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Review: Bob Dylan at Pechanga

The Bob Dylan of 2008 doesn't have the voice of the Bob Dylan of 1963. It's aged and gruff. But that's not why Dylan's show at the 1,200-seat showroom at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula sold out in 12 minutes.
On Thursday night, moments before Dylan took the stage for a two-hour performance, a voice boomed out of the darkness nailing why the theater was filled with everyone from pre-teens to seniors, introducing Dylan as the "Poet Laureate of rock 'n' roll."
With dozens of albums, hundreds of songs, Dylan's thumbprint is all over the pop culture history for most of the last 50 years. People traveled from locales as far as Germany and as close as Lake Elsinore for the show.
Dressed in black, with a gray, wide-brimmed hat (four of the five other band members were also wearing hats), Dylan took the stage and launched into "Watching The River Flow" and "The Times They Are A-Changin'," with much applause from the crowd.
A couple of songs after that, when Dylan launched into "Just Like A Woman," the crowd sang the chorus loudly, almost acting as background singers as Dylan paused before singing the eponymous line.
Dylan stayed behind the keyboard for the show, walking over and selecting harmonicas for songs such as "Just Like A Woman" and "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." The stage had the feeling of peering into a closed band practice with basic amplifiers and monitors, just a band jamming on some of the most well-known songs of all time, getting huge crowd response from "Highway 61 Revisited" and "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall."
Dylan didn't really acknowledge the audience until the final song, when he introduced his band. After the final strains of a bluesy, western take on "Blowin' In the Wind," Dylan and his band gathered together and faced the crowd for less than a minute and then broke apart again.
But the defining moment of the show was the first song of the encore, when Dylan played "Like A Rolling Stone," reminding the audience that it wasn't there for the performance of the song, but because of the song.

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