Review by Cary Krosinsky
a very special show, this one was
for one, I was very glad to be one row from the back, where I could stand
and dance, unlike most of the seated crowd
after 3 nice openers, Boots is where this show started zooming to the
stratosphere - Bob in full vocal command - this was highlight enough,
but on to High Water hitting new, funky, interesting jams
When the Deal Goes Down - perfect, the crowd rowdy and appreciative
then the gloves came off for It's Alright Ma - belted out, swamp boogie
style, and masterful
Don't Think Twice - so thrilling, the crowd cheers after EVERY VERSE!
this was payback for the ridiculous version Bob gave us at the Tuesday
Beacon show in 05 - this was sublime
and then after rapturous applause, Bob pins us to our seats with a Tangled
Up in Blue so good, there was nothing to do but sit in awe
listened to the previous version in Philly on the way home - had nothing
on this one, reworked a bit more, and the band does little, but less is
more and it's a perfect tableau for Bob
Spirit on the Water - I think Bob went to the well one time too many with
this one - Philly was better - others earlier in the tour too, nice though
Highway 61 - fascinating version - was like the band was chained back and
waiting to rip - palpable tension, and worked well
Nettie Moore - what's to say? another letter perfect version where the
crowd hangs on every perfectly delivered line - can't we stop time and
just listen to Bob play this forever?
At this point, the show already had delivered in spades above and beyond -
thinking back to the Town Hall and Carnegie Hall shows, almost 45 years
ago, when Bob first took this town by storm, and here he still is before
us, a #1 album in his hip pocket, playing these great versions - what else
is there to say?
Summer Days - after such ongoing perfection, was a bit of a letdown at
first, but by songs end was well delivered - would prefer to see multiple
songs switched off in this spot, but it didn't matter that much - this was
a killer show
then in the dark you could see scrambling and new lyric sheets being setup
for Bob and you knew something was coming
Ain't Talkin was not like the album version - this was funkier, jauntier -
a bit rougher than ideal at first, but the choruses were great, and the
ending was wonderful
Bob & this rendition of his band do best when they've had a chance to play
a few versions of songs, I think - they get better with time like fine
wine - but for a first go, this is as good as could be hoped
especially fine to hear that last closing, positive note delivered so well
during the Intros, Bob said something about it being hard to play here,
but that the band did real well under the circumstances - the stage was a
bit small, and Tony for one, had little space to work with, and Denny was
practically off the stage
Thunder on the Mountain was very well done, and Rolling Stone left the
crowd going berserk, but Bob clearly wanted to go - in fact, he came out
for the pose before the song was over, had to circle around a bit, and
then the full band pose and exit stage left
crowd thundered as one for more, but we had to be satisfied with what felt
like one long encore to a very fine tour
thanks Bob - rest up - we'll be ready for more if you are
Review by Howard Weiner
ONE MORE TIME
I had two opposing thoughts coming into this New York City Center
concert: 1) Bob coming back to NYC in a brilliant venue would lead
to a sensational and memorable evening. 2) With expectations
running wild, Bob would play a routine show. I thought it would be
one or the other, but it was neither of the two.
When the Levee Breaks kicked the evening off in high-stepping
fashion. This venue is everything it was cracked up to be, and more.
I’ve seen fancier theatres, but every seat in this triple tiered
theatre afforded the spectator an amazing view. The blazing Levee
gave way to Senor. I was dancing with the stars, Emmitt Smith had
nothing on me. We were off and running to a classic night. Rollin’
and Tumblin’ was followed by a gripping Boots of Spanish Leather
that was much better than recent versions I’ve heard. A solid High
Water was followed by a pair of uninspired selections with When the
Deal Goes Down and It’s Alright Ma. All momentum by the electric
start had fizzled.
Dylan remedied the temporary malaise with a sparkling Don’t Think
Twice It’s Alright. Denny Freeman connected on some smoking jams.
