Well, last Bob Day for a while. And it was a great one. Had a nice pre-show get-together with Marcel, Cece, handlevandal, The Fortune Teller, dancin' neath the diamond skies, dangling rope, and one or two others. It took me a while to haggle my way into the bar to hang out with them, but it was worth the stress. After a couple hours hanging out and talking Bob, we headed over to the show. I had, in addition to my backpack, a huge trash bag full of clothes from the Garment District's "a pound for a dollar" room. Thrift-store shopping at its finest, but I did get some funny looks from some people at the venue. They let me chuck it all under a stairwell though, so it wasn't a problem. It also allowed me to bring in a camera, in addition to my binoculars, but it turned out not to matter.
I was sad it would be my last time seeing The Raconteurs live, but maybe I'll catch them again down the road (although hopefully the White Stripes will get back together and make it a moot point). They mixed up their set list a bit this time, which was nice. They didn't actually add any songs, but they mixed up the order, kicking it off with Hands (good to get out of the way) before Intimate Secretary. It Ain't Easy vanished from the set, as did I think another song, but weren't replaced by anything. I'm not sure where the freed-up time went. Bang, Bang was incredible again, but for me the stand-out track from this set was Broken Boy Soldiers, which Jack rocked out. A cool feature of a few songs, this especially, is a mic he has set up in the back by the drum kit which is heavily distorted, making his words even louder and weirder sounding. Everything came out yelling like a banshee yell through that and it was fun to see him the few times he used it. Will probably just sound bizarre on the recording, but was great to see live. Blue Veins was better than the previous two I'd seen, and they wrapped it all up with Steady As She Goes.
I bought a poster during the break then got back into my seat with a little time to spare. The guy in the seat next to me, a senior at BU, was very excited about Bob when I talked to him before the Racs set, and pretty well informed...but then he left after the first Racs song and never came back. Very weird. I was hoping to convert him; he already had asked me to send him Cynthia Gooding and knew about the pool, but I never saw him again. Oh well.
I was hoping, for the third night in a row, for Absolutely Sweet Marie to open the show, and finally Bob granted my wish. Even though it was only done decently, it's still clearly a great way to open the show. The riff could be a little louder, but it was still fun to hear.
Things really got started with Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) though. I had been hoping for this song, and thought it was likely because it was Sunday, but was overjoyed to hear it nevertheless. And what a great version. Delicately done and sublime. An early highlight, and my first new song.
I recognized the opening riff immediately to the next song, but couldn't quite place it until he started singing. I just wasn't expecting Honest With Me at all, much less in the third slot, but it was great to hear (and, amazingly enough, to only Love and Theft song of the night). The signature fill between lines was gone, but a version of it showed up in between solo lines (only with the chord played three times, instead of two). It was very well done too, best version I've seen, and the show was certainly off to a great start both setlist and performance-wise.
I was a little disappointed to get Positively 4th Street, the first song that I'd already gotten this tour, but my frustration quickly abated as I heard the delivery. Much like Chicago's version, the bitterness was quickly stated, but furious nevertheless. This song is as good as it's been for years, and didn't have a hint of upsinging.
Wow, Masters of War, I didn't see that coming either. While not ground-breaking, the set had been quite surprising so far. It was a solid version, though it didn't particularly stand out for me.
Alright, another first time for me, and one I definitely didn't see coming, Til I Fell In Love With You. And another highlight, not quite as good as last fall's versions, but still one of the best Time Out of Mind songs live these days. Totally reinvented from the mediocre album version and another huge highlight.
Easily the second best live song off of Modern Times so far (what's first? scroll down), When the Deal Goes Down was done to perfection. This song didn't get the attention it deserved when the album was released, but at least Bob seems to understand what a great song this is. It's not often you hear Bob play a waltz, and a woman in front of me took advantage of that, waltzing around by herself all over the floor. Kind of weird, but it was nice to see her so into it. With her and the romantic couple in Chicago, this song seems to fire up the emotions.
But Cold Irons Bound was nice to hear again, and made three very recent songs in a row, a rare occurance. It was done well, but nothing too outstanding. Quite a number of people (myself included of course) cheered on the "winds in Chicago" line, so I clearly wasn't the only one from out of town. I feel like the riff wasn't quite as prominant as it was this summer.
Every Grain of Sand solidifed this as the best setlist in a while, some real gems being tossed in. I'm not as big of a fan of this song, but he really nailed it tonight. Absolutely gorgeous. I've managed to see this song three times live in thirteen shows, which is pretty good.
Rollin' and Tumblin' still sucks live. Denny's "solos" weren't such at all, just him playing the guitar chords up and down the neck. Awful. Hopefully hearing this so late in the set meant we weren't going to get Highway 61.
I was hoping we'd avoided Tangled Up In Blue, but it seems to have become a regular. It's funny how one of the songs I really wanted to see live before this tour started has already become dreary. Just shows you the power of setlists. This version was somewhat different though, as Stu had changed his riff. It was lower on the next, and the second chord was higher than the first. An interesting change, and made it nice to hear. This was one of the best versions I've seen though, with no flubbed lines.
I'd been waiting five shows for Nettie Moore, and this was my last chance this tour. And not only did I get it, but boy did Bob deliver! The easy highlight of the show, and a highlight of my concert-going experience overall. I'd heard how great this one was live, but had avoided listening to any recordings so I could hear it live for the first time in person. It was everything it was cracked up to be and more, even better than the already-great album version. During the verses there was a little more instrumentation than on the album, but not much, and it was sung very faithfully. The main difference was he did something totally different with the "Oh I miss you Nettie Moore" line than on the album. I don't think it was quite as good, but it was fun to hear anyway.
I guess with the elaborate light show, every concert has to have Highway 61 Revisited these days, but seeing it end the set instead of Summer Days was a welcome relief. Every little surprise is a good one, and having only one of two songs each concert is great as far as I'm concerned. I'm not sure which one the band does better, so perhaps alternating them would work fine. They both could use a periodic break.
Thunder on the Mountain is always good as the first encore song, but I feel like it could use a bit more oomph. The instrumentation is a little muddy.
As I've said in my previous reviews, taking away the lights from Like a Rolling Stone kills it dead in the water. This did feature my funniest audience moment of the night though, where a guy who'd been higher in the stand came down next to me at ground level and started spastically dancing. The best part was, since he was trashed, he would yell every line after Bob would so out of tune it would seem he was trying. He was also about as off-rhythm as one could be. Normally this would be annoying, but he was just so horrendously bad and obnoxious that it was just funny to hear him and watch everyone's reactions. Definitely livened up another warhorse.
I was sick of him by All Along the Watchtower, though, so I headed up to where he had been. It was the best version I've heard this tour, not hard-rocking enough, but getting closer. The riff is more defined than the mess it had been, and it definitely was closer to the energy it used to have.
After the show I scurred out, got a ride to South Station with The Fortune Teller (thanks again!) and caught the late-night bus back to Hanover. Til next tour.
The Raconteurs set
Intro - Cold Irons Bound
Every Grain of Sand - All Along the Watchtower