page by Bill Pagel
Review by Bill Sigmon
Let me just say how glad I am that until now, I have not checked in on
Bill's site since early September. I saw Bob last in Dallas earlier this
year, and it was a wonderful sort of "rockin' oh brother where art though
sorta thing" I called it. I was in the front row there, and it was as
always for Bob, a new arrangement.
What I saw tonight was perhaps the wildest Bob re-invention, since his
"born again" era. First off, every song seemed re-worked, not to mention
opening with 2 songs in a row from Empire???? I mean I knew it was going
to be amazing. Mind you our hero came out on the piano, again a first; I'm
not exactly a newbie either; this was my 33rd show in 23 years, my first
being when I was 15. The Empire songs were pretty much as is, but I think
I was one of about 10 in the arena that knew Seeing you the real you at
last; an odd opener it seemed, but made me pretty happy; always love I'll
Remember you which followed; less sanctimonious than it's been in the past
too, which I'm glad about. Then started the guessing game; Bob's proven
that his words endear, because it took me a few words to get the next song
was Tombstone Blues; all the re-working have a great rhythm; must make it
fun again; imagine how boring it must be to play another freakin' same old
same old Watchtower for instance.... Anyway, I happen to be one of the
worlds' biggest Warren Zevon fans, and had no idea Bob's been playing
them; in fact, I'm going Wednesday in Tucson (4th row for that, lucky me),
and will kill and can't wait for a "mutineer" or "lawyers..." which I've
seen he's been doing; sure would love a Mohammad's Radio, which he did a
few times back in '85 with the Dead tour. Anyway, I knew Accidentally like
a martyr from the first strum, and was in awe; they botched it pretty
good, but the thought was sure there; what a tribute to Warren; I'd never
heard Bob play a song before anyone living I think until this; I'm so
happy for Warren that he gets to hear undoubtedly one of his biggest
mentor's play his songs, which are beautiful, and worthy for Mr.D. to be
singing them.. Watching the River Flow is frankly a sleeper for me
often... Not now, new version, new spice new life... Next, from the first
strum again, I couldn't believe it... Wow, to hear him say "how come you
taste so good". How amazing!!! Way to go bob; yep it was Brown Sugar. Just
like a woman was a version a bit modified yet again, and was great; his
voice was very clean for it, as it should be. Next up, another at times
sleeper, though the words I love no matter how many times I hear it, it's
alright ma; it took me half way through to know what it was; this was an
incredible new version, great beat, just something you have to hear to
believe. I've always love Shooting Star, and it was great; the newest song
of the night; you know I love the new songs, but it was nice to not hear
them for a change.... Now, the next song was Drifter's escape, and I have
to admit, other than sparse listening on JWH, and a few times live similar
to it, I don't know the song too well, so didn't even know what it was til
I saw a friend after the show who brought it up; I literally thought Bob
was covering an obscure JIMI Hendrix song; bob's lead on this was
astonishing; I mean it, he blistered; I think Jimi used to play this song,
and I wonder if he isn't homaging Jimi on this, since he's revamped
Watchtower so much, you barely know what it is til you hear the words and
a few of the familiar rhythm parts a minute into it... Anyway, after
Drifters, came the greatest version of masters of war I've ever heard;
he's transformed this song from a rant to a chant; a melodic harmonious
plea to do what it right and just; so relevant today; moreso than when it
was written.... Next up, again, obvious from the first strum, Neil Young's
Old Man; I was flabbergasted again. And my oh my, whoda thunk Bobby could
imitate Neil so well; it was wonderful. Again, what a nice tribute to a
fan, who undoubtedly has a giant smile on his face eternal since he first
heard Bob playing one of his songs.... Summer Days was next, again for me
at times a sleeper over the years, but guess what? Not any more; in fact,
this was the fastest loudest longest song of the evening I believe; bob
took a few leads too; just great. They left and came back to varied
familiar versions of Rolling Stone, Blowin in the wind, and then did a
very different version of Watchtower, as mentioned earlier. Seats were
only $10 with fair admission, and it was almost full; maybe 12,000 there.
Many amazed and surprised at what this 60+ year old still can do. In
short, he's not the Bob of old, he's the Bob of new, and I can't wait til
Wednesday!!!! Cheers and well wishes to all, and to all a good night!!!
-Bill Sigmon Greenbill@qwest.net
Review by Keith Little
I almost didn't make it to this show. When it was announced, I was having
trouble catching my breath, and was diagnosed as suffering from stress. I
actually feared worse, having smoked off and on for 30 years. Seeing Bob
in concert seemed unimportant to me for the first time in my life! That's
when I KNEW something was wrong, and I began suspecting my mental "wiring"
WAS shorting out! (stressed).
Then, about a week ago, I realized if Bob brought a ten-dollar-concert to
my town and I didn't go, I'd have a hard time living with myself! What's
more, I was afraid my friend, Bill Pagel, would never speak to me again,
and I would definitely die of stress!
