ATN Boston correspondent Seth Mnookin attended the Patti Smith/ Bob Dylan performance in Boston this past Sunday (Dec. 10) evening. His extended (2000 word) epic review will appear in the "Live" section of ATN in the January issue. Here is his news report: Bob Dylan and Patti Smith brought greater-Boston rock and roll fans to there knees for two consecutive nights (Saturday the 9th and Sunday the 10th) at Boston's gorgeous downtown theatre/concert hall, the Orpheum. Dylan, whose been on somewhat of a tear for the last year or two, didn't disappoint those who had heard (often to their disbelief) that The Bard was back in good form after a decade of maddeningly inconsistent, and often downright awful, performances and albums. Playing with his longtime band (who I refer to as the four banditos because of their consistently cowboy-based attire), the most notable member being understated guitar whiz J.J. Jackson, Dylan ripped through classics old and new in both acoustic and electric segments. "Tangled Up In Blue," "My Back Pages," "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Silvio," and a chillingly gorgeous duet with Smith on "Dark Eyes" were just some of the two evenings' highlights.
Still, it was Smith who, both nights, stole the show. Returning to the stage this year for the first time since 1980, Smith, joined by former Television guitarist Tom Verlaine (and R.E.M. frontman and Smith fanatic Michael Stipe for one song on Sunday) ripped her way through two fantastic, sweeping, sets, consisting of both old classics ("Dancing Barefoot"), Dylan covers ("Wicked Messenger"), a new tribute to Kurt Cobain, and a final, free-association, "Land of a Thousand Dances," and a Horses era cover of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away," which she played as a tribute to the Grateful Dead's recently departed Jerry Garcia. (Dylan also paid tribute to sometimes collaborator Garcia, performing the Garcia penned "Alabama Getaway" both nights as an encore.) Indeed, Smith kept the audience in constant (if sometimes conflicting) states of rapture and amazement. While Smith actually did more or less disappear since 1980, Dylan has often played and performed like he wanted to. But on Saturday and Sunday nights, both was were truly wonderful, a reminder that rock and roll is not an industry, but a beautiful art.