Put simply, Elvis Costello was fantastic, playing solo opening for Bob Dylan. Dylan, with his five-piece band, was dull.
Costello ran through a surprising mixture of songs, both early and relatively recent. Always a charming devil, he led the audience in some call-and-response, played great guitar, worked the microphone like a pro to vary his songs and proved to be a great crooner and a great rock singer, switching easily from mode to mode.
His show’s going to be on my best of 2007 for sure. Dylan’s definitely is not.
Dylan’s show was boring. That was a surprise, since he and the same band played an exciting, excellent show at Pershing Center almost exactly a year ago.
But last Friday night, there was almost zero electricity generated on stage, and the blues-groove arrangments sounded very much the same, making things, well, boring.
Unlike many Dylan “name that tune” concerts, it wasn’t hard to figure out most of the songs. But, with the exception of “Highway 61 Revisited” and the closing “Blowin’ in the Wind,” there wasn’t much new delivered in the way the songs were played — and there was little to no excitement throughout.
Dylan’s concerts are usually referred to as part of his “Never Ending Tour.”
Friday night, the two hours were a “Never Ending Show.”
Finally, the Qwest Center crowd numbered about 5,000. It could have easily fit into Pershing — proving, if nothing else, that just because a concert’s at the Qwest, it’s not a guaranteed sellout.