page by Bill Pagel
Review by David Link
First off please excuse any errors, grammar or otherwise....I'm fried
tonight after this show... When we got to Sacramento early in the day, it
was already pretty hot. Is it ever not hot in this city? The Sacramento
Memorial Auditorium is a great venue for a concert, especially a Dylan
concert. The capacity is about 3,800, with a small open floor, a few rows
of risers off the floor, and a small balcony that goes all around the
three sides. It is has kind of an old art-deco style...very nice.
Someone was smiling on us from above, and we were front-row dead (dylan)
center. The rail was very low, and the stage was to our waist, making it
seem as though we were almost eye-level with the band. A very nice, small
set-up. There was a guy in a wheelchair front row in front of Larry. (more
on that later).
They came out at about 7:35 or so and jumped into Wait For The Light To
Shine. It sounded great; the band looked very upbeat--it seems that Bob
could keep pulling these gems out forever and make them live again.
Song to Woody came next, and it was pretty strong. It was a surprise to
me even though he does still do it here and there. This was an enjoyable
Desolation row was fun. I usually don't enjoy this song as much as others,
but Bob's guitar solos saved it for me this time. He was really into it,
playing loud and strong.
Searching For a Soldier's Grave was expected, but it was a well-played
version. Bob to this point had not smiled yet, but it was obvious that he
was getting into it.
Now by song number five I had been expecting Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum,
as were may others. But Bob went back to the side of his amp, talked to
Tony (and mayby Larry) for a second, and came slowly walking out from the
Things Have Changed. This was the new, slooooooooow version. (Well, maybe
not that slow, but waaaay slower than the way he had last done it.) I was
psyched because I had heard this a number of times, and then he stopped
playing it. But the time seemed right, on this day when the american media
were telling everyone that this was the worst day of bombing yet. Things
Have Changed indeed. "People are crazy, times are strange...." The line
"If the bible is right, the world would explode" was chilling, to me. An
amazing version of this song.
Summer Days came next, my first chance to hear the new material live,
and I was not dissapointed. Bob and the band tore this up, as he had the
previous nights, according to eyewitnesses. At the end of the song, he
nailed the line, "I know a place where there's still something going
ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhan"!, with the ending word held on so long and loud that
he almost fell over! Amazing.
Next up was a great version of I Want You. Bob finally smiled during this
tune, after he sang a particularly nice-sounding verse. Great pedal steel
and a nice (but short) harmonica solo.
Coming up next he snapped my head off with a killer version of Cry A While.
Let me say that this song ripped!!!!!! For playing it for the first time
live, it sounded like they had been doing it for a while. I don't know, it
just sounded so crisp and clean, basically like on the album but of course
so much better being live. You will be happy to hear this one.
Now, I never thought I would be saying Masters of War was a main highlight
of a show, but on this night, for me it was. Bob just seemed to pour a lot
of heart and soul into this song on this night...he really nailed every word,
every phrase, with the intensity and concentration of a stone-cutter. He was
shaping the words in an amazing way, and then his repeating the "I can see
through your mask" line at the end was a perfect cap on that song.
Then into Boots of Spanish Leather. He is really letting us have it now.
This show is now seeming to be amazing. He and the band just seem to be on
Don't Think Twice, It's Alright.....good advice these days.
Hiway 61. I wasn't expecting this in this spot. That is what makes these
shows great...Just when you think you know what he will do, something else
happens. A great rocking version.
Sugar Baby was wonderful, just as people have been saying. I was happy
to hear it, and he seemed very psyched to be playing it.
Wicked Messenger was aggressive and fast, as usual. The house was
rocking, and the harp was blowing. Great fun.
A decent Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat closed the set, and we were ready for
the expected Love Sick, which was haunting as usual. (Before the show,
outside a car alarm had gone off, and as we were listening to the
repetitive horn honking, my friend, who had gone to the first four shows,
said "It sounds like Love Sick". And it did.)
Like a Rolling Stone was very typical, no surprises here.
