July 28, 2007
Review by Hildie Spautz
Driving up to Kelseyville from the Bay Area to see Bob was a marvelous
treat- a great way to spend a late summer night. Although a Bay area
native I'd never been to the Clear Lake area before. It's a working
person's paradise. Konocti amphitheater is a perfect place to have a
summer outdoor concert, although it was sweltering hot before the
sun went behind the mountain around 7 pm just before Bob came on.
This was my fourth Dylan concert, having fallen in love with him and his
music only 2 years ago after seeing No Direction Home. I'm just shy of
50 so I've grown up with his music, but it didn't get me in the gut until
seeing the DVD.
Bob was emanating more energy last night than at the 3 other concerts
I've seen/heard, and it was just delightful to see him on guitar, facing
the crowd, with his mysterious fleeting smiles. His voice was in fine form
most of the night- there was very little of the painful croaking we have
heard in previous years. In the right light I thought I was seeing the
30-year old Bob again.
I was prepared for the new arrangements of the oldies, but have to
admit that I enjoyed them most when I was familiar with every word
and beat of the original recordings. Then, listening acutely for traces of
the familiar was a gratifying cerebral exercise. Each recognition was a
revelation. However, I would have been much happier if I didn't have
to work so hard, and if the catchy riffs in the originals recordings were
more up front and less buried by layers of competing guitars- which
created an almost muddy wall of sound at times- and if the lyrics were
clearer. We know Bob can still do it- you could hear every brilliant word
of Desolation Row, including a charming error or two ("Cinderella peeking
into Desolation Row" instead of "sweeping up"). He speeds through the
lyrics of It's Alright Ma, jamming them all into the end of each phrase, so
they're hard to catch. Of the oldies, my favorites were Leopard skin
pill-box hat and Highway 61, both of which hold up very well with the
new loud, multi-layered R & B arrangements and heavy bass (which is my
favorite part of the current band), and Desolation Row, just because I
knew most of the lyrics and could hear them all!!!! However, the
highlight of the oldies was Blowin' in the Wind. Although the melody of
the acoustic version only peeped through towards the end (which was
transcendent) it was during this song that I hit my emotional, tearful
peak, when I realized that it really, truly was the real, actual Dylan, up
there on the stage. That was the last song of the main set. They kept
us all screaming for an encore for much too long.
As for the new songs, I have been listening repeatedly to Love and
Theft and Modern Times to be prepared for a preponderance of those
songs in the set list. I have to say that ALL of them were incredibly
powerful on all levels- the band was tight, deep, loud, and gut-felt, like
a throbbing tidal wave of sound, and great lyrics, most of which we could
hear clearly. Bob's voice was less gruff on Lonesome Day Blues than on
the recording, and on the others was a bit gruffer. But he is beginning to
sound like man Muddy Waters said he could never be because he'd never
spent a day without food. He's now an old, wise man who has seen more
than his share of pain and love, and has been submerged in more
adoration and loss than most men and women could ever imagine living
through. Or maybe his genius is that he can imagine this pain and love for
us more acutely than we can ever hope to experience it in our own lives.
Review by Iris Seifert
First, thank you for making the effort of putting this site together and
Secondly, i hope Mr. Dylan gets to read some of these comments - surely
some are inspiring "thank you's" - although words cannot really express
any of what Mr. Dylan gives. It just seems that I can't bring myself to
refer to such a man as "Bob", as though I knew him.
This was the first time experiencing Mr. Dylan on stage, live, period (my
generation being that of his children), and luckily in such a small venue
Mr. Dylan's stage presence is unparalleled, unusual, extraordinary; he is
alive and by no means over any hill, if anything, strong and well high on
top of the mountain, the music is alive. The new songs are some of the
best he has ever written in my book, though I don't profess to know all of
his material, but the relevance and urgency of his lyrics and the soulful
delivery just grips your heart. The same holds for older songs; you felt
you were in Duluth along Superior during Highway 61, and the poignancy of
the watchtower as the last number was amazing, but the highlights were to
me the "Working Man's Blues" and "Ain't Talking", to which the lyrics were
crystal clear. It was a bit disturbing, though, that people in the
audience were talking and moving about, even in the lower up-front
sections, almost disrespectfully, but perhaps I am not used to rock
concert crowds anymore.
In the end, it is obvious to me now why there are so many people traveling
to see Mr. Dylan play different venues, and I wished I would have made
that effort in the past.
Comments by Evan Pretzlaff
Bill, I'm a 15 year-old son of a Dylan fanatic (my mom). I don't think I
could put enough emphasis on the word fanatic. Last night's show was
terrific even for a kid like me. I've been listening to Bob Dylan ever
since I was in the cradle. He did a great job at this concert and my
favorite song he played was "It Ain't Me Babe". The crowd was a varied
mix of people from a guy in Dockers to a hippie in a shirt with a crescent
moon smoking a reefer. I can't wait to see the next concert!
