Toledo, Ohio

Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre

June 29, 2016

[Brian B.], [Laurette Maillet], [Don Ely]

Review by Brian B.

Great show last night in Toledo, OH.  All of the items needed for a
perfect concertexperience were aligned – the weather, the sound, the
friendly atmosphere, the historicvenue and of course, the
performance. Dylan has performed at the Toledo Zoo Amphitheater three
times and Ibelieve that last night’s performance was the strongest of
the three.  Each time he has brought along great openingacts including
Jimmie Vaughn, Leon Russell, and last night, Mavis Staples.  HIS BAND.
 The band played impeccably well by producing complimentary tones for
eachsong.  Donnie Herron’s instruments greatlycontributed to the
band’s sound, most notably on the covers from the GreatAmerican
Songbook.  Quite the changeconsidering that during his first tours with
Dylan, Donnie’s instruments wereoften inaudible.  THE AUDIENCE.  From
where I sat in the forth row, the audiencewas very enthusiastic.  Added
fun was hadduring “Early Roman Kings” with about a dozen or so
audience members producinghandkerchiefs and waving them in the
air. Another example came during “Spirit on the Water” when Dylan was
assuredthat “No!” he was not “over the hill” or “past his
prime.”  THE PERFORMANCE.  One should not to be concerned with lack
ofchanges in the set list from evening to evening.  Performers have been
accused of going on“autopilot” or “phoning it in” when set lists
go unchanged.  Rest assured, based on the performance yesterdayevening,
this was not the case.  Rather, subtleand not-so-subtle differences were
included throughout the set.  For example, “Things Have Changed” is
nowplayed more similar to the recorded version. This differs from the
fast shuffle performed in recent years.  Other variances included new
musical shiftsin dynamics and interludes in the songs “Long and Wasted
Years” and “Lovesick.”  This approach kept the songs fresh for
boththe band and audience and was consistent with Dylan’s practice
ofreinterpreting his material.  No one onthe stage appeared to be phoning
it in. DYLAN. I find it difficult to add to the volume of discussion
about Bob Dylanthat is written while on tour.  So I’llkeep it short and
simple.  For those ofus who have followed his career, it has been a very
rewarding journey.  I certainly hope that Dylan continues to producenew
music and perform.  I am especiallyappreciative that he has chosen to
introduce us to material that we might havemissed like the “Sinatra”
songs from the Great American Songbook or theplentiful folk covers he has
shared over the years.  If the current tour itinerary is anyindication,
he will keep moving forward and I look forward to the ride.  

Brian B.  


Review by Laurette Maillet

I arrived in Toledo in the afternoon. 
Toledo is matching Dayton as an empty and depressing city. 
I search a long time for a cup of coffee, even the passersby don’t know
where to guide me. 
I finally find a Bigby’s café with WIFI. 
I connect to Google map to find the direction to the Zoo Amphitheater. 
I decide to take a walk there. 
I walk through an area that had been rich and prosper considering the size
of the houses, but it looks now all abandoned and neglected. Half houses
are empty, half inhabited by Latinos families. 
I find a small Mexican bakery where I get food and drink. 
The walls of empty and abandoned buildings are covered with beautiful
People here are poor but not desperate. 

It takes me one hour and a half to reach the … Zoo. Bobby Dylan playing
in a Zoo! 
Tonight a friend will join me for the show, so I have to find 2 tickets,
as good seats as possible. 
Luck is with me; a person is selling 2 seats on the floor. There is no
lawn here but a floor area then behind benches on a slop. 
The public is average of 50 or 60 years old. The old nostalgic crowd. No
picnic tonight but no Rock and Roll fantasy neither. 
Some folks I know are hanging around but they will ignore me, as I will
ignore them. Instead I have a nice talk with a priest from a new Church;
Spirit Truth. I am profoundly agnostic but I don’t mind a spiritual
conversation with a true believer; a good Heart is a good Heart. 
Patrick arrives from Pittsburgh shortly after 7 p.m. Mavis is already on,
as the show tonight starts at 7 p.m. Who knows why? 

The venue is far away from being full, even the floor seats. 
It is still day light when Stu moves on to the stage, strumming his guitar
but no one seems to pay attention. Only when Bob takes the center mike,
there is a reaction from the first rows. 
Bob is all in black, wearing the black pants with the straps. 
The public will stand up for the few first songs. I am wondering how many
of my neighbors know the songs Bob is doing with professionalism, as if it
is the first time he is performing that setlist. 
The first great reaction is of course on “Tangled up in Blue”. 
As usual the crowd, in its majority, came to see the Legend. 
The young girls next to me are chatting nonstop. 
Few of the Fans will realize that Bob is doing a lot better on “How deep
is the Ocean” than yesterday. 
I am standing and doing my Karaoke trip. 
“The early Roman kings“ are powerful. 
I believe there was a music bridge missing on “Beyond here lies
“Scarlet town” was electrified by Charlie. 
“Spirit on the water” was as swinging as ever and brought attention to
a young fellow next to me. I gave him the title of the song. 
All together that a pleasant show. I was happy to be there with a friend
to share. 

And tonight I will have a ride to a home, sweet home. 
For me it is time to take a break. 
Bobby will go on. So good luck my Dear. 
Safe trip! 


