Columbus, Ohio

Ohio State University
Jerome Schottenstein Center
Value City Arena

October 13, 2007

[David Moore], [Tim Lucas], [Charles Cicirella], [Paul Bagnell]

Review by David Moore

My personal oddessy of 5 consecutive shows in 7 nights:

Day 1 - Columbus OH, 10/13/07 - Ohio State University men's basketball

First off, big props to the FANS... for finally giving Bobby a packed
house to show off his talents to.  Coming off of last years minor league
baseball park ordeal, it was really cool to finally see more than 3,000 at
a show.  I think it's a great idea to play the college campus scene (Ohio
State, Louisville, & Indiana all in this week), as he's getting more
publicity and advertising this way.  

Tonight was a heavy "Modern Times" bombardment, with 6 of the 16
selections tonight being from that album.  This, along with his other song
selections gave this night a much more slower and laid back vibe... which
is cool.  Perhaps not necessarily what I was looking for, but no
complaints all the same.  A less than inspiring song to me is someone
else's paradise... and vice versa.  This is what makes Bobby who and what
he is... the ability to reach out to us all in vastly differently ways and
span all of the different and weird eccentricies that makes up the human

Highlights were for me #1 - "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues".  I'm biased of
course, and I will never hear a bad version of this song to my way of
thinking.  #2 - "Love Sick".  A straight-up rendition tonight... quite a
powerful performance.  I love when he mixes this one in for us.  #3 -
"Ain't Talkin'".  Sure, it was long as hell... but how could it be any
other way?  This is a great lyrical composition, and as long as Bobby
provides at least a medium effort delivering it... all will be well.  #4 -
"Ballad Of A Thin Man".  This was really cool, a great song, a great
performance, Bobby really flashing his charisma.  Everything was present
tonight to make this a big highlight.  And lastly, strangely enough, the
two encores "Thunder On The Mountain" & "All Along The Watchtower".  I've
heard "Watchtower" over the past few years more times than I've heard my
wife tell me that she still loves me, but something special was put into
it tonight.  Same with "Thunder" (a great song to begin with), both
encores were simply amazing.  Bravo!  An honorable mention also goes to
"Rollin' & Tumblin'", just a rocking straight-forward rendition.  The full
band has to be clicking to really pull this one off... no problems
tonight.  Good stuff.

The not-so-highlights were everything else... but again, I don't expect
him to always hit my songs, and I totally respect that he's willing to
play plenty of pieces that perhaps appeal to a different personality type
than my own.  We had "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" (overplayed by this point,
and not performed particulary well anyway), "It Ain't Me, Babe" (not
terrible, just not played particulary well either), "Spirit On The Water"
(I personally can't tolerate this one... period), "Things Have Changed"
(interesting selection, just again, not played all that well),
"Workingman's Blues #2" (too slow, sung less than capable of), "High Water
(For Charlie Patton)" (I never liked this, doesn't matter how they play
it!), "When The Deal Goes Down" (this was the only song that caused the
ENTIRE audience to sit down... everyone stood for every other piece),
"Highway 61 Revisited" (simply just didn't cut it tonight), and lastly
"Summer Days" (does anyone really dig this song?).

For the first half of the show, Bobby really didn't sing anything.  He
more "spoke" the lyrics, without much melody (yes... he's still quite
capable of melody!), and mumbled quite abit also.  I doubt this was
exactly intentional, but he did pick up it quite abit over the second half
of the set.  It was like night & day in this regard.  "Thin Man"
especially sticks out in my mind, that was something.  Maybe not the best
overall setlist to my liking given the heavy Modern Times slant, but an
absolutely incredible show from an overall perspective, and an all-around
beautiful night.  Hell, he could probably come out and sing Sesame Street
songs all night, and I'd still be telling you that everyne in the crowd
was touched.  I personally walked away with much joy in my heart, just for
having yet another opportunity to see The Jester live once again.  We
won't all have this opportunity forever you know... so enjoy each and
every show for what it is, your chance to be in the company of a magical
writer/performer that has inspired us all to works of passion and personal
greatness within ourselves.

See you in Cincinnati!