Review by Eric Wesoff
Bob was in strong voice and the music was just fine. The band is ultra
competent and the guitar solos are succinct and painterly. Standouts for
me were a baroque "Boots of Spanish Leather", a thundering "Highway 61",
the usual brilliant "It's Alright Ma" and a great, great, great, "Ain't
The setting is Northern California's Clear Lake and it is spectacular. A
beautiful Alpine Lake, like a mini-Lake Tahoe, nestled amongst steep
hills. A big full moon night with warm, perfect weather as a backdrop to
Bob and the Bland in a fun outdoor amphitheater that holds about 5000
souls. A great night, thanks Bob.
Several dancing people were heckled to sit by some angry and vapid crowd
Last I checked, dancing was still allowed in these here parts.
Comments by Bruce Weber
This is the best show I have seen with this band. First show with this
band was Reno 2005, then Reno 2006, and Arco Arena, Sacramento 2006.
I think it was because he was at the end of his tour, rather than the
beginning, plus this band is getting tighter as time goes by.
Review by Jessica Waterston
What a night! Mr. Dylan rocked and so did the crowd. Lots of smiling faces
and I think I saw Bob smile a few times, too.
My fiancÚ, great guy that he is, drove me up from San Francisco to Konochi,
a 3 hours drive. He did not want me drive back home alone along the
winding roads at midnight after the show. He is not a Dylan fan like I am,
but enjoyed the sounds emanating from the amphitheatre while sitting
near the lake watching the moon come up in the night sky.
Driving along a winding back road to Kelseyville (on 175 off of 101N), we saw
signs that said No Trucks or vehicles longer than a certain length. Lo and '
behold, we saw two tour buses and a police car with whirling lights on,
stopped at a pull-out. My fiancÚ said -"They got busted, they were not
supposed to be on this road". I said, maybe that's Bob's buses because I
know he tours in buses. My fiancÚ said, "No, Bob probably comes in by
helicopter." I said I did not think so; that does not sound like Bob's way
We got to Konochi at 7. The concert started around 7:45 p.m. The sun
was almost set and Bob came on with a bang - singing "Leopard Skin Pill Box
Hat". He was in great form, his voice clear, and you could almost understand
each word. He looked great, too; spiffed out in a black suit with a yellow
flowing scarf for a tie, and his big beige feathered hat. He rocked the whole
night long! The band, too, was outstanding - loud, tight, totally in sync with
each other and Bob.
I stayed in my 7th row seat for the first 5 songs; Bob played guitar and stood
facing the crowd for the first 4 songs, and then he was on the keyboard.
By the fifth song, I could not stand it anymore and had to get up and dance
with a bunch of excited fans on the side. It was then that I saw the full
moon shining on Bob and his adoring children/fans. This small outdoor venue
was perfect, the weather was perfect, and so was Bob. The show could not
have been better.
I particularly enjoyed "Ain't Talking" - excellent! And "Spirit on the Water"
was sweet and poignant. What a treat to hear "Desolation Row" in its new
arrangement. He played a mix of old and new - quite a few from Modern
Times. He finished with a rockin' "Thunder on the Mountain" and "All Along
the Watchtower". I wanted more!!
When I got in our car to head back to San Francisco, my fiancÚ said; "Do you
know, that around 7:15 I saw those tour buses, the ones we saw on the side
of road, pull up behind the amphitheatre." Yes, it was Bob we had passed on
that winding back road of Northern California, heading to his next joint - with
a police escort.
Thank you, Mr. Dylan for a fabulous night. Thank you, Mr. Dylan, for expressing
in song and words those thoughts and emotions which are difficult for some of
us to express. You are definitely not over the hill and we had a whoppin' good
time. Love you!! And see you soon!
Review by Christine Riedell
Being a Bob fan for 40 years, but still knowing how to get my rock and
roll on, I was swept away and sent to rock and roll heaven Saturday night
in Kelseyville. Never, never, never, has a Dylan concert been this
great for me. He looked and sounded beautiful; he smiled and made eye
contact with the audience a lot; after the show the band gathered and
Dylan smiled and flashed a myriad of peace signs - but the pure heaven
part happened after he left the stage; met some friends at the gate; and
walked down a very long driveway smiling and waving at his adoring fans.
Oh, did I mention the full moon, and perfect acoustics generated by the
expansive alpine lake as a backdrop? Not to mention the music - old and
new rocked all ages - from newborn babies to elders. "Ain't Talkin" was
a masterpiece; "Hwy. 61 " brought the house down. The audience was
packing every seat, but the "tight connection" felt to Bob was absolutely
Review by Ruby Lee
On the eve of a full moon we experienced memorable visuals of a
surreal bare branched tree and the maestro's profile silhouetted
against a luminescent twilit sky on the stage of this outdoor
Of course everyone in an audience has a different point of view, but I
have seen the band in tighter, more energetic performances. At times, the
sound mix seemed a little out of balance from my center front position.
