page by Bill Pagel
Review by John Weber
The NET pulled into this dusty old cow town to play the coliseum. The
venue was a big bowl suited more for a rodeo than a concert, but it
worked. No chairs on the floor! The place was probably 80% capacity,
guessing at what I saw during the encore. We arrived about 4:00pm. Bought
GA tickets for face value within 20 minutes. I made a point of doing this
right in front of the scalper that wanted $60 each because "GA is
completely sold out." (it was... but, whatever. BTW-nobody in line who
was selling extras asked for more than face; some getting less.) We took
our spot 32 deep in one of two GA lines. Lots of talk about what security
would be like and which door would be opened first. In the end, the doors
opened at the same time and there was virtually no security (no detectors,
no pat-down, nothing!). We met some nice folks in line. We'd all been to
the same shows over the last couple years - no surprise there. The woman
standing with her husband directly behind us was a bartender in an old
haunt that my wife and I had frequented some 2 states and 500+ miles away.
Hadn't seen her since 1991or '92! Surprise! Her husband and I talked
trading and swapped addresses. He has been, but is currently not, in the
pool. Along with teammate Huxley and I, we all agreed that 'Visions' was
on top of our wish list. Once inside, the 8 of us stood together with four
"rows" of people between us and Bob's microphone, slightly on Larry's
side. We had one virgin along. So, there's my point of view. I usually
skip the intro. crap when reading, but in writing my first review it seems
appropriate to let you know where I'm coming from given that every review
from the same show is different.
The SHOW...We notice the banjo with Larry's guitars ...7:35 incense...
7:40 the band appears...Bob in long 5-button white coat with white pants.
'Wait for the Light' was short and sweet, Charlie singing hard. Bob looks
tired (but not out of it). He stares at the stage and up at the high seats
off to his right. He alternates. You can tell he isn't making eye contact,
just gazing out. As the song ends Bob checks the set list by his amp. No
conversations tonight about what is next (until third song of the encore).
Tony and David usually start the next tune before Bob is done fiddling
with his harp, water glass, etc. near his amp. (No Oscar on the amp. this
night)...'Don't Think Twice' is warmly received. Bob is picking out the
lead nicely, concentrating. During his guitar ride, he does the knee
wiggle thing for what turns out to be the only time this evening. He blows
the harp shortly to finish. No b.s. two notes while the crowd goes crazy
here, he played it quite nice...'Visions' is recognizable right away. Big
grins as I turn to friends. As I look around, I realize almost all of the
faces I see in the pale yellow light have smiles on them! All these people
who thought they were strangers had at that moment found something in
common. All the line cutting, maneuvering, and anxieties of all sorts had
been replaced with basking in the glow! Pretty cool! Thanks Bob! That
said, this was not an 'over-the-top' version. I loved it, but have heard
better. It was really good. (This entire show review could be distilled
down to those last three sentences. Inspired by earlier efforts, I'll
babble on.) Bob's facial expressions really came on hard now. He didn't
hold on to the last word of each phrase as often. The lyrics came sharply,
with an accompanying lifting of the brow or widening of the eyes to add
emphasis. Yes, we enjoyed it...The band ran straight through 'Searching'.
It had a respectful tone with no frills added. Bob stared out solemnly. He
didn't really scan the crowd and make eye contact until song 12 or 13,
just occasional glances and staring out at some handrail or
something....The opening to 'TD&TD' gets a big cheer. David is loud, Tony
and Larry smile when they exchange glances with each other. Larry is
smiling out at the crowd while Charlie and Tony grin at each other. Bob
put a snappy lick into the pause between the final TD&TD, then the band
quickly came back and built up a Grateful Dead-esque crescendo; strumming
away while the crowd howled...'If Not For You' has again been re-invented
to my ear. It rocked quite a bit. Bob's fingers were really moving on the
"Bob" part of his autographed fret during the breaks. And I swear I was
hearing some "Sweet Jane" rifs from Larry early on. Maybe it was me, but
that's the edge this song took on. Real nice. I turned to the guy next to
me after the song and remarked "How often have you heard that song? But
never quite like that!"....'Tonight' was closer to what we've heard. Bob's
moving to and from the mic. No wandering around, just stepping back to
play. He's bent over at the waist slightly and staring at the stage while
playing intently. He looks a little stiff, but all I have to do is look at
those fingers and I know he's still plenty spry...'Highwater' is coming as
we see Larry with the banjo. During the first two verses, David is
slapping the cymbal hard to emphasize how high it's "risin' evrywheeere"!
