Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha Civic Auditorium
August 21, 2002

[Scott & Lisa Bauer], [James Strohecker], [Matt], [Kathleen]

Review by Scott & Lisa Bauer

With a voice from on high, Bob Dylan descended on Omaha for the second
time in as many years, playing a rock solid show Wednesday with few
standout moments.

Dylan and his nattily attired bandmates, all sporting some shade of
black, hit their peaks during ``Solid Rock’’ and ``Lonesome Day Blues,’’
but all too often leaned on old familiar ways.

The crowd was typical for a Dylan show, if there is such a thing. Die
hards of all shapes and sizes mingled with first-timers. Adults with a
touch of gray danced in the aisles along with their much younger
offspring, likely brought along to see what all the fuss is about.

Dylan, sans beard, wig or open-shirt, sauntered out to his new,
elongated, ironic intro. Again reaching into the vast treasure chest of
American music, he launched into Bill Monroe’s ``A Voice from On High,’’
once again forcing audiences to pay attention.

Dylan’s interaction with the band was curious. He favored Charlie
Sexton’s side of the stage, often sharing jokes with his
rumored-to-be-leaving guitarist. Drummer George Recile seemed to be an
instigator to much of the action, with Sexton, Dylan and bassist Tony
Ganier frequently turning to him and sharing a laugh or trading licks.
Maybe being the newest member of the band attracts the attention.
Throughout that interplay, Larry Campbell stood alone.

Dylan made his way through the show without speaking to the crowd, other
than the band intros. He broke out the harmonica for a nice long intro to
``Just Like a Woman,’’ one of the show’s highlights. He also played it in
the middle of ``Rainy Day Women’’ after he had introduced the band
members. It almost seemed like his playing it then was not planned, but
was intended to join in the fun with the others who were given the
spotlight for just a brief moment for solos.

The tone of the show was more bluesy than last fall. ``Highwater’’ took on
a decidedly different tone with Larry foregoing the banjo in favor of an
electric guitar, much to the detriment of the song.

The bulk of the show was fairly predictable, with outings of crowd
pleasers like ``Masters of War,’’ ``It’s Alright Ma,’’ ``Girl of the
North Country’’ and ``Don’t Think Twice.’’ Had he played this kind of show
during some of the more abysmal years of the Neverending Tour, it likely
would have been lauded as a classic. But coming at this point it was
merely average.

Eighteen songs and more than two hours after he had begun, Dylan and
bandmates formed their line at the front of the stage, with Dylan
getting down on one knee, before turning their backs and leaving for the
greener pastures of Sioux Falls.

Once the doors opened after the last notes played, the skies opened up and
a hard rain poured for hours. For a drought-stricken state, perhaps even
more than the music, that was the best thing to happen this night.


Review by James Strohecker

A bit of trepidation as I headed out to Omaha to catch the tour for seven
shows in nine days, including a show in Canada.  I wanted to catch a
couple early shows, including Nova Scotia, especially after I met some
people at the Santa Cruz Blues Fest, and told them that Bob was playing in
Nova Scotia -- and they were shocked.  Hadn’t they heard, I thought? 
Weren’t they tracking  Sheesh … nonetheless, I figured
I’d see the East Canada shows and the Newport one, with Bob resplendent in
his fake wig and beard.  But no dice.

And, before I knew that Bob was hitting the West Coast in an extended
October tour through my back woods, I had already decided to hit the
Midwest shows, especially Sioux Falls, where my friend M-2 and I were
chagrined to see Bob and the boys deliver the Lonesome Day Blues last year
Damn, we missed it, we kicked ourselves when we read the set list.  
So why not kick it in the Midwest in the heat of summer and then through
the finish in beautiful Colorado?  A plan was born; notwithstanding, the
Eugene-California-Nevada tour had to be planned, purchased and booked at
the same time.  My girlfriend was shaking her head, happy to be going to
the choice shows but wondering where I intended to find time for work,
Oregon Ducks football games, Bob, travel, and, oh yeah, did I say work?   

