page by Bill Pagel
Review by Peter N. Kirstein
Dylan in Schaumburg is not Gerde's Folk City but it is intimate enough. The venue was one of the more
enjoyable that I have seen in the Chicagoland area. I have detected that Dylan is reluctant to perform
in the same theatre/stadium twice. After his last Tweeter concert in 1999, he has performed only in
different venues despite his numerous visits to Chicagoland.
I am not satisfied with his band and I long for the crispness and musicality of the Band, Tom Petty
and Larry Campbell eras. Yes Tony Garnier, who has backed Dylan in more concerts than any other
musician, is very workpersonlike and solid but I don't sense the coordination and communication that
one is accustomed to when attending a Dylan concert.
Dylan himself is brilliant. His delivery; his energy; his physical presence; his epic music are still
evocative and pulsating. In this concert, I was awed by Times They Are A-Changin' which I had not heard
since the United Center epic event of 2001. I noted during this song, his eyes darted between the
audience and his band as if the supportive cheers when he proclaimed "the times they are a'changin'"
were energising the singer. As one of the most important songs ever composed, it has to be a significant
musical moment to hear this. This song galvanised the antiwar movement during the Vietnam War and should
be learned by a newer generation also facing the evil monstrosity of war.
I really liked his set list in that it had a mid-90s feel with so many tracks from Highway 61 Revisited
and Blonde on Blonde. I teach a course on Dylan's music and am offering "American Protest Music" again
this fall. I always note with considerable pleasure parents and children at these concerts. Indeed
Dylan's music is intergenerational and reflective of his enduring ability to attract such large numbers
of younger fans. It is a tribute to his greatness and his capacity to continue growing as a poet and
performer of perhaps the greatest music of the 20th Century.
Peter N. Kirstein
Review by Adam Selzer
People in Chicago tend to make fun of Schaumberg (home of the local
Ikea) an awful lot. The whole town sort of resembles an airport, after
all. It reminds me an awful lot of the sleeker edge cities of outer
Atlanta from which I escaped - the kind of town built around a mall, with
strip malls and little boxes made of ticky tacky (there's a white one, and
a white one, and a white one, and a white one) as far as the eye can see.
This was the first time I've ever been excited to go there - but even at
the concerts, they'll try to sell you cars. It was hot and dry all day, I
nearly got in a fight in the middle of the show, and we only got one
encore. However, the show was great, and I had a good time, so no real
complaints out of me. I made the trip to Schaumberg with Michael G. Smith,
our friend, Jules, and my friend, Julie, who is an excellent
singer/songwriter herself. She and I are doing a mini-tour of Iowa and
Illinois this fall. I'll post dates/venues when I have them. It's always
good to see the usual crowd. IowaDylanFan and Casanova were at the head of
the line, and Disco Stu was right in front of me when we got to our spots.
Outside the venue, Chevrolet had set up a whole bunch of cars and had a
guy with a microphone (his opening line was "awwww yeah," which is pretty
gangsta for Schaumberg) giving away t-shirts to people who could answer
Chevy trivia questions and talking about how they were looking for the new
"voice of the revolution" to do a voiceover for a Chevy ad. Needless to
say, the main thing overheard from people in line was not "wow! This Chevy
trivia is fun! And the way they're talking about revolution over the
Beatles song of the same name is a great use of rock music! Oh, I DO hope
I get to be in the commercial!" They'll stone ya when you're waiting in a
line. The Greencards were a lot of fun to watch. I'm not sure I overheard
any lyrics that caught my ear, but their set was very enjoyable, and I
love that they didn't have a drummer. I go through drummers like Thomas
Kincaide goes through yellow paint - life without one is a fine option. I
can see where it would be easy to bad-mouth Willie's set. one could argue
that most of his band isn't in the band because of talent (the drummer, in
particular, often seemed to be drumming to a different marcher now and
then) and that Willie just rattles the songs off one after another (and
that they'd be better if he put more effort into singing and less into
pointing and waving), but, what the heck, I was entertained. A fun way to
spend an hour. Highlights included "Always On My Mind,""Superman" (the new
song), and "Pancho and Lefty." Dylan came out wearing a gold shirt under
his usual black suit - he looked like the hippest beatnik sherrif in the
old west. The rest of the band was dressed like a gothic bowling team.
Everyone was in fine form, at times even great form, throughout.
