Love Sick 4-10-09
Barely avoiding the pounding hail, I filed into the Heineken Music Hall. It’s a fine venue with a scuffed up dance floor and plenty of room to flop around. Long bars surrounded the perimeter – each attendee had his or her own bartender. There were even some Human Heinekens - a pair of young men selling brew with mini-kegs strapped to their backs. Anything goes in Amsterdam, times are tough, this is the place where the weird go to get stranger. Well almost anything goes, a no smoking sign was flashed upon the wall.
“When I Paint My Masterpiece” was gold in the second spot. Bob’s down-singing thing is back - his vocal inflections grumbling into a powerful rumble. Looking spiffy, the maestro was dressed in black with matching green shirt and tie. I thought of Garcia and Danko during “Masterpiece.” I don’t wish I was back in the land of Coca-cola just yet, but I might after 72 hours more of debauchery. The European flavor continued with a fine “Boots of Spanish Leather.” The Bob Dylan Show’s changing black backdrop was tasteful.
“Rolled and Tumbled” sounded a little out of whack and “Po Boy” barely recovered, though I was excited to see “Po Boy” for the first since it was debuted on 4-30-05. “Working Man Blues” shined, Dylan vocals were on for this recession special. Bob continued to flaunt his recent masterpieces with a stomping “High Water.” Donnie strummed some banjo as Tony and George thundered and rattled the arena all night. The axe men were competent and supportive, but they didn’t sparkle on anything. “Love Sick” was a gift – the Red Light District Special, the beat was pounded with gritty precision – catapulting into another bone rattling ride down “Highway 61.” The mystical roll of fate continued with “Nettie Moore.”
My friends, that portion of the concert was delicious. However, there seemed to be a lot of talking in the crowd. “Summer Days” was hot and “Like a Rolling Stone” was mundane. The crowd was lame, mustering meager enthusiasm to bring Bob back for the encore. I actually enjoyed “Spirit on the Water” in its new spot as second encore. Jet lagged and emotionally exhausted, I headed straight back to Hotel Linda, where I will be hunkered-down for this three night run. There’s three steep flights of stairs leading to my room, a highway to hell. If anyone wants to visit, you have to sign a medical waiver before you start hiking up the stairs, and you may cough up a spleen before you get there. My reward once I get there is a 6x8 foot room with a cot size bed, dirty red carpet and enough dust for a Woody Guthrie ballad. I did get some much needed sleep, though. It’s a new morning and Bob’s just begun leaving his greasy trail.