So I was headin’ to Omaha.  I hadn’t been to Husker-land for a few years
since my buddy Chip and I had driven cross-country in an “Auto-drive-away”
pair of cars (a great way to see the country, by the way).  And I just
didn’t remember much about the state except people were all very friendly
and we ran out of gas outside of Lincoln . . .  

The other question was how good these shows would be in the Heartland,
given Bob’s tendency to get tired during his recent tours and do somewhat
uninspired shows at Fair and small city venues, such as Pueblo and
Lancaster, last summer.   I hadn’t seen Bob since Munich in May, the last
of eight shows in Deutschland that we drove around to see.  And though the
shows on this tour have had some gems in the set lists, the recent ones in
Canada appeared a bit pedantic, albeit he recently inserted Friend of the
Devil, and Subterranean into recent shows, the latter which seemed all but
extinct until he blew the dust off of it in Germany.  

Omaha: Trains, Beef and Bob

There are a few clichés that would aptly summarize this show:  It was hot
outside and in spite of the air conditioning, Bob and the band made it
caliente on the inside.  Or:  In Omaha, the capital of beef, Bob and the
boys played a Prime show.

The crowd was late in arriving and I wondered whether it was a sellout of
this sports Auditorium or if the heat, muggy weather (even the bees and
the butterflies at the Omaha Botanical Gardens seemed wasted) and ticket
prices had kept people away.  Plenty of available tickets – scalpers were
only offering ten bucks for extras and people were scoring good seats in
this reserved seat-only venue.  Noteworthy is the fact that in the
Midwest, in a city such as Omaha, you can still park on the street a
couple blocks away from the venue … for free.  And like the parking, the
crowd’s energy, though rapt with anticipation to see Bob, was more relaxed
than say, in Germany, Calif. or on the East Coast.  

But the relaxed atmosphere only seemed to inspire Bob as he opened with a
nicely harmonized A Voice From On High, that featured Larry with some
tight mandolin licks, much to the crowd’s appreciation.  Bob’s voice
sounded good, and he looked good – seemingly rested and full of vigor.  

This vigor and focus was evident all evening; none of the songs really
drifted into the “tour set mode” that is so common nowadays by bands.  In
this case, Bob led the group through an intense version of Senor (Tales of
Yankee Power) that he deftly crafted and that Larry backed with some wispy
violin.  Senor came as a complete surprise to me in the second-song
position.  Interesting and full, it got my vote for song of the night
(worth tracking down a store-bought copy or, ahem, crowd-recorded version,
if you haven’t heard it in a while.  It’s really rich.).

Bob and the team sparked into a soulful, (actually well-delivered) It’s
Alright, Ma, filled with their typical tight craft work, before they dived
into a enlightened, polished version of Girl From the North Country, which
typified the band’s approach in Omaha:  well done.  Though somewhat of a
surprise this early in the show, the song was really well crafted -- and
Bob augmented it further with some shaky-leg and show-off strumming,
things he would do with zeal all night.

On came the Strats and out came Solid Rock.  I had to check back just now
in Bill Pagel’s set lists to see if the band had brought this song out on
the tour yet, and I couldn’t find it.  Luckily, they played it in Omaha –
it’s a real keeper and really rocked the house, like it did so many times
in Germany/Europe in April.  Solid Rock really set the stage for the
electric set, as Bob opened up his showmanship spigot and began to use the
stage to slide and strum, and sling his guitar around at the crowd and
then play the neck pointed up in the air.   

The group moved into a sultry version of Just Like a Woman, led by Bob’s
lugubrious, extended, harp play that opened the song and set the stage for
what’s become more of a ballad.  Generally, this song has had different
forms in the past few years, especially as Bob’s voice gets hoarse on
tour.  Tonight, he belted out the lyrics and really added some deft
playing.  Most excellent, and the local fans were loudly appreciative, as
the band picked it up at the end and finished strong.

This took them into a hard and hot Lonesome Day Blues where Larry’s slide
steel echoed Charlie’s bluesy riffs.  Bob seemed revitalized in his
approach to dealing with, and singing to, the crowd (perhaps this was why
he played the beard and hair joke in Newport?) – he was showing off like
he enjoyed it, and how it made people happy to see it.  And he wasn’t
snarling the lyrics or being grumpy on stage, like he can be when he’s
tired.  Certainly a pleasant surprise.

