New Orleans, Louisiana
Saenger Theatre

March 19, 2022

[Laurette Maillet], [Peter Hayward]

Review by Laurette Maillet

New Orleans March 18th
I skipped the Shreveport show for logistic reasons.
I booked a ' Flixbus ' ride from Austin to New Orleans. For some unknown reason
the first driver never told the passengers we had to change bus in Houston. 
The second bus driver could speak only... Spanish :)
On the top of all my mobile phone didn't work anymore: no phone call, no SMS, 
no Internet connection. No WIFI on the bus :(
Somehow I manage to contact my Couchsurfing host, Tayler,  who will pick me 
up near the Amtrak station.
We walk home through the French Quarter but at that time of the day, around 
11pm, it's noisy and dark! Saint Patrick's parade just finished.
The home is fine and I have my couch :) and two friendly cats.
After 10 hours riding on a bus, I crash and sleep sound.
Tayler is a tourist guide for Street Art so next day, on Friday, he takes me and 
few others on a tour. Murals are all over, describing life in New Orleans : music, 
fun, but also catastrophes caused by the hurricanes. The city is still recovering 
and probably will never be the same. Probably Bob Dylan house had been fixed 
first! :)

New Orleans March 19th.
I will go for breakfast to "Le café du Monde". The fist time I was in New 
Orleans (1981) that was a must. I found what they call "beignets" which are 
in fact "bottereaux". Those kind of pastries my grand-ma used to make for 
Easter, after the Easter fast. One of my best childhood memories. But 
"Le Café du Monde" is now packed. I face a long queue and a list of 
costumers. It's not fun anymore. I buy my 'bottereaux' in a smaller café and 
they are outrageously expensive :(
I escape the crowd and walk along the river. Catch a ferry to cross the 
Mississippi and back for 4$:). 

Stroll in French quarter.
 I listen to a guitar player (a lot better than Bob!).
I chat with some of the Artists around the Jackson Square. I am not sure 
how popular they are. The Tourists are packed in the... restaurants (which 
I avoid with pleasure :) )
I end up in ARMSTRONG park and a parade is on the way. Looks an 
authentic one; with a Band and dancers. All Afro-Americans. I join the 
dance and without knowing it takes me back to where I stay. So I rest 
home for two hours.

Time to refocus on Bob Dylan show. My good friends Dave and Kim are in 
town. I believe more Bobcats too. 
My good friend Bob Russel has a ticket for me. So no worry. A Band 
of youngsters, playing music, also need free entrance. The show is Sold 
out tonight. Tickets are sparse. I'm sorry for those kids! 
Bobby Dylan do something for those poo'souls! 

Well! I am in with Bob Russel. On the balcony.
The theater looks pretty much like the one in San Antonio, same 
architecture:Greco-Roman? The dark blue sky full of stars. 
8pm Bob is on, wearing is striped pants with embroidery.
The sound is loud. Much more than the other shows.
Bobby being his self. I'm happy to be next to Bob Russel. He's 
obviously enjoying the show, particularly "Mother of  muses" :) my 
least favorite :). 
Bob moves center few times. Twice in the total darkness, no light 
on him! 

Presenting the Band he mentions "Dough Lancio on a guitar, a Gybson 
guitar" then turning around "oh no! I made a mistake". Bob Russel told 
me it was a Fender. 
Dylan's confusion Tour! :) 
Then presenting Donnie : "Donnie Heron on steel guitar, he can play the 
violin too".
Next time he'll mention the mandolin :)
The show was of course fantastic for all the Bobcats. For me a bit loud. 
His piano performance on " Mother of muses"could need some work. 
I swing on :
- "When I paint my Masterpiece" 
Maybe I understood
"Everything gonna be like a RAPSODY when I paint my Masterpiece"
which sounds pretty good to my ears :)
-"I'll be your baby tonight" 
- "To be alone with you".
Ragtime New Orleans tempos, right in the spirit of the day!

My friends Dave and Kim told me there was a confusing time after the 
show when the security opens the doors on the side of the Dylan bus 
right after the show.
Bob could not get away without bumping into the crowd rushing out 
so ... He was not getting out. How did he manage to escape .... ? 
mystery! Anybody saw him disguised into a Ghost?
Maybe he used a VOODOO trick :)

Well! New Orleans is a place to be if you're looking for dancing party.
Thanks to all the good people.


Review by Peter Hayward

I was extremely excited for this show. It was my first time in New
Orleans, a city essential to so many things American, especially music.
Blues was one of my first loves and jazz a close second. Being someone who
came into Dylan as a kid in the early 21st century, I always loved his
modern records, such as Love & Theft, and their connection with that
music. Those works function as a sort of portal between the present and
the past in sound and space. I think Rough and Rowdy Ways has that same

Blues and jazz famously fought against the natural flow of the
Mississippi, traveling upstream to Memphis, St. Louis, Chicago, and

I always say that while it started in the Delta, the blues eventually hit
the banks at the headwaters of that great river, all the way up in
Minnesota, not far from where Dylan is from.

Having travelled a good bit of America, I know that historical places like
New Orleans have mostly been transformed into tourist traps by diverted
funds from the local government, so I didn’t expect it to be like the
old days. I have friends who went to school and still live there.

Still, walking the French Quarter was a memorable experience with the
little extra time I had. Even with the tourism, it still feels like a
place you could revisit and appreciate with all the history. Sure, there
are problems, but hard times are everywhere. There seem to be more
opportunities for local artists and musicians than a good deal of other
places in the country, especially being the destination hot spot it is.
Filled with a rich history of culture, while still constantly evolving it.

