page by Bill Pagel
Review by Bob Keyes
This was a special show, for several reasons. First off, the setting was
magnificent. The newly restored historic Orpheum Theatre with 2,500 seats
provided an intimate setting and a nice change of pace from the fairground
buildings and civic center-type multi-use facilities where most of the
shows on the current tour are routed.
Second, the set list provided a few twists -- "Floater," "Tell Me That It
Isn't True" and "Cat's in the Well" are hardly standard fare.
Third and most important, the band was in fine shape, obviously recharged
from nearly two full days off since the last show and perhaps a little more
relaxed in the Midwest, away from the high-profile hype of the recent run
of California shows. And Bob was Bob -- coy at first, slowly warming to the
enthusiastic crowd and downright giddy by show's close. Bob locked in with
a woman down in front toward the end of the set. She gave him flowers; he
gave her attention, which seemed to lighten the mood on stage and made for
a wonderful, rousing encore. He broke from the usual stare-down that
typically ends the show to press flesh with fans in front -- a nice gesture
perhaps, but more likely an indication that he felt good about what had
As for the music, everything clicked on Tuesday night. The acoustic openers
were taut. "Mama" sounded especially sweet, and the mid-show electric set
rocked. "Down Along the Cove" and "Tell Me That It Isn't True" were personal
highlights, and the quartet of new songs fit in seamlessly. "Honest With Me"
is an instant crowd pleaser, easily filling the slot that "Highway 61"
occupied for the past several years. And "Sugar Baby" sounds better live
than on the CD. For years, Dylan seemed content to brush aside his newer
material, waiting for it to settle in emotionally before playing it out
live. That's not the case with the "Love and Theft" material. A quarter of
the set is all new, and the songs already come across as road tested. That
may account for the recent run of inspired performances.
I've seen Bob in many different bands and in many different moods, starting
in the mid-80s. His recent string of tours has been exceptional. I've
brought many friends to the shows, and none has gone away disappointed for
many years now. Clearly, Dylan is playing as well as he has since his
earliest days on the road with the Hawks/The Band, and most important, he
seems to care again.
That's evident in his singing, which is better than good it's outstanding.
Yes, his voice may be frayed, but he gets more emotion out of his vocals
than most schooled singers. Listen closely to songs like "Sugar Baby" or
"Masters of War." There's no going through the motions. He's just on.
The other day when I told a friend I was taking time off work to see three
nights of shows, he asked about the attraction and why I dedicated so much
time and money to see the same performer night after night. "It's like
having a Picasso in our midst," I told him. "It's a chance to see an artist
at work, creating something different each time out. He's taking risks
every time he takes the stage."
I really believe that's true. For my money, there's no better investment.
See you in LaCrosse.
--- Bob Keyes
Review by Andrew Moraghan
The circus came to the Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City on October 23rd and
Bob Dylan and his band did not disappoint the sold-out crowd. This date
had been highly anticipated for several reasons. First, it was Dylan's
first performance in the midwest following the release of the "Love and
Theft" album on that date last month which will live in infamy for other
reasons. Second, at a capacity of approximately 2,600, this was by far the
smallest venue that Dylan will play during his fall American tour. Third,
the performance was several weeks into the tour, giving Dylan and his band
several weeks to work out the kinks but still early enough in the tour for
Dylan's voice to be in superlative form.
Arriving in town several hours before the performance, one noticed that
the marquee at the Orpheum announced that the show was sold out. Signs of
tighter-than-usual security outside the theatre also were evident. Guards
were posted in the alley leading back to the stage door. Signs
proclaiming that no cameras would be allowed in the theatre were
prominently posted on all of the doors. That warning, however, turned out
to be pretty hollow. Several hours later when the audience filed in for
the performance, there was basically no security in the theatre's lobby.
Those wishing to bring cameras or other electronic devices into the
theatre would not have had any trouble whatsoever.
This reviewer had seats in the third row in the center-left section near
the side aisle. The seats were on top of the theatre's orchestra pit.
