Reviews

Toronto, Ontario
Air Canada Centre
November 8, 2001


[Ranesh Chand Keswani], [Jerry Tenenbaum], [David], [Shawn Pulver],
[Fabio Barbosa], [Dennis Hrabowsky], [Bill Ellsworth], [Daniel Zovic], [Elfie]

Review by Ranesh Chand Keswani



He came in about 15 minutes later than scheduled. Which was just as well
because a lot of people were late in getting to the show. Which really
pissed me off! I mean if Dylan can make it on time (almost), why the fuck
can't you?! People were still trickling in well after the show had
started! Anyway, after some guy announced "Please welcome Bob Dylan" or
words to that effect, without much further ado (or words from Dylan
himself), the band started off!

1. Humming Bird. I don't think it is a Dylan song but he has been opening
the recent concerts of The Love And Theft Tour with this particular song.
There is a blues song by the same name but it is a totally different song.
I had never heard the song before and therefore didn't warm up to it much.

2. Times They Are A Changing. As expected, a very different version from
the studio version. Very good. Ended with a spirited harmonica solo by
Dylan which had the crowd cheering lustily.

3. Desolation Row. Again very different from the studio version. Nice.

4. Couldn't figure out the song. Had never heard it before. Don't even
know if it is a Dylan song. Checked the set list on this site after coming
back home and found out that the song is called This World Can't Stand
Long. Still don't know if it is a Dylan song. Again, because it was a song
I had never heard before, I didn't like it much.

5. Cry A While. I cheered wildly. So did the crowd. After Mississippi,
Lonesome Day Blues and High Water, this is my fourth favourite track from
Love And Theft. And it was performed really well. Furious guitaring, very
spirited version. Enjoyed it thoroughly!

6. Just Like A Woman. The crowd loved it. Me too, but probably not as much
as the crowd. Ended with a long and nice harmonica solo by Dylan.

7. High Water. I lit up. This was another of my favourites from Love And
Theft. The version was very close to the one on the album. Loved it. The
mandolin (or was it a banjo?) was great.

8. Maggie's Farm. Good stuff. Great guitaring. I found Dylan's vocals
straying a bit though. But the guitaring more than made for it.

9. A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall. Nice. Especially loved the singing of the
title line.

10. Couldn't place the title of the song but the lyrics were familiar. I
was sure it was a Dylan song, though I couldn't remember the title or the
album it was from. Anyway, I liked the song. Did some research on the net
after getting back and found out it was John Brown, one of the few
(probably only) songs I had loved on Dylan's MTV Unplugged album.

11. Tangled Up In Blue. The crowd went wild. So did I. (But I still prefer
the studio version which is one of my favourite Dylan tracks.) Great
guitar work. Ended with a Dylan harmonica solo which never fails to please
the crowd.

12. Summer Days. Quite close to the version on the album. Liked it, even
though it is not one of my favourite tracks from Love And Theft. The three
guitars were excellent!

13. Sugar Baby. Again, not one of my favourite tracks from Love And Theft.
Enjoyed it nevertheless. The words "There ain't no limit to the amount of
trouble women bring" drew the loudest cheers from the crowd. Quite
understandably so!

14. The Wicked Messenger. Apparently, a track from John Wesley Harding.
Haven't heard that album or that track. So didn't really warm up to it.
Good guitar work though, with Dylan finishing off with another harmonica
solo.

15. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35. The crowd went wild, and I mean really wild.
Quite deservedly so. It was a great version. There were people dancing in
the aisles. And there was a quadriplegic with a mouth-controlled
wheelchair who was going round and round in circles! It was great to see
Dylan's music move even people who can't move!

Dylan introduced the band during the song. After the song, the band,
including Dylan, took a bow and left the stage. The crowd (and I played my
part) screamed for an encore, stamping their feet, banging the seats and
chanting "more, more, more" till Dylan and the band came back.

16. Things Have Changed. Even though it is one of my favourite Dylan
tracks, it took me a while to identify the song. God knows why!!! It was a
nice version, but not as nice as the studio version. But then, when it
comes to Dylan, I usually like his studio versions better than his live
versions, the operative word being usually.

17. Highway 61 Revisited. Wonderful, high-energy version with searing
guitar. Loved it! So did the crowd. They were dancing in the aisles once
again.

18. Like A Rolling Stone. Nice version, but again nowhere close to the
studio version. But neither I nor the crowd seemed to mind that so much!

19. Forever Young. Greeted with loud cheers from the crowd.

20. Honest With Me. Nice version, close to the one on the album. But I was
disappointed. Not because I didn't like it but that put paid to my hopes
of hearing him perform Mississippi, my favouritest track from Love And
Theft.

