Reviews

St. Louis, Missouri

Stifel Theatre

October 22, 2019


[Jason Guthrie Barton], [Tom Burke], [Gestault Von Alabaster VII]

Review by Jason Guthrie Barton



"The Shining" spawned a cottage industry of amateur sleuths who pore over
the movie w Talmudic precision. Their analyses are as impenetrable as the
labyrinth that entraps Jack Torrance and as straightforward as a faked
moon-landing.

One, in particular, by Mstrmnd (available on the web) posits the film as
an Ur-text, a springboard for a new visual language that supersedes and
renders obsolete all written language before and hence.

With that in mind, it's hard to transmute tonight's concert into writing;
doing so can only diminish it - in the same way, perhaps, that the
Overlook Hotel reduces Jack to a photo by film's end.

Tonight, either you were there or you weren't. Nonetheless, w future
concertgoers in mind:

Across the street from the Stifel's windswept, granite plaza, a
proselytizer admonished lined-up concertgoers to "Accept Christ as your
savior".

From behind me in line, a voice, "Actually, that's Dylan." The notion was
entirely possible.

Five songs in, "Can't Wait" and riddled w anxiety and ruminating about my
mother's recent death, I fought the urge to flee.

Dylan's ravaged voice obliterated all memory of the originals. Who is he
still performing for? And why, if not for the money?

Then, like magic, everything flipped.

Dylan's genius isn't that he's still performing 60 years after he started
- a mind-boggling notion.

Instead, it's a combination of his presence (as always), but more
importantly, his arrangements, which are as varied, multifaceted and novel
as ever.

Truly, Dylan understands and commands every popular American musical idiom
of the past 200 years, from Stephen Foster to the present.

With that mastery, he infuses 1/2 century old songs w stunning vitality -
a sign of his undiminished powers.

Reconfiguring his band infused it w new energy. To my mind, they are as
good as any he's ever played w, from The Band, to Rolling Thunder and
"Love and Theft".

Each of them dictate and modify his sound. His fluid mastery of idiom
provides the tools to tailor his arrangements to each band's particular
strengths.

Tonight's arrangements were as powerful as any I've ever heard: fluid,
resonant and a platform for layering his lyrics in novel and surprising
ways.

On the crowded stairs after the concert, I was already looking for
available tickets in nearby cities. I feel transformed.

[TOP]

Review by Tom Burke



Highway 61 dissects St. Louis north to south.

The stage of the Stifel Theatre sits atop the rubble of the 19th century
row houses where Frankie shot Johnny; and, from the steps of the entrance
to Stifel you can see the corner where Bill Curtis' Saloon once stood and
Stagger Lee sealed his fate.

Before an enthusiastic full house and perhaps conjuring up the referenced
Spirit(s) of St Louis,  Bob Dylan and his band, in a performance marked by
energy, engagement, emotion, and rollicking up tempo good fun, blew the
roof off the Stifel Theatre tonight (October 23rd).

From the opening chords of Beyond Here Lies Nothing with Bob commanding
center stage and playing a solid lead guitar, to the closing blues tinged,
 It Takes A Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry, Dylan displayed a
variety  of his instrumental skills: crisp guitar work on the
aforementioned Beyond Here as well as on  It's All Over Now Baby Blue,
beautiful harmonica playing on Simple Twist of Fate and  When I Paint My
Masterpiece,  and piano playing encompassing the quiet and reflective on
Lenny Bruce and Girl From The North Country, to the balls to the wall Fats
Dominoesque boogie woogie keys pounding of Thunder On the Mountain and
Gotta Serve Somebody. In addition,  the full range of the Dylan stage
quirks were in evidence: the Chaplin facial expressions, the  boxer's
crouch, the Dylan shuffle, and the crooner's stance. Finally, Dylan's
singing was outstanding, delivering the lyrics clearly and with evident
passion and feeling, especially on Simple Twist of Fate, Masterpiece, and
Not Dark Yet.

Of particular enjoyment in this show, was  the extended amount of time
Dylan spent at center stage. On one occasion  (Early Roman Kings) Dylan
moved close to the front of the stage as he delivered a searing version of
that song, all the  while working  the hand mic and cord with such force
and vigor that for an instant it looked like he might go into full Roger
Daltry mode. Mostly,  Bob appeared relaxed and  energized and seemed to be
enjoying himself as he moved around the stage in his white buckskin boots.

The arrangements, on Can't Wait and Thunder On The Mountain were rip
roaring rocking, while Early Roman Kings and Pay in Blood were musically
more bluesy and vocally more cutting than in their 2017/2018 iterations.

The band was fantastic AND, in a nice touch and addition to the show,
Dylan took  a moment, after Thunder On The Mountain, to introduce the
members of the band:  Charlie Sexton leading the way on guitar, newcomer
Bob Britt adding guitar depth and breadth,  Donnie Herron on slide guitar
and violin, Tony Garnier on bass,  and new drummer for this tour Matt
Chamberlain.

A great concert. A great show. When it comes to a town near you don't miss
it.

[TOP]

Review by Gestault Von Alabaster VII



It is my turn finally to get to write a review! How happy I am for this
time now. I, Gestault, have never been to a Bob event before as the timing
with an agrarian job such as mine does not allow for much concert time. I
knew about two weeks in advanced that I would be able to attend this show
so I prepared my self. I had harvested some wonderful snap pea for the
colder season for stew and listened to my Bobby records to prepare †for
with a glass of rye.†On to the show.† †I arrived by sea plane from my
sisters retreat on a lake near by. That was fun and I listen to Oh Mercy
front to back while flying! I munch munch on some carrots too. † From the
air strip near by I took a cab to the hotel where I changed and drank a
couple ales. Good times! I meet some Bobby folks there. They were wishing
me good tidings! I am excited oh yes!† The stage is dark lit with lights
though. How cool! I bought my ticket 4 days prior.† Right into the songs
with a wonderful Beyond here! He is upright, standing on guitar! Oh
terrific!† Bob, as I see, is performing well shown by the first song.†
On to many more classics including one that plays in abundance on my farm:
Masterpiece. Was great to hear it live! I am dancing! Doing a dance, as we
call it in my native Bosnia.† My favorite is Train to cry as an encore! I
always liked Jerry G doing songs like this but Bobby did a wonderful
render job! How soothing! How great!† Here is the deal, I said to Frank
who I met at the pool hall after wards (he is a big Bobby fan). Sad that
he didnít attend, I convinced him to head to Ames for a future Bobby
show. Have fun Frank!† Overall Bob Dylan is alive and well tonight in
Kansas City. Farewell.† Gestault Von Alabaster VII

[TOP]

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