Nashville, Tennessee

Ryman Auditorium

September 19, 2007

[Russ Heldman], [Steven Pittman], [Charles Cicirella], [Jan Semneby]

Review by Russ Heldman

This is the first show since the 2005 summer show in Nashville which has
been worth reviewing and I have seen plenty in between. In a word,
stunning. Something has happened since the lackluster 2007 summer shows
which has revived Bob Dylan. Maybe it was the "spirits on the Ryman" or
maybe it was the anticipation of the explosive cameo song with Jack White
or maybe it was an energetic and very on Elvis Costello 40 minute pre-Bob
teaser. Or maybe it was the recent rest from touring. Bob was so energetic
and was seen in mini-jig behind the keyboards constantly. All songs were
grand except "Highway 61," but even that is hard to judge because it came
after the 1st ever live performance of "Meet Me In The Morning" with the
maniacal guest appearance by Jack White and his blistering guitarwork.
Jack sang this gem like it was never going to be sung again, with Bob who
looked in subtle awe while servantly accompanying his guest on guitar, and
the sell-out Ryman crowd absolutely kept an ongoing eruption during the
entire song. This was, as one concert goer said while leaving, ..."one for
the ages." You could hear Bob's lyrics with fine precision in the
acoustically magical Ryman, and Denny Freeman was at the top of his game
on "Spirit," "Nettie," "Desolation," "Workingman's" and "Levee." The
kicker of the night (despite Jack) was the surreal performance of "You're
A Big Girl Now." Totally breathtaking. The lyrics floated pain, longing
and fading memories of pleasure through the crescending and descending
sounds of the song. Indeed this Bob Dylan concert was a Bob Dylan concert
for all time and one which may never be topped!

Russ Heldman


Review by Steven Pittman

Late September. Sitting with the window down and the radio on.  A Bob 
Dylan Bootleg plays.  The hot days of summer are finally beginning to 
cool as fall makes its approach.  A Mockingbird sits on a tree limb 
watching me, listening.  A gentle breeze blows and crickets chirp, 
clicking, locust and grasshoppers.  Time feels slow.  I'm waiting on a 
friend to go see Bob Dylan at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.  A
feeling  of excitement hits me every few minutes.  Bob Weir plays on the
radio as we  drive through a pale afternoon down the music highway between
Memphis and  Nashville.  It feels good to be moving.  Past Pringles Park
where we  saw Bob and Willie a little while back.  A donkey walks funny
out in the  field.  My friend and I are talking about seeing Dylan; about
the  classical music introduction and the bohemic smells of incense, etc! 

Some leaves have fallen off the trees, some not as green as green was a 
month ago.  Van Morrison sings "Say goodbye to Madam Joy.  Dry your  eyes,
your eyes, your eyes, eyes, eye, eye, eye, eye".  Passing  tall Sycamores.
"Live" and "live" are spelled the same way you  know.  The last time I saw
Bob in Nashville, I'm pretty sure I may have met him after the show.  In
the  parking lot after everyone had left, but that's another story.  No 
matter how close you get to Dylan, he always feels like he's pulling away.
Going someplace.  Can't stay.  It happens without fail every time you 
pass Bucksnort, Tennessee, someone has to make a comment about Bucksnort, 

Rolling to the larger hills.  Dance with the moon.  Shadows in  valleys,
and a tree stands alone.  Hills are like women sometime.  I  guess
mountains, too.
Streams.  Birds fly away from the sun at  dusk.  Men sit on the platform
at Union Station.  Early evening birds  swoon and glide majestically around
the beautiful Ryman.  The crowd is  always trying to be hip.  I knew
something was up when Amos  Lee mentioned being on tour with two great

Red Shoes.  The Ryman may be, if there was a last place to be, the  best
last place in the world to listen to music.  At least for me and  what's
so funny about peace, love and understanding?  V for Veronica.   You can
build a building high, but you can never touch the sky.  Some of  these
people just don't think right. There's a half moon over the Ryman 
tonight.  Is that the second flicker of the light?  Show  time!!

Dylan stands like Hank Williams and opens with Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat
at  8:52 p.m.  Fashionably dressed with yellow silk scarf and gray flat
brimmed  hat with a black and gold feather, Dylan looks and acts  fit.  He
wears all black like Johnny Cash except for the sequins  on the collar and
cuffs. Maybe a little red and gray in the  feather.  If only you could get
a closer inspection.  Don't Think  Twice, many in the crowd a little slow
in figuring out the song.  A bluesy  version.  I would prefer this song to
be a little quicker, with a little  more picking.  Next, Watching the
River Flow and Dylan reminds me of a  river boat gambler.  You're A Big
Girl Now!!  Beautiful  version!!  Bob on harp, voice strong with a harp
solo to close the  song.  Levee's Gonna Break and Bob's voice getting
stronger as the song  goes on and a nice jam by the band makes this a very
good version of LGB.   Dylan is restless.  Constantly moving.  Spirit On
The Water with Bob  on keys, his voice carrying through the old room,
undercutting and then knocking  the roof off.  Blue, high notes on this
swing dance old school song.   So many times I hear western cowboy swing
in Dylan's live performances.   Desolation Row!!  Someone playing a very
steady, hypnotic guitar  riff.  Big applause.  Workingman Blues No. 2!!!!!
 My favorite  song on MT and beautifully played tonight.  Things Have
Changed was played  for Nashville, it's just that kind of town.  Walkin'
40 miles of bad  road.  Still bluesy in string happy Nashville.  Burgundy
curtains and  pink lights.  Bob duck-walking in place at the keyboards at

