page by Bill Pagel
Review by Ryan Stefanski
Well, let's begin with the positives from Dylan's East Lansing concert.
First, his band is very good and does a great job recreating the songs. I
was impressed with more than a few of their guitar solos. Well, I guess
that's about it for the positives. As for the negatives, Dylan's singing
is the obvious first choice. He can still sing, so I'm not sure why he so
adamently does not even attempt to. Instead of singing he chooses to
mumble as many words in a sentence as possible, leaving the crowd guessing
what song they are playing until they get to the chorus. I found myself
cracking up at the gibberish he squeezed into every line of every song.
Even the big hits like "Like A Rolling..." and "All Along..." would be
impossible to pick out if it were not for the band's superior playing.
Secondly, he did not say one word to the audience until introducing the
band 10 mins before the end of the show. I know he is known for doing
this, but I think he could at least say "Thank you" and the end of songs.
He played for 1 hr and 50 mins, which is not bad, but for a man with one
of the largest catalogs in all of rock I think he could've played a few
more songs. One of the cooler aspects of the show (for me at least being
a keyboard player) was that Dylan never left the piano throughout the
concert. Overall, I would give the show a C purely based on the playing
of the band.
East Lansing MI
Review by David Piner
I have a different opinion of the concert in East Lansing on November 9,
As Ryan pointed out, Bob's current band definitely is tight. You really
could not fault the band's performance. Just absolutely great. Great
solos, great cohesiveness. Stu Kimball was especially good.
Regarding Bob's voice, I disagree with Ryan. Ryan contends that Bob can
sing, but for unknown reasons, chooses not to. I contend that given his
heavy touring schedule, his voice is about shot. He tries to sing and
when he finds a note that he can hit, he holds it, as if to prove that he
still has the goods. But, for the most part, he talks versus sings,
because it is all the man can do. His vocals on his last album sound like
Pavarotti compared to what he could do last night. But, he tried, man.
Sometimes it didn't work too well, especially early into the concert on
numbers like Baby Blue. However, I thought his voice sounded good on
harder edged songs like Million Miles and Cold Irons Bound. It's Alright,
Ma was positively great. The band really rocked hard on that tune.
Unless he takes a long break to give his voice a chance, people can't
expect him to sound like his recordings, even his later recordings. But
from what I've heard, the guy just loves to play live. So go to his
concerts with low Regarding the length of the concert, I didn't feel
cheated. The guy isn't a young man. He doesn't come into the concert
after the band plays a few tunes the way some blues singers do. He
doesn't leave mid-set to take a break. He sang every song. Others in the
band had mikes, but for no apparent purpose since I don't remember anyone
else singing one note. Sure he has written hundreds of tunes and knows
thousands more, but you shouldn't expect him to play them all. I couldn't
quibble with the set list. Everyone has favorites that didn't get played,
but that's how it will always be.
One thing Ryan didn't mention was the ticket price of $35. Piece of crap
bands charge that much or more. Near legends charge double or triple.
The concert was a bargain in the cost department.
I'd give the concert an A-.
Comments by Joe Astorino
Just got back from this concert in East Lansing, MI, and I have to say
that for me personally, it was the best Dylan show I've seen to date.
This was the 5th time I've seen him. First, let me say that the sound at
this venue was awesome. The audio was crisp, loud, and extremely clear.
Secondly, the setlist...simply amazing. He hit a lot of my personal
favorites, like Desolation Row, It's alright ma, Love Minus Zero, and It's
all over now Baby Blue. As far as Dylan himself, spectacular. This is
the best I've heard Bob sound in person. I thought he did an excellent
job with song lyrics, and making them clear and perfectly understandable.
Anyone saying he "mumbled" and didn't sing well is just not a true Bob fan
in my opinion. Personally, I thought Dylan was amazing tonight, and it's
a memorable show.
Review by Jason Blakeley
In response to the previous writer, let's get a few things straight. Bob
Dylan invariably upsets a certain type of fan; while at the same time
pleases another. As far as I'm concerned, he tries to accommodate both
crowds. This being said, I'm in disbelief that there are actually people
that repeatedly pay money to attend multiple Dylan concerts, while at the
same time continue to find enough drawbacks in each show to actually
complain. A bit of advice - Don’t go to the concerts anymore if your
expecting audience interaction. Forget about buying a ticket if you are
under the impression that his youthful voice will suddenly return. Stop
at the door and go back to your car if you can’t accept that he won’t play
each song the same way he did 30 years ago.
I was at the same show as Ryan, and I must have missed this “gibberish”
he’s referring to. I’ve got the notion that this so-called “gibberish” is
known by many to hold value.
Despite all this nonsense, let me just say the show was enchanting. The
band, and the atmosphere they’ve built speaks for itself, all you have to
do is show up. If your still considering seeing Bob and his Band, keep
this in mind - Bob won’t live to be 200.
