New York, New York

Beacon Theatre

November 29, 2014

[Mo Ritz]

Review by Mo Ritz

"Culturally, Historically, & aesthetically significant"
Bob Dylan & his well polished cowboy band opened a five night stint at
the Beacon Theater on Friday, November 28.  The tour kicked-off on the
West coast last October and at some point during its L.A. stop there
was a minor tweak to the setlist, or at least the encore. A Bob Dylan
tour has over the years aroused the curiosity and anticipation of many
a faithful fan.  Until recently, each night was a speculation of the
sacred set list; it was anyone's guess.  Welcome to the unofficial
Ground Hog Day tour.  The set list is unchanged each evening the songs
remain the same, but Mr. Dylan does not, as displayed on stage tonight.
The Beacon is an intimate (2,894 seat) 1929's neo-Grecian theater
located on Broadway (u.w.s.) NYC.   Upon arriving at the theater you
cannot help but gaze and admirer the architecture and design.  From the
elaborate glided plaster moldings to the Giant Greek Goddesses, the
colorful murals of an ancient trade port your eyes will dwell. In the
lobby hangs a sparkling grand chandelier which may have you imagining
Mr. & Mrs. Rose dangling and clinging for dear life. Tonight's show
according to the marquee was sold out.  However, there were seats to be
had from the numerous ticket scalpers peddling their Bob Dylan tickets
up & down Broadway. With the repetitive setlist  that this tour is
sporting you might think of Bob as Bill Murray's character Phil Connors
in the classic film, Ground Hog Day- as every evening Bob performs the
same show as if in a time loop. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat, over and over
and over again.  With the BANG of a loud GONG you are soon to
understand that practice sure can sound like perfection to your ears. 
The show is played in two sets, with a brief intermission in between. 
Stu Kimball as usual moseys onto the dark stage as the sound of his
guitar lights up the night.  The stage lights barely lift as the rest
of the band files onto the stage.  Finally, the man of the hour appears
from the shadows to play and sing to us all for a couple of hours. 
Loud applause and a standing ovation of sorts. The first set list opens
with Things Have Changed (and yet they stay the same).  This is a well
rehearsed band that no longer watches their leader with eyes of
intensity.  Each has done this before, relaxed and in the zone. 
Spontaneity  has flown. Bob stood at the Microphone(s) singing with a
voice that has smoothed from the frogginess of  just a few years
past-sometimes playing his harmonica and sometimes taking to his his
piano. On the side of the stage sits a bust of Venus di Milo sporting a
beach bun. She Belongs To Me, Beyond Here Lies Nothing, Working Man
Blues #2, Waiting For You (with a carousel groove), Duquesne Whistle
(my favorite of the night), Pay In Blood , Tangled Up In Blue (a shadow
of itself),and wrapping up the first set with a make me feel glad all
over, Love Sick. You may not hear a "good evening friends" or a "thank
you friends" from Mr. Dylan but as the last note of Love Sick was
fading into the night, Mr. Dylan stepped back to the microphone to
announce:  "we're going to leave the stage now, but we'll be back." Up
went the house lights for a brief intermission.  The lights dim again
and the band returns launching into Highwater for Charlie Patton.  From
here the set mellows and slows.  Simple Twist Of Fate, Early Roman
Kings,(this one takes you to a house of blues), Forgetful Heart (harp,
harp, harp), Spirit On The Water, Scarlet Town, Soon After Midnight,
and Long and Wasted Years brings you to the end of the second set. 
Throughout the evening of this time-loop of a show, many of the songs,
including the most recent tunes were reworked both musically and
lyrically.  Tangled Up In Blue offered up a phrase that brought me a
chuckle:  "tomorrow might as well be today."  With hollers from the
crowd:  "Play Lay Lady Lay Bobby" and "We Love You Bobby!"  The answer
my friend- was Blowin' In The Wind. For many a year now Mr. Dylan has
often closed his show with his 1967 classic All Along The Watch Tower
(made popular on FM radio by a Jimi Hendrix cover)  the ever popular
and rockin Watch Tower has been replaced by a Frank Sinatra (Jerome
Moross) song:  Stay With Me.  Perhaps stay with me finds a place at the
end of this show to promote Bob's supposed up & coming (2014 the year
of the cover album) cover album of Frank Sinatra songs...or not.  But
watch for the new album due out in January 2015! Tonight's Bob Dylan
Show at the Beacon Theater was culturally, historically and
aesthetically significant.  If you your in the city it would be a shame
to miss it. Thank you Mr. Dylan and thank you cowboy band.


Click Here
to return to the
Main Page

page by Bill Pagel

Tour Guide
Tour Guides
Bob Links
Set Lists
by Date
Set Lists
by Location