And then...Jack White!  What a fright!!  I still can't get over  Meet Me
In The Morning and the sight of Jack White on this night.  Jack and  Bob
singing.  Bob playing guitar.  Hwy 61 and then Nettie Moore with  me
cheering loudly when Bob sings "I'm beginning to believe what the
scriptures  tell".  Summer Days.  Masters. Fast bullets fly.  Bob  belongs
to the bourgeois.  You can't change that.  Extended standing  "O" and then
Thunder On The Mountain, "Some sweet day I'll stand beside my  King". 
Followed by band introductions and then Blowing In The Wind.   We walk
with a joyous crowd out of the stately Ryman into modern  Nashville
thoroughly satisfied. Dylan once again crossing all barriers 
 between new and old.  Timeless.

P.S.  In the car at 11:00 p.m. Turn the key in the ignition..."Welcome  to
theme time radio hour with your host Bob Dylan".  We drive west out of 
Nashville and into the night as Dylan exploring the many musical and
factual  aspects of "Hello" on his radio show.

Steven Pittman


Review by Charles Cicirella

One of the many things I love about Bob is how he not only defies
expectations he completely shatters them. Last night at the Ryman was no
exception. If you thought okay I'm going to Church to see Bob pay tribute
to Hank and all the other truly great country and western innovators (this
is before country became car jacked) well that isn't exactly what happened
or maybe it was because Bob and his cowboy band did create some of the
most celebratory sounds I am sure this building has seen in quite some
time. Ya I know people will disagree in droves but I do not care because
when Bob dug his heels into the hallowed planks of the Ryman stage (yes
I've been told nearly all of the original stage has been replaced but the
magic of the Ryman goes deeper than some mere floorboards) and growled out
Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat any and all expectations you may have had were
quickly waylaid by an absolutely shit kicking performance as the entire
night proved to be.

Don't Think Twice really resonated as did Watching The River Flow and when
You're A Big Girl Now began and Bob blew the harp creating such an aching
sound I realized just how much a Church service this was - the real kind
of Church that exists deep down in your guts where even the diamonds on
the bottoms of your shoes pay you no mind. The way he took one or two
words and delivered them with such delicacy and then took others and threw
them back like a shot of whiskey or tar left me in stitches in my assigned

Really glad I finally caught Desolation Row - it has been eluding me the
last handful or so shows I've been at and what a version - it burned the
air different shades of a blue I was not even aware existed till now. 

When in the darkness you saw Bob come out from behind the keyboard and
strap back on his guitar you knew something big was about to happen and
when the lights went back up and Jack White swaggered out to the mic like
the coolest singing cowboy alive (next to Bob of course) and started
screaming, "Meet me in the morning, 56th and Wabasha", I'm still in shock
- I mean Bob and Jack are like brothers cut from the same piece of vintage
fabric - something that would keep you ultimately warm if you only had the
nerve to take it off the shelf and wrap it around your skeletal frame. The
music was a movie and vice versa and was so real it became unreal and then
it went into some crazed hyperbolic state of 'kicks for kicks sake' that
left everyone in the audience and those up on the stage dancing around
like cats on a supremely hot tin roof - Tennessee Williams would have been
one proud papa! I loved how while Jack went nuts singing and seducing his
guitar Bob stood back and let Jack do his thing which you could tell Bob
was enjoying just as much as we were and then toward the end when Jack
adjusted the mic and nodded to Bob and the surprised look on Bob's face
like 'oh you want me to sing' and what did Bob do well he stepped into the
mic and screamed right alongside Jack!!! And then Bob's huge grin after
the song was over said it all right there and then. 

Charles Cicirella


Review by Jan Semneby

Me and my friend´s holiday trip over the pond to Nashville and Memphis had
been planned for a long time. So a couple of weeks before we left
Stockholm the Ryman shows were announced. What a bonus! I´ve seen some
shows with Bob in NYC at Roseland 1994 and Beacon 2005 and also the
Bobfest in MSG 1992. But as soon as I bought the tickets for the September
19 show at the Ryman I knew that my 63rd show with Bob since 1978 had the
potential to be something special. Much because of the historical venue of
course but also in regard of the great performances Bob did in Stockholm
earlier this year. And I wasn´t dissapointed. This was even better than
Debaser and Globe Arena. Bob was in top form, great singing and phrasing
with lots of emotion. You´re a big girl now was absolutely stunning. My
favourite tunes from MT, Workingman´s Blues and Nettie Moore and
Desolation Row were other highlights. It seems that the band has raised to
a higher level since the european shows, especially lead guitarist Denny
Freeman. They´ve been working with the arrangements keeping often played
songs fresh like Highway 61 revisited. And Jack White? It was just great.
Bob seemed to enjoy it as much as we did, the crowd went nuts. And the
band who sometimes tends to be too polished to my ears  suddenly sounded
rough and "dirty". We didn´t managed to get decent tickets for the second
show and went for Asleep at the wheel at the Wildhorse Saloon instead. But
the Wednesday show with Bob was worth the whole trip. And let´s not forget
Elvis Costello who did an excellent solo performance and got me thinking
of those great nights at Brixton Academy in 1995. But that´s a different

Jan Semneby


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