanding songs.  Apart from that, the set had a little too much
"Modern Times", when I would have preferred more from "Together Through Life". 
But I don't want to nitpick.  His shows are money in the back and I hope to see
many more.


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