Next, the band leveraged some Strat mojo in High Water (for Charley
Patton), which seems to have become a set standard on this tour.  Not a
bad choice – the group was collectively sharp throughout the song and Bob
moved from side to side on the stage, actually acknowledging Larry for

Back into the acoustic set, the group delivered a passionate Don’t Think
Twice, It’s Alright, followed by a tight Masters of War that was filled
with plenty of good picking by the boys, and some serious single-note
theory by Bob.  Masters came across as both well-rehearsed and
well-played, deservedly so.  

Bob led the group into a really-country One Too Many Mornings, much to the
crowd’s appreciation, which reflected the sweet, intense roots of this
song.  Larry was just outstanding, as usual, on pedal steel on this song. 
Surprisingly, the song dragged a bit after the midpoint and got a little
wayward – like it was looking for a new finish, or perhaps, for Larry to
lead into one.  Bob noticed this and had to step-up the group’s efforts up
to create a strong finish.

Summer Days continued its trend as the fun, hot rockabilly song of the
night – and frankly, the boys don’t seem to be tired of it yet.  They got
into the Strat-go-round blues progression, as Bob went over and played
toe-to-toe with Charlie and Tony stepped forward to help with the
full-stage press.  

As Bob and the group headed into the home stretch, he whipped out a really
tight, mellow-versed Standing In The Doorway that took the runner up award
for song of the night.  Most of the crowd didn’t know this song, but that
didn’t stop them from listening or checking out the inspired Strat solos
and soulful melody of this song.  Certainly worth finding a copy to listen
to . . . 

The band roared to the finish with a solid Cold Irons Bound, that just
keeps sounding better and better, the more they do it.  The intro is tight
and the breaks are clean and crisp.  It led the group into a weird version
of Rainy Day Women #12 &35 that first had Bob blowing the opening lyrics
(I don’t think most of the people caught onto what song it was until he
was into the third line), followed by some serious Strat jam-mojonation,
where Charlie changed from the “invisible man” to the “man of constant
lead-licks,” capped by some strong individual riffs by each band member as
Bob introduced them – including Bob picking up the harp late for some fun
call-response with Tony and to add a close to the song.

The encore was solid, albeit uneventful aside from the appearance of
Charlie on all three songs, leading the charge with some quality fret-work
and harmonies, and the well-fueled Watchtower, a song that seems to be
back on track so to speak, and a staple in the Encore set.

In all, the Omaha fans were treated to a nice, tight, full midweek show. 
Well played and presented.  And like the beef here, Bob and the band just
seem to get tastier (and more expensive!) with age.

Random notes:

Midwest in the summer is like Germany or Denmark – prepare for rain.  The
thunder and lightning storm that pelted us after the show was over, was
really cool to watch.  But, in spite of the heat, a waterproof running
jacket would’ve been nice . . .  Given the ticket availability last night,
I’d assume that there is ample opportunity to attend upcoming shows. 
Worth checking Bob out in the States or Canada, if you have the chance . .


Review by Matt

    It was a day i'd had marked on my calender for about 3 months, when
    Dylan's concert schedule was released.  Sure enough when tickets were
    released over i was waiting ready to nab 3 for myself, and one each for my older sister and dad,
    whom ive gotten interested in the man.  My day started early in the
    a.m. in Lincoln, Nebraska helping my dad at his job.  I live 3 hours
    from Lincoln, only 2 from Omaha but i went with the guy to help him
    out for the day since he wanted me to and it would fill up and speed
    along my day of waiting for the show at 7:30.... We pulled into Omaha
    off the interstate at 5:00 and met up at my sisters house. She works
    in the concert agency in Omaha and filled us in that the Dylan concert
    hadnt sold well, something like 1/4 of the tickets sold.  We went out
    to grab a bite to eat at the old market in downtown omaha before the
    show.  The waitress saw my Dylan Tour 2000 shirt and said she saw him
    play on the east coast while in college.  I was impressed at
    first....tbut then i asked her what she thought and she gave me the
    "hes good.....but his voice" line so i decided that was
    to the Civic Auditorium.... The show didnt get started til about 8:00,
    and they started the show with that long paragraph about bob being a
    "legend who overcame substance abuse, forced rock with folk....etc"
    but before they could finish it the guy talking had his mic go out so
    bob and the band stood in silence not knowing what to do....eventually
    the voice came back just in time to say ".........BOB DYLAN" and we
    were ready to rock and  roll. The tickets i got were 13th row on the
    aisle but i had no intention of staying there.  Right as the first
    chords to the first song began we took off to the front and were in
    the 2nd line of standers along the front of the view i've
    had at any of my now 5 concerts!!

