San Francisco, CA - October 17, 2006

This was probably my favorite show for sheer fun and antics, and the set list was great to me. Bob and I both wore our black cowboy hats (he had been going with the flat rimmed Bolero style hat up until tonight, I'd been going hatless). The day leading up to the show had been spent in the fog of a pretty bad hangover, but we managed to muster up energy to talk with people in line, including the security, about the fan club and hand out some buttons and stickers. At the suggestion of some of our friends, we brought one of the stickers in and stuck it on the outside of the barricade facing the stage. Fan Club here, representing! Here's some highlights from the show: She Belongs To Me ends with a high energy harmonica solo that lifts the show up and leaves it there for the rest of the night. It's one of those nights where you see and feel the energy turn and take off at a certain point. It's all great from here on, with Bob doing some of the funniest shit I've ever seen, pouring out top-notch music and entertainment. With Lonesome Day Blues Bob's really warmed up, bluesing up the vocals and having fun with it. I think I'm still alive! I'd say so, Bob. The band works together like a locomotive on this one, each chugging along separately to create a single, powerful machine. Rollin' down the track. A dramatic pause at "I tell myself something comin'...but it NEVER does!" An early Simple Twist of Fate is masterfully executed. I love Bob's singing on this tonight, playfully mixing up his phrasing on the verses, doing his mini-rap thing. How long - must he - wait - one more - time - fooooooor a - simple - twistooooooooooooooofate! Ends with a spectacular harmonica solo. Rollin' and Tumblin' rolls into slot 5 for this night, and I think this is the best one of these that I heard. The band explodes into it, Bob puts everything into every line, and the audience erupts! This song's really starting to feel like something of an anthem for the tour. I feel pretty rolled and tumbled right about now, with a couple days of hanging out on the San Francisco sidewalk under my belt, getting up at dawn to go down and lay in the shade! Bob starts cracking a couple times, perhaps because of the bouncing, pulsating, super-enthusiastic front row? The buds are on the vi-ha-ha-ine! Next, they do that incredible job that they do of completely shifting gears into a tender Boots of Spanish Leather. Sing me my boots. I always want to hear this one. Bob invests so much care into singing this song that it is always good. The verse with "diamonds from the deepest ocean" is particularly good tonight, with Bob singing it from deep down and kind of breathing out the ends of lines. Denny does some good playing on this, tasteful and interesting, but Bob seems to have the band on a bit of a short leash (at least he's not swearing at them tonight). I wish Bob would let him go a little bit more, as he cuts in with "Take heed." during some tasty little licks. But then Denny gets more, and does a little mimicking of Bob during the harp part at the end. Back into music of the explosive kind with Till I Fell in Love With You. Yay! I love this the way it's done now, with those crescendos at the end of each verse. One of the high points of the night for me, it really blows the roof off! Denny's playing in the instrumental interludes is hot, electric, bluesy, soaring. Bob's really into it, dancing around and laughing, stretching phrases and doing some adlibbing. "Gals like BiiIRDs.Aaah, they're flyin' A-WAY. When I'm gone, you will remember my name - Sure ya will!" George is cracking up, being highly entertained by Bob as are we. It amazes me that people say Bob is aloof or whatever on stage. Here he is interacting and connecting like no one else I've ever seen on a stage, with his music, his singing, his expressions, all the funny shit that he does. I Shall Be Released. I have to disagree with a review I read saying that backup vocals are missed on this one. I think I might feel that way about Knockin', but to me this is a solo song, a song of loneliness and personal redemption that does best with Bob's lone vocal. I'd say this is one of the best versions of this I've heard, great singing and harp. John Brown is really good. Bob sings it with spooky conviction, with a kind of sung whisper to some of the lines, like "I could see that his face looked just like mine." The band does a great job of winding it up and dropping out at the right moments. It ends with a long drawn out, "And he dropped his medals down into her haaaaaaand." Bob spits out the final lines of Summer Days. Summer nights are GAWN!, and the energy is high as they leave the stage for the fist time. When they come out for the encore and it's still dark, Bob walks out from his keyboard and kind of hangs at the right side of the stage near the front holding his hands out in front of him like he's casting a spell on the front rows (no need, we're already under it!), then he walks across the front looking out into the crowd and doing more funny shit. He lingers next to Tony as the lights come slowly up and the band is into the anticipatory intro of Thunder On The Mountain. Bob still feeling the music through his fingers the whole time, looking from Tony to George and out to us. He makes it back to his keyboard as the shotgun drumbeats launch into it, and this whole song is something to behold tonight. Stu's tearing it up on acoustic rhythm and it gives the number a rockabilly feel. Everyone is moving to it, on stage and off! George keeps looking over at Bob who is tapping his feet and pointing into the air with his left hand while playing with his right, swiveling his legs around and crouching down under his microphone, then look at us in the front row freaking out, then back to Bob doing more crazy shit, and he is just laughing the whole time. One whole verse has Bob turned to face the crowd, first with his finger keeping time in the air above his head, then open-palmed and pumping! Before the last verse in LARS, the band drops out for a beat and then comes crashing back in like they do it sometimes, and it's cool. Before introducing the band Bob thanks us and declares, "You sure are kind!" Then he says, "I wonder if you can guess what this one is." as they launch into Watchtower. There's some great howling guitar notes on this. Bob sings, "Plowmen dig my Er-Earth!" The song ends with a loud final acoustic strum from Stu - he may not get to play a lot but he's getting the last word, damn it! Bob's an entertaining man. He lingered a pretty long time squinting out at us and shifting his weight from foot to foot, with outspread hands. Nodding his head, yeah, yeah. Someone down the right tossed a bouquet. Bob walked over and picked it up, pointed it briefly at the crowd, and set it on the drum riser. And that's it (despite my hopes for one more for Jerry). See you down south!
Review Location: 
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA
Review Date: 
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Review Author: 
Caroline Schwarz