It rocks! I'm surprised at the intensity. The band building up to full on
after Bob gets the lyrics out. It's furious/delirious and the crowd loves
it. Curiously, Larry looks bored playing that banjo...acoustics come back
as the crowd cheers into darkness. The curtain behind the stage opens to
reveal another curtain with more seams in it. It has a deep texture. I
think 'masters' right away. But, alas a bright baby blue lighting on the
curtain as 'Mama' begins. Don't recall many details from this one another
than I remember I liked it. Slow and sweet harp building faster. It
started to occur to me that Bob was alternating fast/slow songs, and
riding those mood changes (duh!)...'Tangled' was a hoot! Big cheers. Has a
worm turned? Could it be that it's back? Bob really livened up for this.
He actually started looking into the crowd a bit, albeit 20 people deep.
Oh yes;..the beautiful blue curtain background was which color for this
song? Pea green, then purple for the jam at the end. Not kidding! I'm
pretty sure this was the song where Bob motions with his right hand to the
band, everyone but David sees it; it's suddenly quieter with Bob
delivering the last verse while the drums pound. Not a criticism of David.
Just a nice burst of extra enthusiasm onto the scene...The lighting on the
curtain is now bright, scarlet red for 'Masters'. I wasn't that fired up
about this one on this tour so I brought some baggage in with me. It was
stunning. As a sweeping generalization, it seemed the younger people
around me yelled especially loud at the end of this one...'Summer Days'
ramped us back up to jumping around again. Tony keeps looking at the back
of Bob's head like 'Wow! What is this guy doing?!'. More so than he has
been the rest of the night. In a good way. He's grinning with Charlie and
anyone else that catches his eye. I notice that Bob's interaction with the
band, from beginning to now, has been turning aside to give the nod to
Charlie like "15 seconds left, snap em' off now if you got em'". Bob turns
to Charlie. It seems like he's pulling back the reins for effect...'Sugar
Baby' is everything other reviewers have described. Quiet. Captivating.
Not enough words, go see. On this night only a few wankers screamed
"WhOOOO...BobbYYYY" during the tenderest of moments. After Bob straps off
his guitar, before handing it to the guy with no hair for a string
cleaning, he looks over his shoulder and nods his head to the crowd in
appreciation for our clapping. He likes this one. The first time he really
looks at the crowd. (My wife adds that Charlie played very nicely on
'Sugar Bay')...'The Wicked Messenger' ripped! Behind the second curtain is
a flat background that was exploited with great effect by the light crew.
Alternately, blue sky with clouds to raging whitecaps on water. The
backdrop was a topic of conversation afterward. A highlight song. Bob is
now looking around at those assembled Everyone is now sure that he has
looked at them....'Everything Is Broken' was a romp to close out the set.
Band introductions went something like "..one of the finest bands in the
land...on guitar mister Charlie Sexton...on drums David Kemper...the only
thing better is no drummer at all!...on steel guitar and a whole bunch of
other stuff is Larry Campbell (Larry chuckles toward Tony)...and bass
player extroidinaire, Tony Garnier." Here you go Bobsessed.., Just as he
unstraps the guitar and straightens up, he notices his bottom jacket
button has been undone the whole show. He almost looks annoyed. Buttons up
and steps into line. It stays that way the duration. No bows in the line
up.....encore....that screaming, clapping , and hollerin'...., I clap
until the first notes start again...'Country Pie' gave Charlie his first
short ride before the last verse and a nice one after. Dancing...'LARS'
had Bob looking out around the crowd and giving lots of facial expressions
to ask that question...short huddle led to the acoustic 'I Shall be
Released'. The 3 guitars where playing, playing, and playing. Harmonies
on the chorus...'Honest With Me' was fast and tight. I really liked it,
but I don't think it's quite familiar enough to have that closer effect,
yet...'Blowin' is all that it is...Bob is the only one in the line to give
a deep bow. As they walk off Bob is handed his black cowboy hat. Very good
evening! Cheers! jw
Review by Brian Doyle
The Denver Coliseum was the stage for the sixth stop here in Colorado for
Bob just this year. The building is one of the older structures still left
since the area was rennovated for the National Western Stock show and even
tonight it was subjected to steel scaffolds and exterior remakes. It is
situated in the railroad area north of downtown Denver and just off 1-70.
