November 30, 2018
Review by Christina & Denis
This month was our 40th wedding anniversary and our first trip to New York. For all
these years , Dylan has been the other guy in the room. Our three children have
attended a concert along the way and our grandson will carry his name through his
life. We have seen him in Vancouver, Edmonton , Calgary, Toronto, St John’s and
the Desert Trip in Palm Springs just before he won the NOBEL. So the concert ….
exceeded both our expectations and left us with a great memory- perhaps this was
the last waltz for us. A beautiful setting and very well thought out and produced
show. Yes we miss the guitar (especially the acoustic) and the rocking versions of
great tunes , but while last night was more subtle, he looked great , seemed
happy and sang his heart out on many of the songs. And we were able to pay
some attention to the individual band members- what a journey you fellas have
been on. There is always a moment in a Dylan show that you remember and
know in your heart that you have witnessed greatness – there were several last
night . And the audience were very attentive and acknowledged every tune as a
piece unto itself. Someday there will be that one final show ….. but for us last
night , we likely witnessed it on the great journey we have been on . Forever
young we try and remain . Cheers
Christina & Denis
St John’s Newfoundland
Review by Barry Gloffke
After a solid, but tepid show Thursday night, Bob and the Cowboys followed
up with one of the great ones on Friday! We all know that certain Dylan
concerts can be uneven and uninspiring. Some concerts are fabulous with
minor blemishes. Some are so hideous that they stand apart for that
reason. Some are bland and unmemorable, quickly disappearing into the
dustbin of history.
But,... every once is a while you get a concert that is an epic event.
One where all the musical gods are aligned in body and thought. One where
the audience actually knows and respects the material. One where the band
is on fire and in absolute sychronicity. One where Bob draws out heart
wrenching versions of his masterpieces... where Bob plays Little
Richard/Jerry Lee Lewis inspired piano... where we get profound and
mournful harmonica play... and exquisitely timed vocal delivery. Where we
get 'knock-it-out-of-the-park' versions of every song...even PAY IN BLOOD.
Each song tonight were the best versions I have seen on this tour and many
before it. From the curtain opening, percussively charged THINGS HAVE
CHANGED to the final delicate piano and wailing harp of BLOWIN' IN THE
WIND we were graced with near perfection. I salute the work of CHARLIE,
TONY, GEORGE and DONNIE tonight. They not only kept fabulous timing with
Bob's idiosyncratic style, a feat in itself, but they wonderfully
embroidered each tune with sheer musical genius.
After the great opener, Bob delivered a declarative IT AIN'T ME, BABE
imbued with wonderful piano play. An excellent, rocking and rolling
HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED was next... forceful drums, bass, guitar and piano
drove this home. Next was a crowd pleasing SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE featuring
the first use of the harp... and it was lovely. At this point we had been
treated to four fantastic tunes and it was beginning to feel like a really
good show. It was the fifth entry tonight, CRY A WHILE — a tune so good
that one of the ushers/bouncers (a very, very large man) came up to me
after it was over to ask what song he had just heard — where the concert
went up a notch from good to great. The band simply crushed this one and
Bob was in no mood for forgiveness. Devastating!!
The band is on a roll now and with them Bob is about to paint a bunch
masterpieces as the show goes from great to gaga. WHEN I PAINT MY
MASTERPIECE was beautifully delivered in slow fashion with Bob initially
singing to little accompaniment and then the band joining in late. The
song finished with well-crafted harp work. The Cowboys excelled on the
next entry, HONEST WITH ME which was a moving extravaganza and did an even
better job on the follow up... a lovely TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN. Where the
night before it seemed as if this song was a compilation of competing
sounds, tonight the guys wove a musical tapestry... just awesome. And just
when I thought it couldn't get any better, Bob goes center stage to
command the audience and dispatch a venomous SCARLET TOWN. A small man
with a large presence intoning about life's misery. But where there is
misery, their is also beauty as an antidote. And the antidote tonight is a
tender dosing of MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE featuring a spoonful of
simultaneous piano and harp.
The concert usually downshifts in gears with the next song PAY IN BLOOD.
