page by Bill Pagel
Review by Peter Stone Brown
Brockton, Massachusetts is a community apparently of strip malls
located a little less than 30 miles south of Boston. The best thing
about Brockton was we found a motel immediately on exiting the highway
that turned out to be right down the road, in fact walking distance
from Campanelli Stadium.
The scene outside at Brockton was a bit different. Brockton police on
carts kept coming by asking people to clear the sidewalk when all they
were doing was standing and talking. Considering the walkway was
right at the stadium not on a street where people had to get by, it
was unnecessary. Occasionally people in line would complain to a cop
about people who got in line in front of them. Unlike Cooperstown,
which is high up in the mountains and was quite chilly and Yale which
is kind of near the Long Island Sound and also chilly, the weather was
warm. This time we didn't stake out a place in line, and ended
up walking about two blocks to get at the back of a line to a second
entrance. It made no difference at all in respect to getting near the
stage. This time however, the vibe down in front was strange. People
crowded in close a lot earlier and they weren't pleasant about
it. Combine this with the people who think they are the center of the
universe, not aware at all that anyone else, let alone a few thousand
people are around them.
Willie Nelson changed things around slightly by opening with
"Living In The Promised Land" and introducing his
guitarist son said, "Now that's homeland security".
During Nelson's set, some sixties burn-out acid casualty tried
who'd been standing maybe five rows of people back from the
stage tried to weasel his way up front, led by someone who turned out
to be a cop. A bunch of people complained to security. Finally the
burn out caught one of the baseball caps Nelson was constantly
throwing from the stage and vanished. No one was sure whether the cop
was working undercover or just there.
During the wait for Dylan, the security force decided to remove
someone who made the mistake of accidentally tripping over (or almost
tripping over to be more accurate) the one person who decided to sit
down on the ground and couldn't be seen considering he was in a
huge crowd. But this guy, who was there from when the doors open and
was with there with his son had done nothing wrong. The security guy
just decided to focus on him and have him removed when there were
other people being way more annoying.
Finally Dylan came on and rushed through "Rainy Day
Women" and then did a powerful "God Knows" quite
possibly the best version of this song I've seen in concert.
Then it was a speedy "Tweedle Dum" and you had the feeling
both Dylan and the band wanted to get through this show as
quickly as possible. "Forever Young" led into a fast,
somewhat snarling, "Things Have Changed" which went into
"Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You". The best
part of "Tonight" was on the bridge when Dylan sang,
"Is it really any wonder" he answered himself with
"I Don't Know". A super fast "Highway 61 Revisited"
came next, and I had a feeling the one acoustic number would
be something special and it was, a close to perfect rendition of
"Po' Boy" with both Larry and Stu on acoustics, and I
realized it was the first show this year (and perhaps longer)
where two acoustic guitars were used on a song.
"High Water" came next and I decided I'd had enough
of being in the front. It just wasn't fun and it seemed like a
fight would break out any minute. So I made my way through the crowd
to discover a precious commodity called air, and another one called
room. The strange thing was the closer I got to the back of the
stadium, the louder the sound was and it was extremely loud. There
was a lot of room in the back, some people dancing, some people
clumped in little groups, some people not paying attention at all.
It was then the second high point of the night happened, a truly
beautiful "Saving Grace" with Larry playing gorgeous
pedal steel and Dylan really singing. For "Summer Days"
I decided to see what things were like from the grand stand. With
Dylan off to the side, it was almost impossible to make him out, the
huge stage looked almost deserted though the music blasted.
Again the encores began with "Tambourine Man" but the
rest of the show didn't really matter. I left the show feeling
what I'd felt when the tour was announced. Baseball stadiums
are for baseball, not music. And unless you have a good pair of
binoculars (a telescope would be more like it) if you want to see
what's going on, if you want to see the interplay between the
musicians, you have to get near the front.
Review by Jason Polanski
Once again, another great place to see a show. You can't go wrong with
beer stands on the field!
Willie opened with a great set. He included a sing a long version of
"Amazing Grace" with everybody into it.
Bob came out and opened with RAINY DAY WOMAN. The outdoor venue definitely
increases the amount of substance in the air. They still manage to stink
the joint up with the sweet smell of nag champa also. The version was
rockin' with Bob taking a lot of improvised verses.