Dylan, on keyboards, was positioned center-stage facing drummer, base,
and lead guitarist all on stage right. The drumming sounded raw and
Stu Kimball's steel guitar licks seemed to lag, perhaps due to this being
their last show of a US summer tour. Nevertheless, I was hoping for a
rousing breakthrough musical performance which almost happened, but not
quite. However, the loyal harmony of Tony Garnier's base is always in
sync with whatever Dylan's mood dictates.
Although Dylan's rephrasing of his earlier songs was unintelligible to
many, I'm delighted to say that I understood every word, and found his
rendition of "Boots of Spanish Leather" to be especially heartfelt. It
was also a joy to hear songs from Modern Times of which "Ain't Talking"
was particularly poignant.
Bob Dylan looked impeccable in white shirt and soft lemon cowboy tie
under a black suit with white piping. His complexion appeared translucent
beneath a cream colored matador style hat. A platinum or silver band on
his right hand and a huge diamond ring on his left, I noticed the way he
would emphasize a word with a gesture of his left hand whilst playing the
keyboard with his right.
This was another thrilling glimpse of the poetic genius, and I'm glad
that I made the drive from the coast to the inland heat of Lake County.
Poems and Paintings
Review by Nahwal
Konocti Amphitheatre was a great venue to see Dylan in, great accoustics
(in the top bleachers), awesome surroundings, and Dylan in high form.
The first tune, "Leopard Skin Pill-box Hat" had almost everybody (it
seemed like it was close to sold out) on their feet, dancing. I've
personally not heard Dylan do a better version. After that first song
the seated section stayed fairly grounded (I think security gave
ultimatums), in any event the dancing & moving was confined to the
bleachers & the edge of the seating area. It ain't me babe & I'll be
your baby tonight were next; neither of those were ever on my top 25
Dylan tunes list, but the audience seemed to like them, I know I did,
favorites or not. It's alright Ma (nice version), Working Mans Blues,
Rollin' & Tumblin' (sweet!), Boots of spanish leather (hands down
probably the finest version I ever heard), Lonesome Day Blues,
Desolation Row (another great version of a great song), Highway 61,
Spirit on the water,Stuck inside a mobile, Ain't Talkin' (I like that
live version at least 10 times as much as the album version), Summer
Days, Blowin' in the wind. The end. Except we got an encore. The band
came back out & wowed us with Thunder on the mountain & All along the
Watchtower (and just like anybody who's been to 8 or 10 Dylanconcerts
I've heard Watchtower lots & they just smoked it). I love Dylans Band
too. Thanks Mr. Dylan & Band, as usual you did not disappoint
me. DYL4EVER. Rock on Bob
Review by Thomas Cole
Have seen Dylan and his band four times in the past two years, and
this may have been one of his most satisfying performances. Possibly due
to the venue, with the clearest sound I have heard with him and the band,
it was very enjoyable.
Opening with Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat, and Dylan on guitar was a
treat; the song ended with Bob playing a loud rhythm guitar,
accentuating the r&b beat... great version! Can't help but get up
and dance to Rollin' and Tumblin' as well as Highway 61. Dylan does
like to rock but given the seated venue, he was more mellow than
rocking in his set list than when I saw him in October at the Bill
Graham Civic Center.
Spirit on the Water sounded like a sublime jazz ensemble, but with
him singing such a touching song. The jazz sound he has appropriated is
an extremely interesting take on what has become, in most people's minds,
his distinctive sound. I played a live version of that song which I got
off the net for a friend of mine, a jazz singer who is not really a Dylan
fan and she wants to incorporate it into her repertoire! And the version
of Ain't Talkin' at Konocti was absolutely sublime, very powerful and
truly expanded upon the studio version on Modern Times.
The warm evening, the intimacy of the venue (only 5000 but curiously, not
sold out!) and the perfect sound quality was fabulous. Dylan's music, in
my opinion, is better than it has ever been and this is by far the best
band he has ever had (but too bad Charlie Sexton is no longer with him)
The complex layering of guitars, Tony Garnier's bass (often using a stand
up bass), with Dylan's haunting keyboards holding it all together from the
bottom is the best sound I have heard. Even his version of Summer Nights
verges on being a jazz classic (again, with a stand up bass) but with
forays into classic r&r, swing and the blues depending on the whims of the
lead guitarist meandering through the song.
Bottom line- Dylan has the best r&r band I have heard (and I am a
Stones fan, have seen them a lot!), a sublime jazz sound on occasion, and
under it all is the man himself, Bob Dylan with his words and music.
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