Broomfield, Colorado

1STBANK Center

October 29, 2012

[Kevin Dennis], [Craig Fretwell]

Review by Kevin Dennis

Dylan Rocks Broomfield 

It had been thirty-seven years since I last saw Bob Dylan in concert -
he's holding up okay. My first and only prior Dylan concert was a Rolling
Thunder stop in Oklahoma City, OK in 1976. I have seen Dylan on tv, on
concert videos and you tube videos over the years. With t hose views in
mind, c oupled with stories from friends of hit-or -miss concert
performances in last decade, I attended the show with some preconceptions.
A nd it was a rocking good time, definitely exceeding my expectations.  
Dylan powered through a briskly-paced 90 minute set featuring  many songs
that have become cultural touchstones - albeit in re-arranged versions. I
haven't been keeping up with Bob's Never-Ending tour of the last fifteen
years or so, yet I'm sure the long-time fans are way used to the
alterations. I had read that he was playing nothing from the newly
released/acclaimed Tempest, and I'm guessing he didn't last night either,
as I recognized about 80 % of the songs. Dylan's a piano/harmonica player
these days (he never touched a guitar), and his stabbing, discordant
chording and plucky new melodies made most songs a name-that-tune game
until  arriving at the first chorus.   His band is a crack unit, a
veteran ensemble that plays with a dark grace and just enough flash to
propel the loping arrangements. Bob seemed totally energetic and into the
show, although he only spoke to the audience to introduce the band.
Guitarists Charlie Sexton and Stu Kimbell have a great chemistry, and the
band toughened up when they both strapped on the  electrics. Donnie
Herron on pedal steel duplicated many of Bob's piano moves for an
interesting musical effect, and also played electric mandolin, lap steel,
and sawed away nearly inaudibly on violin on the encore of Blowin' In The
Wind. The sound balance was mostly excellent in this former hockey arena.

Like A Rolling Stone was the most radically retooled song of the
evening. No signature organ, and the anthemic chorus of rising
notes/chords were replaced by a totally new hook and a more static melodic
bed. While those changes didn't rob the song of its power, it did turn
it into something more enigmatic. Another highlight was a show-closing
All Along The Watchtower that faintly echoed the Jimi Hendrix arrangement.
When he wasn't bashing at the piano, Bob played a mean harmonica,
especially on Things Have Changed and a carnivalesque, creepy Ballad Of A
Thin Man (which featured an echo effect on his vocal that was the show's
only nod to semi-modern musical technology).   Bob mainly talks/croaks/
sings these days, and his voice got stronger as the show went on. Shelter
From The Storm was given a spritely piano pop treatment, It's All Over Now
Baby Blue gave Bob the chance to dink around with some jazzy chordal
piano work, and Tangled Up In Blue possibly included different lyrics in a
couple of verses. Opener Mark Knopfler came out for a bluesy workout on
the chestnut When The Levee Breaks - but his appearance also upset the
balance of the band, and it was the least effective  song of the show.

The stage setting was ultra-simple: very low yellow lighting, no
spotlights on Bob (or anybody), occasionally some simple
patterns projected onto the curtained backdrop. No big television screens
to give us closeups of the players. Ushers were quite serious about the no
video/no cell phones edict, as flashlights were beaming onto offenders
for the duration of the show. It was mainly an older crowd - many many
folks older than me (55), yet quite a few younger fans as well. The floor
was packed, chairs filled 3/4 of the floor and all were standing down
there for Bob's show. Up in the permanent chairs it was very
mellow, lots of head-bobbing and herb, but resolutely seated. Is Monday
the worst day of the week for rock shows? I'm guessing about 8000 folks
for the first show of a two-night stand in the far north suburb of
Denver.   Mark Knopfler must rival Perry Como as the most relaxed
performer in show business, as his 80-minute set bubbled but never boiled.
The highlights were the lengthy, laconic acoustic arrangements of a couple
of tunes -  two mandolin-lime instruments, ukulele and string bass, with
Knopfler picking his signature electric lines over the top. Knopfler
employed a half-dozen different guitars, and essayed only one Dire Straits
song I recognized , a perfunctory So Far Away as his single-song encore. N
ice stuff, tasteful guitar playing, but the Knopfler songs aren't that

All in all, a cool experience. I won't wait three decades to see Mr.
Dylan again.


Comment by Craig Fretwell

I just thought that someone should mention that at the Broomfield,
Colorado concert on Monday October 29, while Superstorm Sandy ravaged 
the east coast, Bob played a mini "storm set" in middle of the show.  I am
sure this was no coincidence and was Bob's way off showing support and
sympathy for the victims of the storm.  He played four storm related songs
in a row:  "Levee's Gonna Break", "High Water Everywhere,"  "Shelter From
the Storm" and "A Hard Rains Agonna Fall."  It was a fine gesture.


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