Boston, Massachusetts

House Of Blues

August 21, 2011

[Trevor Townson], [Harold Lepidus], [William Thomas], [Angela Snide], [Ernie Pancsofar]

Review by Trevor Townson

"evam maya srutam"...a message change in many recent reviews. No longer is the
Word "Catch Bob when you can" but is now "When Bob comes anywhere near a
neighbourhood by you, don't miss him". Not something that has needed to be
emphasised too much to me having seen Bob evolving his performance style of
late. Even without Bob evolving his performance style of late there is just no
other artist that I would particularly want to get out of bed to go and see,
even if they were performing at a local venue, never mind seeing them perform
for the 88th time and travelling to another continent for the privilege. None
the less the message from the reviews is still good advise for anyone and well
worthy of pursuing. Checking out the concert dates I found Boston to be probably
one of the closest and most convenient concerts to my particular neighbourhood
for this particular leg of the tour. Manchester to Boston looks fairly easy even
if in my case it is Manchester in Lancashire, England and not Manchester in New
Hampshire, USA but let us not get put off or dissuaded by a few extra miles.
Remember the Word, "don't miss him". Perfect flight times Manchester to New York
then onto Boston after a nice break at JFK all in just over twelve hours. Anyway
getting there, is that not all part of the fun. What could be easier than to
check in on line the evening before, a leisurely drive to the airport on
Saturday morning, no baggage to check in, a quick breeze through security, relax
with a good book and let the miles take care of themselves. On the day was I
glad that I had checked in on line the night before as it was complete madness
at the check in desks. I really felt lucky as I looked upon the scene below as I
ascended the escalator direct to Departures and away from all the chaos. Leaving
the masses struggling in the lobby below, I calmly walked up to the security
gate with not one bead of sweat upon my brow or any form of anxiety whatsoever
nor any pressures of travel at all as I handed over my on line booking print out
before starting to remove my belt..."Sorry sir"..."There seems to be a problem
sir"... "The scanner is saying your ticket is for the wrong day sir"..."The
scanner is not coming up with the right date sir"..."Let me get my supervisor
sir"..."Strange sir" says the supervisor..."Did you print this ticket out
yourself sir"..."Yes"...I said... "That is why it is on a scrap of flimsy paper
looking nothing like a proper boarding card and why it is only a third proper
size because I had a problem with the printer settings. Oh and yes it is  a
strange shade of sepia because my colour cartridge is running out". Both the
security check in attendant and his supervisor quickly reached agreement that I
could not be allowed entry and that I must return to the check in desks to get
the matter sorted out with the airline and to get a new ticket printed. Thinking
of the chaos I had just marched past down in the check in hall the first beads
of sweat start to appear upon my brow as both anxiety and pressures of travel
start to surface. Quickly escorted by yet another member of the security team I
am marched through secure door after secure door until finally I find myself
facing an elevator..."In there sir and down to level two sir"...with that the
security door slams shut behind me and the man was gone..."Oh good SIR"...I
thought..."Things seem to be back to normal now SIR". Arriving back at the check
in desks the reason for the problem quickly became apparent, the flight to JFK
had been cancelled. Only one thing for it now and that was to join the long
queue at the ticket desk for refund or re booking. This was a potential disaster
I was thinking as I read the options on the typed out announcement on the
photocopied piece of A4 from the airline that was placed in my hand. The message
being, obtain a refund or get rebooked onto another flight. Get a refund on the
flight, there was however no way that I could refund my concert tickets (another
story) or sell them at this late stage. Also the hotel accommodation costs had
now past the point of cancellation so they would be charged whether I arrived to
sleep in their bed or not. Last but by no means least I would miss the concert.
My schedule was that of a business trip not a holiday so there was no cushion at
all never mind days to spare for travelling on up to Lowell to peer at the grave
of Kerouac or to take a boat trip to see some whales for example. This was jet
in, concert, jet out so without a flight it did not quite work as the concert
was on tomorrow with the only thing currently in my favour being a small time
difference. There was a technical problem with the aircraft a statement read
which had been issued by the airline company and handed out to all afflicted
parties. So I guess it was the sensible thing to do and we should all be
grateful for the adherence to safety shown by the airline in calling off the
