Reviews

Austin, Texas

Bass Hall

March 16, 2022


[Laurette Maillet], [Susan Phillips], [Peter Hayward]

Review by Laurette Maillet


From San Antonio to Austin. March 16th.
I have a heart brake time leaving San Antonio which I like very much ; nice little 
city with pleasant walks along the river, a peculiar museum, great weather, a 
splendid Majestic theater. And most of all I have difficulty leaving Gabriel who 
had truly been an Angel, giving me his bed and feeding me. Of all my CS hosts 
he had been the most generous.

 But the Tour must go on , Bob Dylan playing Austin next.
I easily walk to the Greyhound station. Travelers are divided into two groups 
going to the final destination Dallas via Austin: the regular Greyhound bus and 
a 'rented'? Bolt bus with an extra driver. I am in the 'Bolt' bus. It takes forever 
to exit San Antonio. The traffic being dense. After 1 hour ride the driver pulls 
on the side on the freeway and inform the 33 passengers that the bus broke 
down. Immediately a wild guy looses his temper. The driver calls the police 
and he is pulled away :( . Few people decide to hitch hike and the rest of 
us....just wait (?).
How long we don't know :(.

After two hours and no infos I decide to join a nice guy to call a UBER ride. 
We are joined by another woman going to Austin. We reach Austin in early 
afternoon. I message my good friend Carol  Wilkinson and Joni who will pick 
me up at the station. Then we wait by the concert hall. I receive a message 
informing me that my Motel room reservation is cancelled. The only time I
had to book a room :( I manage to book another Motel. :)

It adds to the anxiety. I have no ticket for tonight.
By 6.30pm I put my sign out. Some fans have extra tickets for sale, but 
they are way too much expensive. I say hello to my good friend Bob Russel 
and kindly, later, he will direct a ticket seller towards me. Thank you Bob 
Russel. My seat is row E seat 123. I am next to 5 students who are young 
and studying...Bob Dylan career. :). It's the first time I hear about a high 
school study matter on Bob Dylan (specifically). I exchange email with those  
youngsters who must know Bob Dylan more than I do :) . Their teacher 
offered me the ticket. Thank you Tom Palaima.

Right  at 8.00pm Bob and the Band are on. Dressed in black. The Men in 
Black. 'hello! I'm Bob Dylan'  :) The public is polite but reactive. By now 
most of the Fans should know the setlist :). Thanks Bill Pagel.

Until "I've made up my mind to give myself to you" the sound is fine and 
the Band doing well. But suddenly they have difficulty following Bob 
'banging' the piano keys pretty hard. Either the piano is out of tune 
or...Bob out of key :) The piano is dominant and for sure it's not the 
best thing. Bob Dylan is not Lang Lang :) He played harp only on 
"When I paint my masterpiece". Says "thank you" one time (after 
"False prophet" ?). Mumbles something in the mic 3 times (can't figure 
out the words). Presents himself 5 times (one time ...in the dark). 
The public is lighted and Bob pays attention to the fans in front of him. 
"Crossing the Rubicon" is MY highlight. I feel distracted on ' Mother of 
muses '. My mind drifts away :( The public reacts rightfully but not 
over enthusiastic. "Jimmy Reed" is weak and so "Every grain of sand".
His voice is lacking of energy. He mentions somebody (can't figure out 
who) before "thank you friends..." and presenting the Band.

I step out feeling a lot better. The end of the day was making up for 
the beginning. This is life on the road!

Thank you to all the good people: Carol Wilkinson and Joni. Alrick for 
remembering to help me. Bob Russel for his help for a ticket. Tom 
Palaima for the ticket. The nice Bob Dylan career students. Good 
luck on your study! I say thank you and good bye to Jason.

I unfortunately won't make it to Shreveport. Too far, too 
complicated . Sorry Bobby! Won't see you there. Be good!
I will bus to New Orleans. Can't wait to be in that great city.
See you there all good people. Wondering When I'll see my two
good friends from Sydney Australia.
Namaste!

