Reviews

Cincinnati, Ohio
Xavier University
Cintas Center
November 4, 2001


[Dave Edwards], [Joe Hollon], [Brian Ruschman], [Barb Henry and Chris Bellessis], [Kerry Knoll]

Review by Dave Edwards



Review of the Dylan Concert at Cintas Center, Xavier University,
November 4, 2001

This was the first event I ever attended at the Cintas Center. I left for
the concert in plenty of time but when I got within a mile of the Cintas
Center, the traffic came to a stop, it took me 45 minutes to get to a
parking spot. I didnít get to my seat until about 7:45, but fortunately
the concert didnít start until about 7:50. Maybe they held up the start of
the concert to allow the crowd to get to their seats. Xavier University
should be ashamed of the traffic flow around this place. I will never
attend another event at the Cintas center unless it is another Bob Dylan
concert. The concert was not a sell-out but I would say it was ĺ filled,
with empty seats only in the second level. I was on the floor 14 rows
back, and the whole floor level stood for the entire concert.

This is probably the tenth Dylan concert I have ever attended and my
forth since the release of Time Out of Mind. What can I say, if this
band is not the best live band out there, tell me of a better one. The
concert got off to a shaky start, Wait for the Light to Shine was ragged
and Dylan sounded hoarse. As the night went on, Dylan seemed to get
stronger. He played the harmonica more than I have seen him in recent
concerts, using it on Mr. Tambourine Man, Donít Think Twice and Tangled Up
in Blue. And speaking of Tangled Up In Blue, when he started I was
disappointed, because I have heard this song at the last four concerts
Iíve attended, but this version was something else, it was incandescent,
for me it turned out to be the highlight of the night, unbelievable how
Bob can reinvent his songs night after night. He even changed many of the
lyrics from the version on Blood on the Tracks. Country Pie rocked, it may
be the worst song Dylan ever wrote but it was great live!

Of the new songs, Summer Days was the highlight. It was almost like Sun
Records reborn with Dylan playing Carl Perkins. Great rockabilly. On the
Love and Theft album, Sugar Baby is one of the songs I like the least, but
in concert it was great, much better than on the album.

Final song before the break was Rainy Day Women and Bob introduced the
band while they continued to play behind him, then they went back into the
final chorus. I thought it was a much better way to introduce the band
than between songs. After about five minutes the band was back on stage
for pretty much the standard 5 song first encore, then came back again for
All Along the Watchtower as the second encore.

It was a great concert, Iím more and more impressed with this band. As a
companion of mine said as we were leaving, if Dylan retires (God forbid),
this band could tour on itís own.

Dave Edwards

[TOP]

Review by Joe Hollon



Sunday night I saw my 9th Bob Dylan show at the Cintas Center in
Cincinnati, Ohio. Here are my thoughts on the songs:

Wait For The Light To Shine- My first time hearing this opener and it's a
good one.  Along the same lines as "Somebody Touched me". Mr. Tambourine
Man (acoustic) (Bob on harp)- Very nice version, great vocals. 

It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (acoustic) (Charlie on dobro)- Again
great vocals...very clear. Searching For A Soldier's Grave (acoustic) - I
really like this song but this version was nothing special. Gotta Serve
Somebody- One of the three highlights of the show.  The band really rocked
and the crowd really woke up to this one. Floater (Tony on standup bass) -
My first "Love and Theft" song live.  Good, true to the album. Country
Pie- Charlie Sexton gave an awesome guitar solo on this one that the crowd
really appreciated. Sugar Baby (Tony on standup bass) - Not my favorite
"Love and Theft" song...played very slow, almost couldn't hear the band.
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (acoustic) (Bob on harp) - Harp solo
#2!!! John Brown (acoustic) (Larry on bouzouki)- Another first time live
for me.  Similar to "Sugar Baby", almost no band on this one. Tangled Up
In Blue (acoustic) (Bob on harp)- The crowd was waiting for this one! 
They stayed into it the rest of the show. Summer Days (Tony on standup
bass) - at this point this was the highlight of the show!  Great song,
sounds great live! Mississippi - "Summer Days" was the highlight
until....Mississippi!!!!  This is the main song I was hoping to hear! 
Great version! Cold Irons Bound- First time for me hearing the new
arrangement.  When the band joined in it was really rockin'.  Good vocals.
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (Larry on steel guitar) - Crowd pleaser.  He did
the intros actually during the song which I thought was neat. 