Speakers were not stacked on the sides of the stage but rather were
hanging from the ceiling. Many fans from Kansas had come north for the
show. Included amongst the Kansas contingent were Robin and her husband,
Lex, whom this reviewer recalled seeing at Dylan's performance in
Bismarck, North Dakota, last March. Robin has been the one with the
leopard-skin hat. She was adorned in another leopard-skin hat in Sioux
City, albeit a different style. This would be the first of seven
consecutive shows that Robin and Lex intend to see on the current tour.
Dylan's punctuality has been well-documented in reviews on this page and
Tuesday night was no different. No pre-recorded music was played prior to
the performance. Several minutes after 7:30 p.m., Aaron Copeland's
hoe-down music that is featured on the "What's for dinner?" commercial
signaled that the performance was about to get underway. The band all
came out onto the dimly lighted stage and the audience rose to its feet.
Dylan appeared several moments later. He was dressed in a black suit and
red tie. He wore black and while boots. All members of the band wore
suits, except for drummer David Kemper, who had a cowboy hat atop his
The Dylan who appeared on stage on Tuesday was not the Dylan who had
appeared slightly annoyed as he moved into "Roving Gambler" in Bismarck a
year and one-half earlier. This Dylan looked relaxed and extremely
focused as he urged us to "Wait for the Light to Shine." Much of the
audience up front wanted to keep standing as the song continued but
security urged everyone to be seated and, for the time being, everyone
complied. The familiar chords of "Mama, You Been On My Mind" followed and
the audience roared with approval when Dylan strode to the back of the
small stage to get his harmonica for a very rousing closing.
The smallness of the stage was another contrast to the Bismarck
performance, which occurred in a 10,000 seat arena. Whereas in Bismarck
there routinely was ten feet between band members, on this night Dylan and
the other guitarists routinely were just several feet apart. The intimacy
of the stage made for some great interaction between the band and, later
on, the audience as well. Most notable were lead-guitarist Charlie
Sexton's attentive gaze towards Dylan as Sexton anticipated opportunities
for solos throughout the night. Dylan often responded with his
traditional slight, almost imperceptible nod.
As the evening progressed, the highlights included "Down Along the Cove,"
from Dylan's "John Wesley Harding" album, which was performed very true to
the recording. Dylan's first known public performance of "Floater," from
"Love and Theft," which also was extremely true to the recording.
"Floater" shimmered in the Orpheum's intimate setting. Dylan then moved
onto "Tell Me that It Isn't True" from the Nashville Skyline album before
returning to the new album for "High Water." Sexton played an
appropriately restrained solo during the song, which had some in the
audience wishing that Dylan had turned Larry Campbell loose for a solo on
the banjo. Unlike the recorded "High Water," this rendition ended fairly
abruptly after the concluding lyrics and without punctuation from
Dylan then moved into three classics from his catalog, including "Don't
Think Twice, It's All Right," which featured Dylan's final harmonica solo
of the evening, a rousing finish that had Dylan gesturing the change of
tempo and the song's imminent conclusion with his right hand to Kemper as
Dylan continued on the harmonica. "Boots of Spanish Leather" followed.
It was one of just six songs that Dylan performed in Sioux City that also
had been performed in Bismarck a year ago March. This rendition of the
song seemed even more tender.
And as was the case with each of the ballads and most of the up-tempo
numbers, Dylan's articulation and enunciation was stellar. As for lyric
bobbles throughout the night, there may have been one or two but they were
barely noticeable. Dylan's delivery throughout the night was very
confident. Dylan followed with a "Masters of War" that was delivered at
somewhat of a slower tempo than its Bismarck counterpart. The performance
was notable for its conviction and intensity. In addition, rather than
moving to the instrumental conclusion immediately after the lyrics
promising that the death of the master of war would be assured, Dylan
repeated one of the verses.
