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PostPosted: Thu April 14th, 2005, 21:58 GMT 

Joined: Tue January 4th, 2005, 16:35 GMT
Posts: 108
Bob blew into Buffalo Wednesday night and, despite what you might have read in reviews from other stops on the tour, he was in great voice and the crowd went nuts for every song and nearly every line.
There’s been recent criticism that Bob has been rephrasing even the simplest lines to the point that 11 syllables have to be crammed into a space meant for two. Well, he didn’t do it at Shea’s. He sang like a stylist. He rephrased, changed emphasis and, in the process, transformed even his most familiar material into new experiences.
Also, it's been remarked that audiences have not been exactly thrilled with the translations of his material. You couldn't tell in Buffalo. He got standing ovations for nearly every tune.
This was probably the most lively and cohesive show he’s done in this area since 2002. great that he chose Shea's this time. It's a classy vaudeville-era theatre.
Opening with a charging "Drifter's Escape," he hunched over his electric piano and growled into the mike, stretching and snapping his lyrics to fit the new arrangements.
During a particularly moving "She Belongs to Me," Bob grabbed his harp and took center stage for the first of several solos. Listening to him punctuate the steady rhythm, he at times was as reminiscent of John Coltrane as he was of Sonny Boy Williamson.
You can see the set list for every show at Bobdylan.com but note he offered very strong versions of "Desolation Row, "Just Like Tom Thumb Blues," "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)," and "Cat's in the Well." His reading of "Ballad of Hollis Brown" was as chillingly relevant as it was more than 40 years ago.
Although the band really cooked, none of them strayed too far from center and didn't take many chances. No really big standout moments. It seemed like such a waste. Why have two violinists if you don't take advantage of the situation?
And the two times the band came out to take a bow, they didn't. They just stood there like the usual suspects in a police lineup.
That wasn't the case with Merle Haggard's Strangers who swung through a 45-minute set like a fun-loving band at a Saturday night barn dance.
Merle's already a legend for his smokey voice and war chest of country standards but how about Merle the Musician? Not only did he breeze through some beautiful, heartfelt leads on his Telecaster but he played the hell out of that fiddle. Of the two pairs of violinists on the stage that night, Merle and his sideman clearly were having the most fun.
Into his set of proven Haggard classics, Merle threw in the title track from his latest CD, “Unforgettable.â€￾ At first there were a few nervous snickers from those surprised to hear the country legend tackle the Nat King Cole lounge classic. But the way the band eased the song out in a light and smooth country swing style, it quickly became Merle’s number.
About a third of the crowd were still finding their seats when Amos Lee began his set. His laid-back style that drew images of a Harvest-era Neil Young, gave no indication of what soulful gospel pipes he has.
A friend of Norah Jones, the comparisons have been plenty in the press. But he shouldn’t be written off as Norman Jones. His blend of soul, jazz, country and rock always keeps it interesting and fresh.
Some Concert notes:
· Amos played for 30 minutes. Merle for about 45 and Bob for about 90 mintues.
· Bob rides a separate black bus from the rest of the band. It was pulled up to the backstage door so we had no chance to bug him for an autograph. Incidentally, the band refused.
· There’s a yokel on eBay who’s selling Amos Lee autographs for $59. He claims Lee is as tough to get as Bob. Don’t believe it. Lee has been signing in the lobby of every tour stop after his set.
· The prices at the Dylan concession stand were high. The fleece hoodies were $65 when they’re $45 on line. Most other items were only a few bucks more. They have a few things you can’t get on the website. There’s a great tour poster that includes the date of the show you attend. It’s very heavy stock and costs $15.
· No guitar, only keyboards. But Bob did have one nearby on stage.
. Backdrops included a starry sky and the infamous eye logo on midnight blue.


