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Buddha
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Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
So, Bob came through town...

Senor Bob Dylan played a gig here at the Aladdin Theater last week, with Merle Haggard as the opening act.

The billing and promotional imagery was much like that of Rolling Thunder tour of 1975, which was a good first sign.

Merle was killer, with a seven piece band behind him - in a loose and happy mood.

We sat right in front of the mixing station, one foot in front of their mixing guy, and the sound was nearly hi-fi.

The system actually imaged! I find that a rare sensation at an amplified arena show.

The venue used to have terrible "slap" echo, and they've diligently tried to keep improving it. Better acoustics and speaker upgrades have made the place nice.

So, Bob:

He came out in a black old west gambler kind of outfit and played the show all kind of western review style. That reads more oddly than it sounds. He did terrific arrangements and kept the entire show very consistently engaging.

"Usually," his shows have struck me as more of a practice session where he's trying to work something out but hasn't really arrived at any final "opinion" about what he's trying to do - more like we're witnessing him noodling or rehearsing rather than putting forth something he's put some thought and effort into in advance.

Not this time. The songs showed signs of great consideration and care being put into how he presented them. He seemed to really want to put on a great show.

His voice: The best I can come up with for how the first two songs sounded would be an over-extended metaphor...Imagine Harvey Fierstein singing "The Times They Are A-Changin'" after a three day Death Valley debauch of bad whiskey and unfiltered camels.

After a two or three tune warm-up, Bob's vocals got considerably clearer and he did some interesting things with vocal emphasis and phrasing. Nice reinterpretations of tunes that put a fresh spin on many of them. He sounded more fragile, and it changed some of the songs in interesting ways. Knowing the originals made it all the more interesting to hear these interpretations of his own work, 40 years on - like a great poet reading works from his youth, yet delivering a subtlely different, wiser (introspective?) message.

Very enjoyable.

Set list:

1. Things Have Changed (Bob on piano and harp)
2. The Times They Are A-Changin' (Bob on piano and harp)
3. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (Bob on piano)
4. It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob on piano)
5. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on piano)
6. Love Sick (Bob on piano)
7. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob on piano and harp)
8. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on piano and harp)
9. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)
(Bob on piano and harp)
10. Cold Irons Bound (Bob on piano)
11. Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob on piano)
12. Cat's In The Well (Bob on piano)

(encore)
13. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on piano)
14. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on piano)

He killed on the encore of "Like a Rolling Stone" and "All Along the Watchtower."

If he passes near you, this tour is worth your money.

ohfourohnine
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Re: So, Bob came through town...

I'm so old, Buddha, that I can clearly remember sitting on the floor with whatever beer was cheapest by the quart and listening with some others to Times They are A-Changin'; Lay, Lady, Lay; and Like a Rolling Stone when they were his new recordings. I always liked Maggie's Farm too. Last time I heard his voice, he was off on religious ferver and I couldn't get with it. I went away with that, "you can't go home again..." realization. Glad to hear you thought he put on a good show. How would you say his sound now compares with that on the old recordings (I presume you have them)?

If the show comes Chicago way, it might be worth it just to hear Merle Haggard. There's the real one. Seems ironic to me that he'd be the opening act rather than the other way around.

Monty
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Re: So, Bob came through town...

What a great combination! I think Merle is having fun again. He's been touring quite a bit more than usual.

RGibran
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Joined: Oct 11 2005 - 5:50pm
Re: So, Bob came through town...

Cheapskate, I too dropped out when he went through his religous period but he has come back strong IMHO with his "Time Out Of Mind", "Oh Mercy" and "World Gone Wrong" releases, amongst others. And if you get an inkling to revisit some of his earlier works you can usually find the re-released SACD down at the used CD store for the same price as the redbook version. All of the ones I have scored have been superb as for their sonics.

Buddha, anyone who has the set list from a Dylan gig is a bonafide "Dylanhead". Thanks for the heads up on this tour.

I caught him as he came through Dallas a few years ago. Played a small old converted movie theatre, standing room only, but was able to be no more than 15 feet from the stage, the closest I have ever been to one of his performances. The band was very tight, as if they had been playing together for years, but unfortunatly Bob never played piano or harp during the gig. I love most everything he has done or does, but I feel he shines with just an acoustic guitar and the harp.

