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Reflections on Attending Several Dylan Concerts Often, upon returning from a Dylan concert, I have to debrief and reflect on what he offered to the audience that evening. I find verse to be an effective tool to do so for many of these reflections.
01 07/16/87 Lake Compounce Bristol, CT 02 08/19/97 Oakdale Theater Wallingford, CT 03 08/17/03 Oakdale Theater Wallingford, CT 04 06/21/05 Dodd Stadium Norwich, CT 05 08/24/06 McCoy Stadium Pawtucket, RI 06 08/26/06 Wahcona Stadium Pittsfield, MA 07 08/29/06 Rock Cat Stadium New Britain, CT 08 11/11/06 Agganis Arena Boston, CT 09 11/15/06 Mullins Center Amherst, MA 10 06/26/07 Look Park Northampton, MA 11 06/27/07 Mohegan Sun Uncasville, CT 12 09/29/07 Ryan Center Kingston, RI 13 09/30/07 Arena at Harbor Yard Bridgeport, CT 14 05/16/08 Palladium Worcester, MA 15 08/15/08 MGM Grand – Foxwoods Mashantucket, CT 16 07/15/09 Rock Cat Stadium New Britain, CT 17 11/14/09 Wang Theatre Boston, MA 18 11/19/10 Mullins Center Amherst, MA 19 11/27/10 MGM Grand – Foxwoods Mashantucket, CT 20 08/21/11 House of Blues Boston, MA 21 09/08/12 Mohegan Sun Uncasville, CT 22 11/18/12 TD Garden Boston, MA 23 04/06/13 Mullins Center Amherst, MA 24 07/19/13 Webster Bank Arena Bridgeport, CT 25 11/15/14 Performing Arts Center Providence, RI 26 11/21/14 Academy of Music Philadelphia, PA 27 07/14/16 Blue Hills Bank Pavilion Boston, MA 28 06/18/17 Oakdale Theater Wallingford, CT
Dylan Concert #3 Oakdale Theater, Wallingford, CT
August 17, 2003 Two days ago (8/17/03) I went to a concert (Oakdale Theater) by Bob Dylan. Overall, I was pleased and satisfied with the event and it met my expectations for entertainment and the chance to see a "legend" in music perform at the age of 62. The set list contained some unfamiliar tunes and I was unable to clearly make out the words but he played enough familiar tunes to make it worthwhile. I do not follow Dylan's work as fervently as others. This would be my third concert by Dylan. My entire family went about 5-6 years ago at this same venue - Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT. I read the postings on one of the several websites dedicated to the music of Dylan and was amazed to read the disparity of opinion from the frequent concert goers regarding this particular concert. Some Dylan enthusiasts claimed that the Dylan's band was not in sync for many of the songs and that a recent addition to the band was inferior to the lead guitarist from previous tours. Others described the passive audience and the lackluster way in which Dylan seemed to appear, sans guitar, behind a keyboard off to one side. In fact, from my seat, I saw more of Dylan's back than his facial expressions. There was every imaginable response along a continuum of "This was the worst concert I have been to!" to "This was the best concert ever!" From my perspective, I paid $65.00 to be entertained by an artist whose work I admire. I don't expect perfection at a concert. I expect improvisation and the opportunity to be in the presence of an extremely talented person who is sharing some of that artistry with the audience. The highlight from most everyone's perspective was a rendition of "Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall." This was the one song in which people were singing along with the chorus. Dylan rocks to his own beat much as Thoreau expressed. He allows us to catch a glimpse into his genius - - - for a short time. I'm not sure what others want him to be or see him as. But for me, he is an artist whose method of expression affects me in positive ways and he has made my life better by his presence and gifts. Back to Original List
Dylan Concert #5
McCoy Stadium, Pawtucket, RI August 24, 2006
One Too Many Evenings and a Hundred Miles - - - - BEHIND! In Pawtucket, Rhode Island, on a cool Thursday night, McCoy Baseball stadium came into sight. At approximately 5:00, give or take a few minutes, We stood among people with BOB printed on their tickets. The line inched forward, one slow step at a time, Enough that by coincidence I picked up a dime. “This could only mean one thing, my inner voice did speak. Tonight, Dylan’s performance will be quite unique.” Elana James and the Continental Duo Temporarily morphed into a smooth-playing trio. And in her set – a little past the middle, She let it rip on the country fiddle With The Orange Blossom Special – a delight to hear, Got the crowd to its feet with some shouts and a cheer. Junior Brown was next – with a snare drummer and bass player; He stepped it up a notch as a solid entertainer. And his deep voice resounds much like Ernest Tubb, As Brown plays his guit-steel at the Continental Club. If you break the law, you’ll hear from me, I know. I’m workin’ for the state, I’m the Highway Patrol. Jimmie Vaughan rounded out the initial group of musicians, With Lou Ann Barton with a few guest contributions, Boom-Bapa-Boom and Telephone Man Were two strong choices for the occasional fan; He has also performed selections from his famous brother The incredible SRV played guitar like no other. Now on with the show! I bet you’d like to know What the set list was for this evening of delight This cool, dark evening on a late August night. Cat’s in the Well was a surprise first slot pick. Many thought Maggie’s Farm would do the trick And Bob looked a little stiff as he rocked back and forth, But the crowd cheered loudly for what it was worth. Two bare heads and four hats donned Dylan and his band were rockin’ on.
