Park City, Utah
Deer Valley
Snow Park Lodge
Outdoor Amphitheater
August 30, 2002

[Jay Meehan], [Pat Nevins]

Review by Jay Meehan

Long day in line with fun folk and a Le Mans start with blankets a-flyin'.
Great grass venue and a perfect--not too close--front and center location.
Would have had more timely comments had Johnny Walker not asserted himself
(excellent choice for the evening, however.) The crowd was over-the-top
ready and Bob and the boys didn't disappoint. Hadn't caught the guy since
the 1999 summer tour but my seat in that venue didn't pack the gear like
outdoors at D.V.  This was epic.  The lads were grinning away and cracking
up all night.  Beautiful late summer Utah mountain evening and the
historical overtones were well understood by all. Everyone got to their
feet as the five sauntered onstage and stayed that way until long after
those two riders approached and the wind began to howl. The "Buffalo"
intro got mostly drowned out.  Oh shucks.  The gorgeous acoustic axes
kicked off "Thomas" and we were off and running.  What a band, what an
arrangement, what sound, what perfection. Concert-wise, August has been
large in these parts.  The few I was able to catch leading up to "the man"
were the Flatlanders, Jam Grass, Merle Haggard ("If George Bush is a
Texan, I'm the Queen of England"), Jerry Jeff Walker, and Nickel Creek. 
But, these days, nothing prepares you for the sheer brilliance of a Dylan
show. The gain on Larry's pedal steel was too low during the early stages
of "I'll Remember You" but by the time his lead break came around he and
the stage sound guy had worked it out.  Nothing like an early surprise in
the set list.  Ethereal is what it was.  Soaring! Just about the time I
was pompously expecting to hear the intro to "It's all Right, Ma," there
arrived one of the more catchy and infectious acoustic riffs that had e'er
graced these now aged ears.  By the time Bob muttered something about
selling postcards of the hanging, my mates and I were in orbit. Desolation
Row.  Whoda thunkit?  Classic reinterpretations of a classic body of work
by a performing artist for the ages.  It was my first rodeo with
"Searching For a Soldier's Grave."  Again, what a lovely arrangement and
rendition.  This is just too good.  Dylan and this band and the
cancellation of the baseball strike on the same day.  I'm not worthy.  I
had noticed he'd pulled out "Lay, Lady, Lay" and one or two others from
Nashville Skyline at earlier stops and I was hoping we'd get one.  "Two Be
Alone With You" fit the bill perfectly, especially the way these jaunty
shitkickers are picking these days. The instrumental and vocal readings on
"Love Sick" astounded.  It has been revisited with new life since the tour
with Paul Simon.  Who's he got, Billy Strayhorn arranging?  I'm sure the
collective awe has been off-scale at each tour stop, but this has got to
be my best concert experience ever.  Sorry Thelonious, Miles, Otis, Jimi,
Janice, Jerry, Mick, Bono, Bruce, Levon, and the rest of you from forty
years of adoration and pilgrimage.  This is my man, Thomas. Larry had this
huge grin on his face during "Honest with Me" and his bottleneck slide
riffs cut right to the heart of the matter.  "Moonlight" followed and, as
you'd expect, the songs from Love and Theft retained most of the style of
the CD.  What wonder and depth live in these tunes. Charlie may have been
holding a Dobro during "Masters Of War" but he damned sure wasn't playing
it like one.  He poised it like a dreadnaught with resonators facing the
crowd and flat-picked away.  Is he really leaving the group?  Dave Alvin
is a gas, but Charlie is such a good fit. "Things Have Changed" brought on
a loud whoop but nothing like the roar that greeted "Tangled."  His fans,
most especially those who don't catch many shows, can't seem to get
enough.  He helped them out of a jam, I guess. "Summer Days" flat out
swung!  What a fun tune.  The lads were "jauntiness" personified.  As
usual, the juxtaposition of Dylan's arrangements against the backdrop of
his meandering storylines is perfect art. Tony has this sly grin that
exposes itself now and then as he moseys among his mates, and it's just
damned precious.  And he's right there for George when the drummer gets
anywhere near unfamiliar territory. "Make You Feel My Love" is a great
down tempo show tune and gets the crowd a-swayin' and a-croonin' and all
touchy-feely.  By this time in the proceedings, I must admit, Johnny
Walker had his arm thrown over my shoulder and I was getting rather
"gushy" myself. This might explain why I was unable to identify "Drifter's
Escape."  No such problem with "Rainy Day Women," however, with its
opening and subtle statement of theme grabbing the crowd and not letting
go.  You wanna talk sing-a-long. The encore section went as expected with
"Blowin'" taking its turn in the middle following "Like a Rolling Stone"
and preceding "Watchtower."  As always, it seemed much too short and much
too good.  Some days, life is exceedingly rewarding.


