page by Bill Pagel
Review by David Link
Well, just to forewarn any readers out there, this is a very long and
tedious review about many aspects of this experience; it's not just a
musical review, but I think it is justified.
In the minds of my friends and I, Konocti has always come to mean one
thing...bands you don't want to go see. (Styx, Eddie Money, etc.) They
could never seem to get a real "big-name" act. Until now. Bob's playing
Lake County? I couldn't believe it when I heard. It never occurred to me
that he would play there, even though they do a lot of advertising in the
San Francisco papers. Not that Bob does not play strange places, but this
is kind of more in the middle of nowhere than he usually does.
(i.e.--pretty far off a main interstate). About 2 1/2 hours from the North
SF Bay Area, with no good access after you leave the main highway; it's
all two-lane roads, which I love in general, but not when I know 5,000
other people will be trying to use them at the same time.
This was only the second show I saw on this tour; the other being Harveys
at Tahoe, (officially Stateline, NV) which I had front row center seats w/
a bunch of friends, which made for a great situation. Unfortunately I
thought that show lacked an overall ripping, raging feel to it.
Since they are now playing few acoustic tunes, and there are no more
high harmonies and it's mostly electric, I think it may as well be
balls-out). I was also distressed to see Freddie leaning on Larry all
night, staring at his fingers, trying to get the chords right. I don't
remember Charlie having this much trouble getting the hang of it, but then
again my memory isn't what it could be.
In Stateline, A Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall was stunning; the phrasing had
me standing there probably looking like an idiot with my jaw half-open---I
had glossed over the reviews of New Orleans and had not yet heard about
the "new" version. (Although I won't soon forget the version in Telluride
a couple of years ago when it started raining shortly after they started
the song). Under The Red Sky was also very well done, but I think this
show at Konacti was overall far superior.
(An aside...I saw Phil Lesh the day after this show in West Marin and
told him we saw Dylan last night and he was (generally) doing great. Phil
went, "Oh, Monterey?"
Me--"Ah, no, Tahoe."
Phil--"We'll, he's going out with us in a couple of weeks, you know."
Me--"Yeah, I know and it should be great!"
Phil--"We'll, I'm really glad you got to see him!"
Me--"You guys are going to have a great tour, and I wish you the best."
Phil--"Thank you," and into the BMW and away.)
My first indication that security here at Konacti was not quite with it
came when I and two friends walk through the gate without anyone looking
at or taking our tickets. We simply walked in by 4 security people, none
of whom seemed interested in us; I was waiting for someone to rip our
tickets, but no one did. Strange indeed.
Then I was standing in the center of the venue during the break before Bob
came on, and two security/ushers were talking.
Guy 1--"Yeah, these two people had the same exact row and seat numbers,
and I couldn't figure it out. I looked at it for a couple of minutes
before I noticed that one was for Steely Dan tomorrow night."
Guy 2--"Well, they should have caught that at the door. That's their
fault." I don't think they saw me roll my eyes.
The stage is set in an area above the lake w/ the bands' back to it; the
view from the stage of the lake is vast, and you could even see a little
of it from the front row.
(I was lucky enough to have a front row ticket for this show as well. Face
value of the ticket: $109 plus the scam of the $29 BBQ ticket you were
required to buy if you wanted to sit in the front sections, for a total of
$138. Oh, plus service charge. $143.50. Cha-ching!!! And to think a couple
of months ago I had a ticket for West Palm Beach for a face value of $12.
same number of songs. Go figure.)
The main reason I bring up the ticket price is that even though we had to
pay a brutal fee for a good seat, WE WERE NOT ALLOWED TO STAND OR
DANCE!!!!!! No one was anywhere in the reserved area. I have never been so
frustrated at a show in my life. I have been at shows like this before,
but they were mostly at casinos w/ table seating, not 5,000 people at an
outdoor summer ROCK AND ROLL SHOW!!! The good people of the Clear Lake
area got there, sat down, folded their arms, and said, OK, NOW ENTERTAIN
US!! This was terrible for the rest of us who were actually into the show
and wanted to move, wanted to dance, wanted to show Bob that we love his
music and appreciate him and his effort to perform his work night after
night. Even in Stateline, Nevada people were standing and dancing the
whole show, and security was great. A definite presence but non-intrusive.