So off to Ticketmaster I went (why is it that they multiply ten dollars
times four, and it results in $56, or so? - at least I wasn't surprised;
I've visited them before!). By the time I looked for tickets, they had
been on sale for weeks.
The only reserved sections available were directly on either side of the
stage. We wanted to take the kids, and I was afraid we'd being showing
them what Bob Dylan's SPEAKERS looked like. But they were actually good
seats; the speakers were suspended overhead.
So... We loaded up the truck (mini-van) and we moved (drove) to Bev-er-ly
(Arizona State Fair, that is ... lots of fools ... music stars...) Yup,
Ma and I took the young 'uns. Dustin is almost 11 and Hannah just turned
7. They like N'Sync and Arron Carter, but they put up with Old Dad's "Old
Favorite Singer." My wife, Margaret, told me that Hannah asked her after
the 3rd song, "Is it over yet?" (they were under strict orders not to
speak to Dad, the "crazy concert taper," unless a meteor was about to
crash right into one of them). I've gently tried to explain to them that
no one will remember who N'Sync was 40 years from now, and therefore Dylan
is more important (= better). They nodded politely. I figure I have a
year or two before they reply "whatever;" to me; and a couple years after
that before they use OTHER words.
On to the concert... it was a relatively short set. A friend had told me
that "fair concerts" (here) were often short (I'd never been to one). I
noticed on "Bob Links," that one other show this month was at a
"fairgrounds" (I assume during a Fair?), and THEY got the full 21 song
I got to the souvenir stand in time to pick up a poster. I was also glad
to see a "program" availble (for a change). I also HAD to buy a "DEPUTY
MARSHALL Bob Dylan Fan Club" metal badge!!!!!!!! There were two types
available, but I found a tiny, dusty, shred of unused common sense at the
very back of my brain; and only bought one. I'm trying to imagine Bob
sitting at home, designing the Deputy Marshall badges.... (could he
POSSIBLY know they are selling such things with his name on them?!!!)
The only bigger idiot than the person who thought those up would be the
idiot who bought ... oh, never mind ... let's get back to the concert...
I was surprised at the stage set-up. It looked like lots of floor space
was available, but from our angle it appeared that a person wouldn't be
able to walk in between Bob's keyboard and the peddle steel guitar. I
swear the four players (not counting the drummer) were crowded into a 10
by 10 foot space! It may have been a binocular "telephoto optical
I could "almost" read the set list laying on the on-stage mixing board.
The "Drifter's Escape" spot apparently was an "undecided" slot, as three
titles were listed; separated by slashes ("Drifter" was listed last). By
the time I noticed it, the song had already been performed, so the other 2
songs were crossed out, and illegible through our binoculars. I could see
that the encore was supposed to be "...Heaven's Door" & "...Watchtower".
When Bob and the boys came back on stage, it LOOKED like the sound man
called Bob over for a short consultation. And then, of course, the encore
turned into "Rolling Stone", "Blowin' in the Wind" & "Watchtower". Maybe
the Bob/soundman consultation was NOT about the song change, because I
noticed the soundman didn't change HIS set list until AFTER the songs had
I was happy with the songs we heard. The whole show was great, despite
it's brevity. I was disappointed at the "missing" "Lawyers, Guns &
Money," but "...Martyr" was great (I've always loved Warren and
appreciated Bob's salute to him. I wonder what Warren thinks about it?).
I'm glad he gave us the other (Stones/Neil) covers. Expect the unexpected
from Dylan, right? The crowd loved 'em. I wonder if anyone heard him
sing, "Brown Sugar, How come you dance so good?," and said, "I didn't know
he wrote that!!" I'm imagine a larger percentage said that about "Old
I had no complaints about our seats; most other people must have also
assumed they would be "speaker abscured," and therefore, avoided them.
And the accoustics were not horrible, as I had remembered them. The
Colliseum has been replaced in town by so many other venues, that I
PROBABLY haven't been in it since seeing the Dylan / Tom Petty tour in
'86. There are several other, newer, venues available for concerts (large
and small), around town these days. The Suns basketball team play
downtown at the newer America West Arena. I THINK the Colliseum is still
used by a hockey team (I'm not a sports fan). And it IS used each year
for "state fair concerts," but that's about it as far as I know. I was
worried that it would be a complete dump, but it was okay!
Bob and his band sounded great. The crowd loved him. He looked great for
(dare I say it?) ... his age; no, DESPITE his age... it sounds bad no
matter how I phrase it. I should just say he looked great. Still, there
WAS a day when I couldn't imagine Dylan at 60. I still can't imagine that
he's OVER that age now. He just doesn't seem like it.
(I'm just glad I'M not getting older.)
Review by Jake
Here are some rough approximations of my intepretations of the Phoenix show
I'll rate each tune with a ***** system: ***** = classic performance;
* = dregs of rock history (---note, there were no * performances on this night!).
