October 17, 2012
Review by Michael Lederman
The carnival pulled into the Bay Area on Wednesday night. Having read the
reviews and set lists I confess, my expectations were low. I have attended
well north of 30 shows (first Dylan/Band L.A. Forum-Final Show Before The
Flood Tour). I have witnessed greatness and I have endured ridicule from
my friends for trying to find joy in some truly awful joyless efforts. I
think Tempest is one of the landmark productions in Dylans vast repertoire
so seeing no songs from this CD on the set lists added to my apprehension.
Only Bob tours weeks after the release of an acclaimed CD and refuses to
play a single tune from it! As for the show:
Mark Knopfler was terrific. His band created a world music sound that
complimented Mr. Knopflers voice and terrific guitar playing. We were all
reminded of the unique and quickly recognizable style he has created. Just
a great opening to the evening. I must comment that Mark seemingly is
enjoying life on the road to the fullest. He balances the back end of his
axe on his large, protruding belly with incredible skill!!! More power to
you sir! Live it up. As for The Bard....From the lighting to the costumes,
from the dark piano driven tunes, to the bent knee, jab and cross boxer
stanced dance moves...this was a David Lynch movie soundtrack live.
Chilling, moving, ballsy...amazing. Highlights...Visions Of Johanna took
our breath away. Forgetful Heart went from warm to heartbreaking. Ballad
Of A Thin Man was an echo laden haunted house. Like A Rolling Stone was
reimagined as a riverboat gamblers piano driven boogie. If you are hoping
to hear vocals in the style of Johnny Mathis...stay home. Dylans voice,
ravaged by years of non-stop touring, cigarettes and whiskey, renders some
tunes almost unrecognizable while others become a hushed gravely lament.
It has become a great Rock and Roll tradition now-the 'Name That Tune"
Dylan Concert Game Show. I was correct 80% of the time...Joey was a tough
one. With his Oscar proudly displayed on the piano top, Bob Dylan the
Charlie Chaplin of modern American music gave a performance I will
remember...well at least until Friday night when the wife and I catch him
in Berkeley. Carpe Diem Bob.
Review by Dennis Hengeveld
It certainly had been too long when I walked up to the Bill Graham Civic
Auditorium at 7 AM to get in line. The last show for me, in Asbury Park,
NJ last year seemed a different world. When listening to the recordings of
this tour it seemed a different planet. Something had changed...Bob's lack
of organ playing except for the first song, the introduction of a grand
piano on stage, and an introduction of three mirrors on stage for reasons
yet to be explained. It seemed that a period had ended, and a new one had
I can be short about Mark Knopfler's set...not for me. His songs are fine
when you're sitting at home in your living room but they didn't work for
me Thursday night. Mark left, Bob's guys came on, and the lights went down
at 9.15, a little later than usual. Bob seemed in a good mood, smiling an
awful lot as he set into "Watching the River Flow" and "Long Black Coat".
There was something in the air...the realization that this is not gonna be
the best you've ever had, but still special.
Now a lot has been written about the lack of Tempest songs in the
setlists, and there would be none this night either. While the band busted
into "Cry Awhile" Bob laughed some more, looked at the audience, and
started singing. It almost seemed like a statement to the people with
tempest request signs, to all the criticism that has appeared on the
internet....Now it's their turn just to cry awhile about not getting what
they want. After close to three dozen shows in the past 3 1/2 years I have
learned not to expect anything with Bob...just be happy that you are a
part of it.
Joey was the highlight of the evening, sung clear and crisp, a joy to
listen to...it remains unclear to my why he choose to bring the story back
to life right at this moment in his career....maybe he rediscovered it
while writing "Early Roman Kings". No matter what, for me it was the
highlight of the night.
After a lovely Forgetful night that interestingly enough started on center
stage but was finished on the piano the familiar final songs came...and
once again they were all just as great to listen to. A brief encore break
followed by Blowin' in the Wind and it was all over...a short but
energetic concert sent to the history books.
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