Memphis, Tennessee

AutoZone Park

July 2, 2013

[Jim Maynard], [Keith Williams]

Review by Jim Maynard


FIRST, for those going to the Bob Dylan/Wilco/Morning Jacket
"Americanarama" music festival let me give newbies a heads up on Dylan
since many seem to be disappointed he doesn't sing the songs they want
they way they sounded on records from 40 years ago, the Bob Dylan on stage
today is not the same Bob Dylan from 1966.  He has changed, he has been
changing for 50 years and he angers fans every time he changes.  He is not
the young 1960's young rebel leading a counter culture, nor the sweet
voiced country crooner on Nashville Skyline.  He is a 72 year old blues
singer,  an authentic primitive blues voice that has been worn down by 50
years of traveling down the dirt roads and highways of America.  He will
probably not perform many of his "greatest hits," he has a whole new
catalog of blues and folk songs that match his age and voice, he will
focus on his recent great albums, so prepare to hear the "New" Old Bob
Dylan.  If you want to hear a washed up group playing their greatest hits
exactly like they always have, go see the Eagles in Oct.  If you want to
experience a authentic blues artist create art live on stage, try Dylan
with that understanding.   He has changed, as he will sing on the first
song (from the Wonder Boys soundtrack) "I used to care, but THINGS HAVE

Now, the "Americanarama Music Festival" touched down in Memphis tonight,
on July 2, at the AutoZone baseball park, home to the Memphis Redbirds. 
It was also the site of the Dylan/Willie Nelson show a couple of years
ago.  At that show I was down on the field and it was a great intimate
experience with Dylan.  This one was not.  I got the cheap $39 bowl seats,
up in the bleachers.  I arrived just as the Richard Thompson Electric Trio
was winding up.  What little I heard sounded pretty good.  I am not
familiar with him at all, but I will check out his new album, which is
getting great reviews.

I expected that most of the huge young crowd came to hear My Morning
Jacket and Wilco, but hard to tell by all the Dylan T-Shirts.  I cam to
see Dylan, but also check out those two groups which I hear a lot of good
things about. My Morning Jacket sounded good, but I  was not familiar with
their songs and didn't understand any of them.  The sound mix was not
great, too much drums, which drowned out the singing.  (This was also a
problem with Wilco and Dylan's set, though I understood a lot more of
Dylan than I did of the other groups.)  My Morning Jacket seems to be a
"jam band," and while the sounded good, it seemed like one long jam
session, except for a surprise guest appearance by JOHN PRINE.  I
recognized Prine's name but was unfamiliar with his work, but he was one
of Dylan's folk singing peers back in the day.  Not sure what they sang
together, but it was a highlight of the show.  The Morning Jacket lead
singer is good and did a lot of great vocals, but I will have to check out
their albums.

I am a little more familiar with Wilco, mainly their work with Billy Bragg
putting music to new Woody Guthrie Songs.  I'm not too familiar with their
other work, though I did recognize at least on Woody Guthrie cover.  They
are a great band, and had more variety in their set than My Morning

So I was there to see Dylan again.  I always try to catch him when he
comes to Memphis, which is pretty regularly, and he usually seems to enjoy
playing here.  I was concerned about some of the mixed reviews of this
tour, from Dylan's voice to the static set list, and the sound in the
AutoZone Park would make it even harder to hear and enjoy the concert, and
it turned out to be a rough show.  The crowd back where I was were pretty
disengaged throughout the other performers, and many of them  didn't seem
too interested in Dylan either, not sure why they wasted their money

Dylan began as expected with a decent though rough version of Things Have
Changed, which seems to be the theme of this tour.  People expecting Bob
Dylan from 1963, or 1973 would be disappointed, and many of them were. 
Next was a great version of Lovesick, with the first harp, not great but
good. High Water was hard to recognize at first, and the crowed around me
started losing interest.  Soon After Midnight is one of my favorites from
the new album Tempest, but the crowd was getting restless.  The older
couple behind and in front of me starting complaining that they didn't
recognize any of the songs.  (I tried to warn people he was focusing on
new material, not "greatest hits.")  The lady behind me told her husband
that if she didn't recognize the next song they were leaving, and when Bob
started Early Roman Kings, they left.   The man in front keep calling out
for Tangled UP in Blue, and I knew it was next up and when it started I
told him here it is, but he was not impressed, and he and his wife got up
and left, and told me that I was brave for sticking it out.  (I wanted to
lecture these people about the Bob Dylan of the last 15 years they
obviously had no clue aboutŠ) And I know they didn't come to hear Wilco or
Morning Jacket so they paid $40 to listen to four songs and leaveŠ don't
let the door hit you on the way out.. Not it I was surrounded by empty
seatsŠ  But the crowd down on the field seemed into the show, and I was
wishing I had been down there with them.. But most of the rest of the
crowd seemed to love it and they got their first "greatest hit" of the

