Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Morning Jacket bring AmericanaramA to St. Paul
On Wednesday, July 10, 2013, Bob Dylan returned to St. Paul, MN with his band to headline AmericanaramA along with Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and the Richard Thompson Trio. It was a glorious day at Midway Stadium, home of the St. Paul Saints baseball team.
Richard Thompson may have an Americana sound, but hailing from England, he was the only performer on the bill who wasn’t American. His set got started as much of the sold-out crowd was still pouring in. It was short and sweet, and he really showed his guitar chops.
Kentucky rock band, My Morning Jacket, was up next. Their set was truly fantastic with a great mix of tunes that spanned their entire catalog. The biggest highlight of this entire night was when singer/guitarist Jim James invited local alternative-bluegrass heroes Trampled by Turtles to the stage. Not only did they play a My Morning Jacket song, and a cover song, but My Morning Jacket actually backed Trampled on their 2012 hit “Alone”. The respect that James showed towards them was fascinating, and seeing two of my favorite bands play together nearly brought a tear to my eye. This was a music highlight I hope to never forget. My Morning Jacket then continued their rampage, including an incredible version of their high-energy “Touch Me I’m Going Scream PT 2”. Awesome!
Wilco, another of my all-time favorite bands, played third. Their set started quite mellow and climbed steadily to a very high rock-n-roll peak. “Impossible Germany” was the breaking point, when the flood gates burst open. Guitarist Nels Cline is a master, and his solo on this song is something to see. It builds with dynamics until it can’t build any longer, then he just shreds. I’ve seen Wilco play this song live a few times now, and it is always such a pleasure to watch Nels. But the real leader of Wilco is singer / guitarist Jeff Tweedy. He was his normal funny self on this night, at one point calling out a little kid in the crowd who was far too cute, which made Jeff forget the lyrics to “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”. Later in the set My Morning Jacket joined Wilco for an all out onslaught of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl”. Wilco ended their set with an oldie, “Hoodoo Voodoo”. One of their stage hands accompanied the band by ripping his shirt off and rocking the cowbell. That was awesome too!
After a comparatively long wait, Bob Dylan and his band took the stage. At this point it was 9:45, and the sun had completely fallen. The stage was dimly lit with burning pillars on the sides and behind the band. The ground in front of the stage was completely packed to the point where you couldn’t move. I got a good look at Dylan, who at 72, still looks good–then I got out of there and listened to him croon his inaudible lyrics from the back. I was there to see My Morning Jacket and Wilco. I saw Bob Dylan in the late 90s and he was fantastic. At this point, it is nothing but a novelty to me.
No photo passes were approved for this entire tour, so I tried capturing a few shots from the front row. After My Morning Jacket though, with threats of being thrown out of the concert, security made everyone put their cameras and even phones down. It was still a really amazing night for AmericanaramA in St. Paul, MN.