Review by Don Ely

The grey suits tonite. Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre is a venue I'm well
familiar with. In the 1990's we saw the Tragically Hip here on at least
two occasions among seeing them overall perhaps a dozen times. They were "
our " band and we always got seats in the first few rows or saw them at a
club, including my first time at Asylum Underground in Toledo. Their
kinetic frontman Gord Downie was a true entertainer, and their songs were
top flight. Now comes the news that Gord Downie has been bitten by the
bastard of terminal brain cancer. He's going out as he lived, however, a
life on the road, as the Canadian band undertakes one final summer tour.
May God Bless You and Keep You Always, Gordon. It was on the night of July
12, 2007 that I saw Bob Dylan and His Band at Toledo Zoo, a night when I
got my second and last " When I Paint My Masterpiece ". Bob has played
here since, but this is the only occasion where our paths have crossed at
this spot in nine years.

I was coming up from the previous evening's show in Kettering, so I had an
afternoon to kill. That meant a leisurely breakfast at Cracker Barrel -
best pancakes in the world! - and an hour spent walking the streets of
Findlay, Ohio, the town where my grandfather grew up. If you're ever
traveling I-75 past Findlay, make sure you take the time to relax and pay
a visit to Dietsch Bros for a real ice cream treat. Best chocolate shakes
in the world, extra thick! It's located downtown right on Main Cross, less
than two miles from the freeway. On the left past the railroad tracks. An
unsolicited testimonial! As many times as I'd seen shows at Toledo Zoo I'd
never been to the zoo itself, so that was on today's itinerary, too. As it
was, with my other stops and orange construction barrels slowing traffic
along I-75 I didn't arrive until 5pm, just an hour before closing. Still,
I paid the admission and proceeded over the footbridge above Anthony Wayne
Blvd and into the sanctuary. Many of the animals seemed to be already off
the clock for the day, but I did visit the reptile house and an African
exhibit and saw meerkats for the first time, those adorable rodents who
stand erect and seem to be perpetually on alert. While walking around I
heard music! Ah, the soundcheck! No Bob, just the band. Strolling over to
the closed amphitheatre I found a six-inch concrete step that would allow
me to spy over the fence like a kid sneaking a peek at Charlie Gehringer
or Hank Greenberg. On the opposite side a Zealous Security Clown stationed
at that point told me in no uncertain terms, " STEP BACK! STEP BACK! THIS
IS A CLOSED REHEARSAL!! " No it isn't, dude, it's only a soundcheck. There
was little to see, anyway, and everything could be heard perfectly fence
or no fence. The band was working mostly on song parts, so it was of minor
interest, only to geeks like me. Nothing worth taping. The only number
that I caught mostly complete was " Pay In Blood ". Six o'clock rolled
around and I merely returned to my car, grabbed my ticket, and headed back
to the entrance to be admitted to the show. They tore my ticket along the
perforation, an action not seen in the age of scanners in quite some time.
Not having eaten since breakfast I visited one of the zoo concessions. I
struck up conversation with Linda, a sexagenarian in line in front of me.
She seemed impressed that I was attending my 96th Bob Dylan show and
invited me over to her table to meet her husband and break bread. After
shared tales and smiles we parted ways, and I went to claim my seat. This
was the furthest from the stage I'd ever been at Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre,
in the fourth row of the grandstand, but was straight out from Bob when at
center stage and afforded a great view of the proceedings with great sound
and good folks around me. Someone was wondering in what year Louis
Armstrong died and I chirped in and said 1971. I've been to an above-store
apartment in New Orleans where Satchmo lived as a teenager, and the former
Iroquois Theatre down the block where he played , so I take an interest in
these things. Mavis Staples performed another effervescent set, what else
could be expected from this lady? Tonight she and her band played a
powerhouse Gospel number not played the other three nights I saw them. I
don't believe it was " Go Down Moses ", but a dominant lyric was " creep
on Moses ". Stirring stuff, and perhaps she includes more material of this
nature in her headlining shows. I thoroughly enjoyed having the
opportunity to finally catch up with Mavis during this tour.

Soon enough it was time for Bob. The opening three numbers, " Things Have
Changed ", " She Belongs To Me ", and " Beyond Here Lies Nothin' ", though
unchanged since 10/10/13, get the band hot in a New York minute. Then came
the first of the standards, " The Night We Called It A Day ", which went
down well with the audience. I spotted Linda and her husband in front of
me about a dozen rows from the stage, and I could tell they were having
fun. Song after song, slow or fast, tough as leather or sweet and
melodious, each was just so damn refreshing that spirits were renewed all
night long. That's the best way I can describe seeing the same set four
times in a week: refreshing. That may sound contradictory but it's true.
Naturally not everyone would be in agreement. The devil on my shoulder
coaxed me into a little sparring with a couple Dylan detractors. One guy
acted especially distraught over Bob's handling of " Tangled Up In Blue "
and left during intermission. Another was bellowing " Dylan sucked! " on
the way out after the show. I noticed both spent $25 on the poster. Too
bad they didn't do the research; it's not 1974 anymore, people. Not
everybody develops beyond Classic Rock Radio. The rest of us, though we
may not always jive with what Bob ( or any artist ) chooses to bring to
the stage or studio, we can at least appreciate diversity in music and
rejoice in the fact that said artist is not merely a figure in a wax
museum. I know I had a hell of a time. One young woman of 18 said she
would marry Bob in a heartbeat! Now that's refreshing and now that's what
I call music!

Don Ely
Rochester, MI  


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