Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana University
IU Auditorium

October 27, 2019

[Luke M. Jacobus]

Review by Luke M. Jacobus

Every two or three years, Bob Dylan visits central Indiana around

Twenty-one years ago yesterday, I attended my first Bob Dylan show
with some friends from college. Tonight I took my school-age daughter to
her first show. Several people made an effort to tell us how glad they
were to see her in attendance. She has a keen eye and ear for detail, so I
was very interested to hear her impressions of the show. She remarked that
the lighting made the stage look like a haunted forest, and I have to

We had spent the last week listening to albums together, especially
those that contained the songs we expected him to perform tonight. She is
a developing multi-instrumentalist and vocalist and appreciates the craft.
As such, she was impressed with the communication and interplay between
Bob Dylan and his band, and how well this band worked together.

I was impressed with this and also that at times they adeptly formed a
single unit of sound, much more like an orchestra. We both observed that
it certainly appears they have practiced together a great deal, but that
they’re still subtly working a few things out. I noticed Bob shaking his
head “no” quite a bit tonight, and it seemed to be a mix of engagement
with his songs and communication with the band, or at least one member of
the band in particular. After a very few of the songs, when the lights
started to go down, a subtle fist pump and emphatic head nod was barely
visible to the audience, as if to say “nailed it” to himself and the

I was impressed with the vocal range explored tonight. By now, it
seems almost cliché in a review here to say that Bob Dylan’s voice is
stronger than ever, but it may very well be true. Several times, he
produced a gentle voice in his natural upper range evocative of a parent
singing a tender lullaby to a newborn baby. I don’t think I’ve heard
him use this voice with such great effect in concert or on record. Most,
especially casual, listeners would not expect this from Bob Dylan and not
recognize it as his own. The audience responded very approvingly with what
seemed like bewildered amazement to me, and I hope it is something he
continues to explore in concert. I would appreciate having that particular
vocal aspect committed to record. His voice was remarkably strong
until—and especially at—the end, with the closing number of It Takes A
Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry, being one of the most powerful
vocals of the night in my opinion.

The greatest impression for me this concert was how Bob has
accommodated and adapted his center stage posture since I last saw
him, two years ago. He held the microphone varying distances away from his
face and leaned down and into it with a slightly bowed head and bent
knees. At times the lean was so strong that he rested his right hand on
his right knee. Rather than appearing stooped, and especially on the
angrier songs, he resembled a boxer gloating over a fallen opponent as he
gave a piercing glare to an imaginary spot on the stage.

In closing, I appreciate the opportunity to share this review. I’ve been
lurking on this website for about 20 years and have several pages of notes
from past concerts, but never made the time to finish and submit a review.
I have learned a great deal about Bob Dylan and his music through very
frequent checking of setlists and reading most of the reviews. Please keep
up the good and dedicated work on this site, and fellow concert-goers,
please keep the reviews coming in!

It will be a happy Halloween in Indiana, because Bob Dylan has been here.

Luke M. Jacobus


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