Binghamton, New York

Binghamton University
Events Center

November 17, 2010

[Owen Boynton], [Chuck LaBlanc]

Review by Owen Boynton

Already impressed by the show at Rochester, this one was even  better.   There
was not a single song that was anything less than “very good,” and four songs at
least stood out as being as good as anything I’ve heard Dylan do live: “Spirit
on the Water,” “Desolation Row,” “Blind Willie McTell,” and “Ballad of a Thin
Man.”  There were some fans in attendance saying that this should be known as
the “Ballad of a Thin Man” tour and they’re right: it’s the center-piece of
every concert and somehow, at least in the two shows I’ve been in, a spectacular
performance by Dylan, full of acting and spot on delivery of the lyrics, with a
nice tweak here and there.   “Desolation Row” was my favorite of the evening. 
You could hear all of the band, even Donnie, who often is buried, Dylan’s organ
was swirling in and out, his delivery of vocals on the final verse killed—it
sounded like it could have been recorded for an album.  “Blind Willie” with
Dylan center stage, harp in hand, receives the proper delicate lyrical handling
that Dylan gives to songs when he drops instruments entirely and focuses only on
delivery, and with these lyrics, and this arrangement, bluesy, dark, deep, and
brooding, and a bit of extra something from Dylan’s being in the right mood or
frame of mind, and it can’t be anything other than magical. Only a small cut
below those songs were “Gonna Change My Way of Thinking,” “I Don’t Believe You,”
“The Man in Me,” and…dare I say it…”Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum” and “Jolene.” The
inevitable disappointment when “Tweedle” started up and yet Dylan was having fun
with it, delivering the lines with clarity, and the arrangement works wonders,
hauntingly set back from the vocals. “Gonna Change My Way of Thinking” was quite
the surprise as the opener, and a treat to hear.  “I Don’t Believe You” saw
Dylan hamming it up, facial expressions, hand gestures, and, for a few lines,
the soft-voiced vocal that he uses on “Modern Times.”   “Jolene,” whatever its
worth as a song, makes great sense on this tour, with this band, in this slot. 
And a lot of the reason it worked so well tonight…finally Charlie Sexton is up
in the mix on nearly every song, pouring energy into the numbers that can take
it (“The Levee’s Gonna Break” both here and at Rochester has been a great
surprise—there because the song is a bit drab on the album and rocked out, with
Dylan shaking his body all the way through—and in Binghamton because it was so
much better than Rochester, what with Charlie’s playing audible and powerful). 
Nothing to complain about here; much to be grateful for.

Owen Boynton


Review by Chuck LaBlanc

This is the third show of seven for me this tour. Rochester and
Poughkeepsie were VERY good shows but I must say that Bob and his cowboy
band kicked it up a notch for we folks in Binghamton. In my RIT review,
I remarked on the unhealthy look of Charlie Sexton and his general lack
of energy. WELL it seems that Charlie is back from deaths door. He looks
much more maaavelous, his color is much healthier and he reclaimed his
place at the right hand of his Bobness. I wholly enjoyed the first two
shows that I saw but with Charlie approaching tip top performance levels
it seemed like a completely different show.

The show started with a hard charging "Changed My Way of Thinkin' " find
myself a different set of rules. Bobs voice was clear and melodic all
night and the show started off on the right foot. Song#2 "The Man In ME",
I love this song. I did feel that the vocal was a little weak. Song #3
"Stuck Inside a Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, not a favorite for
some but it always brings a smile to my face. I even heard a couple of
screams when it started so it must be a favorite for some. Next #4 "I
Don't Believe You. She Acts Like We Never Have Met." I have always really
liked this song and the version tonight was well played and well sung.
Song #5 "The Levees Gonna Break". With Charlie playing more like his
normal self, this song sprang to life, FANTASTIC. The first high highlight
for me tonight was the #6 song "Spirit on the Water ", the song was
beautifully sung and the instrumental tight. The Siamese twins are coming
to town, yes song#7, "Honest With ME" is starting to grow on me, it just
isn't my favorite. Song #8 another top 10 for me "Desolation Row" ALWAYS a
favorite, well sung and played. Song #9 "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Bob
and the band always seem to have fun with song. I miss the back and forth
guitar interplay that Charlie and Larry entertained us with for years. Bob
gives it a good go but it is just a little soft. I believe it was for song
# 10, Blind Willie McTell that Donnie pulled out his bango. Bob and the
gang played a wonderful rendition of this song. In many of the songs, even
though Donnie LOOKS like he is playing, his instrumental sounds escape me.
But the bango was clear throughout the song and I love that. Song #11
"Highway 61 Revisited" was revitalized with the return of a healthy
Charlie Sexton. Song #12 "Love Sick" great version of a great song. When
the album "Time Out of Mind" first came out, I was put off by how dark the
songs were but it has become one of my favorite albums. Song #13 "Thunder
on the Mountain" I don't hate the song but Levee fills up that space for
me just fine, I don't need both. But as I tell other people, if there is
something about a Bob song you don't like, you aren't listening hard
enough.Song #14 Ballad of A Thin Man, a highlight every night.
On to the encore. Another good lead by Stu and the band seems to be having
fun with "Jolene". And last but not least "Like a Rolling Stone" begs the
uestion, "how does it feel?", FANTASTIC Bob Thanks.

Chuck LeBlanc  


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