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Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan – Cooperstown, NY

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First of all, it was cold. I myself kinda like the spate of very,very early fall weather we’ve been having in the northeast, but having to sit on a metal bleacher for over three hours with the temps hovering in the 50’s..well, that’s pushing it a little. But anyhoo…

Openers Hot Club of Cowtown played a smokin’ set of Western Swing. I will definitely be picking up one of their records as they were just too much fun.

Next up was the adoration of Willie Nelson. I wasn’t really all that hot on Willie’s band. The whole set had a kind of “let’s run the list” feel to it. That isn’t to say that it wasn’t fun. Heck no. They started with “Whiskey River” and then proceeded to play a fricken’ ton of hits. I tend to listen to Red Headed Stranger and Stardust a lot, so I kinda forget just how many tunes Willie has put out there. It was easy to put aside my thoughts on Willie’s band though, as his voice still appears to be in fine form. I would just love to see him play at one of those dive bars he shows up at in Austin.

After a fairly long break (with much equipment thrashing onstage), Bob Dylan and his band hit the stage after the usual silly intro (“…Poet Laureate of Rock ‘n Roll…”) announced over Aaron Copeland’s “Rodeo”. This show was very much like the one I attended last summer up in New Hampshire. Dylan stuck to keyboards and harmonica all night. His band is muscular and rock solid. And, as the wife said, Dylan’s voice: he has his low note, his medium note and his high note. This is a little perplexing because Dylan has managed to sing some melodies on his two most recent recordings. Maybe it’s harder to do this in a live setting, having to belt it out over a loud rock band. Dunno.

In any event, it was a great show. Some may not like the way he has rearranged his songs, but I thought they were fun. The show ended with a blistering version of “All Along The Watchtower”. Dylan may be ‘getting up there’, but he still likes to rock.

The setlist:

    Drifter’s Escape
    I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
    Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
    Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You
    Seeing The Real You At Last
    Girl Of The North Country (acoustic)
    Cold Irons Bound
    Make You Feel My Love
    I Don’t Believe You
    Honest With Me
    Forever Young
    Summer Days

    (encore)
    Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right (acoustic)
    Like A Rolling Stone
    All Along The Watchtower

(First posted on Mark Is Cranky)

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About Mark Saleski

  • SFC SKI

    Sounds like a great show, I was amazed at how well Willie plays guitar, he has some incredible jazz licks, and he always sounds so good.

    Dylan, like Willie, plays many of his songs in a new style when playing live, never boring. I haven’t seen him perform in far too long a time, but I w9ill havve to dust off the cassettes and give him a listen.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    the closest thing you’ll find in his recordings to his current live sound is the live from 1966 thing.

    it’s pretty heavy.

  • Shark

    Mark, might I suggest “Swingin’ Stampede” by Hot Club. All their albums are great, but this one contains a few pieces made famous by the late, great Milton Brown (& the Brownies) — (whom I happen to worship!)

    PS: Ain’t that gal cute!

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    thanks shark. i’ll be fixing up my lack ‘o Hot Club recordings soon.

    and yessirree, she is cute…i could tell that even at 100 yards distant.