page by Bill Pagel
Review by Dan Taylor
the arena felt intense....like the calming before the storm. 8:15pm...here comes wagner's music,
hear comes the applause of the crowd....the noise gets louder from the stage and spreads
backward...up through the seats....here comes the introduction and the band....here comes....bob dylan
dylan and the band kicked off a raucus "drifters escape". dylan bent down the entire evening,
hammering away at his electric piano, squinting, as the lights hit his piercing blues eyes...at
times they delivered, at times, dylan and the band looked out of sync.
but halfway through the set list, dylan busted out "cold irons bound". wow! it rocked and it rocked
hard. the crowd was beginning to come alive...they seemed dead at times, but the sweet smell of some
mind alternating subtances, seemed to loosen the folks.
this showed had all the elements....religion,(every grain sound), humor, love, death, legends,
at the beginning of "highway 61", i wasn't sure what the band was doing. stu broke out some solid riffs,
and then bob stood arouund and looked at everybody like they were fools. either somone started out on
a wrong chord or the wrong song was being played. either way, it came together beautifully.
dylan took us through a long and winding career, brought us back to earth, and made us want more.
bob made us feel like blind willie mctell was the greatness blues musician ever to live....truth is,
he probably was.
both of the encores were solid as always, with dylan introducing the band between "like a rolling stone"
and "all along the watchtower".
dylan the band band came front and center at the end of the encores, with bob kind've dancing around like
he was lost at times...he rolled up his cuffs on his sleeve as if to say, 'i have tricks up my sleeve'.
at 63 years of age and wiser than ever, dylan may have more than just tricks to deliver the crowd...maybe
more songs that will make us think, make us wonder, and make us imagine more than ever before.
Review by Charles Cicirella
I feel that Bob is constantly evolving as an artist - a musician - a
performer, etc... I believe that he must always feel he who isn't busy
being born is busy dying and that he applies this (more subconsciously I
suspect) to not only his life, but his art and all of his waking and as of
yet unawakened dreams - plus normal everyday reality does often have too
many heads so you need to deal within and outside of those parameters as
well - band changes and all of that personal and impersonal everyday
drudgery - he has of course learned to make the best out of whatever he is
faced with be it Sexton leaving or Koella going or Kimball joining the
band - and has I felt learned to use these changes as steps to help him
light the way so he can face an angry flame when it sometimes looks him
straight in the eyes and calls out his blowing in the wind name - it is
invisible those pleas but still they quite often possess the secrets only
dead men know and why try to plan for the unplanned when the unexpected is
always around the corner and should be embraced and not turned away from
or worse yet resisted - not Only ARE THE TIMES a-CHANGIN' but they are as
well wounded from the inside out - a scab that is too often picked over by
the ignorance of a supposed humane civilization when in truth the only
thing humane about our civilization is how utterly inhumane it so often
can be - Bob must know all of this as he keeps keepin' on but that does
not mean he is escaping on the run or heading for another joint because he
feels trapped or out of sync with the times as they presently exist all
around and throughout him - he is a mystic and I believe has learned to
become fully part of the moments transpiring and last night as I took in
this sound panorama I absolutely felt like the doors of perception were
being cleansed right before my wounded and weary, but forever inspired
eyes - so to answer your question last night's show and the night before
were absolutely as important as the three Philly shows from '04 in that
everything intensified as Bob the consummate poker player raised us all to
another level as he and his band of lightsoldiers accepted enlightenment
for what it has always been about; a good stiff drink and the positive
feelings that are often derived from a job well done - of course I mean
job as in chosen work and not as in Maggie's Farm - the last two nights
were all about the lonesome whistle blowing and the idiot winds we must
all endure if we ever want to learn anything.
Review by John Putnam
First off, as usual, Bob and his band turned in a great performance. It never fails to amaze me that,
at the age of 63, the man can tour 80% out of the year, year in and year out, and, in the past 7 years
or so, create 2 of the best albums of his career (and, indeed, of their respective years period) and cut
a Grammy winning single in "Things Have Changed." Also, I think one can say, without prejudice, Dylan's
touring band is one of the best bands around….period.
Now, for the show….this was the first show I'd seen since Dylan set his guitar down for the keyboard…
which leads me to my only criticism - being one guitar down, the sound isn't as full as it used to be.
Also, I miss Charlie Sexton as the lead guitar since he showed more swagger in his playing, but enough
of the pickiness. Bob, this time around, as it seems to be more and more, year after year, was in good
voice and singing with conviction the entire night. I could go through, song by song, but I will touch
on what I thought were the highlights…
The opener was "Drifter's Escape" and, for anyone who is only accustomed to the studio version, Bob's
live version is absolutely incredible. I'd heard it before, so it didn't knock me off my feet as it did
the first time I'd heard it, but the transformation from the folksy, acoustic studio recording to the
electric, barnstorming blues incarnation it is today, is nothing short of amazing.
"Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum" had been reworked slightly, quieting the music during the verses and building
to rocking crescendo between verses. Great lead guitar by both guitarists, and the soloing over the riff
created great interplay. It was the best version of the song I've heard.
