August 28, 2012
Review by Dan Chester
Leopard-Skin: solid little opener getting the kinks out…stretched it a bit leading
to some really well-delivered lines
Baby Blue: first of ten or so fresh arrangements (thanks to the grand piano?)…
respecting the attempt, this one didn’t work (a little too Vegas-y)
Things Have Changed: played fairly interesting…what a good band
Tangled: funky and fun…delivered the lyrics with a hammer-like quality…then a
real strong harp showed up and, good golly, the thing took off…rousing enough
to have closed a show
Rollin’ and Stumblin’: even a new approach did not save it from being perfunctory…
this and Honest With Me could replaced by, I don’t know, maybe 228 tunes of his
Sugar Baby: took a little bit to find it’s way and when it arrived it showed up with
all kind of nectar…something sweet about it…one of the magical moments he
conjures where the music/lyrics/evening/vibration coalesce and transcendence is
John Brown: weird to be excited about such reality-drenched song…it was
rhythmic, pounding, dark, a little fast, sung well…ending had a hoe-down feel…
Love Sick: more darkness (though ending gives it a twist)…not huge fan, have
heard better (swampier) versions though not bad
Summer Days: and up jumped the boogie…whole lotta fun though guitar felt
restrained (one of those instances where one senses the band is on a tight
leash) and couldn’t pick the lyrics out too well
Visions: “Ain’t it just like the night…” generally leads to joy though last couple
versions (including this one) did not quite take the song to the place it deserves…
understand the search for freshness…this one came across a little Hornsby-ish…
this is one of the Canon’s inner circle and the question is why toy with it?
Highway 61: yet another new arrangement…grew on the listener though like this
one when the guitars are burning down the house Johnny Winter-style
Simple Twist: the guitar song, fairly straight-forward and well-delivered…played
with the lyrics a little?
Thunder: taking it to church with the piano sound…real cool rumbling boogie…
think this was the tune where when it was over he sorta jumped up and back
from the piano like it had given him a shock…big fun
Thin Man: pretty standard…echo effect uninteresting…really fun from a performer
aspect (him at the mike)
Rolling Stone: super-fresh update and, yeah, perfect example why it’s easy to
overlook the new arrangements that don’t quite work…found this three-note
magic (lead guitar and piano) that was exquisite…wow
Watchtower: fairly energetic, some cool guitar riffs
Blowin’: solid version, violin sweet and harp stellar
Summary: kind of a dull, though accessible, venue (what, did they close
Stambaugh?)…the stage back-drop added nicely to atmosphere…band had a
solid outing, seems like lead guitar could bring a lot more to the proceedings,
the mandolin colored some tunes very well…the grand piano pretty much
dominates the show, adding wonderfully to some tunes and detracting from a
couple, seems like a fun toy for him to play with…getting some Fats Waller and
some Little Richard and some Thelonious Monk in play/sound/mannerisms…
overarching theme to things is the headliner as he re-invents himself right
before our eyes into an Entertainer…while that can imply, or even tiptoe into,
a Vegas Showroom-type world at times it also feels real honest as he finds his
way…all sorts of funny gestures/movements (putting his head down on the
piano a couple times, marching up from rearstage to give harmonica solos) that
endear…sitting at the piano and turned toward the audience and singing and
playing, it felt at moments like we were in his living room he was so
comfortable…best tunes of night were Sugar Baby, Thunder, and Like a
Rolling Stone…thanks, everybody
Review by C. Henry
The Covelli Centre concert was close to my 60th show since 1986 and
Youngstown is the 11th city in Ohio I've seen him play in. Drove about 4
hrs for this one and sat 11th row center. Pretty sedate crowd with no
stage rush - most folks stayed firmly planted in their seats throughout.
Bob (sans hat) and the band (sans Stu) appeared out of the darkness with
no spoken introduction, but with some bluesy music that segued into LSPBH.
