Buffalo, New York

Shea's Buffalo Theatre

November 18, 2017

[Wilson], [Charles Case]

Review by Wilson

It is always a treat to see Bob Dylan in concert.   The band is better
than ever and you can see his great appreciation for them.  You never know
what reinvention will greet you.  His ability to recreate his music from
guitar to keyboard to grand piano is fascinating as his gift for the
complete rewrite of each song, such that you have to sit there amazed at
how he can do this.  Last night was a perfect example of his ability to
rewrite and recreate, even from just a year ago.  The set is the set - now
incorporating more from the entire body of work - a few changes over the
last couple of years - the Sinatra and the Triplicate additions have
always been a treat - and while I have been seeing him perform in concert
since about 1973 and every so often I wonder if it is over - last night I
think he was right - summer night's are gone.



Review by Charles Case

It took me a couple days to wrap my head around the complexities and
dichotomies of Dylan’s Buffalo show. On one hand, his vocals were, at
times, better than I have heard in years. The arrangements were up-tempo.
The band was tight. George Recile was a force of nature. Donnie Herron’s
fiddle was pure joy on the two occasions it came out. On a song by song
basis, it was one of the finest of the 27 Dylan shows I’ve seen. “Summer
Days” was incredible, and maybe the best performance of the evening. “It
Ain’t Me Babe” reborn. “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven” was full of the charisma
missing from earlier, plodding performances. “Blowin’ in the Wind” was
wistful and wise, sad and hopeful. “Early Roman Kings” always delivers in
my humble opinion. His voice on “Once Upon a Time” was half Leonard Cohen
and half Tony Bennet – damn lovely.

It was a good show, but, something was off. Maybe it was the truncated
instrumentals. There were none, zero, zilch. It was all business. Some
songs were short, short, short. You could have missed Autumn Leaves if you
blew your nose. That robbed the show of some joy. Maybe it was the return
of some staccato singing (he does it better than he did around 2009, but
it’s still what it is). This is a subjective critique, but it didn’t work
for me as a show (I can’t believe I’m writing that). It was unlike any
Dylan show I’ve ever seen, which is why I go see Bob whenever I can. His
ability to reinvent is inspiring. And we don’t get songs like “Desolation
Row,” “Hard Rain,” “High Water,” “Tangled Up in Blue,” “I and I,” or
“Scarlet Town” without his restless, relentless creativity. But my ears
hungered for some extra bite to “Pay in Blood,” “Honest With Me,” Hwy 61,”
“Scarlet Town,” etc. My imagination wanted those missing verses of
“Tangled Up In Blue.” The music fan in me wanted some wandering in the
(non-existent) instrumentals.



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