David Moore
Fairfield, Ohio


Review by Tim Lucas

As a little summer's end treat to ourselves, Donna and I drove up to 
Columbus, Ohio yesterday (October 13) to see Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, 
and opening act Aaron Lee, at the Schottenstein Center's Value City

I love collecting live concert recordings, but I've never been much of a 
concert-goer. I've seen a number of acts who have mattered to me -- I 
had a seventh row seat to see Iggy Pop on his IDIOT tour with David 
Bowie on keyboards, I was once one of maybe 75 people who saw Pere 
Ubu one rainy night in the 1980s, I saw the original lineup of the Ramones 
three times -- but I've generally refused to travel very far to see any 
performer, and it hasn't helped my frequency of attendance that I don't 
drive, and my wife and I have conflicting musical tastes much of the time.

This year I've spent a lot of time undertaking a thorough self-education in 
Dylan -- I carry all of his albums, as well as some key bootlegs, on my 
Creative Zen (think iPod); I've read more than a dozen books about him 
this year, and seen most of his movies and the Scorsese documentary; 
and reading Paul Williams' trilogy of books about Dylan as a performance 
artist has turned me into a compulsive downloader/collector of his live 
shows from the past four decades. (My present goal is to collect at least 
one representative show from each live period... but I'm basically 
grabbing whatever I can find.) So I've been immersed in Dylan for awhile, 
as Donna well knows, and it seemed the culmination of all this process to 
actually attend one of his concerts, to see him in the now and hear 
what he happened to be playing now.

Value City Arena is a big basketball or hockey arena that is converted into 
a concert hall with temporary flooring and pre-arranged rows of folding 
(but surprisingly comfortable) chairs, whose only problem is not allowing 
for much in the way of shoulder room. The sound quality was a bit boomy, 
given the huge hollows of the arena, but was relatively clear and not overly 
loud. Amos Lee played for about 40 minutes with his band and was warmly 
received. He was not the sort of opening act you tune out. Their sound
might be filed somewhere between classic period The Band and Dave
Matthews, but that's just to give you a point of compass, not a remark on 
their originality. The songwriting was both heartfelt and capable, and the 
band itself seemed rehearsed while the music itself remained open to
interpretation; they seemed quite flexible in performance, allowing 
themselves to seize upon moments of inspiration to veer from the charts 
into undiscovered country. I liked them -- not least of all because they 
were serious, eager to please, and comported themselves as though still 
uncorrupted by the record business.

After a ten-minute break, Elvis Costello took the stage, his microphone
\ surrounded by a brace of four acoustic guitars and a table with bottled 
water and a cup of some other beverage. I was a big fan of Costello in his 
early years with The Attractions but drifted away after BLOOD AND 
CHOCOLATE for no particular reason, as I still regard it as one of his finest 
albums. But as Elvis took the stage, I felt an unexpected flush of happy 
emotions that he proceeded to earn with a consistently and impressively 
energetic and passionate performance of songs ranging from the very 
early ("Radio Sweetheart", "Allison") to more recent songs with a 
pronounced anti-war theme ("Whip It Up", "The Scarlet Tide"). These 
songs -- with a few humorous, personable, but pointedly political asides 
tucked betweeen them -- were torch-bearers for the troubadour spirit 
of the 1960s Bob Dylan and proved Elvis an inspired choice to share the 
bill with the original. If only he had launched into "Tokyo Storm Warning," 
I thought to myself, the Dylanesque resonance would have been 
complete. On second thought, nothing he was lacking. Elvis Costello was 
great and fully worth the price of admission.

Bob Dylan and his band took the stage after a somewhat longer break. 
Donna and I had scored fairly good seats for the show -- the first row of 
the second group of center seats on the floor -- but, from the moment 
Dylan took the stage, any benefits of our positioning were queered by 
everyone rising to their feet -- and they remained that way for 90% of 
the show. Not because the music was rousing and demanded a steady 
surge of enthusiasm, because these people in the priciest seats remained 
standing even during all but one of the ballads, though they could just as 
well have effectively gawked at the living legend from a sitting position. 
This caused some inconvenience to me, because I don't enjoy standing 
in a stationary position for an hour at a time, but even moreso for Donna, 
who's short and couldn't see much of the show even when standing. So, 
after driving all the way to Columbus, and paying over a couple of hundred 
dollars for the tickets and our overnight accomodations, she spent most of 
the show sitting and listening.

