Columbus, Ohio

Ohio Theatre

May 16, 2015

[Greg Wallace], [Don Ely]

Review by Greg Wallace

The known and unvarying set list Dylan has been presenting wasn't to my
taste but the venue itself tempted me because it's pretty small and has
fine acoustic possibilities.   Happily the sound wasn't cranked to eleven
and the singer had no trouble being heard.  This makes for a much better
Dylan show because he needn't bark over his band.  Words and phrases can
often be deciphered and with Dylan that's generally the point.  The
removal of the ZZ Topish numbers seems to have saved his voice and there
were times where he sounded like he sounded decades ago.

There were the usual Blood on the Tracks numbers with new lyrics
(something about "you look someone I can trust" in the 'Tangled Up in
Blue' club scene and the singer ending up in the midwest in 'Simple Twist
of Fate').   The crowd seemed at least old enough to remember those songs
and quite a few seemed old enough to remember 'Blowin in the Wind'
(although it sounded like it might be 'Just Like a Woman' during the
intro).  'She Belongs to Me' was set to a strange thumping and ponderous
beat like one of those pseudo-profound country tunes I hear from time to

Otherwise the set was a half dozen Tempest tunes and assorted other recent
compositions until Dylan assayed 'Autumn Leaves' and did a pretty fine
daring job of it.  I thought he sold most of the songs, only failing on
the punch lines to 'Beyond Here Lies Nothing' and 'Early Roman Kings' (a
shame!).  Most stirring performance was 'Forgetful Heart' and that got a
big audience response. 'Pay in Blood' seemed to be re-cast in a minor mode
and also got a big audience response which made me wonder what the song
means to the audience.  Some of the Tempest songs kind of broke the spell
for me.   Although there was a bit of mayhem in older Dylan songs the
singer didn't seem to relish it like he does now.  Tempest has enough
mayhem for a Hollywood action spectacular.  So the concert experience was
more one of being impressed than being moved.

The lobby offered souvenir grocery bags and red Rolling Thunder
sweatshirts in XXL, pretty cool. This aspect of touring never ceases to
amuse me. Music biz 2015!

Greg Wallace


Review by Don Ely

Saturday night in Columbus, Ohio.  A ride down High Street and a stop at
Magnolia Thunderpussy for a little Godspeed You Black Emperor, Great Lake
Swimmers, and the new My Morning Jacket. A left on State Street, a drive
past the buses parked in front of the Ohio Theatre, and a quick move into
a parking space kitty corner from the venue. Such was the ease with which
I arrived at the latest show presented by Bob Dylan and His Band, the
setting yet another stately movie palace preserved in pristine fashion
from another era. I'd purchased my ticket the moment they went on sale and
scored third row, " sitting in Bob's lap ". Why pay over a hundred dollars
more to get in the orchestra pit? Guess I'm not that much of a
Dylanologist. And this seat was significantly less expensive than either
Detroit's Fox last night or Minneapolis' Orpheum in November. 

The static set lists do not bother me. Bob has assembled such a satisfying
collection of songs that I look forward to each night. These renderings of
" Things Have Changed " are the best in recent memory. " She Belongs To Me
" and " Simple Twist Of Fate " really stand out as warm friends from the
past, and the audience embraces them with the feelings they conjure. A
sharp " Duquesne Whistle " proves Bob Dylan leads the best damn hot jazz
band this side of 1920's New Orleans! " Waiting For You " compels you to
waltz the night away. I've come to terms with current arrangements of both
" Pay In Blood " ( being less ominous ) and " Blowin' In The Wind " (
upbeat melody ); wiping the slate clean of how I think they should be
allows me to enjoy them fully. The fellow to my left, also a single
ticket, was a big fan of the under-rated Together Through Life, and "
Beyond Here Lies Nothin' " and " Forgetful Heart " from that record were
up to it's high standards. The band were loose and ready for any curves
Bob might wing their way, and Charlie Sexton was allowed a guitar solo ( !
) here and there. The reinvigorated " Love Sick " benefited especially
from Charlie's jazzy axe work, and the song leaves the audience salivating
for more.

It's difficult to think of anything from Love And Theft as being an Old
Warhorse, but as that record is now approaching a decade and a half in
age, " High Water ( for Charley Patton ) " certainly qualifies. Far
removed from early versions, the number has gone through flat periods to
regain it's status as a vibrant barn burner. And the Most Improved Award
goes to.................. " Early Roman Kings ", hands down the winner!
What is probably the least important song on Tempest has filled out nicely
into a showpiece for the band, heavy on improvisation and enough wicked
licks to stir the souls of dear departed blues men from beyond the grave! 
I have a notion this is how Bob envisioned " Kings " in the first place...
Nearing the end of the set the Tempest trifecta of " Scarlet Town ", "
Soon After Midnight ", and " Long And Wasted Years " drives the night's
performance home like the Golden Spike in the Transcontinental Railroad.
These three invoke the spirit of Dylan's latest long-player of all-new
classics perfectly, and this portion of the evening might just be my
favorite. They just keep getting better, and taken as a whole are an ideal
precursor to the timeless sentiments of  " Autumn Leaves ". The eerie
opening strains could fit right in to the soundtrack of Carnival Of Souls,
but this heartbreakin' ballad  conveys the emptiness felt after a summer
romance better than most any other. The fellow to my left came to the show
with heightened expectations but was not prepared for the level of
excellence that was consistent throughout the evening. On occasion he was
moved to tears. Been there before. I'm always happy when someone truly
enjoys the high standard put forth by Bob Dylan and His Band. Happy for
them and happy for Bob. My night was made as well as I headed out of the
Ohio Theatre and out of the parking lot. This time easy in, easy out was 
especially good fortune as my hotel was 45 miles north in Marion. Seems
there was a big music festival in Columbus spread over three days called
Rock On The Range, and virtually every room in the city was booked. So
just roll back the moon roof, roll down the window, marvel at all the
beautiful girls running in and out of the clubs along High Street. Insert
Shadows In The Night into the CD player and let go of all the cares in the

Don Ely
Rochester, MI


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