"Drifter's Escape" was a solid version with tight vocals. Best I've seen
in a while. "Senor" was a highlight, very well sung by Bob. There was
little to no "upsinging" the whole night; the only bit I particularly
noticed was a line in "Senor" that was supposed to sound like a question
anyway. "God Knows" was sung like crazy and built up to work the crowd (or
me, at least) in a frenzy. Great, great version. Best version of the song
I've ever heard, hands-down. Dylan was grinning like a fool throughout the
show, and may have been sick (I think that was snot that was glowing near
his nose, but I'm not sure. I never did see him go for a Kleenex or sneak
a wipe on his sleeve), but, considering this was a
third-night-without-a-break night, he seemed especially on. "Times" and
"Most Likely" were also perfectly solid, if not as remarkable. "Million
Miles," in the stripped-down jazzy atmospheric arrangement, was a clear
highlight of the night. A real treat. "Mobile" was solid. I missed Elana.
It was during "I Shall Be Released" that I nearly got into a fight. The
front section was invaded by a drunk asshole and his female counterpart,
both of whom clearly thought that concerts are little more than an excuse
to make buffoons of oneself. This guy was into wolf-whistling. A lot. And
not just between songs, but during verses, after telling people nearby to
"check this out." I told him to shut the hell up right away (my tolerance
for intoxicated people trying to make spectacles of themselves mid-verse
is pretty damned low), and others nearby asked him more politely, but he
persisted, saying something about "having to let it out" or some other
such bullshit. Eventually, I took to flicking his ear every time he
whistled, until finally he turned around ready to start a fight. "What the
fuck?" he asked. "You're too drunk to fight," I said. "You want us all to
throw you over the rail?" "Go back to high school," he said. This, I
thought, was a very lame insult. "At least I went to high school," I said.
Normally this is the sort of thing that I would think of the next day, and
I was proud to get it when I did. It never fails to amaze me the way
people behave in public. The son of a bitch ruined what was, otherwise, a
phenomenal "I Shall Be Released." There are two bits of revenge for me,
though. 1. The guy's female coutnerpart (who couldn't whistle, but was
just as big a drunken prick) got her glasses stuck in her hair at one
point. 2. I figured from some of his comments that the guy LIVED in
Schaumberg. May Gd bless and keep Schaumberg. Far away from me.
Anyway, "Highway 61" is almost always a highlight these days, and
tonight was no exception. Well sung, well played, neat piano solo
thingie in the middle.
Likewise, "Trying to Get to Heaven" was very, very well executed.
"Ballad of a Thin Man" suffered from some blown lines, but was still good.
"Summer Days" really had people dancing - believe it or not, there was
room down in front to dance around. Other than the aforementioned people
whom I hereby once again curse to the smoking break-room of a Wal-Mart for
as long as it takes from them to learn their lessons, the crowd was very
laid-back, friendly, and pleasant. Not much of the elbow-to-elbow pushing
that you normally get. Only getting one encore was sort of depressing,
except for the fact that it was as good a "Rolling Stone" as I've ever
seen, though I am partial to the versions from 2001 or 2002 when he seemed
not so much like a vengeance-seeker as like an angel from "Wings of
Desire" who genuinely knew all about a person except how it felt to be
them. Tonight, anyway, I wanted vengeance, anyway. I hope Sudsy McDuff and
his girl got home all right - I can't imagine it's easy to get a cab in
Schaumberg. I don't wish any HARM to come to them, of course. Just, you
know, some misery. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go buy a Chevy.
Review by Bob Shiel
Tonight's Bob Dylan concert at Alexian Fiel;d in Schaumburg, Illinois drove home the fact that Bob's
current band has come a long way in a short amount of time. Just since their five-night stand in
April at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago, when this entourage displayed more potential than actual
virtuosity, their promise has transformed, actualized, and materialized into a band rivaling the
"good ole Charlie and Larry days".
This Sunday night set list included quite a few of the tunes played at the Sunday show in April, with
God Knows, I Shall Be Released and Trying To Get to Heaven not shocking those of us who've come to
expect "spiritual" songs on Sundays.
Starting with the opener Drifter's Escape, Bob was attired in a black hat, jacket , and pants, a
cream collared shirt with a black t-shirt underneath and the white stripe on the seam of the pants.
The rest of the band wore black liesure shirts with open collars and symetrical white vertical stripes
on the front. A liitle lounge-bandy, but they've done worse. Bob concluded the hot Drifter's Escape
with audible laughter at his harmonica solo at the end.
