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Fall 2007 - Caroline's Headin' For Another Joint Journal
Submitted by Girlofthenorcal... on Sat, 07/21/2012 - 5:59pm
Hitting the first shows of a tour is a unique thrill and something I try to do as often as possible. Of course I also try to hit some middle and end shows as often as I can, and while the band is sometimes tighter and the songs played more varied further into the tour, I just love being in that first crowd to watch and hear it all come together once again, and getting to give Bob a big welcome back to the road first-hand. The fact that ACL was the only GA show announced for the tour also meant that of course we had to go, even though the timing was not quite convenient (coming on the heels of me returning from a Michigan visit, Kait being out of town the weekend before, and both of us about dead broke when we had to get the tickets, flights, rental car, and hotel rooms). BUT, Bob is not about doing what’s convenient. Bob’s about making it happen and just doing it. He is also often about surprises, and we got a pleasant one when a second Texas show was announced a week out. Alright! Bob times two even better than Bob times one! We snagged our Stubbs tickets without a problem, and headed down to the Lone Star State ready to rock it out.
We flew in on Thursday afternoon, which enabled us to have a relaxed night out on the town in Austin. What else but Margaritas at Guerro’s and dancing at the Continental Club? At the C.C., where we took in a couple of local funk / soul bands, we met up with a friend we know through Jimmie Vaughn; at Guerro’s we ran into some friends we know through Bob Dylan. It was a fun night to kick things off, yet still appropriately low-key for resting up for the days and nights ahead.
Friday we sleep until 10:00 and head on over to the festival for the day. Ziegenbocks and Asleep at the Wheel to kick things off. Nothing like beers for breakfast at high noon under the searing Texas sun, all to the tune of Miles and Miles of Texas, San Antonio Rose, Route 66, I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine, Hot Rod Lincoln and, of course, Big Balls in Cowtown: Workin’ on the railroad Sleepin’ on the ground Eatin’ saltine crackers Ten cents a pound Big Ball’s in Cowtown We’ll all go down Big Ball’s in Cowtown We’ll dance around! I love Asleep at the Wheel. Ray Benson reminds me of one of my favorites, Greg Brown, only Texanized, and nothin could be wrong with that! We see Del McCoury Band next; Del introduces a song by one of their “favorite bluegrass artists, Bob Dylan” and they play an upbeat version of Walk Out in the Rain. Mofro and The Reverend Horton Heat round out today’s music (at least that which I want to remember).
We head over to meet friends Joanna and Jay at their hotel, grab some more Mexican food and margaritas down the street, and crash on the hotel room sofa bed (pretty comfortable as sofa beds go) drifting off with the satisfying thought that the next time I wake up it’ll be the day we’re seeing Bob… We get out there early of course, and this time our lack of thorough prep has stranded us without sleeping bags or chairs, key components of a long day in line. Fortunately Kait had thought at least to bring a thin tapestry that we can spread out and, thanks to being pretty burned out from the previous day and night, we manage to snooze a little in the wee hours. Upon waking up a second time, I see we are joined by a purple sleeping bag that Kait has accidentally kicked in the head, our good friend and Fan Club participant Ali from New Orleans. Carol from SF is also there and we have a wonderful time hanging out with her over the next days. We meet some friendly local folk too (but tell me, how can you be from Austin and spend a day like this in black jeans?!?!), which makes melting on the gravel sidewalk in that unbelievable sun a bit more bearable. Kinky’s walking around outside the venue before the show, dressed to the nines in black and turquoise cowboy garb that has to be making him sweat like crazy, and of course smoking a big cigar; I give him a Fan Club button and he says thanks. Right before it’s time to go in we talk to a reporter from the Austin Statesman. We tell him a lot of interesting stuff about the Fan Club and meeting Bob and why we love the music; he writes an article about what we’re wearing and where we went to the bathroom during the day! It’s irritating and a bit embarrassing when we read the story a couple nights later, but someone points out that they always will talk about what Bob’s wearing (Bob made a point of this himself when we talked to him!) so I guess we’re in good company. The shows are immense, hot fun! The Modern Times songs are better than ever, once again. Both Thunder on the Mountains in their accustomed first encore slots top those of last tour overall; the song’s found a really good groove that’s kind of midway between the breakneck speed Thunders of the first tour, and over the summer when Bob put more pauses into it. Crash on the Levee’s become one of my favorites, Bob really gets moving behind the keyboard on that one. I get my first Beyond the Horizon, Denny’s doing some crazy shit on this one, and we keep our string of Spirit on the Water going too. Bob looks happy and sounds great. It’s cool how he and his band can fit themselves into a little hotbox like Stubbs BBQ one night and then turn it on for a crowd of 65,000 the next. I’ve seen Bob in small places look a little freaked out and maybe claustrophobic at the closeness of the crowd – not so tonight. He’s looking around and laughing, stabbing the air with a pointed finger to emphasize lines or cue the band. He even strolls out from behind the keyboard and takes a few steps closer once or twice. At the end he looks to where we have a Fan Club sticker on the rail and outspreads his palms and smiles at us, yay! They are all like 7 feet away from us; during Watchtower at one point Kait and I are both yelling and jumping up and down and Tony takes a step forward and opens his mouth and yells a big “Yeeeeah!” At the festival Bob steps out and plays to 65,000 people. He’s locked in and you can just feel the energy elevated several levels, no fucking around here and the band is like a tornado. It’s great because there are a lot of young fans around who’ve never seen Bob or just once or twice, and they love it. The newspapers will complain that he doesn’t let the cameras come in for close-ups to show on the big screen, but he doesn’t need to go for that shit. I’ll get a full review of this one up soon. All the repeat songs were better Sunday than at Stubbs, with churning instrumentals in the middle, and Bob the consummate bandleader bouncing and bobbing and looking from one to the other then out to the audience as if cueing us too! He’s got his eye on everything. Tangled is one of the best and Bob really starts laughing at us freaking out during the pertinent lines: Keep on keepin’ on!!!! We respond with lots of fisting on Highway 61. I’m glad I didn’t explode a lung and die on the ½ mile run in, because I would have hated to miss this show. But ya know, that whole long run, the heat, the headache inducing, abhorrent Bloc Party (hate them, even if Bob did play them on Theme Time), the pussy boy Ben Kweller with his screaming 14 year old fans, and the fact that we couldn’t leave to go get beer during the day – none of that matters as soon as Bob hits the stage. It really is like the song: What does it matter what price I pay? (I still won’t pay for those damn hot seats though…) Rainy Day Women on Sunday night conjures up an encounter with some nice hippies in the hallway of our Super 8 later that night, and they have the Humboldt goods so we have a relaxing late night before the long trip home. It’s always a long trip home when you live up where we do, and our hearts are heavy because there’s no certainty we’ll see any other shows on this tour, though we’re trying. It’ll certainly be a long, long time before we see Bob again from the front row, and that makes us sad. When we get into Baby Blue (my Saturn) and we’re traveling by land back home again on the various ‘80’s out of San Jose and through the East Bay, Kait asks me what I want to hear and I tell her something soothing and mildly sad and she puts in Blood on the Tracks. Of course in two nights Bob goes and plays the song he’s never done off that one, and an even more surprising 2nd Ryman night, ah the suffering is unending! Damn it, hate missing stuff. At least the Fan Club has some good representation there and reviews from the front row on the way. Thanks to everyone once again for the great company, the sofa-bed, the chairs, the water, and thanks most of all to Bob for pumping out the love so masterfully once again! -- Caroline