Denver, CO - October 24, 2006

We were at the top of our game. Well rested from an extra day off filled with naps and leisurely strolls. Just like Bob (apparently) we were also well fed thanks to The Irish Snug, The Rock Bottom Brewery and The Rio Grande On Blake (with the 3 margarita limit). I had the easiest time getting into the venue through the confusion of the 8 lines of people all stomping and snorting like ponies in the gates. For some reason unknown, my attendant must have liked me and sent me in a good 30 seconds or so before everyone else and before the pre-entry folks were even though the door. Out of habit I started to gently trot for the front past a security guy who asked "Why are you running? There's no one even behind you." I replied that I didn't know and continued on in my mission to grab some space for my gals and friends, both local and on the road. The security guy was laughing at me since there were hardly any people coming into sight when I had myself sprawled across the railing. "Gotta look out for the people that have been outside all day" I explained. He nodded in agreement. A couple of our local friends, Pam and her husband got the spots next to us and Deb, who was also seeing her last show of the tour, was next to them. Dusty and splitpeashell were in the second row, just to our right. They had gone from 25th in line to 79th thanks to the people behind us who invited all of their friends, neighbors and family to join them around door time. Everyone was in place and ready as we stood up around 10 til 8 figuring it wouldn't be much longer. At 8:45 there was some relief. The marquee above The Fillmore advertised Bob, Followed by a band called Slightly Stoopid. It left me thinking very stoopid. The show was sold out and the marquee changed over the hours of the day to Just Bob Dylan, then Bob Dylan and His Band, to Bob Dylan and His Band Sold Out.
I don't often write reviews of shows because outside of the moment, I find it hard to accurately describe and capture what really happens. This is the same reason that I rarely ever read reviews too. That said, I am going to attempt to review Denver because it was an experience worth revisiting. We arrived in Denver 2 days before the show, skipping San Diego. It was a bit disheartening to miss Spirit on the Water since it's Caroline favorite song. I felt confident that we'd hear it in Denver, but I was proven wrong. We were given a set that was far more interesting than any on the tour so far with a stellar song choice and some great moments. Bob was struggling at times though. Denver seemed full of struggles. All of the shows we saw this tour were crowning achievements in some way, this one just had a harder climb. I felt like Caroline and I both struggled to get into our groove and Bob was too. I'm sure I've never heard Bob make an excuse for himself like he did in Denver saying "We're kinda tired tonight as you may have noticed." It also seemed like he was pretty full after he said "Sometimes when you famous you get to eat in nice restaurants for free.we been eating today in some of the finest restaurants in Denver." I think this is the first time I've heard him refer to the location of the show on stage...but that's neither here nor there. The night was hampered by sound problems, lights that didn't work and possibly a little altitude confusion. The altitude change is a rough one. I know this from the time I spent trying to get it together in Denver. We had days to prepare and I expect Bob had little more than 36 hours so I can sympathize. I felt like I wasn't ever getting enough air til we took off to leave. It's hard to stay awake when you come from sea level to the mountains by plane. That said, Bob hardly looked awake when he came on at 8:45. This show had some really high points and I am certain that Bob gave us everything he had to offer us. He was smiling, dancing and showing us his hands for much of the show and as for song choice, who could ask for anything more. Before the show they changed the cue sheets 3 times, leaving the roadies and those of us observing fairly excited and confused.
In some ways this show reminded me of Shepard's Bush '03, well aside from Quinn, Jokerman and Dear Landlord anyway....Bob looked the same to me, acted in a similar way. It seemed to me from the second it ended to be this year's version of that show. The Band
Denny hasn't always impressed me thus far. I know it's cause this band is still young. Bob recognizes that they have great potentional-I heard it right from his mouth. This tour though, he's been kicking up his leg and ripping off some very impressive solos. Bob is obviously really happy with Donnie, introducing him twice when he felt that the audience hadn't given him enough praise. I'm not exactly sure what Stu is doing up there. He's playing the rhythm, I know. But I am not sure what the point is. Tony and George and flawless and fun. Those two really keep it all doing and their praises should never cease to be sung. The Show
The band was wearing burgundy suits, and was well into the intro portion of Sweet Marie when Bob popped out from behind the curtain in Denver. No one can fault a show that has 7 firsts for a tour, and this one certainly had some gems. I love watching Bob sing when he closes his eyes and focuses on the song. Joey was one of theses moments in Denver. The whole performance was great and I think this was the first time I heard it since Joliet '03. Bob really took to it on Joey and the band was working as a driving unit. When I see Bob close his eyes and his lips curl back into a cross between a snarl and a purr, it seems like he is really thinking of the words, feeling the words and not just singing. I've noticed this more times this tour than in previous ones. It seems like a lot is riding on this tour to Bob. Words are so precisely enunciated, and songs so crisply preformed that the devotion and consideration are obvious. It's as if the song and the lyrics are blossoming out of his mouth, unfurling themselves for us to grasp, hold onto, understand and feel. This is one of the best things about Bob. The emotion is so great at times and the feeling on his face so pained at times that is hard to take. It's impossible not to feel too. At the other end of the spectrum, he's the funniest guy out there. His humor is underhanded in a beautifully sinister way and his smile is so genuine. I always like to hear Under the Red Sky. It was a treat for our friends from Texas who, earlier that day, had said they wanted to hear it. I can't think of anytime that it wasn't well performed.
