Review by Ray Padgett
Well, last Bob Day for a while. And it was a great one. Had a nice pre-show
get-together with Marcel, Cece, handlevandal, The Fortune Teller, dancin'
neath the diamond skies, dangling rope, and one or two others. It took me
a while to haggle my way into the bar to hang out with them, but it was
worth the stress. After a couple hours hanging out and talking Bob, we
headed over to the show. I had, in addition to my backpack, a huge trash
bag full of clothes from the Garment District's "a pound for a dollar" room.
Thrift-store shopping at its finest, but I did get some funny looks from some
people at the venue. They let me chuck it all under a stairwell though, so it
wasn't a problem. It also allowed me to bring in a camera, in addition to my
binoculars, but it turned out not to matter.
I was sad it would be my last time seeing The Raconteurs live, but maybe I'll
catch them again down the road (although hopefully the White Stripes will
get back together and make it a moot point). They mixed up their set list a
bit this time, which was nice. They didn't actually add any songs, but they
mixed up the order, kicking it off with Hands (good to get out of the way)
before Intimate Secretary. It Ain't Easy vanished from the set, as did I think
another song, but weren't replaced by anything. I'm not sure where the
freed-up time went. Bang, Bang was incredible again, but for me the
stand-out track from this set was Broken Boy Soldiers, which Jack rocked
out. A cool feature of a few songs, this especially, is a mic he has set up in
the back by the drum kit which is heavily distorted, making his words even
louder and weirder sounding. Everything came out yelling like a banshee
yell through that and it was fun to see him the few times he used it. Will
probably just sound bizarre on the recording, but was great to see live. Blue
Veins was better than the previous two I'd seen, and they wrapped it all up
with Steady As She Goes.
I bought a poster during the break then got back into my seat with a little
time to spare. The guy in the seat next to me, a senior at BU, was very
excited about Bob when I talked to him before the Racs set, and pretty
well informed...but then he left after the first Racs song and never came
back. Very weird. I was hoping to convert him; he already had asked me to
send him Cynthia Gooding and knew about the pool, but I never saw him
again. Oh well.
I was hoping, for the third night in a row, for Absolutely Sweet Marie to
open the show, and finally Bob granted my wish. Even though it was only
done decently, it's still clearly a great way to open the show. The riff could
be a little louder, but it was still fun to hear.
Things really got started with Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) though. I had
been hoping for this song, and thought it was likely because it was Sunday,
but was overjoyed to hear it nevertheless. And what a great version.
Delicately done and sublime. An early highlight, and my first new song.
I recognized the opening riff immediately to the next song, but couldn't
quite place it until he started singing. I just wasn't expecting Honest With
Me at all, much less in the third slot, but it was great to hear (and,
amazingly enough, to only Love and Theft song of the night). The
signature fill between lines was gone, but a version of it showed up in
between solo lines (only with the chord played three times, instead of
two). It was very well done too, best version I've seen, and the show
was certainly off to a great start both setlist and performance-wise.
I was a little disappointed to get Positively 4th Street, the first song that
I'd already gotten this tour, but my frustration quickly abated as I heard
the delivery. Much like Chicago's version, the bitterness was quickly stated,
but furious nevertheless. This song is as good as it's been for years, and
didn't have a hint of upsinging.
Wow, Masters of War, I didn't see that coming either. While not
ground-breaking, the set had been quite surprising so far. It was a solid
version, though it didn't particularly stand out for me.
Alright, another first time for me, and one I definitely didn't see coming,
Til I Fell In Love With You. And another highlight, not quite as good as last
fall's versions, but still one of the best Time Out of Mind songs live these
days. Totally reinvented from the mediocre album version and another
Easily the second best live song off of Modern Times so far,When the
Deal Goes Down was done to perfection. This song didn't get the
attention it deserved when the album was released, but at least Bob
seems to understand what a great song this is. It's not often you hear
Bob play a waltz, and a woman in front of me took advantage of that,
waltzing around by herself all over the floor. Kind of weird, but it was
nice to see her so into it. With her and the romantic couple in Chicago,
this song seems to fire up the emotions.
But Cold Irons Bound was nice to hear again, and made three very
recent songs in a row, a rare occurance. It was done well, but nothing
too outstanding. Quite a number of people (myself included of course)
cheered on the "winds in Chicago" line, so I clearly wasn't the only one
from out of town. I feel like the riff wasn't quite as prominant as it was
Every Grain of Sand solidifed this as the best setlist in a while, some real
gems being tossed in. I'm not as big of a fan of this song, but he really
nailed it tonight. Absolutely gorgeous. I've managed to see this song
three times live in thirteen shows, which is pretty good.