Dylan concluded this in grand fashion with a fantastic harp solo as
the band aggressively played follow the leader. It appeared the ship
was back on course as Tangled up in Blue was next. Dylan’s recital
of the lyrics was golden, but Denny’s lead guitar work was sub-par
and Bob opted not to play a harp solo. That was a downer, but
hearing Spirit on the Water again was worse. This song is not worthy
of a regular spot in Dylan’s rotation- it shouldn’t be a staple
song. It works on Modern Times, but I believe it should be nothing
more than a novelty song live. Highway 61 was predictable and
ordinary. I was down in the dumps, not even the following Nettie
Moore cheered me up much. I was suffering from road rage, I had seen
these same songs in the same way too many time. This show which
commenced with so much promise was sinking swiftly.
I knew Summer Days was next. As it began, I made my way to the bar
which was still open. You gotta love NYC. The only catch was you
couldn’t bring beverages into the theatre. Screw it, I didn’t need
to see the same ole encores again, but I didn’t give up on Bob. As
much as I don’t know him, I know him. Sure enough, it wasn’t Thunder
on the Mountain, but Ain’t Talkin’. I made like Frank the Tank from
Old School and pounded my beer in less than a second as I celebrated
on my way back to my seat. And what a phenomenal rendition it was
for a debut. I liked it better than the studio version. The pace was
quicker and the mood was less gloomy. Denny cranked out a nice lead
in the middle, the masterpiece had come alive! I don’t think
Highlands ever sounded better than the original in concert, but
Ain’t Talkin’s first go-round was like intoxicating wine from the
Gods. What an incredible rollercoaster ride this night was. A
revived Dylan and his Cowboy Band wailed away on
Thunder on the Mountain. It was a Modern Times kind of night featuring
six songs from his latest monster release. By the way, what happened to
Working Man’s Blues #2? It seems Bob gave that one the pink slip. Like a
Rolling Stone was a gonzo version- I haven’t seen one like this in a
while. Our hero had rescued the night with a brilliant trilogy. The New
York City crowd went berserk. It was another rewarding and funky
I’ve decided to keep my review brief so I can hand out the first
(soon to be annual) Zimmy Awards for the best of fall ’06…which were
heavily influenced by the shows I attended.
Best Concert…Continental Arena 11-16-06
Best Performance…Desolation Row Portland 11-09-06
Best Vocal Performance…Nettie Moore Philly 11-18-06
Most Rocking Performance by a Cowboy Band…Highway 61 Portland 11-09-06
Best Set List…10-16-06 San Fran
Best Crowd…Portland 11-09-06
Best Opener…When the Levee Breaks Philly 11-18-06
Best Modern Times Performance…tie Aint Talkin’ 11-20-06, Nettie Moore 11-18-06
Cowboy Band MVP…George Riceli drummer (I appreciate this guy more each tour)
Lou Gehrig Award…Tony Garnier…anyone remember Kenny Aaronson?
Good Sportsmanship…Stu Kimball
Best Harp Solo…Tangled up in Blue Continental Arena 11-16-06
Best Dressed…Dylan at Nassau 11-13-06
Comeback of the Year…Simple Twist of Fate
Most Missed Anthem…It’s All Over Now Baby Blue
Best Eddie Layton impersonation (Yankee Stadium organist) …Don’t Think Twice 11-20-06 NYC
Review by Jeff Dellin
Questions ran through my head as I walked the four blocks from my office
to the New York City Center last night. With a lack of opening act and
high ticket prices, would Bob play an extended set? Would he do something
special, this being an intimate show and New York after all? Would I
finally, after many shows get to hear him sing Lenny Bruce?
The answers to these questions were no, yes, and no respectively. I have
seen enough Bob Dylan shows to expect the expected, especially at the end
of a tour. But I was holding out hope that he would bust out something to
make this show memorable. Seeing Allen Toussaint walk in and take a seat
in the Grand Tier gave me reason to hope.
For much of the show, I thought it wasn't meant to be. Not that the show
was bad by any stretch. In fact it was very good almost from start to
finish. I was hoping for a completely different show from The Meadowlands
and in terms of song selection, it was quite similar. And quite honestly
it's hard to complain about Bob Dylan when you are sitting in a near
perfect seat in the center of the Grand Tier of a 2,700 seat venue. Sorry
to compare this show so much to the show in New Jersey but it was the only
other one I saw on this tour.