flight. Whilst flying is I hear the safest mode of transport I have also heard
that crashing can be quite dangerous. Everybody affected was in fact quite calm
about things, well at least on the surface they were. I guess you have to remain
calm now in such circumstances as these days most of us will have seen those
airport programmes on TV where the travelling public sound off at the airline
staff about circumstances and situations that carry none of their responsibility
and have absolutely nothing to do with them or are totally outside of their
control. As such we are now much more aware about maintaining control in such
situations as the result of being otherwise offensive is that you end up getting
arrested and being sent to jail thus receiving a criminal record or, even worse
than that, you end up by looking a complete arseholes in front of the entire
nation on prime time television. The airline staff were frantically trying to
get everyone re booked on alternative flights and were giving reassurance that
they should get everyone away on the day. A lady with clip board in hand was
walking up the queue and as she approached I realised she was saying my
name..."Mr Townson"..."Yes"..."Boston"..."Yes"..."You could be lucky, follow
me"...with that I am escorted to the front desk and told that I am on the next
flight to Atlanta which is boarding now and I have ten minutes!.......No rush,
sweat, anxiety or pressure on the day then. Time is a jet plane, it moves too
fast, not necessarily. Atlanta whilst being on the same continent as Boston is
in completely the wrong direction and best part of a ten hour flight from my
setting off point. Actually in some ways I did feel closer to Boston before
setting off but in the end I did indeed feel lucky as I did arrive the same day
but having had in the end to endure in total a twenty hour journey door to door.
Anyway getting there, is that not all part of the fun.......From my hotel window
I could see facing me Fenway Park, "Americas Most Beloved Ball Park" and home to
The Boston Red Sox. I could also see the House of Blues sign on the back of the
music club building which shared the same location adjacent to the famous
stadium on Lansdowne Street, so I could not be more closely camped than that.
Anyway with not having any time or intention of doing anything else whilst in
Boston other than take in the concert it made sense to be as close as possible
to the venue. Concert day was very hot although there had been a heavy shower of
rain roundabout lunchtime and it did feel as though there could have been
further rain later in the afternoon but in the end it held off. Arriving at the
venue I was surprised not to see many hard core fans, in fact I only saw four
faces that I recognised. This seemed to make the line up a far more pleasurable
affair somehow without that air of excessive tension that is usually experienced
in some way.  May be though it was just me being more relaxed having spent the
early part of the afternoon reading whilst drinking a nice bottle of chilled
white wine in my hotel room. May be it was that I was in the wrong queue as I
later find out that there is an early entry line for anyone having a receipt of
$15 or more from the House of Blues restaurant. Not sure at that point if I was
overly hungry but a beer would not go amiss. Meal, two beers and a receipt for
$25.98 later and I find myself standing in the so called early entry line.
Actually there had been quite a strange sight in the restaurant, like seeing
something from the Mary Celeste mystery as the most prominent table lay fully
spread with four meals, cutlery, napkins, the full works apart from any diners.
Obviously I was seeing the untouched remains from some earlier paid up front
Dylan fans with no time to spare! I think it was just before 7.00pm and a little
early that the doors opened as two large tour buses sat parked in the street.
Inside I find myself a couple of people back from the rail with a good view.
Whilst I understand the place to be sold out there seemed to be plenty of room
on the floor with no crowding or pushing and shoving so the standing was very
comfortable. The front rail seemed predominantly female, certainly the section
that I could see but later on Bob seemed to be playing to parts of the rail that
I could not see giving the impression that there too it was mainly ladies. Apart
from the excitement from some of those on the rail the front section seemed
rather subdued with most of the cheering and noise coming from a little further
back. I was rather subdued myself, may be it was the travelling with the venue
not being in the end in quite so close a neighbourhood to me. Whilst I did clap
I did not do so openly, anyway did someone not once say "applause is kinda
bullshit" or words to that effect and anyway I do not recall Bob commenting one
way or another on the matter. That though is a minor issue as other than my
strength to applaud or whatever it was this really was as good a show as I think
you could get at the present time. Bob, band and audience were all enjoying
every minute and there really was some fantastic music played in the House of
