Donnie Herron and just enough to pick up the banjo and they were into a
fierce "Highwater," that featured both a lyric change, "I'm preachin' the
word of God/ I'll open up your eyes," and this amazing jam interlude where
Herron, Dylan and Freeman found this one groove and this one riff and were
totally in sync playing together and taking it as far as it could go.
This was followed by a simply gorgeous version of "To Ramona," where not a
note was out of place. "Rollin' and Tumblin' " followed with Denny playing
slide on a blue Denny with Stu Kimball on a black Strat and Donnie again on
electric mandolin and Dylan totally focused on how and what he was singing.
For the next song Kimball picked up his acoustic and started strumming alone
with Dylan on harp. Dylan played a few bars and started walking back to an
anvil case which held the harps and the Oscar statue, switched harps,
Kimball kept strumming a sixties style Dylan rhythm with Dylan playing harp
and thus began a version of "Desolation Row" that was amazing. Not only was
Dylan again nailing the vocal with fierce intensity -- the way he sang, "The
good Samaritan, he's dressing, he's getting ready for the SHOW," seemed to
summon all the deep and dark evil spirits lurking in the crevices and
cabinets of the songs landscape - the interplay between the musicians was
intense. Donnie Herron had been coloring the song with subtle yet intricate
mandolin riffs, but on this sing his role in this band became very apparent.
His focus is totally on Dylan what Dylan is playing. His job is to pick up
whatever riff Dylan might come across on the keys, then start duplicating it
and transmit it to the rest of the band. And when it works as it was the
entire night, he and Dylan are totally in sync with each other. Denny
Freeman who'd been playing brilliantly all night contributed a with a Steve
Cropper-esque guitar solo followed by another great harp solo.
A very funky version of "Most Likely You Go Your Way came next," with Denny
sounding like a combination of Roy Nichols and Robbie Robertson, while Dylan
toyed with the lyrics. At one point I could swear he sang, "You say you're
tired and you're always wired, but you know sometimes you lie."
Then came an incredibly spooky version of "Hollis Brown," which was the very
first song Dylan performed in this venue when he returned to touring almost
33 years ago. While that version rocked hard, this version was all about
sustained tension, with the two guitars acoustic, with Denny playing slide.
Just as you thought the song was about to end, Dylan reprised the final line
followed by a final few chords that even though the guitars were acoustic
were as hard and heavy as anything played the entire night.
Then it was back into overdrive for "Highway 61 Revisited," followed by a
"Spirit on the Water" that was at once loose, and slyly sharp with Dylan
have talking, having singing, almost deadpanning the vocal, giving the song
a new meaning. When it came to the do you think I'm over the hill, the
line, the audience shouted back, "No!"
"Tangled Up In Blue" was perfect with more excellent guitar from Freeman and
led into another exquisite version of "Nettie Moore." This song truly
displays the strengths of this band because the structure of the song is so
precise. Mainly based around Kimball's finger picking colored by Herron's
viola, Freeman, Garnier and Receli, and Receli actually is playing a far
more intricate pattern, on top of the incessant thumping of the kick drum.
On top of this Dylan sang beyond the bounds of passion and as he did at the
Meadowlands, almost sang a harmony part on the chorus It was stunning.
The band and Dylan pulled out all the stops on "Summer Days" and simply had
a blast. There were broad smiles all around especially on the
instrumentals, especially near the end where they again found one riff to
work off and took it as far as they could.
"Thunder On The Mountain" picked up where "Summer Days left off, in a
perfect version and again Dylan sang both "Like A Rolling Stone" and "All
Along The Watchtower" with energy and commitment and both featured superb
solos by Freeman and final jam where the sound seemed larger than the
instruments being played onstage.
Meeting up with friends who sat elsewhere during the show, everyone asked
the same question, "Was that as great as I thought it was?" The answer was
"Don't go mistaking Paradise
For that home across the road." --Bob Dylan
This tour seems to be winding towards a dramatic conclusion...
look forward to hearing the tapes!
> This tour seems to be winding towards a dramatic conclusion...
> look forward to hearing the tapes!
Although last nights Philly show isn't up yet, all shows up to and
including the November 17 show are being torrented at:
PSB's review was brilliant. And from listening to the shows the last few
days it looks as if this tour is turning into a great one!
When he came in early on this, my reaction was sort of "hah! that was very
amusing". But actually now it reminds me of a comment I read somewhere,
I think in one of the Paul Williams books, about how he would walk to the stage
carrying his guitar and start strumming it on the way, as if he couldn't
wait to start playing. A real sense of purpose last night, one might say.
One might also say that he wasn't fucking around at all.
Bob is Bob.
Bob is the man.
I'm so jealous I can't see him this time out. Sounds like he is in top
New York is tomorrow and I am only an hour away, but...
no money, no ticket.
thanks for the great review. At least I get an inkling of how the deal
now to you tube to see if anyone has posted some concert footage.
About half way through this tour I almost started to get a little
disillusioned - though each performance had some great moments there
always seemed to be two or thre songs that Dylan would "throw away"
each night, most commonly "Don't Think Twice" and "Positively 4th St".
I was beginning to wonder if we'd ever hear another show which just
nailed it from beginning to end, but from (as far as I can tell) around
the time of the two nights in Boston he has done exactly that.
