Review

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Outlaw Misic Festival
Summerfest
American Family Insurance Amphitheater

July 9, 2017


[Dave Moyer]

Review by Dave Moyer



Outlaw Blues

Stu strums, the boys come out in matching gray suits with black shirts, and Bob is 
wearing white tonight.  No hat for Bob, and the traditional beret for George.  Stu, 
George, and Tony are grouped tightly together stage left, and Charlie, and Donnie
back Bob stage right.  The traditional opener, "Things Have Changed," starts it off, 
and away we go.  In Bob's second and final appearance in the Outlaw Music Festival 
line up on the iconic Summerfest grounds, the people in Milwaukee are treated to 
the same set list as the people in Detroit were the night before.

Show 38 did not disappoint.  I saw Bob at Ravinia a year ago, and this show was 
better.  Though he continues to mix in the traditional covers, the flow and pacing 
of the show was better, in my opinion, and the arrangements were superb.  Many 
of the recent comments on Bob's singing have been positive, and for good reason, 
though it seemed to take a bit for him to truly find his groove tonight.
The rendition of "Don't Think Twice" was one of the more enjoyable versions that I 
have experienced, and, as Oscar Montes reported a week or so ago, "Highway 61" 
is back with a vengeance.  Wow is about all I can say about that.  George continues 
to push songs like this and "Summer Days" along in ways that only he can.  I 
remember a show at the Aragon when Charlie rejoined the band in 2010 and Bob 
let him run wild.  It was a lot of fun.  As were the shows from 2000-2002 when he, 
Bob, and Larry Campbell synced up on guitar.  But tonight, Charlie was just so subtly 
phenomenal, that a casual observer could miss how truly outstanding he is night in 
and night out.
I enjoyed hearing "Summer Days" again.  At first I was a tad skeptical.  Donnie's violin 
was very prominent in the mix, but about a third of the way through it seemed as if 
they all kicked it into another gear.  I would suggest this was one of the night's 
highlights.
Underneath the piano, Bob's foot was pounding all night.  He stood center stage on 
a couple of the "Sinatra songs," but was standing or sitting at the piano most of the 
night.  "Early Roman Kings," from Tempest, is so much better live.  Tonight's bluesy 
version was very good.

My personal favorite is "Tangled Up in Blue."  I wouldn't say tonight's version was my 
favorite, which doesn't mean it wasn't good.  What I enjoyed most about it tonight 
was the aura that was created by some of the lyrical twists that Bob slipped in on 
multiple occasions.

If "Highway 61" stole the show, "Desolation Row" was a close second.  When Tony 
starts the bass line, we all know what is coming.  But this one stood out, and the 
rendition, which included, for lack of a better word, some verses that were almost 
"bridges," with Bob changing his singing style, was unique and enjoyable.  Just as he 
did in several other songs, he managed to hit a few lines hard, and, for those of us 
who have seen many shows, we just chuckle or smirk-he keeps us on our toes until 
the next time, and there is always a next time.

Sheryl Crow and Jason Isbell were excellent, by the way.

On the way out, I overheard someone saying, "Now I can say that I saw Bob Dylan."  
Indeed.  And worth every penny.

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