Blues on this night and Bob was really giving his all. How do you review the
songs, who is worthy to do so, songs played hundreds of times and in a hundred
different ways, some songs a thousand times or more, some songs almost now
thousands of times so what can be said about them anymore and what would be the
point.  Favourite songs become boring if heard too much until later they are
gone, played no more and are sadly missed. Songs once disliked suddenly appear
revamped to become new favourites. Favourite songs get played in a way making
them no longer recognisable. How am I qualified to write about the songs, who
amongst us is qualified to write about the songs. Let me tell you a little bit
about the songs. No surprises with the set list but with no gloomy songs
included such as Masters, Carroll or the Brown's to detract from everything
being upbeat and fun. Having seen the set lists from the recent previous shows I
was hoping that Mississippi would be kept in and it was. Must say that of all
the versions of this song that I have heard the album version has not been
beaten yet to my mind, however, any version of this song live and intimate being
performed by Bob himself is pretty special. Blind Willie Mc Tell is a song that
just about sums up the genius or foolishness of Bob Dylan by the fact that the
song never got onto a proper album. Did someone not call this the best song of
the 1980's but then why then did they limit it just to that decade, with Donnie
on banjo absolutely brilliant. I had been wanting to hear that so called echo
effect which was being added to Ballad Of A Thin Man but in the end did not
manage to pick up on it somehow. The two stand out songs for me were both with
Bob on guitar with Beyond Here Lies Nothin' then even better still Simple Twist
Of Fate. If I was ever forced into a corner on the matter I guess I would have
to confess to saying that my favourite Bob Dylan album is Blood On The Tracks
and one of my favourite songs Simple Twist Of Fate. I did kind of fall out with
the album a bit and also with writers of Dylan books when I heard that the album
was about a marriage break down. "So the album has two meanings" I thought.
Although my original and perhaps naive love of the album was lost forever I
still enjoyed the album and songs a lot but never in quite the same way having
become enlightened and that is the reason now why I do not like reading up too
much on Bob. Having seen and heard Bob playing Simple Twist Of Fate on guitar of
late it just seems to get better time on time with Bobs guitar playing seemingly
getting more complex and ambitious each time. This time Bobs guitar playing
definately seemed even more complicated. Not sure that we could truly say
rehearsed with Bob but there definitely seemed to be more thought out and
considered solo parts. All Along The Watchtower, how do you perform a song for
what must be best part of two thousand times, even after it has been made a cult
classic by somebody else to make it their own. To yet again make the song feel
new and fresh, truly unbelievable. The show seemed finished and Bob and band
seemed ready to walk off the stage when George seemed to lean over his drums and
beckon to Bob to do another song. I am not sure that the final song was planned
as it seemed to me to be George asking Bob to do another song. The audience
would have shouted and clapped for another song anyway so the deed got done one
way or another. With Blowin' In The Wind done Bob could just be seen darting off
the stage as the place plunges into darkness, job done. Well I guess that's all
folks until Europe in October and those shows with Mark Knopfler. Actually
looking at that tour I fear that for once I may not do all shows in Eire or UK
but may be giving some of them a miss. Not because of the expensive tickets and
the like but I am not too sure that I could sit or stand through that many Mark
Knopfler shows. Then again may be I will miss an opportunity to fill in one of
those unknowns of rock and roll history, you know the questions that never get
answered because nobody gets the opportunity to ask the question in the first
place. So may be I could bump into Mr Knobflik and I could get the opportunity
to ask him straight out, why did he not force Bob to put Blind Willie McTell on
Infidels as surely it is as good and even better than anything else that went on
there? Only two answers possible from Mark I guess, no sorry just thought of a
third - 1) The song was just too good for the album. 2) I was about to release
Brothers In Arms and did not want any other song on a 1980's album to better
that, remember at that time Lady Di thought that the sun shone out of my......
or 3) Bob was just an arsehole about it despite all my pleading........To end, a
quote from Bob when he said something to the effect of "A man can consider
himself a success if he wakes up in the morning, goes to sleep at night, and in
between does exactly what he wants". No person today probably totally manages to
do all of that even Bob Dylan but it must be good to come anywhere near close to
it. Just for F'in once that would be Brilliant! 