But not tonight. And although this song suffers from an upbeat melody and
a slow start, it builds in ominous intensity to a very satisfying finish.
That is followed up by the new and audience friendly take on LIKE A
ROLLING STONE. The crowd loved this and it seemed that Bob was feeding off
of our response. He teased and tickled out the stanzas, slowing down to a
plea, and then howling out the chorus. We roared in approval at each 'How
does it feeeeeeeelllllllll'. Outrageous and superb. At this point I am on
cloud nine and the audience is in a tizzy. But it just keeps getting
better. As in a raw, blues filled EARLY ROMAN KINGS. His bell still rings.
Wave those handkerchiefs. Fantastic!!
But still, we take it a notch higher again with a stunning rendition of
DON'T THINK TWICE, IT'S ALRIGHT. The audience gave this the proper respect
it deserves (unlike the previous night). It felt like a church setting...
you could hear a pin drop. And Bob sang in a passionate vocal manner, soft
and heartfelt... a moment to stop and contemplate things that have come
and gone. Emotional as hell.
Emotions go in all directions and next is a deftly sung LOVE SICK. Deep,
brooding and dark and as hell. Charlie gave this song some extra bile
tonight. As we close in on the final trio of opening set songs we get
rock, soul and roll. We rock with THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN as it builds in
intensity to its ultimate conclusion... a wild drum solo by George, with
Tony grinning at him like a cheshire cat. We get a soulful and beautiful
depiction of SOON AFTER MIDNIGHT and we roll to the opening set
conclusion, GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY, 'they may call you Peter, they may call
Paul'. An astounding finish as Bob goes center stage to soak up a quick
round of hearty applause before exiting stage right. We stand, cheer and
holler for the inevitable encores.
But the inevitable encores come with a twist tonight. And deservedly so
for such a great show. For the penultimate song Bob and the Band give us a
rousing version of IT TAKES A LOT TO LAUGH, IT TAKES A TRAIN TO CRY.
Unreal!!! Finishing the night is a sublime BLOWIN' IN THE WIND featuring
graceful violin play from Donnie and wonderful harp work from Bob. An
excellent ending to a very memorable evening.
All of the Bobcats leave the venue basking in pleasure. We are a truly
blessed bunch at this point in time.
See you for one last Beacon adventure.
Review by Laurette Maillet
Beacon V for me , VI for Bob Dylan and his Band.
I follow my week routine.
I catch the North train line to Grand Central.
It takes me 40 minutes.
Then today the Moma ( museum of modern Art) is free from 4pm to closing.
I've been there before and I want to see only the
post-impressionists-pre-modern .... my definition of Picasso, Matisse,
Braque, Van Ghogh...until Pollock. After that period I may not
understand the Modern Modern Art. It escapes my mind to believe a "white
canvas" represents anything! So I spend one hour in Gallery 5 and few
minutes with Brancusi (sculptures).
I walk to the Beacon with some cash money in my pocket.
I am willing and able to pay for a ticket tonight.
The Box Office will release some but only the Orchestra ones for 170$.
Still too much. Out of despair I am even willing to deal with
the....scalpers. They have been kind to me. What do we know about people?
Until we talk to them. But of course they make a business and they will
NEVER give away a ticket. Well! My spirit is hight as I just met my good
friends "Jack Fate" and his wife Kim and they gave me a nice Christmas
present to keep me warm. As I am chatting with another desperate Fan, a
young man approaches me and asks if I am Lautette? Yes I am. He says he
knows me from Boblinks and reads my review and he is familiar with
ExpectingRain forum. He has an extra ticket for me. A good seat. Woah! It
is only 7.15pm and I am all set. Cool! I walk inside the Beacon and start
chatting with all the Bobcats around exception of few. We take photos,
exchange about the good shows along the week so far.... Then time to take
Orchestra row L seat 105. I am just in front the sound board. I say hello
to Jason who doesn’t mind me beeing right in front of his board.
I'll behave. No weird sound....
Bob is in a white jacket, the same black pants with white stripes he seems
to like. He appears more energetic than yesterday but again it could be
only my personal mood. The sound is louder suddenly on "Highway 61" .
