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Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan’s Minor League Stadium Tour

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The other night, I went to Dodd Memorial Stadium, home of the Norwich Navigators, to see Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. I’m not gonna lie- I mainly went to see Bob Dylan. A band called the Greencards opened up the show, and they were a really good acoustic-country rock band. They had this one guy who played the Ukelalae (sp?) who was insanely good. After they were done, Willie Nelson was on next. But first, a big man who was possibly Willie’s manager came out to talk about Willie’s newest products.

The manager detailed Willie’s four new albums for 2005, including one where he plays reggae. Yes, reggae. There was an audible laugh in the crowd after the manager said that. Later, the manager mentioned that Willie is going to be in Dukes of Hazzard the movie, which brought on yet another audible laugh. As the set opened, a gigantic Texas flag unfurled. I thought Willie’s set was pretty good, and although I don’t really appreciate the country music that much, I still appreciated his talent on the guitar.

Afterwards came Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan is definitely an eccentric artist. He is not the kind of person who would pump out a “greatest hits” concert. He only played two songs I recognized. People didn’t like this, and actually started leaving. I thought it was pretty good though, as Dylan went for a more rock feel than his folksy origins. Another thing about Dylan is that he rearranges all of his songs for concert. Thus, even the songs that were familiar were often hard to recognize. His voice is also pretty bad, and it is hard to understand what he is saying. As a result, I just focused on the music, and the band was incredible. Dylan spent most of the night on the keyboard, with some harmonica solos built in there. The best part of the night was at the end, where I got to go down on the floor, as people left. He played a really good song, then, in the most staged thing ever, essentially nodded to the audience and walked off. We cheered for about ten minutes, then they came back. The finale was “Like a Rolling Stone,” and that was definitely the best part of the night. I give it an 8/10 overall, not bad for my first show. I thought Willie’s segment was too long (1.5 hours) and Bob’s was too short (1.5 hours).

I think it’s a great thing that two legends of music like Bob and Willie are doing a minor league baseball park tour. There were only a couple of thousand people there, and because it was a smaller venue, the sound was better preserved.

In summary, the music was very good, even though the two men headlining weren’t very big talkers. I would recommend this tour to anyone, and it should be coming soon to a minor league ballpark near you.

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About Alex Pelan

  • Linda

    Willie’s tax problems arose out of bad advice from a tax planner re: a tax shelter. He has since, many, many years ago, paid the IRS the millions he owes them, after serious litiation and negotiations. Please, please don’t spread false information about Willie not paying his taxes! He has paid more taxes to US government then your and my families combined, probably. HE is a great humanitarian. I’m glad you liked his set. He is a true American Icon. Please get your facts straight before you blog on and on. Misinformation gives all bloggers a bad name.

  • Alex Pelan

    Thank you for pointing that out to me. The entry has been changed to reflect that. This is simply a case of me typing what someone told me without researching, which is quite a bad excuse. I’ll make sure to double check next time.

  • The Theory

    Ok, I saw this tour when they stopped by Clipper Magazine Stadium on Sunday. AH-MAZE-ING.

    The Green Cards were technically proficient, though when the songs had singing it was rather boring.

    Willie Nelson blew me away. I was rather unfamiliar with his music, but he took complete control of the stage. And his beat up guitar is a sight to behold.

    Bob Dylan was very very fine, also… though I felt that the stage was too far away to see clearly enough to totally rope me into the performance.

    good stuff.

  • Ed

    I saw this event last night (Thurs. 6/23) at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, MA. Sounds like the EXACT same show. I’m a big Willie Nelson fan – I’ve met him 3 times (even been on his tour bus) and have seen him at least a dozen times over the years. I’ve never seen Bob Dylan before but am a big fan of his too. Dylan never spoke and mostly hid off to the left of the stage behind his keyboard. I thought he was a guitar player – never touched a guitar once that night. His band was GREAT – better than Willie Nelson’s I must admit. They were rocking, blues,western swing. Everyone including Dylan wore cowboy hats. At the end of Dylan’s set he stood with his mates like undertakers in suits and hats – no bowing, no thank you, no words and walked off the stage. After 10 minutes of the crowd (who mostly left once Dylan started playing) chanting for an encore, he came back to do It Ain’t Me Babe, and Like a Rolling Stone. Both songs were not recognizable but they were the only “Dylan songs I heard all night except Highway 61 (which was almost recognizable). Weird dude that Bob Dylan is. Willie on the other hand played 20 of his hits, smiled and talked and waved and pointed a lot. The fat guy is no one’s manager – just a traveling barker of sorts. He introduced Bob Dylan too as “The leader of the sixties counterculture, overcame drug and alcohol abuse after finding Jesus, thought to be washed up in the eighties, and back on track since the nineties”. One of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.

  • Stephen Cooke

    The reason Dylan doesn’t play guitar much anymore is reportedly because he injured one of his hands while doing metal sculpture in his backyard studio a few years ago, and damaged muscles and/or nerves in his hand. Since he doesn’t feel he does the instrument justice these days, he sticks to keyboards and lets his hired guns (he has three other guitarists) do the string busting. There was a guitar there, next to his keyboard (I saw the Pittsfield show as well), but he never touched it. Maybe it’s for old time’s sake. He also had the Academy Award he won for Wonder Boys sitting on his amplifier behind him, which I thought was pretty neat.

  • Ragman77

    I saw The Bob & Willie show on Father’s Day in Lancaster, Pa. I also saw them last summer in Altoona, Pa.
    Both were very good shows. I’ve seen Willie 4 times, and Bob 10 times, over the years.
    Bob’s voice is shot, from years of smoking and touring, and assorted other abuse. I could understand every word he said, but I know all the songs. In fact, even with the new arrangements, I can tell what song it is before he starts singing.
    Willie, is like a fine rich wine, he gets better with age. I loved his new, I Ain’t Superman song.
    Two American Icons, in smalltown America. All I can say, if you get a chance, by all means GO !