It is rarely used as a concert forum any more and it holds very fond
memories for me. It was in 1974 that I had seen Dylan and the BAND in this
very place, and it was the first time I had ever heard him live. I
remember holding my breath hoping I would get tickets as you had to mail
in for them and luck out in the lottery.The show was great and nothing
will ever come close. I think the first Dylan show you see is always the
one you remember best. That night would become one of many and I hope many
The line began to grow a little larger on the north end of the building
around 4pm. I was at entrance 4, right next to the tour buses. Dylan
arrived at a little after 530, roughly, and a dozen or so people headed
for him as he emerged. I don't know if anyone really got to say much as I
had stoodfast in the line. Security guards were placing orange wristbands
on people with Floor GA tickets as they waited outside and lined the
sidewalk that sloped gently from east to west. The doors opened and the
people inside were very casual and even letting backpacks, at least early
on here, in without hassles. You had to walk up stairs to get to the floor
mezzanine and then back down certain aisles to gain floor access. I chose
a spot about 15/20 rows backs, if you were to call them rows, dead center
in the middle. I was flanked by my friends and it was very relaxing as we
waited. The show itself started a bit late, around 745PM. The intro began
as usual "Ladies and Gentlemen"...................
Bob was dressed in a kind of off-white suit and looked very becoming.
The rest were dressed pretty much as usual, although David had donned his
white cowboy hat. They began with a quick "Wait for the light to shine"
and it seemed over before it even started. It was great opener and one I
am sure he will continue with as he has. "Don't think twice" was next up
and it was well done and well received, especially when Bob whipped out
his harmonica, which is kind of neat this early on in the show. He seemed
to hang on the words a bit longer than usual, and I wrote this off as road
weariness at first. The acoustic guitar and the peppered harp were a
perfect mix. "Visions of Johanna" was the number that turned the show up,
I have always loved that song and feel lucky whenever it is played. The
guitar intro was very long and full of strums and Larry's mandolin tweaked
the notes just right. Ain't it just like the night to play tricks when
your trying to be so quiet? Then they offered up what seems standard fare
for the tour, a very touching "Searching for a Soldier's grave" with a
sudden image of the world now changed forever.
I guess I kind of new what was up the sleeves next, the new "Tweedle Dee
and Tweedle Dum" and it was much better than the version on "Love and
Theft". The next part of the setlist was a mixture of old and new. "If not
for you" and "Tonight I'll be staying here with you" were mixed perfectly
and could almost have been one song on their own. I couldn't believe what
was happening next, as Larry was handed his somewhat concealed banjo. I
knew it was "High Water" time and what a water it was. It was without a
doubt one of the many highlights of Bob Dylan and HIS Band's inspired
performance. "Mama, You been on my mind" almost made me feel the tings of
tears, it tugged at the thoughts it emblazoned inside my heart. Bob's harp
wailed a little cry of it's own. What kind of world has this become?
I had grown a little hagged hearing the next song over the years, but
tonight it was there and in just the right place, a warm "Tangled up in
Blue", that now seemed like I had missed that, yeah, I did miss that. It
is still a great tune. Every one came alive and the show was just off on
A very depressing "Masters of War" followed, and every one of those words
still rang true too. I think Dylan is very aware that while the masses
call for blood, the sensible take note of the futility of it all. Blood
drawn, red, dead. Can we see through our own little mask? Then a nicely
received "Summer Days" that kind of made it seem like an ice cream
parlour, the place into an escape from the turmoils around us, that's
Bob's statement in his music here, as I see it. "Sugar Baby" was easily
the focal of tonights energy. The crowd was especially respectful and
quiet during the rendition, and Bob was in total control, the vocals were
sharp and crisp, and awesome. This would be a great song to end with, but
thankfully it was not. "Wicked messenger" cooked it's heat well and the
boys in the band looked anything but tired. A very nice surprise was the
next treat, "Everything is Broken" and that thought is still haunting me
as I write. Dylan takes off his guitar and the Band retreats for the
I certainly expected something other then the next, "Country Pie", it was
almost an unreal feeling and I think you had to be there. If one song
seemed out of place this was it. On the otherhand it was a very uplifting
and light hearted serving, so who Knows??
