page by Bill Pagel
Review by J. Matthew Martin
We had a family affair tonight, with Andy and his lovely sister, my wife
and her brother, Bob, a fellow fan club member, and our six year old
daughter making the sixty mile trip from Orange County to Winston-Salem.
This arena is where Wake Forest University plays basketball, so I was
concerned about the sound, however it was splendid. The arena was not
full, but the lower level basically was, with what I perceive to be the
"usual," predominately white crowd, ranging in ages from six to beyond
sixty. There were a number of kids. We had great seats thanks to the
priority seating from bobdylan.com; I highly recommend it.
The show started promptly at 8:20, with Bob strolling out in the now
famous ten gallon hat and western suit. His black and white boots were
very stylish. Larry wore a grey morning coat, and looked particularly
distinguished. Charlie wore a grey suit, and Tony sported his usual hat.
I am the Man, Thomas began the show, and the sound was breezy and relaxed
all night. The jazzy vibe was similar to When Dogs Run Free from last
year, but spread out through the whole evening. A very different show
than last year's more flat out affair.
The Love and Theft songs were quite good, and held their own with the
oldies, which included Mr. Tambourine Man, It's All Right Ma and Just Like
a Woman. My wife, who is hard to please, really enjoyed High Water (for
Charlie Patton), and I thought Sugar Baby was sublime. His Band cut loose
on Tweedledee Dee and Tweedledee Dumb and the closer, Rainy Day Women 12 &
35. The harmonies on Searching for a Soldier's Grave were truly
spiritual. One thing that struck me tonight was how incredibly talented
and versatile Larry is: he played a number of songs on the pedal steel
guitar that were moving in their grace. Brother Bob thought the new
drummer was fantastic, and I agree---I had read some criticism of him from
some of the earlier shows this month, but he did more than just hang in
The highlight for me was It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, during which you
could hear a pin drop in the audience; the whole ambiance of this song,
along with the crowd was startling. My wife loved the syncopated version
of Tangled Up In Blue. The kid really liked Cold Irons Bound, which did
rock, but breezily so, and it is Andy's favorite, too. Love Sick deserves
mention, as well.
Bob is setting the table for his audience---all one has to do is come and
sup. This was a seamless performance by a one of a kind musician. We had
a great evening.
J. Matthew Martin
Review by Jesse Lambertson
I packed up my belongings and I put them in my car and headed over to
Carrboro, NC where I met a few friends to travel with to the Bob Dylan
concert at the LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem, NC. (April and Mark,
thanks for driving) The show started a bit late, about fifteen minutes,
but wow was it worth the wait. I have to say that this might have been
one of the absolute smoothest bob dylan concerts I have ever been to, I
had a great time. My seats were good; about a third of the way up the
aisle from the soundboard and right on the aisle so we could see well.
Bob really controlled his voice during some of the rocking numbers like
Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee so that it would not break or stress too
much during some of the more strenuous parts. I was very impressed. He
did this throughout, even on the powerful version of Hard Rain. I was
also very happy to hear that greta tune "I am the Man, Thomas" as the
opener because though I had heard it on recordings, I had not heard it
yet live. The show did have a few highlights that I would really like to
point out and praise. I like the way Bob and Larry started out alone
together on High Water (for Charlie Patton) and then ended alone as
well. The flow immediately warms up and then cools down slowly, like the
way it should be for a proper work out. But one of the other things I
liked about the way the song was done was the use of George's drums as a
strong underlying rhythm that is so powerful because it does not go all
the way out and explode. One of the common misunderstandings about music
I think is that in order for a tune to let out energy and express
tension, it has to be a full force guitar and double bass song. Untrue.
Sometimes the strength of a song is the fact that it is capable of a lot
of force but does does not let it all go at once. This, to me, gives the
impression that it is fact more powerful that it lets on because it
shows a control of its awesome boom. I also liked the way that the band
started playing the First encore song (Lovesick) before Bob was truly
ready at the microphone to sing. I therefore was already in a large size
energetic high jump in preparation for the song (which was also my first
time to hear live). But one of the things that I notice as I see Bob
here and there is the way that every time he plays Rainy Day Women
12&35, the house lights always go on because they know that many of the
"fans" want to smoke a joint during the song. I understand the venue's
liability concerns and I don't want to criticize them (they are jurt
responding to the way in which people react to the song generally). My
main issue is that people fundamentally misunderstand the song itself.
What does Bob say in it? He says, "They'll stone you and they'll say
that it's the end, They'll stone you and they'll be back again. I would
not feel so all alone, everybody must get stoned." This song is about
getting criticized, judged, and held back for whatever reason by various
people and circumstances. Thus the particularly awesome rendition of the
song last night symbloized that by the way that as the song moved
through its motif it moved slowly like a large train or truck being held
down by a bad place in the track or by a flat tire. It came across with
the effect of grinding, wanting to stop and rest, but continuing
nonetheless. And it just kept going in circles around and around. So
after they stone you (hurt you in some way or hinder you in another),
they'll be back again to do it again later on. Or somebody will,
probably you or me. WE're all the same in this way. We all stone and
everybody must get stoned. Or as Jack NIcholson's character says in Easy
Rider, "We're all in the same cage here." The song is much bigger than
being about something as rediculous as drugs. Bob did them in the past,
true. But he has always tried to write pieces that are about more
profound aspects of life. (Do my thoughts in this review make sense?
email me if you have any questions or just want ot talk about BOB DYLAN
I just want to thank Bob and the whole band (Larry, Charlie, Tony, and
the 'new guy' George for delivering something well constructed to us last
night at the LJVM Coliseum. Thanks all for your time and attention.
