Review by Howard Weiner
BEEN DOWN THIS WAY BEFORE
Last time I was at the Nassau Coliseum for a concert was 21
years earlier for the Grateful Dead. Iíll never forget how
Garcia brought the place to itís knees with a mind-bending Feel
Like a Stranger. Back in í78 or í79 I saw my first rock concert
here (Jethro Tull), as well as trying cannabis for the first
time. The place looked vaguely familiar as we pulled into the
sparsely-filled parking lot on this rainy Monday night.
Once again we timed it perfectly so weíd miss the opening act. I
understand Jack White is a fine guitarist and the Raconteurs rock,
but I was on a religious mission. I came to see a Cowboy band. I
love Dylanís new stage positioning. Thereís no doubt who the head
honcho is. He was brilliantly dressed in a black suit with a blue
shirt and a matching striped blue and white tie. He wore a black
hat with rhinestones which gave him more of a 1975 Rolling Thunder
look. He was smack in the middle of the stage with his keyboard
turned sideways so he looked towards about 1% of the audience at
the left side of the stage. Every eye in the place was fixed upon
the master who looked like he was about to roll dice in a game of
Mr. Dylan opened up with one of his favorites, Maggieís Farm. His
swirling organ sound gives this an intriguing psychedelic-sounding
vibe. This often played opener sounded fresh to this listener. As
he did earlier in the year, he paired this up with She Belongs to
Me. Itís a perfect marriage just like it was on 1965ís Bringing
it All Back Home. There was no pronounced down-singing like he
displayed in April of 2006, just a steady powerful vocal delivery
with a harp chaser to close it out.
He surprised the Boston fans on the previous night with Honest With
Me in the third spot, and tried his luck again with it in the same
position. The arrangement was a little softer than it used to be,
which made these great lyrics seem more potent. I never was fond
for this song in the past because of the bland thrashing
composition. Iíll have to re-evaluate my stance. Spirit on the
Water followed and flopped. I was enthused about seeing this in
Portland the other night, but for some reason it fell flat in Long
Island. Then Bob handed out his daily dose of Itís Alright Ma. Iíve
grown weary of this, but Dylan sang it with some purpose and I
ended up enjoying it. From 1965 it was back to Modern Times with a
nice offering of When the Deal Goes Down. Not much momentum was
built during this portion of the Bob Dylan Show.
High Water got the band cranking. I was thinking about this song as
I was splashing my way through the flooded Nassau parking lot on my
way in. I believe Charley Patton would enjoy hearing Bob and his
band jamming this one. Donnieís banjo, Dennyís guitar, and Bobís
organ intersect on top of the pulsating foundation created by Cajun
greats Garnier and Riceli.
Mr. Dylan proceeded to make a lot of people happy by serving up
Visions of Johanna. It was a hauntingly soft and beautiful
arrangement. Sounding like a psychedelic preacher, Dylan clearly
boomed out every word. It was distinctive- looking forward to
acquiring the tape. Rolliní and Tumbliní jolted everybody out of the
hypnotic spell weaved by Johanna. I like Ballad of a Thin Man, but
this version that followed didnít have much spark. The first ten
songs of this concert came from the three greatest albums of the
20th century (Highway 61, Blonde on Blonde, Bringing it all Back
Home) and the top two of the 21st century (Modern Times and Love &
Theft). Weird wacky stuff.
Dylan charged down the home-stretch with Tangled up in Blue from
the top album of the 70ís. Like other Tangleds from the tour, it
featured the lyrics over the jamming. After making a necessary pit
stop, I tried making my way back to floor, but stumbled into the
best seat in the house. Somehow I ended up in the front row, far
left, face to face with Dylan. It was the perfect view- slightly
elevated by the stands, I was at the perfect viewing level- he was
looking in my direction for the rest of the evening. It was a
little scary. It was meant to be because Nettie Moore was the
ensuing number. I knew my first Nettie Moore was going to be
memorable, but this was insane. Dylanís voice was radiant. He sang
the lyrics with extra feeling, holding on to words longer than he
does on Modern Times. Yep, I was pretty lucky last night, Iíll
remember that performance for a while.
