Montreal Community Magazine: 2 SOLITUDES : Revue de la Communauté de Montréal - http://www.2solitudes.com
Yeah, he's 65, but Dylan's got some life in him yet
http://www.2solitudes.com/articles/97/1/Yeah-he039s-65-but-Dylan039s-got-some-life-in-him-yet.html
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by/par 2 SOLITUDES
Published/Publié 11/20/2008
 
In his four visits over the past half-dozen years, Bob Dylan has established a few things: late-career Dylan is as capricious as he ever was, prone to growling, turning familiar songs inside out, and laughing all the way - on the inside, at least...

Bell Centre gig draws 6,400 fans. Legend is capricious, growling, laughing

by T'CHA DUNLEVY,
The Gazette


In his four visits over the past half-dozen years, Bob Dylan has established a few things: late-career Dylan is as capricious as he ever was, prone to growling, turning familiar songs inside out, and laughing all the way - on the inside, at least.

Things were no different last night, as the legendary iconoclast played to an enthusiastic crowd of 6,400 faithful at the Bell Centre - a little more than half of the 11,750 who attended his 2006 performance at the venue. But then, he did have a sold-out jazz fest gig last year at Place des Arts.

When you're on your third time around, touring for the same album (2006's Modern Times), you've got to expect the excitement to die down a bit. And yet on stage, the 67-year-old Dylan wasn't lacking for inspiration.

He launched into his set at a gallop to the bluesy boogie of Cat's in the Well. His voice was an awful rasp - a croak, really, even more so than usual. But like a trusty old clunker, it warmed up. And Dylan helped it along, dipping into Lay, Lady, Lay and Just Like a Woman in short order (interrupted by the lilting Lonesome Day Blues).

The blues carried him through the night, from a stompin' rendition of The Levee's Gonna Break to the swinging Highway 61 Revisited and set-ending Thunder on the Mountain. But there was also a strong thread of soul, classic R&B and, in the night-ending All Along the Watchtower, spare and strident rock.

Old material fused with new as he mixed in several songs from Modern Times (including the breezy standout Spirit of the Water) and a couple from 2002's Love and Theft. Emotions ran the gamut: Masters of War was dark and earnest; Like a Rolling Stone was near-unrecognizable, yet jubilant.

He spent much of the night with his back to the audience, or at least half of it, standing at a keyboard on one side of the stage, venturing out regularly to deliver a quivering harmonica solo or, occasionally, to sing from centre stage. He addressed the crowd just once, introducing his band during the encore.

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VIDEO FROM CONCERT: Dylan playing "Like a Rolling Stone"
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A few words about that band, which was tight and nimble, often lifting songs to another level, where the music takes over and the artist's loaded history is forgotten, if only for a second.

This, it seems, is what Dylan still seeks - to surprise us, his musicians, himself - and to lose himself, to give himself over to the moment. Hence the ever-changing set lists and the artistic liberties taken with his repertoire.

Whatever the methodology, it worked. While the classics were there, they were never rendered with anything resembling a mere sense of duty. This would have been a great show in a roadside blues bar. But even in the Bell Centre, it felt surprisingly vibrant. Old man Dylan's got some life in him yet.

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Montreal, Quebec
Centre Bell - November 18, 2008
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Band Members:

Bob Dylan - keyboard, guitar, harp
Tony Garnier - bass
George Recile - drums

Stu Kimball - rhythm guitar
Denny Freeman - lead guitar
Donnie Herron - violin, viola, banjo, electric mandolin, pedal steel, lap steel


Song List:
1. Cat's In The Well
2. Lay, Lady, Lay
3. Lonesome Day Blues
4. Just Like A Woman
5. The Levee's Gonna Break
6. John Brown
7. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
8. Spirit On The Water
9. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
10. This Wheel's On Fire
11. Highway 61 Revisited
12. Masters Of War
13. Summer Days
14. Ain't Talkin'
15. Thunder On The Mountain
   
  (encore)
16. Like A Rolling Stone
17. All Along The Watchtower