November 29, 2018
Review by Mike in NJ
Bob Dylan and His Band Ė Beacon Theater New York, NY - November 29, 2018 Like
so many Novembers before, the 2018 NET winds down in NYC at the venerable
Beacon, with Bob in residence. Unlike so many artists who have hit the road to earn
their living off us baby boomers, Bob has always been out there, using the NET to
constantly reinvent his work. This year was not like last year. Stu guitar gone; Bob
standing to croon pop standards-gone. When was the last time you were in a public
place without the distraction of cell phones? There is nothing like this out there.
Dylan has turned the rearrangements of his gigantic library into an art form. Itís like
heís realized that he doesnít need to stand up and sing the American pop standards
of others, just dip into his own extensive library and rework his own standards. This
was never more evident than five numbers in, when he moves into When I Paint
My Masterpiece, pretty much solo from behind the grand piano, which was very
much emblematic of the entire show. Donít Think Twice and several others were
afforded similar arrangements, which focused on Bobís voice and piano, with the
band happy to move further into the background, focused on perfecting the
rearrangements of nearly every song. There were some up-tempo offerings, with
the most surprising being Gotta Serve Somebody, totally unrecognizable from the
original and one of the best set closers Iíve ever seen Bob pull off. Dylan and his
band ran through 20 songs in an hour forty-five and we were out in the street
before the Broadway theater curtains closed. It seems like the audience (even
those who donít attend a lot of these shows) is figuring out that they are
witnessing one of the last vestiges of authentic American music from the only
guy left, willing to take the risks to reinvent and deliver it up night after night,
year after year.
Mike in NJ
Review by Barry Gloffke
What a difference a day makes.
After a scintillating show at the Beacon on Tuesday where everything seemed to flow
l ike honey, Thursday was more like oatmeal down the drain. It was an uneven show
that only seemed to find its groove in spurts, as Bob did not seem to be on the same
page as the Cowboys. Certainly there were short flashes of brilliance to be found such
as in CRY A WHILE, SCARLET TOWN, EARLY ROMAN KINGS and LOVE SICK. Bob also
had some good harp play during SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE, MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE,
BLOWINí IN THE WIND and DONíT THINK TWICE, ITíS ALRIGHTÖ which was
unfortunately marred by several rude audience members in different sections who
had to be shouted down to keep quiet. Very frustrating. In addition the audience
was also a bit lackluster. But even with the impediments of a dull, tasteless crowd and
an off night for Bob the last part of the show ended rather robustly (from song 13,
ERK to the set closer, song 18 GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY). As a matter of fact SOON
AFTER MIDNIGHT and GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY rescued the show and brought it
to a just conclusion.
The encores were solid if not spectacular, excepting the great harp work from Bob on
BITW. And although Bob was off a bit tonight, the Band wove beautiful melodies
Look forward to a rebound from Bob on Friday.
I will see you Bobcats then.
Review by Greg A.
As a life long fan since Ď67 and at my 50th plus show since Ď74, I was excited seeing
the sets, reviews, and especially the reports on the miraculous state of Bobís voice
on thisís tour. The new arrangement of the opener, Things Have Changed, was
pretty weird and disappointing but the band sounded terrific and Bobís voice was
borderline miraculous. He sounded somewhere between late Ď70s and Time Out Of
mind era. Hard to believe after the past fifteen years and makes you wonder if he
managed his sound over that period intentionally...to his great artistic credit. The
next three sounds were stupendous, as good as I have ever seen. As a second
song in the set, It Ainít Me Babe was a throwback to his first electric sets with the
Hawks in Ď65, delivered at the piano with nothing short of gusto. Highway 61 rocked
in a subdued but subtly compelling way. And A Simple Twist Of Fate , with the band
laying back, brought a tear to my eye. Just superb.
Sadly the middle of the show was tedious to the point of boring. Even a few great
songs like Make You Feel My Love and, shockingly, Like A Rolling Stone with its
slowdown before the chorus ( where Bob amazingly revived his amazing, original
sneer) were pedestrian at best and monotonous and the newer songs with radical
rearranging simply.. hate to say it..unworthy. Really bad song choices in the middle
part of the set and overall the performance needs variety... be it a guitar song,
counter melody through an organ or less heavy handed George R drumming trying
to be Mickey Jones Jr. from 1966. The subsequent breakthrough of Bob essentially
alone at the piano on an absolutely brilliant version of Donít Think Twice was marred
by a fight in the audience for the first two verses. But the most surprising element
to a long time New Yorker was the audience subdued throughout, essentially
reverent like a Ď60ís solo acoustic set. No energy except for a few greatest hits clap
alongs on greatest hits choruses. Bob was great, as was the band, but they
devolved into a somewhat meaningless drone for most of the show.
Sorry not to be another fanboy and know this likely wonít make the review section
of Expecting Rain. Thrilled to see Bob back where he belongs performance wise...
somewhat. Just needs some urgency and musical variety. And thank the Lord the
Sinatra era is over!
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