One of the highlights of the concert for me was a great version of
Duquesne Whistle, Dylan sang great and the band was into it, and the crowd
down on the field was into itŠ

The next highlight was an awesome version of She Belongs to Me.. I can't
remember all the reasons it was great, just take my word for it, you have
to experience it yourself.  Very different from any version I've heard,
and Dylan put a lot of work into it.. And I believe did some harp tooŠ

Beyond Here Lies Nothing was good, but kind of dragged a little,  and was
one that many people there were not familiar with..

At first I didn't recognize A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, but it got better
as Dylan preached the lyrics and the crowed responded favorably as it
reached a climatic end.

Next highlight for me was the always welcome Blind Willie McTell.  Another
of Dylan's best vocal performances.

Simple Twist of Fate began in the gutter and slowly came together.  My
first time hearing it live, could have been better..

Summer Days should be an opportunity for the crowd to dance and swing
around, at least on the field, but it was too fast and seemed to be
perfunctory.  Kind of killed the dancing mood insteadŠ  Wish he had kept
Thunder on the Mountain or tried out Narrow WayŠ

The highlight of the show as usual was an awesome full throttle All Along
the Watchtower.  The crowd loved it and many came to life for the first
time.   I think it was the best version I've heard live, but they all seem
to be.  It saved this show for many of the casual fans who came to hear
Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol I & II

The crowd starting thinning out and I feared Bob would wait too long to
come back for the encore, Ballad of a Thin Man, but the thin man finally
reappeared and delivered a good but not great version.  I think the
version from the last tour was much better, when he stood naked in the
center of the stage and poured his soul into it.  This time he was over by
the piano I think, not as powerful.

So the set list was exactly the same as all the others on this tour
(except Nashville where he was joined by the McCrary Sisters for Blowing
in the Wind), but many of the songs were first time live experiences for
me (Lovesick, Soon After Midnight, Early Roman Kings, Duquesne Whistle,
She Belongs to Me, A Hard Rain's Gonna FallŠ), hell there were a lot of
new songs for me so I can't complain.  My first Hard Rain alone was worth
my $40, and She Belongs To Me and Blind Willie were icing on the cakeŠ

Too bad those old crabby people got mad and left early.. Or maybe it was
good they left me alone to enjoy a good Dylan show.  Not the best one I've
seen but always love to see Bob live.  It would have been  much better
concert down the street in the Orpheum, or even better down on Beale
Street at the New Daisy, where I saw the best Dylan concert ever back a
few years ago.  

Hope Bob makes it back to Memphis again, I always assume it is the last
time, but he keep on keeping onŠ

Jim Maynard
Memphis TN


Review by Keith Williams

I left work early on Tuesday afternoon, but still managed to miss the
Richard Thompson Electric Trio.  My Morning Jacket was already on stage
and into their 2nd song as I made my way onto the Autozone field.  I came
to see Bob Dylan, but was excited to see the supporting acts.  You can
always count on Bob Dylan choosing fantastic support.  I like to think
that Bob and I have similar tastes in music.

As I made my way up closer to the stage, it was clear that this was a very
young crowd.  It has been fairly apparent that Bob goes to great lengths
to connect to a younger audience - from his choice of venues (look at the
number of colleges he has played) to his choice of supporting acts.  This
was my 15th Bob Dylan Show - all of which have been in the last 10 years. 
For my first show I was part of Dylan's target audience.  Now at my 15th,
I looked around and felt old.

This was my first My Morning Jacket show, and I was very impressed.  While
the crowd around me was much more familiar with their work, I had no
problem getting into their sound.  Their special guest, John Prine, was
icing on the cake.  Although "All the Best" did not seem to mesh with the
rest of their set, it was a great version.  One of the highlights of the

By the time My Morning Jacket was finished with their set, I had
positioned myself to the part of the stage I expected Dylan's piano to be
later on in the night.  After a short break, Wilco came on and did a very
nice set.  This was not my first Wilco concert, but again, the audience
around me seemed to be more familiar with the music than I.  Wilco
definitely tailored the set for the evening, and got a very good reception
from the crowd.  They are great musicians with a very unique sound, and
they always put on a great show.

