San Francisco, California
The Grand
October 13, 2004

[David Link], [Chris Lull], [Terry Way], [Mark Alperin], [Tod Armstrong]

Review by David Link

Here are a few quick random thoughts about last night----
What a show! What a venue! When I had bought my tickets for the Santa
Clara show at a Wherehouse records on Van Ness, if someone had said to me,
"Actually, the first night of the tour will be in that building right
there across the street, the one with no signs on it that looks like a
bank," well, I would have thought them to be insane.

It was a rare 80 degree day in San Francisco for the first small Dylan show
in town since the Warfield in '95. However, the Warfield holds about 2,200
people, and this venue holds about half that. (1029 on the floor and a
couple of hundred more in the very small wrap-around balcony).

Outside was the perfect set-up for Bob; he only had to go five feet from
the bus door to the side-door of the building. An electrical plug went
from the side of the bus into the building. (So he could what? Watch the
Yankee game? The Presidential debate? Record a new song? Play video games?
Make dinner?).  It was great to see all my old friends as we waited in line, 
and we finally got in a little after 7.
This place is an old tiny ballroom, with a nice wood floor, the 
wrap-around balcony, chandeliers, and plaster lion heads molded into the
face of  the balcony. The floor was very small, but they still managed to
set up a bar or two at the back. The stage was nice and low, unlike some
small venues with the high stages.

We were on the rail when they came out to a huge roar, and kicked into
Rainy Day Woman, which I had discounted as an opener thinking, "Too
obvious for San Francisco" Shows what I know........

I'll leave the real serious musical critique for others, but for me the
highlights were "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You", "It's Alright
Ma", "Thin Man", "Hollis Brown" and "Summer Days". "Honest With Me" was
also powerful, with Georges' drum stick shattering and flying straight
into the air on the opening pounding beats, and Bob getting into it and
doing the two-handed point. I really enjoyed hearing Larry playing the
cittern so often tonight.

During "It's Alright Ma",  the "President of the United States" line got
a huge response.  I've seen Bob on some brutally hot days but I don't 
think I've ever seen Bob pour out as much sweat as he did tonight. It 
was hot as hell in the small room, and I kept thinking "I hope he drank 
a lot of water today". Just dumping sweat.  Everyone seemed to be playing 
well and having a good time, but, as opposed to other tours, I only heard 
Bob's keyboard once or twice.....Which could be for the best.

The real shocker came at the end, when Tommy changed Bob's keyboard, and
Bob casually went over and picked up an electric guitar and strolled to
center stage. Needless to say, the crowd went fucking bananas. I haven't
heard a roar like that since I can't remember when. Words cannot describe
how it felt to have Bob right there, playing guitar again. He looked
somewhat bored, but he started getting into it, and his playing sounded
pretty good. Larry and Stu looked psyched, and all of a sudden it was like
"old" times again. I guess he wanted to concentrate on playing rather than
singing; there were no vocals. When this was over I got the feeling he
will be doing this every night in this slot. Yup. And I'm the guy who
laughed before the show when someone said he may play guitar tonight.
Never say never.

All and all a good start for the tour. Not an unreal mind-blower, but a
nice solid show nonetheless. 


Review by Chris Lull

I hadn't seen Dylan since July of last year in Kelseyville, where Bob's
tour bus backed up during Moonlight, fully audibly beeping and very
noticeable as it was in direct view of the otherwise beautiful lake so
that Bob could beat the crowd out after an very short hour and twenty
minutes on stage (it's nearly 4 hours from the Bay Area to Kelseyville, so
the driving-time to show-time ratio was just awful).  That was a pretty
low point in my feelings about Bob's view of his audience. This show
reconciled a lot of those feelings for me. 

It seemed that tickets to this relatively small venue (I am guessing at
least 1600 folks were in attendance last night) seemed plentiful, there
was nobody outside looking when I arrived at 8:35, disappointed with the
American League Championship series I'd stayed home late to watch, but
confident that between this show and the end of Berkeley show on Sunday
there is a good chance the Red Sox will be leading by a game. Due to the
baseball distraction, I walked in during Watching the River flow. I was
disappointed not to get to hear Rainy Day Women, but I'll Be Your Baby
Tonight, and Ballad of Thin Man more than made up for the loss.

The Grand is a great room, however because it was unusually hot in the Bay
Area yesterday and the room seemed quite oversold and has very poor
ventilation, it was a lot like Bikram Yoga. The crowd seemed very still,
but attentive and excited. There was the usual chatting back by the bars,
but by and large a very good set of folks. 