On Senor Bob nailed the verses, masterfully syncopating as chilling jazzy lead licks by Donnie Herron
filled the night air. God Knows built into a crescendo after the second verse as Bob vigorously
bobbed his head before the rocking out commensed, as if cuing the band to let it rip. They did. The
Times They Are A Changing sounded a lot like Hattie Carrol until Bob sang the first line. As he did in
April Donnie (Herron) nailed a lead during this greatest hit, and Bob topped it off with a killer harp
performance. On You Go Your Way there was one tired verse that Tony found hysterical as Bob repeated
the verse about "you say my kisses aren't like his..." However, Tony remained intensely focused on Bob
throughout the show other than that. Mr. Ganier does far less interacting with the first row than he
did years ago. Bob laughed approvingly at Stu Kimball's lead on Million Miles and on the "I'll rock
you, too" line screaming and howling shrieked out of the ladies in the audience.
At 65 Dylan is still killing them.
Bob's eagle beak glistened with a drop of sweat the entire evening. During I Shall Be Released this
six-man ensemble was in perfect syncronicity culminating in an angelic crescendo. I thought, "Just
bury me and close the casket...I'm ready for the pearly gates!" Stu's stabbing fillers jabs sliced
the atmosphere on Highway 61, and Tony's thundering, thumping rocket bass lines are clearly
under-appreciated most of the time by jaded tour veterans like myself. He's really helped hold the
band together, let's face it. George Recile and Tony took a solo verse (on Highway 61)reminiscent
of the sort of boogying that John Lee Hooker made famous. Delta ghosts reflecting scorcerist shadows
vibrated the marrow of the bones of human anatomy including sacrums, tailbones, sternum, skulls,
back discs, femurs, tibias, mandibles, meta tarsels, and pelvic floors.
"Grab the guitar, Bob, and smoke a joint with me," shouted a drunkards fifth row center. Stu's bass
run chops sounded like drums on Trying To Get To Heaven. George's drumming seemed imperceptible per
his genius intentions. Tony walked across the entire stage to speak to Bob right before Ballad of a
Thin Man, on which Tony really hunkered down on the bridge. Bob upsang Thin Man somewhat obnoxiously
(for the only time of the night). Donnie's muted chops carried the low end during Stu's tasteful lead.
Bob shook his hips ala Elvis on a lazer harp solo to complete Thin Man.
Bob Dylan's pockets are loaded, and he's spening every dime, indeed, these days. On Summer Days
Donnie's hollow body licks howled into the 1/4 moonlight in the western sky, echoing vertically
toward the stratosphere with each upstroke. Bob playfully, though cynically, toyed with the first
row, threatening to throw two harmonicas out before striding off stage before coming out for a LARS
encore. Assholes in the fifth row muscle up to the third row belligerently. Pedestrian LARS as beer
is spilled down my right calf and I am shocked at the apology that I receive. Only one encore. "Back
off" slipped out of my lips repeatedly as the concert experience broke down for me. Bob and the band
were not exactly totally into this performance, yet their extraordinary talent provided exquisite
entertainment and, again, proved that this band is ready to rival the Charlie Larry days. Lastly,
Donnie Freeman on pedal steel has a lot to do with the rich, full sound that makes this band so
irresistable. Bob to be commended for his selections of players. By the way, Willie was magnificent
(my first and likely only time seeing this treasure of Americana) and the Greencards were much better
than I anticipated. Best wishes to those of you who will see the shows as they head west!
Review by John Cheppo
What a terrific show. Fortunately, on a business trip and arrived in
Chicago at about 11:30am day of show. Picked up a general admission
ticket, gotta love it.
Easy drive to the venue from hotel. Stayed less than 5 miles away.
Parking lot was a nightmare, however. They seemed to over-complicate the
que to drive in. It wrapped around forever....show appeared to be sold
out, not sure. But, I only saw people asking if tickets were available,
rather than if you want to "buy" one!
Great weather, clear skies, I arrived about 5:30pm sharp to see GreenCards
open. Short, good set. They sounded as good as in Greensboro show I went
to a month ago. Willie rocked too, he sounded as good as Greensboro as
well. Keyboards were terrific. I would not go out of my way again to see
Willie again, but if you have not ever, you should make the effort. He
truly is amazing, and great with the audience. I watched both opening
acts from the ballpark seats to remain out of the sun. I also learned
from the Greensboro show that after Willie finishes, the crowd takes a
break and departs to refresh, thus creating a great opportunity for Bob
fans like me to move in...and get close to the stage...without standing in
the blistering sun like chili peppers, eh? I got about 15 feet from the
stage, slightly right, of course.
