page by Bill Pagel
Review by Carole Goetz
I was looking forward to seeing a Bob concert again! I’m used to seeing
him at least 4 times a year. I used to live in the East Coast, where Bob
plays in more smaller relaxed places. My sister was too afraid to go see
Bob in such a large venue with what is going on now in the world, and so
she did not let me take my nephew, Daniel, who so much wanted to see his
first Jakob’s daddy concert. Daniel was Jakob’s drummer for a few moments
when the Wallflowers played at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga this
summer. So all and all Wayne and I went. When we got there, there was no
traffic jams, and security seemed normal. We found our seats on the
reserved seating to the left of the stage. Bob was on time and he and his
band came out onto a black and white checkered stage. The old 1930 style
curtain hung in the background. Bob came out in a white suit and sang a
much-needed song to start the concert…"Wait For the Light To Shine."
Everyone applauded and cheered! The incense burning on the stage gave a
sacred atmosphere. Then Bob went right into "The times They Are
A-Changin’." We all knew exactly what he was saying concerning how things
have changed since Sept. 11th. A thunderous applauds after that song! Then
Bob sang Desolation Row, which sounded so good…felt so grateful to be born
in time listening to this magical, creative and mystical man! A Soldier’s
Grave was very sensitive and touching, and everyone was quiet. Then Bob
and his band jazzed into "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum", and the crowd stood
up and roared! I noticed he left out the verse: "My pretty baby she is
looking around wearing a multi-thousand dollar gown." I do not know if Bob
noticed this? Then he swept the crowd into the bittersweet song…"Just like
a woman"…the little girl inside of me knows of this song to heart. The
crowd cheered and applauded and stood up in praise for him. It was soon
swing time, and the song "Summer Days" took all of us to finding happiness
during a war. This is a wonderful song! People on the floor were dancing!
People in their seats stood up and swayed into the magical aura of this
song. It is the kind of song that you just do not want it to end.
"Standing in the Doorway" was next and you could actually feel one’s heart
express tears rolling down one’s face at broken love. We’ve all been
there. "Master’s Of War" came next and it was like a thunderous rumbling
of energy from the crowd and Bob and his band. Terrorists are the Masters
of War, and they play with our world like it is some kind of toy. Everyone
stood and applauded. Soon after that song Bob sang, "Mama, you Been On My
Mind" and he sang it so sweetly and I could feel his own Mother looking
down at him smiling, and so proud of her son. Then like an Indian
Pow-Wow...Bob’s thunderous song "A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall" was like
smoke signals and each of us in our soul knew the language. Bob then
introduced the band during the later part of this song. The crowd went
wild. Curiosity popped up like a jack in the box, and Bob sang out,
"Absolutely Sweet Marie"…where are you tonight? Where do you think? Then
Bob sang another one of his new songs…"Sugar Baby" the music is great on
this song. A girl named Susan kept talking to me, so it was hard to
concentrate on the words. It would only seem natural that the next song
would slide into "Cold Irons Bound." Yet Bob found the light side again
and sang "Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat!" The crowd went wild! On a bad note,
somewhere around this time the soundman started turning up the main volume
to painful levels. It was totally unnecessary. The sound system was very
powerful and the first half of the show it filled the huge arena to
perfection. Then, for some kind of drama? The soundman doubled the volume.
It even started to distort, and it was painful to the ears. It ruined a
perfect musical experience. For the encore, Bob and his band came out with
"Things Have Changed"… "Like a Rolling Stone"….and into a precious
"Forever Young." "Honest With Me" led to… "Blowing In The Wind"….where I
was outside waving Bye and Bye…as the Black Bus rolled on away. It was a
great concert Bob! Happy belated Birthday to Tommy!
Review by James Coffey
God Bless Bob Dylan. He pours his heart out onstage and gives us everything
he has. Friday night in san jose was no exception. I've just returned home
to san luis obispo and wanted to take a few moments to recap the day. First
let me say that after falling from a ladder ten feet onto concrete back in the
first week of august and nearly killing myself i was looking forward to this
night.( and sunday in Santa barbara) I was planning on seeing bob in Lancaster
on Aug. 25 but had to postpone that. I was busy healing, and still am but
turning the corner and well enough to see our favorite performer. It was a
beautiful typical October day in california the summer fog has left, and the
air is warm and dry with a santa ana breeze blowing from the mountains. The
drive up from San luis through the Salinas Valley was picture postcard perfect,
a clear blue sky with scattered high clouds right into the heart of silicon
valley technology home for the world. I arrived about two hours before show
time and found a park across from the compaq center. There i pulled into a
small but almost vacant park lot where i streched, ate something and relaxed.
