My first Dylan show was 11 years ago, the spring after Jerry Garcia died & Dylan played 2 Dead songs ("Friend of the Devil" & "Alabama Getaway"). My 2nd Dylan show, Valentine's Day in 1998 in Toledo saw him cover "Cocaine Blues." In July of 1999, I saw him cover "The Roving Gambler," "That'll Be the Day," & (w/ Paul Simon) "The Sound of Silence." Last night, however, he stuck to his more recent system of playing only originals like @ the shows I saw in 2000 & 2003. For complete set lists of those shows, follow these links:
15 February, 1998 (Univ. of Toledo)
7 July, 1999 (Pine Knob)
16 July, 2000 (Pine Knob)
6 August, 2003 (Columbus, OH)
Last night, Bob opened w/ a pretty rocking version of "Rainy Day Women" which was funny because I'd just been joking about that song earlier in the day w/ the ex-wife. I'd never seen him open w/ it before, but it seemed like a good choice as it got people into the set right away... "Everybody must get stoned!!!"
Next up was "Don't Think Twice" for which the cowboy band switched to acoustic stuff & for which Rachel was happy about & about which you may remember my sweet cover version of that song w/ Brendan at 10K Lakes in MN a couple summer ago. It's always a fun song & people seemed to be digging it... "There ain't no use in turning on your light, babe, / The light I never knowed"
From there he went into "Watching the River Flow," a song I've never been able to remember. Every time I've seen him do it, it's been the end before I could figure out what it was. It was cool though as Tony Garnier switched back to the electric bass for a couple songs... "If I had wings and I could fly, / I know where I would go. / But right now I'll just sit here so contentedly / And watch the river flow."
He then played "Love Sick," a slow weird tune from his 1997 Grammy winning album Time Out of Mind. My copy has a nasty scratch & hasn't worked for a while, but after last night, I realized that I'm going to have to get another copy of it. It's a fantastic tune from a fantastic CD... "I'm sick of love / I wish I'd never met you!"
A couple of the new songs were next, "The Levee's Gonna Break" & "When the Deal Goes Down." At this point, people seemed to be getting restless as we had 3 in a row that few people knew. I was lovin' it though, as they're both great songs. Jim seemed to be digging the new stuff too, w/ such cool lyrics, how could he not? Dylan is a bad mother fucker... "We all wear the same thorny crown."
I was lovin' that he hen played "Stuck inside of Mobile," but I have a hard time w/ that song since I always think of Bob Weir's version. It's cool though, even if it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.
With his pointed shoes and his bells,
Speaking to some French girl,
Who says she knows me well.
And I would send a message
To find out if she's talked,
But the post office has been stolen
And the mailbox is locked.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again."
From 60's LSD weirdness to a commentary on the current economic issues, he played "Workingman's Blues #2." I don't know if I can plug & push this new album any more than I already have, but it's just so damn good. "The buying power of the proletariat's gone down" Who but Dylan can get away w/ lyrics like that? Just soooo cool.
"Honest With Me" from his last album was up next. It took me a while to recognize it, but it too was well played. I don't have much to say about this song, but I was thinking the set would be over soon... wrong... 5 more songs before he left the stage.
"Spirit On The Water," a slow jazzy crooner tune from the new album was played nicely, but again, he seemed to be losing people since no one knew most of the setlist. I think this again shows his bad-assness. He plays to 5,000 people while knowing all along that only about 25 of us knew the songs 7 the other 4,975 just want to hear "Blowin' In the Wind" which, of course, he didn't play. He didn't play "Tangled Up in Blue" either. "Oh, you would like to hear 'Like a Rolling Stone?' Well, fuck off! You'll get the new stuff & like it!" Oh, & Tony was on he stand-up bass again.
OK, he did play a song from the same album as "Like a Rolling Stone," "Highway 61." It's not quite as good, but it always rocks. I was really hoping to hear it, & it made me happy, happy, happy.
Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"
God say, "No." Abe say, "What?"
God say, "You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin' you better run"
Well Abe says, "Where do you want this killin' done?"
God says, "Out on Highway 61."
Then another new one, "Nettie Moore." "Gonna leave a greasy trail"... one of the strangest lyrics he's ever written. Of course, I love it none-the less.
"Summer Days" from the previous album, Love and Theft, was next. Of his 3 newer albums, people seem to jock that one the most, but it's definitely not my favorite. it's still cool though, & I was happy to hear another song from it. And Tony was back on stand up bass!
He closed the set w/ "Masters Of War." This is the song that got him banned from Ed Sullivan, so it's got that going for it. Whenever I hear it, I like to think it's in honor of Dick Cheney.
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks
I've never noticed this before, but before the encore, people were holding up their phones rather than holding up lighters. I suppose it's because fewer people smoke, but there were a few people there w/ pot as the Convocation Center had that nice hippie smell all night long. As upstanding members of our community, we, of course, did none of that though. Anyway, the phones yielded a nice post-modern blue glow to the atmosphere of the crowd before he came back to the stage to play "Thunder On The Mountain." It's yet another good song from the new album. "Gonna raise me an army, some tough sons of bitches / I'll recruit my army from the orphanages." What an awesome rhyme.
After introducing the Cowboy Band, he closed the night w/ "All Along The Watchtower." I remember an interview from 10 or so years ago where he claimed that even though he wrote it, he always feels he's paying tribute to Hendrix when he plays it. Last night's version didn't have a lot in common w/ Jimi Hendrix though (for my money, the Grateful Dead versions are a lot better than Hendrix's anyway), but it was really cool. He stood at his keyboard w/ his hilarious wide-brim white hat & rarely made contact w/ the audience. They just rocked for a couple hours. I can't wait for him to come around again.
Afterwards, a bunch of us went back to my place & had a few drinks, but the Slayrides may have been a bit too much as we were also doing tequila shots. It was the first time I've ever had that much tequila but not gotten naked, so all in all, I'll take it as an accomplishment. Getting up this morning to coach the kids soccer game was pretty rough though. I felt like Walter Matthau in The Bad News Bears. Hung over & hanging out w/ kids. Maybe I'm an ass, but at least I made it to the game & they won 5-3. And that's the important part of youth sports... winning and making the other team cry.