Throughout the concert, the sound was very good, Bob was animated, and
the piano was wonderful. Bob started singing THC center stage with mic,
then abruptly stalked off to the shadows back to the piano and began
again. The band didn't miss a beat. I think Stu appeared during TUIB. I
have to say that for me, I think John Brown was the highlight of the
night. Bob did this one center stage with mic and engaged in some of the
more bizarre antics I've ever seen from him. He jerked, he twitched, he
bowed, he grimaced, and pranced around like a possessed marionette. And
all without a hat. I loved it! I think the subject matter of this song
made it all that more surreal to see him grinning and dancing while
spewing this one out. Visions was beautiful. Simple Twist had some great
Bob guitar work, and Thin Man was back to the surreal and scary. The echo
effect they've been using on this also seems to have some kind of phase
shift now. Pretty weird and great. I moved to the back of the floor to try
to dance around a little for the last couple songs, but of course that is
strictly forbidden in this city. All in all, a great show. The piano is a
great addition to the Bob show and it's amazing to watch and hear him play
around with it like he's hanging out in a studio or at a bar. He plunks,
he tinkles, he bangs, he leans, he tickles. Half the time, he only seems
to be playing with one hand while the other sits in his lap as he's turned
towards the crowd.Good stuff. I've been disappointed by Bob shows before,
but not by this one. The band was great (as always) and Bob did his thing
like no one else can. Awesome.
Review by Bill Royal Oak
Was all set to wait until November and catch the Detroit and or Grand
Rapids shows after a pretty cool Cinci show...then Rolling Stone magazine
showed up in my box Tuesday with a fantastic review of Tempest and I was
off to Youngstown.
About four hours later I'm once again catching the Baby Grand show with a
whole new gusto. This time I realized that the band and Bob appear to be
in the midst of a live rehearsal for what's to come in the Fall. The
differing sounds and arrangements, could these be hints of the new record?
Nevertheless I viewed this show and the players in a much more positive
light as it appears they are pounding out new arrangements around the
older set list. The piano moving around and the apparent directions from
Bob I think we were all being treated to a genius in the midst of yet
another fantastic record and shows to come. And if I'm wrong we'll than
its a blast to see them no matter!
Thank you Bob and the band for the great shows unlike any other artists
and a real special thanks for Theme Time Radio Hour!
Review by Joshua Seese
I will give you a brief rundown of the set list along with
rants and raves.
1.Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat-I was not present, the taxi
was running late.
2.It’s All Over Now Baby Blue-Brilliant as ever, packs a
punch with Bob grinding away on guitar. I savor the way
he uses his vocals as an assault weapon on this one.
3.Things Have Changed-Includes quick jaunty stabs at
harmonica, same as the last time that I saw him. It
should be noted that the harmonica was as perilous as
4.Tangled Up in Blue-Nice lyrical rework in the second
half of the song. Intellectually hip, plays with point of
view---what more could you ask for in a Dylan song!
Lyrics and imagery come out stacked ad infinitum.
5.Rollin’ & Tumblin’-Bob at piano again, beautiful edition
to the set, mix was great. More laidback and melodic
version than I’m used to hearing. Loved the vocal
delivery and constant instrumental meddling.
6.Sugar Baby-Sparse, minimalistic-ally focused
arrangement. Just the perfect amount of gruff lyrics and
7.John Brown-More showy version of the song, but still
retains the core frailty of a soldier beat by a heinous
8.Lovesick-True to form with the piano inclusion this time
around. It is the definitive
all-deluxe-continental-melancholy-bliss version I have
been waiting for.
9.Summer Days-A fitting song as the last days of summer
begin to wind down. Nice fretwork on guitar. It was
purposely coming loose at the seams but packed the punch
of a wild freight train.
10.Visions of Johanna-The Mercurial sound of Bob returns,
yet again. Fresh and sweet as ever, like the dew clinging
11.Highway 61 Revisited-A rollicking romp in the hay
somewhere between biblical folk/rock and roll for the
ages. Infused with the wisdom of those provocative.
12.Simple Twist of Fate-For some reason, lurking somewhere
amidst the perfect high school prom song. Bubbly. Top
notch. Very high school prom song climactic, in the way
that you can live inside a moment marked by time
revelatory and escape to a shelter in the storm of
13.Thunder On the Mountain-Once again, a wild train. Fun
Jam session. Ripe with imperial rhymes.
14.Ballad of A Thin Man-Echo is still present. Still
haunts me like it did before. Perfect mood/ married to
sassy. Condemned. Bob as the carnival barker.
15.Like A Rolling Stone-All four verses! Enough said.
Crowd pleaser as always.
16.All Along The Watchtower-Driven by a refreshing tribal
17.Blowin’ in The Wind-Soft as the wind-driven closer.
Violin is nice, high up in the mix.
Overall, I love the piano, miss the intro. Musicianship
was brilliant as ever, and it is obviously clear that he
still meets his muse every morning:-)
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