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Bob Dylan concert review - October 5, 2009, Seattle, WA
PA Times | 10/6/09 | pissant

Posted on 10/06/2009 11:41:42 AM PDT by pissant

Well, this was about the dozenth time for me seeing Bob Dylan live in concert. Starting with his tour in support of Slow Train Coming in 1980 at the Paramount Theater, I've generally made the effort to see the Bard from Hibbing as he passed through the NW. Best show: a triple bill with Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell in 1998 at the Columbia River Gorge Ampitheater. The worst: Dylan touring with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as his backup band in sometime in the 1980s. Unbearable, frankly.

Fortunately, Dylan has since decided to tour with his own crack bands, and has been on a Never Ending Tour since the late 1980s.

Last nights show was darn good. It featured the return of guitarist Charlie Sexton to the band (replacing Denny Freeman) and Charlie's energy seemed to inspire Bob, based on the interplay the two had all night long. Many of the songs were the same as from the previous night's "rehearsal" show at the 1300 seat Moore Theater. This was my first show at the (soon to be renamed, I'm guessing) WaMu theater. The WaMu is really just a large exhibition hall that they roll bleachers into and hang curtains to make it into a 'theater'. Not particularly inspiring, to say the least. The good news was they did serve drinks in the lobby. The better news was that the sound was surprisingly decent. The bad news, if you want to call it that, is my wife and I thought we had seats reserved, but in fact, we had general admission (despite seat #s on the tix) so we had to stand in the cavernous floor area. (Wife is short, so not good for her viewing)

The show kicked off at 7:45 with an aggressive, stomping version of Slow Train's "Gonna Change My Way of Thinking". I doubt most folks ever heard of this tune, but it is one of the gems from Dylan's overtly Christian period (Which Don-O wrote about yesterday here on FR).

Next up was "Lay Lady Lay" with Bob on guitar. A bit louder and infinitely gruffer than the delicate studio version of Nashville Skyline, it was done well and was well received.

Then they launched into the chugging "Beyond Here Lies Nothing" from this years Together Through Life (TTL) album. Dylan was center stage with just his Harmonica which allowed him to really concentrate on the vocals. A fine version of just a so-so song, IMO.

Same for the next song, 2006's "Spirit on the Water" with Dylan on organ. Well played but more a filler to me. But for some reason the crowd seemed to enjoy it.

Bob returned to center stage with just his harp for a raucous version of 2002's "Honest with Me". For me, one of the highlights, as the band really slammed it hard and Dylan was highly animated.

Bob guitared back up for 1964's "I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)". Dylan's vocals, as gruff and hoarse as they are these days, were excellent. I enjoyed this version.

The best was next. Keeping his guitar on, Bob and the boys played, for the very first time live, TTL's "My Wife's Hometown". The tune is an old Willie Dixon blues stomp, with Bob's new funny-dark lyrics. They hit this one out of the theater, and Dylan's ragged voice was a perfect fit.

Next up, with Bob back on organ, was the rollicking "Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again". Seen it many times live, seemed to please the crowd, especially due to the extra guitar umph that Sexton gave it.

The 'sparest', most intimate song of the night was TTL's "Forgetful Heart". The band quietly played acoustic guitar and bass (and congas?) while Dylan sang and blew harmonica at center stage. He put alot of effort into it, and it received one of the best ovations. Also the shortest song of the night, by far.

They quickly returned to rocking the place with TTL's "If You Ever Go To Houston". I like this texas romp song on the album, and I've seen Youtubes of it live from his summer tour, but this was by far the best version he's croaked up. And everyone on the floor was grooving.

Next up, "Highway 61". Loud, rowdy, and great, as usual.

Next: TTL's "I feel A Change Coming On". Many folks must have purchased TTL, because they responded very well to this soulful groover when it started. They nailed it this one.

"Thunder on the Mountain" from 2006's Modern Times was next. A fun, loose rocker, but the best reason for playing it is to let the band roll hard between the quickly spit out verses.

The final song before the encore was "Ballad of a Thin Man". Great version. They changed the lighting to a eerie yellow for this song and Dylan really hammered the lyrics and his harmonica. Couldn't help but think he was singing about Obama on it. LOL.

The encore consisted of the ancient but crowd pleasing "Like a Rolling Stone", the new Texas rocker "Jolene" and a powerful Hendrix-ish "All Along the Watchtower" which left the crowd wanting more. But that was it.

If you are not familiar with the evolution, or devolution, of Bob's vocal abilities, you'd probably not be impressed with his singing. But if you understand what he's doing to work with what he has left for vocals chords, you would be impressed. I was.

Very, very few in popular music, in my book, have pulled off what Dylan has. He has managed to stay not only relevant, but has made some of his best music in his latter years, despite having the gold standard of his early and mid career masterpieces for critics and fans to compare. Have the Stones released a great album since 78's Some Girls? Has McCartney made anything close to his Lennon collaborations or early Wings pop? Where did Roger Waters' muse go? Or Ray Davies, or Pete Townsand's?

The Indian casinos have a regular smorgasbord of former hit makers from the 60s, 70s and 80s passing through, trying to squeeze a last nickel from their heyday years. Dylan's heyday started in 1962 as the snot nosed Woodie Guthrie wannabee on the streets of NY, and continues to this day as a 69 year old bluesy, grizzled troubadour who shows no signs of slowing down.


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KEYWORDS: bobdylan; missinglink
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1 posted on 10/06/2009 11:41:43 AM PDT by pissant
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To: don-o; scott says; mysterio

ping


2 posted on 10/06/2009 11:42:12 AM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: pissant
Love me some Dylan. I've seen him three times myself, the last time was three years ago right here in Frederick, MD.

I really noticed his vocal degradation yesterday, while listening to his radio show. If his speaking voice has deteriorated so much, he must be having a rough time singing. I guess it goes to show that none of us are getting any younger.

3 posted on 10/06/2009 11:48:48 AM PDT by RetroSexual
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To: pissant

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: “Bob Dylan is the greatest singer-songwriter ever.” Anyone who doesn’t agree is worse than Hitler.


4 posted on 10/06/2009 11:49:41 AM PDT by Rum Tum Tugger
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To: pissant

Great review; thanks, pissant!


5 posted on 10/06/2009 11:52:43 AM PDT by JennysCool (My hypocrisy goes only so far)
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To: nuconvert; 185JHP; Dr. Eckleburg; TruthRespecter; fnord; Michael.SF.; pissant; Sword_of_Gideon; ...




Dylan Ping

6 posted on 10/06/2009 11:53:18 AM PDT by scott says
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To: RetroSexual

I love this youtube for this summers tour of Tangled Up in Blue

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPRqITB-i6s&feature=related


7 posted on 10/06/2009 11:55:34 AM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: pissant

Nice review and good summation at the end.


8 posted on 10/06/2009 12:04:17 PM PDT by don-o (My son, Ben - Marine Lance Corporal is OM for Iraq.)
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To: pissant

Charlie Sexton has had a hand in playing or producing a lot of good music over the years.


9 posted on 10/06/2009 12:06:11 PM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: pissant
Dylan has since decided to tour with his own crack bands

And I think the last time I saw him was when he showed up WITH a band!(for half the show anyway at Forest Hills c. 1967)

ML/NJ

10 posted on 10/06/2009 12:06:56 PM PDT by ml/nj
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To: pissant

I’ll keep my eyes on the bit torrent sites and grab the recording when it comes out——usually within a few days.
Thanks for posting the review.
I’ll let you know what I can find. I want the small venue on October 4—that show looks to be good as well.....


11 posted on 10/06/2009 12:11:17 PM PDT by scott says
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To: scott says

Yeah, I’d have liked to have seen him at the Moore instead of WaMu, but I was pleasantly surprised by the sound quality. I was expecting an echo chamber when I saw it.

I’m guessing he’ll be debuting “Shake Shake Mama” live on his tour real soon. Got ‘Hometown’ last night. Certainly a highlight.


12 posted on 10/06/2009 12:16:30 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: ml/nj

Wow. That’s a few years back.


13 posted on 10/06/2009 12:17:12 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: pissant
Great review, Mr. P!

A long time Dylan fan, he never ceases to amaze me. Although cliche, "Like a Rolling Stone" is a masterpiece that I never tire to hear. The sonic quality of the remastered SACD version is superb & highly recommended although now out of print. The lyrics are very personal to me and perhaps why I hold the song in such high reverence.

In addition to "LaRS", "All Along The Watchtower" (Hendrix version although dave mason does a great cover) and "To Make You Feel My Love" covered by Trisha Yearwood (in movie "Hope Floats") round out my all time top 3 Dylan songs...but so easy to name 3 others.

So many classic songs over so many years, decades actually. Dylan truly is the best at what he has done.

