November 24, 2017
Review by Barry Gloffke
The penultimate Bob Dylan show of the 2017 Fall US tour (and my last this)
was a tour de force. Thus ends my two week journey of seeing six Bob
shows. And what a show it was. For me… near perfect. Bob had the
powerful, clear voice tonight with great inflections, extended vocal phrasing
and unexpected emphasis on particular words. The Cowboy Band was
typically versatile: easily maneuvering their way through the entire American
musical landscape, which is what a Bob show does these days. The audience
had just enough energy and I was able to situate myself of the right side of
the arena, against the wall which gave me ample space to dance. No dance
police near me tonight, thankfully.
Bob had his hammer ringing tonight and the band was nailing everything.
His piano playing was spectacular, and his interplay with Charlie and
Donnie was spot on. The stage was set in the now familiar, classy, Edison
style lights. At 8:30 the house lights dimmed and Stu's guitar sounds
filled arena. The darkened stage alit to Bobs' wild mane, dressed in what
appeared from my vantage point to be a light gray jacket, black/white
stripe pants and white boots. The Cowboy Band wore dark blue suits. They
charged into THINGS HAVE CHANGED with the audience on its feet. Wonderful
voice and piano work from Bob. The crowd settled in their seats for a
smooth but slightly rocking version of IT AIN'T ME, BABE with Bob giving
care to each verse. Also fantastic piano work, plus great guitar interlay
with Charlie. Wonderful. A rockin' HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED brought the crowd
back to its feet. This song was full throttle tonight. Propelled by
George's pounding drums, Charlie's fine guitar and Bob's blistering piano.
At this point I am sensing a great show developing. All signs are good.
But now we have our first American songbook tune, WHY TRY TO CHANGE ME
NOW. How will Bob deliver? How will tonight's audience react? Fortunately
a hushed audience allows Bob to deliver a breathtaking vocal performance.
He extends and times his delivery to perfection. The crowd loves it. A
standing ovation. The show has overcome its first of five possible
pitfalls. Next up SUMMER DAYS. Led by Donnie's fiddle the Cowboys knock
out a country hoe-down and Bob's wailing vocals take the song on a wild
ride. This is just one of the many songs tonight that I felt were the best
interpretations of the tour. Next is another American songbook tune,
MELANCHOLY MOOD, a favorite of mine. Great delivery tonight. I love the
timing of this song, the way the band plays their smooth instrumental
intro only to met by Bob's gravelly, deep vocals. A beautiful crash scene.
The crowd loved it!
Fantastic show. To wit. Usually the concert starts to sag between songs #7
and #9 and the crowd starts to lose interest. Not tonight. The best
version of HONEST WITH ME I have heard on the tour so far has the
attention of the audience. Superb piano and drums. The best version of
TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN follows, in which Bob was really extending lyrics
and using fascinating inflections as points of emphasis. It was a real
treat and the crowd loved it. He was really hanging on 'Cloooooossssseeeee
thaaaaaaaaaaaaaa doooooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrr'. And then the third
American songbook tune ONCE UPON A TIME was given a full view by the
crowd. I heard very little banter from my area. Bob was fabulous. Great
deep voice, clear, controlled. He had the audience in his hand.
Ten perfect songs at the halfway point. The second half begins with the
new, newer TANGLED UP IN BLUE (Bluer?). I really like this interpretation.
Fun. Originally a story about lost love but now a story about lost love,
friends and peers. If you do not know the reworked lyrics then the song
might be a disappointment to you. Tonight Bob gave extra, extra long
phrasing to Bluuuuuuuueeeeee!!! It was all about phrasing and inflections
tonight. Both were featured in the next tune, a perfectly delivered SOON
AFTER MIDNIGHT where Bob was giving great care to emphasize certain
lyrics. Next was a menacing and brilliant EARLY ROMAN KINGS. Those
handkerchiefs were waving in the air because he ain't dead yet and his
bell still rings! This is followed by a marvelous FULL MOON AND EMPTY
ARMS. Tender delivery. Bellissimo!!!