The final four songs of the opening set ran the gambit of musical styles
and intensities, beginning with a swinging "Summer Days" from the new
album. Dylan sounded good but somewhat lost underneath the guitars, which
perhaps should had their amplification dialed back a bit. Another
highlight followed with Dylan's captivating performance of "Sugar Baby,"
the new album's concluding track. Once again, the delivery was amazingly
true to the recorded version, confirming comments made by Dylan that he is
as happy with the arrangements and vocals on the new album as with any of
the more than 40 studio albums he has released. Despite being a new song,
"Sugar Baby" already has the feel of a Dylan classic. "Cold Irons Bound"
was next and then the opening set was concluded with a rocking version of
"Cat's In the Well" that sent the audience into a frenzy. Dylan
introduced the members of his band near the close of the song and the band
As seems to be Dylan's habit, he became more animated and playful as the
evening progressed. As the evening wore on, Dylan began noticeably
twisting his left boot into the stage. His trademark bends also became
evident, one in particular done with Sexton as they faced each other.
Dylan also displayed his what can only be described as his modified
moonwalk move several times, generally as he moved away from the
microphone between verses.
As the encore set began, the crowd began to rush the stage and several
additional rows of fans crowded between the stage and the first row of
seats. Seeing the resistance was futile, security did not attempt to
prevent the inevitable. One young woman tossed a bouquet of flowers on
stage and they came to rest several feet in front of Dylan, where they
remained for the time being. Returning to the stage, Dylan and his band
moved into the familiar opening chords of what turned out to be a pretty
standard rendition of "Love Sick." A vibrant rendition of "Like A rolling
Stone" followed. The crowd in front of the stage was very animated
throughout the encore set. Some raised their arms above their heads and
twisted them to the music. A man literally repeatedly jumped up and down
in place. A bearded man alternately pointed vigorously to tattoos on his
arm and held up a beaded necklace, all the while shouting out something
indiscernible. The circus was in town, indeed.
Watching Dylan and his band perform through all this frenzied activity was
nothing short of memorizing. The activity got the attention of Dylan and
his band, as well. Dylan began looking frequently in the direction of
the woman who had tossed the flowers. Aware that something was going on,
Sexton also frequently looked in the same direction. The woman was
attempting to shout something towards Dylan and he was nodding in
response. The woman then appeared to attempt to climb onstage, which
resulted in the security guard, who had climbed to higher ground atop the
stage on the side, shaking his head and gesturing his disapproval with his
The final three selections began with "If Dogs Run Free," before a very
driving and well-received rendition of "Honest With Me," which yet again
was very true to the recorded version on the new album. "Blowin' With the
Wind" followed and closed out the show. But the circus had not yet left
town. Dylan again looked over at the woman who had thrown the flowers. He
gestured to himself and then each one of the members of the band, seeking
clarification of whom the flowers had been intended for. Dylan blew the
woman a strong kiss. He then picked up the bouquet and strode towards the
audience. He shook hands with the woman and the before-mentioned Robin,
and then proceeded down the entire length of the front row of fans,
touching hands all the way until ending with a very animated final hand
slap at the other end of the stage.
It was a very special evening, indeed. As others have commented, those in
a position to see Dylan and his band on the current tour should do
whatever is required to take in a show. In a recent interview, George
Harrison was asked what he thought about Dylan receiving an academy award
for the song "Things Have Changed." Harrison reply was that he thought it
was great and that, in his opinion, Dylan should receive every academy
award, every Tony award and every Grammy Award. Harrison added that, in
500 years, Dylan will be the only popular artist of his era who will be
getting any attention. As Dylan's son, Jacob, said, we are all lucky to
be living at the same time as this musical genius. By all means everyone,
go out and get a ticket to ride while you still can. If you see them
(Robin and Lex), say hello.
Review by Carl Martin
I get so excited when I've got the ticket to my next Bob show in hand and
have to wait for the big day to arrive. With the new album out the
suspense nearly killed me.
I arrived early enough to tour the Orpheum and was quite impressed with
the recent facelift (amazing what $9.3 million will do for a small
theatre). Before show soundtrack was some theme song to an old TV
western, I believe. Things started out great with 'Waiting for the Light
to shine', something I wasn't familiar with but very easy to pick up on,
Bob in fine voice from the start.