Highway 61 Revisited closed the ceremony in grand fashion. Iím
digging these í06 versions. I had grown tired of seeing this over
the course of the past 19 years, but I dig these restructured
readings. Instead of the big instrumental at the end, the best jam
comes before the finale. I love the adjusting of tempos from
thunderous to soft, the interaction between the band, Dylanís spooky
organ sound, the short climatic finish. Iím digging the nuance- Iíve
heard Campbell, Sexton, Jackson, and G.E. milk this for all itís
worth. I love what the Cowboy band does with this.
Thunder on the Mountain/ Like a Rolling Stone/ Watchtower played out
like it usually does. I thought it was more potent in Portland. Bob
built up the momentum of a wrecking ball on that night. The joint
was jumping, it was a love affair between a packed crowd of
Portlanders and Dylan. The Long Island crowd was flat and the place
wasnít packed. Bob never let it affect his performance, but the X
factor when an audience and performer are in synch was missing.
Overall it was a great night with some special performances, an
average Dylan show for í06. Sometimes average can be a good thing.
As we headed to Chinatown for a rendezvous with Mott Streetís
finest establishment Wo Hop, I turned my friends on to a show from
the same date 26 years earlier 11-13-80 with Carlos Santana sitting
in for a few numbers. Carlos shredded some gospel numbers as Dylan
sang in an incredibly inspirational voice. We talked about the
great gig Dylan played on 11-13-99 at the Brendan Byrne ArenaÖBlind
Willie Mc Tell, Hoochie Coochie man, etc. As we were stuffing our
faces with Steak Har Kew and Chicken with Black Bean Sauce, I had a
flashback. Four years earlier on the same day, the three of us were
at the same exact table. On that occasion we were celebrating after
Dylanís 11-13-02 show at MSG when Dylan did all those tributes
including the only Something for George Harrison. Some things
change, others donít. Round three of my five round fall tour í06
engagement comes Thursday at the Byrne. I can smell the tail of the
dragon/ Can't stand the suspense anymore/ Can you tell me
who to contact here, senor?
Review by Roland Pabst
Heavy rain and wind, flooded roads. Not only because of that it was a
pleasure to go to a Dylan Concert almost in front of my home. The Nassau
County Coliseum has a promising name but it is not the best to see Dylan.
It is the local Hockey-Stadium. I was there early, so I could enjoy the
whole atmosphere. However the band who played from 7:30 to 8:30 was just
horrible. It was so bad I donít even know the name of the group. The sound
was so loud it hurt.
Sharp at 9 the usual intro and there they were. Dylan in all black and the
band in grey suits and black shirts.
Let me summarize the concert. I am sure other people will write about it
song by song.
The band is just perfect. It can not get better. Whenever Dylan sings they
play kind of background and come back even stronger in between. Dylanís
voice is getting better too. It is amazing to hear the new arrangements of
Maggie'sí Farm, She belongs to me, Ballad of a Thin Man, Tangled up in
Blue and even Highway 61.
To me one of the highlights were: Vision Of Johanna ( I think I can never
get tired or hearing this song). He sung it very slowly and beautifully.
Next came Rolliní And Thumblin'. Wow this was like playing a record on 78.
All four Modern Times songs sounded like oldies. They match perfectly.
The encores were great and the crowd around me danced and had a great time
Ė so did IÖÖ. I should have gotten a ticket for the NYC show on Monday
November 20. The day after the Broadway Musical closes. Talking about the
musical I really think it is a shame that it closes. I saw it twice.
Packed theater, applause after each song, applause in between and standing
ovation at the end. But, but the press gave it a very bad review. I wonder
how other Broadway plays survive. Headlines are: the best, unbelievable Ė
and you have to fight in order not to fall asleep. Anybody reading this
and having the chance to see ďTimes They Are-A-ChanginíĒ. Go and see it.
Prices are reduced.
