Lowell, Massachusetts

UMass Lowell
Tsongas Center

November 19, 2019

[Shopper Steve], [Zoo Cain], [Bob Kerr], [Laurette Maillet]

Review by Shopper Steve

Last night’s Dylan show in Lowell was an astonishing display of punchy
and incredibly focused music by a man and his band at the absolute top of
their game. I have probably seen Dylan 50 plus times since 1981, and never
before have my expectations of a show been exceeded like last night. 
I’ve not seen Bob since 2016 in Portland, Maine though have kept up on
the bootleg releases of the shows since then but last night was a
surprising revelation and so very worth the 3 hour drive down from Maine.
From the moment it started, the band was in high gear. Matt Chamberlain on
drums drove the band and give it a fresh edge and a drive that I was not
expecting. Likewise, Bob Britt stepped out with some great solos on a few
songs. Dylan’s singing, as many have said recently was as good as I have
heard it in years, just superb! I’m one who loved all the standards and
40’s songs over the recent years and he seems to have taken the
experience of singing those exceptionally melodic songs for the last few
years, and re-melodicized (is that a word?) his own songs – especially
the ballads. My 16 year old daughter came with me, and she’s a huge
music fan: Panic at the Disco, MCR, Queen, Badfinger and Elton John are
among her favorites. She was blown away, had a great time, was asking me
about the songs and the members of the band, was standing up to applaud
the high points with everyone else (and scolding me for taking pictures)
and headed to school this morning wearing her Dylan Tour T-Shirt and
listening to newly downloaded Dylan songs on her phone. High points were
almost every song and I wished I could have listened to a recording of the
show on the way home, but the blues songs were intense and smoking and
brought the full house to its feet repeatedly. The ballads were very
emotional and filled with wisdom and experience as only 78 year of life
can testify to, especially Girl from the North Country. There was
beautiful playing and interplay between Charlie and Donnie, some wonderful
call and response playing between them on a few songs - I don’t recall
which though. I wish I’d recorded the show like I used to, but my very
ethical daughter would have turned me into security of I had tried. Tony
might have broken a bass string at the end of one song, as he appeared to
be laughing and holding up something shiny as one song ended and the
lights went down and switched to the stand up on the next song. While most
of these songs I have heard on CD from the tours earlier this year and
last, the arrangements last night were fresh, had some delightful twists
and turns and moments of real inspiration and were much more focused,
rocking, had more drive and an edge than I was expecting. As the lights
came up at the end of the night I wanted to get in the car and head to
Providence and on to Philadelphia and New York like in the good old days.
When I asked my daughter if she wanted to go the answer was “Yes!” and
our fellow concert goer Meg who sat next to her and indicated she was
seeing Dylan for the first time too said “can I come?”.

Shopper Steve


Review by Zoo Cain

19 November, 2019.   Tuesday....Bob Dylan and His band...Tsongas Center 
at UMass, Lowell, Massachusetts...Cloudy 42*   Great to be in my Mom,
Dorothy's birthplace and Jack Kerouac's turf...Really some good vibes in
this transformed mill town.  That added excitement of Bob Dylan being in
town, is  always a buzz..Eight o eight p.m. and the whole band with Bob
walks out to a very warm enthusiastic welcome.Without pause with guitar
strapped on the band launches into Things have changed. With Bob Dylan you
can expect change, including arrangements, some different band mates,
lyrics, altered vocalizing, even the way he carries himself. Great to see
him playing guitar. on keyboards with It Ain't Me Babe. Six men in white
suits.   terrific visual. A rock and thumping roll, Highway 61. An off the
wall, beautiful, Simple Twist of fate. Hard to even recognize. Cool
harmonica. Center stage passion play, with Can't Wait. Beautiful piano
playing, swaying, precise playing on When I Paint My Masterpiece. Vigorous
vocal. Heavy beating, meticulous, rolling music, on Honest With Me. The
stage is beautifully decorated, makes the whole arena feel like a gigantic
nightclub. You can easily feel and see the movie Casablanca. Trying To Get
To Heaven you hear the great violin, like on most tunes tonight. Cowboy
swagger drift musically with Make You Feel My Love. Pay In Blood, life is
short, it don't last long, will not be forgotten. Lenny Bruce, is gone,
but he didn't commit any crime.  A moving heartfelt tribute. Heavy blues,
mid tempo, great thumper, with Early Roman Kings. Powerful ensemble of
musicians delivering the goods. Girl From the North Country, sweet,
tender, wonderfully done. She was once a true love of mine. Excitement
builds with Not Dark Yet. The echo of Bob's singing throughout this
important concert and venue. Rocker out of the gate, Thunder On the
Mountain, great drum solo.  Full on blasting freight train rockin' roll.
Slowing it low down, while swaying the music, Soon After Midnight.
Introducing the mighty fine band. Belting out another rock and roll steam
roller,Gotta Serve Somebody. Ninety minutes in and the place is calling
them back for two encore songs. Really cool Ballad Of The Thin Man. Bob is
inspired once again to play the guitar.  Ending a fine, fine, night of
superb music with, It Takes A Lot To Laugh, it Takes a Train To Cry.   

