October 26, 2014
Review by Roderick Smith
A Night at the Opera
This is Bob Dylan about as pure as you can hope to get. That strapping
band of his now a brilliant “orchestra.” All in perfect step. His
voice exquiste. That may come as a surprise to the usual and tiresome
complaint so often made but it is a fact. He sings with pure expression
and with clarity. His weathered and golden voice has been honeyed by some
unknow elixir. It is absolutely riveting to hear these songs coming forth
with such power. The gorgeous stage makes for dazzling theater. The
lights down low in an amber burning fire. It feels as though you ARE in
Scarlet Town. The little cowboy maestro moving in a fabulous pastiche of
those crooners long ago. His legs and arms in Chaplinesque sync with a
ripping band. No question that his new material is the well from which
this two act operetta is built. The songs are all front and center.
Having seen all three shows in Hollywood I can only say that though the
set list was as unvaried as any Puccini, each performance roared as though
it had never been done before. One suggestion however if you are not in
the front rows bring your opera glasses. Watching this Bob Dylan upclose
is absolutely mesmerizing!
Review by Nancy Cobb
KNOCKIN' ON HEAVEN' DOOR? NOT SO FAST
I approached this show with a little nervousness because the set list had
not been changed for 24 concerts and the tour schedule was so ambitious.
But it turned out to be the most unusual Dylan event I have ever attended.
It is post rock 'n' roll....more of an interpretation of the Great
American Dylan Songbook by the Master himself- including all his skills of
writing, poetry, singing, and storytelling. His band was a sensitive
backdrop for his voice the way that jazz combos used to be with singers
like Billie Holiday. The drummer used brushes, and the other musicians
took turns with riffs while Bob also added his soulful harp in addition to
his old timey baby grand piano playing. In doing these great songs from
over a 40 year span for so many audiences, Dylan is giving us all the
chance to hear something very special like the famous Judy concert at
Carnegie Hall. I have never seen him so relaxed and apparently happy.
Plus we had a wonderful cover of "Stay With Me" from the film "The
Cardinal" for the glorious conclusion. I was glad to see that the LA
audience appreciated the ad lib surprise. After all these years of
receiving rudeness from his fans, he deserves it.
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