Fast forward to 5th song...electric set starts with those distinctive
notes of Down Along the Cove, which I had been listening to on my drive to
the show (JWH version & a '99 Eugene, OR performance), hoping for but
never really expecting. This topped the Eugene version with a nice little
jam (Charlie in the lead I think) near the end. Not sure this song has
the lyrical gravity of some of Bob's work but it's just a damn sweet tune.
'Floater' followed, the first of five off the new album. I'd read some
west coast reviews saying the stuff off L&T was near dead-on the album
version at those shows. Too bad, since we were treated with some nice
modifications, extra jams inserted, etc. I was anxious to hear how he'd
handle the humorous lines in the new songs when he performed them live.
For the most part he gave them terse, serious delivery. But they're so
well written and Bob will no doubt continue to redo them with new life
again & again. High Water was similarly revved up, Larry's banjo
definitely adding to the mix.
Summer Days & Sugar Baby were back to back with Tony on standup bass.
Great songs and Tony adds so much 'cool' to the look & sound of the band.
Cold Irons Bound was good but didn't have the powerful treatment I saw in
Topeka 4-21-01. Cat's in the Well was smokin' but I don't think much of
the crowd knew what to think of it, didn't seem to be familiar with it.
Pretty much standard / to be expected encore (nice to have 'Honest with
Me' in there) but well done.
This was another excellent show. The crowd was a reserved, in my opinion,
maybe due to the regal setting. There was mostly sitting through the
whole first set and there were plenty of reasons for the crowd to have
gotten to their feet earlier. Some of the song selections may have had
relevence to something somber (..Hard Rain, ..Soldier's Grave, High Water,
Masters of War...) but I won't dwell on that. Just that I was amazed how
spirited Bob was at the end. No long pause with band & the deep bows,
etc. that I've seen so often but instead Bob blowing kisses, grinning,
(winking?), picking up roses and shaking hands & high fiving all across
the stage before his exit. WOW!! He was into this show more than the
I've been trying to catch every show in the midwest for the past few
years. Who would have guessed that would involve so many? It's been a
great string of shows & we should appreciate Bob's willingness to play
some out of the way spots. Here's hoping Bob comes back for more next
Review by Scott and Lisa Bauer
With near perfect acoustics, an attentive, appreciative crowd, and a
high-fiving Bob Dylan, Tuesday’s concert at Sioux City’s recently restored
Orpheum Theatre was full of Love, and Theft.
The atmosphere outside the downtown theatre harkened back to Dylan’s
Rolling Thunder days, with a lit-up marquee proclaiming the show was
``SOLD OUT,’’ tour buses parked just outside the side entrances and ticket
holders milling about taking their last cigarette draws before the
Like a vaudeville act that could have played the 74-year-old theatre
in its heyday, Dylan and band weaved their way through a menagerie of musical
styles, including folk, bluegrass, country, blues, swing and good ‘ole
rock ‘n’ roll.
The most chilling moments were when Bob quieted things down to a near
whisper for ``Mama, You Been on My Mind,’’ ``Boots of Spanish Leather’’
and most impressively ``Sugar Baby.’’
The crowd responded, hanging on his every word and even shushing those
who made the slightest noise. For most of the show audience members
remained seated, more out of reverence than lack of enthusiasm.
The acoustics allowed for every guitar note, every brush of the drums
and every syllable to fill the space within the 2,500-seat theatre. The
music seemed to embed itself in every crevice, weave its way into the
carpet and walls, and soak into the bones of each audience member, making
them a part of the musical canvas.
The show was almost as noteworthy for what was not played as for what
was. There was no ``Rainy Day Women,’’ ``Tangled Up in Blue,’’ ``Things
Have Changed,’’ ``Highway 61,’’ ``Leopard-skin Pill-box Hat,’’ or ``All
Along the Watchtower.’’
While those omissions may have upset those who stopped following Bob in
1966 and listen solely to his greatest hits album, it was a joy to the
more knowledgeable fans who responded with glee to the five songs played
from ``Love and Theft.’’
For its live debut, ``Floater’’ was mesmerizing. Charlie Sexton handled
the fiddle part on his guitar, Dylan nailed the lyrics, and the audience
responded with rapt attention and applause. After making it through the
song, Dylan turned his back to the crowd and had a few laughs with guitarist
Larry Campbell and a couple roadies – perhaps relieved he made it all the
way without a gaff.