It was nice to see Levee's Gonna Break. I thought it was surprisingly
tight for a song only played once before. I thought last night's version
of Senor was more biting that the one last Thursday. Last night's Rollin'
And Tumblin' was a clear upgrade from the Meadowlands version. Boots Of
Spanish Leather is a rarity for me so that a treat. I am much preferring
the ballads these days because you can generally make out every word. The
louder songs often drown out Bob's vocals. But last night the vocals were
fantastic, especially in the second half of the show.
To me, High Water may have been the low point of the night if there was
one. It was a little too chaotic in my view and lost some of power. It was
loud and rocking and interesting but the song was lost on me. Deal Goes
Down was slightly more rushed than the previous version in New Jersey but
was still nice. Very much a carry over from Love & Theft.
After that I thought the show really took off and Bob was very much in
control. Don't Think Twice started out beautifully veered off slightly and
got back on track for a fantastic harmonic finish. Bob harp playing was
excellent last night in my opinion, especially compared to the Meadowlands
show where I felt it was non-existent.
To me Highway 61 was one of the major highlights of the night. Right on
target with Bob spitting out the lyrics like it was 1967. The Meadowlands
show re-enforced my view that Nettie Moore is the best song for Bob to
perform on Modern Times. Last night made me think that this may be one of
his all time greats. The words and the delivery were right on. You felt it
for real last night. It was Bob Dylan, the singer, not Bob Dylan the
When the lights went down before the encore I was still holding out hope
for something special and Bob delivered. Ain't Talkin' was indeed sublime.
He nailed it. It was perfect. Not much more to add except that it was
special and incredibly well done.
There was a moment during the band intros where Bob started to say
something and stopped short, like he wanted to address the crowd but
thought better of it. Instead, he let the songs do the talkin'.
Review by Werner Whitey
Terrific show- fascinating reading Cary's and Howard's review -the
rolling thunderous sounds of the night started with Levee's Gonna
Break.-moving and pumping band 's sound right on -5th song High Water is
where he hit his groove- Deal Goes Down great change of pace and strong
vocal- Its Alright Ma has had many incarnations this one was maniacal hot
metallic sound-Don't Think Twice was like a warm bath- Tangled Up heard
here yet new again was the only song I felt wasn't so strong- Hwy 61 new
again was great but abbreviated - Nettie Moore one of the highlights of
show could have listened to that all night- Summer Days one of his
strongest jam songs over the last several years was great again reminds
me of Rock around the clock- He completely deconstructed and made Rolling
Stone new yet again - Have seen over 75 shows over the years haven't
seen one since last year but cant remember when so many current songs
were played - thought everything from Modern Times was wonderful and and
outshone some of the reworked older material
Review by Doug Hatler
I'm a Dylan fan. I love all his music and have purchased much of his
catalog. So this is coming from a fan.
On Monday, the music was phenomenal. I loved the live, electrifying, all
out, cowboy blues band and the way the songs were played. Dylan is one
helluva band leader. He commands a stage of really great musicians and
gets the most out of them.
But, the song selections were disappointing. With his repertoire and the
band's skills we should hear deep and different cuts every gig. He's
pulling from what 10-15% of his catalogue?
And Dylan's voice, like Jerry Garcia's in the '90's, Keith Richards, Elton
John's before surgery, and Tom Waits, is tired, haggard, and down right
abrasive. Too many cigarettes for far too long.
The set length was short and downright offensive considering the ticket
Every few years I fall into the trap of going to another Dylan show. I
enjoy the night out. It's good to see him relatively healthy and enjoying
himself. However, it's same old, same old. Next time when I get the
inclination to pay a few hundred bucks to see Dylan I'll pop in the No
Direction Home DVD and watch the concert footage.
Sorry die hards, but somebody has to tell the truth.
Review by Scott Kareff
Anticipation was high tonight for the Bob Dylan performance at City
Center at 55th Street and 6th. A last minute add-on to the East Coast
Modern Times installation of the Never Ending Tour. The Nassau Coliseum
show last Monday was electric; the Meadowlands set list looked equally
impressive; and the reviews from the Philly show confirmed my own
experience from last week. What surprise from Bob lay in store tonight?