But then he did surprise me by playing If Dogs Run Free. I loved this
when he started playing it again (last year?), and it was great on this night,
Bob was smiling throughout, and Larry was laughing and grinning at the
end, clearly having a fine time.
Honest With Me was a perfect choice as the last rocker of the night, and
could not have let anyone down. This song will just get better and better,
Blowin was also to be expected of course, but it was a fine version
seeming to come from the heart. Too many people have died, indeed.
After Blowin, Bob took his life into his hands by coming up to the edge of
the stage in front of the man in the wheelchair to point at him and nod to
him, seeming to say, "thanks for being here". I say he took his life into
his hands because there were women there trying to grab onto his hand and
arm! (and probably pull him into the crowd!) Luckally he was just far
enough back to avoid that fate. But just barely. I was appalled at the
sight, right next to me. No wonder the man seems to fear for his safety. I
would too. He backed up and did his bows to the house with the rest of
the band and then they all walked offstage.
We walked out and across the street to our car for the 1:45 min. drive
home. My how we love local shows. Onto San Jose and Beyond......See you
Review by Jesse Shanks
There was high anticipation in the air, with the great reviews of the
early shows on the new Dylan tour, the success of his new album and the
general feeling from the situation in the country, due to political and
military events. Security was reasonably tight but not overtly tense with
cooperation from the fans speeding things along nicely. Sacramento
Memorial Auditorium is a lovely old building and the concert was,
surprisingly, general admission, which meant the chance to stand and get
close to the stage. I positioned myself far enough back for quality sound
and close enough to see the band clearly. I noted an astonishing number of
instruments arrayed onstage, so many that I could not count but there
seemed to be at least 50 different guitar necks in view.
Usually I am at Dylan concerts strictly as a fan. But, after more than a
year of writing DVD reviews on digitallyOBSESSED.com, this time I could
not help but turn a more critical eye to the proceedings. Fortunately for
me, at this concert the fan and the critic in me were unanimous. I rated
this show as BKA, as in Bob Kicked Ass.
Following the classical recording that formed the pre-show music, the band
filtered onto the stage with Larry Campbell sporting a goatee and
positioned to the right. David Kemper wore a cowboy hat at his drum set
and Charlie Sexton was dapper in a red coat to the left. Tony Garnier in
purple jacket took his customary position behind and left of Dylan's mike.
Then Bob strode to the center of the stage wearing a silver-grey suit with
a silver tie and missing the little pencil-thin mustache from the Oscars
and the Love and Theft pictures.
They launched directly into Wait For The Light To Shine on acoustic
instruments; Larry and Charlie chimed in on the chorus. The song grabbed
the crowd instantly and Bob was very on and focused. At the conclusion,
the lights went out and, in a pattern that would continue through the
night, the band made instrument changes. I am just not enough of an expert
to know, but it sure seemed like they each played a different instrument
on every song.
The next tune I named in one note and it was probably the one song that I
have not heard Bob sing that I wanted to hear and it was Song To Woody.
The enunciation and the feeling behind Bob's vocal was just perfect. I
have never heard this song sound better in any incarnation. Simply
magnificent. There was such power went Dylan sang the verse: "Hey, hey
Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song/'Bout a funny ol' world that's a-comin'
along/Seems sick an' it's hungry, it's tired an' it's torn/It looks like
it's a-dyin' an' it's hardly been born."
I mentioned to a guy next to me that if the next song was Desolation Row,
then I could just leave then. Immediately, I heard the characteristic bass
thump and knew that it was to be that tune. What a powerful performance
this was. The guitars, the enunciation, the expressions on Bob's face...
fantastic stuff. Of course, someone would have had to drag me out of that
concert hall by force.
Searching For A Soldier's Grave followed and was obviously not recognized
by most of the crowd. The group gave the song a lovely reading with some
particularly beautiful mandolin from Larry, but it did not have much
impact on the audience, except for some response to the lines about
American deaths. There was obviously the emergence of a theme at work
here. Although, it would be out of character for Dylan to be overt, one
could not help but see that the song list reflected these current times in
a special way.
