November 24, 2010
Review by Trevor Townson
Later a walk past the Empire State building, actually that is exactly what
happened, I had walked right past it. I then realised why most people I had
passed had been looking up in the air, sky scrapers sure are easier to see from
a distance than close up. No matter I quickly picked up on my mistake as I stood
on the pavement like everyone else gazing upwards in amazement.
Across to 6th Avenue next and a short walk to Greenwich Village, up 4th Street
then turning into MacDougal Street to stand before the Café Wha. Looking across
the street towards the small entrance door I could not help but wonder how all
our lives would have been so much different if Bob had never come to this place
and all that followed never happened.
Well he did and it has which is why I find myself again on a New York city back
street waiting in line for the third day running. Fortunately there had been no
rain and the weather had been kind although it had got colder and colder day by
day. The third day was the coldest of the three with quite a bitter wind blowing
as we were standing in line from our retreated position although it must be said
activity at the car dealerships on day three was much quieter than the previous
two days, the queue was smaller and quieter too, may be it was the colder
Prior to taking my spot on the pavement on day three I paid a visit to Central
Park, well at least I put my foot through the gate for a look as the park was
situated very close to where the venue was so an opportunity not to be missed I
guess. No real Bob connection as far as I am aware and probably more Paul Simon
for my taste as was it not him always singing about the place? Apparently
Central Park gets 25 million visitors a year, well 25 million and one this year
as it was a pretty late decision for me to go there. A group of tourists were on
the grass taking pictures of themselves behind a sign saying Newly Seeded Lawn
Please Keep Off! Turning my gaze away from the grass to the road I am then
puzzled by the thought, why do so many unhealthy people think that running is a
Following Bob can become rather addictive for some and no more so than for a guy
from Germany called Rainer who I end up talking to as we stand side by side in
the queue. Rainer has lost track of the number of Bob Dylan shows he has
attended so he has decided to stop counting and if asked now just says 550, it
is of course more shows than that now but it does not really matter. Rainer said
that for next year he is going to limit himself to just five shows and I think
that I should also try to do the same as well but I am not sure that we will be
able to do that as I do not believe that there is any place to go for a cure to
this particular addiction, anyway Rehab is for quitters!
Getting past will call at the box office took so much time on the third night
with just the one guy in there and struggling to find the ticket belonging to
the person in front of me resulting in me ending up way, way back in the queue
on the inside to what my place in the queue on the outside had been. Things
still worked out OK as in the end I still ended up pretty much in the first wave
onto the floor so to speak and managed to get a good central spot with an
excellent view four back from the rail comfortable and with quite a bit of space
and with very good natured people around me.
Outside people had been discussing which show of the first two had been the best
but it did not really matter as there was nothing really to separate them but
would the third night be better. To be honest I am not sure how they could
better two shows like the two previous ones and I was expecting the same high
standard of course and all I could hope for on top was perhaps a different stand
out song of particular appeal to me. Day on day Bobs voice seemed to get better
earlier and earlier on and was on form from the off on day three making in my
opinion at least the last day Change My Way Of Thinking the best of the three .
Far too much for me to take in to report but these shows do not need a song by
song scoring. This is the first time I have ever been to a Bob Dylan concert
where the audience starts clapping before the song had ended as on numerous
occasions a song had not been closed and Bob was still finishing his guitar or
harmonica playing and the clapping and cheering had already started. On numerous
occasions clapping even broke out at parts mid song and not just clapping from
Already stated my personal highlights of the first two nights in previous
reviews with Forgetful Heart on night one although it must be said Just Like Tom
Thumb Blues was more a joint first than in second place. Thin Man night two.
Third night well a fantastic Nettie Moore but better than that a slowed down
kind of stop start Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum with Bob face on to the audience
centre stage on guitar which was just magical musical entertainment to witness,
thanks Bob, owe you a pint sometime for that one mate, Brilliant!
Watchtower was an added song as a bonus on top but seemed to end too soon with
Bob running out of words before the music had ended so rather than the song
ending on a crescendo with Bob singing the final - “any of it is worth” to a
smashing crash of symbols and drums from George it just kind of limped to a
close. From the look on Bobs face it seemed like something or someone had gone
wrong but lets just say it was an extra song so let us not worry about it, I
concur with an earlier reviewer, these were the best shows ever.
Mistake or planned ending to Watchtower for the lady in front of me at her very
first Bob Dylan concert this song was the thrill of the night for her however
the song was supposed to end so it just goes to show that even if a song is
flawed it can still prove to be the best and most memorable moment for some.
In the end I did get to drive down 42nd Street but in a Ford, a yellow one,
making my way to the airport as I’m leaving today,
I loved New York.
Review by Bruce Slutsky
It's night time in the big city as I get off the New Jersey Transit train at Penn Station.
The place is a mad house as people are traveling to their destination for Thanksgiving.
I am early so I decided to walk up 8th avenue to 57th Street where I met Karen and
Lee at 6:30. We walked over to Terminal 5 at 6:45 where there is already a long line.
Some people likely arrived hours earlier to get a close standing spot. When we
entered we got a standing place in the middle of the floor. Many of the early birds
were standing in the balcony where they had a birdseye view of the stage. My only
complaint was that the people were standing very close to each other like a rush
hour subway train. In the past I stood up for Bob at the Roseland Ballroom, Manhattan
Center, and William Paterson University where there was some room to move around.
A loyal Dylan fan does mind standing.