Review by Hamp Nettles
I spent the night in Greensboro with a friend and so I am just getting
back around noon. I'll have to keep my comments brief, because I'm off
for Hotlanta in a few hours.
Just as he did in Charleston, Dylan came out in a black suit and a white
Stetson, and just as he did in Charleston he opened with 'I Am The Man,
Thomas.' Not too much to say here - not my favorite opener, but very well
done. This led into a wonderful harp solo and the classic chords of 'Mr.
Tambourine Man.' He's back to singing it the 'old' way, but I loved it
nonetheless. It also featured an absolutely brilliant guitar solo. I was
'It's Alright Ma' wasn't as loud and rockin' as it had been in Charleston.
And it was very clear to me that either Receli's drums were mixed down on
this one or he was playing softer. The vocals were apocalyptic, fitting
the song perfectly. (I listened to the 2000 tour version of the song on
the way home, the new one is better by far.)
'Searching for a Soldier's Grave' had another beautiful solo and 'Tweedle
Dee & Tweedle Dum' was light years better than it hand been in Charleston.
The band was much tighter and Dylan had a better feel for the rhythm and
'Just Like A Woman' had an extra long intro with Bob on harp and Larry on
pedal steel. It is really tough to describe how good this performance
was. The singing was so stately and just out of this world. Dylan really
put me in another place and time with this one. Most surprising of all,
he played a very excellent solo during the break. All around, it was a
very impressive performance.
But just when I thought Dylan was going soft on us, he launched into a
'Lonesome Day Blues' that I won't soon forget. When Dylan played the song
it Nashville last Fall, I was very disappointed. It is one of my favorite
songs, but it has to be loud! In Nashville, the playing was weak, the
drums were weak, and the vocals were weak. Last night Dylan solved
everyone of those problems with a performance that blows the album version
out of the world (believe it!). Larry on slide guitar was a master
stroke, and it was precisely what the song desperately needed. His
singing was just gripping and that unforgettable figure at the end of
every line seemed to get louder and louder, until the break when all hell
broke loose. All around, just a tremendous effort.
'High Water' still kicks ass every time I hear it, and I think this one
(my third) was the best yet, mainly due to some splendid work from
'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue' was very well done, with Larry on pedal
steel and Charlie on electric guitar (usual, but very effective). 'A Hard
Rain's A-Gonna Fall' got off to a rocky start with a flub of the opening
lyric. The song has been rearranged slightly during the chorus part. This
new arrangement, it seems, caused a major vocal flub that marred and
otherwise perfect (and I do mean perfect) rendition of the song. During
the last verse, Dylan appeared to realize that he had some mistakes to
make up for and that verse was absolutely amazing. The song ended with a
'tremendous push,' as Cynthia Gooding might have said.
'Tangled Up In Blue' was a real foot stomper. The crowd went nuts. Dylan
ripped into some frantic solos and the more the crowd cheered, the looser
he got. By the end of the song he was literally strutting around stage
and when the song finished up he drew a standing ovation. Let's face it,
its one of the greatest songs ever written, and I think it would be a damn
shame if he didn't play it every night. The crowd loves it, he loves it,
what else do you need?
'Summer Days' was a let-down for me. Instead of doing the juke-joint
version I heard in Charleston, it was 'jazzed-up' with Charlie noodling
around on the guitar, doing too much of nothing. The last few verses,
though, he started playing rock'n'roll as he ought to have been, and it
finished very nicely.
'Sugarbaby' was like nothing I've ever heard Dylan sing. It wasn't much
in Charleston, but last night it was something else. I just don't what to
write. You've got to track this down on tape. That's all I can say about
'Cold Irons Bound' should have been louder, in my opinion, but I love the
arrangement and the performance was good.
What I am about to write may shock you, but 'Rainy Day Women' was by far,
one of the best performances of the night. The song started off on the
wrong foot, or rather, with Larry on the wrong foot. Dylan had already
launched into the song before Larry could do the steel intro, but once he
got setup, there was no turning back. On the other side of the stage,
Charlie walked over to Dylan and the two started trading notes on the
guitars. From where I stood, it looked like Charlie either said 'Bob,
you're hot' or 'Bob, let me take a shot.' In any case, Bob gave him a
simple head nod and he was cut loose. Charlie proceeded play some of the
finest guitar I've ever seen or heard him play. He was doing things on
his guitar that you wouldn't believe and would make your head spin to see.
Larry, not to be forgotten, played steel even better than he had in
Charleston. His fingers were flying and I was surprised not to see sparks
fly from his hands. The crowd was roaring Dylan was doing all sorts of
crazy struts on stage. He would walk up to the edge of the stage, point
with the tip of his guitar and pluck a note or two, and the crowd would go
nuts. Pretty soon he had a huge smile on his face and was content to let
Charlie and Larry play their hearts out - and they didn't drop the ball.
Both of them had their own cheering sections on their respective sides of
the stage, and so both Charlie and Larry had huge smiles on their faces.
Tony, of course, was smiling, cause he is always smiling. I'm if I could
have seen George better, I'm sure he was smiling too. Needless to say,
this whole display put a huge smile on my face and after Dylan introduced
the band and finished the song off, the applause was huge, but well
After such a great performance, the encore was pretty mundane. The harp
intro to 'If Dog Run Free', though, was just what the song needs and
Larry's playing on this one was crazy. The show finished up with the best
'Blowin' In The Wind' I've heard live yet.
All in all, this show was as good as, if not better than Charleston. I
can't say I'm in love with the setlist selections, but if he keeps playing
this well, fuck the playlist! I would say more, but I've got to hit the
road. See you in Atlanta!
page by Bill Pagel
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