Tombstone to start: Very strong right off the bat--Bob in big dark
sunglasses....Seems to be really into it right away, which is unusual. I
had a seat on his side under the stage-right hanging speakers. I thought
it would be a horrible angle, but I could see Bob clearly about 20 feet
away, and as the stage was only about five feet high, I could see his
hands at work on the keys as well. Combined with the speakers being about
7 feet away, which had a very clear, clean sound tonight---well, it made
for a great audio and visual experience, which was made more exciting by
his good humor and the songs chosen. His speakers next to the keyboard
blocked my view of everyone but Larry, which was a bummer because I
couldn't see Tony, but this was also almost a relief, as I did not have to
get distracted by wondering what the hell Freddie was up to now. This was
an angle I have never seen Bob from before.
Everyone was standing and cheering for the first couple of seconds, then
just about everyone sat right back down, leaving those of us who wanted to
dance sticking out like sore thumbs, and people were sore at us. Guards
came around forcing everyone to sit down, saying it's not fair to the
people behind us. On the other hand, I said, it's not fair for us, either,
the people who come to a concert not knowing the rules are like at the
opera or symphony, that we had to sit down. At one point the guard told me
I had bought a seat, not a place to stand. Never heard that one in years
of going to shows. "Oh, does that mean you'll strap me into now, so you're
sure I won't move?" He was not amused.
This type of B.S. kept going on through the next five songs or so, able to
dance sporadically through a great I Don't Believe You, which ended with
Bob cracking up and doing the two-handed gun-slinger point at a woman in
the front. (This was on the other side of me, where the guards were still
letting some people dance. That would soon change). He was clearly having
a great night already, which was a good sign. Everything sounded good and
strong, with nice vocals and some OK piano playing.
Things Have Changed was awesome, very forceful. All the idiot security
notwithstanding, this was a great, high show. Near the end of Don't Think
Twice, I finally had to get out of there for a minute, which I would never
do at a normal show that I had a great seat for. I went over to the bar on
the side so I could move around a bit and asked the guy and girl working if
all the shows here had such a dead audience. "Yup", says the guy. The girl
says, "They only stand if the band on stage is begging them to, but usually
later into the show when it gets darker and everyone is hella drunk, people
stand up." Wonderful news.
At this point I myself needed a drink out of sheer frustration, and right
when I'm going back and am almost to my seat, they kick into Cold Irons
Bound, and I lose my mind. I can't control it anymore. I turn and scream
at the whole section of people: "Get up off your ass, this is rock and
roll, support this man!!!" I turn to the stage and start dancing, and the
guard comes in for the kill. The band is so loud and cranking he has to
shout in my ear, "OK, stand in front of your chair, but DON"T incite the
crowd like that again!", as if I was trying to cause a riot. Good luck.
Nothing could cause these people to do anything. Not even a Cold Irons
Bound that just shredded, it would have blown the roof off had there been
I think it was right after this song that my friend next to me was
attacked by some drunk nut running up from somewhere screaming, "You
ruined my girlfriends' show!" He took a swing at my buddy, who naturally
defended himself. The guards were slow to react, to say the least. They
seemed pleased that someone from the audience did what they legally
couldn't. They had already warned my friend that they would kick him out
if he didn't sit down. People behind us were screeching for his head,
screaming, "Throw him out!!" I stepped in, and they left my friend alone
and took the drunk back to his seat. Finally my buddy had enough and went
to a friend in the Organization, and a song later he and his girlfriend
are on side stage with plenty of room to dance. I'm sure the mixture of
rage, frustration, and madness in the crowd must have been huge..."What
the hell, I thought they were going to kick that guy out, now he's on
stage??" Good laughin'. Also around this time, Bob's bus, which had
been parked right next to the stage, facing it, was now turning around
and be backed slowly up the hill, ready for the quick getaway.
Dignity, very nice. Had not heard it since San Louis Obispo, 2000.
Different tone, great phrasing. Awesome ending...."So many roads, so much
at stake---Too many dead ends, I'm at the edge of the lake---Sometimes I
wonder what it's gonna take---For Dignity".......Wow.