By the time Wilco finished and the crowd moved around to hit the beer
stands and bathrooms, I had made my way up to 3 people off the rail
directly in from of the piano.  This is the exact same position I was in
St Louis two months ago when I saw Bob and his Band at the Peabody Opera
House.  I was a bit nervous this time, as the reviews have been mixed (to
put it nicely).   I was most interested to see Bob's demeanor.  It St.
Louis, he was as playful as I have ever seen him - smiling, interacting
with the audience, even playing the piano with his boot on a couple
occasions.  The reviews of Bob being angry and not enjoying himself were
troubling to me.

The band took their positions as Stu was playing the acoustic guitar, and
I was surprised to see there was no Duke.  Bob was already at center stage
singing the first verse of "Things Have Changed" before I figured it all
out.  Things really did change between Nashville and Memphis - Charlie
Sexton was back and the turmoil described in the reviews of the first few
shows was validated.  While I was happy to see Charlie, I was worried
about the cohesion of the band.  For the most part those worries were
unwarranted.  Charlie did an admirable job.  He watched Bob closely for
his cues, looked down at the set lists after each number (he obviously
doesn't visit Bob Links, because I knew what songs were coming up next),
and talked with Bob between quite a few songs.  Despite some technical
issues with his amp, he had a solid night.  Bob- for his part- seemed to
be happy that Charlie was there.  And Bob seemed happy to be in Memphis
himself.  He smiled often, posed for the crowd, and seemed to be enjoying
himself.  What a relief.....

The set list was as expected.  "Things Have Changed" was OK - this is not
my favorite version of this wonderful song.  "Love Sick" was killer.  It
just fits so well with Bob's voice, and Bob does a great job at center
stage acting out the song.   The crowd reacted very positively to it.  The
next few songs were well received, but it was clear the crowd was falling
into a lull.  It wasn't until "Tangled" that the crowd really got into it.
This version of the song continues to fascinate me.  It works really
well.    Bob continues to leave out the 'topless bar' and 'music in the
café'  verses as well as switch up the lyrics quite a bit.  During the
last verse, he rhymed 'stars at night' with 'different point' the way only
he can.  It was a highlight and the crowd loved it.  Next came my first
"Duquesne Whistle".  It was true to the "Tempest" form and was politely
received by the crowd.  The next high point was back at center stage with
"She Belongs to Me".  It was my third experience with this song and easily
the best.   A fantastic version with heartfelt singing that had the crowd
mesmerized.   Back to the piano for "Beyond" and "Hard Rain" and then to
center stage for "Blind Willie".  I really enjoyed this version, but was
surprised that quite a few people around did not recognize it (Or 'Hard
Rain' for that matter).  Bob then headed back to the piano for my first "
Simple Twist".  It started out a little rough, but then really came
together.  The last verse alone was worth the $75 I paid for admission.   
My 11th "Summer Days" was forgettable (10 years ago this one always had
the crowd up and dancing; not so much today), but then my 11th  "AATW" was
very memorable. I can still hear Bob howling...It ended the show on a high
note.    A big ovation and "Thin Man" followed and the evening ended.

The crowd near me down by the stage seemed to really enjoy themselves.  I
was satisfied that the negative reviews from the first few shows were a
thing of the past, Bob had a good time and his voice hadn't changed (it
hasn't changed in the 10 years I have been seeing him - the only
difference is he makes an effort to sing more now than he did a decade
ago).   I left the stadium and headed over to Blues City Café to get a
slab of ribs and a beer since I still had not ate any dinner.  As I sat at
the bar, an older gentleman sitting next to be was telling the bartender
what a joke the concert was.  He said that Dylan's voice was
unrecognizable, he didn't play any songs that anyone knew, he doesn't even
try, and that the majority of the crowd left after a few songs.  I wrote
him off initially as a 'tourist' that didn't really follow Dylan or this
type of music.  But then he started bitching about Duke Robillard getting
fired and how Bob mistreated him and was impossible to work with.  This
gentleman soon left and I ate my dinner.  A few other folks came in whom
also seemed to have experienced a different concert than I.  The thing
they all seemed to have in common were that they were all older and all
sat in the ballpark seats.  After talking with them it appears the sound
was not great, the lighting was bad, they did not like Bob's voice nor the
song arrangements, and did not like the set list.  Almost no one that I
talked to knew he had played "AATW", as they had already left.  As I left
the bar, there was a big table of young guys and girls by the door (I
would say they were in their early to mid-20's).  I stopped to see if they
went to the concert.  They did, were on the field, and loved it.  It was
all their first Dylan concert.

So it appears it is the Tale of Two Concerts.   Surprisingly (to me), it
is the younger crowd that had the best experience, while the older crowd
left disappointed.  As I walked back to my hotel room, I thought that to
Bob this was probably no surprise at all.  It was part of his plan all


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