Things Have Changed 
Like A Rolling Stone 
Forever Young (acoustic)- another first time live for me...great back up
vocals by Charlie and Larry. Honest With Me - One of my favorite L&T
songs...Larry had some guitar trouble at the beginning but once it got
going it sounded great. Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic) (2nd encore) 

All Along The Watchtower - I was hoping for "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
for a finale but this was nice...they really jammed it out and sent
everyone home happy.  

Eight first time live songs for me and I got "Mississippi"!  Successful
night!

-Joe Hollon



[TOP]

Review by Brian Ruschman



I arrived at the arena roughly 15 minutes before Bob was set to take the
stage.  The barely left me enough time to get the poster and hit my seats.
Bob came out 10 minutes late to a rousing rendition of "Wait for the Light
to Shine".  It was the first time that I had heard this live and what a
treat it was.  Mr. Tambourine Man was uplifting as usual with a nice
guitar solo in the middle.  Then Bob played one of all my all-time
favorites, It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), much to my delight.  I
wasn't expecting that one, but it was great to hear.  "Searching for a
Soldier's Grave" and "Gotta Serve Somebody" were great additions to the
setlist for me, but seemed to bore everyone else.  "Floater", being one my
favorite songs from "Love and Theft" was terrific as Tony seemed to have a
great time with it on his stand-up bass.  "Country Pie" was loud and quite
perhaps the best version that I have ever heard.  "Sugar Baby" was
expected, but with being one of my least favorite on the new album, was
met with mixed emotions. "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" was a surprise
to me, but his searing vocals made this old song seem new again.  "John
Brown" is a whole new song during these times that the United States is
going through right now.  The crowd seemed to be very somber, if only for
a few minutes.  Bob's terrific lyrics seemed to really hit home for a lot
of people.  "Tangled Up in Blue" was done the same as I am used to hearing
it, pretty fast and with Bob singing "blue" with great length.  "Summer
Days" and "Mississippi" are great selections from the new album and were
met with mixed responses.  There were several "Mississippi" chants
throughout the night and when he started into the opening riff, the crowd
loved it.  "Cold Irons Bound", being the only selection from "Time Out of
Mind", is quite possibly the best song on the album and really completed
this setlist.  A ten minute version of "Rainy Day Women" followed, with
Bob introducing the band during the playing of the song.  After the
encore, "Things Have Changed" and "Like a Rolling Stone" rattled the
speakers.  "If the Bible is right, the world will explode" blared through
the Cintas Center and left many thinking harder about the world today. 
"Forever Young" was a new addition for me and "Honest With Me" rounded out
the new material.  A very nice version of "Blowin' in the Wind" followed
and "All Along the Watchtower" sent everybody home happy.  All in all, it
was two and a half hours of the best Bob that this Kentucky boy has ever
seen.  The band was really tight and the sound was terrific.  Bob's voice
seemed extremely happy to be there and there were even a few times where
he whipped out the harmonica for a few minutes of a solo.  Bob seems to
get better with age.  Maybe it's because of all the practice.


Thanks,
Brian Ruschman

[TOP]

Review by Barb Henry and Chris Bellessis


       Seeing Dylan in my hometown topped even our first Dylan concert in
Springfield, Illinois.  He started off with, "Wait for the Light to
Shine," which it did for the entire two hour sixteen minute performance. 
"Mr. Tamborine Man" sounded fresh followed by a rare live rendition of,
"It's Alright 'Ma, I'm Only Bleeding."
       It was as though Bob telepathically granted our requests to hear,
"Don't Think Twice, It's Alright," and Oscar-winning, "Things Have
Changed;" then the ultimate tease of, "Serve Somebody," leaving out our
favorite line, "You can call call me Bobby, you can call me Zimmy."
       He played five songs from his brilliant new CD, Love and Theft, though 
next time we hope to hear, "High Water."  The unexpected, "Rainy Day Women
#12 & 35," was a big hit last night.  Along with his wonderfully executed
standards, "Like a Rolling Stone,"  and "Blowin' In The Wind," "Forever
Young" was a blessing like its lyrics.  

