October 21, 2010
Comments by Jason Barton
1. Sometime w/in the last 12 mos., someone must of ripped out
Charlie Sexton's charisma switch and tossed it to the wind. No
names, but the likely culprit's initials (I imagine) are BD.
Unless I'm deluded (which may be true), Sexton spent the shows I saw
last year alternately duck-walking, preening and strutting, all the
while soloing furiously throughout. Sexton's two sides, the playing
and the presence, go together like Grape and Nuts. You can't have
one w/o the other.
Tonight, I kept waiting for him to explode, to no avail. He was
subdued, cloakless: a medieval Merlin w/o his wand.
To my mind, a bombastic Sexton trumps the subdued one every time.
His tempestuous leads are central to the band's sound, lending a wild
tension to the steady rhythm of bass, drums and organ. And yet,
stripped of his charisma, Sexton is just another guitarist. And the
band already has one of those.
If this reads like a love letter to Sexton (and a bloody axe to: ___
a. Stu, b. Dylan, c. the show, d. all of the above), it's only b/c
the disparity btwn this band and last year's is stark. Or, maybe,
(like the band), I'm merely having an off night.
And yet, it's telling that Sexton only came truly alive when he
appeared, sans jacket, right before "Ballad of a Thin Man." Only
then, in his long, black shirt, did he resemble that unleashed spirit
Oh, well. Let's hope tomorrow's show brings a renewed sense of
purpose. If not, it's hard to imagine Sexton staying around for
long. The question is: can music's ultimate tamer keep his alpha
lion under wraps (w/o simultaneously squelching his soul?) From my
perspective, the answer is "no."
Review by Zak Williams
Last night was my third time seeing Mr. Dylan in concert, this time
at Chaifetz Arena on the St. Louis University campus. My dad is still
working the fields and I couldn't find anyone else to go, so I wound up
going with my mom(surprisingly she didn't mind the show, except the standing) .
Chaifetz seems pretty cozy for a b-ball arena,
though I guess it made for a better concert view, if you were stuck afar...
We got there really early and had to wait over an hour for
scheduled start time, which ended up being about 8-10 mins after 8. I
got floor seats in the eighth row the first two seats on the far side
of Bob. They were pretty good seats and we thought better than the
first row where you couldn't see anything sitting. The most
entertaining pre-show activity was the drunken guy, singing
Subterranean Homesick Blues at the top of his lungs from the other side of the
I knew not to expect nothing out of the ordinary or radical, the best I
was hoping for was an extra song in the encore or one of my faves in the
rotating #2 surprise slot. I wound up getting neither...
Leopard Skin and Senor were good, and I enjoyed seeing I'll Be Your Baby
Tonight again, though it was very bluesy sounding rather than countryfied, when
I saw it with Larry. The intro jamming to Just Like A Woman was a strong point
of the night. The way Bob and the band layed out the sound and melody was
beautiful. Bob even relented halfway though to allow the audience sing along. We
did end up standing the whole night, at least all of us on the floor did, which
was a little surprising. Bob seemed to be a in good mood, grinning and bopping
around all night...
The first seven numbers and really everything except Hard Rain and Nettie
Moore, were hard rocking in sound. I guess this is the influence of Charlie
Sexton. This was my first time seeing him. The lanky Texan just seems to be
ready unleash his guitar maelstrom at any moment. And most fans seem to love
this version of Bob's band and sound. I'd have just preferred a little more
subtly and intricate numbers throughout the night like the two I mentioned were.
Donnie Herron's steel guitar was lost in the mix. Personally, I think Bob has
one too many band members up there, at least with this hard rocking sound
Charlie brings in addition to his organ sound...
Cold Iron Bounds was another stronger number, Highway 61 was sort of blah,
until they cranked it up speed wise during the jam and then it took off. This
was followed by Nettie Moore, which was one of the clearer sounding songs to me.
Probably the best song of the night? The rocking Ballad of a Thin Man, go
figure. I've seen it both other times I've seen Bob and knew it was coming. But
the light settings and background on stage, seemed to fit with the
mood of the lyrics perfectly and the hard rocking guitars, plus it was
Bob's best harp playing of the night.
After the smoke break, I mean encore break, they come back out, George with a
cigarette hanging from his mouth, and delivered Jolene, which was okay. There
was a big rush over by us to the side of the stage. After that it was "Thank You
Friends..." and band intros and then the obligatory Like A Rolling Stone, which
made me and everyone else happy. The band did the line up and left, it stayed
dark for a few minutes. I was thinking we might get one more, or if this was
just to distract us while the guys were already heading down the interstate. But
lots of people were already leaving and the crowd was pretty low-key to begin
with, so there was not much to entice them to come back...
It was good show, a little over an hour and a half. A few minor complaints,
only one song on guitar and he didn't play Tangled Up in Blue, which he's played
at most every other show. But it was a Bob show unique in its own way and I got
8 songs I hadn't seen yet and a venue I'd never been to.
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