21. Blowing In The Wind. Great version with some wonderful backing vocals.

22. All Along The Watchtower. Great guitar work. That song was written for
guitarists! The crowd loved it, dancing in the aisles once again.

Dylan took a bow and left the stage. The crowd again screamed for more,
hoping he'd come back again. And it looked like he might. But the lights
came on, bringing us all back to reality.

This is only the second time I have seen Dylan perform live, the first
time being at Woodstock II in 1994. I had been greatly disappointed by
Dylan's live performance then. Thankfully, he made up for it this time.
Great stuff! His band was awesome!

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Review by Jerry Tenenbaum



A Minimalist Review

Dylan and Band were ideal.
Hummingbird - pure joy
Times - spoken word
Desoluaton Row - heartfelt
This World - wonderful harmony
Cry A While - hard blues/ glorious
Just Like A Woman - sweetness/wonderful harp
High Water- ethereal
Maggie's Farm - like a welcome coffee break
Hard Rain - ominous
John Brown - melancholy
Tangled - a joyous triumph
Summer Days - more joy
Sugar Baby - cynical pain
Wicked Messenger - can this band ever rock!
Rainy Day Women - Dancing in the aisles
Things Have Changed - what a tight band!
Highway 61 - Paul James looked so happy
Rolling Stone - it never gets old
Forever Young - I t was getting late and he was tucking us all in
Blowin' - fervent wishing
Watchtower- Is there a better band behind Bob.

All in all, another glorious affair.  I want you to image a man in an
electric wheelchair spinning behind the soundsquare on the floor with
others with sound legs spinning madly about him. That's what was happening
from half way through to the end.  I don't recall seeing this kind of
response in any of the shows I have ever been to.  And the ages were 7 to
75.  The average age around me was maybe 25 to 30.

This is a true renaissance by a renaissance man.  See it if you can.  It's
worth it!

Jerry Tenenbaum

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Review by David



three hours of brilliance. how else can you describe the bob dylan show in
toronto.  from the timeless beginning of the times they are a changin to
the poignant honest with me and everything in between, we were treated to
an exceptional concert.  over the years, bob just seems to get better and
better. he played with emotion and enthusiasm and worked beautifully with
his band.  his set list pleased everyone in a crowd made up of all ages,
from teenagers to grandparents.  he spanned the years playing variations
of a theme and he was rewarded with an extremely appreciative audience
that spent most of the night on its feet.  if this concert is any
indication of bob's rededication to his craft, it can only bode well for
those still fortunate to see him as he continues the tour.

Review by Shawn Pulver



Always nice to see Bob when he returns to my hometown.  Although I think 
the ACC isn't the best venue to see a Dylan show, the acoustics were very 
good from where I was in front of the stage.  The show started with a 
strong version of Hummingbird, which my brother thought sounded like it 
could fit on the O Brother, Where Art Thou Soundtrack.  Times was nice, 
although he flubbed a few words in the second verse.  This World also 
featured a nice vocal, and a few short but sweet mandolin solos supplied 
by Larry.  Cry Awhile was a real treat, although it sounded a bit like 
It Takes Allot to Laugh at the intro.  Just Like a Women was standard, 
although it featured was seemed to be a four minute harp solo at the end.
Very nice!  Maggies was a dramatic new arrangement, with this cool drum 
refrain on the solo.  Unfortunately, Bob was not happy, and gave Charlie 
what I would describe as the ultimate "death ! stare." At the end, I 
noticed Charlie put his hand around Bob, and I thought I could read his 
lips as he said, "sorry."  I guess it ain't always easy working for Bob.
The acoustic set was the highlight of the show. It was my 30th show, and 
I've always been wanting to hear Hard Rain.  I always seem to just miss 
it by a show or two.  He nailed all the words, and even had a nice sing 
along with the crowd.  John Brown was dramatic, with Larry playing a cool 
intro with his bouzouki.  Tangled got a nice crowd reaction, although I 
have to admit it was the first time that I ever ran to use the washroom 
in the middle of a show (hey, I only missed one verse).  As usual, Sugar 
Baby was sublime (I even sat down, yes that was me yelling "We love you 
Paul James, see you in London Ontario" ).  Wicked Messenger, Summer Days 
and RDW ended the main set in a rocking fashion. In terms of the encores, 
they were, as expected, well done, but short of any real surprises. I was 
happy, as alluded to, when Paul James was brought on. I think I have the 
unusual distinction of seeing every show that Paul James has ever played 
with Bob.  I saw him in '96 in the Concert Hall, in Buffalo in '99 and now 
in Toronto at the ACC.  Anyways, it brought a smile to Bob's face, and I 
liked his slide work on Hwy61.  Watchtower ended the show on a very high 
note, and I just can't get over how good that ending is.  All in all, a 
great night and a great show (even though I almost told off the usher about 
six times for telling me that I was two inches past the aisle - I mean we 
are at a Dylan show, not at a performance of Bizet's Carmen).  Anyways, 
thanks for reading.

