Athens, Georgia
The Classic Center Theatre

March 14, 2024

[Jeff Bridges], [John Graham]

Review by Jeff Bridges

Last night was a good night if you're a fan of Bob Dylan. It's kind of
like he said to the band "you guys take it easy tonight...I've got this
one". He was energetic and playful as he masterfully plied his craft.
Performance is the word that came to mind... performance art. Bob wore a
black coat and black pants with silver piping, a black and white print
shirt, white shoes and no hat. The band wore dark suits, some sported hats
and some did not. The first handful of songs were business as usual. My
first time hearing the new arrangements and they sure kept my attention.
As the show unfolded Bob took over. He stood for the better part of the
time, wandering out front on several occasions to pose and once to move a
mic stand. When back behind the piano he asked the audience "How did I
do?" Proud to help out wherever he could. Most all the musical solos
during the second half of the show were taken by Bob. His piano was the
driving force. He pulled out the harp twice, and teased on doing it a
third time. His extended harp solo on I'll Be You're Baby Tonight was
quite a treat. Bob gave us all he had... and it was humbling to
experience. He seemed to linger an extra moment as he soaked up the
applause at the end. My eyes teared up a little. We love you Bob. Thank


Review by John Graham

I've seen close to ten shows now on the Rough and Rowdy Ways tour, and the
band just keeps getting and better. It's obvious they've jammed a lot
during sound checks and rehearsals, and really enjoy playing together. I
liked the earlier stage designs with the red background curtains and
Hollywood stage lights that would change colors to change the mood a lot,
but beginning with last fall's US tour, the stage has evolved into just a
very stripped down background and no changing colors, let alone a light
show. There's no pretense here, folks. The focus is on the songs and the
band, as it should be. They must have had some "off" nights, but I've seen
nothing but "on" shows on this tour. In the earlier shows, and even as
recently as Sevilla last year, Bob hardly spoke. Last night he made
multiple comments throughout the show, even laughed briefly in the middle
of one song (maybe he realized he flubbed a line?), and left his piano and
walked up toward the front of the stage several times, and was clearly
having a good time. While the setlist has remained mostly the same,
several songs have been drastically rearranged, and a big surprise came
during "I'll be your baby tonight" when Bob pulled out the harmonica and
didn't just play it, but wailed on it. The audience got on their feet in
applause for a few moments after that. He put the harp in its holder
around his neck a couple of more times, but only played it again on "Every
grain of sand". I wouldn't be surprised if he'll break it out on some
other songs as the tour goes on. I hope that baby grand piano holds up,
because Bob is giving it a real workout. Given the vitality and energy of
this incredible artist at almost 83 years old, as I drove back home this
morning, I thought to myself "He's got another album in him".

John Graham


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