Every Grain Of Sand...holy shit, this show is getting better even w/ this
crowd...very well sung, to my ears. Clear as a bell.
Now I'm sure some people will dance during Honest w/ Me.....Nope, no dice.
(When he introduced the band, after which song I don't remember, he said,
I think about Freddie, "He's got a dog that chases everyone on a
bike....gotta take that bike away from him". OK, more animal jokes.)
Fine, sit back in my seat and observe Bob do a beautiful Moonlight....Thank
goodness he was right there in front of me, otherwise I would have felt
like I was sitting watching TV.....It seemed surreal, w/ the sound pouring
into my head from the close speakers, and watching his hands playing the
keys. Could have been worse.....
At the end of Summer Days, after the lineup, I figured there was no hope
for even dancing during the encores, so I left and again went to the bar
area during the break, because it was the only area where you could stand
and see and hear where someone wasn't yelling at you. I told the girl she
must not have sold enough alcohol to the locals, but she was too busy
making a drink for a co-worker to care.....
When they came back out, most people FINALLY stood up, and I dashed back
to my seat in time for the start of Like a Rolling Stone.....Why couldn't
the whole show have been like this?? Bob seemed even more into it once
everyone was on their feet, jamming, and then Watchtower was just over
the top. Very well played. I think it was here where Larry took a short
lead that just burst out of his guitar so smooth and perfect that it made
me think Freddie is generally rough as old nails. I really wish Larry
would take over some of the lead guitar duties...I will say though, to my
ear Freddie has improved just since Tahoe, but it may have just been me
(or this show).
I quickly left after Watchtower, really psyched up, feeling I just saw an
awesome show in spite of the layers of B.S. that had to be waded through.
The buses were coming out is I exited--I was shouting thank-you's to Bob
and the band as they pulled slowly by within inches of me. I'm sure they
thought I was crazy and locals were not paying attention to the buses and
were looking at me like I came from Mars, but that was OK...I was pumped
up after a great show and wanted the band to know that someone was
grateful for the performance. They had to know some people in the crowd
were truly here for them, not the "event" of Bob Dylan. They pulled out
and drove into the night, as I would do shortly, passing up Paso Robles
due to the 10 hours of driving time and a pesky little thing called work.
So maybe I'll go to Buffalo next month after all...
Review by Dr. Tim Perdian
Night of the Ushers
The night began with a performance by "Jane". No one seemed to know who
or where the group was from and they were not announced as a warm up band
on the ticket. But nonetheless they performed for about an hour while the
less than ideal parking situation allowed the many late comers to make it
into the theatre. The setting was beautiful with open blue skies and not
so "Clear Lake" located behind the stage. The weather was perfect and
just delightful as the sun set. Bob took the stage in a rather business
like fashion and launched an outstanding version of a rocking Tombstone
Blues . Bob played only the piano and the harmonica all night. He
continued with a less than magical version of I Don't Believe You (She
Acts Like We Never Have Met). He began to heat up with Tweedle Dee &
Tweedle Dum. A strong version got the crowd to its feet. But the curious
bright yellow ushers then went around in maddening fashion to make sure
every one was seated. This odd behavior continued the entire night with
about 100 ushers determined to pour water on the hottest dancers and
control the rebelliously standing crowd. The middle of the concert
culminated with a great performance of Dignity. The level of singing by
Bob was just fantastic throughout the performance. The speakers seemed to
be distorting a bit on the loud guitar solos. I think Bob got there too
late to do his usual sound check. The most noticeable feature of course
was the new man on the block, Freddie Koella. Bob walked over and talked
to him from time to time. He was great on the longs jams which are in
many ways the highlights of the show. The final number, Summer Days
featured spectacular jamming and was one best versions I have heard. The
crowd rocked and the super anal compulsive ushers finally gave up on
trying to get people to sit down. It is really amazing how much Bob's
piano work has improved since the last time I saw him at the Greek theatre
in Berkeley. The two encores Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on piano) and All
Along The Watchtower were nothing short of amazing. Bob did a beautiful
harmonica solo in the middle of Watchtower. I think Jimmy Hendrix was
looking down from heaven shaking his head thinking I never thought anyone
could do it better than me. There was just a great energy for the last
three songs and it was happy crowed that milled about in the parking lot
for a hour or so while the congestion cleared. I had the pleasure of
meeting a few bikers who schooled me on pleasures and dangers of bike
riding. And a couple of other Dylan fans named Steve, who had fortunately
a couple extra tickets, and Kate, a beautiful woman who remarked on the
tremendous effort Bob puts into making every show great. Bob is an
inspiration to us all. Thanks to him and all of his fans for a great
time-and thanks to the ushers too!