I know it had to be a special evening. Been there, done that...hope to do it again.

RG

Buddha
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Re: So, Bob came through town...

Hola, Cheapskate!

Comparing the sound now to then was a revelation to me.

I've always loved Dylan's lyrics, but many times, his tone of voice in the old days had a young man's certainty that was descriptive of an experience, but didn't make me feel like he had really "loved and lost," so to speak. I don't mean that in any way to diminish how much I love those originals, it's just that he sounded like he was an acute observer of the human condition more than a "victim" of his stories.

This is hard to express.

I think back then he was in such command of his music and lyrics, that he didn't strike me as sounding emotionally vulnerable. His lyrics struck me as great "journalism" more than memoir.

Sorry, I just can't quite say it right.

Now, he's a guy who sings like he lived through something. There's a more nostalgic take on the events of the songs - like there's a personal introspection about the aftermath of what he was describing in those songs. Now, he's "assessing the damage" more than merely reporting on the events that transpired.

It works right into my life's arc, as well. When I first liked him, I was young and brazen and in command of my vessel - forging ahead and documenting experiences rather than reflecting upon them. Now, I have been around long enough to have the events of my life filtered by hindsight and seeing what really happened, and Bob seems to have caught that feeling not by changing his lyrics, but by letting them come through in a way that reflects the fact that he's become aware of added dimensions to what he originally sang about. Time has had an effect on him, as a thinking entity he's letting us know that, and he can convey that all in the nuance of how he turns a phrase or lingers, just for a split second, on a particular lyrical/emotional point.

OK, rambling...the answer to your question is:

Both versions are perfect, and I'm lucky to have experienced both at exactly the right time.

ohfourohnine
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Re: So, Bob came through town...

I disagree, Buddha. I think you said it very well. Between you and Rgibran you've convinced me to give his stuff another try. Thanks.

nrchy
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Re: So, Bob came through town...

Buddha - good write up! I enjoyed your summary of the show. I have had the chance to see Mr Dylan several times and really enjoyed every show. The first concert was in 1981 when he started his tour in Milwaukee. Yes this was during his "religious phase" although if you read his comments, or interviews, he has not changed his mind, only his outspokenness.

The show was very odd to me, but all too familiar to him, no doubt. Whenever fans have not liked what he was playing they felt they had the right to try to make him conform by booing, or carrying on in an undignified manner. It started with critical and fan horror with him having picked up an electric guitar. It amplified when he had the unmitigated gall to plug in at Newport, and continued through the subsequent European and American tour.

The outrage raised its head again when he 'went country' while everyone else was tuning in and dropping out.

It must have been old hat when people reacted with rage to his conversion, to what was always visible in his music. The spiritual aspect to his music can be found from the beginning of his recording career.

Who the hell does Bob Dylan think he is, to play and record the music he wants to do?!?

Bob Dylans fans have to be the most self-rightous people following any artist, but being true to his beliefs (whatever they might have been at that time) he continued to do what he wanted to do! This is not a condemnation of anyone posting here, or reading this. I refer to the popular music fanbase in general. Good for you Bob!

Bob Dylan provided more unintended leadership to popular music in the last fifty years than probably anyone else, but at the same time he was a product of his environment.

I watched the Milwaukee show with bemusement. The musicianship was not as good as the end of the tour in TX, but he was having fun. That inspite of the fact that only half the audience enjoyed each number, depending on how current it was. I loved the Gospel show and LPs. I have bought other gospel artist since, because of those LPs. I enjoyed the back up singers, and the enthusiasm.

I have most of his LPs. Of course some are played more than others, but it's his music, and he does not owe me an explanation for what he chooses to record.

I hope I get the chance to see the current tour. He's not a kid anymore, and there will only be so many more chances to see this ARTIST.

WonkoTheSane
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Re: So, Bob came through town...

I'm young. So please excuse me when I say I was introduced to Bob Dylan by the 30th anniversary concert cd set. As I began to like him more, I became equally fascinated by the man himself. Now, I don't know if you guys like reading about rock as much as listening to rock, but if you do, I simply loved

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