Trevor Townson 


Review by Harold Lepidus

Another side of Bob Dylan at the House of Blues, Boston

I took notes at Bob Dylan's concert Sunday night. I thought I'd share some of 
them with you. Remember, this was all from barely legible notes and my own 

Arrived at the House Of Blues on Lansdowne Street at about 4:30. Got a parking 
space on Commonwealth Avenue, just off of Kenmore Square. It felt like it was 
about to rain, but it never did. There were a handful of people around already 
waiting there. I was waiting for a friend to arrive, but decided to get in the line, 
just in case. I asked one of the HOB security staff if I was waiting in the correct 
place, and I was told it was.

However, after standing there for a while, people were saying things like, "Did 
you buy your T-shirt?" and showing the HOB staff their receipts. I asked what 
was going on, and it turned out that to get in the "early entry" line, you had to 
spend at least $15 at the House Of Blues restaurant (T-shirt or entree). If I had 
known, I would not have eaten before I left!

Anyway, my friend arrived at the same time as the tour buses. I was too far 
away to get a close look, but people crowded the entrance where the buses 
stopped. Soon, I heard loud cheers, and I could see the head of a tall, thin, 
dark-haired male entering the venue. It must have been Charlie Sexton. Who 
else could it have been?

My friend had not yet eaten, so we decided to go to the HOB. I forced myself 
to eat a salad, and the bill came to over $30, so we were both allowed into the 
"V.I.P." line. It turned out to be a “secondary” V.I.P. line, as the primary one 
was already too long.

There was a sign on a post, saying no to photos, videos, and flash. No mention of 
audio. Interesting. In the age of the Internet, have they given up on prohibiting 
audience “field tapes” altogether? Never thought I’d see the day.

The doors were scheduled to open at 7 p.m., but we were let in about ten 
minutes early. I walked briskly to the front, toward the left, and ended up with 
only one person in front of me. By show time, I moved slightly to the right, 
standing right up close behind two people.

I looked over to my right and saw the "Band Merchandise" table against the wall 
by the exits. I could see there was a tour poster for the Sunday show, but it still 
included Leon Russell in the artwork. I assume the Kettering poster had the same 
misinformation. Is it really too much trouble to have the correct artists pictured 
on a $20 poster?

To the left side of the stage, it looked like guitarist Stu Kimball was holding court 
with a few friends, just as he did before the show in Lowell last year.

Above the stage I saw ten pieces of illuminated artwork, each signifying a different 
religion. Sounded about right.

Someone near me noted that the place had different floor levels each with 
protective bars, and said that it looked like the scene in Jailhouse Rock when 
Elvis Presley sings the title song in front of gyrating inmates.

Just after 8 p.m., it was show time.

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat: Charlie Sexton and Kimball exchanging riffs. Dylan's 
dancing reminded me of Chuck Barris on the old Gong Show.  Fake Oscar to the 
right, draped with beads. Dylan voice was better than it had been in years. Not 
sure what a neophyte would think, but to me, he sounded perfect. He almost 
yodeled the word "You" in the line, "Asked the doctor is if I could see YOU." He 
was having a great time. According to the always entertaining Facebook page, 
"The Many Hats of 'Bob Dylan'," the chapeau in question has not been worn 
much, so Dylan may have even dressed up for the occasion.  So far, so good.

Don't Think Twice, It's All Right: Kimball switched to acoustic, Tony Garnier on 
upright bass. Stu has his capo on the second fret, and played the song in A 
(with G positioning.)  I made a note about the clarity of the sound. The sound 
system appeared to be pretty big for a club, with two stacks hanging from the 
ceiling above the stage.  I wrote that Dylan tapped his foot. This may have been 
where drummer George Recile echoed Dylan's cue and played like someone was 
knocking on the door. Stu finally smiled.

Things Have Changed: Dylan center stage, bullet mic and harp in hand. New 
shuffle in the rhythm. Tony back on electric bass. Dylan conducting his little 
"orchestra" with hand movements, which also accented his harp playing. Dylan 
marched in place while singing, elongating the end of the line, "Dressed in 
draaaaag." After certain songs, he would also play with his hair, dangling over 
his shoulders.