As if to remark on this, Things Have Changed marked the first charge of
electricity and kicked off with a jolting scattershot drum riff from
Kemper. Bob was good to go for this song and read the sardonic lyrics with
a fierce look on his face. This performance seemed to be much more
energetic than on the Oscars and it was a pleasure to marvel at the
interplay between the guitarists. At this point, I noticed that the
arrangements of the songs all seemed much more potent than I remembered
from past Dylan concerts. In my memory, it has seemed that the opening
notes would be struck and then the band would settle into a groove over
which Bob would sing the lyrics. Then there would be a series of guitar
solos and then the song would end. Here, there seemed to be well-planned
structures that, although lent themselves to the free-form jamming that
had dominated such tunes as Silvio and Tangled Up in Blue in the past,
gave the songs a fresh, polished feel that allowed the players to create
subtle tapestries of sound. It was great stuff and certainly one of the
best musical Dylan experiences I have heard.
Summer Days was the first of the tunes from the new album and it rocked
the house. Bob was brittly humorous as he sang the words and the band was
obviously enjoying playing the song. There was a grin on Larry's face that
replaced his more stoic demeanor that I have seen at some recent shows.
Charlie's playing was integrated fully into the sound of the group and
Tony was just rock solid. The audience responded strongly to this rocking
blues number and the floor started shaking a little with all the dancing.
Larry stepped over to the pedal steel guitar and without blinking Bob
launched into I Want You and it was lovely. I just stood there and enjoyed
his phrasing on this tune I have listened to so many times and when he
picked up a harmonica and added punctuation to this bonafide classic I
felt chills. Positively unforgettable street.
The next song also came from Love and Theft and it was Cry A While, which
is in that Dylan-blues-march kind of mode--like Foot of Pride--and
featured Bob up front, biting off the words, "I cried fuh ya, now it's yer
turn to cr-y-y-y-y-y-y a while!" It also contains the interesting line:
"I'll die before I turn senile."
After the expected instrument switch, the lights took on an eerie,
greenish-yellow glow and the backdrop took on a smearing mix of
greenish-blue and red. An acoustic guitar thumped a rhythm and Bob went
back almost 40 years again to play Masters Of War for a multigeneration
audience that currently found itself at war. His reading was passionate
and I have seen some reviews that referred to the nature of the song
having some questionable appropriateness. I did not feel that. There is an
impassioned idealism in the song that rings true beyond the actual
condemnation of the military-industrial complex that forms the literal
point of the song. It was certainly a potent moment and powerful
performance. Charlie's dobro was making some wild sounds that added to the
mysterioso tour de force.
We stayed back in the early '60s for Boots Of Spanish Leather and this is
one of the few moments that I really felt angry with the crowd around me.
I could forgive them for not recognizing the song or confusing its intro
with the more well known songs such as Don't Think Twice or Girl from the
North Country. But, please when the arrangement is so delicate and lovely
and Bob's reading of the words so emotional and beautiful, there is no
reason to sieze on the quietest moment to shout out "Bob, you the man."
Still staying in the first two albums came Don't Think Twice, It's All
Right and this one was another lovely arrangement and performance. The
crowd tried to sing along and Bob let them, only altering his phrasing on
the chorus slightly. A good time was had by all on this song.
Another instrument swap brought out the Fenders and we were out on Highway
61 Revisited and this crowd-pleasing rave-up got the house shaking again.
Charlie played some particularly fine lines in this song and I could hear
Bob contributing some nice licks as well. Normally, this song is a set or
show closer and I was slightly confused from my peeking at the previous
songlists. I had not been counting songs but it did seem a little early to
bring out the "red, white and blue shoe-strings."
So, it was fascinating when the lights went down, the band switched
instruments and then the lights came up on Bob going into Sugar Baby, the
closing song from the new album. It seemed odd to rouse the crowd with
Highway 61 and then slow it back down with this ballad in the Dark Eyes
style. It is a love song of sorts ("Sugar Baby, get on down the road/you
aint got no brains no how") and the crowd settle down quick enough but was
having trouble containing their excitement.
