October 2, 2007
Review by The Little Neighbor Boy
The bard visited our fair city, infamously dubbed “the utility closet
of New England,” last night, with two stellar acts in tow.
Amos Lee was a stealth surprise, with his rock, country and
soul-influenced performance far exceeding expectations. “Skipping
Stone,” with its ethereal keyboards, channeled Ray Charles. The
blistering energy of “Raised by the Wolves” highlighted Lee's
mesmerizing presence, while he shape-shifted into a female soprano on the
prayer-like “Jails and Bonds.”
Elvis Costello exhibited extraordinary pluck and aplomb in his solo
acoustic set, at times approaching the bard in his lyric-poetic
intensity. Although I am not an acolyte of Declan McManus, I beg to
differ with my soulmate's plaint alleging a sameness of delivery.
Furthermore, he regaled with his anecdotes, including one about a chance
encounter with Arnold Schwarznegger, in which he imagined telling the
rugged governor 'tis a pity he could not be elected president, while
Elvis' American-born offspring could. As an aside, it was strangely
absurd to witness the “Shut the f--- up,'' exchange among overwrought
“fans” alongside me as Mr. Costello concluded “What's So Funny About
Peace, Love and Understanding?”
To wit, lady and I descended to the near-empty rear of the floor where we
could dance, shout, fart and make love to our hearts' content without
interruption. Well, almost ...
So the sage of the ages takes the stage with his band of
almost-over-the-hill hired guns. He's got a broad-brimmed riverboat
gambler's hat on and a black coat with a military look to it, with two
red stripes toward the end of the sleeves. Opener “Leopard Skin Pillbox
Hat” comes off as muddy, and from there the show flows up peaks and
down valleys, with Bob's almost-spoken vocal-style being a constant. The
set list was a sterling mix of the venerable, the obscure and the cheesy.
“Don't Think Twice,'' and “Watchin' the River Flow” represented the
best of Dylan's country and blues stylings.
“John Brown” was orchestral performance art at its zenith, melded
with a potent portrait of war's insanity. “You Go Your Way,'' was
rollicking, and replete with Dylan's harp trills.
The bouncy “Spirit on the Water'' is a crowd-pleaser, but arguably a
throwaway piece of irrelevance. As to whether Dylan's over-the-hill?
Let's be glad he's out there on the road, but to mi amore, he looked
gaunt and moved sparingly. And is his phrasing between instrumental
peaks the result of diminished vocal power?
That said, “Highway 61'' was a gloriously crashing display of guitar
interlock. “Ain't Talkin'” was an eerily symphonic, fiddle-enhanced
masterpiece. “Watchtower” featured Hendrixesque explosiveness
interspersed with tribal tom-tom beat drums.
Review by Cary Krosinsky
Well, I just don't know where to begin.
There are apparently times when music reaches a very spiritual place,
and this was one of those nights.
When you are surrounded by a great crowd, and ghosts are in the air -
have you ever seen a ghost? YES - they were very present at the end of
the magnificent version of Ain't Talkin this evening. Was it ourselves
coming back in time to rewitness what we had seen?
Because we didn't believe it the first time.
I certainly am not and was not capable of absorbing this show fully and
It's scary how good Bob is right now, but actually it's quite wonderful.
Do I try to do a blow by blow? Doesn't seem appropriate, really.
Suffice it to say that Bob got into a groove and a trance that I've
never seen before in about 50 Bob shows and by the end everyone was
glowing, few were applauding as they were stunned and awe struck,
skeptics became believers - walking out, you felt your mortality
returning. Does life go on as before?
From the great Beyond the Horizon, through the very last note, this show
reached a level, truthfully, of the rightly legendary Temples in Flames
tour. I know you won't believe that if you weren't there. But for
god's sake, get yourself to one of these shows, especially if your a
skeptic - saw them transformed before my very eyes - go to Albany - go
Denny was amazing. The band has become this amorphous thing - the
sounds are evolving in a very special way, creating a platform for Bob,
and he is clearly very excited about it right now, as his commitment and
focus was uncanny.
Watching the River Flow swayed with incredible energy.
John Brown was a perfect, silent requiem.
High Water was bizarre, twisted inside out - weird.
Most Likely was great.
but it all came together in Beyond The Horizon
Spirit on the Water never was better
Highway 61 high octane and very different than Bridgeport.
