Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Broward Center for the Performing Arts

March 1, 2024

[Daniel Dorchak], [Tom Finkel]

Review by Daniel Dorchak

Great to finally see Bob back in Florida for the first time since 2018. He was a touch late, 
taking the stage at 8:10. The show proceeded as usual for this tour until Masterpiece, 
which has a totally new and almost creepy-crawly arrangement. Serve Somebody has also taken 
on a new arrangement, fast melody and powerful vocals. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight was dropped 
for this show, as well as Old Black Magic - but instead we got Walking By Myself by 
Jimmy Rogers; a song that Bob seemed to thoroughly enjoy singing. Standard Rough and 
Rowdy Ways Show - excellent. Bob's piano playing continues to shine, his voice is getting 
stronger and clearer, and the band is molding into one great flowing organism. Thanks, as 
always - see you in Orlando.


Review by Tom Finkel, Miami New Times

Bob Dylan Kicked Off His Spring Tour Swing With a Big Surprise at the Broward Center
Bob Dylan's sold-out March 1 show at the Broward Center offered one stunner: his first 
performance of Jimmy Rogers' 1956 blues hit "Walking by Myself."

Early Friday evening, about an hour before showtime, a squall rolled in off the Atlantic 
and up Las Olas Boulevard to the patio of the sold-out Au-Rene Theater at the Broward 
Center for the Performing Arts. The skies opened up, briefly chasing early arrivals 
sipping their rum-and-Cokes and Pommery Pink Pops off the patio.

That symbolic ten-minute downpour was the only introduction the night's star attraction 
required or received before the house lights dimmed at little past 8 and the massive 
curtain rose to reveal the Voice of His Generation, who — the good Lord willing and the 
creek don't rise — will turn 83 in May.

Having laid off his Rough and Rowdy Ways Tour since early December, Bob Dylan is 
spending spring break working in Florida this year, beginning with a two-show parlay 
in Fort Lauderdale March 1-2.

On opening night, with his six-piece band arrayed across the otherwise bare stage, 
Dylan launched into a pair of his 1960s classics, "Watching the River Flow" and "Most 
Likely You Go Your Way (and I'll Go Mine)." Most likely, that bluesy opening one-two 
punch would ring familiar to audiences who've attended earlier dates on this tour, 
which began in late 2021. So would nearly all of the 90-minute, no-intermission, 
no-encore set — save for one surprise about two-thirds of the way through.

The band was clad mostly in black, Dylan himself uncharacteristically hatless and 
appearing exceptionally diminutive, with all but his head framed by the glowing 
nimbus of his frizzy hair, all but concealed by a closed baby grand piano front and 
center, behind which he perched.

True to form, he performed every track from 2020's Rough and Rowdy Ways save for, 
understandably, the 17-minute epic "Murder Most Foul." Interspersed between those 
nine arrangements were six entries from the artist's prodigious back catalogue and 
the aforementioned Easter egg: a boogie-woogie-style cover of "Walking by Myself," a 
minor hit in 1956 for the unfortunately obscure bluesman Jimmy Rogers (not to be 
confused with famed "Father of Country Music" Jimmie Rodgers).
He rose from the piano bench for parts or all of only a few numbers, including 
"Crossing the Rubicon," one of the night's several highlights, which propelled the 
old master to his feet, where he stood, knock-kneed, pounding away at the keyboard 
like some geriatric Little Richard, as though he were back in the Hibbing High School 
auditorium trying to wow the bobby soxers in the Eisenhower Era.

Of course, he doesn't have to try to impress anyone these days. And the setlist 
notwithstanding, a Bob Dylan show is and always has been an exercise in improvisation. 
Never known for his musicianship, he's no virtuoso at the piano — more like an 
abstract expressionist, leaving it to his band to tend to the melody while he follows 
his own peculiar muse.

So it was last night in Fort Lauderdale, especially on Rough and Rowdy's several 
jazz-inflected tracks, all of which suffered from the acoustics in the soaring concert 
hall, which muddled the overamplified proceedings and wiped out any semblance of 
subtlety in Dylan's famously less-than-enunciated delivery.

In general, the evening was a matter of the rowdier, the better, peaking with "Gotta 
Serve Somebody," a song from Dylan's Christian period that won him a Grammy in 1980. 
Here it got a rollicking gospel treatment that was sufficient to motivate one retiree 
sitting close to the front, who'd clapped her hands and rocked with nothing short of 
ecstasy to all the blues tunes, to bust out the full-on air guitar.

"Goodbye Jimmy Reed" (which, among several fine double entendres, contains the brilliant 
"I can't play the record 'cause my needle got stuck" ) inspired more of the same before 
Dylan, briefly and without ceremony, introduced his band and closed with "Every Grain of 
Sand," disappointingly delivered at his piano-poundingest, robbing the song of its core 
spirituality but bringing the crowd to its feet, which stomped for a time with adoration 
and the vain hope for an encore that would not materialize.

Rome to Brussels, Salt Lake City to Birmingham, Fort Lauderdale to Key West, across the 
Rubicon, for 90 minutes Dylan has come to take you with him if you choose to go.

Note: Many devotees are already aware of the drill, and the venue made it clear in 
emails sent to ticketholders in the days leading up to the show: Dylan now prohibits the 
use of cellphones during his shows and enforces the ban via an outfit called Yondr that 
locks your phone, inventory control-style, in a pouch when you enter, hands it back to 
you, and frees it when you leave (or in an emergency). But not everyone's a devotee, and 
Yondr workers had to do a lot of polite explaining at the door. (Not all of the crew 
members are devotees, either; in an attempt to make conversation, one inquired, "He 
wrote 'Stairway to Heaven,' right?")

Tom Finkel
Miami New Times


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