July 2, 2016
Review by Larry Fishman
Located in Western Massachusetts, Tanglewood is the summer home of
the renown Boston Symphony Orchestra. Equi-distant from New York City
and Boston, it's a destination for deep pocketed Upper West Side Hedgies,
old hippies (Arlo Gutherie), artists and others seeking refuge in the
You could call Tanglewood the original shed. Nowadays cookie cutter,
outdoor sheds seems to an excuse to sell naming rights and corporate
subscriptions. This place has history having been built in the late 1930s
and has a lush lawn filled with trees. benches and picnickers. The free
parking alone would cause the MBAs at Ticketmaster and Live Nation
The Crowd: My friend Leslie commented if you didn't know Dylan was
performing you wouldn't know it was a Dylan crowd. The audience was a mix
of said New Yorkers and well fed suburbanites drawn to the idyllic
setting. The couple next to me left a few songs after the break. They
told me they wanted to hear "Just Like A Woman" and "Girl from the North
Country. Too much Sinatra for them...and for others. They asked me if I
knew or met Dylan after I told them how many shows I've been. I get asked
that frequently and I do think it's odd. After all, no one asks a
Patriots season ticket holder if they have lattes with Tom & Gisselle.
Opening Act: Mavis Staples. Bursting out on the stage with her crafty
five piece band, the planet is quite simply a better place because of her.
She's one of the remaining few who were the bridge between gospel, soul
and blues. She rocked the house and closed out with a rousing, loud and
splendid "I'll Take You There".
Bob: He looked spry, engaged and has become a bit of a strutter. All
night after he'd finish some vocals he hop back a few steps, put his hand
on his hips and strut like peacock. With his white hat and belt, black
suited he seemed spry for my 75 year old inspirer. This is - and this
entire tour - a mellow if not muted affair. With 7 of the 20 songs
Sinatra standards this was no rock concert. Even Tangled was slowed down.
He has shelved the rock war horses of Watchtower, Highway 61 and LARS.
These shows are dreamy, etherial and evocative. On to the gig:
1. Things Have Changed. Not to start on a negative note, but I have heard
this song on the last couple dozen shows I've attended and wouldn't mind
seeing it switched out. Put me in the let Bob be Bob camp, I generally
don't care what he plays so long as he doesn't put out another Christmas
album. I'm not one to question Bob's judgement but after all, he did
trade an Elvis as Gunfighter print that Andy Warhol gave him for a used
2. She Belongs to Me. Nothing quite stirs the heart like Dylan playing
some harp and he did 3 separate and sweet solos. "She takes the dark out
of the nighttime and paints the daytime black." Oh man, I'll never tire
of this one.
3. Beyond Here Lies Nothing. Bob skips over to play piano for the first
time. It's a dark tale with a peppy back beat.
4. The Night We Called It A Day. For all of the Sinatra/standards, Zimmy
just seems to sing them better. His voice noticeably softens and clears -
he seems to even breath better. He's really prancing now, an early set
5. Pay in Blood. Driving up I listened to Elvis Costello's memoir on CD
and while he tells numerous Dylan stories, one he tells is of Bob trying
out these lyrics to him. Cool. It's a big, bad, blog song of piss and
vinegar. With some changed lyrics and an assassin's delivery, it's one of
his best songs of the last decade and another stand out for the night
6. Melancholy Mood. A sweet performance and maybe this is a good time to
mention the band. The boys are all somewhat caged -- professional, focused
but clearly they don't want to upstage the guy who signs their pay checks.
7. Duquesne Whistle. This has evolved into a swinging, Jammier, free form
arrangement. Reminds me a little of the role that "Summer Days" used to
play. With that said, I was bored silly by summer days and enjoyed this
jazzed up tune
8. How Deep Is The Ocean? Not being on any album,this is a swoony, moody,
croon of a song. Hmmm, Hey Bob are we gonna get a 3rd volume?
9. Tangled Up in Blue. As mentioned, a slowed down tempo - also had some
changed lyrics. I love when he changed this one around, though he dropped
the "Italian poet from the 15th century part" and I just love that part.
For some, this was the first song recognized and got some enthusiastic
recognition from the subdued audience
10. High Water (For Charlie Patton). With Donnie Herron on banjo and Stu
Kimball uncorking 2 short and slick solos the band retook the stage after
a 10 minute break.
11. Why Try To Change Me Now. A sweet slow standard, but you gotta
wonder how this is gonna go over with the Desert Trip crowd.
12. Early Roman Kings. Ba-boom, Ba-boom. It's a simple killer blues
riff that jolts me from my seat on every listen. Is it possible that I
saw a small, nearly detectable smile cross Bobby's face. Um, I think so.
13. I Could Have Told You. Another unreleased standard, new to me and
clearly confounding to this audience. Then again they probably would know
much if any of his material since Blonde on Blonde.
14. Spirit on the. Water. Supremely well played and I always enjoy those
rambling Dylan songs which are half about some botched love affair, half
about someone else's girlfriend and the final third half to be figured out
15. Scarlet Town. A wondrous and dark tale. Mixes well with the
standards, but it's heavy. Uncorks the song at center stage, legs spread,
delivering the goods.
16. All or Nothing at All. Garnier seemed locked in on bass on this one.
17. Long and Wasted Years. Oddly, the crowd seemed to react s bit to this
one -- go figure.
18. Autumn Leaves. The final Sinatra sing was certainly a sweet and
19. Blowin' in the Wind. Wow. The crowd exploded on this one. Women
were swaying,men were whooping , Bob finally gave them something familiar
- and it was quite a lovely version. Had a nice orchestrated punch.
