Spokane, Washington
First Interstate Center for the Arts

May 28, 2022

[Laurette Maillet], [Tim Whittome]

Review by Laurette Maillet

It was a surprise to hear that Bob would do a West coast tour so early after the
previous tour. My problem was my tourist visa ending in May 29th. I couldn't 
stay after the date. Crossing the Mexican or Canadian border and back was not 
an option. My only possibility was to go back home, wait three weeks and fly 
to Vancouver to cross the border to Seattle. Hoping for the best.
urprisingly all went well. And I crossed the border with no problem
he plan was to join Stephanie in Seattle, rent a car and go on the road together
until Eugene. I requested couchsurfing for all the cities and I was lucky. No worry
for the accomodations.

We take the road early afternoon on May 27th. Shop for food and material and 
reach Spokane around 8 pm. We travel through a beautiful but cold area. The 
mountains picks are under snow. My CS hosts are waiting for us with a dinner
and a private bedroom and bathroom. After a correct night despite the jet lag 
we are up at 9am.

May 28th.
We shop for water and more food, spend some time in a park, pack the bags
for the afternoon and hit the road to downtown Spokane.
Two buses are parked around the venue. The crew buses.
We walk by the river and watch the waterfalls for a while. The area is fine 
but for me the weather is too cold. And a bit rainy.
In order to make some bucks I printed some of my Dylan paintings and I will 
try to sell either before or/after the show, depending on security.
Stephanie already got a ticket , so it's only me who has to beg
By 5pm we hang around the venue. The musicians bus is parked but no 
Bobby's bus yet.
Only by 6pm the security is in place. Bobby's bus is parked.
We are wondering how they will manage to hold the phones
First of all, no bags are allowed, except translucide ones.
Stephanie helps me to get a ticket. My good Samaritan is Tim , a nurse
coming with three teenagers. Row H, seat 5.
We pass the metal detector. As soon as the tickets are scanned we are 
requested to put our phones in a pouch, locked with a magnetic button. A 
usher writes the seat numbers on a piece of paper. But some patrons pretend 
to have ... No phone.
We carry the pouch with us.

I take my seat and realize the stage is set the save way as before, except
there is a black drape to cover the back of the piano.
No bottle on the pianoas no one will be able to take photos.(with a phone).
The musicians are the same.
They start with "watching the river flow".
The public is quiet. The venue is average in decorations and pretty full.
I am ready with a piece of paper and a pen to write any change. (The audience
is not in total dark).But song after song Bob is doing the same set.
No harp on "Masterpiece". Bob put a black hat on his fluffy hair and will keep it
to the end.
He moves center stage, holding the mic pole with his left hand for
"I contain multitudes" "Black rider""I've made up my mind to give myself to you"
and "Melancholy mood". I guess he is not afraid of fans taking photos
He's got a nice colorful shirt and black pants.
I find him skinny and slightly bend over. More hopping than walking.
I can't see his face.
His voice is correct but I am not thrilled by this show. Just happily surprised that
he can sing four songs at the center mic without...lyrics shits.
The audience is quiet. Too much!
Stephanie was on the balcony and she says the sound was great.
As soon as Bob is moving center stage after "Every grain of sand" I rush outside
to have my phone unlocked and text Bill the setlist. We have to drop the pouch
in a container called Yonder.
I retrieve my prints from the car and present them to the public getting out. 
I manage to make some money for the road: gas, food, parking meters, coffee
...each dollar is welcome!

That was a nice easy day. A bit of panic for the ticket at night.
The show for me was a routine and not too energetic
Nonetheless I am thankful for all the help.
Judith ;CS host, Tim ; the good Samaritan...
The FB encouragements.
That was a good start.
Bobby! See you tomorrow.


Review by Tim Whittome

Having not seen Bob Dylan in live performance since his last show in
Washington State at a winery in June 2016 (the following planned 2020
shows were canceled due to Covid), I was excited to see Bob again.
Especially since he had released the *Rough and Rowdy Ways* songs to such
stellar reviews in 2020. I just *had *to hear him sing Anne Frank 's name
in a live performance of "Multitudes" and I didn't *not *want to hear the
stunningly beautiful "I've Made Up my Mind."

