Dylan & the Grateful Dead

Monday, April 13, 2009



Round two at Heineken Music Hall was ragged early on. A short sloppy Maggie’s Farm was followed by a Mr. Tambourine which was enjoyable, but would have been better if the lyrics weren’t butchered. Man in the Long Black Coat caught me off guard, especially the swampy shuffling arrangement that ended with a sublime fadeout. The Cowboy Band donned black suits with shiny black leather jackets for the occasion. Dylan looked like the leader of a ragtime band with his white top hat, matching suit and black striped tie. It was a larger, more enthusiastic audience than the night before, though both shows were sold out. On both nights extra tickets were available at the box office, I was the chief beneficiary of the pre show tickets on both nights.

Dylan and his band wreaked havoc with a savage “When the Levee Breaks.” Levee is more explosive each time they play it – a battering ram of a jam. The performance continued with some an impressive trifecta: “When the Deal Goes Down” – “Things Have Changed” – “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.” The crowd roared its approval for Hattie. The surprise of the night was a supercharged macho jaunt through “Tough Mama.” Dylan adlibbed “Tough Mama, put your arms around me wide like a circle around the sun…Tough Mama, must be time to get on the road again.” “Working Man Blues” was so great the night before, Dylan did it again, wouldn’t mind seeing it once tonight. “I can live on rice and beans.”

Glorious sun rained down on Amsterdam during the afternoon hours, every citizen poured out into the streets packing cafes and picking tulips and just walking around. After several pints and an intensive coffee shop session, I stood outside a church and listened to the clanging of the bells at 3PM. I think I could live in this city for a few months. Anyway, the reason I’ve gone off on this little rant is that the daily pleasure I experienced began to take its toll on me. I could barely stand for the remainder of the concert – my ability to review the rest of the show was severely hampered. After dutifully remaining for the show’s entirety, I took the Metro back to Hotel Linda, hiked up the stairs and engaged in some rejuvenating sleep. Looking forward to the funky finale tonight. Happy Easter.

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