Tangled Up In Blue: When I saw Dylan holding the mic in its stand during this 
song, I flashed back to an image of Elvis on stage in the mid-1950s. When Dylan 
started one of the verses, it appeared he caught himself off guard, is if he didn't 
intend to singe that verse, and now he had to remember it. (Pure conjecture of 
course.)  When he sang the word "pipe," I wrote down the word "sincere," 
although I'm not sure why. He also sang, "She read each one aloud to me," and 
“tryin’ to stay out of the joint.” Afterward, Dylan licked his lips like a jungle cat.

Beyond Here Lies Nothin': Bob on Fender guitar, playing a solo reminiscent of 
the original studio version of “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat.”  Couldn’t help but think 
about the use of this song in True Blood, especially with the House Of Blues’ 
Southern gothic decor. Bob and Charlie locked into each other, making 
eye contact.

Mississippi: One of the great welcomed surprises of this tour was the return of 
“Mississippi” to the set list. Dylan back on keyboard with a new arrangement, 
peppier than previous versions, like most of the other revamped songs from the 
tour. After the song, in the shadows, Dylan used a handkerchief to wipe his 

Summer Days: I personally do not look forward to hearing some of the songs 
from 2001’s “Love and Theft.” Not that I don’t think it’s a great album (I do), 
but I just heard the songs too many times in concert from 2001 to 2006, and 
any arrangement - new or old - did not sound particularly inspired to me. This is, 
of course, a personal issue. I had a similar feeling circa 2000-2001 with songs 
from Time Out Of Mind, too many shows in too short a time. Now, with the 
passage of time, a song from Time Out Of Mind is usually the highlight for me. 
“Summer Days” was often used as the set closer a few years back, and I never 
looked forward to it. Thankfully, Dylan took this song out of heavy rotation, and 
now, with a little breathing space, I could appreciate it again. Sexton played a 
hollow-bodied Gretch, while Donnie Herron watched Dylan like a hawk. The 
defining riff was not emphasized in the (slightly) new arrangement.Tony was 
hugging his standup bass, Stu and Bob traded riffs. Donnie applauded Dylan 
after the song, seemingly trying to give him some encouragement.  Dylan 
went off stage to wet his whistle.

Tryin’ To Get To Heaven: As I said, songs from Time Out Of Mind are usually 
personal highlights for me, and this was no exception. Similar to the original 
version, this was a great read as only Dylan can conjure up, rooted deep into 
the life he has lead. Sexton on slide. I believe this is when Dylan lifted up his 
harmonica for a moment, as if to get the approval from the crowd before 
playing. (The overwhelming answer was affirmative.)

High Water (For Charley Patton): Dylan center stage, Donnie on banjo. Another 
one from “Love and Theft.”  Back to a simpler arrangement. Again, Bob 
marched in place, with his hand in his pocket at one point. Hand gesturing, 
pointing to the crowd, and posturing from Dylan. Good to hear it again.

Simple Twist Of Fate: Glad two songs from Blood On The Tracks are back in 
heavy rotation.  When heard in the context of the concert, I am reminded how 
deep and brilliant the songwriting on that album really was (not that anyone 
could forget).  Dylan on guitar, his fingers flying all over the fretboard during his 
solos. “Cheap hotel.” Nice one-chord fade at the end.  One thing I might 
change would be Sexton’s simplistic, repetitive riff; the only time he sounded 
less than inspired all evening.

Highway 61 Revisited: The sound of this old warhorse signaled that the end was 
almost here, and that few surprises were left in store. This version was better 
than the one I saw last year in Lowell - not incendiary, but it found a nice 
groove. I was wondering why Stu played such a low-key solo, until I realized 
that it was a device to bring the band crashing in for the rocking climax.

Blind Willie McTell: One of Dylan’s legendary songs left off an album, in this case, 
1983’s Infidels. The new ragtime arrangement featured Donnie on banjo, recast 
the song into the distant past, while retaining the Band’s slight rewrite of the 
chorus, “I know one thing, nobody can sing, the blues like Blind Willie McTell.” 
By now, Dylan was so happy singing at center stage that the subject matter 
almost appeared to be irrelevant. At one point in the song, he had to turn his 
back to the crowd to regain his composure. Everyone on stage and in the 
audience were having such a great time that it mattered little. You just went 
with the flow.

