November 2, 2018
Review by Marty Traynor
The Dylan show we attended in Asheville, NC on Friday got me thinking about
how much I wished Paul Williams were still around to comment on what's
going on with Dylan. All I can say is, Dylan is in a very different place than he
was in the shows I attended in the past couple of years. Paul Williams could
have put this in perspective better than I am able.
The set list mixed songs across the decades. You can check it out - 20
numbers covering much of Dylan's career. Unlike the past couple of years,
there were no Sinatra covers. But surf rock lives! There are Beach Boys riffs
in at least two of his current arrangements: "Honest with Me" channels
"Dance, Dance, Dance" and "Thunder in the Mountain" now rocks with a riff
from "Shut Down, Part 2". And it includes a drum solo straight out of
The band is great even without Stu Kimball. They are Dylan's instrument as
much as ever, a reflection of his wishes. My one regret is not being able to
attend multiple shows on this tour leg. They have "band ESP" without a doubt.
With one less guitar in the mix Dylan's piano is up more in the mix - he's playing
the piano well - and his harp playing is genius. The one acknowledgement of
the band I recall is the moment when Sexton took a great solo on "Love Sick"
and Dylan, singing in center stage, swept his hand toward him - for about a
Dylan's voice seemed much stronger than in the past couple of years and his
drawn out, illuminating phrasing has returned with a vengeance. In the new
"Like a Rolling Stone" he slows down and draws out the ending of each chorus,
elongating words in ways he has not ventured recently. His harp playing is also
back, sounding terrific across several songs.
After the show, walking out, in conversation with fans who have not attended
shows over most of the NET, I heard a mix of opinions, from " I loved it" to "I
just don't get it". I am pretty sure I do get it. The greatest show on earth is
alive and well. Don't miss it.
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