Review by Terry Way
Jack Fate came to to Konocti in Kelseyville on a muggy summer's eve. The
BBQ was all-you-can-eat and the margaritas were poured very strong. A
mellow vibe surrounded the scene @ The Lower Lake. A colorful sunset over
Clear Lake backdropped the stage as the band hit the stage. "Tombstone
Blues" kicked things off. Bob banged away on his keyboard as he led the
band through a strong rendition. The sound was clear and Bob's vocals were
up front and spirited. "I Don't Believe You" was a treat. "Tweedle Dee"
was low-down and gritty. "Make You Feel My Love" was sweet. "Things Have
Changed" picked up the vibe. "Most Likely..." Ko-noched up the stream
engine."Don't Think Twice" was sardonic and sly. "Cold Irons" was tight
and powerful."It Ain't Me, Babe" was full of sarcastic jive. "Dignity" was
a nice surprise but it was "Every Grain Of Sand" that that really made
this show special. This rarely played gem really shined this evening.
"Honest With Me" was played with teeth and everyone showed chops.
"Moonlight" had Jack Fate ready to soft shoe shuffle but he decided to
freeze pose his moves. "Summer Days" saw Freddie Koella stepping out on
the rollicking set ender. The encores were predictable but not coming off
as totally routine. The Watchtower closer saw the busses get fired up and
as the band filed out the crowd roared it's approval. The road show moving
down to the cowtown of Paso Robles on Saturday.
Review by Mary McLennan
Last night I attended the show. A friend of mine got us backstage passes
through Tony Ganier. My friend was the road manager for Asleep At The
Wheel, and he has known Tony for 20 years.
We went backstage and hung out with Rambling Jack Elliott and Maria
Maldauer (spelling?). Tony showed up and invited us upstairs while he had
dinner with Larry Campbell. Maria said out loud, "I wish I had a
sharpee," which I had in my pocket. I let her borrow the pen. I saw her
later and said to her, "I need my pen back in case I run into Bob." She
laughed and said, "Don't even think about it. It'll never happen."
Five minutes later, Bob came walking up behind the stage, and Maria, Jack,
and a friend walked up to say hi. Seeing my opportunity, I followed them
toward Bob. Bob was very happy to see his old friends and talked to them
for a few minutes. Before the show, I had purchased a hat. I put the
backstage pass on the brim of the hat, walked up to Bob, and asked him to
sign my backstage pass, which he did. Then I asked him if he'd mind
signing the hat, too. He looked at me and chuckled as if to say, "You're
pushing it, kid." He smiled as he signed the hat! I stood back and let
him continue talking to his friends. I walked away in disbelief and saw
Maria coming toward me. I said to her, "You said I'd never get his
autograph!" as I showed her the hat and backstage pass. I said, "You have
to sign the backstage pass, now, because you didn't believe I could do
it!" I also got Rambling Jack Elliott to sign it.
The show itself was very good. Bob just played keyboards (no guitar),
which allowed him to concentrate on the vocals. His voice was very
strong, and his renditions were all slightly different than in the past.
I have hundreds of live shows, so I know his arrangements. It was,
altogether, an incredible night.
Review by Sujata Goetz
Another Dylan concert in the West Coast, and I could hardly sleep the
night before! It was about a 3 hour drive from the Santa Cruz Mountains.
We stopped half way in a town (which town, I won’t say on the Internet).
