November 13, 2018
Review by Bill Royaloak
After a series of events yesterday, that lined up perfectly, I found
myself in the 6th row of a Bob Dylan show 250 miles away from my home.
This is the second time in about 15 shows, I've seen that took place on a
Tuesday night in November and both are very memorable. This show was
fantastic in the freshness of sound, Bob's very welcomed piano playing and
the bands' perfection at keeping it all together on every tune.
It Ain't Me Babe stood out dramatically as Bob somehow channeled his old
voice, briefly from the sixties and just killed...bravo!
Highway 61 was very bright and fun and his effort was well received...
When I paint My Masterpiece sounded like he was writing it down in his
diary and planning a life that would be grand...I should hope so!
Scarlet Town just sings beautifully with Dylan at center stage and really
selling it...this song is special.
Pay in Blood...love this song since the first time I heard Bob do it
live at the Fox in Detroit right after Tempest came out (also on a Tuesday
in November). Now! Like A Rolling Stone...sensational..this, the first
live version I've witnessed where the song really moved me like the
recorded version with the organ...Bob has managed to frame this in what
sounded to me as a "cautionary tale" for centuries to come and it really
fit as a stand out piece, definitely not obligatory in any way to please
the casual concert goer...really nice! Long and Wasted Years...thank you
so much for using a recent tune as one of your encores. The material this
band and Bob have put out over the past three decades stand up so well and
are so unique that I find myself looking forward to the material more than
the "oldies" and that's the biggest compliment I can pay to Bob Dylan and
the guys in that Band for knocking it out so long. Other tunes that stood
out especially...Early Roman Kings stands up like Scarlet Town...Don't
Think Twice...Thunder on the Mountain (nice fresh arrangement and can tear
the building apart everytime).
I skipped the last few years of concerts because I'm more a Dean Martin
fan when it comes to Rat Pack covers. I'm really glad that passed. Two
special moments that stood out last night besides the terrific performance
(1) Tony Garnier was socializing in the next row with some
friends/relatives just before showtime in street clothes so it was like
seeing the clown in the ring without the make-up running the tilt-a-whirl
and then the transformation for showtime! Really cool...and (2) a
curious older, short gentleman with Dylan features in street clothes
observing the action going on at the concession booth about an hour before
show (insert carnival reference from above here)...I'd bet my life it was
Review by Dan Chester
Things: haven't changed enough in terms of warm-ups
Ain't Me: interesting...chorus sounded like the original, wish the rest of
Highway: pedestrian...need multiple guitars racheting up intensity
Simple Twist: magificient...like he recut the record with Hank Snow...had
the authenticity of original...harp sublime
Cry a while: makes one want to cry awhile...decent energy yet ain't
Masterpiece: creatively re-arranged...the beginning made one want to have
it stay that way yet once the musicians kicked in and they found their way
it was fun...altered versions can really make the magic of the lyrics
Honest: honestly can name hundreds of tunes one would rather hear
Tryin' to Get: not bad and pleasant sounding...one of songs where the
current 'sound' (piano and pedal steel) can some times make songs sound
somewhat the same (Things and Highway and Tryin' and Make You Feel and Pay
in Blood and Soon After and Long and Wasted sort of blend together and not
in a good way)
Scarlet: have always dug and this was nectacular...clean and clear with
right amount of menace to cast its spell...all about the banjo (and stand
up bass)...had a really cool shifting between the singing parts and the
instrumental parts...the gestures and stances at the mike alot of fun
Make You Feel: wonderful song that didn't sound as near as strong and
tender as it deserves
Pay: sounded like a few other things and doesn't deserve to be in the
Like A: piano-driven and interesting arrangement and the chorus delivered
'straight' and did this tres cool of slowing down at the end of the chorus
and delivering the lyrics slowly in a heart-felt and fun and dramatic way
('when you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose...')...well done
Early Roman: should be a JLHooker stomp or shouldn't be played...some of
lyrics are fun
Don't Think Twice: stunning...a muted feel with the right sound at the
right tempo and the right feel (edging toward gospel) and again the lyrics
stood out...very well sung (almost crooned)...harp simply elevates the art
here, makes it feel bigger and warmer
Love Sick: while well-delivered it was well-behaved (this lacked any snarl
or hurt and danger or disgust)...you should almost be able to hear jungle
sounds in the background
Thunder: felt at first too messed with and then the intensity built and
the volume and lyrics came out with a bit of ferocity...extremely well
sung...guitar allowed to stretch a bit and came strong
Soon After: one hears this again they wonder why...mercifully short at
Gotta Serve: just so much fun...the guitar breaks...the different
lyrics...the delivery...a re-imagination that sparkled
Blowin': the violin and the piano had a fun thing going and toward the end
the guitar showed and nestled in and this wasn't so bad
Instrumental: cool and surprising (and funky?) instrumental that stopped
instead of going somewhere
Long and Wasted: last slot...so many other gems in his catch-bag and the
show ends with this...oh well
-mallets used well on an early song (Masterpiece?) thus high-lighting this
drummer's contributions -whither Stu? -sound quiet good -pretty dim crowd
(though did hear one girl half-yell for One More Cup of Coffee)
-re-inventing classics largely worked (and that can't be easy) -nothing
like a show with well-played and well-placed harp -doesn't feel like near
any end -Best Tunes (in order): Scarlet, Don't Think, Simple Twist, Gotta
First Show Nov '78 Baton Rouge
Review by Murray Davis
My 30 or so Dylan concert, first was 1978 in Cincinnati, so I seen the
whole range of his performances.I had to hush the people sitting behind me
who were conversing while Bob was playing. I guess what goes around comes
around because I vividly remember about 20 years ago being told to shut up
at a Cleveland show.Youngstown, being the bull eye of the rust belt has
many Dylan fans who relate to his Midwestern roots and working class
rock.The show itself was better than the last time I saw him with Mavis
Staples in Columbus. The sound was clearer and of course the band is top
notch. Without going in to details, I enjoyed the new arrangements of his
classic hits, especially, "Like a Rolling Stone". His set suggests to me
that he was playing songs that he thought his fans would want to hear plus
many newer ones to be current. He did skip all the Sinatra stuff, which I
would of like to hear one or two of, but played many from Tempest, which
many of the songs our darker which maybe a comment to the times he and
many of us our living in. Overall, roll on Bob!