Maybe Jason pushed up few buttons. "Scarlet town" is a must tonignt. Bobby
beeing dramatic center stage, mimicking some ancient footpaths with his
hands. There is an ovation from the audiance, as well as on LARS. (As we
call it among the Fans). No disturbance tonight on "Don't think twice". A
total silence by now. ERK is also spectacular. Charlie is in great form.
I enjoy each and every one of the songs. "When I paint my Masterpiece" is
the highlight for me again tonignt. I love the sweet piano melody. "Love
sick" recovered its energy. "Thunder" gets an ovation. Thanks little
Georgie! No mistake on "Make you feel my love". He picks up the right
harmonica. For some unknown reason the seat on my left is empty and the
next 2 patrons leave their seats long time before the end. All for the
best for me, I can move my ass freely and have a Party on my own. No one
behind and no one left. The young couple on my right doesn't seem to know
a S. about the songs! They look at me as if I'm from March planet. Might
be! "You've gotta serve somebody" "yeaaaa" says Bob.
Oh oh. This is not the Reggae tune.
Charlie starts a Blues note.
What a surpise.
The public is wild.
"It takes a lot to laugh. ...it takes a train to cry"
"I wanna be your lover......" yea! Yea!
Charlie is spectacular. I can't stop focusing on his fingers.
It should have been the last song.
But we all calm down on
The public by now is up, balancing or swinging from one side to another.
Great great show.
Moving out quickly to the subway, line 1 to Times square, Shuttle to grand
central and train to the Bronx. A "matzo soup" is waiting for me. At
Arthurs's home...we eat Kosher.
I can't sleep until 3 am.
Playing in my head the movie of the day.
That will sure be one of my greatest memories...
Thanks to the good People: David (Jack Fate) , the ExpectingRain Fan(for
the tix), the ExpectingRain moderator, Ian, Nichole, Stefano, Mauro, Kath,
Bill.... Thanks Bobby Dylan and the Band; Georgie, Tony, Charlie,
Donnie. Thanks the techs. Good night to you all. See you tomorrow. Same
venue. Same hour.
Review by Kyle Colona
Stuck Inside the Beacon with the Bob Dylan Blues Again
As luck would have it, I found myself at the penultimate night of Bob Dylan’s
run at the Beacon Theater thanks to my favorite Bobcat Laura - after seeing
a show last weekend. Why go again? I have no answer for that, or why Dylan
is still on the road, after nearly 60 years. But what else are we supposed to
do, stay home?
And here's the real answer: this performance was stunning, totally on from
the first note, and one of the better latter day Dylan shows I've experienced.
So it was as the curtain lifted, Dylan and His Band were off and running with
Things Have Changed – with a replica of the Oscar Statue for Best Song
from years ago on a nearby speaker cabinet, along with Romanesque busts
to accentuate the Tempest theme – Dylan’s last album of original material
from 2012, perhaps his last altogether?
Buckets of ink have been spilled by countless individuals waxing poetic about
the meaning of Dylan's words, but given his offbeat vocal twists, lyric changes
and general inscrutability, people should get over all that - he certainly has,
Nobel Prize notwithstanding.
Today, it’s the musicality of the combo, along with Dylan’s much improved
piano playing that carry the evening. Then again, Dylan always thought of
himself as a song and dance man. The real difference between this tour and
others of late, is Bob's return to the harmonica - soulful playing at various
points throughout the show.
The band is pretty much the same as it’s been for the past several years,
minus rhythm guitarist Stu Kimball. One less guitar gave the songs room to
breathe, as well as a chance for Charlie Sexton to fully display his chops. He
handled that axe like a Buddhist chopping wood, seamlessly shifting from
straight blues to rock to jazz.
Meanwhile long-time bassist Tony Garnier (29 years) and drummer George
Recile never dropped the beat. And multi-instrumentalist Donnie Herron
played crazy licks all night on pedal and lap steel, banjo, violin, even rocking
out on an electric mandolin.
Obviously, I never saw Dylan with The Band or the Rolling Thunder tour,
but sonically speaking this band is the best he's ever toured with imho -
with all due respect to players like G.E. Smith and Larry Campbell since
those were great years too, not to mention Dylan's forays with the late,
great Tom Petty and the Grateful Dead back in the 1980s. In a word, the
Cowboy Band is dynamic, and they elevated their game tonight.
