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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The News Is Out...

Just as my last post anticipated, Bob Dylan will be hitting the road with Merle Haggard come March. That's great news, but there's even better news for those of us in the Northwest: the tour opens in Seattle with a three-night stay at the Paramount!

3.07.2005 Paramount Theatre - Seattle, WA
3.08.2005 Paramount Theatre - Seattle, WA
3.09.2005 Paramount Theatre - Seattle, WA
3.11.2005 University Of Portland, Chiles Center - Portland, OR
3.14.2005 Paramount Theatre - Oakland, CA
3.15.2005 Paramount Theatre - Oakland, CA
3.16.2005 Paramount Theatre - Oakland, CA
3.19.2005 Aladdin Theatre - Las Vegas, NV*
3.21.2005 Pantages Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
3.22.2005 Pantages Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
3.23.2005 Pantages Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
3.25.2005 Pantages Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
3.26.2005 Pantages Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
4.01.2005 Auditorium Theatre - Chicago, IL
4.02.2005 Auditorium Theatre - Chicago, IL
4.03.2005 Auditorium Theatre - Chicago, IL
4.05.2005 Auditorium Theatre - Chicago, IL
4.06.2005 Auditorium Theatre - Chicago, IL

The date with the asterisk next to it is the only one without Merle Haggard & The Strangers. All of the dates will also feature Amos Lee as an opening act. Bob doesn't usually like to take more than a day's rest between shows, so look for the gaps between dates (i.e. on either side of the Oakland shows and between LA and Chicago) to be filled.

I'm incredibly excited: it's been more than a year since my last Dylan show. Since the last time I saw him, he's put his guitar down (possibly because of back problems) and started playing keyboard on stage. He's also had some band changes, which I'm looking forward to hearing live and in person. For anyone who doesn't know, Bob's got one of the best bands in all the land, anchored by longtime bassist Tony Garnier and brilliant multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell. I don't have to remind you how important Dylan is to the history of rock, but I might have to tell you that he and his band still put on one hell of a show today, far removed from the senior-circuit and cash-cow retreads (I see you Macca, shaking that cash). In other words, if you've never seen the Master live, and if he's coming near you, do not miss the opportunity.

Hopefully this tour with Merle will result in some great duets, along the lines of Bob's duets with Willie Nelson on their tour of minor-league ballparks last year. For example:

Bob Dylan & Willie Nelson - "You Win Again [Live]"

Alright, so technically this song isn't from their ballpark tour. It's from a surprise appearance Bob made at a Willie Nelson concert at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles on May 5, 2004. However, it is exemplary of how great their voices sound together, especially on this old Hank Williams number, and I can imagine Bob and Merle's voices achieving a similar, lonesome blend.

Barring a duet, maybe these two legends will at least cover each other. I hear that Merle does a great version of Bob's latter-day masterpiece "Things Have Changed", and I know Bob favors a Haggard tune or two. Witness:

Bob Dylan - "Sing Me Back Home [Live]"

This song was written by Merle Haggard way, way back, first appearing by Merle on his 1968 album of the same name. That was a landmark album for Haggard, and "Sing Me Back Home" went all the way to number one on the Billboard country charts. This performance comes from Bob's appearance at Bonnaroo on June 11 of last year.

Keep checking in with Dylan's and Haggard's official websites for more tour dates and other information.

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