And I agree with what you say about Donnie's role - rather than playing
lead as on previous tours he is jumping on whatever riff Bob hits on
the keys and doubling it up. The difficulty that a lot of people have
is that this isn't readily apparent from some of the tapes we've been
hearing. The band is playing with such subtle dynamics that you really
need to hear the balance of instruments exactly as intended to get what
they're doing. The minute you take something out and can't hear either
Donnie or Stew's "backing leads" it really loses something.
Right Derek, it's a subtle mix and the audience recordings may not
necessarily be getting it. I was surprised by both shows I saw.
Thanks for the great review. One for the trades, without a doubt; it's
one of the best things I've ever seen you post, if you don't mind me
saying so. Even though I saw the shows in Rochester and St. Paul
earlier this year, I couldn't come close to conveying the sense of
excitement and satisfaction you cogently and eloquently communicated in
Thanks again for giving words to the things we feel at these things
and, on behalf of all the fans out there, for documenting Bob's
continuing vitality and appeal.
> New York is tomorrow and I am only an hour away, but...
> no money, no ticket.
If I was only an hour away from New York, I would take the chance and
go hang around the theatre to see what is happening on the street...
maybe get lucky and pick up a free ticket, or dirt cheap one... you
know lots of people end up with extras they can't use because someone
got sick or didn't turn up or they bought one ticket and then got a
better one... all sorts of things, and they don't want to give those
tickets to scalpers... even if it's a ticket to the worst seat in the
house, once you're in, if your eyes are open, you'll find your way to a
better seat that someone's not using.
you only live once and you can never tell... magical things happen
sometimes when you put yourself in their way.
something tells me this show in New York could be special...
Make that three. And THAT was a great show, besides being my first
rock concert. Good ol' Box Lunch!
The "Positively 4th Street" in East Rutherford was no throw away. Even
when BD stumbles on a line or two, you have to take in the total feel
and delivery. Without a doubt, this was the best version I have
I have to say the Long Island, New York (Uniondale) and New Jersey
(East Rutherford) shows (didn't make it to Philadelphia) were the best
I've been to since '02. Bob's voice may be getting rougher and rougher
with less and less range, but he and the band brought their "A" game
this time around.
You can never write Dylan live off. Long may he run.
PSB is spot on. Philadelphia was simply extraordinary. One of the
best concerts I've seen, and perhaps (repeated listenings are necessary
before passing judgment) among Bob's greatest, destined to be
remembered alongside dates like 11/12/81 and 11/16/79. Desolation Row
and Nettie Moore gave me goosebumps, and Hollis Brown and Ramona had me
shaking my head in disbelief. Was I really witnessing this? Wow.
Dylan nailed every single song, including the ones he's done hundreds
if not thousands of times, like Rolling Stone and Watchtower. He was
like a man possessed.
I was one of those asking Peter, Seth, et al., whether I had just seen
what I thought I had seen. We were pretty much in universal agreement.
As Adam said, whatever it is that gets into Dylan on *those* nights
got into him in Philadelphia. Meadowlands was great. Fairfax was
good/very good. Philly was something special.
I don't know how often it's been brought up here, but today is the 45th
anniversary of Bob's recording *Bob Dylan* in Greenwich Village.
(November 20 & 22, 1961.) Dylan is playing in an intimate NYC
environment tonight. It's never easy to predict what the moody and
mercurial one will do, but I have a feeling we're going to hear
something off that first album, most likely "Song to Woody" or "Man of
Good musician's review.
Of course it is worth mentioning that the reason why Dylan is
extraordinary is not because he has a hot band with him and is able to
interact smoothly and subtly with them. He has played solo before and
still held an audience spellbound. The significant thing here is that
Dylan - right now - is able to inspire such awe. Right here in 2006.
He has no right to be able to cause jaw-dropping amongst seasoned
watchers at this late stage, and yet he can and does.
It seems we are living in exciting times, my friends. Modern times.
Long may we witness the sheer scale of this singular man's vision and
OH, AND HE SINGS WELL, TOO
November 20, 2006 -- DYLAN still counts. He's thin, narrow-shouldered,
and it looks like he's starting to shrink, but at 65, despite appearing
physically smaller, his presence is huge in concert. At Nassau Coliseum
last week, a warm-up gig for tonight's important City Center show,
Dylan played a towering concert that chronicled his past and celebrated
"Modern Times," his latest CD.
Bob worked the keyboards, shadowed under his flat-brimmed bolero hat.
He never reached for his trusty Gibson steel-string acoustic (that was
just an arm's length away), yet the two-hour performance didn't suffer
for the lack of strum, since it allowed Dylan to concentrate purely on
His delivery was even more gnarly than at his last gig at the Beacon,
but despite the craggy depths of his croon, he was clear, and his
phrasing was terrific from the opener, "Maggie's Farm," to the final
encore, "All Along the Watchtower."
Lights just illuminated the stage, and there was no homey chitchat from
the master, just music. Bob's classic rockers, which unglued the fans
from their seats, included, "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding),"
"Tangled Up in Blue," "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Like a Rolling
The synergy between man and fans was apparent through the show, but it
was most pronounced at the close of the fourth song "Spirit on the
Water." Bob, sweetening his voice as much as physically possible,
delivered the song's lyric "You think I'm over the hill? You think I'm
past my prime? Let me see what you got, we can have whoppin' good
As Dylan let that the tune and in-your-face sentiment trail off into
his harmonica solo, the crowd jumped to its feet, whistling and
cheering, to let the old man know they agree - he's still formidable.