I think it was about 2:30 pm. It had just rained there, and the
humidity was high. It never rains in California in the summer! I stepped
out of the car and felt like I was back East. How strange I thought! We
walked around the town and went into some antique shops. One woman in
there told me that it has not rained in the summer in that town at least
as far as she has been there, which is 60 years! We then strolled outside
and I suddenly felt Bob was nearby. I told my friend that. Sure enough
on a side street, there were two black buses! I did not want to bother
Bob. I would perhaps see Tommy Masters, Bob’s bus driver, who is a friend
of mine. The air conditioners on the buses were running and the silver
shades up on the front windows. Not sure they were Bob’s buses... Like a
simple twist of fate…I decided to walk away. We headed up to the concert.
Clear Lake was so beautiful! It reminded me of my favorite place in the
world, Lake George, NY. We found our way up the hill and parked and
walked over to have the pre-concert dinner. I forgot the NY Times article
I had for Bob. It was a review about his new movie, “Masked and
Anonymous,” which opened this weekend in New York. (It was July 23rd’s NY
Times)I left the article in the car, and did not want to walk all the way
back up that hill to get it. Well after dinner we walked in to the
concert and we had far right tickets facing the stage in the front row.
The buses were next to us. I bought a red shawl, in case it got cold, and
it came in handy to wave to Bob with it Security was so controlled. They
did not allow anyone to dance or get close to the front. Bob came on
stage…looking so good. He wore a black suit and a bright red tie. He
played the piano and I was standing up against the front row pole. I
guess security thought I was far away enough from the center to allow me
to stand. Then after that song, I wanted to let Bob know that I was here.
He sort of knows me from back East. But I guess he would say to me…”You
don’t know me.” (remember Woosley Hall.in Hartford?) Well I then asked the
security man if I could possibly go to the front and wave to let Bob know
I was here. He looked at me and said, “I do not think so.” I asked
again, and he gave in and said “Be quick.” I ran up and waved, and Bob saw
me. That was all I wanted and I ran back. Then he sang a song…”I Don’t
Believe You (she acts like we have never met) After that song, I saw
someone standing by the stage looking my way. I started to talk to him,
and he told me that Tommy Masters is not with them anymore. I was sort of
stunned and asked why? Then he told me that Tommy retired. Well…Tommy
thank you for all those years of driving Bob safely around the Country!
You are the best Chariot driver anyone could want. I’m glad that the
other bus drivers are also following the good advice of putting deer
whistles on the buses! Please keep in touch! I was glad to hear “To Make
you Feel My Love”…and “Moonlight” As always it was a great concert! Thank
you Bobby! I was glad to see Ramblin’Jack Elliot there. I spoke to Jack
last month when I saw him in a small concert at Henflings in Ben Lomand,
CA. He said that he would try to catch a California show of Bob’s. After
the show, Jack walked over to me and we chatted, and he told me that it
seems Bob was not too surprised to see him and that Bob said, “Hi Ramblin’
“ instead of calling him “Jack Elliot” like he always used to call him in
the past. Bob left quickly…like Mercury’s quick silver, he rolled out and
disappeared into the mystic winds.
Review by Barbara Rigby
Last night Bob & band played at the Konocti Resort in Kelseyville. I think
it may have been the first time he has played here. I know it was the
first time I have been here. The show was well worth the drive.
The venue is an outdoor amphitheater on a hill, over a lake with the
mountains behind it. It was a warm, clear evening. The setting sun
provided a beautiful backdrop/ lightshow. The place looked full and the
crowd was enthusiastic ( & very talkative!). We were fortunate enough to
have seats 11 rows back, center stage, a great view of the stage and
musicians, so close we did not need binoculars.
There was the usual music and tongue in cheek intro. Then they came on
stage smiling. Bob put on his sunglasses, leaned into his keyboard, and
took off with the opening song Tombstone Blues. The energy flowed all
Bob, George, and Tony seemed to be having an especially good time, lots
of interaction between them. At one point-during Most Likely You¹ll go
Your Way(a first time for this song this tour I think) Bob and George
seemed to be egging each other on.