Dylan’s forceful singing of ``High Water,’’ his admitted favorite tune
from the new album, again elicited applause at the end of each line. Larry
showed his versatility, handling the banjo admirably, if not a little
drowned out by the other instruments.
Dylan let Sexton cut loose on ``Summer Days,’’ only to be out-rocked
late in the show by ``Honest With Me,’’ which even rattled the eardrums of
ear-plug wearing senior citizens in the last row of the balcony.
Even with those highlights, nothing was more beautiful than Dylan’s
plaintive rendition of ``Sugar Baby.’’ It stands as another example of a
song that when heard on the studio album appears near perfect, until Dylan
does it live.
Dylan enunciated every word, the crowd applauded at lines about love,
women and pain, and the band wrapped itself around the lyrics, allowing
them to breathe on their own while at the same time being inexorably tied
to the music.
After closing out the 20-song set with ``Blowin’ in the Wind,’’ Dylan
and crew assembled at the edge of the stage for their obligatory stand and
stare at the audience routine. Only this time something unusual happened.
Someone at stage right had caught Dylan’s attention late in the show.
He pointed and smiled in that direction repeatedly, before he actually
approached the person, leaned over and picked up a bouquet of yellow
But he wasn’t done. He then proceeded to make his way along the stage
from right to left, bending over to high-five audience members, smiling
all the while. The band members, perhaps in shock, stood back and laughed
almost as heartedly as they did when he accepted his Oscar.
At one point Dylan was so emphatic in his hand slapping, it looked like
he might dive into the audience for a little crowd surfing. But, alas, he
pulled back, and made his way off the stage, leaving behind plenty of
Review by Amanda Smith
I approached Dylan's Orpheum concert with mixed emotions, having
received a phone call two days before that would necessitate my driving
800 miles after to attend the funeral of a friend. I had to leave after
an hour of the concert to catch my ride. I had last seen Dylan @ the
Illinois State Fair in August, and my memories of that night were of a Bob
Dylan who seemed younger than his years and rocked. With all I had going
through my mind I didn't know how I felt about seeing a get down on it
Dylan took the stage dressed in his ubiquitous black & started with
the Light to Shine. Gone was the lithe young man laying down rocking
quitar riffs. In his place stood a sinewy itinerant preacher with a
fiery message of courage, patience and hope. I thought for a moment I had
inadvertently found my way into a tent revival meeting, and that I was
standing under the spout where the glory comes out!
A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall has had the ring of prophecy since 9-11 and I had
dearly wanted to hear it. When he began, it felt like a gift. A thrill
hit the nerve @ the base of my neck and proceded up and down my spine
through the course of the song. SPOOKY that a young man could have
written those words in th '60s. Spookier still to hear the old man's
rendition of it.
Floaters feels like an old friend already. Sweet, sweet with it's
quirky lyrics and vaudville sound. I love the line about Romeo and
Juliet . No matter how many times I listen to that song I always laugh
out loud when he sings about being in love with his second cousin. Say it
Isn't So sounds s-o-o-o much better than it did on Nashville Skyline.
Perhaps his voice has grown into those old songs. Searching for a
Soldiers Grave was rock solid with a tight vocal harmony that did a number
on my nerves in just the right way.
The mind blower of the night for me was Don't Think Twice. I have
always liked the song, but never connected to it as strongly before.
The quitar harmony hit me in my breast, felt like fire and filled me
with joy. Dylan was magic! His fingers on the quitar the sound of his
voice were almost excruciating, lifting me for a few moments past present
pain & thoughts of what lay ahead. I wanted to stay in that place.
I looked @ my watch & realized the next song would have to be my last for
this concert. Boots of Spanish Leather with it's theme of voyage, lost
love & longing touched a part of my experience. Dylan delivered the song
with a feeling of haunting poignancy that gave voice to my own. Making my
way to my car through a haze of tears I remembered asking myself last
August how Dylan could deliver a better performance and how I could
survive it if he did. He did. I have. The realization brought a smile.
