For a luxurious theater that’s been home to pop divas Celine Dion, Cher, Bette Midler and Elton John, it sure is a change of pace with tonight’s Bob Dylan and John Mellencamp concert. Dylan fans will tell you we’re talking about the height of excellence and purity with his music -- and no recording studio effects!
I’m reliably told that Bob will perform more than a dozen songs during his 90-minute stint onstage in a black suit and a white hat. The last time I saw the folk legend was at Planet Hollywood’s Theater for the Performing Arts, where he stayed behind his piano at left of stage the entire concert. Tonight, he is supposed to leave that comfort zone and move center stage to sing and play guitar and harmonica. For once, he might even smile during the show!
Reports from the 11 Western city tour indicate that Bob is energized for the shows, particularly with Austin guitarist and singer Charlie Sexton, in an all-white suit, back in the band. Although he’s been encouraging audiences to sing along on “Lay Lady Lay,” he’s deliberately rephrased the lines to throw them off-kilter. In a sense, this continues Bob’s Never Ending Tour, which has been continuing off and on since the late 1980s with an ever-changing lineup of musicians.
John is billed as the opening act, even though he is a legend in his own right, and his set is just as long as Bob’s. Expect him to do an a capella version of “Cherry Bomb” and songs from his album No Better Than This, which was released yesterday, closing with “The Authority Song.”
John and Bob’s final tour date is Sept. 3 concert in Yakima, Wash. Then John headlines Farm Aid 25 in Milwaukee with Willie Nelson on Oct. 2 before starting out on his own tour for the new album.
Here’s the set list for Bob’s performance tonight: “Rainy Day Women #12 & #35,” “Love Minus Zero/No Limit,” “Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine),” “Just Like a Woman,” “Rollin’ and Tumblin,’ ” “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven,” “High Water (for Charlie Patton), “Forgetful Heart,” “The Levee’s Gonna Break,” “Blind Willie McTell,” “Highway 61 Revisited,” “Workingman’s Blues #2,” “Thunder on the Mountain,” “Ballad of a Thin Man” and “Like a Rolling Stone.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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