This pent-up energy exploded when the band kicked into the electrified The
Wicked Messenger from John Wesley Harding. The guitar work was magnificent
and I hope this one will make it on a live album one of these days. When
Bob picked up his harp and went down almost to one knee to lay his
signature sound over the ripping guitars, I know that now was the time to
scream, "Bob, you the man!"
The energy climbed as the group fired up Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat and the
whole building started rocking as the audience danced madly. This song
closed the first part of the show and I seized on this opportunity to
escape the front and move with my companion to the rear of the auditorium
to take in the whole scene for the encores as was my custom back in the
days of general admission shows.
The first song of the encore set was a straightforward reading of Love
Sick and it was very much like the famous Grammy performance and one could
be excused for looking around for Soy Bomb to pop out of the crowd. Bob's
phrasing and the elegant playing were almosr perfect and this was
certainly a winner.
I could not resist leaning over to my companion, who does not like to hear
about the songlists from the Internet and commenting to her that it seemed
like a good time to "throw the bums a dime." After absorbing the expected
hit on the chest, I heard the expected chord progression that heralded
Like A Rolling Stone. There were some bright lights installed above the
stage that they turned on during the chorus and this became a big-time
sing-along that can be left off the live album thank you, but it was a
rousing performance. I thought of the young man I had met earlier who was
seeing Dylan for the first time with his dad and was glad that he had a
chance to see this moment.
It was amusing that near us in the back of the hall was a fellow with his
seeing-eye dog. When I heard the first chords of the next song and
recognized the tune I leaned over and asked him, "If dogs run free, then
why not we?" This was another unexpected and welcome choice, as I had
figured to get Knockin' on Heaven's Door or Forever Young in this spot. It
had a feel that was reminiscent of the sound of a couple of the songs on
Love and Theft or The Sopranos rarity Return to Me. Great fun and great
Not done with essaying the new album, we got a blistering version of
Honest With Me that was excellently arranged and performed. I just don't
know how Dylan does it, because I was feeling pretty worn out and I had
not just played and sang nineteen songs. Bob obliged the audience with few
nicely placed duck walkish movements during the guitar jamming.
The the last instrument switch and we had our icon asking "how many times
must the cannonballs fly?" while laser-guided ordnance was raining down
halfway across the world. We replied that the answer was Blowin' in the
Wind--but he already knew that.
Review by KC WInd
Since I am one of those Dylan enthusiasts who can't wait to read the set
lists and reviews, I can't get by without writing a few words down about
the incredible shows I've seen in Seattle, Corvallis, and Sacramento.
"Righteous" sums it up.
Last night's show in Sacramento left this Dylan-head reeling with
happiness. The band was right-on. Dylan was more than right-on. He was
smiling, dancing, letting the songs linger a bit so we could all get down,
groove a little harder in the orchestra pit. Hats off to all the boys in
the band as they are all such great and accomplished musicians. Hard to
say which is more beautiful, the boys or the guitars.
Having attended shows in Norway, there are now faces from the
international dylan canvas that I recognized at the shows. The guy from
England, the lady from Italy, the couple from Boston, and my favorite the
norwegian boys. The norwegians made it safely across the ocean in time
for the show in Sacramento. I could have sworn Bob was looking their way
during Boots last night, perhaps recognizing the voyage they made for the
shows. When he looked out during Song to Woody and sung the words so
tenderly, "and all the good people that travel with you," I think he may
have felt the goodness of the people who travel far, sometimes across a
river, or a mountain, and yes even an ocean, to be with him.
I can't really go into the set list or the songs except to say that if I
wanted to list all the songs that were a highlight, you'd get the entire
set list. It was truly that good. And the best is yet to come. Sweet
Frisco on the horizon ...
