page by Bill Pagel
Review by Jesse Jones
My native South Florida redeemed itself last night at the Ft.
Lauderdale Stadium. The last time Dylan was here, July 29, 2003, he
opened for The Dead and played in a cavernous and still-empty hockey arena
so unresponsive that there was no encore. This was one of many reasons
why I schlepped to NYC on April 30 to see Dylan there, where he is
The show last night, although shortened to 10+2 songs by bad
weather, was terrific.
The Greencards started promptly at 6:30 and were excellent. The rain
increased during their half-hour set, and then Wilie's crew announced that
they were going to wait for a half hour to set up because of the
I was disappointed with Willie's set -- mostly because his band is so
lackluster. It has been a lot of years since I have seen Willie perform,
but I think the band was much more exciting. And far be it for a Dylan
freak like myself to talk about someone's voice aging, but Willie's is
fading. Still, he was Willie, and enormously charming, and a good time
was had by all.
The weather had cleared up by the time Dylan came on, but he got a
late start. It was not a New York audience -- there were a lot of young
fans who did not know the songs -- but it was still an enthusiastic and
appreciative crowd. And Dylan and the band played their hearts out.
Dylan was sweating profusely, under the lights on a hot and rainy South
Florida night. Drifter's Escape is a great, powerful opener, and then
Senor was a rare delight, that closed with Dylan on harmonica at center
stage. Cry Awhile had the same arrangement I had heard on April 30, but
it's a lot of fun with its little break. I don't find I'll Remember You
to be an exciting song, but Dylan found a lot of excitement in it. Things
Have Changed rocked, and from there the set soared. Forever Young was
exquisite, and ended with Dylan again at center stage on harmonica. Cat's
In the Well picked up the tempo wonderfully, and then Tom Thumb's Blues
soared -- I had hoped to hear it in NYC, but the line got a roar even in
this far south suburb of the City. It Ain't Me Babe had great power, and
then H61 kicked out the jams. Everyone gets a turn at a solo, including
Dylan on the keyboard, and he and Stu have a great time. What a closer!
I was surprised to hear Don't Think Twice as the encore again, the
same as in Ft Meyers the night before. It was the only acoustic number in
the whole set! But it was beautiful, and then Watchtower, well,
Watchtower was magnificent, as it is night after night.
Miami, Florida USA
Review by Kenny D.
Having come off of the Ft. Myers show I was eagerly awaiting the
Lauderdale show. The skies opened up around 6:30 and this were looking
grim. However, things cleared up and the show went on under cloudy skies
and with temperatures cooled by the rain.
As an opener Bob and Co. ripped into Drifter's Escape. Not my personal
favorite but it did set a rocking tone for the night. Senor in the #2
slot was a welcome addition to the set. The song was played with the
proper air of intrigue and Bob sang the song with good lyrical emphasis.
After a tender performance of "I'll Remember You" and a blazing "Thing
Have Changed" the first soaring highlight of the night was "Forever
Young", which I have heard on many occasions. Tonight, however, the song
was captivating and brilliant.
Cat's In the Well made its appearance and was highlighted by a violin solo
from Donnie. The set then turned to "Just Like Tom Thumb Blues." In a
word, great . . . just great. Together with Forever Young, the stand out
highlight of the show.
Other than "It Ain't Me Babe" the remaining songs in the set remained the
same from the prior evening. For me it was the first time hearing the new
slow downed IAMB which features slow, quiet singing on the verses and then
going up tempo on the chorus. I personally prefer the arrangement from
circa 2002, but, that said, thankfully Bob keeps it interesting by
reworking his arranegements.
For some reason the show tonight featured 2 less songs than the prior
night which was a little disappointing and leaves you thinking about the
songs you could have been heard in those 2 slots. That notwithstanding,
it was a fabulous two nights (23 different songs) with Bob and the gang.
Review by James Yerrill
Drifter's Escape was very, very strong - I think Bob and the band wanted
to play the song twice, they seemed to enjoy it so much.
Descriptions of Willie's band being lackluster are correct. They seemed
okay during their set - but once Dylan's band came on you realized that we
had been listening to a bunch of wash-ups for the previous hour. It's
also interesting how much louder and better the sound was for Dylan's band
than for Willie's. We were hearing bands in two completely different
venues, with different sound systems, etc. (I love you Willie, sorry,
please get it together.)
The highway 61 closer was the hottest thing I've seen from Dylan or anyone
else in a long time. There was a Ray Charles documentary on PBS the other
night that described how Ray would direct his band, and especially his
drummer, with cues from his feet, nods of the head, and almost invisible
facial ticks - Dylan was playing with that bag of tricks in a big way last
The other point I've seen people bring up recently is the depth of
conviction with which Dylan delivers certain lines. Last night's Highway
61 is a prime example of how he can turn time inside out, if I'm not
mistaken - he drove home the line at the end, "Yes, I think it can be
easily done, we'll just put some raisin's out in the sun, and have it on
Highway 61." Doesn't look like much when you read it, but the vocal
pacing was like a crazy funky verbal drum solo in wrong but perfect
looney-offset to the wailing guitars - the effect was something - your
skin tingles, and you get the sensation of more fun than you've ever had
before. Dylan and the band finished the song and Dylan got up, sort of
staggering away from his keyboard back to a table or whatever he has back
there, then turned back to audience that he knew he had just blown away.
He made a genture as if pulling two six-shooters from his holdsters,
almost showing a smile of contentment for what he and the band he had just
done to us.
page by Bill Pagel
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