"High Water" was done fully electric and, as one would expect, rocked out with much abandon creating a
great foil to the acoustic, almost bluesgrass-ish, studio version.
"Po' Boy" was pretty much like the studio version extended a little with some soloing, but I mention it
since it was great to hear it live….I hadn't head it before and wasn't expecting it.
"Highway 61" was arguably the best performance of the evening. The song stomped along in a great bluesy
style and the lead guitar was fabulous. What really made the song, though, was Bob's earnestness in his
"Cold Irons Bound" was reworked similar to "Tweedle Dee" in that the music was hushed during verses and
grew louder between during the solos. The great thing about this version was that, during the soloing,
the music became almost jazz-like….the drum and bass rhythms were highly syncopated, which was a neat
thing I hadn't heard before in a live Dylan tune.
"Blind Willie McTell" was a solid performance, but I mention it again, like "Po' Boy", it was an
unexpected tune for me and it was great to hear.
"Floater" featured some fabulous fiddle work from Larry and some of Bob's best singing of the night.
"Honest With Me" and "Summer Days" are always highlights to me, and they were once again as Bob's singing
was on point and the guitar work was great. Alongside "Floater," this was one of Bob's best vocals of the
night….the lyrics coming in very clear (relatively speaking for Bob).
The final tune, the second encore, was "All Along the Watchtower," which, rightly so, is always a crowd
pleaser. Tonight, though, was one of the best (if not THE best) versions I'd seen since it was reworked
like "Cold Irons Bound" and "Tweedle Dee." That arrangement, though, for this tune worked best since it
added an aura of urgency and mysteriousness to the lyrics as the guitars chugged beneath Bob's vocals.
So, there were lots of highlights and it was a great show. The crowd, however, wasn't into the show as
much as it has been in the past shows I'd seen. Bob's stage seemed smaller and more compact as well, which
made it seem like it was in a venue smaller than it was. One of the saving graces of the crowd, however,
were the high schoolers I stood chatting with before the show who were there for their first show. It made
me remember mine and I, of course, was excited for them…..it's nice to know the kids keep on a-comin'……….
Long Live Bob!
Review by Steve Sponaugle
The big point to make about the Columbus show is that Dylan was in
excellent, excellent voice. Clear, strong singing and interesting
phrasing. Very little of the wolfman gargle and little of the lilts at the
end of lines that he is prone to do. The song selection was generally
outstanding--you have to appreciate Poor Boy, Trying' to Get to Heaven,
Every Grand of Sand, Dignity, and Blind Willie Mctell in the same set.
Amazingly, fully half of the songs were from his last two albums. But,
Tweedle Dee and Cold Irons Bound should be retired for awhile--they have
become too tired in the last few years. It wouldn't hurt to replace these
with a few crowd pleasers like TUIB or Don't Think Twice. On all but the
obvious ravouts, the band was a more mellow than usual in an interesting,
jazzy way--not boring or lethargic or too acoustic, just quite and very
dynamic, which really let Dylan's vocals shine.
Dylan was having a lot fun, among the most I've seen in the 15 concerts
I've attended since 1991. Not much outright dancing, but a lot of funny
looks at his band and crowd, odd hand motions, and prowling around the
stage with his hands raised up to his chest, like he knows he's in full
control and enjoying it. At one point, halfway through the set, in the
introduction to one of the songs he gave a scowl to the drummer (I think,
or it could have been the Kimball) and shook his head to someone off
stage. Then he went over to the drum stand and directed the band using
his harmonica as a baton to get them back on the beat. Turning back to
his keyboard he had a big grin on his face. After Watchtower, as he and
the band were standing center stage he peformed all these funny, goofy
hand motions--halfway blowing kisses, halfway clapping, blowing on his
fingers and then shaking them like they were really hot, pointing his
fingers like they were guns, tugging at the hair under his hat, and then
finally holding his arms straight out and pulling his shirt cuff down past
his jacket all the while really hamming this move up for the audience.
His movements on stage, on nights when he is having fun, are always a big
part of the job of seeing him live.
Review by Dan French
This was my 4th time seeing Bob Dylan and hopefully not even close to the
last. It was my first trip to the Schottenstein Center and it was a very
nice venue, but I think a little too big for Bob based on all the empty
seats in the upper level. We showed up about an hour before the gates
opened and managed to get about 5 feet from the stage. Bob was about 10
minutes late (as expected) and came on stage in black with a baby blue
undershirt and tie as well as with a black stetson hat. The band wore
matching gray suits.
-Drifters Escape: I love the current arrangement of this and it rocked
tonight as usual. -Dignity: I'm not a huge fan of the song but was
impressed hearing it live. -Mr. Tambourine Man: Was not expecting this
one, and although I've heard it live before it's a treat and it probably
got the loudest applause of the night. -Po' Boy: Have never heard it live
but I'm glad he played it. As soon as I got home I figured out that
opening lick on acoustic guitar. -Tryin' To Get To Heaven: Liked it, but
prefer the album version. The current arrangement is much slower and
Dylan pauses like this: Tryin...to get to heaven...before they close...the
door. -Highway 61: ROCKED! My first time hearing it live and this
arrangement is awesome and they jammed on it forever. This was probably
the top song of the night for me. I was kinda hoping though that he might
switch the lyrics up and say "highway 71" which runs right through
Columbus. -Floater: Larry Campbell's violin sounded sharp and I noticed
him talking to one of the roadies off stage. I think they forgot to tune
it, but he tuned it after he realized how bad it sounded. I love to see
him play the violin though.