Bob looked great, sounded great, played great. Bob in solid black jacket,
black trousers (with a thin, thin line of white seams), black hat. He
looked the best I have seen him ever. The night was not too hot, a good
breeze with Dennis coming in. The sunset was awesome, I am sure Bob loved
the evening and the environmental setting, the colors in the sky were
great as the evening light grew dark, eh? Even with a freeway in the
background, and small planes flying overhead to land at a little
airport...it was terrific site for a show. Fans were as considerate as
ever. I really like Chicago area shows....great fans...well behaved.
Drifters Escape was a great a version as I ever heard. I have heard this
plenty of times before, I have been to nearly 35+ shows. It was awesome.
The voice already warmed up...the band...unreal. Senor was a hoped for
song, it was great. I had seen that Sunday night shows had a good chance
to hear it. Awesome. The emphasis on words was outstanding. God Knows
really had most people surprised, however, I knew it was coming. And,
then it really had the crowd dancing by the finish...again, an outstanding
version. Much better than when I heard it in Lowell, MA in 1999. TTTAAC
was awesome too. Not quite as profound as Newport 2002, but awesome. Most
Likely You Go...was ok too, really fun...crowd was dancing, swaying to
this...Bob had a great emphasis on the words, and a cool hesitation...this
version was much better than Greensboro last month. Million Miles was
great. Had not heard since Fairfax in 1997...with Bucky...
Stuck Inside of Mobile w/t Memphis Blues Again was great....consider it
played with Dennis having passed near it...also, not too unexpected given
recent setlists. Crowd pleaser for sure. Highway 61 was one of the best
versions ever...that is saying alot, I have heard it so many times....it
was truly great. Donnie is awesome, Bob please with this band, can you
play "Meet Me In the Morning"...you could do it so well with them. Bob
really brought the tempo down, way down, then rocked it all up to a
fever....Stu had such a smile....this was the band trying to figure out
what the Bobcat was up too....really fun....I have seen Bob lower the
tempo and volume, but never to this extreme, just to bring it all back to
a feverish volume....crazy good. Oh the texture's you paint, you are an
artist. TTGTH was awesome, as expected on a Sunday. The best version
ever I heard. Soulful. Thanks Bob.
Ballad of a Thin Man was really well done, again a best version I ever
heard. I have to say, once I heard Summer Days start up, I walked to the
back of the ballpark....I like the song, just so tired of it, and have
finally reached the point where I head for the car. I am sure it was
probably a good version, and then I saw that he played only one
encore....I guess I made the right choice. However, one day I will wish I
had stayed....Bob, you are the best. Apologies for not staying. I should
have. Just curious why one encore only tonight. Hmmmm.
I must say that I still prefer the college auditorium setting to see a Bob
show...the crowd at the stadiums do not dance as much....greatest audience
show for me was Blacksburg, Virginia in 2001.
Review by Dave Kohl
My "sweet" 16 - 16th time seeing Bob and first since this same tour last
August in South Bend. Worth the wait!
While I'm sure much of the 'casual fan' crowd is disappointed at knowing
maybe 2 or 3 songs, I'm delighted with the set list I lucked into.
Drifter's Escape actually was not as solid as I've seen/heard in the
past, but it could be because I was hoping for Tombstone Blues as the
opener. But it went onward and upward from there.
Senor was the best version I have ever heard, as Bob used this
arrangement to enhance the melody more than ever before. God Knows was
changed since I saw it last year, starting out a bit quieter before the
last 2/3 of the song let the band rock to the heights.
Times They Are A-Changing turned into one of the big highlights of the
night. Unlike some of the recent performances, Bob was clear on the
"Come gather 'round people...." opening lines. With that, and the
extended lead in by the band, he made it clearly identifiable from the
start. The extra growl on the "There's a battle outside and its raging!"
line. And he left us with time to think how great it is that a song
written over 40 years ago still holds up in 2005, performed as great as
ever by the greatest songwriter of our lifetime.
Then, as only Bob could and would do....he follows that message with
"Most Likely You Go Your Way....". Gotta wonder how many others caught
that. Again, a solid version, and continuing with Bob being as easy to
understand as you'll ever hear him these days.
Million Miles quickly went from a nice surprise to a major highlight.