At 8:10 the show began with Gonna Change my Way of Thinking. Before I write any
further I must applaud Bob's backup band who was absolutely superb:
Tony Garnier - bass
George Recile - drums
Stu Kimball - rhythm guitar
Charlie Sexton - lead guitar
Donnie Herron - banjo, violin, electric mandolin, pedal steel, lap steel
Dylan fans know that he varies the set list with each performance. This set leaned
heavily on the more recent recordings. I was disappointed that there was no acoustic
set but he can't please all the people all of the time. He did play Lee's favorite Tangled
Up in Blue as #4. I just loved the harmonica part on this. Bob's voice was good
considering that he performed for the third night in a row. When I heard Like A Rolling
Stone, I just wished that Al Kooper was on stage with him. All of the concerts had
only 16 songs, but we were surprised to hear Watchtower as the third encore.
As I left the concert I wondered when the Never Ending Tour will end. We have seen
him in NYC 3 Novembers in a row. Next year will mark Bob's 70th birthday. Will there
be a special concert on 5/24/11 as there was for Ringo Starr on 7/7/10?
Thanks for a great concert. At least I got a seat on the subway going home :)
Review by Brian Slattery
After seeing fifty-one shows (and going to #52 tonight), I wasn’t sure if I
had anything left to say. Sure, each show is different. Some soar to great
heights. Others are competent performances. Still, I wondered if maybe I had
said it all before. I didn’t want to set out to write a review only to heap
platitudes or even praise upon Bob. So, even though I’ve seen five shows
this month, and even though I thought they were all excellent, I wasn ’t
inspired to write a review, as I have been so many times before. Then, I reread
the last three set lists, and something struck me. While match isn’t my
strong suit, I quickly added up the number of songs performed and came up with
forty-nine. Over three nights, Bob sang forty-nine songs. After comparing
those set lists and doing some more math, I noticed that Bob did thirty-three
different songs over the course of those three nights, and that impressed me.
When so many artists, especially some legends, ‘ change up’ the set list by
switching one song from night-to-night, Bob gave us thirty-three songs over the
course of three nights. Wednesday night’s show had the ‘newest’ set
list I’ve seen Bob perform. The first song from the 1960s was “Ballad of a
Thin Man,” which closed the main set. On Tuesday, Bob only played four songs
off his most recent albums, bringing it all back home with “Just Like A
Woman,” “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” and “ Masters of War,”
followed by the strongest performance of “Highway 61 Revisited” I can
recall seeing live. It may take a train to cry, but it takes a lot for
“Highway 61” to stand out for me, after seeing and hearing it so much live
and on recordings. Also, I must add that “Masters of War,” a song that I
will admit doesn’t do much for me, was a highlight at the second show,
Bob’s voice clear and cutting throughout. On Monday night, the set list was
a more even mix of old and new songs, with a captivating “Forgetful Heart,”
a beautiful “Shooting Star,” and a mesmerizing “Desolation Row,” which,
despite an early flub, finished strong and powerful, Bob doing a great delivery
of the last verse, the band changing tempo with him instantly. Sure, I was
hoping for “Visions of Johanna” and maybe a surprise or two Wednesday
(“Turkey Chase” would have been fitting), but I left the show
well-satisfied with what Bob did perform. “Nettie Moore” was touching.
“The Man In Me” was simply fun. “Can’t Wait” blew me away, probably
ranking high up as one of the single best performances of a song I’ve seen Bob
do recently, perhaps even in all of the shows I’ve seen.
While it’s hard to really be objective right after seeing Bob, I feel that
these performances are some of the strongest I’ve seen in the last few years.
I’m sure if I go back to old reviews I’ve written, I’ve said the same
thing. And, at the time, it was true. Now, as I say it again, it is true
again. I’m looking forward to tonight. Whatever Bob plays, it will be a
whoppin’ good time.
If you have any questions or comments, or just want to talk ‘Bob,’ get in
touch. You can reach me at email@example.com_ (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) .
Also, you can check out eternalcircle.org. Keep On Keepin’ On.
Brian J. Slattery
Review by Charles Cicirella
Gathering Up His Jewels
You want to know what Bob Dylan really sounds like well then you need to come to
NYC. You need to spend three days (and nights) sandwiched between two overpriced
car dealerships with cars quite literally whizzing past you. You need to eat
gyros at some crazed hour (with feta) and pray to God you don't fall asleep in
some alley when this medicine show finally hits the stage. Yes the first night
Bob was so fierce it took your breath away (each and every song was a punch
straight to the kidneys) and the second night he was just as on fire and the
band well they were red hot throughout all three shows but the third night just
listen to The Man In Me (quite possibly the best version since Paris '78) and
you will know immediately that the third night was no slouch either matter a
fact as I listen now I am just about ready to get up and dance around this room
just like I did the night of the show. Naysayers be damned - line jumpers be
damned - those of us who braved the elements and forged a real bond and really
watched each other's backs during our stay in line experienced something up
close and personal that can not be devalued because blood though thicker than
water is not always as prophetic nor as profound. Ya you may have showed up late
and still found yourself at the rail but if you did shame on you not to mention
you missed out on another integral part of the Bob Dylan show and that is the
good people you meet in line while you wait all those hours. This review is for
them - they know who they are and my heart was touched so profoundly by each and
everyone of them (yes even you and you). There was music in the cafes at night
and revolution in the air - it really was! Thank you Bobby!!!
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