Arranged to meet my friend out front at 7:45. I arrive 10 minutes
early and take a few passes in front of the theater. Ticket buyers
outnumber sellers 7-1. Actually, I might not have seen any sellers.
There were a lot of buyers.
I saw Alain Toussant on the street in front of the theater before the
show. Blue overcoat and some kind of scarf. Very recognizable. I
said: Hello, Mr. Toussant. I hope you enjoy your time in NY. He said,
very graciously: Thank you. Someone else recognizes him and says
something about how good his last album with Elvis Costello was. I look
on and smile hello to him again.
My friend finally arrives. We head in, up the stairs, go to the back of
the beer line. My friend spots Elvis Costello. (Apparently EC doesn't
miss a NYC Bob appearance). I walk up to Elvis, who is very
approachable, and say, "you should meet up with Alan, he's out front."
Elvis says: Who? I say: Alain. Mr. Toussant. Elvis says: I didn't
know he was here. I say: Yep, he is. Nice talking to you, hope you
enjoy the show. Elvis says: I will. I say: yeah.
Then starts our quest to find our seats. Must have walked 7 flights of
stairs (up and down) to get there. Show starts good, first song was the
same as in Philly (second time played). Good energy and the song Senor
at number 2, which is a welcome sign. He didn't play that last week;
maybe the Philly set list and performance will carry over. Set list did
not disappoint. Spanish Boots, Don't Think Twice and Senor. That's
show enough for the money. Its Allright Ma. Plus the new stuff; High
Water again whereas Mississippi would have been very welcome. Still,
good energy. Actually, the acoustics in the theater were worse I
thought than at Nassau. Couldn't make out the lyrics as well, possibly
because the place was smaller and I was higher up. Was not impressed
this time by the seats that were made available on pre-sale.
Rest of the set was similar to other shows: Tangled Up in Blue
(confirmed the new line about Atlanta), Highway 61, Summer Days
(always a crowd pleaser), Nettie Moore (great).
Then the encore. Instead of opening with Thunder on the Mountain like
he has done for just about every other show this tour, he unveils "Ain't
Talkin'" from the new album. Probably the first time played live.
Critics who praise the new album label this song "a major work" in the
cannon. Nice to play it first in NYC. Thanks for stopping by, Bob.
On the way out, down the staircase, I hear a couple talking about the
Woman: I wish he would have played [didn't hear song title][It Ain't
Me][Lay Lady Lay][Shelter From the Storm][Just Like a Woman]
Man: Honey, he has hundreds of songs he could have played.
Woman: I know, but that's such a great song.
Long live Bob.
Review by Brian Slattery
I just got back from New York City, and I haven't had nearly enough.
But I guess that is the case every time I see Bob Dylan in concert. I
always want more. Just one more song and I'll be happy. And when
that one song is over, if he would only play one more, I'd be even
happier. And so on and so forth. World without end, amen. Such is the
life of a Dylan fan. The master dazzles, if but for a short time, and
we, mere mortals, when lucky and blessed enough, are there to take in as
much of it as we can. Bob played the small New York City Center Theater
tonight to finish out a tour of mostly larger venues. On the heels of
the epic, sweeping, at times apocalyptic, at times whimsical Modern Times,
is it any wonder that Bob is packing the house at 15,000 seat arenas?
And is it any wonder that Bob chose to add a last concert on this leg of
the tour in his hometown (Robert Zimmerman may have been born
in Minnesota, but Bob Dylan was born in New York City, make no
mistake) at a 2,700 seat theater? If you know Bob, you know the
answers to those questions without being told. After seeing him the other
night at Continental Airlines Arena for my thirtieth show over-all, while
a hard rain fell outside and Bob and the band were on fire, I was really
glad to have a second opportunity to see him on this leg of the tour. To
some, I am merely a neophyte, or worse, a casual fan, for only seeing Bob
thirty-one times. To others, I am a fanatic. To myself, I am a fan who
likes to take in as much of Bob's live performances as I am able to
attend. Some of the highlights of Thursday's show were hearing the
Modern Times material for the first time, Positively 4th Street, Simple
Twist of Fate, and an epic Tangled Up In Blue. It's been a couple years
since I heard Tangled live, and I think Bob and the boys were in the
groove from the first notes of this classic. Also, I went to Thursday's
show with someone who was seeing Bob for the first time. And that
always makes a concert special for me. To bring another into the fold is
something I will gladly do time and time again. All in all, it was a
great show. And that brings me to tonight's performance. There are
great Dylan shows, as Thursday night's show was, and then there are epic
Dylan shows. Tonight's show was epic. Even with a similar set list from
Thursday night, tonight's show was up on a different level. From the
first line of the opening song, a rocking and rollicking version of The Levee's
Gonna Break, which I liked more than the album version to the last words of
Like A Rolling Stone, Bob's voice was powerful, clear, and commanding.