Review by Kyle Colona
Last nightís performance was probably my 25th Dylan
show over the last 20+ years. Given his advancing
years, heavy touring schedule of arenas and coming to
the close of the tour, the prospects for an off night
were high. I had not been to a show at Nassau Coliseum
since the Dead in 1985 Ė the place always sounded like
a gold fish bowl Ė still does.
Thereís no need for a song-by-song breakdown. Dylan
and his Band staggered through the first half of the
show; and the suspect acoustics of the Coliseum did
not help matters from my vantage point Ė the first
seven songs were choppy at best.
While they righted the ship and found their footing
with High Water, even this was a perfunctory run
through. But when Visions of Johanna dropped in after
that, they finally got into a respectable groove Ė
even if my sister was hoping for STOF in this slot, a
song she has yet to hear live.
Rolling and Tumbling was ok, but BOATM was very crisp,
and this arrangement was lifted from the Deadís
working from back in the day (as was SBTM played in
slot 2). TUIB was well played and Bob got all the
verses right, and this was followed by the best song
of the night, a well delivered Nettie Moore.
The crowd really appreciated this one, and Bob played
5 songs from Modern Times that were all well received
Ė amazing, the album has now sold close to 2 million Ė
who knew? They closed with Highway 61 rather than
Summer Days Ė ho hum, but the crowd was into it and on
their feet by this time.
The three encore closer was no different than the rest
of the tour. TOTM was a bit rushed but good to hear,
and LARS is part of the ritual habitual now. Best
thing for a Dylan aficionado to do for this number is
pay close attention to the phrasing - Dylan never
sings this song the same way night to night. The
Watchtower finale was a bit closer to the Hendrix
version than previous years. Dylan can try all he
wants to reclaim this tune, but Hendrix permanently
wrestled it from Bobís canon, in my humble opinion.
Dylan was clearly tired, he played very little harp,
remained a stationary figure at that goofy keyboard
all night; and that odd leg shake shuffle he does when
heís into it was not on display tonight. But, it was a
workman like, professional show as they saved the best
for last and finished strong with highlights being
Visions, Nettie Moore and BOATM.
I had modest expectations for this show, and the fact
that it was at then end of the tour after back-to-back
nights in Boston gives Bob a pass for being a bit slow
a foot; after all, heís Bob Fíin Dylan and the road
will not go on forever. Plus I got a chance to hang
with my younger sister. I took her to her first Dylan
show back in 1987 so I take partial responsibility for
her turning out to be a cool gal with excellent taste
in music, and thatís worth the price of admission even
if Dylan did not satisfy her request for STOF.
Review by Scott Kareff
You gotta tip your hat to Bob Dylan. 40 years after blasting it out at
nearby Forrest Hills, he returned last night to Long Island's Nassau
County Coliseum and played Ballad of a Thin Man, among other chestnuts and
rollicking new songs. Another stop on the barnstorm, with a smoking band,
decked out like Chicago gangsters to Bob's Jesse James. The set started
on an up note with a re-worked Maggie's Farm, and the tempo hardly let up
all night (save for a couple of numbers from Modern Times to let you catch
your breath). Sprinkle in High Water and Honest With Me from 2001's
release, Visions of Johanna, Rolling' & Tumblin, yet another new lyric in
Tangled Up in Blue (something about going to Atlanta, she said might as
well stay right here). His voice was strong and so was his interest in
the show. At times the tempo seemed to create new speeds and frequently
new guitar lines emerged. All in all, not too shabby. Seats were good,
thanks to bobdylan.com. Floor seats at center ice, first row of the
second section so no one was blocking the view. Next week at City Center
should be good. Raconteurs opened up. I like the Album but the live show
was not as good ; and I would have liked to have heard some White Stripes
songs instead of the entire first Raconteurs album, but what can you do?
I need Mr. Moss or Mr. Lorge to confirm, but I am fairly certain I heard
Jack White say that he was glad to be playing on Long Island b/c he had
been circumcised in Great Neck. If so, that is the second Jack I know
that this is true for.
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