page by Bill Pagel
Review by Dev Snybod
This was my 6th Dylan concert, and second in my hometown. My first was in 1974, with the Band,
in what is now called the Key Arena in Seattle, for the "Before the Flood" tour. The cover
picture was supposedly taken in Seattle - that's me with the Bic lighter, on the floor near
Last night was all Dylan and his band, in a somewhat longer show than his usual for this tour
(16 songs). The seats were assigned in a new smallish hockey arena, and we were in the 5th row
right in front of Bob, and had a great view of how he directs the band. Unfortunately it seemed
to take awhile for the sound guys to get the mix right, and the band didn't seem to gel
immediately, so it wasn't until the 5th number that the concert really became magical.
The mix was really muddy for first two songs, making it difficult to hear the words for Maggie's
Farm and Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You, and at one point there was a loud feedback off
Dylan's mic that made his jump back in surprise. Both songs were done with energy and presence,
however, with a good solid driving beat to "Maggie". The highlights of I'll Be Your Baby were
Dylan's harp and keyboard solos - both nice and lyrical, although the piano was still mixed a
bit too low.
Lay Lady Lay was upsung, and I didn't mind it too much on this number, although it has a way of
creating less emotional intensity to the lyrics. Good centre stage harp solo here though.
By Most likely You'll Go Your Way, the sound was improved and I could hear Bob's piano pretty
clearly in the mix.
Bob and his band really took off on Blind Willie McTell - one of my all time Dylan favourites -
and from here on they were energized and playing as a single unit. Wonderful hard-driving banjo
solo from Donnie, and great interplay between Stu and Denny.
Watching the River Flow, Ballad of a Thin Man (another favourite) and Highway 61 were all
performed powerfully and clearly, with Tony leading the beat and Donnie stealing the show with
screaming solos on pedal steel. Good harp solo from Bob on Thin Man.
After this I was hoping fro Visions of Johanna, but instead got New Morning - not a favourite to
begin with, and a rather uninspired version in my opinion.
The band picked it up again for the next two tunes - rollicking versions of Stuck inside of
Mobile, and Positively 4th Street. Good interplay between all the musicians, and again Donnie's
solos were a standout.
I expected that to end the show, but after a quick conference, Bob and the band played two more
numbers in the main set. The first was God Knows, which although I don't know it very well (I
think it's on Under the Red Sky), I quite enjoyed, followed by a swinging version of Summer Days,
with lots of Nashville/Rockabilly/Texas swing influences. Bob's band really seems well suited to
this style of music and they performed wonderfully as a unit.
The encores were predictable. Don't Think Twice was fun and really got the audience in to it, but
I found it marred by too much upsinging, which, surprisingly, Dylan also did on his typically
Hendrix-inspired version of All Along The Watchtower. The latter song still rocked hard - Donnie
especially shone, there was a great solo from Denny, and a great low pitch reverb type slap accent
to the chorus from Stu.
All in all, the show was, for me, an 8.5 out of 10 on the Bob scale. Lots of front and centre
harmonica solos really made it an extra enjoyable night, and I liked hearing Dylan on piano for
a change. Visions of Johanna would have made it a 9. Next time.
18 July 2005
Review by Alan Kollins
It's been 15 years since i last saw dylan (a 1990 three show run at
the okeefe centre in toronto with the G.E. Smith band). i really
didn't know what to expect given the time (and tours) that have
passed. it should also be noted dylan has not played Victoria in more than
a decade, this being his only other appearance on the Island.
The audience seemed conservative at best throughout most of the set
but as the band loosened up the crowd seemed to follow. although
seated through the entire set, the band received a standing ovation
following Summer Days and some folks finally found their way to the
stage for the encores. while i found the set list to my liking, some
of the arrangements seemed misguided and overly blues based. while it was
a treat to hear Positively 4th Street, the band seemed sluggish, dylan
losing himself in his lyrics at one point. Memphis Blues was also
illocially arranged as it seemed to stutter at key points. this was an
abridged version as only 4 verses were offered.
Despite my criticisms there are some fine things to report. The Lay
Lady Lay was perhaps the finest moment of the evening. the band seemed
best suited for this number for whatever reason. dylan's vocals were
superb here. highway 61, although a standard on this tour, seemed to offer
some addtional grit that did not always work on the more upbeat tracks.
there were certainly other highpoints (Willie Mctell, Ballad and MAggies
Farm all rocked in their own way). for reasons unexplained, the sound dude
appeared to turn the band up during more upbeat numbers. at times dylan's
vocals were submerged in the amplification.
Other notes of possible interest: dylan did not address the crowd
once, though i have only seen him do this in a more intimate venue.
his fluid movement towards the final third of the show suggested he
was loose and enjoying himself (perhaps the finest thing about this
show). at times he appeared to attack the microphone with assurance.
