Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello, October 22, Fox Theatre
[Update Oct. 24 1:15 p.m.] An mp3 of the Dylan/Costello "Tears of Rage" duet is available for download here.
Having a stellar double-play combination is overrated. The year I won my first division championship, 1983, the White Sox double-play tandem consisted of Julio Cruz at second base and Jerry Dybzinski at shortstop. My first World Series championship, with the A's in '89, we had Tony Phillips at second and Mike Gallego at short. Last year with the Cardinals we won it all with Aaron Miles and David Eckstein. Nothing against any of these fellows -- Phillips, in particular, had some decent years with the leather, and you'll never hear a discouraging word from me about Eck -- but it's more than possible to go all the way without a pair of sackmates on par with, oh, Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese.
That said, you could have knocked me over with an empty bottle of Gaja's Langhe Costa Russi 2000 (quite possibly the best Costa Russi ever made -- and I know my red wine) when Elvis Costello joined Bob Dylan onstage for the first encore Monday night at the fabulous Fox Theatre, and the two delivered a magnificent rendition of the Dylan/Richard Manuel chestnut "Tears of Rage."
The artists have been performing in tandem for the past month or so, but until the St. Louis concert they hadn't shared the stage. How fortunate that I happened to be in town to catch it!
Costello's opening set was brief but powerful. (The man has stage presence like Chris Carpenter has a cut fastball.) But Dylan and his five-piece backing band -- Tony Garnier (bass), George Recile (drums), Stu Kimball (rhythm guitar), Denny Freeman (lead guitar) and Donnie Herron (pedal steel, lap steel, mandolin and strings) -- tore through a seventeen-song set that careened from Sixties gems ("Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat," "It Ain't Me, Babe," "Highway 61 Revisited," "Ballad of a Thin Man") to the cream of his more recent catalogue ("The Levee's Gonna Break," "Things Have Changed," "Ain't Talkin'").
The final encore paired the shambling blues masterwork "Thunder on the Mountain," from last year's Modern Times, with longtime concert staple "All Along the Watchtower."
Now that is what I call a double-play combination.
Dylan completists can look here for the setlist in its entirety. Costello setlist can be found here.
Baseball completists can look below for the double-play combos I've managed, year by year:
1983 CHW -- 99 wins; first division championship
1988 OAK -- won ALCS
1989 OAK -- won WS
1990 OAK -- won ALCS
1992 OAK -- won division
1996 STL -- won division
2000 STL -- won division
2004 STL -- won NLCS
2005 STL -- won division
2006 STL -- won WS
Adam Kennedy/Aaron Miles