Shawn. 

Review by Fabio Barbosa



"When I moved from northeast Brazil to Ottawa last year I thought with
myself: �Great, I will have an opportunity to finally see Dylan�. I had
never had a chance to see him during his rare South American tours. Last
year he came to Toronto but not to Ottawa. The same thing this year� But
this time I couldn�t miss it!

So I left Ottawa in the Early Morning Rain and got my freight train to
Toronto. After spending the windy and drizzly afternoon wandering around
downtown I finally got into the Air Canada Centre at 6:30. At 7:25 the
Centre was still practically empty and thought to myself: �how come??� So,
with an almost-20-minute delay Bob came to the stage with his band to sing
Humming Bird while I could see long lines with people trying to find their
seats.

After that, he played The Times They Are A-Changin� with an early debut
for his harp. Oh, Gosh, I had waited so long to listen to that harp in
person. Then came Desolation Row, one of my very favourites Dylan songs
followed by another song that I like very much but never thought I would
hear him perform: This World Can�t Stand Long with great backing vocals by
Larry and Charlie.

Time for the electric set and sandwiched between Love and Theft�s Cry A
While and High Water (Larry was great on the banjo) he played the greatest
harp solo in the entire evening during Just Like a Woman. It really
brought the house down (maybe because at this point everybody had already
found their seats and started enjoying the concert�)

Maggie�s Farm was OK, but it is not one of my favourites. Nice guitarring
though.

Back to acoustic and I really enjoyed A Hard Rain Is A-Gonna Fall, but in
my opinion John Brown was the evening�s biggest highlight. Played very
softly, specially when Dylan was singing, it looked like a message,
specially taking into consideration the crazy world we are living in. The
words were pronounced very carefully. What a powerful song!

Tangled Up In Blue was pretty much the same version that he has played in
the recent years but Bob really seemed to enjoy it and so did the
audience. Another very nice bend-on-his-knees-and-two-steps-back-dance
harp solo.

Then came two more great songs from Love and Theft: Summer Days with its
nice introduction and walking bass and the soft Sugar Baby. To finish the
set, Bob said goodbye to his harp with Wicked Messenger (the only song I
did not recognize during the concert) and Rainy Day Women, during which he
introduced the band.

Inspired by a loud cheering and the sea of lighters, the encore came with
a great selection, starting with Oscar-winner Things Have Changed, and
then making the crowd dance with Highway 61 and Like a Rolling Stone and
stop to listen to the lyrics of Forever Young.

The last song from his new album was Honest With Me, followed by
always-relevant Blowin�In The Wind. Le Grand Finale was All Along The
Watchtower and I was delighted.

When the show was over, I walked back through the windy streets of Toronto
with his songs still echoing in my head and such awesome memories. This
was my first Dylan concert, but certainly not the last one!

Next morning, I just got my train and went back to my Girl in the North
Country."

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Review by Dennis Hrabowsky



I have seen many live concerts over the past 25 years, but this was my
first Bob Dylan show and I was quite impressed.  Dylan and his band's
delivery was amazing, a pure delight, regardless of the occasional
unintelligible lyric by Bob.  I was anticipating that the subdued
accoustic atmophere of the first few songs would continue throughout the
show, but I was quite blown away when the band really started rocking,
particularly on "Maggie's Farm" and "Tangled Up In Blue".  I was truly
moved to dance with the rhythms on several numbers.  The classy lighting
and curtain effects were also perfectly appropriate for the evening.

It was nice to see Paul James join the band for two songs during the first
encore, though I feel that many people in the audience were confused about
who he was and from where he suddenly appeared.  The harmony vocals on a
handful of songs also moved me, especially on "Forever Young".  The band
nailed "All Along The Watchtower" as the finale and Charlie Sexton's break
into a Hendrix lead for a few bars deserved the cheers he received. 
Overall, the band was very tight.

Though I overheard the sound engineer complain about the accoustics of the
Air Canada Centre, especially the odd reflections off of the tin roof, I
have to compliment him on the sound (I've been a sound engineer myself for
15 years).  Several people approached the sound desk after the show to
acknowledge the fact that, not only was the sound great, the show was one
of Dylan's best of the tour.  My only regret was that Dylan didn't do
"Love Sick" - a small price to pay for one outstanding show.

Dennis g. Hrabowsky
Toronto, Ontario.

