Let's do that show again 

The fears of experiencing a typical Arkansas summer night were as unfounded last Saturday at Ray Winder Field as they were the last time Bob Dylan played outdoors here, on a mild early August night in 2001. Maybe we should summon Dylan anytime the summer heat and humidity start approaching a 110-degree index. There were also fears a few weeks back via some insiders that this Dylan and Willie Nelson show was going to tank in terms of attendance, but the turnout was impressive — the cordoned-off area in front of the stage in centerfield that held around 2,000 people was mostly full throughout the show, and the general admission seats in the stands were well-populated except directly behind home plate, which was directly behind the sound stage and a large TV screen. Ironic seeing a ball park filled except for those usually choice seats. Dugouts were turned into beer stands, the Southwest Airlines picnic area was a major thoroughfare for beer drinking and disposing and, as is always the case for Ray Winder Field, the third-base bleachers were the place for prime people-watching and catching a cool breeze. More of the crowd seemed on hand for Willie than Dylan, in fact, though in terms of Dylan appearances in Little Rock, it seemed from this viewpoint like his best show yet — a steady rocking effort that hit some high points, particularly on “Highway 61.” And barely a word from the Poet of Rock and Roll could be understood. There is hope for Ray Winder Field if North Little Rock builds its stadium and the Travs move in 2008. It’s going to cost the city if it’s torn down (a lot of folks forget that expense), and the Little Rock Zoo needs many millions in its plan to absorb it as possible space for a new elephant exhibit. How about using it as a concert venue? Here’s a space that offers far better sightlines than Riverfest Amphitheatre and can comfortably hold as many fans for outdoor shows. Without a field to worry about if the team moves, there won’t be the concern to protect the outfield and infield grass when the masses show up. The permanent seating, while reversed from the setup at the amphitheater and probably not as comfortable, numbers significantly more. Neither Ray Winder nor the amphitheatre suffices for Little Rock to draw the major “shed” tours of the summer, the ones that promoters hope will draw crowds of 15,000 or more (Coldplay, Dave Matthews, etc.). The amphitheater needs a couple of million bucks in an overhaul, and that might not help with so much encroaching to keep it from expanding; Ray Winder needs even more than that if baseball doesn’t move north of the river and we hope to keep minor league baseball in town. But, as a concert venue, it looked quite all right Saturday night. Now, we just need to find a tour out there like Bob and Willie.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • One dead, two wounded in early morning shooting

    KARK's Susanne Brunner reports that one person has been killed and two wounded in a shooting shortly after 1 a.m. this morning near Roosevelt Road and Cross Street.
    • Apr 17, 2019
  • Reality bites at Little Rock City Hall; spending must be cut

    A followup to Rebekah Hall's earlier report on Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.'s announcement that cuts will be necessary in the city budget in part to pay for "priorities," such as his desire to expand the police force, but also to deal with the reality often mentioned here of stagnant to decling city sales tax revenue. Some quick ideas on that:
    • Apr 17, 2019
  • Speaking of hard times in newspapers: Democrat-Gazette's move to digital

    Word continues to filter in of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's pullback from statewide circulation of a print daily edition of the newspaper — the latest from the Hot Springs area, just 50 or so miles down the road from Little Rock. Subscribers there were told home delivery of a print paper would end in May.
    • Apr 16, 2019
  • More »

More by Jim Harris

  • Mandolin Orange at South on Main: A Review

    While the North Carolina duo's work is music to chill by, there were no sleepers.
    • Dec 7, 2018
  • Less Cowbell: Foghat and Blue Oyster Cult at Magic Springs

    A dozen years or so separated visits to the Timberwood Amphitheater for me and my son. But one thought was the same, and at the same time reminded me that a dozen years of watching your kid grow up flies by like a flash. That thought: Man, I wish Little Rock had an outdoor music site like this.
    • Jul 20, 2018
  • More »

Latest in Jim Harris

  • What a great, fast eight years

    Eight years. I’ve really been “at the job” of newspapers for much longer, it just focused on entertainment during these past eight years. Starting next week, it will focus on sports. Again. Where I started eons ago.
    • May 4, 2007
  • Mickelson goes by the numbers

    It's all in the short game, Phil Mickelson says s at Alotian.
    • Apr 26, 2007
  • Back to what I really love

    Where was I, the sports lover, the guy who couldn’t wait for Dickey-Stephens to open, a few of you may ask? I was checking out one of my other loves: a local, original music show at Juanita’s that the University of Central Arkansas Honors College had pull
    • Apr 23, 2007
  • More »

Most Viewed


© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation