When Bob Dylan played Chicago's United Center last night, he began the show with an instrumental. However, there appears to be some confusion as to what song it was suppoesd to be. Bob Links said it was "Watching The River Flow," while Dylan's official site listed "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (instrumental)."
On Facebook's EDLIS Café page, April Melody posted:
I was there keeping the set-list. I thought it was Rainy Day, initially, then, I thought it was Watching the River Flow, then I thought it might be Leopard-Skin....then I went back to thinking it was River Flow. I am sticking with Watching The River Flow. It was so INTENSE I cannot begin to explain...he came out with the Force of Mother Nature ... It was a mix between Link Wray and BOB. It was glorious!
There was additional intrigue as to whether Mark Knopfler was on stage on a fourth song, Dylan's performance of "Blind Willie McTell." While not listed on either Dylan's site or Bob Links, A Mark In Time provides evidence Knopfler did, indeed, play on the "Infidels" out take.
The first was this quote from "Troubadour64" at Expecting Rain:
... been waiting to hear this arrangement for two years. and Mark supplied the syrup for this hot stack of pancakes. I think it's one of the best songs he does with them. not quite as tight as the TV performance, but the same sort of presence. AWESOME trick ending.
There was also a review of the show from Greg Kot at the Chicago Tribune (which listed the opener as "Blues instrumental"):
Early on, opener Mark Knopfler abetted the guitar front line of Charlie Sexton and Stu Kimball, embroidering Dylan’s piano on “To Ramona” and jaunty harmonica on “Things Have Changed.” Dylan deferred to his guest, pointing his pistol finger at Knopfler to signal another solo. The singer, legs splayed and leaning back, looked ready to bust out a few dance moves on “Tangled Up in Blue.” Then as the song wound down, he moved to piano and brought it to a rollicking close – you could feel the energy level lift. Dylan donned a flamenco hat in tribute to “Blind Willie McTell,” and brought the song surging back to life twice with his harmonica solos ... When Knopfler exited ...
UPDATE: Bob Links has updated the entry:
- 5. Blind Willie McTell (with Mark Knopfler on guitar)
Below are last night's set lists, courtesy A Mark In Time, Bob Links, Dylan's official site, April Melody, and Greg Kot:
United Center, Chicago, Illinois: November 9, 2012
1. What It Is
2. Corned Beef City
4. Kingdom of gold
5. I Used to Could
6. Song for Sonny Liston
7. Done With Bonaparte
8. Hill Farmer's Blues
11. So Far Away
1. Watching The River Flow/Rainy Day Women #12 & 35/Blues Instrumental/Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Instrumental - Dylan on guitar)
2. To Ramona (Knopfler on guitar)
3. Things Have Changed (Knopfler on guitar)
4. Tangled Up In Blue (Knopfler on guitar)
5. Blind Willie McTell (apparently Knopfler on guitar - unconfirmed)
6. Make You Feel My Love
7. The Levee's Gonna Break
8. Desolation Row
9. Highway 61 Revisited
10. Forgetful Heart
11. Thunder On The Mountain
12. Ballad Of A Thin Man
13. Like A Rolling Stone
14. All Along The Watchtower //
15. Blowin' In The Wind
Here is an excerpt of a review from Paul Bullen:
It was at least one of the best shows I've attended. It could have been the best, but I'm not in a good position to engage in inter-temporal comparisons of utility ... I found two songs especially sublime: "Desolation Row" and "Forgetful Heart" ... I quite liked Bob Dylan's playing of the electric piano this time. I think it had a different sound and was much louder than in the past. Also, his harmonica playing was excellent ... I'd like to know what the opening instrumental was ... I thought it was fantastic. I was thinking that if Bob loses his voice, he should do instrumentals. They are very enjoyable.
During a long wonderful British Isles type folk song by Mark Knopfler and his seven musicians, there was a extended quiet back and forth between the violinist (who is apparently an renowned Scottish musician) and the bass player. The "appreciation" for this took the form of people yelping loudly and whistling--such that the music was drowned out.
Bullen's photographs from last night appear, by kind permission, above.
Keep up with Bob Dylan Examiner news. Just click on Subscribe above, or follow @DylanExaminer on Twitter. Harold Lepidus also writes the Performing Arts column for Examiner.com. Thanks for your support.