Second song and definitley not expected was GOD KNOWS. Seemed to lack an
apparent structure. I'll listen to the tape, but I thought Bob was pulling
out random verses at random times (or was it the smell in the air), some
more improvisation, and basically leaving the crowd overwhelmed with
exitement. Great way to start a show!
For the highlights:
HIGHWAY 61 rocked once again. This band is hitting an amazing peak in the
history of this songs' performances. PO BOY was a huge suprise. Very
accoustic. The stage and the song and the characters playing would have
fit well in an old western bar. The way it looks in the movies. Bob with
black hat and LONG black coat. The band kicking a jingle jangle beat.
Vocals right on. SAVING GRACE performed as sweet as possible. Bob singing
in a tendor voice. Stu finding guitar licks remeniscent of Bob's own
playing back in 1980. HIGH WATER rocked like Poughkeepsie. Slightly less
jamming. LIKE A ROLLING STONE was fierce. Bob singing "like a complete
uuuuuuunnnnnnnnnknnown". FOREVER YOUNG with no harmony vocals as in the
past, just Bob blasting out lines that at times were dead on to "Planet
Waves" and at times completely improvised with his 2004 vocal style.
Pulled out a great harp as I think I remember. MR. TAMBOURINE MAN sounded
much better than West Haven. TONIGHT I'LL BE STAYING HERE WITH YOU was
better than Poughkeepsie. HONEST WITH ME featured lots of dancing Bob!!!
In fact, I believe the entire guitar break had Bob attempting to dance
Basically, there wasn't a bad performance to be found. Unfortunately this
is my last show for the tour. I'm dedicating myself to watching Phish as
they are retiring after this week. Anyone who is doubting if this tour is
worth seeing should think again.
Review by Michael Telles
My wife and I caught Bob's show in Brockton last night, and it seems as
though it matches the quality of his last few. The strange thing about
the show was the contrast between what was happening on stage and the vibe
of the audience; the combination of alcohol and general admission tended
to create a kind of low level hostility in the crowd that would flare up
from time to time, so it was a little uncomfortable, especially being up
On-stage, things were very different. Hot Club of Cow Town was fun and
polished texas swing, kind of a novelty act but very committed and the
audience responded well. I had a real blast watching Willie: he shambled
out, all smiles, and eased into a set that had its own gentle momentum.
The band had a charming sloppiness about it, and everyone got into its
groove. Willie managed to make the stadium feel really intimate, trying
on any hat thrown up on stage and earning huge cheers by putting on a Red
Sox cap. He traded vocals with his guitarist (name escapes me) whose
dry-as-dust vocals were a treat, and Willie's magnificent voice was
playful and just beautiful to listen to. I couldn't believe how much soul
Willie invested in a song one would think he is dead sick of: Always on My
Mind was a knock out, with Willie luxuriating in every note.
Bob marched out with his band, who were dressed in matching powder blue
suits to Bob's black, and took his place at the keyboard to the left of
the stage. They plowed into Rainy Day Women and we knew this would be a
high energy show. From there Bob played a series of mid-tempo songs --
versions of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum & Things Have Changed with beats
that swing more than the recorded versions -- and God Knows, which seemed
to come at people from left field (figuratively). But, oh man, Highway 61
was simply viscious. With Dylan leering at his low mic, his voice
bottoming out with venom, and the band playing so fiercely, it was hard
for people to stop staring. Some people have commented that his recent
shows have sounded punk, and that's not a bad argument. I must say, Bob's
voice these days is so chilling, eerie, and beautiful, and he's got such
control over it.
Po' Boy sounded just perfect, not much different from the recording, and
Summer Days was slightly down tempo, more relaxed, compared to charged
version he played at Newport. Mr. Tamborine Man featured a nice
descending acoustic guitar embellishment in the verse and the same
vocal/melodic tic that Bob used at Newport (Newport being my only other
Bob concert experience, unfortunately). Like a Rolling Stone and All
Along . . . were really rousing, although All Along in particular didn't
catch fire like Highway 61 or like the version of All Along that he played
All around a great show, if you could ignore the people shoving each other
over a spot and didn't mind feeling like you've smoked a pound of weed by
proximity. I also had a teenager with a head the size of a satellite in
front of me. May booze and general admission never meet again.