What will make or break this as a great show will be how he delivers
DESOLATION ROW. Finally!!!… he stays faithful to a straight delivery of
the lyrics. And, he stays away from his piano lesson treatment of the
melody. Thank you! This was certainly the best ROW I have heard in several
years. Great work for an epic song that deserves proper treatment. I am on
cloud nine and I know that is about to go to cloud ten because THUNDER ON
THE MOUNTAIN is next. The rock and roll highlight of all six of the shows
that I have scene was unreal tonight!!! Thunder, thunder, thunder,
rolling, rolling, rolling. The song starts out hot and just keeps rising
in intensity. Bob is screaming, Charlie wailing, percussion pounding (not
sure what the hell Donnie is doing because I am so caught up in the
moment). Rockin', rollin', crowd shouting and dancing… song is building,
next verse, Bob is screaming, verse ends, music builds again… crazy… each
verse the music builds, Bob screams, each time you think, WOW, can it get
any more intense??… it does. It builds to the point of an explosion of a
drum solo by George and then a crescendo of an ending from the entire
Band. Brought the roof down!!! Fucking hey, man. The crowd is ecstatic!!!
After all that chaos, after all that mayhem, after all that audience
howling, Bob magically juxtaposes a hauntingly relaxed AUTUMN LEAVES which
the crowd absorbs in near silence. Astonishing!! I do not know if there is
an artist today that can put together a combination as frenetic and
somnolent as these two songs back-to-back. Another of the wonders of Bob.
And his signature, deep, low register voice was simply stunning on AUTUMN
The show ends with an exquisite rendering of LOVE SICK with the staged
draped in deep blood red curtains which perfectly suited Bob's powerfully
brooding vocal delivery. And the music… tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.
Hypnotic. A great ending. Thunderous cheers. Roaring applause.
Bob and the Band appear for the usual encores of BLOWIN' IN THE WIND and
BALLAD OF A THIN MAN. Each had their moments of glorious instrumental
improvisations and both were simply read and wonderfully delivered by Bob.
Great care was given to the BLOWIN' lyrics. Great cadence and pace on THIN
MAN. A perfect ending to a perfect show. Easily the best of the four at
the Beacon Theatre and best of the six I saw in total.
Thanks Bob to a great show and a great tour. Good luck an the finale.
PS. It was nice to see the Bobcats last night. Mangala and her entourage.
Ed and Michelle. Carlo (I covered your tips for the bartender, my friend.
Keep in mind that you need to tip in America). Elizabeth (who shows up by
herself because she is a true Bobcat and her friends and family… well..
fill in the blank). Barry and Dylan from the balcony (Sorry Barry, I could
not tell where your voice was coming from). Sue from Ottawa (great license
plate) and her Norwegian and Japanese friends. Hope you all get to see the
last show. Hope to see you all on the next tour.
Review by Laurette Maillet
Friday 24th of November. New York, New York. Black Friday, they call
it. It is the day the stores are saling their goods. I hate shopping. I
never go to any fancy stores but ... my shoes are ruined for so many
walkings. So now ... it is a necessity to have a new pair. Even a
"minimalist" should have a pair of shoes in winter time! Go early to Old
Navy store and I buy clothes for my grand son. Won't hurt to have extra
shirts and pants for a toddler. I go to the 'folly' at Macy's, check the
shoes and rapidly walk out. They sell cardboard shoes for ... 80$! A Black
Friday indeed! Finaly I found a reasonable price at GAP. 50%off, and I
want to believe it's true.s Walk back home and rest for a while. By late
afternoon I go by the Beacon and check the backstage door just on time to
see Bob walking in ...ingognito! I bump into my good friends David and
Kim, who offer me a big meal. Woah! The first real meal for a while.
I've been eating corn flakes for few days now. Thanks guys! Go feed the
cat and dog I sitt for, get dressed warm and go again to the Beacon. Again
a "precious Angel" gives me a ticket before the show so I'll be able to
see Mavis, who I still enjoy. Inside the venue I chat a while with some
Fans I've knowned on Facebook. A lot Bobcats came for those shows on
Weekend in New York. From Europe even. Some, I prefer to avoid! I take my
seat, on the floor, left and in the aisle. My "neighbour" is a Fan from
Japan and the Lady in front of me, recognizes me from .... Thakerville!
Woah! I'm famous?! I am in a fantastic spirit. I see a bunch of V.I.P.
folks emerging from the backstage door, taking seats. Don't recognise any
one;friends? Family? Celebrities? I enjoy every single moment with Mavis
but it is Bob I am impatient to see. The public on the right floor is
enthusiastic, thanks to Nichole who will be up the entire show, up in
front row.!? My side is more reserved. I am doing my karaoke, who cares if
I sing out of tune?! Bob seems to enjoy himself and he brings the entire
Beacon UP on "Thunder on the mountain ". The performance is great.
Thanksgiving and the turkey didn’t distract Mr Dylan a bit! He probably
missed the Balloons parade and the Black Friday! Smart! I walk back home
rapidly. I just want to keep my good feelings clear and pure for myself.
Good night Bobby. See you tomorrow.
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