Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dylan at Freedom Hill

Last night we saw Bob Dylan at Freedom Hill Amphitheater over in Sterling Heights. The show was hot, though maybe not quite as much as the Palace show last November. Bob's been touring with he same band for several years now, and they were pretty tight throughout.

Freedom Hill is about in a county park about 20 miles due east from our house. Surface streets all the way, and we managed to catch every red light. We wanted to see Jimmy Vaughan open, but by the time we got there he was almost done, we got to hear about the last 10 seconds of his final song. After a couple minutes, I went over to the souvenir stand; Dylan always does venue-specific posters now, and I'm a sucker for 'em. I got to the front of the line, and behind the table was... Jimmy Vaughan. So now I have a signed poster. Vaughan was standing with a tall bald guy in an ancient Bob Seger t-shirt, some folks seemed to recognize him, too.

Dylan opened with Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 while Jimmy was signing, and as I don't much care for that song, that was fine by me. I got back inside, and first thing I noticed was that Bob was playing electric guitar. Last time through, he had been keyboards only. But this time, he was not only playing, he was occasionally taking lead. Not that he should ever be confused with lead guitarist Denny Freeman, but he wasn't half bad, either.

The second thing I noticed was the color co-ordinated outfits in Dylan's band. All the guitarists wore grey jackets and black hats, but Bob wore a cool black jacket with a grey hat, he also had a white shirt and yellow tie, and looked more than a little dashing on stage. George Recile and Donnie Herron did not have the jacket/hat combos.

After Just Like a Woman, which featured Bob's longest lead of the night, he went to the keyboard and ripped in to The Levee's Gonna Break. The songs rocked, and Bob actually seemed to be having fun on stage, even goofing with some folks in the audience. He teased with the harmonica, finally using it for My Back Pages and a few songs after. His vocal delivery of the chorus of My Back Pages, a choppy staccato that drove home the words, got a big ovation.

During Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine), the tall bald guy with the ancient Bob Seger T-shirt re-appeared, along with the not quite ancient Bob Seger, and they settled in 4 rows directly in front of us. Seger the man stayed until the middle of Thunder on the Mountain, but tall bald guy (I have since learned that he is Bill Blackwell, Seger's road manager) came back in for the closer. We passed him in the concourse as we were leaving, he was talking loud in to his cell phone: All Along the Watchtower!
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