Honolulu, Hawaii

Neal S Blaisdell Arena

April 29, 2014

[Al from New Hampshire], [Ax Chase]

Review by Al from New Hampshire

Susan and I were lucky enough to be in the audience for the Honolulu show. 
I loved it.  The crowd loved it.  I wonít go into a song by song
analysis here since all of you are maybe a bit too familiar with the set
list by now.  Just some impressions. The show begins with the lights going
dark, the NBC chimes are heard, and then Stu enters wonderfully riffing on
the acoustic guitar like heat lightening on the horizon Ė or as I heard
in a song once Ėlike the stillness in the wind before the hurricane
begins.  I love this new intro to the shows.  Iím also glad the somewhat
under-utilized Stu gets a chance to show off a bit. The sound 12 rows or so
back, in the center, is great throughout the show.  I keep marveling
how this is as good as any acoustics Iíve heard for any show I can
remember.  And a good thing too, because the show is very strong for its
lyrics, delivery, color, atmospherics.  Not a rock-and-roll show really. 
A bit subdued by that measure.  But rich in its other measures. The crowd
is a smart crowd. Very appreciative of the moment. And they seem to know
all the new songs quite well!  He has their attention Ė for the most part
anyway, thereís always the chirp and the chatter of the people who come
to talk non-stop during the songs.  (If you want to talk with each other or
just hear your own voice, go to a coffee shop and save a hundred dollars
Ė thatís the advice I hear from Ed.  Great advice.)   By midway
through the show the crowd has learned what to expect on this night, and
they seem quite happy to be there. During the show Iím thinking how
things have come full circle with Bob (though the wheelís still in spin).
His very early career Ė before picking up the electric guitar - is all
lyrics, delivery, atmosphere, and story.  And so it is tonight as well. 
And he never picks up the electric guitar; in fact it is no longer even on
the stage. But the show contains well delivered killer Dylan-gems such as
ScarletTown, Long and Wasted Years, and Forgetful Heart.  All very recent
songs.  But it is the old Dylan, in both senses of that phrase.  It is the
old Dylan in the sense that it is lyric and atmospheric and acoustic, and
it is now an old manís writing and singing.  The wisdom was always there,
but it is richer now. Thank you Bob!  Thanks for the opportunity to catch
up with old friends.  Thanks for getting us off our butts and to Hawaii
(and why did we wait so long to do that? Damn its nice here.)   And
thanks for the great show.  Iíve been to many of your superlative
hard-core rocking shows. But this quiet show is one Iíll remember for a
long time.


Review by Ax Chase

"After watching Bob about every 3-4 years over the past 25+ years the one
helpful thing about the Never Changing Setlist Tour is it has removed my
jealous "grass is always greener" view of other shows.  Kind of nice. 
I've never chased Bob, just caught him any times our paths crossed and
enjoyed watching how his sounds and emphasis change over the lineups and
years.  This was the most polished sound I've heard yet, most likely a
result of the routine and practice that comes from the repetitive playing.
 It seemed to me, during Forgetful Heart,  that the show was really a
collection of his personal favorite elements.  The string sounds from
mid-seventies, the mournful harp playing found on Oh Mercy, and of course
his themes, 60% of his current album was played.  I believe that Bob is
always proud of whatever he has most recently completed and Tempest is no
exception.  I was very happy to see Bob moving around as it gave us, the
audience, a chance to see what we came for.  The sound was very good. 
Clean and clear.  The lighting also enhanced the overall smooth, swampy,
mellow vibe.  Practice makes perfect and Bob has thoroughly practiced this
current road show.   It reminded me a lot of Tony Bennett's show last
fall.  Everything choreographed to perfection so that the artist could
make the most of what means most to him."

Ax Chase


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