Review by George Dugger
Sioux City revue: Absolutely long, relatively self-indulgent, with
modest mature content (hunting bare)
Disclaimer: I have this friend - - named I - - hence the story of I.
How I Spent My (Indian) Summer Vacation
I hadn't driven 300+ miles one way to a Dylan concert since my first - St.
Louis 1974 with the Band - in the middle of the gas crisis, filling up my
1966 VW bug at the interstate truck stop, the only place open in the
middle of the night on the way back. I was young and foolish then. Now, I
am no longer young. And there has been a lot of water under the bridge -
a lot of other stuff too.
This time the origin point was the same, Lawrence, KS. but the
destination was Sioux City, Iowa or Siouxland as they say. I had a
miserable cold compounded by allergies and was hoping that this trip
would not be something to be endured but enjoyed. Most of the trip up was
foggy so I let a little sunshine in via The Best of Van Morrison followed
up by something recorded in the year that Bob first landed in NYC - The
Great Summit: Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington then on to an excellent Tom
Waits bootleg from a 1979 Australian radio concert. The eclectic mix
seemed to fit the road trip perfectly though maybe it was just my mental
fog from the prescription allergy medicine and the over the counter cold
Got to Sioux City in time to take a quick tour of the local art museum
which architecture over-promised its contents. Inside I asked a local
Siouxlander if it would be safe to walk to and from the concert from my
hotel. I guess being post 9/11/01, she gave me a rather noncommittal
answer. I walked on to locate the venue and in the process spotted two of
the black tour busses parked just north across the street from the
restored Orpheum theatre which external architecture belied its opulent
internal French renaissance decor. While waiting across the street from
the Orpheum entrance I saw someone looking a lot like Al ("Ladies and
Gentleman, would you please welcome . . ." ) Santos cross the street and
go into the building behind me - turns out it was a public library -
reminded me of Bob's cryptic comments on a bootleg about supporting your
About the same time a third tour bus pulled up immediately north of the
theatre. After about 5 minutes Larry Campbell gets out and walks by
himself eastward to the alley behind the theatre apparently arriving for
soundcheck. I waited a while then decided to walk by the bus before
heading back to the hotel for some rest before the concert. I went past
the bus and saw a single security person by the alley. At that point I had
to cross the street to the north due to construction and became aware of a
presence to my right just as I started crossing the street. It was Charlie
Sexton though at first I wasn't sure as his hair was not as slicked down
as it is during performances. Neither of them carried any instruments. I
didn't say anything or try to take their picture and as I had enough
stalking for the day (I'm trying to get a life, Bob) I walked on back to
the hotel though there were probably other tour personnel on the bus.
I rested but not comfortably at the hotel having this waking nightmare
about falling asleep and missing the concert. Also still concerned about
venue security as I wanted to take some nonflash photos and still vividly
remembered that close encounter of the film confiscating kind last year at
Sandstone. Getting in to the venue with the camera turned out not to be
a problem even though my binoculars were kind of bulging in one of the
front pockets of my vest - my theory being that noticing them might
distract from noticing the better hidden camera. I also asked about
location of the bathrooms as they were taking the ticket as a further
distraction but I think both steps were unnecessary. Security seemed to be
much more focused on what you did with whatever it was you got in.
As a professional reviewer said of a recent California concert, most
everybody was either 22 or 52 though I saw one circa 72 couple (he was
fully suited) about 8 rows back stage left. My seat location was my
personal best -even better than anticipated from the seating chart which
interestingly was never posted on ticketmaster- third row lucky 11 seats
left of center which meant only about 25 feet from Bob as this was a small
venue with a correspondingly small stage. If Winston Watson were still
playing drums I would have had to dodge drumstick fragments and flying
sweat. My location in fact was almost too good - on the aisle literally
about 6 feet from the security guard stationed next to the stage right
stairs. Coincidentally the people immediately in front of me were also
from Lawrence and were driving back that night and going to work the next
day (see young and foolish above). I expressed my concern with the other
Lawrence folks about whether a sit down policy would be in effect and the
prospects of taking photos.
