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Live Show: Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler – St. Paul MN 11-7-12

November 9, 2012

I tweeted the other night that I have seen Dylan about a dozen times and this show ranked in my top three.   What I liked about the show was:

  1. An amazing warm-up act – Mark Knopfler played a generous 80 minutes.  I am longtime Dire Straits and Knopfler fan, but outside of seeing Dire Straits in the mid-80s I have not seen Knopfler live.  He had an eight piece band that mixed folk, country, rock and Celtic music.  They sounded great.
  2. Dylan really played the piano – for the last several years Dylan has been playing the keyboards and in the few shows I have seen he used it as prop. This show he had a baby grand and he actually played it.  He had it mixed high enough to actually hear it.
  3. Dylan was physically animated  – when not behind the piano he was front and center.  He moved his body, granted he wasn’t Prince, but he wasn’t a mannequin either.  Dylan has developed marionette stage mannerisms that are oddly engaging.
  4. Song selection – the classic hits, but also the obscure.  For me the thrills were “Tangled Up in Blue” (from the classics) and “Blind Willie McTell” (from the obscure).   “Tangled Up in Blue” was made extra special by a subtle walk on by Knopfler.
  5. Arrangements – Dylan is known for constantly tweaking his songs to the point they have new melodies.  Dylan continues to evolve his late era sound which synthesizes 20th Century pop music.
  6. Presentation – a very simple clean stage with sepia lighting was perfect match music.

Although it was not perfect:

  1. Arenas suck – Xcel is as good an arena as you will find, but it still an arena.  This show would have been transcendent in a theater.
  2. Crowd – This crowd as lethargic as you get and excited to get home.  When the clock hit 10:00 people started leaving like it was the late innings of blowout ball game, by 10:30 I thought I had missed the fire alarm – there was a steady stream.  Why would you spend good money and leave early?

For the professional’s point of view see the following reviews:

Set List:

1. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
2. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
3. Things Have Changed
4. Tangled Up in Blue
5. Early Roman Kings
6. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
7. Summer Days
8. Blind Willie McTell
9. Highway 61 Revisited
10. Spirit on the Water
11. Thunder on the Mountain
12. Ballad of a Thin Man
13. Like a Rolling Stone
14. All Along the Watchtower
15. Blowin’ in the Wind


From → Music Reviews

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