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PostPosted: Thu April 14th, 2005, 23:33 GMT 

Joined: Wed March 23rd, 2005, 19:34 GMT
Posts: 36
Location: the north country
Nice review and I agree with almost everything you wrote. The opener was The Wicked Messenger, not Drifter's Escape. Also-- I thought Merle's set was a bore. Great songs, great music, no energy. At least not compared to Bob's band. Like you said, they cooked. The (female) violinist was amazing, and some of the guitar solos were incredible as well. AATW got the full Hendrix treatment and the whole place Rocked Out. Can't ask for much more. Yeah it was weird that they didn't bow, but so what..

p.s. re taking chances, keep in mind Bob played 27 different songs between Tues and Wed.!! I started another thread just for that. :P

The cool part is that the arrangements really are DIFFERENT. Which suggests this band has done some serious rehearsing, or are somehow magically in step with whatever Bob wants to try. On a related aside, it seemed like very few people recognized Stuck Inside Of Mobile. Musically and lyrically it was way out there..


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 Post subject: Kudos
PostPosted: Fri April 15th, 2005, 02:48 GMT 

Joined: Tue January 4th, 2005, 16:35 GMT
Posts: 108
Thanks for straightening me out on the opening number. I always confuse those two songs.
You're right about the guitar solos.
Did you notice the female violinist's instrument was turned down in the mix? I was far stage left and could barely hear it.
She seemed to keep her eyes on Bob for cues.
Yeah, they did seem well rehearsed.
I too was surprized there were no immediate cheers of recognition for Mobile.
I wanted If Dogs Run Free and even posted my request last week. Alas...


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PostPosted: Fri April 15th, 2005, 14:44 GMT 

Joined: Wed March 23rd, 2005, 19:34 GMT
Posts: 36
Location: the north country
I sat at stage left also, abt 20 rows back, just a bit under the balcony. The sound kind of sucked where I was. Dylan's mic was a bit lost in the mix at times. I made it to the middle aisle (stage center) for the encores-- sound was MUCH different, a lot better but a few dB's too loud.


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PostPosted: Fri April 15th, 2005, 15:06 GMT 

Joined: Mon April 4th, 2005, 19:13 GMT
Posts: 24
Nice review...this is a sweet setlist too.
I would have to disagree with your point that Merle's band was tighter than Bob's.
I think this new band highlights the lyrics more and doesn't play ahead.
They leave room for Bob vocals to come clear. :D


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PostPosted: Sat April 16th, 2005, 04:42 GMT 

Joined: Tue January 4th, 2005, 16:35 GMT
Posts: 108
The Strangers did seem like hired guns at times, stiff and image-conscious.
But they were obviously the ones who had all the fun.
My impression of the Dylan bad was this was just another day at the office for them.
They were there to do a job, do it right and move on.


Quote:
I had to rearrange their faces and give them all another name,


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PostPosted: Sat April 16th, 2005, 13:11 GMT 

Joined: Sun March 27th, 2005, 16:19 GMT
Posts: 309
Location: San Antonio, TX
I have a question about all the recent tours: Is BD positioned on the left side (if your're looking at the stage your left) in all performances? He never shifts to the right hand side, does he?


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PostPosted: Sun April 17th, 2005, 01:28 GMT 

Joined: Wed March 23rd, 2005, 19:34 GMT
Posts: 36
Location: the north country
burgundy wrote:
I have a question about all the recent tours: Is BD positioned on the left side (if your're looking at the stage your left) in all performances? He never shifts to the right hand side, does he?


Right. Well, a few times he waltzed over to center stage for a harmonica riff. That's about it. But he's pretty energetic- standing for the whole show, bopping, etc.


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 Post subject: He's Left
PostPosted: Sun April 17th, 2005, 04:56 GMT 

Joined: Tue January 4th, 2005, 16:35 GMT
Posts: 108
He was left in Buffalo this week with some center stage harp solos. He was left in Rochester last November.
He's also incredibly hunched over to the point of looking extremely uncomfortable. I mean almost bent in half! It's as if his mike stand is slipping down.
Back problems?


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