Zoo Cain
Westbrook, Maine


Review by Bob Kerr

At the outset of my Freshman year in Athens OH, fall 1975, i was
Dylan-hooked, but I understood
just how unlikely it was that i would ever get to see Bob Dylan in
concert.  At that time, only rare encounters
like the Concert for Bangladesh seemed possible. Then came Rolling
Thunder, and lo and behold, i've been able to see seven or eight shows
since.  Some were great (Ann Arbor, Providence), some disappointing
(Rubber Bowl with the Dead)  Among those few opportunities that I had,
last night in Lowell was the most remarkable - and so i offer my 1st

You've heard how terrific the band is, and how good Dylan's voice is.
Those reviews are accurate. Possibly the best of Dylan's voice in many
years.  Just a joy to hear.

And as i watched & listened in Lowell, gratitude overwhelmed me.  Dylan's
been a spiritual lighthouse through so many lonely, desperate nights, and
a spiritual rudder when success and  giddy accomplishment bred hubris. But
how?  Where does the magic come from?  I think part of that is an apparent
frailty and naked transparency.  It often seems that this skinny guy,
alone before thousands and armed only with a harmonica and guitar (or
piano), is about to fall flat.  Surely, at 78 he has bitten-off more than
he can chew, and he'll doubtless be derided to shame by the unforgiving
crowd and critics.  Yet he always, miraculously, rises to the moment, and
leaves us stunned by the magic of his talent, his wit, and his insight. 
In Lowell,  once more came this aging, fragile genius - astonishing us yet
again. A lion tamer.  All you feel is - Hooray!  We are so lucky.

And, of course, this tour is NOT a rote rendition of a few hits laid down
note-by-note for a gig at the county fair - a fond trip down the
rock-n-roll memory lane.  No, Dylan generates astonishing new sound and
songs that continue to compete in, and even lead the music industry. It is
truly amazing, and if you are expecting a fond reprise of yesterday's
experiences, you'll miss the exclamation point Dylan is now placing on his
prolific career.  He's still doing it - Hooray!

The downside? It was also clear, in Lowell at least, that we fans are not
keeping up.  There was a population of college age torch-carriers in the
arena, but most were 60-ish plus.  And that is just fine if you ripen like
Bob Dylan.  But honestly brothers and sisters, we should still be able to
stand, dance in the aisle, do the Jerry on a chair, crowd-surf - things
like that. Old folks tumbling down stairs and planted in their seats save
for bathroom jaunts, is not a great vibe.  Bob allows us to be younger
than that now - let's dance!

Thanks to Bob Dylan and his Band - a great show!

Bob Kerr


Review by Laurette Maillet

On the road again for the last leg of that Tour.  I took the Megabus to
Boston and the train to Lowell. It is raining at 9a.m. on the 19th of
November 2019. Luckily my friend Ben (from France) is sharing his AirBandB
with me and I am able to stay dry. I check the venue, take a quick
breakfast and after a little nap I walk again the 30 minutes walk to the
Tsonga's Arena. I arrive at the same time as the buses and spot Bob(all
wrapped in a warm grey winter jacket) walks the small distance to the back
stage door all by himself. Even Barron is surprised! Bob seems talkative
with his entourage. Nothing more for one hour soundcheck.  He will walk
again, this time with his Body guard back to his bus. And for my ego I
have the feeling Bob and Barron are looking at me, standing far away in
the distance on the parking lot, facing the bus! At the front door of the
venue I am waiting for Ben to join me. We are both looking for tickets
when Jack walks from the Box Office and asks if we need tickets."yes, two"
and Jack hands us two complimentary tickets from his company. Cool! I
still want to try another tactic: I did some small Bob Dylan paintings and
I want to see if I could sell or exchange for a ticket. I spend one more
hour outside, exchange a painting for a ticket, sell the ticket for few
bucks. Cool! I made some cash for the road. New Work will be expensive. I
walk in, all frozen by now. I persuade Ben to stand on the left side of
the stage, all the way up. At least we will be able to dance without
disturbing the public. Bob is dressed with his black (with white stripes)
pants , the white/cream jacket and his white "brand new" shoes. He will
perform all very well with a special version of "It ain't me Babe".  He
is smiling at Tony at the end. That was probably an improvisation. He will
be talkative with each one of the musicians and even will present the
Band. Woah! I spot my friend N. in the front row. She is dressed sexy and
dancing up on " The early Roman Kings " and I swear Bob was focusing on
her while performing the song. I never saw him so "attracted" to the first
row! Ah ah! Ben is enthusiastic and so will be some fans joining us on our
row, dancing and shouting but polite. The sound is not the best but
Charlie's guitar is clear. Bobby was in a good mood tonight. Maybe he
visited Jack Kerouac's tombs? But no one saw him there. Lowell was a
strange town : a little bit on the side of a depression? Some red bricks
buildings are impressive but in bad shape. That day was a new adventure
for me. Bobby didn't lose his strength and spirit. That show still brings
me a lot happiness.. So see you all in Providence. Waving bye at the buses
leaving the parking lot was the cherry on the cake!


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