Dylan's band is loud and raucous, there we actually moments last night
when some very interesting and subtle musical interplay began, but the
band has a very hard time being dynamic, and the tendency to get loud and
stay loud until the final crescendo is not always the best musical
strategy. Certainly it rocked, and I am bitching far more than I should to
be lucky enough to see this show. The highlights for me were in the middle
of the set:  Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, This Wheel's On Fire, Seeing The
Real You At Last. I was one of the few folks really dancing at this show
and I had to head for the hallway after that, but it was more than worth

It was great to see Bob pick up an axe again. I hope there's much, much
more of that to come. 

Chris Lull


Review by Terry Way

Anticipation in the alley was high as the faithful choked on Bob and
Band's idling diesel fumes. Tickets went fast for this last minute small
venue Fall Tour opener. Big up's to Britt for securing our way to The
Grand Event. Upon entering we plopped down on the nice wood floor about
40' from the stage.The floor filled up fast confirming that we were indeed
going to be packed sardine-like. This venue seemed appropriately sized
with a nice shallow balcony rimming above. Two bars inside and on the back
of the floor were handy as well. Maker's and Ginger please! Cheers! Bob
and Band started off with "everybody must get stoned..." and worked out
the kinks. "Tonight, I'll Be Staying Here With You" was welcome as was the
next "country" number, "Watching The River Flow."  Bob then fired out a
powerful and timely "...Only Bleeding." Back to Nashville via SF for "I'll
Be Your Baby Tonight." Bob's vocals were strong but his keyboard playing
was nearly inaudible. Nice steel from Larry. The Ballad of Mr. Jones came
in next followed by Tweedle Dee.  The hall was becoming hat and sticky at
this point. Poor air circulation, sweaty music fans and a warm Indian
summer evening were adding to the intimacy of this special gig. "This
Wheel's On Fire" was slow burning nugget. Disc flip. "Seeing the Real You
At Last" was rocking. This was my first time seeing Stu Kimball and I like
his laid back hard rocking style. "No More One More Time" was clearly a
treat. I was unfamiliar with the song but it had a nice country swing and
seemed well-rehearsed.  "Hollis Brown" was powerful. "Honest With Me" was
hard rocking and I quite enjoyed the sultry "Sugar Baby."  One of the
evening's biggest highlights was an instrumental "Summer Days" where Bob
finally picked up a guitar after several minutes of buildup. Alas, it
seemed prompted not by desire but due to keyboard malfunction. His playing
seemed pained so the cheered moment was bittersweet. Still, it was nice to
see Bob standing front and center and not awkwardly hunched over his Casio
on the side of the stage. The three song encore was inspired with "Like a
Rolling Stone" sandwiched between his usual closers. The Tour was off to a
strong start with a Grand performance Wednesday night in The City.

T. Way @


Review by Mark Alperin

just a few add ons to the reviews so far posted about the grand
and the santa clara shows......first the grand..a banguet hall returned to
a ball room feel it is one of the the first sanfrancisco venues secured by
the another planet productions ( formed by greg perloff and shar wasserman
formerly of BGP) ..the negatives on the building are no air conditioning
or ventallation in the  areana at all....the stage is a make shift stage
built every show and sound engineers did not sound check the equipment pre
show....although not verfied it is my understanding  ( and i was there) 
that bobs keyboard was out..thats right ..not working for 6 songs...thus
the reason for the electric guitar instrumental on summer...... santa
clara notes......what a difference a day makes..this jesuit school knows
how to let an artist be...first of all the reason for the amount of huge
room on the floor was that security only handed out  1500  wrist bands for
the floor....u could walk up at any time  an be  20 feet from bob on the
left hand side all night long. was like that for me and reminded me of my
niagara falls rolling thunder review show when u could stroll up to the
stage when ever u like..opening rag sounded to me like  nashville
rag....sound was not like that of a basketball gym ..i went all over the
arena and adequate sound was even heard in the very top back.. and the mix
was superb...go ur way and i ll go mind was picture perfect as was girl
from north county ..interestingly the mind does play trics as i thought
that girl from north country followed immediately after just like a
women...all i can say was great show early in tour or not.....and i feel
the visions of J coming to those lucky sou! ls in fresno writtten ont 
tombstone in blue for ur page....

signed  the apple


Comments by Tod Armstrong

A hot night in SF in more ways than one!  Bob was dripping sweat from the
second song of the night.  The sound was decent - we heard reports of
inaudible vocals from the balcony, though.  Wheel's on Fire was a clear
standout, along with Seeing the Real You and Thin Man.  The encores seemed
particularly strong tonite, too.  But, THE highlight was the (as it turns
out) instrumental, Bob-guitar of Summer Days. He had the crowd (and band!)
in the palm of his hand. And he wailed!  The reason he didn't sing?  Tommy
was workin' on the keyboard most of the song, which took Bob away from the
mic - and the mic set up for Stu was too high - so he just said - "to hell
with it."   Vocals weren't necessary as it turned out.

Tod Armstrong


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