I thought Bob was in rare good vocal form. Once the sound mix settled in
the vocals were clear & right on, all good. Every Grain of Sand was
beautifully done. Cold Irons Bound had a wonderful arrangement that made
it a completely different song from the album version. A personal
highlight for me was Dignity; Larry played some very tasteful lead guitar
on it. Don¹t Think Twice, It¹s All Right and It Ain¹t Me, Babe were the
acoustic songs of the evening , Bob also played harp in one hand ,
keyboard with the other on them.
Bob moved around a lot during the show. Between every song he walked over
to Tony and had a brief word with him and occasionally Freddie. I wondered
if he was making up some of the set list as he went along?
Bob also acknowledged the guitar players several times during the set by
walking over to them and standing next to them while they were playing.
One time while Larry was doing some of his amazing slide work on Honest
With Me. Another time during Summer Days,(I miss hearing Bob play guitar).
And yet again when Freddie stepped up and played some fine lead licks on
Like A rolling Stone.
The only time he talked to us was the band intros.-they were humorous...a
story about Freddie¹s dog chasing bicycles and George was introduced as
³the best drummer on this stage²!
After the customary encore (Rolling Stone & Watchtower) the crowd was
applauding hopefully, you could see the bus rolling down the hill. It was
over all too soon. Thanks Bob.
Review by Michael Smith
It was a four hour drive for me to reach Kelseyville and, for some reason,
my expectations for this show were low driving down; I think it was the
knowledge that I was sitting in the bleachers because the floor seats were
all priced at over a hundred dollars with the best seats including a
pre-show "rib eye steak dinner." Seriously. All of my worries were brushed
aside though when I first entered the beautiful outdoor venue and took a
seat in the first row of bleachers only 200 feet from the stage. It was a
small venue (not a bad seat in the house, as they say), scenically
located, as its name Konocti Harbor would imply, at "the edge of the
lake." This led me to predict, correctly, that Bob would play Dignity
before the night was through. The lake was behind the stage and visible to
most of the audience. Lots of people were out sailing in their sailboats
and, before the show started, I even saw the awesome spectacle of a small
plane landing on the water. Interestingly, the pre-show music (that is,
the pre-Aaron Copland music) was that of Argentinian tango master Astor
Piazzola. There was no backdrop to the stage, just a sky with a beautiful
sunset that had turned the clouds a brilliant orange and pink. When Bob
took to the stage wearing sunglasses and one of his new satin-y outfits,
it looked for a moment like he and the band were playing in front of some
giant Monet painting. Whoever designed this venue knew what they were
doing. I thought the opener, Tombstone Blues, lacked the fire and
precision it had at Tahoe the week before but then Bob began to show signs
of life and mischievousness during the next number, I Don't Believe You.
He threw in an impromptu line: "I wish she'd tell me what it is / I'll run
and hide . . . Sure, I will!" Hilariously, he did this kind of thing again
later during a rare outing for Most Likely You'll Go Your Way: "The judge
he holds a grudge / he's gonna call on you . . . I know he will!" It was
obvious Bob was in a good mood. The highlights of the set for me were the
new arrangement of It Ain't Me, Babe with Larry on cittern and Bob singing
very tenderly in a low register, a kickass version of Cold Irons Bound
with a new false ending (just when you think it's over, it kicks back in
and they play another short jam) and, especially, the one-two punch of
Dignity and Every Grain of Sand, a knockout combination. Dignity was
electrifying. Just as Elvis got a huge reaction from his audience by
wiggling his little finger, Bob showed he knows the less-is-more approach
to working the crowd by leaving the keyboard and strutting out to center
stage, _almost_ dancing, during the instrumental break on this great song.
After that thrilling performance, Bob predictably switched up the tempo
but no one was prepared for Every Grain of Sand, let alone a letter
perfect rendition capped off with a sweet harmonica solo. Before Summer
Days, Bob acknowledged that Ramblin' Jack Elliot was in the audience
saying, "Ramblin' Jack used to be THE man. I guess he still is, I don't
know." He also acknowledged someone else whose name I didn't quite catch.
Then, during the band intros, came a new joke: "Freddy has a dog that
chases everyone on a bicycle. We're gonna have to take his bike away."
Once this joke was explained to me in the parking lot after the show, I
thought it was pretty funny. All in all, a great show.
page by Bill Pagel
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