1. *** Seeing The Real You At Last (Bob on piano)
Not my favorite Dylan tune by any strech, and in fact I have been looking
at the online set-lists at this site for awhile and have been disappointed that
the old bluegrass standards have been abandonded as the intro---that was
something that I had enjoyed immensely---as it was this night, this kinda did
rock, but in a vague way...It was my first time to see Dylan at the 'lectric
piano and that was good, but the overall effect was one of: ---"what's this?
it's kind of exciting!--let's see what happens now"---which was:
2. ****1/2 I'll Remember You (Bob on piano)
As throughout this review, I have my personal biases, but this was an unexpected
delight, and it was performed very delightfully, complete with lyric changes and
an end-of-the-tune reversion back to the concluding bridge--which BD pulled off
masterfully. I was left with a very good taste in my mouth aftet this song, a
taste which would only get better....
3 ***1/2 Tombstone Blues (Bob on piano)
Solid performance, nothing unexpected if you were paying attention to the
setlist (which I had been---so probably shame on those of you who are still
waiting for BD to come to your town soon---you should let the man do his thing
"spontaneously"). This was better than ok by traditional BD standards....
4 ** Accidentally Like A Martyr (song by Warren Zevon) (Bob on piano)
This was the lowpoint of the evening...even the hardcore fans in my section
were unimpressed. It didn't completely suck, but one was left with a feeling
of "what the hell was that?"---it was OK, but not much more than that
(---and in fact, as an aside, I rather liked the lyrics, but all-told the
construction of the song didn't seem to be worth the attention that has been
forcibly laid upon it by the BD-Band rendition....interesting, but what else
can you show me? (--...and by the previous set lists (Lawyers, guns et al,
Mutineer, et al, quite a bit, apparently))...a good time to re-fill your pint,
if you ask me....
5 *** Watching The River Flow (Bob on piano)
If you haven't yet seen the master make hash of the electric piano, you must
do so...this was quite a jam, and it was, well, funny how BD can bang on the
keys to wonderous effect.... The singing here was not pristine, but a good
6 ***** Brown Sugar
I have to confess that I listened to a bootlegged mp3 of this before I
actually saw it live, which was a HUGE mistake---this song ROCKED, and this
performance alone was worth the trouble of making my way to Phoenix. I guess
BD figures that if the fucking stones can still play this song, their elder
statesman can do at least as well---(and from the performance this night, at
least twice as good---- Mick J, eat your 18 year-old-model's heart out!)
7 ***** Just Like A Woman (Bob on harp)
I have to confess that my girlfriend has always despised this song for
what she says is its misogynistic message. What-the-hell-ever!---even SHE
recognizes that BD sings the hell out of it, and the harmonica solo at the end
was the best I have ever seen in 7 shows over the last 7 years. In fact, who
bootlegged this performance?! 'cause I NEED to hear this again!!! Absolutely
8 ***1/2 It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (acoustic) (Bob on piano)
Very interesting, and always good to hear. However, one of BD's greatest
guitar riffs is obscured in the piano arrangement here. It didn't help that in
this performance the piano mic had been turned off, and it took some effort at
the end of the first extended verse to even know what song this was....
9 ***** Shooting Star
The best song of the night, absolutely sublime. I can't even express how
beautifully done this was, so I won't even try. THIS was completely fantastic!!!
I was weak in the knees, and I would like to see it done like this again!
10 ** Drifter's Escape (Bob on harp)
By-now-traditional rendition of this classic. I must be biased because I
like the original so much that this Hendricks-ized version seems little more
than a bastardization.... And it would have gotten a ***-vote except that the
harmonica solo was complete shite... sorry true believers, but BD can fail
sometimes on this score! (but especially after delivering such a stupendous
effort earlier!!---see #7 above!)
11 ***** Masters Of War (acoustic)
Forget your own personal political stance on the current geo-political scene,
and forget about the fact that BD has recently confessed that he has "never
been a pacifist", this song was true and powerful---Whether you think of the
burial of Ariel Sharon or Yasser Arafat in the waning stanzas doesn't matter
---we're all going under eventually, and so much the better for those of us
who deserve it the most...the crowd loved this performance and so did I.
12 ***** Old Man (acoustic) (Song by Neil Young)
Amazing! I expected this and still couldn't believe how good it was live.
Another crowd favorite tonight.
13 ***** Summer Days
This rocked, and the only disparaging thing that can be said was that when
it was played it was obviously cutting the show 3-4 songs short. When I
realized that this was going to be the case I was disappointed, but the song
itself was played very well indeed.
14 **** Like A Rolling Stone
15 **** Blowin' In The Wind (acoustic)
16 **** All Along The Watchtower
All the encore songs were basically what the regular crowd would expect to
hear by now: the classics done very tastefully. BD was in good voice tonight
and articulated the right moments in the right ways, and I think he was
received pretty well by a diverse audience. My only complaint was that this
show was cut a bit short (--was it the $10 cover??)---but otherwise, BD and
band are in great form, and I look forward to tomorrow's show in Tucson!
Long live the REAL king!!!
page by Bill Pagel
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