For song number two We wondered what he’d do. When Clouds so swift – Rain won’t lift echoed in the air We realized quite quickly for pick number two It was You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere. From Love and Theft and his #3 selection, Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum was up for consideration. Not especially a strong favorite of many a Dylan fan, But you do not protest the decision of the man Who allows us to observe his improvisation As he plays some of his songs for the 500th occasion. The crowd was in the mood to sing along with a roar As they heard the beginning of set list number four. Just Like a Woman echoed throughout the stands And Dylan seemed impressed as he motioned with his hands. I wasn’t sure this “sing-a-long” was part of his plan But it created a stir, excitement for the fan. Saint Annie and Sweet Melinda were part of song #5 Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues – loudly came alive. We’ve all been lost somewhere along the road And sometimes directions needed to be told And challenges mount – we feel quite defeated; Get out of that rut and go where you’re needed. One of my favorites was now in the mix For Dylan’s choice for set list # 6. Masters of War – statements of hypocrisy Need heeding from the current developers of democracy. Leaders take heed when you send young people off to war There’s no winners only losers – you can’t even the score. Sometimes we need to go back and see things again, Be it a place or a person or a road or a glen Highway 61 seems to be such a place Where spectators look on and take up space To see the attractions from the bleachers on the side Of exploits from a prophet, kings and gamblers in stride. While we awaited to hear Dylan’s selection # eight, The hour yet was not getting late For there had been a dire forecast of rains from heaven, So Shelter from the Storm seemed the choice after seven; Hopeful, serene with a slow, steady cadence , Appeared well received by those in attendance
The choice and selection for set list #9 Originated from Nashville Skyline We had been talking about Norman Blake earlier in the day. He helped record this song with his most extraordinary play. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight was the choice by Mister Dylan As the set winds down – three songs yet to be fillin’ From Blood on the Tracks in 1975, The next song in the set did derive: Tangled Up in Blue filled in well in slot ten; I never tire of hearing this one again. I especially like the version performed by the Dead But it’s better hearing it live, in person, instead. The lyrics of the next song in my head are still ringing: I’ll know my song well before I start singing. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall is from the pen of the wise As Ginsberg recalls with tears in his eyes For a colleague’s admiration in commentary Captured in the Dont Look Back documentary Summer Days now concludes this night’s set, But we know Bob’s not quite done with us yet. The yells for “encore” erupt in great earnest From the mouths of the young and the sounds of the eldest. He typically ends with a 12-song selection And plays two more, at least that’s his convention. Not to disappoint, he comes back on stage With Like a Rolling Stone - it never seems to age. Then he introduces the members of his band, Followed by All Along the Watchtower – He’s now played his hand. But then, from the darkness, the lights once more appear, As Dylan acknowledges the ovations he hears. His hat in his hand – he waves to the crowd; The lights then dim – after the band has bowed. Dylan’s not to be idolized. Dylan helps me question why. He has enriched my life – I can’t begin to explain how; I hope I have expressed my appreciation for him now. It’s on to Pittsfield tomorrow night To see what else I may choose to write.
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Dylan Concert #8 Agganis Arena, Boston, MA
November 11, 2006 One Too Many Evenings and a Hundred Miles - - - - BEHIND!
Listen my children and you shall hear My comments of the show on a night cool and clear. To Boston I dr