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Review by Bill Ellsworth



Thanks to C. Donnelly Delhi 1983 for turning me on to Dylan back in
College. The drive up from Buffalo NY was going great till we hit Toronto
city limits and then we stopped, it took us 45 minutes to go about 5
miles. Glad I don't have to deal with that every day. We bought tickets at
the show right side of stage 20 rows great side view of Dylan,band and
backstage activities. The show started late but that's okay I was late(I
always am late). Started out with acoustic set which kept the crowd in
there seats for the first 45 minutes of the show. There where a few rebels
dancing in their seats, Bob was working himself into a groove. I thought
Bob and the band where struggling at first to get the crowd into the
show,probably due to the fact it was a senior crowd and very
distinguished. Love those Canadian beers but cut off a third into
show(bummer). The crowd started to groove w/ Just Like A woman and kept
building from there. I was impressed with crowd reaction to John Brown you
could hear Bob pronounce every word clearly. I got a very eerie feeling
you could here a pin drop at the end of the song. Very appropriate
response for the times. Who would of guessed that 35 years ago that we
would still be moved by anti war songs. I guess some things never change.
Bob played harp with feeling in short spurts throughout the show, he has a
little table set up behind him with his wares, it reminded me of my
dresser where I keep all those things that are dire to my everyday life.
Great to see Bob extend his show he is such a showman. I saw Bob invite
Paul James up to the stage in Buffalo a few years ago . I think he played
the same songs then also. This is where my side view seats came in handy.
Once Paul James finished playing on Like A Rolling Stone Bob introduce him
and said Thanks then smiled to him from ear to ear, Bob doesn't smile a
lot but when he does its great to see his true emotions. This moment was
the highlight of the show for me. It was great seeing two friends on stage
showing mutual admiration for each other.  After the encore All Along The
Watchtower Bob takes in the audience and exits. I think he truly feels
honored to be able to sing his songs and get such a response from each and
every crowd he performs for. Well on goes the Stetson and down the stairs,
see you in Syracuse. Dinosaur Club after the show.

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Review by Daniel Zovic



Wow! What a show! Well worth the 4 1/2 hour trip from Montreal.(Bob plz
come to Montreal)! Missed the first 3 songs,  real bummer. Before the show
I went for drinks at C'est What on front street in downtown Toronto and
talked to this great Dylan fan who was going to the show as well.  He was
expecting his friend at 6:30 but he arrived at 7:00 and decided he wanted
something to eat! Idiot! Since the starting time on my ticket I decided to
stick around and chat a little more. By the time we were done it was 7:45
and we rushed to the ACC,  Get in and "This world can't stand long" is
starting. I kicked myself in the head when I found out I missed Desolation
Row. Anyway c'est la vie! I had tenth row dead center. Hoping to hear
Mississippi but you know the way things go. Especially Happy to hear "Hard
Rain",  "Cry Awhile",  "Things Have Changed", "Just like A woman," 
"forever Young",  "Sugar Baby",  and "Honest with me". I hate people who
go to Dylan show and expect to hear the songs just like they are on the
albums,  stay home if you don't like it! If you want to waste your money
go see U2 or Aerosmith or any other rock nostalgia or pop act. Well just
wanted to say a few words. 

See you in Boston BOB!!!!

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Review by Elfie



This review is late because I am still in the concert mode. My week began
with themost beautiful display of northern lights that I have seen in many
years. The reds and blues were awesome and the sense that I was living in
a good time became very real. It ended in awe of a very great man. I
treated my husband , son ,daughter  and best friend to the concert of
their life. I baught my tickets in September and had been excited since.
Seeing Bob in such a venue as  the ACC certainly set the mood. I saw a
true dignified minstrel.  My children ( 18 and 16 ) were thrilled with 
Times and when Desolatiion Row strung it's first few bars I was rockin'.
I think what struck me most was the rendition of Maggie's farm. What a
funked up version. Man it was great. When  John Brown  played I watched my
kids' faces as they listened and nodded. Tangled up in Blue has been a
favorite of mine and it certainly got everyone up and singing. My daughter
was impressed with how all of a sudden everyone on the floor was standing.
It was a pleasure to hear Bob's harp. My son was struck deeply by Sugar
Baby..the coffee break following the rocking that had been going on. I
think Bob caught his breathe  at this point. We  cheered like crazy. Rainy
Day women.....truely great. I think we thundered  during the ovation . I
was glad everyone kept it up and it seemed to roar for a very long time.
All the encores were sung with great power and seemed to please everyone.
My daughter was honoured to hear the master do Watch tower. I felt
honoured to be there and saw a true gentleman take in his audience and
thank us in his humble way. This had been my 6th Bob concert and I must
say that it was one of the best. We were entertained my the meistro.. the
white suited gentleman who at 60 can still rock your socks off. Thank you
Bob for the honour. God Bless and may you stay forever young.

Elfie

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