Portland, Oregon

Rose Garden

October 15, 2012

[David Harper]

Review by David Harper

Remember the lyrics: "When that whistle blows I'm going to give all I got
to give..."?  The man is generous tonight at Portland's Rose Garden.
Anything nature has taken it's well made up in passion and chutzpa nobody
can match.  Alright, so a few keep leaving too soon these days. Guess 
they've heard it all.

As Lenny Bruce once said in the prison yard bit, warden talking on the
horn to the yard:  "Enough with those Louis Armstrong impressions"
Con hollers back "Yadda yadda warden." Cant recall the routine but I love
that voice because of those who don't and maybe because it's made for 
the material and times.  It shouldn't bother us anymore. No need to 
shove off.

Tonight we get dim lights and loud, loud music.  Song and dance man 
front and center looking damn cool. Fit and trim, energized to the max.
Tonight we get a fabulous set list totally reworked and fully delivered.
This band deserves high praise. Have a classy, vintage look in well
tailored grey suits, black shirts.  Played their asses off. Tight, bright and 
completely on. Nobody lagged behind or dropped a lick.

Got down to business quick with Watching The River Flow and you 
knew right away this show was hot.  Band was all hammer and nails. 
Maybe the best I've heard them yet.  

It's All Over Now Baby Blue is updated but the main thing I'm noticing is 
the harp and it gets played a lot tonight, focused and strong. Like a 
samurai blade sometimes.  Or an eagle screeching in the high cold wind.  
Mostly just Bob at his best.

Then a whole new Things Have Changed Now we see the dandy dancer. 
Nice moves.  

Tangled Up In Blue you'd think we'd heard this every way it could be 
done and tonight it highlights the set.  Well performed. Lots of engagement.  

Cry Awhile was a total makeover and while the album was good enough 
for me this version is good in concert.

Spirit On The Water maybe fell flat, maybe a little bit. Nobody said a
word after the "over the hill" line.

High Water kicked it up just fine. Reminds us again how good this song is.

Chimes Of Freedom was an excellent song right here. Reworked and 
pumped up.

Highway 61 is still a champion warhorse and the band gives it full run.

Desolation Row and it's familiar cast come to call. And they're real as ever.

Thunder On The Mountain is over my head. Hits fast and washes away 
with a smear like a Gerhard Richter.  Bob's having fun. Vamping it up 
here and there like the show biz vet he really is.

Ballad Of A Thin Man had a bunch hitting the stairs, heads down slinking
elsewhere. Clutching luminous toys.  It was getting late and the music 
seemed to be getting louder, like shaking concrete and steel and windows, 
teeth chattered.

Like A Rolling Stone bothered me slightly because of keen memories of
previous performances in these same Portland stadiums, audiences lit up 
and glowing in a magnificent connection. Certainly not the same.

All Along The Watchtower had the fans wound up and cheering loud.
Blowing In The Wind sure sounds good anyway they play it but this 
country blues feels just about right. 

Really a fabulous show.  Of course I'd prefer an entire night of the 
Tempest songs.  When these tunes hit the stage that'll be something.
By the way I've heard a few downloads lately and much as we're grateful
they don't begin to carry the intense dynamic going on here.

David Harper
Portland, Oregon


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