Love Minus Zero/No Limit has grown up, developed, and some may say is in
full-bloom this November; I’d argue that it was better tonight than ever
before, but that’s just an afterthought.
Review by Edward Gildner
Firstly, a note about the singing. His voice has seen better days (but
who...) granted, however his singing, phrasing and new approaches are all
worthwhile. Seems to me people who just think it's all no good are
missing out. He's doing a great job w/ what he has to work with
voice-wise and finding new life in old warhorse lyrics IMHO. At different
times last night he changed lyrics intentionally (RDW), emphasized lines
in new and different ways (LDB), sang quite beautifully (GotNC & L-0/NL)
and sang with power and conviction (IAM & CIB).
The band was solid - Stu is infinetly better than Fuzzy Koala. Hard
rockin' and howlin' Jimi-style at times. The pedal steel was sounding
fine, i wish they used it more. Larry played "solos" on acoustic guitar
and cittern - very cool.
RDW - Not as boring as sometimes in the past. A few changed up lyrics
that appeared to be intentional (i could see his lips quite clearly from
my vantage point). Not bad - not spectacular, nice harp. Better than MF.
IAON,BB - Nice rendition, pedal steel sounded great. Also nice harp.
LDB - Somewhere in this song, he really nailed the first two lines of a
verse and it sounded awesome!
DR - Fantastic i thought.
TD&TD - Rocking but not special at all.
UtRS - Sounded like it was going to be Tom Thumb's, i wish it had been.
IAM - Hard rocking and convincing.
L-0/NL - Sung beautifully and all of the words were easily understandable.
Very nice, "dimestores & bus stations" line was very fine.
CIB - LOUD & rocking, this is where i can see people critizing his howling
voice. He ran the words "irons" & "bound" into almost one sylablle every
time in the chorus. Listen to the record if you want it to sound like he
sings it on the record. The weird echo effect was still there. I kind of
miss the Charlie & Larry wind-up and go version.
GotNC - This new, unusual arrangement (since Aug. i think) is very good.
Stu plays an unusual part on electric guitar over and over to great
effect. Bob played harp and Stu "followed" him on guitar for a fairly
long solo that was very, very cool.
Floater - Larry played a pretty long violin intro that made me wonder why
he doesn't play it on about 1/3 of the songs. Great rendition.
MoW - Forceful and as hard rocking as it ever was back before '94.
HwM, SD, Lars & AAtW were all typical...
Review by Charles Cicirella
(All your reindeer armies are going home to East Lansing 11-09-2004)
5 shows this time around and each one was entirely an entity unto itself
possessing its own energies and unique character attributes and flaws.
East Lansing dear sweet good ole' East Lansing. unlike Pittsburgh with its
sardonic and ultimately forsaken, but not forgotten, "Positively Fourth
Street", or Columbus and its bulletproof version of, "Dignity", & a,
"Blind Willie McTell", that if you had been fortunate enough to experience
live would understand more resolutely why Bob Dylan pays such sweet and
searing tribute to not only a blues pioneer, but to the very blues itself
and lest I forget a, "Visions of Johanna", in Toledo that I'm still trying
to shake off so that maybe someday I'll be capable of getting not only my
head but as well my eye-teeth around this lament to the existence of
nothingness and the integral part it plays in keeping us not only sane,
but teetering on the edge of insanity as well. Oh and of course I must
mention Purdue because that is where this tour de force started for me as
Sugaree and Rosie1 and I explored the catacombs of a musical institute
because oftentimes to get to Bob you must shake off the dust of new birth
and climb head first into not just any old comfortable womb.
East Lansing though was and will forever be very much like a first kiss
to me. A first kiss that totally worked because no one was entirely
uncomfortable nor was anyone too settled or dug in to life and life only.
Nothing this man does is commonplace or common fare as I cross a desert of
despair trying to get to you. East Lansing cracked the universal nut wide
open as this song and dance Steppenwolf-bandito proved once again how
beautiful an experience it can be to witness someone give themselves over
to their muse without an agenda or backup plan present and accounted for.
He absolutely reeled each and everyone of us in leaving not a dry eye in
the house as he spoke of his lover who was like some raven at his window
with a broken wing. Now I am wondering if this is the same window that the
pecan pie is sitting in during, "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum", and the
same window Dylan back in 66 plaintively asks someone to please crawl out
In Columbus, Ohio I swear that Elston Gunn or Roosevelt Gook or perhaps on
this one particular evening Bob Dylan wasn't playing any part other than
his own as he looked me directly in the eye and so sweetly sang, "Every
Grain of Sand", a song that until now I'd never heard performed live. I
also swear that on 11-09-2004 in East Lansing, Michigan "It's All Over
Now, Baby Blue", "Love Minus Zero/No Limit", &, "Under The Red Sky", were
sung for a little boy and a little girl who for this one night anyway
would not be baked in a pie or asked to bury all their hopes and dreams
under tobacco leaves.
