Concert Buzz

Bob Dylan Show


Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

July 30, 2009

1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5

by Phil Saylor

The Bob Dylan Show

Review by: Phil Saylor

The Verizon Wireless Amphitheater (VWA) was the venue for the show with Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Bob Dylan. A great venue but don’t buy Lot B parking passes unless you wear your hiking boots. I had wondered if Lot B was in Forsyth instead of Fulton County.  My wife assured me it was still Fulton.

Good food and expensive beer await you upon entry. End of July date and a 5:30 show time in Atlanta means it’s going to be hot which it was. The small amount of rain and breeze helped. My main complaint about the venue (which could be directed to the producer) is they never used the big screens. When Willie played it was broad daylight; good enough. When the screens didn’t come on half way through Mellencamp I they might be saving them for Mr. Dylan but it never happened.

The Show..........

Willie Nelson was Willie, great songs, good band, all around good performance. He let his sister play the piano, and I think I saw a few of his brothers walking around the venue. Will the Circle be Unbroken was heart felt and reprised later in his performance. I liked the occasional use of the stand up bass in all three acts. Willie is very personable with the audience. If he sees you pointing at him he’ll point back to recognize you. Willie’s harmonica player is a standout. Music from his famous song catalogue such as Crazy and On the Road Again unfolded in front of you and presented an audio-visual love fest.

John Mellencamp has a fantastic sound. The use of the accordion complimented his thin, tall Violinist who when both combined with the guitars and a good lick drummer filled the place with a New Orleans style blues, rock sound that, I think, was a pleasant surprise. I want to give a personal “thanks John” for your acoustic set. I’ve watched other artist attempt this with not as favorable results. Experience and self-assurance, from Mellencamp rendered a strong and entertaining portion of the show. John has a lot of songs about death. The question is, “Who wants to live to be 100?” answer; “someone who’s 99”. Well put John. This followed by the song I don’t need this body supports his new album Life, Death, Love and Freedom. Great new songs of stories told in a sophisticated way. Save Some Time to Dream is a great new song. I haven’t decided on a CD or download, (transitional period here). A singer, songwriter especially with the track record of Mellencamp is stuck playing his past songs over and over to please his audience; which is fine. This pays the bills and keeps biofuel in the buses. At 57 John is a developing artist who, if he is peaking remains to be seen. When John is 100 and I’m 103 maybe my review will denote a peak in his writing or performance. Good luck to both of us.

Bob Dylan was of course the headliner and first time seeing him for me. If the shows producer didn’t use the big screens for the show, they should have at least used them for Dylan’s lyrics. The audience could have appreciated the Dylan style of delivery mo betta.

I loved the intro stating the fact of Dylan being the poet laureate of rock. It also gave a little history plus info about his acceptance of Jesus. The stage was dark except for the pilot lights scattered about. When the music played, the lights came up and when the song was over the lights would go down. A smoke machine added to the ambiance of the mood. I think the staging was designed for a smaller venue than VWA offered. The contrast was first presented with Highway 61 when the lights came up and we got our first view of the whole stage design and set. The whole show would have been more captivating lit than the darker club setting. Sitting behind the rail in front of a walkway with my face buried in my binoculars I felt a tap on my leg. Looking down I saw this guy around my age and he said, “Hey, is that really him.” Say what? “Is that really Bob Dylan ‘cause it doesn’t look like him and it sure doesn’t sound like him”.  I assured him that it was Bob Dylan and he walked away semi satisfied. Bob’s band is great but the arrangements had a little too much continuity going on. Rock, blues, ragtime, and a little salvation army without the horns were predominating. Love the harmonica which is another parcel of fame belonging to Dylan.

Thanks Z-93 for the tickets even though I had to park in the B lot and sit on the lawn, great show overall. Next time these legendary troubadours come around I won’t have to be caller #9, I’ll just go out and buy some seats closer to the front.

This review is the subjective opinion of the individual reviewer and not of ConcertBuzz

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Rating: 1.8/5 (52 votes cast)

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