-This band is great. Stu Kimball and Larry Campbell really mix well
together. I also love the way Campbell plays a lot of different
instruments to help make the songs better and have more life. -Bob played
keyboard all night. I wish he had picked up the guitar, but no such luck
tonight. -As mentioned in other reviews, Bob seems to be trying very hard
on this tour to actually sing rather than speak the words. Keep it up
Bob, you're voice isn't as bad as people think. -During the band intro he
said that "Tony Garnier is from Louisiana and has a lot of pet snakes.
When it rains he puts them on his car and calls them windshield vipers."
-SOMEBODY PLEASE RAISE BOB'S MICROPHONE!! He looks so uncomfortable
bending down to sing.
Great show overall. Although I've heard a lot of these songs before and
on more than one occasion, I very much enjoyed myself. Can't wait for you
to come back around to the Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana area again Bob. I'll see
Review by Dan French
Review by Scott Eisner
This was the third show I saw this tour. I was lucky enough to see Bob in
Irvine and Santa Barbara. I thought there was tremendous energy at the
Santa Barbara show with a great set list. I was in Columbus, Ohio for a
business trip and lucky enough to get to Ohio State for the show. There's
probably nothing worse than seeing Bob's head the whole show as I was not
smart enough to figure out where the piano would be in relation to my
seat. At this show if you had a reserved seat, the floor was off limits.
Truthfully though I thought for much of the show Bob and the boys were
just going through the motions with little or no real energy. This was
far and away the worst setlist I have ever experienced at a Dylan show
(with 6 songs from Love & Theft). the Love and Theft material is really
like listening to an amplified version of the CD. The only song which I
felt was intersting was Dignity. Even Blind Willie which is one of my
favorites was done without emotion. I have seen Bob about 25 times but
this setlist lacked imagination and I felt that Bob lacked conviction. I
have never really felt this before at a Dylan show. Although he is the
greatest, I think he can do better.
Review by Barb Henry
The best friends' tour hit the "Value City Arena" on O.S.U. campus, Dylan concerts #6 & #8 for us. Easy
to get there from Cincinnati, easy to get out. Nice clean comfy venue with great/plentiful bathrooms,
The focus tonight was on Bob's singing. He would stoop to the microphone and sing each word as clearly
as I've heard him I think. Others might disagree but I could make out every lyric. He used the echo
effect in one of the songs, can't remember which one but love it. The band was amazing. We think the
classic introduction was cut short a bit leaving out the part about disappearing into a haze of substance
abuse and emerging to find Jesus.
Took us a minute to figure out #1-Drifter's Escape, interesting version. #2 Dignity-Bob strong on lyrics.
#3 Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum-kind of a warm up song it seems; we've seen it many times. #4-Mr.
Tambourine Man, a pleasant surprise. #5-High Water-a fave, especially the lyrics like, "I can write you
poems make a strong man lose his mind."
A folksy country version of #6-Po Boy was kind of rockin. #6-Cold Irons Bound-always rockin, a highlight.
#8-Tryin To Get to Heaven-slow, pretty, & bathroom break time since I heard it in South Bend. #9-Highway
61-a crowd pleaser. #10-Blind Willie McTell-my personal favorite of this concert. It made me picture
that desolate country in Masked & Anonymous that was in chaos and despair-the feeling I have 2 days after
Bush was re-elected. #11-Floater-was kind of hard to get into for some reason. #12-Honest with Me-a
bouncy tune I always enjoy.
#13-Every Grain of Sand-brought a tear to my friends eye, sung so sweetly, like we heard it in Connecticut
this summer. #14-Summer Days-sort of a swing version of the rockin' out song that it is; cool version in
my view. Encore-the always astounding #16-Like a Rolling Stone. #17-All Along the Watchtower-has become
to me the ultimate rock and roll Dylan song, great live versions.
Bob was shy in taking his bows before the first encore. He came back to say, "Thank you, friends!" and
introduce the band. Told his corny joke about George Recilli-"He's from Louisiana. They got a lot of
snakes down there. When it rains, he puts them on his
windshield and calls them 'windshield vipers'"
After the Encore Bob was happily dancing and playing with the crowd, blowing kisses. He primped with his
powder blue shirt with sparkly light blue rhinestone collar & scarf, long black jacket, black hat and
boots. Looking ever-so-stylish, as always.
Thanks for the solid performance Bob. Come back to Cincinnati, we need your groove here. I'm feeling
blue in a red state. Loved Chronicles 1, look forward to Chronicles 2. Hope your life is as happy as
page by Bill Pagel
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