Fayetteville, North Carolina
Crown Complex
Crown Theatre

March 18, 2024

[Jeffrey Speer]

Review by Jeffrey Speer

Invited my youngest daughter (she's 22) to her first Bob-Ness show tonight 
in Fayetteville, about 75 miles south of our home in Chapel Hill. She was 
thrilled to join me and we had such a great evening being together in the 
presence of greatness. Much respect to Bob for his return to the South this 
spring, and I am grateful that he still wants to please his fans after all 
the years and miles... long may you run Bobby Z!

Standard, well-worn concert hall build in 1967 as part of the larger "Crown 
Complex" sharing the grounds with an Expo Center and Ballroom in this primary 
military town. Easy ride from Chapel Hill and zero issues parking or getting 
into the venue in short order. My last-minute Stubhub purchase had us in the 
center orchestra section almost in the back, but on the aisle. Luckily, there 
was minimal fuss letting people pass during the performance. More on that in 
a minute.

We were under the balcony overhang and I feel like that provided a 
fuller sound. This go-around on the mostly same songs I saw in 2022 did not 
allow for much - if any - soloing from the accompanying musicians and the 
arrangements were somewhat stark compared to when I saw him last in Charlotte 
(with my oldest daughter in tow for HER first Bob show!). Bob was much more 
prominent in the mix on his piano this time so that was probably the desired 
affect this tour. Bob also played a robust harmonica a few times, much to 
delight of his patrons. He was also much more "visible" than the last show I 
saw in 2022 - standing on many songs and making a few attempts to acknowledge 
the crowd's hardy applause between songs.

As is well-noted by now, pretty much every tune has a new arrangement this 
tour... I was hoping to see the pace pick up on at least Gotta Serve Somebody 
but alas, Bob seems to want to keep the reins on the sound pretty tight, and 
I didn't ever really feel the band reach a gallop and soar.. but it was all 
poignant and lovely and Bob is still banging away so there's that :-)

One interesting note on the audience... I cannot remember a time I've gone to 
ANY seated concert where there were as many people walking up and down and 
through the aisle during the show. I was incredulous that on virtually EVERY 
song, there were at least 5-10 people getting up, scooting down their row and 
up and down the aisle throughout the entire floor. It became so distracting, 
not to mention getting blocked by people in the rows in front of us. It even 
became comical about an hour into the performance when my daughter and I just 
looked at each other like "WTF is happening with all these people moving 
around!?" Luckily, I only needed to stand up for people leaving my row one 
time, and they didn't return. Otherwise, the crowd was somewhat ROUGH and 
ROWDY with some close-talking, whistles, and folks attempting to clap along 
as the band played, painfully.


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