Las Vegas, NV - July 16, 2011

OMG!! (as they say). I am still levitating from this show. I thought Bob and his Band were on fire the previous night at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa. Tonight they were as scorching hot as the pavement in Vegas. I think this was one of my favorite, maybe even my favorite, show from the last 3 or 4 years. The Pearl Concert Theater is small with 2500 seats arranged in a U-shape
around the stage. Dark, murky lighting ("the light in this place is really bad.......") and very hushed as people found their seats. There was no background music playing------just people gathering and speaking in whispers almost. It reminded me of that Shirley Jackson short story "The Lottery" when the townspeople gathered in quiet expectation of what was to come. Then -- Bob and the Band came onstage and we all exploded in cheers and excitement as he led off with "Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat". You know, I have read that Bob thinks this is the best band that he has ever had. Well, tonight sure lent credence to that statement. Stu, Tony, Donnie, George and Charlie, you were at the top of your game. Specifically, I have to single out "Simple Twist of Fate". I swear, y'all, it sounded like Bob had the string section of an orchestra behind him. Donnie making his violin weep; Tony playing his standup bass with a bow which added to the depth and fullness of that orchestral sound; Stu's clear, soft, beautiful rhythms, and Charlie and Bob's guitars emitting the sweetest sounds ever strummed. And last, but not least, George in the background, always there, adding his part to this beautiful
ensemble. Bob's voice, strong and clear, with that intonation and inflection where he can twist the knife or rip your heart out. Visceral and powerful. WOW!!!!! Thank you Bob and Band. This is one I'll carry in my memory forever.

Next up, "Highway 61 Revisited". The previous night in Costa Mesa Bob and his Band played this in a jazzy mellow kind of snap your fingers "Route 66" style. In retrospect, it really was "cool". Kudos to Bob and the Band. Bob's creative genius at work again. But tonight----that rollicking, rip roaring version that brings everybody to their feet. Another beautiful "Forgetful Heart" came next. An even more ominous "Ballad of a Thin Man" than the night before. The dark murky theater adding to the spooky shadow on the wall. I think Bob knew they were really smokin' tonight. A couple of times when they finished a song and he turned away from his keyboard to get ready to launch into the next song, he gave a little up and down pump with his clenched fists as in "Yeah, nailed it!" Made me smile big time.

Then, OH NO!!!!! Say it ain't so!! "Like a Rolling Stone". So soon, too soon. Here come the tears. "Watchtower" and "Blowin' in the Wind". They line up to receive our hoots and cheers and applause, then poof! They are gone. Quietly, we exit. Too full of emotion to even speak. Thank you Bob. Thank you Band.

Review Location: 
Las Vegas, NV
Review Date: 
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Review Author: 
Colleen McCray