I took an Amtrak bus to Spokane from the Seattle area which was slowish
but effective as it arrived with plenty of time to allow me to explore the
city before the show and what a treat that was!. Despite living in
Washington State for many years, I had not visited Spokane before and what
a great city it proved to be with one of the most spectacular urban parks
anywhere (Riverfront Park)! This was a fine legacy of the 1974 World's
Fair which had seen the conversion of a polluted Northern Pacific railroad
yard into a new great parkscape, complete with a proper showcasing of the
Spokane River cascading through in a series of upper and lower falls which
look great in spring melt conditions as was the case on the occasion of
today's show. Although the weather was somewhat cold - and unusually for
the time of year - grey, it did mean that fire season would be delayed for
a few more weeks in the area. The more that is compressed, the better I
would think, although some tourists might disagree I guess who were
passing through. May has been unseasonably cold and wet this year in
Washington State which has enhanced the stately green and lingered the
presence of snow at higher levels. After last year's massive 110 degree
heat waves, we can be thankful to be spared one of these so late into the

Anyway, security at the show venue grappled with the new bizarre rules
coming from Bob Dylan (so I was told) to have phones locked in pouches for
the duration of the show. They may get into legal problems with this if
any guests should be unfortunate enough to miss receiving emergency
inbound calls. Although it is certainly not at all unusual for venues to
require that phones be switched off for the duration of performances, this
new security policy seemed to take matters to a higher level of personal
invisibility since it *is *possible to have your phone on vibrate without
disturbing anyone. Anyway, it is what it is and they got it all figured
out at the beginning and at the end. Dylan sadly didn't seem to be
highlighted on any billboard signs outside the venue - the only one I
could see was still referencing the musical *Hamilton *which had left the
city a week prior!

I met Laurette outside the show which was nice but just as I was about to
chat some more, she was called away - she seems to have gotten a ticket
which was good.

The First Interstate Center was spacious inside and had a nice view of
Riverfront Park as well as an uncrowded area for pre-performance drinks.
The performance area itself was vast and seemingly sold out which was good
to see. The crowd was appreciative but didn't really stand to offer any
applause. Standing ovations have always been mixed for Dylan throughout
his career and have I seen both the polite and the ecstasy in my time of
attending shows and seeing audience reaction. At least, I didn't have the
issues I had faced in Irvine, CA back in 2019 when patrons were still
strolling in halfway through the show and coming and going across the
aisles when they did finally arrive. I'll never forget the awful
background to that show and it was a shame as Dylan had sounded great that

Dylan appeared promptly enough at around 8.00pm and the set list fell
quickly into its now polished routine with nothing new added to or removed
from the shows from earlier in the year. For those like me hearing them
for the first time live, this was all wonderful and a relief as I got to
hear Anne Frank's name and to stand up at the end of "I've Made Up My
Mind" - yes, I think this is one of Bob's greatest love songs. Having
recently edited a book about "meeting" Anne Frank recently, it was nice to
hear her name in a song by Dylan who has definitely connected himself with
Anne over the years - he was photographed, for example, with her diary in
1978 on the train to or from Nuremberg.

The many pluses of the show included the clear robustness of Dylan's voice
and his commitment to the new material. Given how age has not withered him
in live performance, we can be enormously grateful for this. He doesn't
*sound *like you would imagine someone of 81 singing. Frightening to think
that my own mother had died of Alzheimer's at this same age in 2020. Don't
worry, Dylan is not showing any signs of this awful mental robbery. He
keeps on keeping on...

What worries me most about the shows is their seemingly routine and
predictable nature. They are beautiful and they are strong and the songs
are amazing but there is still something missing from how we are used to
(and been spoiled by) seeing Bob live. I guess I am thinking in terms of
his famed performing improvisation, and the set lists haven't been this
inflexible since 1979/early to mid 1980, although arguably there wasn't a
lot of variety in the 1986 shows either. This inflexibility now, though,
feels as if it is functioning more as a performance "crutch" for Bob as he
doesn't have to think too much or wonder what to play next. Given his age,
we have to understand this need for and level of predictability as a help
and not a hindrance to how the shows are currently structured. Whether the
band feels the same, as concertgoers attending only one or a few shows, we
have to be grateful for this. However, it *does *mean that it is probably
not that essential to see all or more than one, two, or three of the shows
in any given tour. Our incentives for going and attending the shows we do
are all different but this could have a financial impact on Dylan if his
diehard fans opt to see fewer and fewer performances per tour and the rest
don't show up to one in great numbers. I have a ticket for the second
night in Seattle because I don't know when or if Dylan will be back in the
Northwest. He might not return as part of the 2021-2024 tour and so I have
to see him for what could possibly be his last pass through the region. It
is not as if he bothers much with the Seattle area much these days - at
least not compared to other areas of the country.

So, in conclusion here, I would say that the show in Spokane was a lovely
and great - if predictable - performance in a nice city that wears its
pride in its connection to watching the river flow in nature well. No, he
obviously *didn't *play that song because he was in Spokane - as he might
have done in years past - but because it is now the firm opening song of a
fixed setlist that is uniformly great across the board. The shows are more
than worth seeing and I am sure that casual and committed Dylan fans alike
won't be disappointed if they do and if they like *Rough and Rowdy Ways
*with the love it deserves. Many of us have made up our minds that we do!

I found a bar after the performance prior to then getting back to the
Amtrak Station for a 2.15am train home to Seattle. I got about two hours
sleep as Amtrak trains at night are not very comfortable for those with
arthritic pains, etc.

See you again Bob in Seattle..


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