A change has come my brothers and sisters!!!
Review by Don Ely
Just 48 hours before the show I decided to ante up and get a ticket to East Lansing. I had recently
come off the road, having seen Bob Dylan And His Band in Kenosha, Dekalb, Oshkosh and West Lafayette,
so how could I pass on shows within striking distance of my hometown? I had regretted having missed
Columbus on that string (low cash flow),and having missed "Dignity" and "Po' Boy",so I was eager for
I work in Waterford,Michigan right off M-59,so the easiest route to the Jack Breslin Student Events
Center was to head west on that highway straight into the next county and pick up I-96 at Howell. I
left shortly after 5pm and was sitting in Breslin's parking lot before seven. Michigan State University
charged the faithful $7 to rent a space for the evening,most of any venue I'd visited on the tour
(thanks,MSU!). The last time Bob played here was 11/2/99, a memorable gig at which he, Charlie, Larry,
Tony and David were joined in the fray by Phil Lesh & Friends. That was the first of two tours Bob
would go out with Phil and Warren Haynes and the rest. I had a little time to get a hot dog and soda
and check out the crowd before heading to my seat with a bottled water. Breslin is a good-sized place,
but the attendance was low, therefore the stage was moved well forward and the arena bowl was cut in
half with the upper tier not being filled whatsoever. Thankfully for his fans Bob tours with such
frequency (five appearances in Michigan this year alone) that many regions are saturated with Dylan
shows, therefore the urgency to attend is reduced for the casual and the merely curious. When I got
to my seat I was greeted by a young lady seeing Bob Dylan for the first time. Her people were
elsewhere in the arena, and when they asked her if she wanted to go along to the concert, she jumped
at the chance,even though it meant sitting by herself in another section. Luckily,she got to sit by
This was what I would consider an average night by Bob Dylan And His Band in 2004. No surprises
for diehards in the setlist, everything performed competently on the lower end of the scale and
passionately at the higher end."Desolation Row" was at the higher end and was savored like a fine
wine by the audience. "Under The Red Sky" is a song I've come to appreciate since seeing it two
or three times this year. It's more melodious than some songs in Dylan's canon and provides a
pleasant diversion. "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" was in the "surprise" slot, and was the most unusual
selection we received. A "music box" version "Girl Of The North Country" and sobering "Masters Of War"
put satisfied smiles on faces around the room, and "Cold Irons Bound" was there to shake things up.
I'm always a little embarrassed for the band when they make mistakes, and for Bob's occasional klinks
& klunks, in front of the newbies and the unconverted, and there were a few of those tonight, but then
I remind myself that these guys are real players and not electronic samples. They walk unafraid all
Any miscues didn't register with my new companion,however; she loved the show start to finish. As I
told her before we parted ways, they only get better. For me this was the fifth show out of six I'd
seen since October 30.The true gem among the diamonds was to be tomorrow night in Toledo.
In the October MOJO,in a short news item on "Chronicles I", they said it was "rumoured" that Bob was
to have a new album out in the spring. Can't Wait! I think some of the lustre of tonight's show was
removed for me by my slight impatience with the setlist. He's been drawing from about the same three
dozen songs,so in the spirit of adventure I drew up a few lists of songs Bob could play if the spirit
moved him. The plan was to keep the headings to five songs,but that proved too difficult in some cases.
Still,I kept a governor on the geek-o-meter,so here goes:
SIX SONGS BOB PERFORMS ON OCCASION THAT I'D LIKE TO SEE:
I Don't Believe You (She Acts As Though We Never Have Met)
The Man In Me
Never Gonna Be The Same Again
Shelter From The Storm
It Takes A Lot To Laugh,It Takes A Train To Cry
Yea! Heavy And A Bottle Of Bread
SEVEN SONGS I'VE SEEN BOB PLAY THAT I'D LOVE TO SEE AGAIN:
When You Gonna Wake Up
In The Garden
The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest
Born In Time
One More Cup Of Coffee
Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)
SIX SONGS BOB'S PLAYED I DON'T THINK WE'LL EVER SEE AGAIN:
All I Really Want To Do
Man Gave Names To All The Animals
TV Talkin' Song
FIVE SONGS BOB'S NEVER PLAYED THAT WE'LL NEVER SEE
I Shall Be Free No. 10
Bob Dylan's 115th Dream
Dirt Road Blues
TEN SONGS I'D LOVE TO SEE THE FINEST BAND IN THE LAND PLAY IN '05:
I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
Going Going Gone
Lily,Rosemary,And The Jack Of Hearts
Man Of Peace
Series Of Dreams
Most Of The Time
Disease Of Conceit
Foot Of Pride
If You Gotta Go,Go Now
page by Bill Pagel
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