A show would not be complete without "Lars" and it rocked the joint in
here. The band were all smiles and Bob was at home, rocking the seas, high
water everywhere. A great tune and I think of all the people who were here
seeing their first Dylan show. Wow, gotta have that one. Perhaps at the
last minute the chords began for "I shall be released" and the crowd was
very much into the show now. It caught me off guard and it was lovely.
"Honest with me" followed, another forray into the new material and again,
well rehearsed and played with a new passion. I hope a little further into
the tour that the list be expanded to include a little more "Love and a
little less Theft", but that's me being greedy and really having a hard
time digesting the fact that there are people witnessing their first Bob
show every time he walks out and it just would not be fair. "Blowin in the
Wind" begins and the show is over. The answer may be "Blowin" but it is
still as far away as the day he penned these lyrics. Don't be fooled
people, Bob sings of a life to come, and we are just passing ships in the
night, drifters trying to escape. We are Born here and against our wills,
trying to get to Heaven before they close the doors. Dylan and company
take center stage and Bob seems to be saying "hope you enjoyed this as
much as we did", but of course says nothing, just a soulful stare and then
departs. There would be no encore, but who needed one? This concert will
be one of the ones I remember and it was nice revisiting the place where
it began. Thanks Mr. Dylan and God bless the world.
Review by Richard Ray
I would prefer to sit for an hour and thoughtfully compose a review. Can't.
No time. Even though I was out late last night I still got up early and went
to the gym. Running late. Here's the "shotgun" overview.
This was not a normal rock concert. It took me awhile to realize that. All
the tricks that I normally associate with a "good performance" were nowhere
to be found. It took the band at least three or four songs to come together,
and it wasn't until half way through the show that they hit their groove. As
an average, or slightly above average Dylan fan, Bob makes comprehension a
challenge. The sound wasn't loud. His vocals are very hard to understand and
I found myself constantly between frustration and delight. ("Bob, do you
REALLY need to change Tangled up in Blue THAT much? I liked it very much the
way it was.")
(By the way....I don't know what this means but.... You mentioned that Bob
has been introducing the band as the best rock and roll band in the world. I
don't know if he thought they were not really ON last night, but he
introduced them as "One of the finest bunch of musicians in the land", and
everyone of them cracked up laughing.)
The first song that knocked me down was "Sugar Baby". He leaned into that
one. About that time it started to surface. His guitar playing. I have never
appreciated his sparse lead playing before. I don't know if I can describe
what I saw. With both his leads and the harmonica he seemed to be pushing
into an area I saw Miles do in concert. He would find a little corner of the
song, take it down to the very basic elements, lead the band out on the edge
of a limb and dance there dangerously. He did this more and more as the
There were two stand out performances for my ears. It was worth the price of
the tickets for "I Shall Be Released". Drop dead gorgeous bring you to tears
what an arrangement! I never thought I would hear a Bob with a group that
topped The Band's performance. This one did. Half way through the encore
Heidi leaned over and said, "I sure hope he plays "Blowin' in the Wind".
That was one of the first songs she learned on guitar. Sure enough, it was
the last song of the evening. The best I've ever heard it done.
He surprised me with a great, almost "surf sound" arrangement of "Everything
is Broken" and a chilling "Masters of War". I was a little sad that I didn't
get "Mississippi" or "Knockin' on Heaven's Door". But hey....
The crowd was hard to peg. It wasn't all old farts, (like the Stones shows
I've seen in the last ten years), but it wasn't all young kids either. It
was a wide cross section. Families with young kids. Very old hippies.
It will take a day or two to sink in.
More later I'm sure,
Review by Justin Edgar
The expectations were high as I arrived at the Coliseum in Denver for
the show this past Sunday night. I didn't know what to expect from the
venue�a rustic arena which now usually houses animals more then people.