Ciao Bob, a bientot,
       Barb & Chris

Review by Kerry Knoll



Coming off what I thought was a difficult show to enjoy in Nashville, I was 
unprepared for the polish and passion of Cincinnati the next night. The 
Municipal Auditorium in Nashville is notoriously bad for sound, and Saturday 
night proved no exception. The show there was good (I think), but the sound 
was so hopeless where I was sitting I couldn't tell for sure (and I had some 
of the better reserved seats), so I didn't think it fair that I review that 
show.  The alternative to my seats was crush of people on the general admission 
floor, and this held no attraction for me. Enough about Nashville. 

I'd always heard that Dylan excels in his campus shows, and the legend proved 
true in Cincinnati. The audience was mixed as usual, but more heavily skewed 
to the under-30 crowd than I've ever seen. The sound was amazing, the lyrics 
were clear and the show was nearly flawless. (For the record, I've seen about 
a dozen Dylan shows). 

It is a pleasure to witness just how Dylan's band has jelled into such a tight 
unit these last couple of years. Dylan is a notoriously difficult musician to 
play with, as I've witnessed in past concerts. From the very early days, he 
has always seemed to try to find the middle ground between the rough-cut and 
fine musicianship, often venturing too far into the former at the expense of 
the latter. But the years on the road with these guys, probably the longest 
he has stayed with a band since The Band, has built a chemistry between 
performers that hits the perfect balance.

Some of the highlights of Cincinnati: 

I loved the Fred Rose opening Wait For the Light to Shine (first time I've 
heard it), a gospel/country tune that benefited by the addition of background 
vocals from the band. Dylan went right into an acoustic Mr. Tambourine Man, 
followed by a strong, bluesy take on It's Alright Ma (I'm only Bleeding). 
Great start. 

Other gems included a spare but enchanting rendition Sugar Baby, better than 
the original, a more traditional version of Don't Think Twice, Its All Right, 
and a chillingly sparse version of Cold Irons Bound, so different musically 
from the Time Out of Mind original that my friend had to ask me which song he 
was singing. 

A surprise during the opening set was rockin' version of Gotta Serve Somebody, 
which I hadn't heard him do since the Slow Train tour back in about 1980. As 
he has done in the past, Dylan changed some of the words and verses for an 
otherwise faithful Tangled Up in Blue. He has been criticized in the past for 
changing the words, but I always find that it makes the song more fun to listen 
to. Closing the first set was Rainy Day Women, the quintessential crowd pleaser, 
and this night's rousing rendition was no exception. 

The highlight of most Dylan shows for me these past couple of years is the 
five-song "first encore", and with the great sound this night's version proved 
exceptional.  As it frequently has lately, the encore started off with Things 
Have Changed, a great rendering on Sunday night, followed by classic, heartfelt 
renditions of both Like a Rolling Stone and Forever Young. It's the first time 
I've heard that song live, and it sent shivers down my spine. As he so often 
has lately, Dylan finished the first encore with the huge roundhouse carnival 
sound of Honest with Me, followed by the never-more-poignant Blowin' in the 
Wind. 

Maybe he or the band wanted to get going so they could watch Game 7 of the 
World Series, but they went back behind the amplifiers for about 10 seconds 
and then came out for the second encore, a hurried and somewhat disappointing 
version of All Along The Watchtower (a much stronger version was performed in 
Nashville) and then the show was over. 

It was probably the slickest Dylan show I have ever seen, and I say that in 
praise. The combination of a great band with Dylan's own intensity in concert 
made for an outstanding performance. Okay, you can't have everything. The harp 
playing was a little weak, better in Nashville than Cincinnati. We only got to 
hear it three times, always at the end of a song, a far cry from years' past. 
One truly delightful thing about following Dylan around is the fact that fully 
12 songs of the 21 played that night were different from the Nashville show. 
This versatility (I've heard that he played more than 125 different songs 
during the tours of 2000!) makes him stand out triumphantly from all those 
dinosaur bands making the rounds of North American arenas, playing perfect 
imitations of their hits from decades past. 

page by Bill Pagel
billp61@execpc.com

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