I'm reading the setlist, and I'm typing this, and I realize that
words aren't doing this show justice, so I'll stop now
Review by Ryan Dritz
It isn't every day that the DCU Center gets to host entertainers as
eclectic and legendary as Mr. Bob Dylan, and Elvis Costello. In fact, the
last major performer to play in Worcester's largest venue was Madonna in
2004, and an aging Guns N' Roses last year. However, last night, me and
six friends joined a house of only a few thousand and got to enjoy a treat
of classic rock, pop country, and blues, performed by two of the greatest
iconic singer/songwriters of the past forty years.
Amos Lee and his band provided to a pretty much empty crowd, a taste of
country rock and roll for the first half hour to forty-five minutes. As
his set started, the DCU Center slowly filled up its floor seats and
scattered across around the lower sections that went for about $69.50 to
as low as $39.50 for nose-bleeders. However, because of the small size of
the venue, even the worst seats in the house weren't that bad at all.
Amos Lee, who has been touring with Bob Dylan this past year, and his band
are true musicians. Although most of his songs appeared pretty much
unfamiliar to most, those that were there could appreciate his strong
country-style voice, and mellow interaction with the crowd. After all, any
event that holds live music by any artist, no matter how unfamiliar,
receives full credit for setting such a high standard as an opener.
Elvis Costello, one of Britain's earliest "pub rockers" performed next,
which brought on many cheers by excited fans. Playing just an acoustic
set, Costello performed, "Alison" from My Aim is True (1977), and "(The
Angel's Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes". Although Costello played solo for his
entire set, he still rocked out his most familiar hits, and displayed a
wonderful example of yesterday's "rock n roll jive", by having the
audience (try) and sing along during and in middle to some of this songs.
After, Costello alluded to a time when his father told him, that one day,
his name would be at the "bottom of the bill", - this coming after his
success in the 70's and 80's.
With trumpet sounds blasting through speakers, and the lights turned low,
the one and only Bob Dylan and his band stroll onto stage just before 9:00
pm. Dylan, dressed in sharp cowboy attire and hat on, stood center stage
amongst his 5-piece-band.
There he was. Bob Dylan. Like the countless millions that grew up after
his "prime" in the 60's and 70's, I stood there with my friends, still in
total awe. "Still" because although I've only been a fan of this music for
a little less than a decade, he was still an icon of music in the 20th
century. He has maintained his place high amongst the greatest
singer/songwriter of music history, and still, at 66 years old, can make a
lasting impression on ones life. Whether this was the first time, or one
hundredth time over the decades of watching him plays live, his message is
still strong, and his music still full of life, reverence, and
He opened with "Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hall" on his electric guitar, with
as much energy as he is going to play at this point in his life. Following
the opener, he played one of my personal favorites, "Don't Think Twice,
It's Alright", with heart and bitterness. Finishing off the opening three
songs was a single released on Greatest Hit's Volume II, "Watching the
River Flow", which set the mood for the rest of the night - this night was
going to be a once and a lifetime treat. Bob Dylan pulled a few unfamiliar
numbers, next such as "John Brown" from his MTV Unplugged performance in
1995, and about six songs from his latest number one album Modern Times.
The crowd noticeably got excited after hearing the first few lyrics of
"Highway 61 Revisited", and stood back up for the remainder of the
concert, especially towards the stage. Dylan still had it in him to rock
and roll, and was supported by his fabulous five-piece band. "Ballad of a
Thin Man" was played before he exited off the stage prior to his encore,
leaving his crowd obviously craving more.
There was no "Tangled Up in Blue", "Hurricane", or even "Like A Rolling
Stone", for Dylan has played them countless times over the decades, but he
did end the night with a one-two punch of "Thunder On the Mountain", and
the ever so recognizable "All Along the Watchtower" to a bright blue eye
print designed that hung up on a huge banner dwarfing behind the band. A
simple "Thank you friends" and Dylan and his band exited the stage to a
still roaring crowd in downtown Worcester.
Highlights: "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright", "John Brown", "Workingman's
Blues #2", and "Ballad of a Thin Man", and "Rollin' and Tumblin'". Length:
Whole concert was about three hours long. Bob Dylan played for about 100
minutes starting at 9 p.m. The Crowd: It is probably safe to say that most
were there to see Bob Dylan, although many still seemed excited by the
presence of Elvis Costello. Any empty seats in the lower section were open
to everyone because still so many were not sold. I personally was in the
2nd to last row across the stage in the balcony, and ended up 10 rows away
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