The anxiety that was building from hearing all the raving reviews about
the Love and Theft material was keeping me warm as I waited outside in
the chilly Colorado evening. To my surprise, this show was nowhere near
being sold out�which was nice for a change since I knew there would be
little pushing and shoving on the floor with such a scant crowd. At about
7:45, the familiar introductory march music came on and the lights dimmed�
Wait For The Light To Shine: Another well crafted opener which great
harmonies and a nice pace to start the show. Though I don't believe this
song is a "fun" as Roving Gambler, Duncan/Brady, or Hummingbird, it does
give the show a solid opening.
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right: A surprise to me in the two spot. Much
slower than most of the recent versions I have seen of it. Bob's
annunciation was dead on�stretchy words and playing w/ sounds that drove
this laid back version to near the top of the several versions I have seen
over the years. Well done�and long�harp solo concluded a terrific
performance and the crowd�.though pretty dead for most of the show�showed
their appreciation greatly.
Visions Of Johanna: Finally got the one on my 15th show�and what a beauty.
Long instrumental intro led into a terrific version. No lyrical miscues and
Bob continued to play with each separate sound like a master. However, there
was an annoying delay in either the snare drum or bass drum mic, that echoed
throughout the song�.and would also later in Mama and Masters.Still, this
minor flaw did not dissipate my joy at hearing this version
Searching For A Soldier's Grave: Very well done�much more solid vocally
than past versions I've sen and it seemed to be thinned out instrumentally
to give it a more smooth bluegrass sound
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum: Finally the new stuff�.and no disappointment.
Foot thumpin rhythm and great guitar work make this one a keeper live. Wish
Charlie's guitar work was amplified a little more in this version, but still
enjoyed it highly
If Not For You &.Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You: Great surprises
here..yet both seemed very mellow. INFY was very well done and Bob finally
seemed to be getting into the show. TIBSHWY was good, but I stil enjoy the
faster tempo versions from the past and believe that the crowd would have
too�.they were dead for most of the show.
High Water: Banjo came out�and this immaculate song took form in its
beautiful live form. As I read the reviews from LA, I was interested to
hear how this sounded so much different from the album version�.after
hearing it I would agree. The banjo is very lowkey and serves as a
beautiful rhythm keeper for the song. The guitars and singing are dark�.
imagine High Water being on Time Out of Mind�that's the only way I could
relate what I was hearing to anything else I had heard. Dark and foreboding throughout�whatta song
Mama, You Been On My Mind, Tangled Up In Blue, & Masters Of War: Usual
run through for these warhorses. Mama was slow, with a mediocre harp solo�
and Tangled was pathetically slow. Though that after not being in rotation
for a while, it would pick up some life, but it's like their beating a dead
animal. Masters was just as poignant as it always is
Summer Days: Great song, great singing�and finally a tempo the crowd got
into. Bob sang this one ain a much higher key than the album versions�.
which I felt detracted from the vocal part of this performance, but I was
thoroughly pleased w/ my first taste of the song
Sugar Baby: This one will stick in my mind forever�I have never been to a
show where the crowd went dead silent. This song is absolutely breathtaking
live�the light effects and the sheer power that Bob exhumes when singing
this one brought chills to me�too hard to explain, so I guess you'll just
have to experience it for yourself
Wicked Messenger: same old song and dance as its other versions. Harp
solo was cut short a bit though�don't know if the mic was faulty or what
but it seemed realqucik and powerless
Everything Is Broken: Love this one and it's a great set closer�think Bob
flubbed up on some of the lyrics, but I've heard so many different lyrics
for this song it was hard to tell what was right or wrong�great guitar work
and the intros were fabulous�when introducing David, Bob said "On drums�
David Kemper. One drummer is better than no drummer." I was dying when he
said that�don't know how many in the crowd caught it, but it was a great
The encores were solid as usual�.Country Pie was a short, sweet surprise.
LARS was LARS�and I Shall be Released was gorgeous�Larry and Charlie's
harmonies add so much to that song. Honest w/ Me is intense and an instant
live classic in my book�.great lyrical work and guitar work all around.
Always special for me to hear, Blowin closed the set nicely and made me
anticipate the other three shows I'll hit back in my old stompin grounds
in the East in November. Solid show�some nice surprises, but a dead crowd.
Hopefully the new stuff will get mor ediverse and all of you will get to
experience how special High Water and Sugar Baby are.
page by Bill Pagel
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