14 posted on 10/06/2009 12:18:10 PM PDT by newfreep ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." - P.J. O'Rourke)
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To: GSWarrior

Yep, he fronted one of the greatest one-shot bands ever, the Arc Angels with Doyle Bramhall II, Chris Layton, and Tommy Shannon. That’s a pretty awesome Texas lineup right there. Apparently, they’re getting back together (minus Shannon) and releasing new material next year.

}:-)4


15 posted on 10/06/2009 12:19:29 PM PDT by Moose4 (Ted Kennedy: "If they bring up Camelot, we get to bring up the lady in the lake.")
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To: Moose4

I have a Michael Fracasso CD on which Sexton played and produced. Good stuff.


16 posted on 10/06/2009 12:25:50 PM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: pissant

Great review. Thanks for the ping.


17 posted on 10/06/2009 12:30:12 PM PDT by mysterio
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To: pissant

When I saw Bob this summer, he played guitar on the first 2 songs and then organ the whole rest of the night. Not commenting as to whether this was good or bad, just it seemed unusual to me.


18 posted on 10/06/2009 12:35:55 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (There is no truth in the Pravda Media.)
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To: pissant

Nice choice, and thank you. That’s my favorite Dylan lyric of all time.


19 posted on 10/06/2009 12:42:24 PM PDT by RetroSexual
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To: Rum Tum Tugger

Well, I agree with the first part anyway...


20 posted on 10/06/2009 12:45:31 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: pissant
Now you are making the Bob concert coming up here very very tempting. I would love to be one of the first to hear the live version of Shake Shake Mama. Coupled with his apparently more animated style recently it is enticing. But I'm already on the hook for Wilco this weekend and Drive-by Truckers the night after Bob. Three in one month I want to go to, when it rains it pours it seems (if only women worked that way).

Also this seems like a good place to share Cat Power's Song to Bobby. She has a few pretty solid covers of Bob's songs as well. Although from the way she sings it I think her version of "I Believe in You" is a little more secular than the original....
21 posted on 10/06/2009 12:58:30 PM PDT by Mr. Blonde (You ever thought about being weird for a living?)
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To: newfreep

He’s really the ONLY one to have done what he’s done. A stellar folkie protest singer creating all time classics. A surreal rock and roll game changer creating all time classics. A country folk late sixties troubadour creating all time classics. An incomparable 70s singer songwriter creating all time classics. A Bible thumping Christian convert creating all time classics. And now a grizzled bluesman creating all time classics. Not a bad career.


22 posted on 10/06/2009 1:13:36 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: a fool in paradise

He switches it up. Last night, he played no instrument except harmonica for 4 or 5 songs. Played Guitar on about 4 others. Organ on the balance.


23 posted on 10/06/2009 1:15:56 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: Mr. Blonde

Thanks. Yeah, that’s murphy’s law of concerts. They come in bunches.


24 posted on 10/06/2009 1:16:58 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: GSWarrior

I knew nothing about him until very recently, other than he was a good guitar player.


25 posted on 10/06/2009 1:20:49 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: pissant

I saw James Brown a number of times and on the final tour he had the smallest band I’d ever seen him with. There was no one on keyboards except for James. He even played a tribute to Ray Charles who’d died that year.

Also I never saw him leave the stage or even take a sip of water.


26 posted on 10/06/2009 1:20:52 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (There is no truth in the Pravda Media.)
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To: don-o; Mr. Mojo

Here’s a positive, but R rated review from the local arts rag.

Last Night: Bob Dylan Brings His Pure, Bizarre Magic to WaMu

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2009/10/last_night_bob_dylan_wamu.php


27 posted on 10/06/2009 1:21:55 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: a fool in paradise

Hardest workin man in showbiz, they say


28 posted on 10/06/2009 1:27:28 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: pissant
Great review - he doesn't disappoint. My all time favorite Dylan is Girl From the North Country
29 posted on 10/06/2009 1:34:07 PM PDT by GOPJ (MSM BIAS: the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell)
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To: GOPJ

He’s got alot of good “girl” songs. My favorite....Girl From the Red River Shore

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdjL7eTti4A


30 posted on 10/06/2009 1:39:01 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: RetroSexual

I think Pitchfork does a pretty good job of explaining what is most interesting about his voice:

“Listeners who bridle even at Dylan’s 60s voice should, however, stay well away: This set shows the instrument in its progressive collapse into rheum and ruin. But only in terms of tone: When it comes to fitting voice to material, or threading the audience through a song, or capturing a lifetime’s lessons in a twist of inflection, he’s still one of the world’s best.”

