The Reet, JFK, G and I pick up Yvette arriving (toting a fresh Junior's cheesecake) from Bay Ridge at Union Station in New Haven with thoughts of Frank Pepe on our minds. Ouch, the line at the legendary Wooster Street pie haunt is out onto the sidewalk as we drive past and we're on a tight schedule. No Pepe's white clam pie today. Off to see the wonder of it all up I95. It's not quite Highway 61, but it's where the author will be playin' for us tonight.
|Krewe relaxing at Hard Rock|
The traffic is backed up to a crawl, so we bide our time listening to the Huskies try for their BCS (aka greedy sons of bitches opposed to real playoff system) berth. The traffic finally breaks and we arrive at The Wonder of It All around three. A quick lunch at the Hard Rock, where we chat up the demerits of Kiss v Journey. I am forced to defend Kiss because Journey has no redeeming human value and Kiss did have some good moments. JFK says that is irrelevant because Journey wasn't rock 'n roll in the first place. Up to the rooms for some rest. Reet goes immediately downstairs for video poker. The show is at eight, so we slip into the Scorpian Bar for some marguaritas and pulled pork tacos. We're entertained by a group of twenty-somethings in their little black dresses on a girls' night out. But enough tomfoolery, we've got a show to catch. The usual red carpet gig (Yes, Joan, I'm wearing Brett Favre Wrangler jeans, but without the open fly feature), then through the wellwishers down to our primo seats about row fifteen rows up in the orchestra section. Oh, that playful Bobby, he posted a sign at the entrance encouraging everyone to stand and dance during the show. You just know that means the brawny drunk guy right in front of you will be shaking his big ass in your face all night. Whatever. The house light dim and Our Man is introduced as something akin to the coming of Jesus Christ (not sure if he's back to being Jewish after the born-again gig). C'mon, Bobby, kick our asses.
- “Gonna Change My Way of Thinking” - The show opens up with Bob in a now-familiar pose, standing at the keyboards in a dark suit of some kind and that light colored hat of his. The band is Blues Brother attired and playing loud. They sound good. The guy three rows in front of me is juiced. I can tell, he's standing and blocking my view. Figures. He finally relaxes and takes his seat.
- “Lay, Lady, Lay” - Whoa, Bob! What are you doing? He's actually out front at the center mic with his mouth harp for this Nashville Skyline classic. Granted, the voice is pretty shot, but I've got to give it to him, he sounds pretty good. Nice harp riffs, too.
- “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” - Holy cow, now he's strapping on his axe. Nice. Also, the sound system at the MGM is magnificent and they are doing some really cool things with the lighting, sometimes casting shadows onto the back curtains, while other times projecting images of the stage players.
- “Tangled Up in Blue” - Love Blood On the Tracks and this cut in particular, but I think Bob passed on my fav lyric (see article title). I'm thinking the lead guitar player looks like Kevin Bacon.
- “Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee” - He plays this all the time, but I've never warmed to it.
- “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”
- “High Water (For Charlie Patton)
- “Visions of Johanna” - Took me awhile to realize what song this was. Great song from Blonde On Blonde.
- “Summer Days”
- “Love Sick”
- “Highway 61 Revisited” - No, not the epic Highway I95 from earlier in the day, but the 1965 one. Tough time following this lyrically, but it sounded great.
- “Workingman’s Blues #2″
- “Thunder on the Mountain” - The Reet checks out somewhere around this time. She's been a trouper, but is not a big fan of Bob. I think he saw her leave and was not pleased. This song dragged a bit for my taste.
- “Ballad of a Thin Man” - Best song of the night, sung front and center in a hoarse growl with the band cooking behind him. Closed out the main set. The crowd erupts.
- “Jolene” (encore) - Bob reappears with the band. I knew he couldn't leave without 'Rolling Stone'. The huge guy and his girlfriend seated in front of G and Yvette have been quietly pounding beers throughout the concert, but now decide it's time to git up 'n shake it up, blocking out the view.
- “Like a Rolling Stone” (encore) - The Highway 61 Revisited classic ends the show with the crowd standing and cheering, lots of them coming down front, thereby driving the ushers nuts. First, he finally thanks us, then introduces the band. Great ending, although they fake us out and don't bring up the house lights right away, making us think for a minute that Bob might slip in another..
The Reet meets us as we exit; looks like she passed on the Dylan Neverending Tour tee shirt. Nightcap? We find a casino bar back at the Grand Pequot and order a round of margaritas. While waiting, I stand next to an enormously tall young lady, standing alone, looking like she's out for some high roller love. And I'm not completely sure she's a she either. But that's not for this cowboy to find out. Good fun. Great concert.
Below are two clips that Yvette managed before the ubiquitous ushers stopped her (God forbid there be more Dylan basement tapes!):
UPDATE: Today I received an email from the Bob Dylan police asking me to take these videos off YouTube. Sorry.