About one hour brfore showtime i made my way around the corner to one of the
main parking lots and then took a walk around the center. Not much going on
usual fare i guess. I mulled around out front for a few minutes taking in the
vibe, and then headed inside. Its a nice arena it was my first time there.
Bob and the band walked! on at about 8:07 and they played for a good 2 hrs.
and 15 minutes. I'm not going to go song by song. The set list was fantastic.
Bob deserves every award that they can give. He was phenominal tonight .
He blew me away. I was stunned and i still am. Some special moments"
times are a changin" I dont know how to descibe it. He blew the harp with
what seemed like his last breath and "just like a woman" no doubt the best
performance any person can give -anywhere-anytime anyhow. Harp amd guitar
heart and soul. They were all special. The crowd was too, polite and
appreciative, and loving. Well that's about it for now im tired and im going
to bed. I just want to say that, we need Bob Dylan now more than ever, and
I'm so glad that he's around. And in closing, I'd like to say that we are all
New Yorkers. See you in beautiful santa barbara on sunday and God bess y'all
with peace and tranquility and goodwill.
Review by Steve Williams
Friday night, Dylan back in the Bay Area. I'd seen him seven times
before, first one with the Band in L.A. in '74, twice in the past three
years at Concord. With the new album and the new war, I felt an
anticipation before this show greater than I'd felt since that first one
27 years earlier.
I knew he'd begin with "Wait For the Light to Shine", an interesting
lyric for a decidedly dark time. Actually, we play guessing games trying
to nail down exactly what Dylan means to communicate as his art is much
more open ended than a more pedantic performer's might be, but there was a
decided preoccupation with the world's recent events. Note the choice of
songs: "The Times They Are A-Changin'", "Desolation Row", "Searching for a
Soldier's Grave", "Hard Rain", "Things Have Changed", "Blowin' In the
Wind", and of course " Masters of War." But there were also the more
personal: "Just Like a Woman", "Absolutely Sweet Marie", and the haunting
"Mama You've Been On My Mind."
For me the concert had several peak moments and elements. The sheer
organic joy of the musicianship was much more palpable than I'd heard or
felt in the two recent Concord shows. These guys seemed to be communing
deeply with one another and enjoying it immensely and we as witnesses and
enthusiastic partakers became part of the mix. There was a wonderful,
celebratory aliveness to the music. Two of the three friends I attended
with last night were not Dylan fans, one quite aggressively so, but both
were won over, beaming and praising Dylan and his band by concert's end.
The instrumental coda of "Just Like a Woman", featuring Dylan on harmonica
was a transcendent moment. "Masters of War", never one of my favorites
with its condemning final lines was delivered with such conviction that it
couldn't fail to move anyone who was listening. The question I was left
with- who were the masters Dylan had in mind this uneasy October evening?
But for me, this night, the strongest number was the great "A Hard Rain's
A-Gonna Fall." The combination of the lyric's, the band's insistent
backing, Dylan's heartfelt delivery and the context of New York,
Afghanistan and the rest made for a spiritual moment. "Mama You've Been
On My Mind" was a beautiful moment that made me think he might have been
invoking his own mother as much as any past lover or muse. Six songs from
the past two albums: "Standing in the Doorway", "Sugar Baby", and "Honest
to Me" were especially notable. "Forever Young" and "Blowin' In the Wind"
were delivered without irony or tiredness, anthems, yes, but offered as a
gift to us all. My wife, toward the end, whispered, "He's in a better
space than he was three years ago, and I think that's true. There is
still struggle and pain, but there is also joy, humility, self-assurance,
and gratitude at being alive. Can't ask for much more.
Review by Sven lewandowski
I will never get the correct pronounciation of San Jose ! I don´t seem
to be able to speak a sentence in English and than switching to a
Spanish prononounciation. Therefore I´m quite glad that you don´t hear
me speak but only have the read what I write.
The day in between the shows at Sacramento and San Jose I spend in San
Francisco and on the day of the show I visited Alcatraz island (among
other places) and it made me think of the ěpenitenteryî and the ěsix
white horsesî -. and ěSweet Marieî is one of those songs I waited a long
time to hear again.
