Sound: First of all, the sound system at this concert was absolutely stunning. A lot of money has gone in to the new arts Auditorium at IU and it really shows. Dylan's sandpaper growl was clear and crisp all the way in the cheap seats, and the bass, drums, and guitars were in your face the whole night. Dylan was in top form, playing energetic keyboards off and on throughout the concert. For a few songs he even picked up a black Gibson Les Paul and played along, which is becoming rarer and rarer as he approaches his 70s. // 9
Perfomance: The set list was varied, focusing mostly on his newer material, with some of the old classics sprinkeled in. The Auditorium was packed, and the fans went crazy on certain songs, screaming, cheering, lots of people up and dancing. After a few songs from Dylan's newest album 'Together Through Life', starting with 'Jolene,' he played some older favorites:
01. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue: a rockabilly version that still sounded great, though some of the lyrics were indecipherable.
02. A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall: the crowd seemed to love it as soon as they recognized it, which was around the first chorus.
03. Highway 61 Revisited: Dylan's Live version of this was remarkably similiar to the album version, all the little nuances in The Music intact.
04. Ballad of a Thin Man: an intense distorted guitar-driven version that absolutely overwhelms the original.
05. Levee's Gonna Break: a number off of his album 'Modern Times.' Sounded great Live and slightly up tempo from the recording.
06. Thunder on the Mountain: the crowd went crazy when the band played the opening solo to this, and lots of people got up and danced. Dylan got a standing Ovation at the end.
07. Like a Rolling Stone: a blistering new version, bluesier and faster, yet retaining all the power and meaning of the original. The crowd was up on their feet, clapping and singing along.
08. All Along the Watchtower: the final number, a super-charged cross between Hendrix's version and Dylan's own. This song was the most intense of the night, the drums shaking the Auditorium, feeling like an earthquake while Bob belted out the apocalyptic lyrics. // 8
Overall Impression: This was surprisingly the loudest and mos aggressive show I've seen, and I've seen some bands in my day. Dylan's current band is tight and together, feeding off of each other and giving more and more to the audience. Higlights of the night were all of Dylan's harmonica solos, as each one was simply astounding. It was also great to see him with a guitar again, and it was shocking to see him play a few solos, too. A nice surprise of the evening came when Tom Waits came out and played a very short song, just him in the spotlight with an Acoustic guitar.
The show-stealing moment of the concert, however, was right in the middle. The new rendition of 'Ballad of a Thin Man' was astounding, the guitars rought and mean, Bob himself sing with arms wide open, harsh and dramatic lights casting a twenty-foot shadow of him on the backdrop. The band really showed off their skills with that number.
A lot of people write Dylan off as a has-been anymore, and this concert proved to me that he is still vibrant, excited about music (and exciting), and above all, still the greatest songwriter the world's ever known. // 9