page by Bill Pagel
Review by Jesse Lambertson
I know Bob had his official rolling thunder tour in 1975-76 with its own
point. It took place on America's bicentennial and I think was a
celebration of america and american music. But tonight's concert struck me
as another kind of rolling thunder, though one less playlike and less
romantic. let me explain. The band, with bob on piano, my first time
seeing this and the new guitar player freddie, jumped into maggie's farm.
bob sang well, the vocals were delivered with an almost unprecented
clarity, that he would not work on maggie's farm no more. On the surface,
this sounds great. yeah, down with the man, whoever that is. but what's he
going to do instead of working for maggie or her brother? he's going to
stay the night with his lover and give away his train ticket to some
lonely traveler. This instantly gets the crowd into a good mood and we
start to think that all is well and super. But then he jumps to singing
about two brutal violent men, tweddle dum and dee, who hate love, peace,
amd honesty. These violent men have connections with the police and
they'll stab you where you stand. they are but dead man's bones, they have
no hearts. bob knows life can't be simply shunning maggie and spending
life with loved ones. it has far more troublesome sides.
This thunder really picks up later as he creates further tension between
the man of heart and soul against the terrible world of war and guns. IN
things have changed, he wants us to think he has changed and that he does
not really care. but he does. IN just like a woman he sang slowly and
somberly that he fell in love with a woman when he was hungry and it was
her world. he needed solice at the time and her love was the perfect
remedy. But even this lovely one time peace woman is falling apart, she
has her own problems with drugs, or whatever, and her ribbons are falling
out of her hair. he does care. he cares deply. But how could you keep up
all goddnesss in the face of a vision of the world that combines businesss
and the military together in war as a game for profit like in highway 61
revisited? That would tear anyone up. So does he wants to escape again and
go watch the river flow and pay no heed to the happenings of the world? No
he brings out the blues and his inner tension between staying put beside
the river and its bucolic beauty and the necessity of getting back into the
city, or life's ratrace as he could mean. There are shook up crying people
in life and he wants to do something. He has to. Or does he just see the
only escape as in knockin' on heaven's door as death? Does he just want
to give in to this nightmare reality he perceives around him? No. Even
though like a rolling stone sounds like it's about college kids or high
schoolers graduating and trying ot figure their place in the world, it's
about all of our places in the world. INcluding bob the singer/charcter
as well. He does not want to give up. How do we know? because in all
along the watchtower, he yells out to consider life as a joke, and thus
unlivable is not his fate. And therin lies the fundamental dialectic of
the concert. he painted a picture of a world controlled through wars
and lies by big gun militaries and business and that there must be some
reckoming with them. both on a personal level and on a more
universal/national level. This is the rolling thunder. It is the sound of
the approaching storm/armageddon/human judgment. the very last words of
the concert were that the business men who take his wine and his earth
have no idea what any of it is worth. And thus just like he repeats the
first line of watchtower, which has in it a line of the howling wind
beginning, it is certainly not over. the rolling thinder is but a sign of
the storm. there is more to come but we have to figure out what to do.
But thinking aside. I was very happy with tonight's concert. The piano
made bob seem extremely invested, not because he's such an excellent
pianist. But because it proves that bob has found yet a new way to rework
his input and variance with his endless touring (thank you rebecca for
your comment about the piano). so bob's energy was high,high.high amd he
danced around he stage in pure pleasure. he had a great time, which of
course makes our time so much fun in return. the band was right on. the
tension built consistently throughout the whole of the night and freddie's
hard struck semi-staccato notes make for a cool new sound. especially in
relation ot larry's fluid rhythm, tony's smoothness. and george's
thump-thump hard style drumming. I wonder if he was ever in a punk or
hardcore band in his younger days. It was very fun, pure bliss YOUR HUMBLE
FRIEND AND NARRATOR, as Alex from clock work orange, might say. any
thoughts or questions? email me at firstname.lastname@example.org ,,,jesse
lambertson PS thanks jesse o for driving. sorry about the brakes.
Review by Hughie Mac
This is the first time I've seen Bob up so close. We were about 20 feet
from him. I was very impressed with the way Bob emotes when he sings.
The band was tight my friends. Freddie and Larry work very well together.