Dylan was wearing a very sharp, dark grey suit with sequins and a broad-
brimmed gray hat with a blue feather in the band. He looked like Doctor 
Phibes, as he would've looked if he had turned up in a later sequel as a 
riverboat gambler with a Spanish alias. As is his habit these days, Dylan 
played the first three songs on guitar, then moved over to an electric 
keyboard for the rest of the show. I didn't mind him playing keyboard, but
I minded that he moved away from the forefront of the band to sing and 
play in the manner of one of his own sidemen. He was seen, from that 
point on, mostly in profile and it seemed a deliberate cutting-back on the 
powerful opening impact that he had on the audience. For my money, the 
concert was at its most effective during the first four numbers -- "Rainy Day 
Women 12 & 35", "It Ain't Me Babe" (beautifully reinvented and given, in 
my opinion, the evening's one transcendent performance), "Just Like Tom 
Thumb's Blues" (one of the irregular numbers from the current tour) and, 
after the move to keyboards, "Love Sick" (the potent opener from TIME 
OUT OF MIND that was only recently added to the current tour's playlist).

The rest of the show alternated between flat-out roadhouse rock 'n' roll 
("Rollin' and Tumblin'", "Summer Days", "Highway 61 Revisited"), sweet 
whimsy ("Things Have Changed"), and dark ballads, including "The Ballad of 
a Thin Man," which I was especially happy to see performed. That classic 
song from the HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED album closed the main performance, 
and an extended stomping/clapping/cheering from the crowd lured Dylan 
and Company back out for a perfunctory encore of "Thunder on the 
Mountain" and "All Along the Watchtower." I've heard many different 
renditions of this song as it has been explored in Dylan's live repertoire, and 
this performance was not particularly inspired. The lead guitar was Hendrix-like 
to the point of being overtly imitative and the vocals were so phonetically 
rendered that Dylan might have been trying to teach the song to a 
kindergarten class rather than tell a tale of revelation. Despite an extended 
milking of audience applause, the lights came up -- there was no second 

It was strange: the audience seemed to be giving Dylan everything that an 
audience can give an artist, at least in terms of standing at rapt attention 
and applauding and whooping like crazy. This was the first concert Donna 
and I had attended since roughly 1999, and we were surprised by some of 
the changes made in audience comportment over the years. First of all, no 
wafting aroma of cannabis. Secondly, we were amused (and a bit horrified) 
to discover that the cigarette lighters once used to coax encores out of 
artists have now given way to cell phone screens being held on high. (Talk 
about scenes that should have been in THE INVASION!) There were 
hundreds of them -- any one of which could transmit photos or a live 
recording to a receiving line -- yet people all around me were getting caught 
with cameras or recorders and being told to turn them off and put them 
away. Nobody cried "Judas!" either, but Dylan hadn't really done anything 
to earn such rude treatment -- unless you compare his show to the one he 
was doing the last time that word was hurled at him. He actually played a 
very good and entertaining, if a bit by-the-numbers, show, and his band 
(most of them dressed to the nines as well) was hot, but I believe they left 
the auditorium a song or two short of satisfied. It was, however, needless 
to say, a thrill simply to be sharing the same very large space with him, to 
cheer him, to sing along with him, and to know that he was playing for the 
two of us and everyone else assembled there.

So there you have it, my first Dylan show. It was neither one of his legendary
uninspired shows nor was it one of his legendary great ones, but parts of it 
could serve as an illustration of both extremes -- so, all in all, a good place to 
start. I had the sense that he was definitely enjoying it for awhile and giving 
the audience close to everything he had; his fire is not yet extinguished by 
any means. But I did sense from the second half of the show that he was 
deliberately sparing himself from investing his performances with too much pain 
and acuity or anger -- the very forces that Elvis Costello is still drawing upon to 
fuel his performances. But they were there in his reading of "Love Sick," which 
would be a damned hard song for even him to fake.

Reading Paul Williams on the subject has taught me that the show you see is 
not necessarily the one you hear -- so I'm eager to find a recording of the 
show and re-experience it more specifically through my ears, away from the
smell of the hoagy being eaten by the stranger sitting next to me, removed 
from all the people standing or milling back and forth in front of us, apart from 
the raised cell phones -- just the pure, undistracted sound of the music and 
the receptivity of one for whom it was intended.

