August 6, 2010
Review by Michael Walter
This was my 15th Dylan concert in the last 7 years and it was a heck of a way to
spend my Friday, even if it meant I had to drive from Dallas to OK City to get there.
From “Leopard” to “I Don’t Believe You,” it was the best I’ve ever seen from these
guys. “I Don’t Believe You” seemed especially strong, but maybe it was because I
was so happy to be hearing that one.
The band was tight as always. Bob seemed to really be enjoying himself, much more
than when I saw him twice last year in Texas. Maybe his health has improved since
then? I don’t know, but I loved seeing how much fun he was having. The man
posed! He danced! He played a guitar solo or three!
All of the Love and Theft songs sounded great as always. It's hard to complain
about hearing any of those, even if I've heard them all live many times before.
The only song I really could have done without was “Spirit on the Water.” Maybe
it's just me, but that song is just kind of a drag in general. At least it has the fun
“past my prime” line that always gets a good reaction from the crowd.
“Forgetful Heart” was a real highlight. I wish he played more songs from Together
Through Life, but at least we got to hear this one. Bob looked great taking center
Nothing else to really say … the crowd was great other than some drunk 50-something
women who decided they wanted to push right in front of me to get a better view.
It's hard to complain too much when you get to see Dylan. What else can you ask
Review by Rachel Chumney
Friday night we made the trek from Dallas to Oklahoma City to see Bob Dylan. We
usually try to catch at least one Dylan show a year. Lucked out with some last-minute
front-row seats at face value. Had to park a mile away, but luckily hitched a ride with
a casino van. Walked into the Zoo Amphitheatre just as Dylan was being introduced.
Found our seats, which proved excellent, perhaps the best we’ve ever had: stage left,
just 10 feet or so to the right of Bob’s keyboard. Everything seemed to be going
almost too perfectly until the seated crowd started exhibiting their typical “Sit down, I
can’t see” attitude. Seriously, this is not the symphony people, nor is it a Kum Bah Ya
folk concert: This is rock-n-roll!!!! You are supposed to stand up, dance and go crrrrazy!
Anyway, after about 20 people asked us to sit down, we decided not to.
One of my favorite parts of any concert is checking out the crowd. And depending on the
town and venue, you always get a different grab-bag of folks at a Dylan concert. OKC
seemed to have a bunch of hippy-looking young people, plenty of preppy college co-eds,
the handful of trusty over-the-hill “travelers,” who we see year after year, sprinkled with a
few people like us: mid-thirty suburban squares. Just behind us was a woman who
appeared to be in her late 80’s who required a walker.
So Bob always starts out on guitar; usually plays about 3 songs before moving on to his
keyboard, where he hides out for the rest of the night. Friday night he actually played 4
songs on the guitar and then ventured out to center stage with only his harmonica quite
a bit. This was great for us, because otherwise, we’d just be looking at his rear-end the
whole night. Dylan’s voice these days is well, gruff. I think many non-Dylan folks out there
can’t fathom how seeing him in concert would be bearable, much less enjoyable. Think
about Louis Armstrong. The man had one of the most distinctly gruff voices ever. And I
think most of us would agree, that “What a Wonderful World” is one of the most beautiful
songs of all time. I suppose it is a bit of an acquired taste. But there’s so much more to
the Bob Dylan concert experience than his voice. People who enjoy Dylan concerts enjoy
the richness and texture of the experience. His band consists of some of the finest
musicians, who truly know how to jam and deliver a show. But whoa, don’t expect to
sing-along to any of your Dylan favorites. He changes up everything. Sometimes words,
sometimes melodies, almost always riffs and certainly the rhythm. Critics are always theorizing
why he does this. Most think he has to make singing “Like a Rolling Stone” for the 16, 534th
time interesting for himself. I think he does it to make it impossible to sing-along with him,
forcing you to watch him, listen to him, to be… transfixed on him.
The diehards are always waiting for Dylan to do something extra special. Perhaps play a song
he hasn’t played in a while, perhaps look like he’s enjoying himself, maybe engage with the
audience a bit. They always write in their reviews, “Bob was especially playful tonight: dancing,
gesturing….really looked like he was enjoying himself up there.” I call bullshit. I’ve seen the
man probably 12 or 13 times, and I can think of only a few times, where I REALLY thought he
was down with the crowd and having fun. Which brings me back to the point I made earlier.
The damn chair-sitters!!!! I know you people want to relax and enjoy the music…but you can
sit in your damn living room!!!! The cool thing about concerts is that you’ve got this mixed bag
of folks all coming together for one common interest! Enjoy each other. You’ve all got something
in common. Don’t tattle tell to the bouncers every 5 minutes and cuss each other out for getting
your feet stepped on. Unless you’re going to see Barbara Streisand, I’d say it’s safe to assume
there will be a bunch of drunk, screaming crazies in your personal space. Find the humor in it, shut
up and enjoy the show. Geez what a drag!! I’m sure Bob Dylan loves playing for a bunch of
earplug-wearing fuddy duds who are too concerned about their elbow room to enjoy the fruits of
the man’s labor. And when I say labor, I mean it. Wearing a wool suit in 105 degree weather
(noteven taking the lights and body heat into consideration) has got to be some serious work.
Show the man some respect and sweat a little; if nothing else, look like you’re enjoying what the
man has devoted his life to doing. Scream a bit. Drink a cold one. Don’t tattle on the dude
smoking a joint behind you. Can’t see? Well stand up dammit.
All in all, it was a fantastic show. Best part: “Forgetful Heart” off his newest album, “Together
Through Life.” Damn it was beautiful. The sound of his harmonica flowing through the outdoor
night was eerie and absolutely intoxicating. I could permanently do without “Spirit on the Water”,
which he played, or “When the Deal Goes Down.” Both concert buzz kills and off his otherwise
perfect “Modern Times” album. I was a little disappointed he didn’t play 3 songs in his encore, but
don’t blame the dude. Other than the girl on the front row who was flashing her left boobie
(honest, it wasn’t me) through an entire song, the crowd wasn’t doing much to entice him into
sticking around for another song.
And I guess that about wraps up what I been thinkin’ about these past couple of days.
So long suckers!
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