September 22, 2007
Review by Jesse Jones
There were no new songs, no setlist surpirses, and no guest artists at
thus suburban Atlanta show, but there was a solid performance to a large,
apprciate arena audience. Dylan's singing was focused and inspired all
evening. Every harmonica solo brought enthusiastic cheers. And Denny
Freeman's guitar-playing truly seems to have found a new level.
Speaking of guitar playing, this was my first show since Dylan went back
to opening on guitar. I expected him to be buried in the mix, but those
leads you will hear on the first three songs are his, and he seemed to
enjoy them almost as much as I did.
"Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat" was a great opener – what a fun song, and Dylan
knows it! "Don't Think Twice" seemed the perfect second number, as a
crowd like this surely had a lot of people who would not know all of the
songs, and this one seemed to bridge them over from Elvis Costello's
"Watching the River Flow" was a final chance for Dylan to rock out on
guitar, and he dispatched it well. Any disappointment at his switcing in
the dark to keyboard was quelled by the familiar opening to "Just Like A
Woman." The audience sang along with the chorus and knew it was being
entertained by genius.
"Rollin' and Tumblin'" gave the band an opportunity to rock, and they did
it well, as they did later with "Honest With Me" and "Summer Days".
"Spirit on the Water" engaged the audience in the now-familiar dialogue.
No, you definitely are NOT over any hill. Then "Hollis Brown" was perhaps
the only surpirsing choice – has he done it this summer? – Dylan sang it
with all the tragedy it requires, although I can't say the audience
reaction reflected the same anguish. It is a great arrangement, however,
of a great early song. Dylan brought the mood back up with a delightful,
jaunty "Memphis Blues."
Then Honest With Me and "Workingman Blues." Dylan really made the
audience believe in these Modern Times greats. The underrated "Highway
61" (anything less than greatest rock song of all time underrates this in
my book) suggested the setlist was moving toward an end, but the
performance was perfect. "Nettie Moore" settled any questions about
"Modern Times" with a beautiful performance, followed by the obligatory
"Summer Days." I had lost count of the setlist and feared the show was
closing with that, but then the familiar chords of "Masters of War" began.
Those who would make this anything other than a timely antiwar anthem can
go to hell; Dylan and this crowd knew what he was singing, and he sang the
"Thunder on the Mountain" is such a great encore song, although I think it
would work ever better as an opener (as it does of course on Modern
Times). And then for this crowd "Watchtower" seemed to be the perfect
It was a large audience in a comfortable arena with good sound – a good
mix of ages and fans. The audience loved the show, and that made my seat
in the stands even more enjoyable. It is good after all these years to
have affirmation that these songs still have value. Every one of his
words rang true. It was a great night in Georgia.
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