Eugene, Oregon

Cuthbert Amphitheater

June 7, 2016

[Jeff Harrison], [Dave Harper]

Review by Jeff Harrison

Well, I teach a college Dylan course, and I've been seeing Dylan for
over 40 years, and for a long time it was fun arguing over which show
was the best.  Nothing in the last 15 years ever got my nomination. 
I've read reviews here in recent years, and always had to wonder who the
heck these people were making such hyberbolic claims about nearly every
show.  I wasn't even planning to go to the Cuthbert show last night, but
a friend said I had to, and gave me a ticket--and I said ok.  I'm mighty
glad I did. The actual highlight of the evening for me might have been
the eagle flying over the crowd shortly before Dylan took the stage
(that has lots of special meaning for me).  That's not to say the show
wasn't wonderful: it actually was.  Of course I knew the setlist, and
knew not to expect miracles like Mavis joining Dylan for "Blowin' in the
Wind," or a dedicatory rendition of "Who Killed Davey Moore"--no
surprises.  But the band, the songs, the crowd--and the Man--all worked
together for a special evening.  The arrangements allowed me to hear the
words of the "new songs" in ways I hadn't caught before, and I realized
that Dylan chose these songs carefully: they all speak for him.  Every
song has something "Dylanesque"--either rhetorically or meaningfully. 
And when someone near me wondered if he ever talks to the crowd, I said
"Constantly, in every song." I think the time of arguing over which show
is best might be over.  I'll appreciate the old ones, that varied so
enormously and contended for "the greatest," and I'll be glad the
current ones are what they are.

I'd go again, and might even pay next time!

Jeff Harrison


Review by Dave Harper

Posting another completely biased review from a seventy-five year old
listener since 1962. Gil Turner and one of the Traum brothers brought me a
copy of Blowing In The Wind and one called Stewball. They raved about Bob.
I've been listening ever since. Currently in Portland, a retired
Rock-Pop-Country and Classical D.J. 1956-98. We know most of these songs
fairly well, played them on the air. Some of those old Capitol records
brand new.Some of it right here where the concert was in Eugene. In fact
just around a bend in the Willamette that flows buy, we used to play whole
sides of Bob's new albums on FM rock. That was a while ago. Nobody does
that.So, right away I can tell you the new material from the old days
doesn't bother me at all, even if it isn't what we listen to Dylan for. To
me this a generous and sophisticated evolution of the singers craft with
works, like his own, that ring deep and true. The trick is to know, or
care, how to listen. Whenever we look someones looking at something else
and missing what's going on. Same with these shows. These recordings.
 Have to turn it up or go listen by yourself, it's really worth it. Best
Dylan I've seen and heard, last night at the Cuthbertson Amphitheater, in
more than 20 years... and thats all the shows in the Northwest, few in
Michigan, some in California.There were about 5000 packed in tight with
the lush green of  Eugene's  Alton Baker Park.  Perfect summers day.
Happy audience glad to be there ol' Mr. Frank songs and all. To my ears,
and boy was I paying attention to this one, every song was an upgrade from
previous versions on record or in concert.Arrangements tweaked up, lyrics
gleefully turned around here and there. Nothing routine in any of it. 
First song out, our exceedingly well dressed performer, in excellently
tailored light gray suit with white hat and shoes or boots to match, tells
us Things Have Changed. Change I picked up on was a less rapid delivery
and the words caught on easier. Next up a show high light. She Belongs To
Me. It was large and bold, man does this guy have a band, the harmonica
break hit like a chorus of trumpets, sharp and radiant. Best I'd heard
this old favorite. Let me mention a few outstanding in a night of Dylan at
his finest.  Singing like you've never heard before.  A fiery and snuffy
old war horse you might think has been run into the ground, even dead,
Tangled Up In Blue has a whole new life and meaning. Surprise lyrics and
hot arrangement, maybe the best of them all. It was fun anyway.
Intermission and we didn't move. Hopped up banjo leads us into High Water.
Another classic, only Dylan could write and rightfully sing, alive and
kicking.  Having worked and lived, on Grand Blvd., in Detroit when it
burned, while employed as an announcer at WXYZ-TV,Early Roman Kings surely
resonates. Love how he hammers it home. George Recile sure helps.  This
whole song is a stone masterpiece and some writers say it isn't. Like Sir
Van says: "It just is... it just is". Something amazing was If I Could
Have Told You, that sad old break up Jimmy Van Heusen song Sinatra nailed
so well, became the most deeply felt performance of a lot of deep Dylan
we've heard. More than the song, great as it might be, was the feeling in
it. There was a slightly low point but I'm not going to say what it was.
Could have just been me. Somebody in front was changing diapers.Concerts
on the lawn aren't for old men. Scarlett Town is as big a song as Bob has
ever done. Might be too theologically dense or  oblique to make sense,
though this appears to define our world and condition, this modern time,
in a traditional form that says it for me. Our Eugene crowd likes the
Fallen Angels and the Shadows songs too. I like the way they balance and
pull us in. Helps us listen and feel.Groovy as we might all want to be our
focus is fleeting in every way. This stuff wakes us up, stirs us up within
and reminds us of the trip we're on. Long And Wasted Years is a hell of a
song.   One of those moments you ask yourself 'Did I just hear what I
thought I heard...did he say 'we cried because our souls were
on the record or 'because our clothes were torn'...? Pretty funny. Encore
is not what you expect it to sound like and it's one more version of
Blowing In The Wind we haven't heard before.And another under appreciated
gem from a while back Love Sick made shiny and new. A solid closer. All
this and Mavis too. Lot of Staple's Singers records played in this busy
little university town. Back in the day of turn tables it was Staples
along side the best rock and roll and blues on the radio like at KZEL.Ever
hear Pop's sing Masters Of War? Like Aaron Neville with God On Our Side.
Very few people can cover Bob right. They did. Something was, indeed
delivered.Can't help it. Still a fan.  

Dave Harper
Portland, Oregon


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