20. Love Sick. A nice poppy, peppy take to close out the night. On to
Foxwoods for the both of us.
Review by Stephen
Beautiful night in the Berkshires. Probably the best sounding Dylan
concert in years. Crystal clear, kudos to whoever is manning the
soundboard. Opening set by Mavis was a pure joy. Sure she talks a lot but
hey, she's earned it. Dylan's voice hasn't been this clear in years. The
first three songs are strong and then.....well you know what comes next.
Unfortunately the audience uses each Sinatra song as an excuse to talk to
either each other or someone on the other end of their cellphone. Dylan
sings each of these songs with conviction and tenderness. I could do
without them, all of them. Just not my type of music. Then again I don't
like Christmas carols, show tunes or opera. The stage lighting and decor
is suited to these covers. Obviously Dylan has put a lot of care into how
this show is presented. It's like walking into a speakeasy or a lounge,
maybe Rick's Cafe
Review by Larry K.
Drove up to Lenox, Mass. from home in New Paltz with my good friend
Gary last night...We were blown away by this show. On a perfect cool
Berkshire evening, Mavis came out with a tight gospel-soul-funk-pop set
that set a high bar for Bob to surpass. Worth the price of admission alone
(lawn tickets were only $44, by the way). I won't go through Bob's set
list since it hasn't been changing, but his band has moved up to another
level since I'd last seen them (Manhattan, last fall). Intros and endings
were reworked and spectacular...Charlie Sexton has blossomed into an
amazingly tasteful and tasty player, and the interplay between the
musicians is inspired. Bob's vocals, for the most part, are clearer and
passionate...the classic ballads he's been singing are a challenge to his
range, and though these verge on self-parody at times, they are also
affecting. Bob's keyboard playing is much improved as well.
Some highlights: Charlie's intro to Times Have Changed, and the entire
tune itself...slow groove on She Belongs to Me...band romps through
Beyond Here Lies Nothing with a samba beat and orchestral sound...Pay
In Blood was that rare example of a perfect performance, as good as
anything I've ever heard anywhere by anyone...Duquesne Whistle had
the band as a swinging jazz combo riffing on each other...Tangled Up In
Blue was slow, elegiac, with excellent vocals...High Water was fierce with
new dynamics...Early Roman Kings and Scarlet Town menacingly
To sum up: don't miss this show.
Review by Dave Read
It was a night of biblical proportions at Tanglewood, a concert by Bob
Dylan that was a revelation, following a set by Mavis Staples that was a
revival. The revelation is that some 55 years into his career, by
remaining true and not wavering from his original vision, Bob Dylan was
able to belt out a genre-skimming array of 20 songs, imbuing each one of
them with just the right degree of scorn or glee, humor or haughtiness,
bile, blasphemy, or belligerence.
Dylan’s constancy was demonstrated by She Belongs To Me, the second
song tonight, which he also performed the first time I saw him, on the
Rolling Thunder Revue tour.
Tonight’s set started with Things Have Changed, his trophy-winning
song from 2000, which was performed with more ardor and vehemence than an
opening number usually gets, as if he’d been singing along backstage to
old girlfriend Maris Staples! Bob Dylan sings the Great American
Tonight’s setlist also demonstrated that Mr. Dylan’s perusal of the
Great American Songbook is no passing fancy; besides doing five songs
from the 2 new “Sinatra” albums, Fallen Angels and Shadows in the
Night, he also sang How Deep is the Ocean and I Could Have Told You,
brand new entries on Bob Dylan’s setlist. While it’s hard to imagine
that his own lyrics have overlooked any nuance of emotion or condition of
life, nontheless he seems all fired up to be singing this material, making
a fresh wind blow through Tin Pan Alley.
Those seven songs were distributed evenly among his own, five of which
hail from Tempest, which took the world by storm upon release in 2012,
when Dylan-wags reminded us that The Tempest is the name of
Shakespeare’s last play. Turns out not to mark the end of the line for
the bard of Hibbing, at all! Tempest is a great album, and tonight Bob
Dylan delivered five songs from it with a high degree of fidelity to the
recorded versions: Pay in Blood, Duquesne Whistle, Early Roman Kings,
Scarlet Town, Long and Wasted Years. Duquesne Whistle gets your attention
Duquesne Whistle, in the 7tyh spot tonight but 1st on the album, reminds
me of Like A Rolling Stone, the opening number on Highway 61 Revisted.
Whereas the latter shocks the listener with the loud crack of a snare drum
right up front, Duquesne Whistle lollygags for more than half a minute
before slapping you awake. Bob Dylan is an artist who doesn’t put much
effort into promotion, but every now and then he takes the measure of our
And tonight, he even addressed the audience, after the first 9 songs,
telling us the band would be leaving the stage but would return in a few
minutes. For years, he spoke only to introduce the band and maybe say
thank you at the end of the set and before the encore, but hadn’t even
been doing that much talking lately. This encore alone was worth the price
of admission: Blowin’ in the Wind, with Dylan’s vocals and piano
assiduously accented by violin, and a rollicking reading given to Love
Sick, off the immense 1997 album Time Out of Mind. Mavis Staples rouses
Mavis Staples had the audience in the palm of her hand by the time her
opening set wound up, and on their feet, singing along and testifying! She
doesn’t share Dylan’s reticence, rather is as chatty as your sister,
eager to tell you what’s been happening. We couldn’t sit still during
her set, which left us revived with the fervor of the Sixties. Her band is
awesome and they mix up an intoxicating blend of gospel, soul, funk,
blues, and rock ‘ roll.
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