July 14, 2011
Review by Steven Thwaits
Flew down from Seattle to catch the Southern CA shows, seeing Bob is skipping
the Pacific NW this time around. You gotta do what you gotta do to see Dylan!
Drove up the coast from Santa Monica, through Malibu and around Point Dume,
where I hear the man has a home. Walked up to the top of ,a hill on the point and
looked at the incredible view, a wide beach below and the sea, but I couldn't
tell which of the fine gated houses might be Bob's. I thought there was supposed
to be a copper dome, but it wasn't evident. Maybe I had the wrong spot or maybe
the dome is gone or hidden, who knows? I know, slightly stalker-ish, but Hey, I
just wanted to see the view Dylan sees during his rare times home in CA. And we
know Bob himself has been noticed on pilgrimages to the childhood homes of
Lennon, Neil Young and Springsteen!
Anyway, on to the Santa Barbara Bowl, a lovely amphitheater, up another steep
hill, with views of the ocean. In summary: really great show. As fine an example
of elder Dylan you will get, just everything good. The sound in that
amphitheater is a treat. I just don't know how anyone who was at tonight's show
could not enjoy his voice. It was in fine form. "Forgetful Heart" was chill
inducing good. His tone and phrasing was clear and playful and harsh too, of
course harsh, excellent harsh. But he really SANG well. Smooth when he wanted to
And the band was just tight and delicious. Sexton seemed to have a more freedom
than in the shows I saw last late summer. He and Bob had great interplay between
the guitar and keyboard, lots of focussed jazzy jam. I could complain about a
few choices in the set list, things we've heard so much, but when they are
performed this well, jeez, I'm almost glad to get it one more time. Isn't that
why I keep coming back? For example, Hard Rain is a song I thought I was done
with long ago. But Bob really made it new and scary and also tender tonight. I
thought hard on my own "darlin' young ones." I loved hearing it. Heavy on the
apocalyptic overall this evening.
What else can I say? On to Costa Mesa, and speaking of hell and damnation,
through LA traffic. If tomorrow is near as good as tonight, it will be worth it.
On the discussion boards, I read the question, "What was Dylan's last really
great year?" Right now!
Review by James Coffey
Well what a day.It was a beautiful Central Coast Summer day and I felt better
than I ever have. I had planned on leaving San Luis Obispo for Santa Barbara at
about 4 or 4:30.I went for a short bike ride at about 1:30. Then The day started
to change. As I was returning home, only a block from home, the accident
happened. I was turning left and made the arm signal, I was moving a bit fast,
and a car was approaching the intersection and another coming out of a driveway.
I lost control, and wasnt able to navigate the turn, and I didnt get my left
hand up on the brake in time. I hit the curb and gravity took over, and the
sidewalk won. I was banged up and bruised. My ankles, my knees, my right ribs
and my right wrist. I had already broke both wrist ten years ago. Now I am in
grate shape. I hike every day. I take care of myself, but your not going to win
a battle with a sidewalk at a good rate of speed. I was not going to miss Bob.
So I bandaged myself up took some aspirin and at 4:30 I headed south. In a lot
of pain. As I type this on Friday I have just got back from the hospital, and
the reprort is, Two sprained ankles, multiple abrasions and bruises, a cracked
rib, and a fractured right wrist. Im sore as hell, but I will heal. I've been
banged up before. But back to the show. I got down to SB at about 6:30 and
parked in the High School lot they use for the Bowl Shows. When this tour was
announced I was hoping Bob could play at the Mid-State Fair again, but the
schedule didnt work out that way. But the Bowl is a good 2nd next to the Fair.
And I would like to Ad that Bob has not played guitar on 5 complete songs since
his show at the Mid-State fair in July 07. He came close in China by playing
guitar on 4 songs and part of a 5th. But it was nice to be back at the bowl,
and I had my 4th row seat from the pre-sale.I brought a picture along that I
took of Bob in 88 at the bowl, hoping by some bizarre circumstance I could have
him sign it. Although I knew the odds of that were slim to none. I did make an
attempt, but came up empty. It was worth a shot. I did share it with a few
fellow Bob fans and they enjoyed it. The Sound is always great at the Bowl,
and it did not disappoint last night. And neither did Bob.
He jumped all over Gonna change my way of Thinking, he sounded strong and
clear. And he kept that energy all night. During Tangled he was" staying out of
the joint". During "Don't think twice" he came up with a different riff on his
keyboard mid song, I thought he was thinking of changing the Key, whatever it
was he left it and went back into the groove. Hard Rain was as haunting as I
have ever heard it. Bob had a lot of conviction in his performance, you really
felt his energy, as if he was saying I've been doin this as long as anybody, I
know why Im here and I aint never gonna stop. He was very animated, grinning
and mugging and the knee dips. He was having a good time. And of course so were
we. Every time I see Bob i think to myself OK this might be the last time.
But as I said He's not stoppin so I'll keep showin up.I would like to close by
dedicating my review to my Cat "Tinks" my constant companion for 14 years who
passed away last April. I Love you Tinks and to "Sweetie, her brother who I
rescued in Nov. 07 from Poly Canyon, who has Heart disease and now is in Kidney
failure. He's a fighter. Keep fighting Sweetie, I love you to. p.s. I got a
few decent pics early in the show when it was light. Once again they were lax
on the cameras, they would just get on you if you used the flash.
God Bless you all with Peace, Tranquility and good Will.
Review by Todd H.
#55 a personal Never Ending tour was beautiful and delicate with sobering
undertones. Bob’s two-week rested, strong voice was centerpiece. From my
seat in the Bowl, one could see green rolling hills run toward the sand over a
whitewashed town below, barely able to see waves crest on City Beach, flanked by
deep Pacific Blue and Channel Islands in the background. Santa Barbara is a
gorgeous town, but signs of the times ring loud through its streets, and also,
themes of Bob’s songs last night: Change / Struggle / Survival. People are on
the streets carrying everything that they own. The entire show was solid, and
Bob appeared in very high spirits. Without a doubt, the three song stretch of
‘Simple Twist / Levee Gonna Break / Hard Rain’ was the show highlight, and as
good as it gets. Bob shifted his vocal pitch to attack from any position he
wanted. During Hard Rain, he delivered lines with a clarity and force of a
mid-20s troubadour. The crowd was So Cal subdued most of the show, but
absolutely raged during final curtain call. They do love His Bobness in Santa
Comments by Roderick Smith
Show was very fine, stand out songs,
Hard Rain, Forgetful Heart and Ballad of a Thin Man, the venue very
friendly not sure what the hell the man is doing with the music
but for sure he is unrelenting in his harsh treatment of vocal
expression, it has become like the music itself, hard and fast, its a kind
of musical "Expressionism" violent and combative requiring loads of
energy. Try standing on one leg hand on table one leg stretched out,
seriously, then imagine guiding a five piece band banging on that table
and then lean forward while tottering on the other leg and scream out a
meaningful line of anything! It ridiculously hard even to pantomime, thats
when I realize that a little bantam cock ball busting boxer is the guy
hiding in the cowboy suit.
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