A voice from on High
 -I knew it was coming based on previous setlists.  Bob sang it with a lot
 of power.  good harmonies. Standard so far.

-Not standard anymore! I was almost sure "ill be your baby tonight" was
coming, but no sir.  That day off for the trip to the midwest must have
made bobby bust out different stuff.  true to the album version.  Dont
think too many ppl outside the first 10 rows knew it.

It's alright ma
-Knew it was coming.  I hadnt heard this one in concert before.  He got
kinda hard to understand for those who didnt already know the words but i
did so i thought it rocked. 

Girl of the North Country
-sounded like 'dont think twice' which my sister was dying to hear, she
was disappointed as of now.  Nice soft accoustic song here.  Favorite so
far tonight.

Solid Rock
-first time id heard this song.  not bad, not outta this world.  Took me a
minute to figure out what it was.

Just Like A woman
-Awesome performance of this song.  first real crowd pleaser and they
responded well.  Bob played harp at the beginning but no one in the band
seemed to know how long it was sposed to last. bob would put in a couple
licks then look back at the other guys like "do i keep going" and this
went on a bit. "aint it clear that iiiiiiiiiiiii, i just JUST-DONT-FIT"

Lonesome Day Blues
-when this song started i was thinkin 'eh, its ok i guess' but wow i cant
believe how the crowd gets into the new love and theft stuff.  from here
the show got momentum and never stopped.  lots of dancing and bob and the
boys were jammin and jammin.

-back to back Love and theft selections.  no more banjo in this one.  the
emphasis on this tours shows seems to be for the guys to sit back and
really jam on those guitars and they did it again here. wow.

Dont think twice
-my sis recognized it right away as did the  rest of the crowd.  awesome
singing on this one.  just perfect.  buy the bootleg if only for this

masters of war
-as usual great.  as if he's scolding the microphone, backing up then
walking up and spiting lines in, then backing up again

One Too many morings
-Another pretty rare one.  softly sung like the other acoustic numbers,
contrasted nicely with the following....

Summer Days
-one of my dads faves.  this one jammed tonight.  bob and charlie did the
guitar dueling thing and bob had some huuuuge grins back at the drummer,
who was friggin great by the way.  seemed like this song lasted for 15
minutes as the guitars kept poundin out killer licks. awesome.

standing in the doorway
-I was the first person out of us front row dylan freaks to figure out
what this was.  Id never heard this song in concert either.  i always got
cold irons bound and love sick from TOOM, but i like this one much better.
 powerful lyrics here.

Cold Irons Bound
-slowed it down for standin in the doorway, then they came back and rocked
the house with this one again.  im tellin ya i had a large sweat worked up
and my legs and feet hurt from bouncin around up front so much.  never
seen so much loud electric played by the zim. love every minute of it!