The venue was an architectural and acoustic delight. Interestingly the
bottom sections of the speaker stacks were facing away from the audience
presumably to keep sound levels tolerable in this small theatre. The
theatre has a web cam that I assume was not turned on that night. Here's a
couple of theatre links: http://www.siouxcityorpheum.com/ and
Soon enough the classical music stopped and the incense was lit. Also soon
enough we learned that the Taliban like policy of no standing was indeed
in effect. While my short-term memory is long gone, my recollection is
that even before the now customary opener was concluded we were being
directed to sit down. The only positive side effect of this policy is that
combined with the stress of stealth photography and feeling somewhat
spacey from the allergy/cold medicines led to a certain emotional
detachment so even though I was probably in the closest physical proximity
of Dylan that I will ever be, I was in no danger of Stendhal's syndrome.
The house lights remained higher than what I have experienced at recent
Dylan concerts which perhaps is a new security wrinkle. There certainly
was a surfeit of formally attired ushers and red tee shirt clad security,
which certainly complicated photo taking. I have never seen more people
attempt to take flash photos and get caught. One unfortunate soul was at
least 25 rows away from security and still got caught. I was not sure even
steganographic technique would work tonight. I was resigned to waiting at
least until the encore to try when the security staff left his post for
what would hopefully be at least a few minutes. I snapped two quick shots
while still sitting without raising the camera above my shoulders -
probably got a great shot of the back of the heads of the people in row s
1 and 2.
Not long into the concert someone went right up to the security staff by
me carrying what at first looked like a Federal express letter packet - I
thought he was trying to make a delivery and immediately thought of
anthrax. It apparently was an album that he wanted to get autographed
right then and there. When security said no way he then wanted to leave
the album with the guard who said no again. The person left without
Meanwhile the incredible concert visuals possible from being that close
were driving me crazy not daring to try to take photos. The footlight
effect previously used in some concerts I attended was great and there
were a couple of other lighting effects I had not seen before. .Bob was
nattily dressed in one of his black on black outfits looking at times like
a bushy haired Walter Cronkite. Being as close as I was, I rarely used my
binoculars but noticed a couple of things when I did. Bob's black and
white acoustic guitar strap was heavily carved leather. His fingernails
were clean and not of Howard Hughes length. His traditional red tie had a
pattern that I could not make out. I also could see but could not make out
what the writing was on the inside of his acoustic guitar - I guess that
would make the ultimate Dylan trivia question.
The sound quality in the theatre was excellent though Larry's banjo in
Highwater was mixed way too low and the overall volume could have been a
little louder for my taste. I don't remember any particular lyric fumbles
but did detect a few out of place sounding guitar notes in one number. The
setlist was incredible what with the L&T numbers including the live debut
of Floater, several other numbers that I hadn't heard live before and the
three part harmony songs. Though Cat in the Well really rocked I had hoped
for Wicked Messenger which was incredible at Sedalia. Cold Irons Bound
didn't do much for me this time and If Dogs Run Free in the middle of the
encore decreased the energy level too much for me.
As people were finally allowed to remain standing during the encore and as
a number of people filled the area between the stage and the seats a
little cover was created for photography. Additionally the security staff
had retreated a few feet up the stage stairs though an usher joined him so
now there were two people scanning the crowd in close proximity to me.
Aiding my cause by drawing their focus was a stereotypic deadhead who had
some kind of necklace with charms attached that he was waving at the band
- couldn't tell if he wanted to give it to somebody or what. Anyway he was
becoming quite distraught and beating his chest with his one free hand.
Security kept eyeing him and after he had set the necklace down on one of
the speakers one of the road crew had security make him remove it. Later
after the show I saw him over by the two remaining tour busses still with
About the same time a young lady pushed her way to the stage to toss a
small bouquet of flowers. I thought that she threw them too soon as I
expected another couple of songs. About this time I noticed another young
blonde woman about age 22 with a white-cropped top and low-rise bottoms on
the rail near where the flowers had landed. This particular dear had a
near trophy rack and a tailbone area tattoo, which would probably be
painfully removed in a decade or so.