But first of all I want to thank Billy - the nicest security guy I ever
met. He led me to the lockers inside the arean before people were let
in, so that I could leave my camera and all my other tourist equipment
And when I lined up at the entrance I met Jeff whom I already met in
Scotland last year. So everything was prepared for a great show. And
Dylan didn´t disappoint us at all. It was rather one of the best shows
of the six shows in California.
But before the show began and even before the people were let in I had
the chance to listen to the sound check (through closed doors only),
where they did ěFloaterî and ěStone Walls And Steel Barsî (the latter in
a version that sounded quite new to me). Thanks again to Billy !
The show once again began with ěWait For The Light To Shineî - a song
that everybody is able to sing along with after the first verseÖ
In the second slot Dylan chose ěThe Times They Are A-Changin´î and it´s
definitely not one of my favourite choices. But the performance was
really good and in contrast to last year´s performances Dylan was able
to remember the lyrics correctly. The song also featured Dylan on his
harmonica and his solo made the performance a really special one. Once
again he did not only use the harmonica to please the audience by
blowing a few notes but instead did a quite long and well done solo.
The fact that Dylan once again chose ěDesolation Rowî and ěSearching For
A Soldier´s Graveî was a little bit of a disapointment. But on both
songs Dylan´s phrasing was very good.
Forget about ěTweedle Dee & Tweedle Dumî like it was recorded for the
album. The live version is much better !!! When I listened to album
version for the first time my impression was that Dylan should forget
about the Nobel Prize for LiteratureÖ And my second tought was that it´s
a poor song to open an album. But performed live one stage the song is
really great ! For sure they don´t have bongos on the stage, but David
Kemper creates a terrific sound on his normal drums.
ěJust Like A Womenî once again featured the harmonica and again Dylan
chose to play a whole verse on it. The songs was sung in a very
concentrated and fine way. Dylan´s phrasing also proofed to be very
good. It´s a pity that this can´t be said for ěSummer Daysî too. Like at
Sacramento Dylan´s voice was rather weak on the song and it didn´t came
out like it should. But anyways the sound was good and a lot of people
liked the song and danced to it.
While the songs performed so far weren´t much of a surprise, I didn´t
expect to hear ěStanding In The Doorwayî again. I thought that TOOM
songs would become quite rare in these days (and I was right after all -
but I didn´t know it at that time). ěStanding In The Doorwayî sounded a
little different than last year, but I can´t yet tell in what way. It
was - like almost all songs - sung with commitment and concentration and
in a quite smooth and tender voice.
The second acoustic set began with ěMasters Of Warî - a predictable
choice we have to get used to. The performance was good, but I didn´t
I Know that ěMama You Been On My Mindî is a song a lot of people don´t
like to hear anymore. But that´s not true for me ! Maybe it´s like with
ěBoots Of Spanish Leatherî: I might like these two songs (as I mentioned
before) just because Dylan performed them at my first show that was
really good (actually it was my third Dylan show). So I just loved the
performance like I always love it - at least when Dylan has his voice
ěunder controlî like at tonight´s show.
A less expected or rather unexpected choice was ěA Hard Rain´s A-Gonna
Fallî. We got a nice performance with Larry on bouzouki and I was (like
in Braunschweig in July 2001) glad that there were no background vocals
provided by Charlie and Larry like last year. So it was a very good
performance and a nice choice (nobody knew that we would hear the song
at three consequitive showsÖ).
The second electric set opend with one of my favorite songs and also one
I had to wait for four years to hear it again - no it was not a song
performed at my first good showÖ - but it was ěAbsoultely Sweet Marieî.
This song will always remind me of my first trip to a series of Dylan
shows abroad (U.K. 1997). For sure ěAbsolutely Sweet Marieî didn´t sound
like in those days. In 1997 it was a hard-rocking opening song, but now
it got longer and the music sounds more sophisticated. At least there
are more solos - provided by Charlie.
ěSugar Babyî was to follow and the performance was even better than two
ěCold Irons Boundî was a quite predictible choice because Dylan still
switches between his harmonica driven start-and-stop songs for the song
before the last. Like the other songs it was the performance was good
but the song is nothing special to me anymore.
ěLeopard-Skin Pill-Box Hatî closed the set and the band was introduced
at the end of the song - while they played.
The encores were pretty much the usual ones but all performances were
really good. I especially liked ěHonest With Meî which seems once again
the best performance of the new songs.
So all in all we got a quite perfect show that was much better than the
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page by Bill Pagel
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