All the best,
Review by Larry Fishman
First off, the concept of this tour is irresistable. 22 summer shows in
various minor league baseball parks with co headlining support from the
venerable Willie Nelson. Great idea! It's an inspired choice of venues
as Bob attempts to perform in every possible audience retaining space
before he leaves the planet.
Campanelli Field is a spanky new facility (Team owned by Ghostbuster Bill
Murray) in the town of Brockton - best known for the great fighters Rocky
Mariciano & Marvin Haglar (Alas no "Hurricane" in their honor). The large
stage was set up against what would be the left field wall with the field
open for general admission standing and about 5000 seats in a a semi
The Hot Club of Cowtown opened the night promptly at 6:30 with 25 minutes
of updated, country swing - kind of sounded like the back up band to
"Floater." They were thrilled to be opening these gigs and it shows.
Willie Nelson came out at 7:15 and was in fine form. He seems fully
recovered from the carpel tunnel syndrom that afflicted his guitar
playing. He sounded sensational and played a wonderful set of his great
songs along with a bounty of covers: "Hey Good Lookin," "Jumbalaya," "May
the Circle Be Unbroken" and a gorgeous "Amazing Grace." He brought along
his own merchandising, but I resisted the $25 Willie dolls. Clearly this
is among the best Dylan pairings of his touring career - the lone
disappointment is no duet.
I have arrived early for the last few shows that I have attended - often
standing 10-15 feet from the Bard. Went to this show with 2 old friends
who wimped out and weren't game for a few hours of standing. Hence I
watched this show from a distance. At first I was a bit miffed, but the
upside was the the sound quality crystal clear perfect. Maybe the best
sound quality I have ever heard a a Dylan concert, the right loud and each
instrument well represented in the mix. So I just concentrated on soaking
up the music as I was just too far from the stage to really get a beat on
the performers. Who knows maybe it's time to hang in the back rather than
squished upfront with fellow Bobcats. On to the show:
1. Rainy Day Woman. A bit of surprise as an opener as the setlist was
pretty unusual throughout - played like the honky tonk that it is and
sealed with a nice harp solo.
2. God Knows. The best 2 chord rock song this side of the Strokes played
loud & hard. A bit messy, but fun.
3. Tweedle Dee & Tweddle Dum. Sounded real good with Bob's soft piano
and the band just swinging.
4. Forever Young. Sung sweetly and confidently - a top shelf delight.
5. Things Have Changed Performed in the familiar arrangement, but like
everything this night peformed with precision and spunk. The sound was
sensational - can't wait for the bootleg - and this band has really
jelled. This was a night where the mundane was good and good was great.
6. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You. Insert superlative. In a
word: spot on - okay that's two words. I think you are getting the idea.
Bob and band absolutely uncorked a master take of this song. The
arrangement was snappy + Bob uncorked a down home harp solo to cap it.
One of the best performances of the night -- makes me think that Zimmy has
rebounded from the capable but unspectacular shows of the spring.
7. Highway 61 Reivisted. A steamrollover of a take. Rockin and rollin'
- another song played many times, but on this night just a bit better,
8. Po' Boy. Let's just say: I was there and you were not. Absolutely
killer - I believe this is the live debut (certainly exceedingly rare) and
it's one of the reasons why we twist our lives around to see this guy.
And ready for this at the end of the song, Bob unleashed a huge laugh. A
career first? The crowd roared after the Freddy or not Knock Knock Joke
in the lyrics. Wow, man.
9. Highwater Let me state unequivocally Stu Kimball is sensational. I
caught his first two shows and was both underwhelmed and missed Koella's
verve and panache. Kimball just fits more snugly into this band fully
inhabiting the void left by Charlie Sexton. Kimball was sensational on
this tune as well as the entire evening. Welcome.
10. Honest with Me. A nervy take with perhaps some new lyrics - or I
just may have been paying closer attention to this tune that I usually do.
11. Saving Grace. Sung in a soft, sweet hoarse with Campell leading the
band and the arrangement at the Pedal steel.
12. Summer Days. The 5th L&T song of the night and quite a different
take from the previous arrangements of the last few years. Earlier
versions were either extended havana gila rave ups or Bill Haley like
romps. This version was straight swing with less and shorter jamming.