Thanks Dr. Dylan for serving up the remedy - good loving through music and
Review by Bobby Fay
Great show! I was thoroughly impressed with last night's performance. I
noticed numerous changes (apart from the obvious "Love and Theft" debuts)
from past performances. In particular, I got a strong sense that as a
result of 2 weeks in a recording studio writing and performing together,
the band finally looks and sounds like "a band", rather than hired
musicians. It was nice to witness this newly sparked confidence and
comradary among the five of them.
Also, Bob hit every note tonight to perfection and flexed his wide vocal
range from one line to the next like only he can do. He looked like he
was having fun with his vocal phrasings and style, and facial movements.
One last observation: I was happy to see that Larry was taking more guitar
solos, both acoustic, electric, mandolin, and pedal steel. When I last
saw the band in Lancaster, CA, Aug 25, I noticed that Charlie dominated
the solos. This made me worry that perhaps Larry was becoming less
interested or perhaps entertaining other opportunities outside of Dylan's
gig. (Perhaps that's just fanatic paranoia. I should just stop
speculating and enjoy the music, huh?!)
"Wait For The Light To Shine" was a nice bluegrass-gospel opener. The
vocal harmonies were right on and Bob was loose from the very start. I
couldn't help but notice how this song's message is consistent to Bob's
many spiritually introspective numbers, such as: "Not Dark Yet", for
example. True to character.
The 4,000+ capacity auditorium's sound system was flawless from beginning
"Song to Woody" was impressive. The last time I saw him perform this song
was in Santa Cruz, in March 2001, and as heard on the recording of this
song as the b-side to the cd single "Things Have Changed", some idiot in
the crowd ruined the song (and recording) by yelling on cue and at the top
of his lungs "Leadbelly!!!!" Last night's crowd was very respectful and
hung on to every word. (Thanks, Sacramento.)
Last night's "Desolation Row" was the best I ever heard. The song
gradually raised in volume and intensity, and went over really well. It
was perhaps the most memorable of the night, for me.
Again, it was great to see and hear Larry's talents featured on "Searching
For A Soldier's Grave" as he picked the mandolin beautifully. The trio's
vocal harmonies were exquisite.
"Things Have Changed" was a refreshing surprise. I forgot about this one!
Considering that this song was really the first the band had recorded
together, it was nice to hear again after the "Love and Theft" recording.
(I hope Larry, Charlie, Tony, and David band are getting nice
$$$royalties$$$ for this one!)
"Summer Days" - awesome! Great rockabilly number! The band had fun on
this one as they gathered together mid-stage during the instrumental
spots. It was obvious that Dylan took his time to take in the applause
and appreciation afterwards as this was the first new number of the night.
Like "Desolation Row" before, "I Want You" was another blast-from-the-past
that is played frequently, but never better than last night. Although the
melody has changed, I think the new adaptation stands strong on its own.
(It appeared as if Dylan was singing this song directly to someone in the
front row, stage left.)
"Cry Awhile" was unbelievable!!! The band was really working hard keeping
up with the time changes and rocking out completely. Tony's bass shook
the hall. This is classic Dylan! My favorite, at the moment. Those who
haven't, but soon will, see this song live are in for a real treat. Bob
exaggerated his trademark Chaplinesque body movements on this one.
"Masters of War" was average, but of course, I'm not complaining. And of
course, there couldn't have been a single concert goer who wasn't thinking
about the present state of the world all the while.
"Boots of Spanish Leather" and "Don't Think Twice" sounded so nice next to
one another. Larry's finger picking was so fluid and mesmerizing. Both
songs were performed delicately and seductively, ala "It Aint Me Babe." I
got goose-bumps, and I know I wasn't the only one! Bob sang in a
"Highway 61" was also average, and I was surprised to hear it at this
point in the setlist. I knew it wasn't time for the encores.
Nevertheless, all three guitars were blistering and the crowd was into it.
The evenings slowest number, "Sugar Baby", was also very nice. The hall
was fairly quite during this number, except for some chatter from the
back. The chorus was really powerful. Another great new song which I
imagine will be around for a while.
My only disappointment of the evening was "Wicked Messenger." The guitars
were sloppy. The three guitars were stepping all over one another. It
never felt like things gelled on stage until Bob grabbed the harmonica.