Review by Leo Fuchs
Another great show, this time in less-than-stellar surroundings. The
highlight for me was the terrific, spare presentation of "Don't Think
Twice, It's All Right", complete with harmonica (a welcome return after
its absence last year). It's the closest I've seen Bob play to "solo", as
his band was at a minimum and George Recile actually left the stage.
We got to see Bob at center stage 3 times, but it seemed to me he stayed
back further than previous years. We got to hear lyric changes on "Simple
Twist of Fate", all 4 verses of "Like A Rolling Stone", and a bit of
suspense before the final song, as there was quite a pause between
"Blowin' In The Wind" and "Long and Wasted Years". That encore says a
lot. Two songs that cover half a century. We got 2 songs from
"Freewheelin'", 5 from "Tempest", and 13 from in-between. A great night.
The only drawback came from the crowd. Whereas last year at Heinz Hall in
Pittsburgh I got to sit next to a beautiful, charming girl who thoroughly
enjoyed her first Dylan concert, here I had characters behind me who
talked, individuals around me who were more interested in purchasing
snacks and booze than why we were actually there, and many others
demonstrating they had more money than brains. Oh well. "Once Upon A Time"
may never come again.
See him if you can!
Review by Tom Zubal
I looked upon last night’s show in Youngstown as my final farewell to Bob.
My first show was Blossom in 1988 (at age 17) and I’ve probably seen
about 40 or 50 shows in between. Since he wasn’t coming to my hometown of
Cleveland, I reached out to 3 of my best friends and we decided to make an
overnighter of it. Last time I saw Bob was about 2 or 3 years ago at the
Palace or State Theatre in downtown Cleveland. I left at setbreak because
stylistically I was not into what he was doing at the time. Last night’s
show was far more interesting to me.
The Covelli Centre is a college basketball areana that holds about 7000
people. Many of the seats opposite the stage were covered over, and there
were several empty seats throughout the venue. I would guess 4000 to 5500
bodies were in the house, which seemed like a healthy size for 2018 Bob. I
stood near the soundboard for the entire show.
I won’t do a song-by-song, but I will say that most of the arrangements
(especially for the older songs) were VERY interesting. There were several
song choices that I felt could have been swapped out for something FAR
better (Honest With Me, Scarlet Town, pretty much all of the “newer”
songs) from Bob’s amazing catalog, but it’s his call and I gave them all
my full attention.
Bob’s voice was EXCELLENT, especially for the year 2018. Gone is the
bullfrog, basso, bottom end thing he’s been doing for years, replaced with
very strong midrange and even some high notes thrown in. His voice was
strong and the band was spot on. As a non-musical side note, the stage
lighting and sheer curtains helped create an intimate mood in the arena
The actual mix of the band was lacking any bass, but that may have been by
design to further showcase Bob’s piano and voice. His keyboard skills seem
to improve as the years pass.
If you’re contemplating catching this tour, go for it. While it’s not the
bombastic (my favorite) mid-90s Bob, it is certainly a Bob who is in great
shape and who is making the old new with his odd, artistic arrangements of
the classics. Again, my only complaint was song choice, but I knew what I
was getting myself into thanks to BOBLINKS. Long and Wasted Years seemed
an odd way to end such an interesting show, but that’s Bob.
PS: Bob, If you’re reading this, perhaps bring back: I & I, and anything
from Oh Mercy, Desire or New Morning (in my dreams) __
Review by John Rafeedie
What a show! It’s been 10 hours since the encore and I’m still
smiling. To borrow a phase, Bob and his band left it all on the field last
night. Nothing was held back.
His voice was clear and strong. ( I saw him in Pittsburgh about 15 years
ago and could not say the same) “Things have changed”, indeed.
He was playful. New lyrics and phrasing took the more discerning patrons
on a game of hide and seek. He appeared to have a much fun as the
audience. Bob was truly engaged.The lighting, sound and production quality
were all on the money.
Much has been written about his band. I can’t add anything. They hit the
stage like a freight train and never slowed. Soft ballads were lovingly
delivered. The band leader worked his magic.
Blues, country, gospel, even surf music (yeah , I know) were on display. A
few ghosts also emerged. The band gave a nod to Muddy during Early Roman
Kings. When Bob played harmonica, I remembered that James Cotton used to
play down the street in the late 60s.
If you are reading this, you know the setlist. I saw no wasted motion or
Was that brief instrumental during the encore a Freddy King song?
I read that Bob is a boxing fan. World champions from Youngstown include
Arroyo, Mancini and Pavlik.
Well,last night in the Steel City, Bob floated like a butterfly and stung
like a bee!
I know the tour is starting to wind down. If you have ever been a fan, do
not hesitate to see the legend.
Thank you, Bob
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