The leads were woven together tightly. Bob played acoustic guitar on one
song only that being Heavens Door. The Waifs joined him and the band for
Heavens door. The Waif babes are so sweet and they were in awe of Bob.
He picked up the acoustic for Don't Think Twice and he thought twice of it
and choose piano. Not enough acoustic guitar from Bob in my opinion. I
loved the show!
Review by Shepp
What a show. First row seats. My 15th since 1986. I only had to drive
about 20 miles to the venue from home. Great small outdoor amphitheater,
nestled in the woods and bordering a small lake. Great weather. The
Waifs said that it was about the most beautiful place they had performed
on this tour!
Bob in black suit, no jacket, white edging. He did have a white jacket
which he put on after the encore as he left the stage. Bob looked GREAT!
Voice was excellent, all night, even the first song!
Needless to say, it all must have contributed to Bob's great mood and
performance that night. After a day off, he came out all smiles,
especially for the first two songs. I don't think I ever saw him smile so
much as when he sang "So Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You".
The seating arrangement was great, in that this relatively small venue had
reserved seats up front about 15 rows deep, followed by general admission
lawn, and then reserved tables in the far back. Now, I usually like
general admission since I get there early and enjoy standing the entire
show anyway, however, since I had a front row seat, I was able to get the
best of both worlds!
Here's what I mean. The first row was positioned about 10 feet from the
stage itself, with nothing but grass. The stage was not that high in the
air, either, with only a small metal gate about waist high actually
leaning on the stage floor itself. Bob was then maybe 10 feet from that
point, off to the left, as I had been informed by other reviewers on this
site. While I waited for Bob to appear after the Waifs great, great
performance, I asked a security guard what the policy would be for coming
up to the stage. He said that we could stand about midway on the grass
before the stage. You can imagine how long that lasted! So, Bob comes
out after the "long announcement", and we in the first row all move
immediately to the stage. The guard just looked bewildered. This venue,
regency Park was so used to crowds that don't stand, that I don't think
they even remotely saw this coming. A stage crew person came over to the
bewildered guard, and must have said that it was ok for us to all stand
right there, and the guard's concerns were over about 2 minutes into
Maggies Farm, and we were set for the night! I must say that Tony did
look a little concerned about how close the crowd was. The best thing
(for us anyway) was that the security guards only allowed the first row to
move up to the stage. So, while we all had plenty of room, I did feel
that it must have been tough on those not as lucky. I stood directly in
front of Bob the entire show, even with the keyboard pointed towards the
center, it was the best place to be....seeing him look this way and that,
and I had some great "profiles" as he emotes the words, songs and
feelings....what a viewpoint...I could see his hands hitting the keys so
well, since I had a slight sideways look at him...I found myself
"plucking" countertops all day today!
While the songs performanced this night had all been heard by me at
previous shows, I don't think I had heard them as well before. The
exception being the Chicago show last November 1 in which he did JLAW and
added that phrase about "not mumbling this one anymore". Bob played
plenty of harp tonight too.
Tweedle was pretty standard.
Don't Think Twice was interesting, as I read what the other reviewer said
about Bob picking up the acoustic and "thinking twice"..he was right. Cold
Irons Bound and River Flow rocked! Lovesick was awesome. As good as I saw
in Fairfax in 1997. KOHD was fun and awkward. The Waifs were called out
to do background, and did. But they looked so in awe of being on stage
with Bob, they were a bit hesitant at first. And, Bob had the funniest
face on as he was laughing to himself about how "unpracticed" this must
have been for them. Classic! Everybody had fun up there in the end.
Floater was superb and actually much better with Freddie, than what I
heard in Nashville in 2001. Encores were standard songs, but again high
I have to say, Freddie is a great addition, he is being allowed to play
leads that I wish Bob had let Larry or Charlie do much more often than
they did. Blistering. Welcome Freddie!
Bob did intro the band...Larry, Freddie, George and then Tony. Then he
said, (all smiles) "Well I'm not gonna introduce myself..(laughed)" and
the crowd went wild!
I wished I could have heard Saving Grace and Love Minus Zero, No Limit,
but overall a great, great show..great crowd. No one left until the
lights were fully turned on. I thought there was a chance at a second
encore, but no luck.
Once again...THANK YOU BOB! SEE YOU SOON!
page by Bill Pagel
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