Thunder On The Mountain: Dylan shuffled some papers when he returned to 
his keyboard. Then it was a rocking version of the opening track from Modern 
Times. Not much to add really, they’ve been nailing this one for years.

Ballad Of A Thin Man: Years ago, Dylan referred to this as his “theme song,” 
and as the recent regular set closer, it remains so. Bob center stage, mic in 
hand, all drama, with a rare additional “effect” - an “echo” added to the vocals, 
adding to the circus-like atmosphere of the lyrics. “But first, don’t forget, you 
first got to telephone.”


Like A Rolling Stone: At times, Dylan might sleepwalk through this one, but 
tonight it was like Bruce Springsteen singing “Born to Run.” Like he still meant 
it. Grand, majestic. A celebration.

All Along The Watchtower: Another song I thought I’d never want to hear 
again. Granted, it’s one of Dylan’s masterpieces, engraved into our consciousness 
by Jimi Hendrix’s cover version. But anyway you look at it, it’s three chords, three 
verses, twelve lines, 130 words. Performed more than 1900 times. Dylan might 
change the key, even change the ending, but whatever he did, I could rarely 
connect to the song since sometime during the Reagan administration. I’d just 
heard it too many times.

However, Dylan finally rearranged the chords so that it was based on one 
pounding riff, and took the song out from under its own history, and finally 
made it sound new. For the first time in decades, I could hear the song fresh. 
An amazing achievement. Better late than never.

Blowin’ in The Wind: It appeared that the band might leave the stage, but they 
stayed for one more song. It felt like a blessing, a thank you from Dylan - even 
though most people expected a seventeen song set anyway. Again, it was not 
about the performance or the arrangement, it was about the atmosphere, the 
celebration of Dylan, at 70, in great shape, on top of his game. Bob enjoying his 
legacy and his fans.

The crowd did not want to let him go, but in the end, despite an enthusiastic 
ovation, Dylan left the building. He was gone,  but what a gift he left us. A 
memory of an outstanding show. My 71st time. Is it ridiculous to think it 
among the best? I think not. 

Harold Lepidus
Bob Dylan Examiner


Review by William Thomas

In the improbable saga that is the career of "America's Troubador,"
perhaps nothing is so confounding as his rendering of classics into inscrutable
-and oft-brilliant – re-creations.

At the House of Blues, the ying and yang of this approach cut both
ways, from beauty to ugliness. Dylan's otherworldly vocals, akin to the rasp of
a fox barking, can convey tear-wrenching majesty, as in "Tangled Up in Blue."
Bob's piercing harp runs contributed mightily to the performance here, as well.

Then again, the bard's intricate phrasing and irregular arrangements
transformed the elegiac grace of "Tryin' to Get to Heaven" into an
indecipherable ode. Likewise, "Thunder on the Mountain" suffered from the
reworked treatment, converting a raucous anthem into an offbeat exercise in
experimentation gone awry.

"Blind Willie McTell," so often touted as an overlooked masterpiece from Dylan's
staggering oeuvre, suffered a similar fate, losing much of its stunning impact
heard on bootleg.

Conversely, "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'" is a lackluster affair on record, yet
it's Tex-Mex beat simmered in a succulent live stew from the stage, including
Bob's guitar and Donnie Herron's electric mandolin.

Which brings us to a general acclamation of Bob's crack band and its
danceability – yes, the old folkie can still get bootys shakin' – on the
searing "Highway 61" and sinuous "Watchtower." But the triumphant ebb and flow
of "Rolling Stone" is the ultimate move-bustin' romp, bearing testament to the
bard's link with the jam band beyond description, aka The Grateful Dead.

William Thomas


Review by

I'm home after eight shows and, thankfully, it's clear and bright and warm - a
spectacular late summer day in Nova Scotia.  Drove through what seemed like
hurricane force wind and rain in New Brunswick yesterday that eclipsed the
fierce flooding rainfall on the way from Jones Beach to Asbury Park last week. 
And my thoughts are racing and I wonder if I can possibly write down how this
miracle called Bob Dylan makes me feel.  How many people never find something to
be so enthralled by.  There are so many words for it - enthralled, overjoyed,
blessed, lucky.  Speaking for myself - and if I may be so bold, I bet for many
others - life has been immeasureably more with Bob Dylan along.   