This performance turned this song from the frustration ballad on the
album to an extended blues arrangement, and totally blew away the studio
version. If this is how he's going to do it, I hope you all get to
see/hear this one!
Stuck Inside.... remains one of my major favorite Bob songs since it
first came out. This was my 7th time seeing it live (first since 2000),
and by FAR my favorite version. Bob kept it more true to the studio
version, but let the band enhance it with 2 instrumental breaks between
verses. This was part of the reason we got one less song than usual, but
for the extended version of this (plus Million Miles), I'll take it!
I Shall Be Released was a surprise, between its placement mid-show and
without any backing vocals. Again, Bob was very careful and delightfully
deliberate in his delivery on the vocals. And the "I shall
be......................I shall be released" style with the chorus more
than compensated for the lack of any backing vocals. Another winner.
Hwy 61 then rocked away, as usual. Very enjoyable, although I've seen
better. But I'll never be dissatisfied with anything from the Hwy 61
Next was "Trying To Get To Heaven.....", which I was not expecting
(after having Million Miles - it's usually one song from TOOM). That's
the one song all night it took me a minute to catch. It was changed to a
more soulful version, and this, too enhanced the song. To his credit,
Bob emphasized the overall lyrics, rather than the "before the close the
doooooooooooooooooorrrrrrrr" he has done in the past, and I for one,
love that change.
Next was "Ballad of a Thin Man". The song I had most hoped to see. I
hadn't seen this one done since 1978, and I was disappointed with it
then. But not this time around. After being amazed that I actually got
the song I had most hoped to see at a Dylan show, I simply enjoyed every
riveting note. George drumming away with major zest adding even more to
this great song. Mr. Jones may not know, but I knew exactly what was
happening here....a great version of a great song. Thanks, Bob!
On to "Summer Days & Summer Nights", which was another extended jam.
After Ballad it was the perfect time to do just the one song from L & T,
and this one pleased most of the casual fan dominated crowd which was
probably feeling lost by this point in the show.
Tight for time, Bob didn't even introduce the band, so his total
"talking time" for the evening was a round ZERO.
Only LARS served as the encore, this time around a true-to-form version
with a nice slightly extended guitar 'exchange' to climax a great night.
In just under 90 minutes, we got Bob songs from the 60's, 70's, 80's,
90's and 00's. Works for me!!
Review by Jeff Kurtzman
This was my 3rd show of the ballpark tour this summer and I would have to
say it was the best musically of the three. The sound was crystal clear
and Bob was in very fine voice, especially at the beginning of the show.
His singing was crisp, articulate and powerful. The band was great all
night long with lots of tasty pedal steel guitar playing from Donnie
Herron, more solos from Denny Freeman than other nights and 3 great
harmonica solos from the Man himself. The only downside was Willie Nelson
went a little long and Bob was forced to cut one encore to end the show at
9:30, which I assume is some kind of local zoning law.
After Willie's sometimes sleepy set, Drifter's Escape let the crowd know
it was time to start rocking. After Senor and God Knows, which were both
solid, The Times They are a Changin' was powerfully delivered with a nice
harmonica finish. Most Likely You'll Go Your Way and Stuck Inside of
Mobile were both excellent with good solos from everyone, especially
Denny's staccato-style additions.
Next came two of the highlights of the show for me. Highway 61 is a
highlight of every show but this version featured a segment where the band
dropped out and Bob treated us to a keyboard solo before the band came
roaring back in. Their use of volume and tempo on this version was
amazing. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, Bob's vocals were clearer on this
song than I've heard before.
I Shall Be Released was not played at the other shows I attended this
summer so I really enjoyed this one, especially Bob's harmonica work at
the finish. Great solo combined with his unique dancing style made for an
Even though we only got one song in the encore, there was no way to be
disappointed. Compared to other versions of Like A Rolling Stone on this
tour, well, there was no comparison. Bob sang this one like he meant it
and Donnie's pedal steel licks between lines of the chorus brought a smile
to my face every time through. Even though I never get tired of hearing
this old warhorse, it was exciting to hear it take on new life in this
awesome new version. If there's a recording of this show, it will be worth
the price for this song along.
Bob and the boys put on a great show for Chicago...or maybe it was because
Vince Vaughn, in town filming a movie, was hanging out in the 10th row of
the crowd. Probably not, I'm not too sure Bob is a big Dodgeball fan...
This was supposed to be last show of the summer tour but St. Paul is only
6 hours away...
page by Bill Pagel
| Bob Links
| Set Lists
| Set Lists