his vocals sounded much finer than i expected. oh, did i mention i
found two front row tickets at face value 30 minutes before the show? only
Review by Jerry Tenenbaum & Lucretia van den Berg
It was with some trepidation that Lucretia and I arrived at the new Save-On Foods Centre this
evening. Having just met the "Trainload of Fools" at the local food/bar establishment, Earl's
(and a nice bunch they are), our concerns centred upon what type of sound we might encounter
in this new sports arena. Our arena experiences in the past had not been the best. Well, we
were pleasantly surprised. The sound was crisp and clear. Bob was in great form. His voice
was strong. Aside from the sometimes annoying 'upsinging' (a quibbling complaint at best),
he sang well and the arrangements were strong. The new catalogue was virtually ignored until
the end ( a great "Summer Days"). The triumvirate of "Tonight", "I'll Be Your Baby" and "Lay
Lady Lay" were stellar. "Blind Willie" was terrific with great solos. "New Morning" was a
welcome addition to the set list. "Highway" had superb solos by all. Bob's harp playing was
up to its usual high level. This is a really tight band with great guitars on all counts, the
usual great Tony bass and drumming that reminded me of the early 90s. Bob looked like he was
enjoying himself and the 6700 attendees gave him a number of standing ovations after some of
the songs. The band was introduced by Bob near the end. "All Along The Watchtower" finished
the show with the strength and dynamism that was characteristic of the entire show. All in
all, this show was among the best I have seen in the past 6 or 7 years. Catch this version
of Bob and the band if you can.
Review by Chelsea Johanna Cutler
When he came on stage, there was a loud applause, though I thought it
could have been louder, since we're honoring one of the greatest artists
of all time, Bob Dylan. He was wearing a black suit with a white hat. You
could tell he meant business, how he went straight to his keyboard and
started the concert off with a great version of Maggie's Farm. Lay, Lady,
Lay was great, even though at points you couldn't hear him very clearly. I
was pleased when I heard the first defiant notes of Most Likely You Go
Your Way and I Go Mine, as I enjoy this song very much. Ballad of a Thin
Man was great, too. The highlight during the show was probably when
Highway 61 was being performed. It had great energy, and that's when I
thought that this was more of a rock show than anything else. After
finishing Summer Days, Bob and his band left the stage. The crowd erupted
in cheers and applause. Many fans made their way into the middle of the
floor (including myself). Bob and his band appeared a while later, blowing
the crowd away with Don't Think Twice, It's Alright and All Along The
Watch Tower. I was very pleased with the encore. I was a bit upset that he
hadn't played any songs from his album Desire, since I love most of those
songs. My seat was located in the 4th row on the floor, which I enjoyed
thoroughly. The microphone screeched at a few times. One time, Bob
actually pulled away from the microphone. I loved his fantastic harmonica
playing during most of his songs. I am 13 and have been to 2 other of his
concerts (California '01 and New Hampshire '03), but I was still amazed at
how great he performed live. All in all, I was very pleased by the
Chelsea Johanna Cutler
Review by Leon Despair
Bob came out at about 8:20, not only wearing the very same clothes he wore
last night for the Amazon corporate web cast, but playing seven of the
same songs. Why not? He certainly didn't have to work up much of a sweat
in Seattle. The band had changed suits, though, and Bob wore a different
(and much more rakish) white hat, from start to finish.
Dylan's voice was as strong as I've heard it in recent years, and was way
up in the mix. No "croak of doom" from our boy tonight. Unfortunately,
volume didn't quite equal clarity in Victoria's newest venue, essentially
a hockey arena with cement floors and metal roof. At times one was
reminded of the P.A. system in a bus station washroom. It's so loud it
hurts your head, but you still can't tell which bus is loading.
The sound man struggled gamely, but the higher-frequency sounds came
across as extremely loud, with Dylan's vocal mike at times slipping over
the edge into feedback whistle, while the lows like bass and drums were
muffled and boomy. Tony Garnier's bass was swallowed up for the most part,
until he switched to the stand-up for "Summer Days." Rarely do you hear a
band this loud with the bass so muted.
Just after "New Morning," Bob appeared to call an audible with Tony, who
went over to Stu for an animated confab, which dragged on until Bob said
something like, "I can't do that song, the man can't play it." Not sure
the comment was intended for the audience, but the mike picked it up just
the same. At which point they went into "Stuck Inside of Mobile..." It
will be interesting to hear exactly what Bob said, if anyone recorded it.
Stu and Denny's work was creditable. You can tell that they've learned
these songs by rote, and might never have even listened to them if they
hadn't got the call for the gig, but they are good players. At times, when
Freeman solos, the effect is a little like "we now interrupt this song to
bring you some 'professional guitar playing,'" aided by a stack of effects
("Professional guitar playing" has about the same function in these songs
as the "Man Eating Chicken" has in "Masked and Anonymous.")
But it seems to be an ensemble "band sound," not a bunch of individual
soloists, that Dylan is after now, and I have to say it's a good one. I'd
say that the sound is driven by Dylan's piano playing, if I knew that the
guitar players were even listening to it. They should be!
I especially liked the new (for this tour) stage effects: the plush red
velvet curtain, the starry-sky lighting, and the big "eye" logo.
The Victoria crowd, which hadn't seen Dylan since around 1990 (when, as
someone who saw that show told me, "You could tell he didn't want to be
here"), seemed to really love the show and went wild whenever Dylan picked
up a harmonica. He came to the middle of the stage three or four times to
play bent-over knock-kneed song-ending solos, and looked about 35 when he
There was no singing at the center mike, however, and there were a couple
of harp solos standing at the keyboard.
It was fun to see all the people dancing in the large open space behind
the floor seats.
The highlights were "Blind Willie McTell" and "God Knows." "Positively 4th
Street" presented one of the more pointed instances of "upsinging" I have
heard. "Summer Days" really cooked, thanks to Tony, George and Donny,
although a brief eruption of "professional guitar playing" took some steam
Bob introduced the band before AATW, and danced and pointed his way
through the "formation."
page by Bill Pagel
| Bob Links
| Set Lists
| Set Lists