Rainy Day Women
-this one was really cool.  bob did the standard great, popular lyrical
part along good band play, but   when he did band intros at the end things
got crazy.  Larry cambell was announced by bob to large cheers and larry
did a litle steel guitar solo.....then bob points to the drummer who
absolutely brings the house down with his playin.  then in comes charlie
who was off stage getting a drink or gettin a new guitar or somethin,
anyway when bob announces charlie, charlie starts to play guitar with his
teeth.  as if some type of challenge to bob, charlie goes and whispers in
bobs ear and before we know it bobs grabbing his harmonica from backstage
and finishes out rainy day women playing the harp along charlies electric
guitar . great close.  lights down, lights back up while they do the stand
and stare. 

minutes later....

like a rolling stone-
the usual, always great, crowd loves it of course.  glad i heard this
instead of honest with me

suprise....knockin on heavens door
-great, maybe best song of the wait summer days
wait dont think twice was....o ya senor.....i dunno, anyway great
harmonies, great song, crowd loves it

-the guys jam out to this one for awhile, this tall guy and me are in the
2nd row right in front of charlie holdin up our hands sayin "one more
charlie, tell him!!"sure enuf after watchtower the lights go down to
thunderous applause and charlie puts his arm around bob and talks to him,
but to no avail, theyre out the back having played 18 songs, but taking
about 2:15 and using every second of it. awesome show!!!  its now 1:47
local central time after i dropped off my sister at her house in omaha.
drove 2 hours to my house, and typed this story.  i hope u enjoyed it!!
hopefully ill hear tangled up in blue later today in Sioux Falls! rock on.

-Matt, let me hear from ya


Review by Kathleen

We arrived in Omaha good and early and no one was
around the auditorium at all, it was almost eerie, but
in retrospect, it was harbinger of the mellowness to
come at the show.  First though, I had to recover from
an almost relationship/friendship-ending incident
where my travelmate wouldn't even stop the car or slow
down when we saw Tony walking down the street so I
could say "hi" and tell him how much I enjoy his

That mishap aside for the moment, we got into our
great 4th row seats (every seat in the house would
have been good) to find immediately on my right the
two fun people who had been on my right at the second
Telluride show almost exactly a year ago, Maura and
Tim from Colorado. (Hi guys!) That was pretty trippy. 
About three seconds into the introduction of Bob (that
pretty hilariously cut out in the middle, though you
could still see the announcer's lips moving), many of
the people in the first few rows moved in a slow-mo
procession up to the barricade in front of the stage
like in a school auditorium, and I ended up first row
in front of Larry. (My buddy stayed behind and enjoyed
the still good seats.) No one pushed and personal
space was respected and protected.  Security was cool
in every sense.  This was not the Southampton scene,
thank goodness.

Out came the band, from the first second in a playful
mood together and also mindful of the audience.  Bob,
who I gushed about enough in my last review to last
for awhile, was gushable from the start and throughout
even if I don't say it.  Larry was also smiling at us
from the start, no more sad or bored... 

Just a few music comments:

The sound in the auditorium was a little echoing, but
not too bad.  They had it well-tweaked, so I didn't
even need ear plugs until the electric guitars came

Señor– everyone liked this, musically beautiful.

Girl Of The North Country– gorgeous, lyrical.

Solid Rock– the band liked rocking out together, and
this continued their constant smiling, messing with
each other, whispering, and just generally having a
party on stage.

Just Like A Woman–I like this any ole way it happens
and it was pretty tonight.

High Water–very hard rocking slugfest, loud and
grooving and the guys were grinning with Bob starting
some of his rock star moving that continued on.

One Too Many Mornings–I loved this also, Bob was
forceful in the words like the song demands, the band
way back like it needs.

Summer Days– a rollicking good time was had by all,
especially on stage with a lot more asides and
laughing with Charlie and Bob.  Because there was so
much room to dance, the audience was moving pretty
well by this point, too.

Rainy Day Women #12 & 35– Bob and the boys were silly
(in a good clean fun way) and were all taking solos
and smiling and playing off each other  a lot. 
Charlie kicked the cymbal for George's introduction.

During one of the later songs or the bows, Bob
squatted down and gave a big point at a woman right in
front who had been giving him the "you're the man"
point the entire show.  It was hilarious and pretty
much a defining moment of a (yes, indoor) show that I
thought was just plain fun, unaffected, and musically
satisfying (just a notch down from Southampton for me
musically).  The light-hearted interactions between
the musicians, and between the Bob, the band, and the
remarkably courteous audience made this a show that I
am sure will be one of my most memorable.


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