Not vastly different, just a little shorter and sharper.
13. Mr. Tambourine Man. Glad to get this back in the setlist and Bob
didn't disappoint. Well played with Bob bringing back his sing/song
high/low voice at times.
14. Like A Rolling Stone. Larry Campbell again leading the band at the
Pedal Steel - well done, boys.
15. All Along the Watchtower. A quick band intro and then another
terrific take for us air guitar players.
All in all, this was a sensational evening and one of the best shows that
I have caught in years.
Review by Kevin Ouellette
Just back from Brockton and WOW this was a killer show. I was on the
field about 15 yards from the stage. The sound was really good and the
stage is the perfect height to see. First things first, Hot Club of
Cowtown was a great opener, very fun and the guitar player is kick ass.
Then Willie came on and played for over an hour. Played Angels flying to
close to the ground, On The Road Again, Crazy, and lots of other hits.
He did play guitar and took at least 15 solos even though he was in
Then when the sun went down Bob came on. He was wearing all black with a
black cowboy hat. He has the band in matching outfits again, they were
in grey tonight. The band launched strait into RDW #12 & 35 and this was
the right opener, the crowed erupted and the smoke was thick.
Then God Knows which I love, this was a kick ass version and by the way
Freddie who? Stu has really come into his own. I love his playing and
he was spot on all night. He was way better tonight than any show I had
seen Freddie perform.
I'm not going to go song by song. Tonight, I'll Be Staying Here with You
was a great version, followed by a guitar driven Highway 61. Then the
BIG surprise of the night, Po' Boy. It was completely acoustic, larry
and Stu on acoustic guitars and Tony on standup bass. Bob sang it so
well, even threw in some different verses. Bob's voice was very, very
good tonight, almost no "wolfie" and only upsinging on Mr. Tambourine Man.
Bob was very playful tonight, dancing all over the stage and giving the
"guns" signs with his hands. He did two jokes tonight, one about George,
"George is a smart guy he went to college to study economics" something
like that and he said that Tony was an animal lover or something.
This show was top notch. 10x better than Gilford, NH at the beginning of
the summer. The audience was great too, no problems like reported at
other shows. Thanks to Bob and Willie for a Fantastic show!
Review by Andrew Girard
Best concert I've ever seen. Everything about the show was great.
I traveled up with 2 friends,my mom and my aunt for this show from
Charlestown,RI. It was my forth Dylan concert and I didn't expect
it to be so great. When we got there we waited in line for 4 hours
till 5:30 when they opened the gates. Once they did we ran to get
really close and got seats right near the rail.
After about 55 minutes of waiting the opening act casually walked
on.They were really good.Playing for just about 30 minutes with a
very tight sound. When they were done performing they went and sat
in a sound booth in the middle of the crowd.
Once they were done it was time for Willie with about 15 minutes
of sitting up to do before him and his band took the stage. His
band was an interesting mix of what seemed like family and old
friends from texas. They sounded great and Wille would constantly
wave at everyone, he threw his hat out to the crowd and then some
people next to me threw him a hat which he put on and later threw
back, he must have worn a total of 5 different hats that night.
After they played for about an hour and a half Willie walked off
stage and acknowledged that Bob is right backstage.
By now it was about 8:30 and the set up for Bob was coming
together now. At around 9 they started his usual entry music and
Bob and his band walked on stage. They opened with Rainy Day Women
and it rocked, along with almost every song they played that
night. The Larry and Stu mix is extremely good. When they came to
Po' Boy Bob messed up on a line, and quickly recovered in time to
save the ending of the song. When it ended everyone clapped for
the great effort and Dylan responded with a very hoarse "Thank
you" and a wave. When Honest with me started they were on fire.
Dylan even did some wierd dancing in the center of the stage
during the multiple guitar solos. Saving Grace came next and was
very beautiful followed by the ever present and lyrically somewhat
changed Summer days which was very well played although Tony
Garnier looked bored as usual. Then they stood together without a
wave or anything as if posing for picture and then left.
About 5 minutes later they came back for the encore which started
off with a beautiful version of Mr. Tambourine man although Dylan
messed the 3rd verse up some. Like a Rolling Stone and All Along
The Watch Tower rocked like usual. Dylan introduced the band after
LARS and told some strange joke that I didn't catch ever though I
was practically front row.
