Fairfax, Virginia

Patriot Center
November 17, 2006

[Neil Sreshta], [James Mahoney]

Review by Neil Sreshta

The quality of the concert tonight was absolutely fantastic. 20 times 
better than the September shows. The sound of the band was different  - a
much more central role for the lead guitarist, and less for  Donnie
Herron, the slide guitarist (who isn't that spectacular).  Dylan on
keyboard with the organ sound, resonated well with the  echoey acoustics
of the auditorium. He used a low voice register the  entire night, which
worked really well, compared to the high register  and "upsinging" from
September. The arrangements were much better as  well - very few sub-par
performances. The sound of the band and Dylan  was very similar to the
sound on Modern Times.

1. Cat's In The Well - B+. This is the same song he has opened with  each
time I've seen him this year, and tonight was by far the best 
performance. Very concise, no dragging-on of instrumental sections  like
the last time, and it was a jolting start to the set. Not a very  exciting
song to see on paper, but he did it very well and it was an  effective

2. Senor - A! This was done REALLY WELL! Great use of the low  
register of his voice - it captured even more of the doom and  
depression than the original recording. This was a dark song - very 
captivating and sung very well by Dylan.

3. Rollin And Tumblin - B. This was alright, a solid performance,  
very similar if not the same to the original recording.

4. Boots Of Spanish Leather - A+! Amazing! An unrecognizable version  -
sung in a very low register, staccato type style. All the lyrics  were
crystal clear and the way he sung it set the rhythm of the song.  An
acoustic sound, with Tony Garnier playing upright bass and Donnie  Herron
playing banjo. Great harmonica solo at the end. This was  absolutely

5. Cold Irons Bound - A-. This was also very well done. It really  
resonated with the acoustics of the venue. An all-encompassing,  
powerful sound to the chorus, it was well played and energetically  
sung by Dylan.

6. When The Deal Goes Down - B-. I give credit for a solid  
performance, but not my favorite song, I find it boring. The  
performance wasn't very interesting either, but he hit all the notes.

7. High Water - A-. Not what I expected from this song! It escalated  into
a totally rocked out, Honest With Me-like sound. Much better  than the
album version! Totally new sound.

8. Most Likely You Go Your Way.... - C. Not well done. It was fun to  hear
a Blonde On Blonde song, but he wasn't hitting the notes and the 
performance dwindled.

9. Masters Of War - B+. He emphasized the important part of this song  -
the lyrics. It was really powerful towards the end... "and I'll  stand
over your grave till I'm sure that you're deeeaaaaaad". That  was
brilliant - but the only downside was that the entire song was  one or two
chords, which wasnt very interesting musically. A  harmonica solo might
have helped. Still very well done.

10. Spirit On The Water - A! A damn good performance of this! Beautiful.

11. Tangled Up In Blue - A+++!!!! UNBELIEVABLE! Full of energy and  
sung with precision and creativity - changing from middle to low  
registers. Everyone was dancing.

12. Nettie Moore - A+. This was beautiful, sung very melodically with 
great instrumental background.

13. Highway 61 - A. What a closer! Very rocked out. Fantastic.

---- encore----

14. Love Sick - A. Great performance of this! Again a very good use  of
low register.

15. Thunder On The Mountain - A. Another great performance. Very fast  and
upbeat. Everyone went nuts!

16. Like A Rolling Stone - B+. Well done! The version I saw in  
september was better, though. This one was a little slower, and the  low
voice register didnt work as well as on other songs.

17. All Along The Watchtower - D. This song is getting to be pathetic  at
this point. Poorly performed, with the only redeeming factor being  very
good drum work by George Recile. Dylan should stop closing with  this

FANTASTIC concert, in general. Quality of sound is great! Dylan  
sounded great and gave very well-done performances of almost the  
entire setlist.


Review by James Mahoney

Well, Theme Time Radio Hour  may have given Bob Dylan new eyes, of a
sort....  Once he was ready to tour behind Modern Times, he picked three
plainly contemporary bands as opening acts, and his voice is more
self-consciously managed than ever.  All that playback while taping Theme
Time may have done it for him.   And these "young" bands.... Demonstrates
no insensitivity to What's Happening Now at all.  As if...

Last night in Fairfax, Jack White/the Raconteurs were solid, muscular, and
professional, and Jack's explosive talent as a guitarist and a vocalist
merged seamlessly with the the young Nashville rock veterans in the band
he's  joined up with.  No, in the Patriot Center most of the songs didn't
add up to meaning anything beyond their sonic effects, but Jack White's
Jimmy Paige moves and earnest screeches were as convincing as they were

Neil Strestha's fine assessment of the concert 's individual songs 
echoes almost exactly what I'd have graded it as, with the exception of
TUIB, which George Recile scumbulled frequently, with his tendencies to
shuffle or jazz it up with too much stick and too little real beat. 
George's deep, real gifts are all there in Modern Times, but he's not a
steady, master pounder  (as mindlessly-disgraced  David Kemper was - who's
still a  private favorite of Dylan's many drummers).  George's innovative
syncopations in Highway 61 were honestly totally brilliant, for sure.  And
Cold Irons Bound, Masters of War, Love Sick, and Thunder on the Mountain
were all played hard, dark, and radically convincing by the whole band.
And Mr. Heron needs to be mixed farther up, since what he does is
intelligent and beautiful, whenever you can hear him.

Bob's new sensitivity as a performer is very new, very strange to 
watch.  These Al Jolson/Jerry Lee Lewis  hand gestures, his opened 
palms, A "This is It, Folks," vaudeville theatricality, and how really
developed he's become as a keyboardist, selecting an organ sound, an
urgent honky-tonk piano, a circus calliope.  Sure, he still plays great
guitar, if his iTunes ad with "Someday Baby" can be believed (and it
probably can).  Also strange was his shining Oscar on some glowing
electronic "table" on the side of the stage.  Whatever.  Touring is what
Bob lives a lot of his life doing, and we all have our personal rituals,
damn all.

And I fully agree with Neil about "Watchtower."  That spare, lean, 
un-stadium sound from John Wesley Harding was always far, FAR better than
anything Jimi Hendrix did with it, and it's time to make that one over or
drop it.  What not "John Wesley Harding" itself?  Yeah, meaninglessly
unsolicited advice, but.   Dylan's best days may well be ahead.  He's
really aware of what his Presence as a Creative Celebrity constitutes
(science fiction, sort of), but he's a brilliantly informed DJ, and a
fully literate autobiographer, and still a developing performer, for real.

In Fairfax we got five Modern Times, plus a killer Love Sick, an extra
encore.  Great poster, blue & gold. Decent seats, a great dialogue with
another serious Dylan afficienado, reporting on the concert to his son in
North Carolina,.  Dylan wearing his Spanish hat, and his feet were really
moving around.  His harmonica playing's definitely amazing, these days, as
Boots of Spanish Leather demonstrated.  And the voice, & all.  Dylan's
been sounding like he's 65 since he was 19,  And now that he's 65....


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