November 4, 2010
Review by Greg Wallace
Value City Arena was half curtained off for the 2010 Dylan show which
was a change from his recent appearances in 2004 and 2007. Oddly
enough, the 2004 show was exactly six years prior to the day, and
another Thursday in another election week! I thought the crowd seemed
small, gray-headed, and polite. I was probably 20 rows back on the
floor in the middle in an aisle seat, and stood for most of the show.
The show started promptly at the announced time with Rainy Day Women and
with Dylan leaning into his keyboard sounding very lively, clipping the
punch lines in a very wry cadence to my ears. Alas, toward the end of
the song his voice abruptly lost the upper range and dropped into the
Next tune was a lovely intro that began with Stu Kimball strumming
acoustic guitar and saw Dylan stepping up to the mike with a guitar and
surprising us with "if you're going to the North Country Fair." Dylan
played some mathematical guitar and croaked unmelodically through the
number. Too bad, it was the one new song in our set.
There followed a "Stuck inside of Mobile" with another lovely intro from
the band, with Kimball still on acoustic and Dylan still playing
guitar. On this one the verses were croaked but well enunciated, the
"Oh Mama" barked, and the "to be stuck" chorus punch line sung in full
throat like Dylan had gone back 30 years.
Then "Love Sick", dramatic as usual but broken up by some new discord
(from Herron on pedal steel perhaps), and played often enough in
Columbus that I went to the beer stand, certain that this version
wouldn't top the one he played last time.
"Summer Days" followed and my heart sank a bit when I heard the opening
chords. However I will admit that Dylan sang it very well and rather
enthusiastically and the crowd seemed to enjoy it as well. I kind of
expected Charlie Sexton to cut loose on his hollow body but he never
really did. I'm reasonably certain that Tony Garnier played something
approaching a solo on his string bass, though.
I was a few seconds picking out the chords to the "Tangled up in Blue"
intro, which featured Dylan guitarless at the front mike and made me
think of the 1978 arrangement when I first saw him. He wasn't singing
it especially well, and got from the avenue to Montague Street without
boarding the fishing boat or getting his shoelaces tied. His harmonic
breaks were delicious and clearly well planned, though. I think it
will be a showstopper by the time he gets to Terminal 5. This also
featured stretched images of Dylan's profile up on the big gray curtain
behind the band, a nice visual touch that seemed subtler than the
typical huge rock concert screens.
Then came "Tweedle", another Columbus perennial, in which the band
seemed a bit indecisive (except for the drummer) but the singer very
animated and delivering the very naughty lyric with obvious relish. It
occurred to me that perhaps this was Dylan's current "political" song
Next he sang a transcendent "Tryin' to get to heaven", beautifully
accompanied, standing at the keyboard and playing some harmonica late in
the song. This was a repeater from the 2004 show but worlds better.
Then "High Water", yet another Columbus perennial, time for another
beer. The banjo was prominent again and Dylan seemed to croak his way
through the song.
And then a big treat, "Hard Rain", kind of croaky with no real chorus,
but building and building up to the "what'll you do now" verse, which
Dylan absolutely nailed. I don't think he missed a word throughout and
he sounded like he was coming back to protest by the end of it. I think
the entire crowd was buzzing at this point.
So onto the next Columbus perennial, "Highway 61", which started out
with a well sung first verse, followed by a chopped up next several
verses sung in cadences that made them nearly incomprehensible. The
punch line to the "World War 3" verse was omitted altogether.
The intro to "Not Dark Yet" nearly took my breath away (to my surprise)
and Dylan didn't disappoint me, standing at the mike in his marching
band pants and white hat and caressing that very gloomy lyric almost to
the end. A triumph!
From here it was downhill except for the crowd pleasing "Ballad of a
Thin Man", which has become a very sure thing with its Halloween
lighting and dramatic delivery. All in all I was happy, having heard
and witnessed several memorable performances.
Review by Gary Gibson
Walking through the Ohio State campus to the Schottenstein Center on
this chilly autumn night, there was not revolution in the air but there was
music as strains of Blonde on Blonde drifted from passing car stereos.
Indeed, the middle age crowd this night was not here to revolt, but to pay
homage to the man who shaped so many of our lives, from the Ohio State
professor in the row below me wiping tears from his eyes during Hard Rain,
to the 30 something mom jumping up and down during Stuck Inside of
Having first seen Dylan in 1978 during his Street Legal pseudo Elvis period,
I know the only thing predictable about a Dylan show is its unpredictability.
But hey, if you want to hear music played note for note as it is recorded
may I recommend Celine Dion.
Opening the show with a rollicking Rainy Day Women, I couldnít help go
back to the seventies when the chorus of this song had a whole different
meaning, but Dylanís ode to being held down and oppressed still rang true.
In a night of many surprises, the next song was the first. A lovely version
of Girl From the North Country with Bob on guitar evoked a wistfulness that
takes you back to your first true love.
Stuck Inside of Mobile showed the power of Dylans band. More than just
backing musicians, they are an extension of Dylan himself, adjusting and
trusting to whatever direction they are being led. Charlie Sextons guitar
was powerful throughout the song and throughout the evening. His stage
presence stands out but doesnít deter from Bob. Tony Garniers bass is the
glue that holds everything together. A consummate professional.
Bobs voice has always changed and evolved during his career. At 69, his
voice conveys a man who has lived life, but is still searching for more and
not satisfied with past glory. The voice is still relevant and still has that
Book of Deutronomy howl.
This was never more apparent than on the nights outstanding moment.
Tangled Up in Blue was transformed into the blues, with Bob center stage
with just a harp. Chills overcame me as Bob stomped his feet while his harp
playing was magical.
I am falling periously close to blathoring fandom, but suffice it to say if the
show had ended here, it would have been a memorable evening. But there
was much more. Hard Rain was a revelation as the metaphors from so long
ago still sounded as true to the present day .
As you can tell, my review is more about feel and emotion than technique.
But doesnít that describe what Dylan has always been. On this night I was
reminded what it was like to be an 18 year old college student hearing
Positively 4th Street for the first time. 34 years later the music I was hearing
was still relevant and important. It was not from an artist who is regurgitating
past accomplishments. It was from an artist who still has more to say. The
song was not played, but on this night he gave us Shelter From the Storm
and as Bob left the stage after asking us " How does it feeeel", I was able
to say " forever young."
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