Corpus Christi. Outside. August. The very thought was enough to scare away every Texan I knew (of which they kindly told me AFTER I’d spend the money on the ticket haha). It was so far out of the way, and so close to the coast, most (myself included) expected nothing more then a long, miserable wait in sauna-like conditions for nothing but a bland, local fare show. Sometimes it helps to be young and stupid.
After a fairly easy day spent scooting around one lone, spindly tree to keep in the ever-moving strip of shade, this run-in promised to be easier then yesterday’s turnstile incident; I mean, I’d already gotten the bad, so this had to be good, right? WRONG! It was easily the worst run-in I’ve ever had, leaps and bounds worse then the Dallas HOB in 08. It really shouldn’t have been that bad, however, our gate was run by a (literally) mentally challenged individual. He steadfastly REFUSED to open his gate (for reasons that I’m sure made sense only to him), even when the other was flung open and people started streaming in. My friends and I, who were the earliest by many hours, tried to leap over to the open gate. One got through, but I was shoved back by a gatekeeper, demanding to know if I have early entry. I did, and showed him my ticket. He shoved me back again, letting others stream in. I try again, this time he holds me back w/ his arm, absolutely refusing to let me in, while others stream in. Those who know me know I have never yelled at a stranger in my life (or even a friend, really) but I made an exception in this case. Suddenly, the original gate I was at was pried open, and so a new mob swept towards it. Again its gatekeeper shoves me back, and someone behind me grabs ahold of my shoulder and starts pulling me backwards. At this point, Andre intervenes and stops up my original gate to get a handle on this mob (the second gate is still pouring out folks though). Once Andre stepped back, I am the first through, and do make it to my ideal rail real estate, ONLY because this is a locals-only type crowd.
Things REALLY didn’t get any better when the most insane person on the face of the planet (and, at a Dylan show, that is REALLY saying something) pushed her way to right behind me, got what was coming to her from the small 18 year old girl who’s place she’d assumed, then proceeded to start a fight! Is this even worth it anymore?!
Mellenhead was still as obnoxious as ever, but he did something tonight that I thought was incredibly nice. He had been apologizing every show for being sick (no. 1 rule of performing, don’t apologize) and tonight, for his last song, he claimed he couldnt sing, and he pulled someone out of his audience because “he’s been singing along w/ every one of my songs all night”. At first I thought it was a plant, but when this guy got up on stage, I overheard him telling the Mel-ster “you’re my entire life! Thank you so much!” I mean, all things aside, could you imagine how cool it would be to be called onstage by one of your idols?
The boys were a little delayed, but eventually did come out to kickstart the night w/ River Flow, Dylan of course murdering the guitar. Except, tonight it wasn’t bad! Its nothing you’d maybe pay to see, but it was actually very interesting, and at some points definitely worth watching. Same for Aint Me, which sounded very tight from all audible parties (Donnie obviously excluded ), far better then a few nights previous in Houston.
From the opening note, Til I Fell In Love was a force to be reckoned w/! Clean, tight, powerful and smooth, I hadn’t really heard the band this solid since 08. The bass was the absolute standout, its powerful strides finding its way inside your chest and taking the place of your own heartbeat. You are at its mercy now. Easily a highlight for the night, and when a highlight comes as the third song, you know you’re in for a treat.
Spirit followed the kick ass trend set by its predecessor. Not only did Denny get a full 12 bar solo, but he got more! And he made use of that time too! It wasn’t mind melting, but it was beautiful, and at least a partial return to form for the song and the band. It stomped all over the previous nights version (not that the bar was set too high), and put a smile on my face, so that’s all I really needed.
They didn’t let up at all as they flew into Rollin. Far more of a rocker then any other version I’ve heard this tour, if not year, and Dylan really let Denny fly w/ his slide. Again and again, he’d complete a bit and look up, get a nod and slide right on into another. I had to keep reminding myself that I had only written, and not posted, my lamentations of the night before, as it seemed my complaints were being rectified haha
WMB was just as solid, Stu sounding excellent as always. Denny even got a pretty good solo off, reminiscent of a time when that was the norm. W/ the cool sea breeze (a barge floated past the parking lot that morning, that’s how close we were to the edge of the continent) coming in to keep the heat down and the boys playing the way they were, at least in my admittedly wacky viewpoint, this was already the best show I’ve attended yet.
I still maintain that Stu should not play lead on Tweedles. Not because he “sucks” or anything like that, but his solo is uninspired. It gets the people moving though, and there is nothing to necessarily complain about.
I have the exact reverse to say about his work on Ballad though, where I felt his leads were exactly what the song needed. H61 saw everyone giving it his all, and the result was great. Its one you’re pretty much guaranteed to get on any given show, but especially when played like this, you’re happy to have it. Nettie was strong and powerful, and Thunder was its pre "09 takedown" self, exceptional playing all around.
The encores were just as on point as the rest of the show. LARS was the low point, if I had to assign one, simply because there’s nothing much about it that I find interesting anymore. Jolene had a slightly different feel to it, as Tony was playing upright rather then the Ric.
Even though the songs have become fairly standard names this tour, they were all (minus LARS) songs I thoroughly look forward to hearing. When you factor in the all but “return to glory” renditions we were given for many of them, this show sticks out in my mind as a prime example of the whole ‘judging book covers’ adage. This setlist wont be talked about at this time next year, but the performance would have been……………..if anyone had dared to tackle Corpus in August.