Things Have Changed has always been one of my favorites to hear live. Over the past year I've only heard it once or twice. This was one of the points of the show when Bob seemed to be having a really great time dancing and pointing. The current arrangement seemed to be a bit deconstructed. It didn't have the constant instrumentation that it has on the studio version or the versions played in the Sexton/Campbell band. It sounded more basic and raw, more suitable for the style of this band. I was one of the first to recognize the intro to Shooting Star which was another relative rarity these days. This song showcases the band in the opposite way of Things Have Changed. Things Have Changed shows their talent at making a large band sound small, yet bold. Shooting Star affords them the opportunity to use all the instruments to create a billowing and beautiful full sound. In this case, it was as if the a music was moving out from the sides of the stage surrounding Bob's singing and hovering out over the audience. Bob closed his eyes tight, cocked his head to the side and let the words roll off his tongue.
Honest with Me was unexpected. I had made the assumption that HWM was gone. It had a good run, and though most people were glad to see it go, this was a great version. It was reminiscent of older versions with emphasis on certain beats (the off beats?). Sometimes when a song is out for awhile it comes back strong and this version was fun and rollicking. The crowd really got into it and there wasn't a moment to think twice as it drove right through to the end without a second thought. Wheel's on Fire was definitely ablaze. It was menacing , rockin' and forceful. Bob was dancing and laughing along with those bopping in the crowd. The way the word "lace" came out with the extended LLLLL and the snake-like "sssss..." on the end was bone chilling. He stood there at the keyboard, focused and staunch, looking out into the audience as if he was scolding them for misbehavior. Between lines though he looked back to George and Donnie laughing at his own seriousness. Masters of War is always good these days. Bob's focus is sometimes unnerving. In Denver it featured a toned down lighting scheme, a more dark and sinister look. Bob and the boys left not a second to doubt the seriousness of the matters laid out in the song and the gravity on his face could make anyone snap out of the giddiness a good time at a concert can leave you with and take you back to the reality of these times. Whether Bob is making an intentional political statement or not, the crowd always eats it up. The band busted through Rollin' and Tumblin' and then walked off stage. Leaving most of us who weren't counting in the front confused and wondering where Summer Days had gone. When the lights never came up the applause in The Fillmore was spotty as most people in the joint were also expecting Summer Days. As the realization that it was the end of the first set sank in, the praise picked up.
The lights were still down when the band was back in position and they started the beginning part of Thunder on the Mountain just as the lights snapped back on. It was beautifully timed. Bob held his hands out as if he was gaining power from the sound of the band though his palms and the crowd burst into applause. In the grand scheme of things, distances don't seem that far. Many miles from home and a mile above sea level, we stood separated and but so close to a person that has a pretty hard job. The expectations hoisted upon the shoulders of a person who is willed to smile and entertain are great. Everyone has days when they just aren't feeling the greatest. Sometimes in some nameless city, it has to be a challenge to HAVE TO play to people and work though it. Every night, facing an expectant crowd, that are waiting with bated breath to see the show of their lives. Many people that I encountered after the show in Denver did have the time of their lives and experienced a great show that only Bob can put on. Aside from the weariness and technical problems this was a challenging set for the band and bob, Shaken up song placement and relative rarities kept everyone on stage and in the audience alike on their toes. Given the circumstances they did an excellent job. I loved that they stepped up to the challenge and went over the top in Denver. It was a real treat for our last show this tour.
Review Location: 
The Fillmore, Denver, CO
Review Date: 
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Review Author: 
Kait Runevitch