Over all it was the best of any concert I've ever been to Bob
Dylan and non-Dylan and I was completely blown away. Every
performence was great and made for a magical night.
Review by Bill Wessling
the magic at the ball park started for me, with willie nelson playing
everybodies favorite grandpa singing and waving simultaneously to any of
the many under 12year olds who attended the show and for the adults,
groups of folks who held their classes up in the air in similar fashion
to being at wedding and ringing of the champagne toast class until the
bride and groom respond with a kiss, willie would wait until a good many
classes were held high in the air and then reach for his red like keg cup
and hold it up in toast like fashion to the crowd before taken a sip.
maybe it was because we were at a ball park but my friend responded it was
similar to having toast with babe ruth, it was that apple pie. willie's
set was great and his voice was real good, in fact it was the first time i
thought Bob had a tough act to follow much tougher than paul simon or van
the man. fear not, Bob opened with a ripping rainy day women, funny just
before he started the song my friend and i were talking about how much we
hated the number, ah we were wrong a nice hard bluesy version as if to say
that's enough of the folk the man who forced folk into bed with rock is on
stage now and i'm a going rock u to you drop, the other high lights of the
show for me were tambourine man loved the hard edge on this one in stead
of begging for another song it sounded like he had the poor tambourine man
trapped in a corner and he would'nt let him leave until he was tired of
him. also i I loved forever young though i really annoyed many around me
by attempting to sing charlie sexton s missing vocals part . truly sorry
about that but i was caught in the magic.i can't think of a number i
didn't enjoy, a great summer days as always .and the usual encore except
this being my 7 show of the year it was the first time i didn't mind the
usual rolling stone and watch tower, i just wanted the night to last
longer. billy the what would dylan do ? dude p.s.next time bob sings
forever young i could use some help with Charlie's old lines trust me bob
Review by Carl H.
The venue was close by and to get to see 2 actually 3 cowboy bands
play was a cool ticket to get. The ride to Campenelli stadium was only 30
ish miles and the parking was close by but an extra 5er. And we were mis
led by the parking attendant so the chairs we carried had to be returnrd
to the car, NO chairs allowed along with no backpacks, coolers, beverages
or the usual audio/video stuff. That aside it was a decent venue with
stadium seating and a grass field, the area near the stage protected by a
[plastic matting. and the infield diamond roped off. Oddly the netting
behind the home plate was left up, so those seated there had a mesh to
The opening act " Cowband" was pretty cool, the female played a
"classic" country fiddle and the upright bass and "Les Paul" guitar
styling worked well. The "Orange Blossom special was a good way to end the
Next after a quick change Willie came out, I've never seen him before
so this was a treat! Willie played an hour set and seemingly waves to
everyone in the immediate stage area. He tossed a hat into the crowd and
soon was doing a hat dance as hats from the crowd were thrown up on stage
and worn by the man and then recycled back to eager fans. The fan favorite
being the Boston "B" cap that really got the crowd behind him. To hear his
hits and see his guitar played so well,even after recent carpal repair was
real special, and his songs were played in a rapid fire order. Willie's
voice was strong and his band of country stars and family members were a
After a 1/2 hour break the Dylan Band came out from the dugout and the
crowd began moving in from the outfield to the stage. Rainy Day Woman
started the show strong, BUT, the show was soon being over amped and the
sound became garbled. The band' good playing and singing being lost in the
mega Dbs. Luckily a few quieter style songs lent some relief, Saving
Grace, being one.
The show passed quickly and after the 7th inning stretch, the Dylan
team was behind, Was the mighty Dylan going to save the day. Honest With
Me, a hit, Summer Days, another out. The band took their break and
seemed to regroup, Mr. Tambourine Man sung strongly, a hit, Like a Rolling
Stone, a base loading single and finally Watch Tower, the base clearing
"homer" that turned the game and saved the show. Dylan sang strong and
held his ground. The visitors had won the game and the home field fans
had to give him his due, It was awesome to be in his presence and to get a
4 hr game.
The field cleared quickly and the parking lot emptied quickly and the
ride home filled with thoughts of a great game and lots of nice folks in
the crowd who made the show a winner. Over dbs almost won out , But it's
always nice to be a home town fan when the Teams in town!
page by Bill Pagel
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