Dylan in Rochester last night

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As I mentioned earlier, my family with two of our friends plus two of Katie’s friends went to The Bob Dylan Show at Frontier Field in Rochester last night. There were three opening acts: Elana James and the Continental Two, Junior Brown, and Jimmy Vaughn. All were terrific, especially James and Vaughn. I don’t usually do this, but I bought James’ CD at the show (don’t ask me for how much) and got Elana and the band to autograph it. Gonna be worth big money some day, let me tell you! (grin)

As you would expect from Dylan at this point in his career, these bands well complemented his performance, and also indicated his very strong affinity with country these days, though not “New Country.” That’s oversimplifying because, this is mixed in with hard Texas Blues as delivered by Vaughn. It’s naive to overclassify Dylan anyway, but the hat and rhinestone suit do give you some hints. Nevertheless, with Springsteen doing Seeger, groups like the Mammals getting more airplay, and more and more Hank Williams popping up, there seems to be a real re-examination of 20th Century American folk and roots music.

Here is the set list from last night:

and for the encore he did

People who see Dylan now and expect to hear the old songs exactly as they sounded in in 1963 are usually disappointed, though that was often the case in 1965 as well. “Positively 4th Street” and “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again” were probably the furthest from the originals in arrangement, though still quite good. The standouts for me were “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”, “Masters Of War”, “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat”, “Highway 61 Revisited”, and “Like A Rolling Stone”.

“Masters Of War” was especially well done and the applicability to current affairs was not lost on or underappreciated by the audience.

This was the third Dylan concert I’ve been to in the last 20 months and Katie and I both think it was the best of the three. The venue was outdoors, and that may have had something to do with it, but I think it is more the band really being together and the songs having been optimized through extensive touring. Of course, it could also be our greater familiarity and appreciation for “new Dylan” versus earlier versions.

One final note: this was the first concert following the release of the new album Modern Times. Leave it to Bob to not play anything from the new work. Three of the pieces were from Love and Theft, his previous album, released in 2001.


4 Comments

  1. Yes Bob Dylan has some of the greatest words in songs that I’ve ever heard.

    The ones I particularly love include “Hurricane” (not released on a Dylan album I think), “Blowin’ In The Wind” (Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan), “Lay Lady, Lay” (Nashville Skyline) and “Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts” (Blood on The Tracks).

    He was in Manchester, UK, where I live this year and I almost went to see him. But I was worried his voice was shot and it wouldn’t be the same…

    Jim

  2. “Hurricane” is on Desire.

    I’m really getting used to his new voice. It’s interesting to listen to his work chronologically to see how both his voice and his observations on life have changed.

  3. Thanks Bob I’ll go get Desire.

    I’m not sure because I was brought up on Dylan and really like the thoughts he had in the 60’s and early 70’s.

    I stopped buying almost every album after “Blood On The Tracks” but I may well buy the new one as it’s appears to be getting good critical reviews. What do you think to it?

    Jim

  4. Desire is the album he did right before the Rolling Thunder Revue tour. A live version of “Hurricane” is on Bob Dylan Live 1975 (The Bootleg Series Volume 5) .

    If you want to get into his new stuff, I suggest you get Time Out of MInd and listen to it three times. I think it is one of his top five albums.

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