Bob Dylan 2000.07.11 in Cincinnati, OH
Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave.
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2000 03:53:30 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Mark Rothfuss email@example.com Subject: Cincinnati OH 7/11/00 (REVIEW) What a difference a day makes! I posted a review of the Deer Creek show from Sunday, which, by my own admission, had a somewhat disappointed air about it. However, tonight's performance couldn't have been a more enjoyable experience for me. Riverbend is an archaic old outdoor venue located about 10 minutes from my childhood home (well, Im only 22 so I guess I'd better call it my home away from college). I've been seeing shows there for as long as I can remember and this one topped them all. For so many reasons....the setlist, the band, the voice...and oh, yeah, I met Patti Smith. It was truly a remarkable experience. It lived up to all the expectations I have had reading these fantastic summer setlists. At around 7:15 I was bolting toward my seats from the crowded entrance as I hear Bob and band burst into a rousing smack down of Duncan and Brady ( I got stuck in serious traffic on northbound I-75). I finally found my place as the song was ending. Already I could tell that this was going to be a great show. Unlike Deer Creek the instruments and the vocals were well mixed, crisp and clear. Also unlike Deer Creek the venue was only about half full at this point (and for the duration of Bob's set). Song To Woody...best live version I've heard to date. Really articulate and up front vocals. Sweet, sweet country-folk guitar. I got the distinct feeling that Bob was really, consciously paying tribute to Woodrow on this night. Not like a song about a fictional character as it is often tossed off, but a very alive song for a man he truly loves and admires. And Im sure one pretty young girl I know out on the lawn had her day made. I told you he'd play it...Bob knows. Desolation Row....so far we have an exact replica of Sunday's show. Which is great for me since I missed most of these songs. And from my perspective this Desolation Row was better. Granted I was just finding my seats at this point last time. The audience was very appreciative. Love-Zero...Pretty good. Kinda loose. Not much fire here, but plenty of sentimentality. TUIB..."mind was being destroyed" = no harmonica. Its just a theory with lots of holes, but in my experience it is about 99% accurate. Same old fan favorite. The "headin' for another joint" line never ceases to bring a smile to my face. Bob's was stomping, marching and lockin' knees from the first note. Searching for a Soldiers Grave...the sound system was better tonight and as a result this song came thru a little clearer. The band's harmonies were a lovely touch. Yet, I still don't think this song works outdoors. I hope he brings it out in the fall when we get back to theaters and arenas. Country Pie...fun stuff. Nothing epic about it. Just plain rockabilly fun. Tell me that it isn't True...this song has always been a favorite of mine and I was thrilled to hear it in person tonight. I guess you could say I know the feeling. Anyway, the actual performance was a little too scattered for my tastes...but I'd rather hear a slightly sub-par performance of this than a well-rehearsed "Silvio" or "RDW." I think with a little work on the arrangement this song would make a great staple in Bob's set. The "outro" was dead on the album version. Just like Tom Thumbs Blues...First time for me on this one too. Knew it from the first 2 chords, and boy was it solid. Really heavy sound, as opposed to more laid back versions of years past. And for the most part Bob was on top of it lyrically and vocally. His best friend the doctor may not want to tell him what he's got. But I will - A real grateful fan. Positively 4th St...retraction time. Just 48 hours ago I made the assertion that Bob should shelve this song. Well, I was wrong. Tonight's rendering was simply perfect. Laid back? Yes. Uninteresting? No! This is the best he sang all night. It was hypnotic. It was captivating. He teased and manipulated the message and the words like only he can. Whispers, growls, pointed annunciation, (plus some well paced guitar) made this a sublime listening experience. When you get the tape, just close your eyes and enjoy. Wicked Messenger....well, it sounds almost exactly like Drifter's Escape. Unfortunately if they were identical twins, this would be the oddly less attractive one. The only obvious difference (besides the lyrics) is that fiery, choppy guitar riff found on DE is absent. And that is what makes DE so special. To the untrained ear they could be the same song, but there is that subtle difference. Nevertheless, it was still pretty spectacular. I love it when the music drops out for the verses...it is probably my favorite of Bob's many little musical tricks. And we got another brilliant train-whistle harp riff from deep down in Bob's knee-bent crouch. He is the master showman. Bob knows how to get his audience pumpin'. I hope he takes these kind of chances on more of his arrangements. Pillbox...in HWY 61's old pre-encore spot. It works equally as well as a means for getting the audience begging for more. However, for those of us road warriors who chase Mr. Bob around it can get a bit tiring. I wont complain though, I always seem to enjoy it after I accept the fact that I have to hear it yet again. SIDE NOTE: It is at this point that Patti "fu*****" Smith walks right by me up the stage-left aisle. She goes completely unrecognized from backstage exit all the way up the walkway where I stop her. I tell her I think she's great and that she is my favorite female singer. She smiles in appreciation then she and her son continue walking up to the lawn. I am just in shock! Total shock. I thought that was it, but 15 minutes later she and her son return with beverages passing down the big horizontal aisle in the very middle of Riverbend. Nobody seems to notice, which I find odd considering her extremely unmistakable look. When she gets to the point where we are sitting I ask her if she's gonna play w/ Bob tonight. She said no, that she's "just here to watch" . So I begged for "Dark Eyes" or a reprise of "Wicked Messenger" and she laughs. Then says "maybe tomorrow." Turns out she has a show at Bogart's where Bob played one year ago to todays date, tomorrow. I just might have to score some tickets. It was short but sweet. She disappeared backstage before anybody even realizes she was there. Things Have Changed....much tighter than at Deer Creek. I am so happy that so many people recognized it. Bob was on top of it from start to finish. Really wrapping his voice around each syllable. LARS...strong enough. Actually a bit less focused than Sunday's version. Not nearly as dramatic a performance when it is still quite light outside. Hard Rain....didn't see it coming. But so glad it came. Very pleasant all around. He spoke the verses more than he sang them. However, everybody including the audience joined in on the chorus to spine-tingling affect. It gives me chills to hear that kind of "one-ness" in a world so mixed-up and at odds. I think David Kemper may have possibly changed up his drum pattern for a few seconds during the "drummers whose hands are a-blazing" portion of the song. HWY 61....raunchy jam tonight. Lots of fine guitar interplay. Bob roared and ultimately ripped the roof off this joint. When the dust cleared, and the smoke settled Bob and band stood like a bunch of gun slinging gangsters staring down the audience. Hand on his hip, ax at his side, Bob Dylan soaked up the much deserved affection then disappeared backstage. Seeing as I hate to see someone try to top an untouchable performance, we skipped out on Phil and his friends once again. It was still daylight when we hit the road. I can't wait until we get to see him in the dark again. If you are lucky enough to get a cd-r please drop me a line. This is one show I'd like to experience over and over again. Yours in Bob, Mark