True to form, Bob got down on one knee and wailed; at which time, things
started to sound better.
"Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" rocked, as usual.
The encore was a nice variety of new and old. Aside from the inevitable
"Love Sick", "Like A Rolling Stone", and "Blowin' In the Wind", the true
standouts were "If Dogs Run Free" and "Honest With Me."
"If Dogs Run Free" was brilliant! I believe that much of the
instrumentation on the new album was a result of having resurrected this
song last year. It's arrangement is jazzy, and loose, much like "Love and
Theft." (Finally, this song was played at a Northern California venue.
I've been waiting through a lot of performances over the past year for
this one! It exceeded my expectations!)
Next stop: San Jose, and then San Francisco. Bob's first San Francisco
appearance since the 2 Warfield shows in '95 - wow! As someone who lives
in SF, it'll be nice to be able to take a cab to the venue, rather than
drive for miles and miles across California desert territory. I will
definitely relish this luxury, for once, in a very long time.
Of course, I'll be flying to Los Angeles on the 19th for the Staples
Center show, but that's another story.
Review by Sven Lewandowski
There´s a song we used to sing at school when I was a kid. It featured
the following line: "There is plenty of gold / so I´ve been told / at
the banks of Sacramento" And Dylan´s show at the Sacramento Memorial
Auditorium featured at least some nuggets.
First of all it was one of the most beautiful venues I´ve ever been to.
There were pillars on each side of the stage, painted ornaments on the
walls and much more. It all made me think that those who do not have a
(long) history are always trying to invent some. That impression might
have been influenced by my visit of Sacramanto´s "old town" the same
day. It´s like re-designed wild west, pretty much 19th century and it
struck me kind of funny - ´cause when us Europeans think of an "old
town" we usually refer to the 12th or 13th century. But anyways... The
venue´s floor was a slope which made all places on the floor good ones.
And there were some strange things happening before the show. Some guys
prepared a DAT-recorder and even erected a stand for the microphones !
And they didn't seem to care about the security at all ! Neither did
they wait until it was crowed enough so nobody could see them. I asked
them if they weren't fearing to be caught but they evaded my questions-
Later somebody told me that they were working for Dylan's company. It
seemed like they wanted audience instead of soundboard recordings. So
it seems like that the rumors about a live album could turn out to be
true. At least I saw these guys and the microphones at the shows from
Sacramento to Santa Barbara. (At La Jolla and L.A. they weren't there).
The days before I flew to the USA I tried to keep myself away from any
information about the tour´s first shows and it worked (thanks to Tobias
and all others who co-operated). The only thing I knew was that Dylan
already performed five new songs but except for "Moonlight" I didn´t
know which ones. So I was quite anxious to see what Dylan´s new show was
going to be like.
Right from the beginning you could tell that the shows would be much
better than the European shows in summer. Dylan seemed to be much more
concentrated and his phrasing was mostly well done. There seemed to be
real commitent and the buisness-as-usal- or I-don´t-care- attitude
that spoiled the European shows was gone.
The first songs seemed to me like a choice that was common for so many
shows in the last month. Nothing special. But when he did "Searching For
A Soldier´s Grave" - a song that I didn´t expect to hear again - I
immediately thought that there might be a lot of soldier´s graves to be
searched for in the next month and therefore it made sense to me that
Dylan picked out that song he had already abandoned (it might or should
have been quite predictable - seen from now and I wish I´ve had seen it
when I made my list for the Dylan fantasy pool).
Another song that I didn´t expect at all followed: "Things Have
Changed". I touth things had changed and that Dylan would leave this
song behind in favour of his now songs. To me "Things Have Changed" used
to function as a kind of filler in the 2000 shows - a kind of new song
performed instead of real good new songs. So there´s only one thing to
be said on "Things Have Changed": I liked the faster version performed
in Europe in spring 2000 much more but the song seems to be quite well
known and I think the crowed enjoyed it. (I think a lot of non
Dylan-fanatics were quite glad that they did recognize a song).