Rollin' and Tumblin' still sucks live. Denny's "solos" weren't such at all,
just him playing the guitar chords up and down the neck. Awful.
Hopefully hearing this so late in the set meant we weren't going to
get Highway 61.
I was hoping we'd avoided Tangled Up In Blue, but it seems to have
become a regular. It's funny how one of the songs I really wanted to see
live before this tour started has already become dreary. Just shows you
the power of setlists. This version was somewhat different though, as Stu
had changed his riff. It was lower on the next, and the second chord was
higher than the first. An interesting change, and made it nice to hear.
This was one of the best versions I've seen though, with no flubbed lines.
I'd been waiting five shows for Nettie Moore, and this was my last chance
this tour. And not only did I get it, but boy did Bob deliver! The easy
highlight of the show, and a highlight of my concert-going experience
overall. I'd heard how great this one was live, but had avoided listening to
any recordings so I could hear it live for the first time in person. It was
everything it was cracked up to be and more, even better than the
already-great album version. During the verses there was a little more
instrumentation than on the album, but not much, and it was sung very
faithfully. The main difference was he did something totally different with
the "Oh I miss you Nettie Moore" line than on the album. I don't think it
was quite as good, but it was fun to hear anyway.
I guess with the elaborate light show, every concert has to have
Highway 61 Revisited these days, but seeing it end the set instead of
Summer Days was a welcome relief. Every little surprise is a good one, and
having only one of two songs each concert is great as far as I'm concerned.
I'm not sure which one the band does better, so perhaps alternating them
would work fine. They both could use a periodic break.
Thunder on the Mountain is always good as the first encore song, but I feel
like it could use a bit more oomph. The instrumentation is a little muddy.
As I've said in my previous reviews, taking away the lights from Like a Rolling
Stone kills it dead in the water. This did feature my funniest audience
moment of the night though, where a guy who'd been higher in the stand
came down next to me at ground level and started spastically dancing. The
best part was, since he was trashed, he would yell every line after Bob
would so out of tune it would seem he was trying. He was also about as
off-rhythm as one could be. Normally this would be annoying, but he was
just so horrendously bad and obnoxious that it was just funny to hear him
and watch everyone's reactions. Definitely livened up another warhorse.
I was sick of him by All Along the Watchtower, though, so I headed up to
where he had been. It was the best version I've heard this tour, not
hard-rocking enough, but getting closer. The riff is more defined than the
mess it had been, and it definitely was closer to the energy it used to have.
After the show I scurred out, got a ride to South Station with The Fortune
Teller (thanks again!) and caught the late-night bus back to Hanover.
Til next tour.
Review by Jason Polanski
Second night in Boston for Bob. A bit of a tough choice for us road
weary travelers although the body can still find a way to dance to good
ole rock and roll. Having been overwhelmed by Saturday night, I found
Sunday to be more back to normal for Bob. But that's a quality version
these days, and Sunday's set was so much better!
The two major highlights were huge highlights. Also both Modern Times
songs. I found myself very trapped by the beauty of When The Deal Goes
Down. Each word is both pretty and tough. And then Nettie Moore! One of
the best vocals by Bob ever!! Yes I just declared that! Not to sound
like an overly excited fan still reeling from a Dylan show, I really did
find his singing on this to be out of this world. The stacato stabs at
such great lines like the "cowboy band" and the "whiskey" and "frankie"
and "albert" were perfectly complemented by the beautiful waltz his
voice found on the choruses.
On Positively 4th Street he reverted to his Saturday "attitude" by
walking away from his solo, by engaging the words, and then verbally
commenting to himself as if he was in awe of what he had just found.
Then there was also the body movements. Reminded me of the way Neil
Young leads Crazy Horse through a jam. The idea that musicians can
follow each others changes not by chord sheets or prearranged plans, but
by body movement. At one point during the show, Bob was doing this sort
of timed sway that Donnie would copy to the point that they were sort of
On the other hand, the show had a slightly lower energy level. Good or
bad? I noticed this on Thunder On The Moutain which found the band and
Bob losing the Chuck Berry rock in exchange for jazzy breakdowns. They
weren't out front about it, but you could here the song heading to the
same places that they have brought Summer Days on so many nights.
And when listening to the tapes, definitely don't skip Rolling Stone. It
was quite nice. Can't wait for Amherst.
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