***UPDATE: Ticket info has been released, with $68 the asking price and Saturday at 10 a.m. the on-sale time. The show is entirely general admission. Purchases can be made through eTix.com online or 1-800-514-ETIX (3849), or in person at the Midway Stadium box office or First Ave's Depot Tavern.
Ask local Dylanologists what the best Bob Dylan concert was in recent years around Minnesota, and chances are good his 2005 set at Midway Stadium will rise to the top. He’s returning to St. Paul’s minor league ballpark July 10 on a special summer tour playfully dubbed Americanarama with Wilco, My Morning Jacket and Richard Thompson -- pretty much a guaranteed grand slam for lovers of rootsy rock music.
Ticket info has not yet been released, but the tour announcement on BobDylan.com says pre-sale offers will start Wednesday morning. Check back at the site for updates. The tour is scheduled to kick off June 26 in West Palm Beach, Fla., and is alternating between other small ballparks and amphitheaters, including a July 11 stop at Chiefs Stadium in Peoria, Ill., and July 12 at Toyota Park in Chicago (the only other dates within driving distance for local fans).
Dylan has an obvious fondness for the minor-league fields. He twice played the Honkers’ ballpark in Rochester in the ‘00s. His gig in ’05 at Midway Stadium was with Willie Nelson, which drew 12,000 people and ample raves for Dylan being in relativey strong voice, and for him simply “being into it.”
Midway used to regularly feature concerts but is only used occasionally nowadays, including a pair of KQ92/93X radio promo shows two summers ago. It’s nothing fancy like Target Field, but the field is great for stretching out on the grass (the Saints aren’t quite as uppity as the Twins about grass damage), and there is a lot of parking available nearby and good traffic flow, with its proximity to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.
Pairing up with Wilco and My Morning Jacket could put more of the 89.3 the Current type of fans in front of Bob, while introducing more of the older Bob fans to two of the more consistently acclaimed live bands of the past decade. Like Bob, both Wilco and MMJ have knack for changing around set lists from show to show and getting into jammy territory without coming off too jam-band-like. Neither group has new albums to promote, and in fact it looked like neither was going to tour this summer. Coincidental timing: My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James is in town tonight for a sold-out gig at First Avenue on his solo tour. In fact, I'd better wrap this up to make the gig.
Thompson is a great fit, too. Although he’s British, the revered “Shoot Out the Lights” singer/songwriter/guitar-wiz fits the Americana bill as well as the rest of them, especially with his new Buddy Miller-produced, Nashville-made record “Electric.”