He knows how to use his voice far better than almost anyone, but some people can’t get passed the sound of it to hear the technique he uses.


31 posted on 10/06/2009 1:45:55 PM PDT by Mr. Blonde (You ever thought about being weird for a living?)
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To: pissant; scott says; blue-duncan; xzins
Thanks for posting this. I love "Spirit on the Water." And the fact Dylan opens this tour with "Gonna Change My Way of Thinking" is just splendid.

May all the world do likewise.

32 posted on 10/06/2009 1:57:43 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Another “change” song form the same period that I love is “You changed my life” released on the Bootleg Series.

You changed my life
Came along in a time of strife
In hunger and need
You made my heart bleed
You changed my life
You changed my life

Now the nature of man
Is to beg and to steal
I’d do it myself
It’s not so unreal
The call of the wild’s
Forever at my door
Want me to fly like an eagle
Being chained to the floor, but

You changed my life
Came along in a time of strife
In hunger and need
You made my heart bleed
You changed my life
You changed my life

Eating with the pigs
Off a fancy tray
I was bold, I was looking good
And to have a nice day
It all seemed so proper
And so elite
Eating absolute garbage
While being so discreet.

You changed my life
Came along in a time of strife
In hunger and need
You made my heart bleed
You changed my life
You changed my life

You were glowing in the light
Being peaceably calm
Well, how often does a man dance
To the beat of the balm?
Your eyes were on fire
Your feet were of brass
In a world that you made
You were an outcast

You changed my life
Came along in a time of strife
In hunger and need
You made my heart bleed
You changed my life
You changed my life

Truce makers and partakers
Of every selfish whim
Her running to meet me running to her
And you running back to him
Their destruction of my confidence
Was like a sharpness of the tongue
I said: Make my faith greater
But I was a little high strung

You changed my life
Came along in a time of strife
In hunger and need
You made my heart bleed
You changed my life
You changed my life


33 posted on 10/06/2009 2:06:39 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: pissant

“It’s All Good” needs to replace Thunder on the Mountain.


34 posted on 10/06/2009 2:13:07 PM PDT by don-o (My son, Ben - Marine Lance Corporal is OM for Iraq.)
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To: Rum Tum Tugger

Word, my brother.


35 posted on 10/06/2009 2:13:48 PM PDT by don-o (My son, Ben - Marine Lance Corporal is OM for Iraq.)
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To: don-o

I’m still waiting for Black Diamond Bay, dammit!


36 posted on 10/06/2009 2:15:29 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: pissant

Have you heard clips from his Christmas album yet?


37 posted on 10/06/2009 2:16:47 PM PDT by Larry Lucido (This tagline excerpted. To read more, click on MyOverratedBlog.com)
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To: pissant

You have written the new intro....

Just add, “Please welcome Columbia recording artist, Bob Dylan!!

“I was blinded ny the devil
Borned already ruined
Stone cold dead as I stepped out of the womb...

(I can dream, can’t I?


38 posted on 10/06/2009 2:17:01 PM PDT by don-o (My son, Ben - Marine Lance Corporal is OM for Iraq.)
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To: Larry Lucido

Yeah. I was thinking no way I’d get it. But I might have to just for novelty’s sake. So very odd.


39 posted on 10/06/2009 2:18:08 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: pissant

>>The worst: Dylan touring with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

You must’ve caught them on a bad night.

When I saw them, not only the whole show, but the encore of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” with the Black backup singers brought tears to peoples eyes, including someone who was there in Newport in 64/65 when he went electric and was a fervent fan.


40 posted on 10/06/2009 2:18:26 PM PDT by swarthyguy (MEAT, the new tobacco. Your right to eat meat ends where my planetary ecosystem begins.)
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To: pissant

That will be a looonnngg wait, I fear; but anything is possible.


41 posted on 10/06/2009 2:19:13 PM PDT by don-o (My son, Ben - Marine Lance Corporal is OM for Iraq.)
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To: pissant

Yes, that’s great, isn’t it? I can’t conceive of a mind that wrote those lyrics recanting the faith that formed them. I sure hope not. Another one I like is...

“SAVED”

I was blinded by the devil,
Born already ruined,
Stone-cold dead
As I stepped out of the womb.
By His grace I have been touched,
By His word I have been healed,
By His hand I’ve been delivered,
By His spirit I’ve been sealed.

