November 3, 2018
Review by Thad Williamson
A great show, full of excellent musicianship, surprising song choices and
arrangements, expressive vocal performance, and a lot of excellent
The venue is a great fit, and it helped a lot that people 99.5% complied
with the requests/demands for no cell phone use at all during the show.
After a fairly routine start, Dylan settled in and thrived in the setting,
delivering a number of highly memorable and moving performances.
*Don't Think Twice, It's Alright*: Re-arranged into a slow croon with
minimal backing behind Bob at the piano; very expressive singing,
excellent harmonica playing
*Like a Rolling Stone:* A major surprise to me....I heard the first chords
and thought "That's it" but didn't believe it until he started singing.
Mixed tempos, with the second part of each verse slowing down
dramatically. Sang all four verses (first time I have heard him do all
*When I Paint My Masterpiece*: Similar to "Don't Think Twice" in the slow
lean-in, long almost a capella singing of the verses. Some cool lyric
*Gotta Serve Somebody*: Awesome! New arrangement totally unrcecognizable
from the familiar 1979 version, but it works. Lots and lots of new or
rewritten lyrics: "(Might be in Las Vegas, might be having fun/ might be
standing in a bush, holding a smoking gun/but you gotta serve somebody.")
Lots of other good performances: Trying to Get to Heaven, Love Sick, a
really sweet Make You Feel My Love, Simple Twist of Fate, Soon After
Midnight, solid renditions of Pay in Blood, Early Roman Kings; Pay in
Blood with a significantly new arrangement.
Most challenging was perhaps a novel re-arrangement of Cry Awhile into a
thumping, less-than-melodic rocker, but the crowd went with it.
From a performance point of view, an impassioned rendition of Scarlet Town
about one-third through the show seemed to be the moment in which the
crowd got really into it, but in my mind the highlights were as above.
Encores: a long and new (to me) lead-in to Long and Wasted Years, then an
excellent Blowin' in the Wind.
A truly outstanding show, without question in the top five shows I've seen
Review by Michael Joseph Silcoff
On Saturday, November 3, 2018, Bob Dylan and his Band presented a
collection of re-vitalized favorites and rare gems, backed up by pulsating
rythyms and expert-playing from a group of musicians who are some of the
best in the business.
Durham, North Carolina's DPAC was an ideal setting for Dylan's concert,
featuring a beautiful hall and excellent sound.
Dylan and company took the stage and launched into reliable and long-time
opener, "Things Have Changed." The song's rumbling rythym and defiant
lyrics immediately set the evening's tone.
One can only applaud Dylan for his restless desire to breathe new life
into his back catalogue. Dylan dug deep on a few numbers, including "When
I Paint My Masterpiece" and "Cry A While." The night's seventh song, a
rocked-up version of "Honest With Me," failed to hit the mark. Guitarist
Charlie Sexton's "Rumble" style playing wasn't enough to salvage the song,
the evening's only misstep.
Perrenial favorite"Like A Rolling Stone" was revamped and re-energized.
Dylan slowed the tempo to a near halt during the pre-chorus, a risky
decision, but it paid off wonderfully and was one of the evening's special
moments. Drummer George Receli appeared gleefull with the new arrangement,
which showcased his diversity behind the kit as well as his ability to
keep pace with the ever-changing Dylan.
"Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" was nothing short of masterful. Dylan's
mournful rendition of this classic struck a special chord with the
audience, who sat mesmerized by his vocal phrasing and melodic lines.
Dylan's phrasing was reminiscent of Sinatra's uncanny ability to carry one
line into the next, heightening the singer's story-telling prowess. Tony
Garnier, Dylan's de-facto bandleader bassist, served the song wonderfully,
alternating between plucking and bowing his upright bass. Garnier's touch
added the right atmosphere to Dylan's shining moment without
over-stepping. It was an example of why Dylan has retained Garnier's
services since 1989, making him the longest-serving band member, and for
Dylan performed a good deal of material from 2012's Tempest, snarling out
the album's at-times vicious lyrics with grit and fierceness.
Multi-instrumentalist Donnie Herron's stellar banjo on a moody "Scarlet
Town" was captivating. Herron is the unsung hero in the band, often using
his pedal steel to set a mysterious mood in between numbers.
Dylan and his Band shone when playing uptempo, jump-blues numbers like
"Highway 61 Revisited" and especially "Thunder On The Mountain," which
blew the roof off the DPAC. Sexton's between-verse guitar riffs were in
excellent taste and were a key element to preserving the soulful energy of
Set closer "Gotta Serve Somebody," although difficult to recognize, was
captivating, Dylan having reworked much of the lyric. He appeared to sing
something to the effect of "you may be a lawyer, but you'll have your day
in court," before launching into the chorus.
Dylan appeared jovial after returning to the stage for the evening's first
encore, laughing with guitarist Sexton before delivering a close-to-album
version of "Long And Wasted Years."
He closed with a spellbinding "Blowing In The Wind," starting on piano
before finishing center stage. As the audience rose to their feet, Dylan
glared at the crowd, nodded once in appreciation, and dissapeared
backstage and into the crisp North Carolina evening. Back on the road,
heading for another joint.
Michael Joseph Silcoff
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