Sunday, November 08, 2009
Saw Bob Dylan last night for the one hundreth and twenty-something time. I've been a little off the Bobster the past 5 years or so, not taking to his cowboy band. Things have changed. Charlie's back in the fold. That alone is worth a look-see.
I had low expectations and demands. Wanted to get the recently revived Gonna Change My Way of Thinking in the opening slot, followed by something strong like Shooting Star. As long as it wasn't Lay Lady Lay. Hoping for as many of the new songs just to knock them off my list but especially the wonderful Forgetful Heart. And Bob on guitar for a handful of songs. One more thing, not too many songs from the horrific Modern Times.
And what did I get?
None of the above.
Cat's opened and the dreaded Lay Lady Lay was Bob's ONLY guitar song. Had to wait for the well-entrenched Jolene in the encore to get a personal debut. 4 MT songs snuck in.
Strange thing though, I totally enjoyed the show. Perhaps that's what happens when you only see one a year. I suspect there is more to it though as this year's model is much more audience-friendly both in deportment and sound.
The changes in the show that make it the best I've seen since Freddy Koella left the band were obvious and subtle.
Charlie is a guitar god. He fills space and wastes no opportunity to inject himself into a song, something sorely lacking the past few years.
Chaplinesque Bob is back. At least he's out from behind the keyboards for a handful of tunes. Only once on the guitar tonight but the three 'stage front, harmonica' songs were terrific. Cold Irons Bound has to be seen to be believed. Ballad of A Thin Man gets a more theatric outing. Hollis Brown was riveting.
The upsinging is gone.
Bob's diction is in fall-mode, which is to say...playful and interesting.
A testament to how good this show was is that Lay Lady Lay was enjoyable and both LARS and Watchtower had me paying attention for the first time in a long time.
The inclusion of Million Miles and Every Grain of Sand (my wife's all-time favourite Dylan tune) didn't suck either.
As for the 4 MT songs I liked what Charlie does at the front of Thunder on the Mountain (muddiest song of the night). Spirit is better than getting Horizon. When The Deal Goes Down seemed a little sparse compared to what I remember from the '08 versions. Ain't Talkin', can't bitch.
The best part of the evening by far, and this is not to disparage the show, was seeing a large group of friends before and after Some from as far away as Italy and Vancouver, others who live closer by but we don't see nearly enough.
November 7, 2009
1. Intro/Cat's In The Well
2. Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob on guitar)
3. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
4. Million Miles
5. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
6. Cold Irons Bound (Bob center stage on harp)
7. Every Grain Of Sand
8. Spirit On The Water
9. Ballad Of Hollis Brown
(Bob center stage on harp)
10. When The Deal Goes Down
11. Highway 61 Revisited
12. Ain't Talkin'
13. Thunder On The Mountain
14. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob center stage on harp)
16. Like A Rolling Stone
17. Band Intro
19. All Along The Watchtower
Bob Dylan - guitar, keyboard, harp
Tony Garnier - bass
George Recile - drums
Stu Kimball - rhythm guitar
Charlie Sexton - lead guitar
Donnie Herron - violin, viola, electric mandolin, pedal steel, lap steel