Toronto, Ontario
Molson Amphitheatre
August 16, 2002

[Joe Clifford], [Carsten Molt], [Mick]

Review by Joe Clifford

    I've seen Dylan about 10 times - the first time, also in Toronto, with
The Band in the early/mid '70's.  
    To me, last night's show was in the middle of the pack -
uncharacteristically pedestrian in spots, soaring in others.  The
cornerstone of this phase (last 7-10 years) of his live performing has
been the rhythm section establishing a killer groove, they churn away at
it while the rest of the band and the vocals swirl around them.  This band
employed this with conviction only sporadically last night. This might not
be a bad thing for some listeners, but as for me, it's that groove that I
come to hear.
    The opening 4 song acoustic set was only ok to my ears, though
Watching The River Flow was a high point for my 20 yr old son seeing Bob
for the first time.  Songs 5 through 8 featured both newer and more
obscure choices.  The appearance of the Strats here was just in time. 
Next came Masters of War - the first time the band seemed to really get
into each other. This was a great treatment.  Next, 2 standards, Tangled
Up.... and I Shall Be.... were nicely rearranged from previous shows I'd
seen to make them fresh again.  Now here comes Summer Days, my favorite of
the evening.  It had all my requirements - fabulous rhythm section
involvement, great structure, simultaneous lead playing (sort of dueling
guitars), a more free vocal presentation by Bob than in some other songs. 
    Which reminds me - he is playing around, vocally, with what I can only
describe as "up-sing".  You've heard of "up-speak"?  In many songs, he
finished a line by taking the melody up a few notes.  I mean in many
songs.  I've always loved the unpredictability of his vocalizing and have
long thought of him as a great singer, though not in possession of a great
voice.  Hey Bob, reel in the "up-sing" a few notches.
    The 6 songs that followed were an enjoybale, if unspectacular end to a
fine evening.
    Ultimately, I'll continue to see him every year or two.  He's one of
the few who seems to be able to zone in on what he wants to do and
accomplish irrespective of the marketplace.  To have the courage,
concentration, vision, to produce what his guts tell him rather than
trying to guess what the audience wants from him, is, and always has been,
what defines a true artist.  
Joe Clifford


Review by Carsten Molt

 A day after the promising Hamburg, NY show, Jillsy and i were at the
Molson Amphitheatre to se Bob Dylan for the 2nd night in a row. One night
is never enough. This was our first Dylan show outside of the U.S.. The
Molson amphitheatre was smaller than we expected but a nice venue by the
waterfront. The crowd was much more into the show than the Hamburg crowd
but the pavillion crowd also sat for most of the show with the fans that
tried to stand being yelled at and told to sit down by the seated crowd.
Dylan came out dressed in black with white boots and his white cowboy hat.
The band was dressed conservatively in black.
Interestingly, Charlie seemed to be wearing white loafers but i could be
wrong. It was hard to tell from our vantage point about 30 rows back. When
the show started, there were huge screens showing the band but they were
turnd off abruptedly several songs in. The venue was pretty full and like
Hamburg, the venue didn't allow smoking in the pavillion which the crowd
ignored. On to the songs,

"A Voice From On High" (acoustic) -The same opener as last night and
sounded a bit better and the band was very tight. Charlie had overcome his
equipment problems and was having a great time. He made up for his
problems last night and was visibly having a ball.

"Watching The River Flow (acoustic)- The first ever acoustic version and
it was electrifying as acoustic can be. Dylan started dancing right off
doing some nimble baby steps and his leg wiggling got the crowd into the
show. A very good rendition of the song too.

"It's Alright, Ma" (I'm Only Bleeding) (acoustic)- Again, a good version
but Dylan stumbled on a few words but this was forgotten as he and Charlie
traded some nice licks and Larry was beaming as he strummed his dobro for
all he was worth.

"Forever Young" (acoustic)- Another repeat from last night but much better
with beautiful singing by Dylan and Charlie and Larry chiming in on the
chorus. A nice harmonica solo was the exclamation mark on a stellar

"Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum"- a very strong version as the smell of the air
turned sweeter and the place began to move with the music. Charlie got in
some great licks and deep knee bends which judging by the response got
many females in the audience very excited.

"Under the Red Sky"-Even better than Hamburg and played much more
assuredly. Dylan used some beautiful phrasing and again, Larry showed his
unique style on the pedal steeel with some soaring, searing notes.

"Floater" - Not one of my favorite songs but it had a slightly better
arrangement than the versions from last fall and it was highlighted by
some fine fingerpicking guitar by Charlie and some nimble phrasing from
Dylan. Dylan also did some of his marching in place during this song and
pointed at someone in front of the stage.

