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Bob Dylan 2001.11.06 in Grand Rapids

From: "mike frayer" 
Subject: review from 11/6
Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 17:48:28 -0500

It was 366 days from my last Dylan show and with Bob being
here so close to home, I thought it was worth the effort to
drive two hours to go see Bob and the band and Van Andel. I
got there early enough to hear the band running through a
last sound check. I was hopeful for a good show as they were
playing "stone walls and steel bars."

Bob and the boys hit the stage about 10 minutes late. He
looked literally like he just woke up. He actually was
rubbing his eyes with his hand and looked weary. I must say
that his black suit with the stars along with the black
guitar with the white pickguards was extremely sharp. I
normally wouldn't pass along this information, but I was
front row center on the main floor and I noticed a lot of
little nuances that I'd never picked up on.

After the formal intro, the band launched into hummingbird.
I'd never seen it before. And, I thought it was a pretty
typical opening for a Bob show. A good get 'em up and
singing song. He betrayed no emotion and as he launched into
Tambourine Man, I was pretty disappointed. It's one of my
least favorite songs of his and he was doing a formulaic
version and it seemed that he was just going to "mail" in
this show.

But I got to thinking that in all the times that I've seen
Bob, that most of the time, he seems pretty unsure of
himself in the first half hour of the show. Like it almost
seems like he's thinking: "I wonder if these people are
gonna like me?" It seems that he gains confidence as the
show goes along. Surprising really. I'd think he'd seem more

It's alright ma, was next and it was fantastic. Words all
dragged out and growled.

This world can't stand long. I have to say, that at this
point the band really stood out. Charlie and Larry and Bob
all doing harmony on the refrain was very powerful. Even
people who didn't know the song couldn't help but join in on
the chorus. Everyone but Bob was all grins during the song.

The best part about this show was the quality and the
quantity of the new songs in the set list. Bye bye T.U.I.B.!
 (Not very upset about that.) Instead we got cry a-while and
Bob really cares about this new material. Delivering it with
such passion and deliberate phrasing, that you can tell that
he is proud of this new stuff. And he should be I think.

Every grain of sand was a surprise to me. I don't know it
very well. But it seemed a solid addition.

Floater was fantastic. However, I was so close, that I did
make an observation at this point and in other songs as
well. Bob's not playing on his guitar. He's doing a lot of
miming. He's waving his pick over the strings and he's
noodling occassionally in parts of the songs but his guitar
is turned way down and he's not playing. I felt kind of sad
about it. I started playing guitar because of him. It seemed
silly that he be posturing up there. In a way, it's a
relief. Bob has been sloppy of late on the guitar. I don't
think there's anything wrong with letting Larry and Charlie
do their thing. They're very good. I don't know if this is
because his dexterity is gone or because he was mailing the
show in. But it was a bummer of sorts. Like finding the man
behind the curtain.

Tombstone was a solid performance. Very bluesy, very well
arranged and nicely held together. They were having fun and
Bob seemed to know that he was being well received.

And then Po' boy. Simply fantastic. I am amazed by his
lyrical recall. He has about 100 songs in rotation right now
and it seems that he throws out a new one or an obscure one
here and there and I'm amazed that he can do all the words.
I.e. in It's all right ma, he nailed it. I'm sure that I've
probably heard it as many times as he's sang it and I
couldn't say it out loud in front of people.

John Brown with Larry on Bouzouki was simply fantastic. A
slowed down tempo. Very deliberate performance. Bob was
pretty happy, He shuffled right up to Larry after and he
said something to the effect. "that was very nice." and
Larry was beaming. I thought that was nice. People always
wonder, does he talk to the band or anything? Apparently he
does. It was very nice. And I hope that Bob plays the song
for awhile in that format. It's a treat.

Other Highlights.

Summer days. Charlie made a mistake in that descending chord
pattern that comes back just before the refrain. It appeared
that he forgot to hit a toggle switch or something like that
and Bob shot him a withering glance. I was kind of
surprised. I mean, BOB is not PLAYING at all. He's miming
playing. And he shoots Charlie a glance when he screwed up.
It didn't seem right.

Sugar baby. Bob actually shone on this one. Spotlight on
him, he played and sang this one. It was magical. I hope you
all get to see it.

At the point of R.D.W.....a young girl muscled her way in
front of me and flashed Bob and Tony. He backed up, said
something to Tony and Charlie while playing and then
proceeded to ham it up with her the rest of the show. It was
classic. All the smiling, sneering, duckwalking, throwing
his leg out, impress the hell out of her rockstar posing. It
was beautiful.

I hope to see more of it on Friday night in Detroit.
Boiled Guts of Birds

2001: February - March - April - May - June - July - August - October - November -