A real new song followed: Summer Days and it sounded really good - at
least the music while Dylan´s voice lacked of aggressivness and so I was
left with mixed emotions about the song.
ìI Want Youî followed and it´s been a song I really wanted to hear. I
just like this song and I thing it was a good performance. And when
Dylan pulled out the harp the difference to his summer´s shows in Europe
became even more obvious. In Europe it seemed to me that he always
reached for the harp when he didn´t know what else to do. But now he
didn´t just use it but he really played it - I think it was even a whole
"Cry A While" was the second L&T songs and I was later told that it was
the live debut of that song. I sure was thrilled to hear one of the new
songs but I have to admit that it didn´t really seem to work. The
impressive tempo changes couldn´t be reproduced live and I think they
will have to do the song some more times until it gets better.
"Masters Of War" which followed was a quite predictible choice and I
think it´s a good and necessary comment on nowadays political situation
- but I would have prefered "With God On Our Side". The songs was
performed like in summer with Dylan repeating the first verse at the end
of the song, so the songs doesn´t end with "til I´m sure that you're
dead" but with "I can see through your mask" (I hope Dylan does and the
american people too).
As quite often at the first show of a series of concerts I´m going to,
Dylan performed "Boots Of Spanish Leather". I always like that song
performed live - maybe because he did it at my first real good show back
in Münster 1996. Anyway: The performance at Sacramento was once again a
tender one with fine phrasing.
ìDon´t Think Twiceî is uually a song that I don´t even like to hear
once. But once again it was treaten in a very tender way, mostly sung in
a low voice. All in all: a performance to enjoy.
ìHighway 61 Revisitedî opened the last electric set and I was quite
surprised when I was told afterwards that Dylan performed it for the
first time on this tour; I thought it was a standard choice. Once again
I enjoyed the song very much - especially because of the fine guitar
work provided by Charlie (Oh, my God I was so wrong when I wrote in my
reviews of the spring shows 2000 in Germany that Charlie is not a real
hot guitarist. My apologizies to Charlie - but on the other hand he
didn´t do much soloing back in May 2000).
"Sugar Baby" was one of the most unexpected songs for me. When I heard
it on L&T I tought that it would be a song that was never going to be
performed on stage. Not yet knowing that it was in fact performed every
night it was a real surprise to me and I think it was the highlight of
the whole show. It was sung in a very very concentrated way and Dylan
was really on. It was just great!
A hard rocking "Wicked Messenger" followed - creating a a strange
contrast to the tender ìSugar Babyî. The regular set closed with
"Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" which also featured the band introduction.
The first encore was ìLove Sickî and for me another surprise because I
didn´t expect much TOOM-songs anymore. But I enjoyed the performance
althought I´d rather liked to hear another L&T song.
"Like A Rolling Stone" was the usual perforance and this song that needs
a rest. I was done quite fine but it´s been performed much too often.
Same might be true for "If Dogs Run Free", but I still like the songs
much more than "Like A Rolling Stone" (I haven´t heard it that often
"Honest With Me" was the only new song in the encores and I liked it
much more than the version of the album. On the album version the guitar
riff really gets on my nerves while on the live version it is not that
dominant. Larry provided a lot of good slide guitar work. To me "Honest
With Me" was the best of the new songs performed at Sacramento and it´s
also a great encore.
"Blowin´ In The Wind", which is another songs that needs a rest, closed
the show and I think a lot of people thought it was another special
comment on the Afganistan war. Maybe somebody should tell them that
Dylan does "Blowin´" almost every night since 1998.
So all in all it was a good show to start a tour. As I said before it
featured some gold nuggets and not too much gravel, so that I was quite
satisfied. But the performances of "Summer Days" and "Cry A While" still
needed to be improved - Dylan´s voice on the first one, the band´s
coordination on the second one.
But my worries that Dylan might be as weak as in summer were gone. At
least those Summer Days were gone while my trip to California made me
escape the German autumn. So Summer Days were not already gone for me.
comments are welcome, please email to:
page by Bill Pagel
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