As for the songs, Simple Twist and Masterpiece were stellar, and the
re-positioned version of Like a Rolling Stone - with the tempo shift leading
into the chorus - added drama to the proceedings. Dylan's singing on these
numbers was absolutely....Dylan.
But the latter day material stands up well next to the old chestnuts,
especially Cry a While, Trying to Get to Heaven, the best version I've seen,
Early Roman Kings, Pay in Blood, and Soon After Midnight - with Sexton
and Herron copping licks from Santo and Johnny's "Sleep Walk."
On Scarlet Town Bob took to center stage with his quintessential Charlie
Chaplin shuffle as he acted the song out, as if it were an opera…Dylan is also
covering Too Make You Feel My Love this go around - perhaps to remind
people that it's NOT an Adele song - damn it! He owned it.
Through it all there were lyrical twists aplenty -- some of them quite hilarious,
like "go back home change my clothes scrape off the grease" or words to that
effect on Masterpiece....
And here's an observation: Dylan is not performing the Songbook material
anymore, but that period seems to have influenced his approach to arranging
and singing. Outside of a few grumbles here and there, he was remarkably
The show was over far too soon, but not before Dylan hushed the crowd
with a top shelf version of Don’t Think Twice in the last segment. The main
set closed with the reworked Gotta Serve Somebody - it seems like he’s
making up new stanzas each night on the fly.
Then came the first encore, from out of nowhere, It Takes A Lot to Laugh It
Takes A Train To Cry, deviating from the set list, and not something he does
often these days. Totally raucous version that threw many (myself included)
into a frenzy. Closing out with Blowin in the Wind was no surprise, but Dylan's
harp solo was special.
All in all, it was a great night of music and song, but not much dancing. Most
remained obediently seated much of the night, with a few stray dancers
jumping for joy now and again until the encores. Perhaps because of the age
demographic or that security was a bit tight, and they really enforced the no
e-device rule, forcing people to pay attention, which was Dylan's intention,
and cheap rhymes like that could land me in a house of detention.
Surely, Dylan is not everyone’s cup of tea, but he’s not a living legend either -
just a working musician. Nor is he resting on his laureate (pun intended). At
77, he looks fit and sounds, well, like Dylan...still on the road, trying to stay
out of the joint.
The Colona Report
Review by E.B.
I was very lucky to see Bob and his Band at Eastern Kentucky University in
Richmond, KY in November this year, a memorable performance and a short
trip for me.... this performance at the Beacon meant flying to NYC,
getting a hotel and making some new memories in the city that never
sleeps. When I lived on the east coast a decade or more ago I made it into
NYC quite a few times a year, but not lately. A sea of humanity greeted me
in my first few minutes at Laguardia and I had seen more people in those 5
minutes than I had seen in a year. Or two. Or three.
My ticket for the Beacon was Orchestra C 25, much closer to the stage than
my seat in Richmond and I was enchanted by the old time decor of a lovely
intimate theater..... several folks near me had seen the show here a few
times already.... I knew what to expect with the set list and the audience
members near me soaked up the performance eagerly and were not mystified
by the new arrangements, these were real enthusiastic Dylan fans, beaming
with affection and soaking it all in.... from where my seat was located
Bob was singing just to me as he was at the piano looking right at me the
whole night (ok, not really, but I imagined he was), great sound, his
vocals perfect in the mix even from up close and I was smiling ear to ear
the whole night, ..... my favorite songs for this tour were Scarlet Town,
Pay in Blood, Don't Think Twice and It Ain't Me Babe..... Bob performing
center stage with the stand mic was the outstanding highlight of the
night.... and for the encores we got a new song with It Takes A Lot to
Laugh, it Takes a Train to Cry... that was fun because I was expecting
Watchtower. (In Richmond we got It's a Man's World in the encore, so I
feel lucky to have been there those two nights about a month apart.)
The beginning of next year's tour dates have already been posted and the
never ending tour is still on a roll.... I'll leave you all with a well
known blessing.... To all the rolling stones.....
“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your
fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His
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