Portland, ME - November 9, 2006

The evening began stressfully-even though Rose and I bought our tickets through bobdylan.com's presale program, the Civic Center had no intention of allowing early entry. Yikes. I had to work today.I didn't have time to get a good place in line.will we be stuck in the back, far from the stage, in the middle of the maddening crowd? The gods are on our side, our line moves the quickest and we find ourselves at the front, dead center of the stage, one or two people back. Whew. I'll skip a review of the opening band (Jack White's side project, the Raconteurs). Dylan opened with "Cat's In the Well," a song I always forget is good, until I hear it live. Next up "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues"-despite all the newspapers' talk of Dylan doing songs radically different from concert to concert, Tom Thumb sounded like a close relative to the 1966 concerts. "Stuck Inside Of Mobile" followed: while a relatively standard version, I will never tire of all the different ways he can come up with to deliver the words, "Oooh Mama." "High Water" full tilt rocked out. I love the hint of banjo in this current version. While I sometimes get tired of hearing "Tangled Up in Blue," it is a crowd pleaser. "When the Deal Goes Down" followed and I feel like I know what Dylan was talking about when he complained of modern recording sound. This song is somewhat forgettable to me when I hear it on Modern Times, an album that I can't stop listening to. Tonight, the band plays it note for note right off the album, but it becomes alive, warm.altogether different. If there were more room (the show was sold out), all of us would have been waltzing around the room tonight. Listening to "Watching the River Flow," I had a realization that I only love this song live. I hate hearing it on Greatest Hits II.it's just too predictable somehow, for a Dylan song. Live, the predictability of its bluesiness is supplanted by its energy. At this point, the band rolled into "Most Likely You Go Your Way," "Desolation Row," and "Highway 61" and the band lost steam. It was telling that when "Most Likely" finished, Rose had a hard time distinguishing it from "Mobile," played earlier, and, while a new-comer to Bob live (this was her second show), she knows Blonde on Blonde very well. Ah, but it's all good as I never tire of hearing "Desolation" (#2 on my all time list). Without a doubt, "Spirit on the Water" was the highlight of the night. With the new song, the band got back it's energy, taking real delight in playing it. The crowd knew the song cold, sung along in parts, went crazy then Bob sang, "You ought to be a fool about me," and shouted back, "No we don't, Bob" in near unison when the lines "You think I'm over the hill/You think I'm past my prime," came up. The crowd knew its Modern Times. "Summer Days" was played with all the energy it deserves.then on to the standard encore.but wait.a new song made it into the encore! All Summer we've been hearing only "Rolling Stone" and "Watchtower." Hearing the opening noodles of "Thunder from the Mountain" when the band re-took the stage kept us cheering through the opening verse. Then the two old stand-bys and the night was over. On the wish list: "Nettie Moore" and "Working Man's Blues #2." I would have gladly traded them for "Mobile" and "Highway 61." But there are two more reason's to catch another show (as if I needed them). Set List
1. Cat's In The Well
2. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
3. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
4. High Water (For Charley Patton)
5. Tangled Up In Blue
6. When The Deal Goes Down
7. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
8. Watching The River Flow
9. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
10. Desolation Row
11. Highway 61 Revisited
12. Spirit On The Water
13. Summer Days
14. Thunder On The Mountain
15. Like A Rolling Stone
16. All Along The Watchtower
Review Location: 
Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, ME
Review Date: 
Thursday, November 9, 2006
Review Author: 
Will Everitt