Irvine, California

Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

August 3, 2013

[Oscar Montes], [T. Gray]

Review by Oscar Montes

Three months since my last Bob show in St Augustine, well I had to do some
Americanarama and Irvine and Mountain View are the ones. I flew to Tijuana
really early and took me 1 hour and a half to be in San Diego and 40 more
minutes to meet up with my friend Dennis Hengeveld at Santa Fe Depot
Amtrak station. We rented a car and visited the San Diego zoo and had a
great time, we went to the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater afterwards.

Great to meet Keith Gubitz, Sonia Gilliam and Gina Orlandi before the
show. Also great to say hi to John and Brad.

We really had great seats to enjoy the show. Bob appeared singing a strong
Things have changed on center stage, people really enjoyed having Bob on
their town. A good Lovesick was next with Bobby playing harp. High Water
was also nice and Soon after midnight really well received by the
audience. Another song from Tempest, Early roman kings was the following.
TUIB was the first song that made people go crazy at the Amphitheater.

Duquesne whistle really loved by the people, we could see Bob and his band
enjoying a lot. A great She belongs to me was next, great version, new
arrangements, just great. Beyond here lies nothin' was good and another
highlight of the night, Hard rain, really strong and we could see Bob
really meant it while singing it.

Every time I see Bob doing Willie McTell I understand why there can't be
another so great artist as Dylan on earth, sublime performance. A
beautiful and sad Twist of faith was next tune of the night. A rocky
Summer days made the people of Irvine dance on their seats. Once again The
weight was performed on a Bob shows, no doubt it was one of the highlights
of the concert.

A really good Watchtower closed the regular show but Bob and his band
returned for the encore, Thin man, we were expecting Shooting star, maybe
tomorrow at Shoreline.

We have to take some sleep now in order to drive all the way up tomorrow
to Mountain View where we'll meet up with other really good friends.

Oscar Montes


Review by T. Gray

As a child, my older brother forced me to listen to hours of Mr. Dylan on
the turntable, and by osmosis I became a fan myself, so I decided to see
old Bob again, my third time.  This review is in honor of said big
brother, who saw an earlier show on this tour a few weeks ago and most
certainly will read this review.   I arrived at the Verizon Wireless
Amphitheater a little before 5:30, intent on catching all of the shows in
the Americana lineup.  I have seen a few concerts at this facility over
the years, and I was a bit surprised at its condition.  Definitely showing
its age and wear, and it could use a top to bottom facelift.  The seats
especially were worn, faded and not especially comfortable. But I digress
before I get started.   Ryan Bingham and his band played a nice set of
country-infused rock.  Looking suitably scruffy in blue jeans, a plain
white t-shirt, and scraggly, unwashed hair, Bingham plays the part well,
and his gravelly voice fits his earthy songs well.  I've never seen so
much equipment on one stage at one time (which gradually decreased after
each set), and he only had about ten feet at the front of the stage to
operate, but he and his band played well under difficult circumstances, as
the arena was sparsely filled at the time, with a lot of movement.  His
fiddler was especially impressive, and in fact, he was to some extent a
star of the evening, as he later played some wonderful solos with My
Morning Jacket and WILCO.   My Morning Jacket played an energetic set of
loud, rock music.  I have read some previous reviews complaining about
that, but I happen to like loud rock music, so I enjoyed it.  The lead
singer, Jesse James I believe is the name, gives his all and has a strong
voice suited to their style.   A guest visit by Jackson Browne surprised
the crowd, though I cannot say that the two songs he performed were
especially memorable.   I was looking forward to seeing WILCO for the
first time, and they performed a light-hearted set, showing off a high
level of musicianship before a large number of their fans.  In the big
surprise of the evening, they introduced a guest that none of us would
have imagined beforehand:  Nancy Sinatra!  She performed two songs with
the band, including the fun These Boots are Made for Walking, which had
the growing crowd singing along happily.  The set lagged on a few
occasions, but finished strong with the combined efforts of My Morning
Jacket and Ryan Bingham (and his fiddler), ending up with a rocking
version of Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl.   Dylan took the stage with no
fanfare around 9:30 and as expected began with Things Have Changed, so we
knew that he was likely to keep to the basic set list of this tour.  His
voice reminds me of a combination of the old Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and a
wild animal.  He has developed the growl which he uses often to emphasize
certain words, liberally punctuating his songs, sometimes to great
effect, but frankly he could ease up on that a little in my opinion. 
Highlights were Tangled Up in Blue, with significant lyric changes, and
She Belongs to Me.  Lower moments included Early Roman Kings, which just
is not that good a song, and a listless Summer Days.   The crowd for the
most part was appreciative but fairly muted.  After the first song or two,
I was surprised to see a steady stream of patrons heading for the exits. 
Dylan's voice is not for the uninitiated, and there actually were a lot of
WILCO fans in attendance who I think decided not to see the long evening
through the end.  At the peak, the arena may have been 90% full, but by
the end of Dylan's set, close to half had already left.   Those that left
early missed the high moment of the concert, where Bob invited the lead
singers for WILCO and My Morning Jacket on stage, along with Ryan Bingham,
to perform The Weight, each of them taking a verse and then singing the
last verse together.  It was a great version, and Bingham especially
excelled on his verse (Crazy Chester . . .), and his strong, gravelly
voice could not help but remind me of Levon Helm belting out the same song
so many times (even though that was Rick Danko's verse).  A performance to
remember, and it will be the lasting memory of this concert for me.  
Dylan and his band finished the main set with an uninspired version of All
Along the Watchtower, and then sang a better version of Ballad of a Thin
Man for the encore, though I was hoping for Shooting Star, which he played
in the last couple of concerts.  Nevertheless, the crowd left happy, and I
left feeling fine as well.   I note that Colin Linden was on guitar this
time instead of Charlie Sexton.  To be honest, I do not know them well
enough to give a preference, but Linden performed well, especially early
in the concert where he was given a few opportunities for solos, and I
certainly had no complaints.  Perhaps more veteran attendees would have a
different opinion.   I do have one major complaint, which is that Dylan
had the set so dark that I could barely see him, even with the help of my
binoculars.  He wore black, and literally I had to search with my
binoculars to locate him sometimes, and I have no idea what he looks like
as I never got a decent view.  No spotlights or other fancy lighting, in
fact, not much lighting at all.  It really diminished my enjoyment of the
concert.  Bob, please, turn up the lights! 

T. Gray


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