You can check the set list to see the order of the songs performed
tonight. I won't give a play by play, but there are a few things that
struck me and a few performances that require a few words to be written
about them. Since Bob has turned to the keyboard, his shows have been
more electric. Even traditional acoustic songs are given an electric
over-haul. In some cases, this works exceptionally well; in some cases,
these versions pale to an acoustic arrangement of the song. Tonight,
while Bob played keyboard only, the show had the feel of a show from
three or four years ago. Five of the songs in the middle of the set
were acoustic with Tony on stand-up bass and Denny on acoustic guitar.
Also, a couple other numbers had an acoustic backing. Most notably for
me was Boots of Spanish Leather. After 31 shows, I finally got to hear
Boots, and it was breath-taking, heart-breaking, and awe-inspiring. High
Water (For Charley Patton) kicked into high gear from the first notes and
wound down like a train pulling into a station. Don't Think Twice,
It's All Right pulled out of the station to applause and after a
masterful working of this tremendous song, Bob closed it out with a
phenomenal harp solo. The applause rose, as did most of the crowd, at
the end of this number. The band rocked on Highway 61 Revisited and
Summer Days and rolled through a jazzy arrangement of Spirit on the
Water. Nettie Moore was haunting and beautiful. As for the encores, we
were in for a little bit of a surprise. Or maybe it was a gift from Bob
to the New York crowd. The first encore was Ain't Talkin', the
last track of Modern Times, which had not been played live until tonight.
Bob's vocals and the band's tight playing of this post-apocalyptic
sounding song made it sound like it was a well-practiced song from their
repertoire, with powerful singing, amazing guitar work, and great rhythm.
If you closed your eyes, you could almost see the mystic garden. And
there, ahead of us all, walking through the garden was Bob, leading the
way. And when it was over, he led the way into Thunder On the Mountain
and closed the show with Like A Rolling Stone. For the last encore, he
drew out the words, punctuating each line in a way only Bob can do. It is
hard to put in words. Hell, it is hard to put any thoughts on Bob into
words, and do him or his music justice. If you were able to see Bob on
this tour, you know what I mean. If you were unable, you should try your
hardest to see him next time he comes to town. You won't be
disappointed. I know I never am. Thanks Bob.
If you have any comments or just like to talk "Bob"
feel free to get in touch with me at
Review by Derek Geary
Bit of a strange venue for Bob to play. Yes, it was unique and cozy but
the incredible verticality of the seating was a little weird both visually
and acoustically. I think that a lot of people go to the show to make a
connection with Bob and if you were sitting in the balcony all you could
see was the top of a black cowboy hat hunched over a keyboard. it made it
tougher to make that connection and I thought that the audience "vibe,"
all sitting, was a little detached--at least in the balcony. It's almost
like seeing Miles Davis when he played with his back to the audience. I'm
all for Bob's mystique and attitude but I didn't see his eyes the entire
show!--as I'm sure all others not in the $200 seats didn't either. Check
out the incredible expressiveness of his face in the "Love Sick"
performance at the Grammy's in the "Modern Times" bonus DVD to see what we
missed. Of course it was still a good show. I thought the show noticeably
picked up with "Don't Think Twice." The crowd really responded and Bob's
new wonderfully varied, melodic vocal stylings really shined. "Nettie
Moore" was also fantastic. I'm hoping that this is the tune he plays at
this year's Grammy's! Thanks Bob!
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