Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bob Dylan can still bring it!

"They say I'm past my prime," sang Bob Dylan performing the tune "Spirit on the Water" early in his show Monday in Seattle. "Let's see what you got; we can have a whoppin' good time." Dylan may be past his prime, but he's still writing and performing dynamite music, and we had a great time at an amazing concert at the WaMu Theater.

After opening the nearly two-hour set with "Gonna Change My Way of Thinking" from the 1979 album Slow Train Coming, Dylan pretty well split the rest of the evening between '60s classics and tunes from his latest, this year's Together Through Life, and the 2006 disc Modern Times.

"Forgetful Heart" was the one slow, quiet ballad of the set, a hauntingly soulful mourning of lost love. Shortly after that came a hard-driving rendition of "Highway 61 Revisited" that showcased some wicked guitar playing by Charlie Sexton.

Dylan has never been known for his purty vocals, and he seemed especially growly on some of the old stuff, singing "Lay Lady, Lay", "Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again", and "Like a Rolling Stone" with a rather bizarre, staccato delivery. A few passages in "Lay Lady, Lay" also unfortunately reminded me of the Lollipop Guild! The approach put me in mind of Billie Holiday (no, really!) who was purported to have opined that if you sang a song the same way twice, it ain't music. Dylan sure put a different twist on some of these tunes that are more than 40 years old.

The highlight for me was the grand finale, a rendition of "All Along the Watchtower" that was--dare I say it?--Hendrix influenced! It was another chance for Sexton to turn in some searing guitar licks.

The band was great, a tight group that for the most part played a bunch of good, old blues. Sexton was joined by Stu Kimball on guitar, Tony Garnier on bass, George Recile on drums, and Donnie Herron as utility infielder. Dylan played mostly keyboards, though he did play guitar on a few tunes, and harmonica. They all, including Dylan, seemed to be having a great time jamming on some incredible tunes. Weisenheimer had a great time watching and listening. Dylan can still bring it!


Anonymous said...

I couldn't have said it better myself! (But you forgot to mention how the human foot feels after standing for 3 hours on concrete.)

BC said...

The Weisenheimer wouldn't know -- he was sitting on a well-padded chair to my left.