Review by Pat Nevins


Some info on the show at Deer Valley, near Park City UT. I flew from the SF 
Bay area to meet a friend who was in town on a work fieldtrip. We soon 
realized the show was sold out! As we pulled out of the Sheraton parking lot 
in downtown Salt Lake City around noon to begin our quest for tickets, we
noticed Bob's big black bus still parked in the back of the lot. His road
crew's big blue bus around the other side in the front lot. The drive up to 
Park City was about 35 minutes up the mountain east of SLC. We got to the lot 
and figured maybe 100 folks hanging in the sun wanting those spots up front. 
Only one road into the place made it sort of simple to know where to try for 
a ticket. We got our tensions eased in about an hour and had our tickets.
The day went bye and we were treated to some soundcheck jams without Bob in 
the late afternoon. The crowd streamed into the venue and Bob's bus lumbered 
into the lot and up beside the stage about an hour and a half before 
showtime. The stage itself was very small. Just a build it yourself type
setup only 2 feet high. A tent type cover was around the black and white
checked stage floor. The band's equipment was pretty close to each other
making for pretty tight quarters. We got a spot with new friends made in the 
lot about 15 or 20 feet directly in front of Charlie's microphone. The slope 
of the hill put us at eye level with the band. Just a killer spot. For some 
strange reason it was okay to bring whatever picnic chairs and coolers you
wanted in? It reminded me of the Ravinia concert venue outside of Chicago,
with folks picnicking before the show. With the bottom of the ski slope 
filled with an eager crowd the band took the stage with a spoken into over
Fanfare For The Common Man with our Cowboy Gypsy breaking into I Am The Man 
Thomas. The PA belched and the volume increased as the song jammed on. It was 
apparent from the start that Charlie was fired up to play. Bob seemed to
glance his way often. I'll Remember You caught me by suprise, with lots of
folks young and old wondering what song was that? Desolation Row saw Bob
Barking out verse after verse with the band listening real close to the 
phrasing Bob was using. George needed Tony to lock in with to be sure to stay 
on the beat. Searching For A Soldiers Grave had some sweet powerful harmonies 
as our guy began to relax and smile a bit a the crowd so close to him.  Larry, 
who seems to have a new instrument on every song took to the fiddle for To Be 
Alone With You. Love Sick gave us our first taste of electric guitar action. 
The songs haunting echoes and vibro coming from the Fender amps with Bob
singing with real conviction. Honest With Me cranked the pace up, The band
was completly on fire at this point with blistering guitar leads and the
crowd swaying to the beat while Bob traded licks with his two guitar 
slingers. Moonlight has a more electric feel to it though Tony goes back to 
upright bass. Masters of war just sort silences the crowd as they take in the 
words and contemplate the timelessness of this masterpiece. Bob's singing on 
Things Have Changed, one of my favs was close to the recorded version and
played to perfection. Tangled Up In Blue sent the crowd into a wild song and 
dance with killer jamming again by Bob with Larry and Charlie charging the
rythem. Tony and George laughing but staying with the beat of the song. 
Summer Days got that Swing thang happening with that riff that sounds damn
close to Rock Around The Clock sending the crowd into a dance frenzy. Bob
just seems to love it when he gets the crowd going like this flashing us
quick smiles and querky face expressions. Make You Feel My Love slowed the
pace back down with excellent vocals again by Bob, the words clear and loud. 
Drifters Escape rocked hard. It was right about now that I noticed Dave Alvin 
standing onstage at the monitor  board checking things out, leading me think 
a change really is coming soon in the band. A happy crowd indeed got a 
Rolling Stone and nice Blowing In The Wind. Before another smoking 
Watchtower. I turned around to check the crowd out and noticed Bill Walton
back at the soundboard,  tye dyed with arms waving in the air and that 
unmistakeable smile beamming. What a great venue and great show! I hope
Bob comes back to Deer Valley.- Pat Nevins.


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