Am I coming to Bob Dylan's concerts too late in the game to see a sustained
show of greatness? I don't think so, and I hope not. I've got tickets for 
Monday night's show in Cincinnati -- which I understand to be Show #1999 of 
the Never-Ending Tour.

Tim Lucas
Video WatchBlog


Review by Charles Cicirella

THE BONE!!!!!!!! 


Review by Paul Bagnell

I missed Bob when he came through southern Ontario this past summer (two
shows at a casino in Orillia, about 90 minutes north of Toronto), so when
a Saturday date popped up in a city that was not too far away, I asked my
lovely wife Diana if she would mind if I flew to Columbus to catch the
show on October 13. She encouraged me to go, as she has many times in the
past. (Diana has also joined me on several out-of-town Dylan trips, but
now must stay home and take care of our four-year-old son). Thanks, Diana.

Columbus was my 41st Dylan show. It took place at the hockey/basketball
arena on the Ohio State University campus, on the evening of a beautiful
fall day and just after a big football game at the nearby stadium. The
campus was full of young people wearing their red Ohio State jerseys. Ohio
State trounced Kent State 48-3 to remain unbeaten this season, which had
them all in a good mood. It only occurred to me later that Kent State is,
of course, the university made famous around the world by the tragic
shootings in 1970, and by Neil Young's iconic song, Ohio.

I had a good seat at the show. I was at the left side of the stage, about
five rows up from floor level. I've seen a few shows from this vantage
point in recent years and, while the sound might not be as good at the
side of the stage, the view of the musicians is great. All night long, I
had a close-up view of Denny Freeman playing guitar and of Bob himself,
who faced in my direction as he played keyboard.

It was good to see Bob playing guitar again. I've not been a huge fan of
Bob on keyboards these past five years. Often, I find his keyboard to be
inaudible in the mix. When you can hear it, it seems to add only small
splashes of sound every now and again.

Bob played lead guitar on at least one of It Ain't Me Babe and/or Just
Like Tom Thumb's Blues (I forget whether it was one or both), and I had a
good view of his fingers working the guitar strings and could clearly hear
his guitar prominently in the mix.

I thought the set list was very strong. Highlights for me were Love Sick,
Things Have Changed, Workingman's Blues #2 and High Water (For Charlie


Love Sick, I think, stands up as one of the great ones from his
late-career, grumpy-old-man period. And the version we heard in Columbus
was piercing and hypnotic. It was the first time I'd seen it performed
live since 1999 (Lake Placid, NY).

Things Have Changed, bounced along in a version pretty faithful to the

Workingman's Blues is one of my favourites from Modern Times and I'd never
heard performed live before. So that made it a highlight, even though I
found the performance to be unexeceptional.

High Water is another one that I think is a real gem from Bob's more
recent work. I've heard it several times and find it lends itself to being
constantly reinterpreted by the band. This version crackled with
intensity, and Donnie Herron's banjo playing was fine. One reason this
song strikes a chord with me is that Diana and I once visited Charlie
Patton's grave site in rural Mississippi, during a vacation in the south.
It's in a humble little cemetery, bordered by a church on one side, and a
cotton plant (or "gin") on the other.

Disappointments? Any time he plays Rainy Day Women is a let-down for me.
It's easily my least favorite Dylan song - a frat-boy party anthem
unworthy by a large measure of a writer of Dylan's stature. And the
recorded intro to the show ("...poet lauriate of a
generation....disappeared into a haze of substance abuse only to rebound
in the late 1990s etc etc etc....) long ago became tiresome. Can it, Bob.

Also too bad that I didn't get to see Bob and Elvis Costello on stage at
the same time. I've just read this morning that the two of them did Tears
of Rage together in St. Louis. Sigh....

And the fan-of-the-night award goes to the young guy I saw near one of the
merchadise stalls after the concert. He was dressed like mid-60s Dylan:
narrow black pants, pointy black shoes; black suit jacket; white shirt and
Wayfarer sunglasses (think of the photo on the cover of the Bootleg Series
Vol. 1-3 boxed set from the early 1990s.) His hair was tussled up just
right and - get this - he was wearing a harmonica mounted in one of those
neck-mounted holders!

The kid was whooping it up. "Dylan!!!", he kept yelling. "Love
Sick!!!...Things Have Changed!!!"

I'm with you, kid...

Paul Bagnell


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