I’ve been saved
By the blood of the lamb,
Saved
By the blood of the lamb,
Saved,
Saved,
And I’m so glad.
Yes, I’m so glad,
I’m so glad,
So glad,
I want to thank You, Lord,
I just want to thank You, Lord,
Thank You, Lord.

By His truth I can be upright,
By His strength I do endure,
By His power I’ve been lifted,
In His love I am secure.
He bought me with a price,
Freed me from the pit,
Full of emptiness and wrath
And the fire that burns in it.

I’ve been saved
By the blood of the lamb,
Saved
By the blood of the lamb,
Saved,
Saved,
And I’m so glad.
Yes, I’m so glad,
I’m so glad,
So glad,
I want to thank You, Lord,
I just want to thank You, Lord,
Thank You, Lord.

Nobody to rescue me,
Nobody would dare,
I was going down for the last time,
But by His mercy I’ve been spared.
Not by works,
But by faith in Him who called,
For so long I’ve been hindered,
For so long I’ve been stalled.

I’ve been saved
By the blood of the lamb,
Saved
By the blood of the lamb,
Saved,
Saved,
And I’m so glad.
Yes, I’m so glad, I’m so glad,
So glad, I want to thank You, Lord,
I just want to thank You, Lord,
Thank You, Lord.

That’s straight Gospel truth. I can’t wait to read the next installment of his autobiography. I certainly hope he says something definitive. I know he enjoys his mystique and he’s entitled to it as a poet, but as a Christian we know that our “faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:5)


42 posted on 10/06/2009 2:22:21 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; don-o

Here is Paul Schaffers’s Dylan recollections. Somewhat amusing.

Bob Dylan’s Band Camp

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/features/2009/10/paul-shaffer-excerpt-200910?printable=true


43 posted on 10/06/2009 2:36:40 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: swarthyguy

Maybe so. It just did not seem to fit well


44 posted on 10/06/2009 2:37:24 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: GSWarrior

Sexton and the Arc Angels at their best, playing “Too Many Ways to Fall” on Austin City Limits in 2001:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPWdLpnKknc

}:-)4


45 posted on 10/06/2009 3:04:00 PM PDT by Moose4 (Ted Kennedy: "If they bring up Camelot, we get to bring up the lady in the lake.")
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To: pissant
Interesting recollections. Schaffer seems to imply that Dylan's faith journey has returned him to Orthodox Judaism which hasn't been documented and which is contradicted by his music. When asked in an interview a few years ago if he read the New Testament, Dylan answered "every day."

Also, isn't it sad some people think they can include in their books comments about Christianity like Wexler's -- “Oh, I wouldn’t say anything,” he (Wexler) said in a panic. “Bob takes this shit seriously.”

Yet if the tables were turned they surely would feel they "Gotta Sue Somebody."

I met Dylan once at a party and he is completely opaque. He loves that image and says he wants to be known through his music and lyrics. I take him at his word. 8~)

46 posted on 10/06/2009 3:10:38 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: pissant
“The worst: Dylan touring with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as his backup band in sometime in the 1980s. Unbearable, frankly.”

I saw that tour in Portland, Oregon in 86. The next year I saw Bob with the Dead. He just did not seem to have it together at these shows. I could not make out any of his lyrics.

47 posted on 10/06/2009 3:13:15 PM PDT by mickey finn
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To: pissant

Yeah funny from Paul Schaeffer. Dave Letterman’s bald headed stooge


48 posted on 10/06/2009 3:51:23 PM PDT by dennisw
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To: pissant

Great review, PA. Thanks for the dirty details. Loved it.


49 posted on 10/06/2009 4:00:03 PM PDT by uncitizen
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Also, isn't it sad some people think they can include in their books comments about Christianity like Wexler's -- “Oh, I wouldn’t say anything,” he (Wexler) said in a panic. “Bob takes this shit seriously.”

Hope this makes you feel better about what Jerry Wexler said--->>>>

link
It immediately reminded me of a quote attributed to Jerry Wexler — co-producer of Slow Train Coming and Saved — which is referred to in many places (try this Google search).

Scott Marshall refers to it in his book, “Restless Pilgrim“:

Full of zeal, Dylan tried to interest his other producer, Jerry Wexler, in the New Testament. Wexler responded, “I’m a sixty-two-year-old card-carrying Jewish atheist.” According to Wexler, that was the end of the discussion.

(Jerry Wexler doesn't (didn't) take any religion seriously. He died a few years ago. I have had the honor of bumping into him at a video store)

 


50 posted on 10/06/2009 4:25:16 PM PDT by dennisw
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