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Comments by Susan Phillips


South by Southwest had begun so who knew who was in the audience. I saw 3
shows from the first leg of the tour in New York City's Beacon Theater,
later the 4 Texas shows in the second leg. Even though the set list rarely
changes, Bob changes it up just enough that every night is different with
a different vibe, and the band brilliantly goes with the flow. Last night
seemed to have a more jazz orientation than the other concerts. While I
waited for the show to start, I looked up the symbolism of skeletons like
the one that is on the posters and tee shirts. Some thought it was about
Covid and the vaccinations, but in early history skeletons were a symbol
of Rebirth and the connection between life and death which the album
touches upon. The Austin concert was fabulous! Later, I mentioned the
audience was the quietest of any concert that I heard about on the tour.
All had sold out audiences and continual standing ovations. I said the
front rows were mostly older people and I was reminded that I am 71. Maybe
watching Dylan, I learned the secret to an ideal life ... remember
everything you can, except that you are old.

Susan Phillips
Austin, Texas and Northern Minnesota

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Comments by Peter Hayward


“Sometimes I feel like my cup is running over… sometimes.”

I think we can all relate to Dylan’s riff on that biblical phrase, which
is how he delivered the line on the 13th in San Antone. At that show, the
extra “sometimes” seemed to be Dylan saying that night wasn’t one of
those sometimes for him as he said it with a gleeful smirk. I can safely
say that my experience tonight in Austin was one of those sometimes….

Not because of Dylan or the show, but because I tripped on some uneven
pavement while returning to my spot the previous night and face-planted
into a tree, resulting in a late night ER visit (and by that I don’t
mean Expecting Rain), multiple lacerations on my face, and three stitches
by my right eyebrow. What perfect timing, only about a third of the way
and two shows into my cross country trip.

My seat for this show was not very good either (Hermann, if you’re
reading this, you didn’t lose out on to much with not being able to make
it to that particular seat). It was in the upper balcony and, likely still
concussed, I felt a bit of vertigo getting to my seat. While I did bring
binoculars, using them actually strained my eyes more and left me with a
raging headache after a bit.

So, for me, it wasn’t nearly as special and I don’t have as much to
say, but Dylan was still sounding very good and people were leaving happy.
The crowd was good. I definitely couldn’t see everything in the front of
the house from up in the balcony, but there didn’t seem to be quite the
audience interaction that had driven the shows in San Antone.

People around me seemed to be really enjoying it! The woman next to me
whispered to the lady with her “look at his fuzzy head, he’s so
cute!” at one point when Dylan walked out from behind the piano. Way up
in the nosebleeds, people were still happy with the show. I think
there’s a lot to be said about the Austin audience’s respect for
music.

A few highlights I do recall were specifically Dylan interacting with
Charley Drayton. Dylan  pointed at Charley a lot, and Drayton had a short
but wild drum solo at the end of, as I recall, Serve Somebody.

It seemed almost like he was syncing up with Charley, rather than how he
normally does with Donnie to cue lead parts. I think he was really trying
to give Charley the stage connection in a way to say to Charley, and the
spectating audience, that Dylan really cares about his chief rhythm driver
and his impeccable musicianship. You might remember, Dylan called Drayton
by the name Sexton the previous night.

The drums and keys sounded really tight and synced up on Dylan’s
rhythmic hits, which was fun to hear and gave the drums a different role
than usually play in the band. Of course, Donnie’s so good he can just
listen and watch Dylan’s hands to get his lead on the instrumentals -
which seemed especially rhythmic and crazy tonight as Dylan was really
playing his drummer.

When Dylan announced Drayton’s name in the introduction, he really said
it precisely and clear.

Personally, it was my least memorable show of my run, but I have clear
bias as I had bad seats and a fresh head wound. The Bass Hall is a fine
auditorium, but I did miss the grandiose of the Majestic.

I took the next day to rest in a hotel room with the lights off and
curtains drawn. There were some moments when I contemplated my future
following the tour, and if I could keep going. I would have to drive all
the way back to Minnesota either way. The hardest part was probably that
my fiancee wasn’t with me, as she stayed back from this trip because of
work. With all the tickets I had, I decided that I had to keep going even
if it meant all my spare time would be resting. I would just be looking
pretty busted for Dylan in Shreveport.

Frankly, I most likely should not have gone to the Austin show and just
rested in my hotel, but you never know what show will be special and I
didn’t want to miss it - plus even though the seat wasn’t good it was
my most expensive ticket!

I decided that if anyone asked me, I’d tell ‘em someone tried to tell
me Dylan couldn’t sing and I did what I had to do.

Peter Hayward is a Minneapolis based Singer/Songwriter and
multi-instrumentalist.

[email protected]
https://peterhayward.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/PeterHaywardMusic

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