After the encore formation, when Bob surprised everyone by approaching the
rail stage right to pick up the flowers it was obvious by his eyebrow
acting that Bob had noticed the blonde also. His attention was not
directed toward the flower thrower as reported by others.
He then proceeded stage right to stage left giving a low five to the
front row's high fives. You could then see him virtually complete a
circumnavigation of the stage either stumbling slightly or briefly dancing
a jig when crossing behind the stage just before donning his hat. He then
approached the front stage right area again giving an encore eyebrow
acting performance directed toward the lady in question who I do not think
was either his aunt or his second cousin.
I know that Bob is a man of many interests including mathematics and
architecture and maybe even physics and may have been seeking after
concert conversation about flying buttresses or the latent heat of
fusion - though more likely demonstrations of such. Bob was not yet
standing stark naked but I think he was clearly hunting bare.
The woman was later seen walking alone in the alley behind the theatre
heading towards the tour busses. Reflecting on this episode and knowing
full well that Dylan's private life is none of my business and that I am
in no position to judge others I still experienced a wave of
disappointment demonstrating that in some respects I was perhaps still as
naïve as the guy earlier seeking to get his album autographed during the
concert. If this episode had not been played out in public view I wouldn't
have included it.
Driving home back to Kansas the next morning the concert afterglow soon
briefly became a Maslowian peak experience with the Loess Hills on the
left, linear strings of blazing yellow cottonwoods hard on the right their
leaves being pasted against the car by the stiff westerly wind, the sun
low ahead between puffy white clouds backed by a brilliant blue late
autumn sky providing that certain comforting radiant heat through the
windshield with Visions of Johanna from the 1996 I've Got a Song to Sing
bootleg on the CD player. Either that or my meds were out of balance
The experienced faded soon enough, I's presence had become obnoxious to me
and this whole scribbling exercise had become tiresome. Throwing I
overboard at the borderline, now I-less in Kansas, I end.
I and I
"There's no excess like stricture and stricture is no excess at all."
Review by Penny Gabel
This was only my second Dylan concert, but won't be my last! Three
generations of my family drove down from Sioux Falls,SD Tuesday night. My
sister and I from the babyboom generation, our 79 year old father, and a
niece and nephew in their twenties. We all left amazed and gratified to
have seen and heard this genius of a man. How lucky we are to still have
him here singing and weaving his musical magic. When I smelled the pungent
incense, I knew he would soon be on stage to transport us. We were in the
8th row and had a fantastic personal view. His band is simply on!! Every
one of them is an artist in the truest sense. The highlights for me:
Don't think Twice-the guitars were so sweet and harmonious, and the words
so aching that I held back tears. Then Hard Rain, so pertinent and
timely. Floater was a gift, and a thrill because it was the debut of this
song. I love the phrase about Romeo and Juliet. Made my nephew and I look
at each other and laugh. We wondered on the ride down if he ever did
"Boots of Spanish Leather" live. What a gift when he began playing it. It
was so poignant. Thanks Bob! High Water rocked! At one point during a
blistering guitar riff, I glanced over at my 79 year old Dad to see his
reaction, but he was lost in rocking to the music!!! A memory I will
always have. I didn't think it was possible, but this song topped the CD
version. It was biting and driving. The band was "on". I loved Dylan's
attitude when he sang "I told her I didn't really care---High water
everywhere." Another moment my nephew and I looked at each other and
smiled. Summer Days is just a great dance song. "What do you mean you
can't repeat the past, of course you can."!! Then Sugar Baby. With blue
lit background, this song exudes a melancholy, bittersweet mood that just
pulls you in and mesmerizes you with it's beauty. Honest with Me-better
than the CD again. Didn't think it possible. At that point, I stood and
continued standing,though I had wanted to stand and dance through the
whole thing. I will see Bob Dylan anytime and anywhere I have a chance.
Not only is he a living genius, he is an outstanding musician and
entertainer,as well as a voice in the wilderness of mindless contemporary
music. Bob, may your song always be sung, and may you stay "Forever
Young". Penny Gabel
page by Bill Pagel
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