October 30, 2016
Review by Tom Burke
In recent months Dylan has played in Tokyo, Los Angeles, and New York,
but these last weeks have found him blowin down the backroads headin'
south and this Sunday night found him in Paducah, Kentucky a town of
25,000 sitting at the confluence of 2 of the largest of them rebel
rivers, the Ohio and the Tennessee.
The Carson Center is an intimate 1800 seat venue located at the far end
of downtown Paducah. Having left St Louis ticketless at 5 pm for the 8
pm show there was little room for error in covering the 180 miles,
finding the theatre and locating a ticket to the sold out show, but
with some gambler's luck I was fortunate to secure an aisle seat in
the orchestra pit just over Dylan's left shoulder as he played the piano
located at stage left.
Readers and regulars of this forum, know the players and the setlist, so
I won't recount or restate the known. What I can tell you, is that Dylan
and his band delivered a precise and spirited performance before a
respectful full house in Paducah. The current iteration of songs
performed in recent weeks provides a satisfying mix of material spanning
nearly the entire breadth of the Dylan catalogue. Whether it's from his
back pages---- Don't Think Twice, It's Alright, Highway 61 Revisited,
and It's All Over Now, Baby Blue or mid career classics----Tangled Up in
Blue, Lovesick, High Water (appropriate for this river town which has
had it's share over the years), or from his more recent records---Early
Roman Kings and Pay in Blood through to his more current
work---Melancholy Mood, Autumn Leaves and Why Try To Change Me Now, no
matter the era, the style, the mood, or the message Dylan manages to
maintain a level of consistent excellence show after show, night after
night in any town anywhere.
Tonight, the mix and the acoustics were outstanding. The band ( isn't it
time this group of players be nominated as a unit to the Rock n' Roll
Hall of Fame??) was firing on all fours. And Dylan was in in strong and
clear voice while playing a spirited and energetic piano.
It's been awhile since a Nobel prize winner stopped by Paducah to work
his craft, and it may be awhile before it happens again, but for the
lucky 1800 in the house it won't soon be forgotten.
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