It is sometimes hard to grasp that he is a human being, like me.  I think I
finally got that this time.  I saw how he is this person who gets off the bus
and walks onstage and does this magnificent thing night after night.  In
Philadelphia, I got to sit in the front seat at the left of the stage, two empty
seats between me and the next person and just watch and listen.  Just plain
lucky, no doubt about it.  Listening to Hollis Brown in Bangor, I said to Penny
sitting next to me, "What does he think about?"  That was one terrific show. 
But they all were.  Like my friend, Chuck, says, "How can you compare
paradises?"  In Boston, I was almost glad there were no more.  I mean, how much
wonderfulness can a person take? I sometimes wonder why I have been so blessed,
so lucky to be in this crowd on this night, in these moments.  

On nights when I slept in the car, in Maine on the way down and in Columbia the
night before the show, I wondered if someday I would look back and think I must
have been a few bricks short of a load.  My protected upbringing and
comparatively bland and conservative circumstances challenged by some off-kilter
obsession with Bob Dylan.  Spending my summer holiday driving the interstate
highways of the US in my car with air-conditioning that isn't working terribly
well.  And then I catch myself and say, Naw, you've just got your priorities

And here I am now, once again feeling the entire trip was great.  I am still and
always so excited before he comes on stage, so thrilled when he does, so stunned
I barely hear the first song, so amazed at the sound of his voice, so craggy and
gorgeous, and the fabulous band.  It's so interesting to hear the new twists and
turns of songs heard before.  How in Gilford, Desolation Row was downright funny
in places - I think it was the way he ended the lines.  The guy next to me
thought so too because we laughed at the same stuff.  How the drama of Ballad of
a Thin Man in its current form is perfect for this time, its power seeming to
confront the state of things. How it seems almost inconceiveable that this man
wrote not just Simple Twist of Fate and Tangled Up in Blue but all of these
songs - and so many more just as stunning.  How I've heard Like a Rolling Stone
again and again and it still induces introspection and then a feeling of
resolution and acceptance, and if he'd only written that one song, it would have
been enough.  And that he is still here, still singing these songs.  How every
time the whole experience is like no other and really quite indescribeable. I
mean, could any good fiction writer make up a biography in a month of Sundays
more interesting, of a life lived more thoroughly?  And is there any doubt that
he is doing what he's supposed to do?  How he seems to be ever constantly
becoming who he is - with such honesty, dignity and grace.  Dressing now, as
Mike Walsh says on, like some cross between a travelling minstrel and a
hotel doorman.  Cool and funny, both.  Just really perfect.  

And it's so nice to spend a little time with people who feel the same way about
this music - or close enough - and to realize that many go to considerable
trouble and expense to spend a little time in the same place as this great
artist.  How I can think after the Philadelphia show, Hurray, I've still got
three more, and after the Bangor show, I've still got one more.  And then after
Boston, Gee, I hope he tours in the eastern US in the spring.  And that makes me
want to thank the tapers for all that terrific stuff.  How lucky am I?  

I was at the Sheraton in Columbia, Maryland, when I saw Stu at the front desk
and I thought, Don't think, just go.  So I did, and I tapped him on the
shoulder, he turned and I held  out my hand and said, "Thanks."  He took it and
smiled and said, "Thank you, appreciate it."  I was glad that I didn't gush and
glad that I took the opportunity when I had the chance. I could gush on and on
now.  I did want to gush, to you, this much.  


Review by Ernie Pancsofar

The crowd was tangled up in the House of Blues
Across from Fenway Park.
There’s something about a sold out show
That seems to ignite the spark.

Blues to the north and Blues to the West
On the signposts in the street
Blues on the outside and Blues at the Inn
Blind Willie McTell you’ll meet.

Things Have Changed but still stay the same
In this paradox by the Boston shore
The band was rockin -  the people were knockin
Trying to get to Heaven before they Close the Door.

Thank you Bob for your energy tonight
You shared with us and more
We heard your Blowin in the Wind
As a welcome third encore.

I write my notes on the morning after
I’ll not soon forget this night
When our paths again crossed for the 21st time
May the end not be in my sight.

Ernie Pancsofar


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