"High Water"- i still missed the banjo but as with last night, it started
soft and by the end had turned into an all out rocker with Charlie
churning out power chord after chord, obviously relishing 
the fact that his equipment was working.

"Masters Of War" (acoustic)-Played a little slower than last night but
also more powerfully. Dylan inhabited the lyrics well. As i swayed with
the music with my eyes closed, i couldn't help but think of the possible
war against Iraq and more men and women of both sides dying in combat.

"Tangled Up In Blue" (acoustic)- This got the entire crowd on their feet
and had an even funkier jam than last night with lots of knee bending by
Dylan. The entire band was smiling and at the end of the tune, dylan
stepped forward and smiled broadly.

"I Shall Be Released" (acoustic)- Another chance for Larry and Charlie to
show case their fine harmony singing. Dylan used some unique phrasing and
layed down some nice fingerpicking guitar.

"Summer Days"-As powerful as ever even though Dylan's voice got drowned
out by the maelstrom of guitars at times. It didn't seem as inspired as
some earlier renditions but was full of energy if not conviction.

"Moonlight" - a little bit of a let down but it was o.k. i think that this
song would benefit greatly if Larry were on the pedal steel. Dylan sang it

"The Wicked Messenger"-WOW! It is always great to hear this. Dylan nailed
every word perfectly and the band was extremely focused. i love that
throbbing bass line on this song. Dylan played a great harmonica solo to
cap it off even if it was a short solo.

"Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" Again, the air in the venue turned smokier and
sweeter. After the verses ended, Dylan introduced the band where every
player got their chance to play a little solo. While Tony was playing his
bas solo, Charlie sat on the drum riser and crossed his legs looking very
happy. Charlie then began pounding Recelis bas drum with his fist. A very
funny moment.


"Honest With Me"-This was well played but again the guitars obscured
Dylans lyrics but Dylan managed to make himself heard above the fray with
some soaring vocals. It was odd hearing Dylans voice soaring above a band
playing their instruments at full throttle but it a way. 

"Blowin' In The Wind" (acoustic) - Dylan started the song with a nice
harmonica solo. After finishing his solo, instead of putting his harmonica
on its stand or into his pocket, he kind of flipped it over his shoulder
onto the stage. It looked pretty cool. Only dylan could make such a thing
look so cool. The song itself was well played but a
rinky dink song played well is still a rinky dink song.

"All Along The Watchtower" closed the show and it roared. As the song
ended, Dylan dropped to one knee in a very dramatic fashion. i almost
expected someone to run out with a cape to put over Dylans shoulders,
Instead, the lights went down, came back up. They stood there in formaton
and Dylan nodded his head at the audience and walked off into the
darkness. the crowd roared and the houselights stayed down for a LONG time
and the crowd got louder and louder but to no avail. Dylan was gone but
the memories he left us with was more than we could have asked for.

               George Recelis drumming is phenomenal and he adds a lot
of swing and funk to the music. He reminds me a bit of Winston Watson.
Kemper was a tasteful drummer but lacked personality in my opinion. Receli
has charisma to burn and it shows in his playing.

  Unfortunately, we didn't get to meet the all the poolers we wanted to.
The ones we did meet kind of blew us off. oh, well. They are human, too.

  Even though, Dylan played most of the same songs as he did in Hamburg,
it was very different. To me, it seemed as if Hamburg was the question and
Toronto was the answer. i hope that makes sense to some one out there. If
anyone has a copy, i'd love to trade for 
it. In Bob we trust.

Carsten Molt


Review by Mick

A great show all around. The Canadian National Exhibition is under way and
the weather was perfect. Circus de soleia took up most of the parking lot
but people seemed to have found parking all the same.We made the hour
drive from Hamilton in about 1 and a half hours. The Rolling Stones were
playing a "suprise" gig down the street for 1000 lucky fans, for 10 bucks!
Bob still managed to deliver. I hear a voice a callin is a beutiful
opener, love the Dead`s version from the early seventies, this one, also
played last night in Erie was a beutiful. The crowd was un usually
boisturios for Toronto, which was a great bonus. Other highlights were
Tangled up in Blue minus a verse or two, I Shall be released, Masters of
War, Forever Young, High Water and Floater. Bob forgot the words to the
third verse of Rainy Day Women and it was hilarious. Standard encore was
cool. No secruity hassels and a great crowd made for a great eve. Bob
bowed down to one knee at the end but the lights went out and many did not
see, when they put the lights back on he did it again he truelly seemed
grateful for our apprciation. If only the large beers were not $10.75 all
would have been perfect but that is a small sacfrifice. Sorry for the
rambling but this show was awesome!!!!! Long live Bob Dylan


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