The Saenger was an amazing theater. Similar to the Majestic in San Antone
in terms of aesthetic, but it was built on a grander scale. I stayed with
my friend who lives in town and was able to get her a ticket to the show.
I would have spent more on hotel rooms for those two nights. She’s not a
Dylan fan at all really, but was excited to see him given his legend
status, her words not mine.

The show was excellent, and the stage was not very deep which made it so
my third row ticket probably the closest I’ve been to Dylan and the

Just like the previous night, Dylan played around with the verses in Most
Likely You Go Your Way. He started with the “sometimes you lie” lyric
and rhymed it with “you say you told me you want to hold me, but you
don’t always try to, try to say goodbye.”

The next verse turned into:

“You say you’re leaving, always grieving, but you know how hard you
say goodbye”

I’ll tell yah, how they never failed yah, you know sometimes you try”

I about lost it - sure, he used “goodbye” twice, but it’s
improvisation and the sentiment works so well.

It’s amazing that he’s decided to use this song for live
experimentation. Another thing I realized is that Dylan seems to be only
using the lyric book on Rough and Rowdy Ways songs. He only ever mixes
verses around in the other songs. I think it’s a way for him to test
himself, his memory, and his improvisation skills, while just using the
lyric book as a guide for the new songs.

Dylan was really howling tonight. He was embracing his growl more
frequently than other nights, but to a powerful effect that retained
it’s clarity. False Prophet was quite energetic. Dylan was laughing on
multiple lines, “you know darling, the kind of live I live, haha,”
with the band hitting in sync for a beat right after he sang “somethings
gotta give” leaving a brief and dramatic pause in the music. Dylan took
one of solo’s, the new one that Britt usually takes, and hit the tremolo
with perfect rhythm.

The crowd was pretty rowdy tonight. The Shreveport crowd was by far worse
in terms of disruption, but there was still a lot of talking and people
yelling strange things at strange times.

Sound was excellent at the Saenger and the band really delivered. New
Orleans draws a lot of different people from different places for
different reasons, so it's expected to have a varied crowd. I think he
sounded amazing none the less and was having as much fun as in San
Antonio, even if the crowd was not as focused.

Sadly, the talking is always apparent on Black Rider, the first of the
numbers in the set which are dynamically exposed. They play ‘em real
quiet and you can always hear people chatter.

I Contain Multitudes does start soft, but does pick up a bit in the live
arrangement. Black Rider is all stripped down and bare.

In Shreveport, Dylan sang “we’re gonna forget it” during a very
messy ending to I’ll Be Your Baby, but he and the band surely did not
forget the chaotic moment of the previous evening.

This song absolutely brought the house down in New Orleans. The whole band
was tight and focused. Whatever happened the previous night had been
patched up in rehearsals that day because when they hit the break down on
the “mocking bird” section it was the best I’ve ever heard it sound,
hands down.

Charley Drayton was in clear control of the rhythm and laid it down heavy
as hail so there was no mistaking where the band needed to land. It was a
triumphant moment with everyone on stage smiling. Dylan really delivered
his vocal here, clearly feeling the presence the band was putting into the
song to make up for the last night.

My Own Version Of You doesn’t ever cease to deliver. We got another
“sure” from Dylan. It was “sure.” I don’t know what it was in
reference to, there was no scream at that moment that I could hear. I
think he was just having fun. He really dug into it, especially after

You could only hear less talking on Rubicon because it has a beat, to
carry those who easily lose interest, and it’s a little louder out of
the gate than the other stripped down songs. A slight variation in the
rewritten version he’s been using since San Antonio. He sang “whatever
needs to be said” instead of “what more need’s to be said” and
then an embellished “ten, twenty, maybe twenty years since I’ve been
gone.” An incredible verse.

I also love when Dylan sings “and the early days are gone.” I cheered
or pumped my fist every time he sang that line, and every time he smiled
in acknowledgement.

So many people don’t know his new stuff and just want the hits. He’s
really performing for the people who are excited about what he is doing
now. He also gave a nice laugh while leaning away from the mic on the last
line of “To Be Alone With You.”

While it wasn’t as bad as the guy asking for requests in Shreveport,
which bugged Dylan, there was a guy right behind me yelling things like
"MEMPHIS" and other random stuff in a big deep booming voice.... Maybe he
was asking for Stuck Inside of Mobile? I don’t know. He was yelling some
other crap too, and talking constantly with his friend.

I Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You is a touching number at every
concert. Tonight, the band hit a minor chord, instead of the regular major
chord, right before Dylan sang one of the most intimate lines of the song.

It was perfectly executed, skillfully done. Dylan laid out a few notes on
his piano as a cue, then, catching it, Donnie Herron let his steel guitar
ring out with the full minor chord before letting the chord glissando up,
as if imitating Dylan’s vocals on the song, to just barely hit the major
note again right as Dylan sang, “a lotta people I knew.” The effect
was heartbreaking.

Gotta Serve Somebody was met with a lot of energy tonight. How can you not
with the current arrangement.

Thankfully, people quieted down at least a bit during Mother of Muses. I
gave a look to the guys behind me talking which worked for the duration of
that song. It was a great moment that really captured peoples attention
and generated great applause.

Goodbye Jimmy Reed continues as a great rocking close to the main set,
with the great chorus lines leaving the perfect space, and reason, for
whoops and hollers from the crowd. I think that song really is the climax,
where Every Grain Of Sand is the sort of epilogue to the show. A lovely,
honest way to leave the audience hanging on every last moment of the
concert. Every show is numbered.

It was a phenomenal show in a great theater in one of the most historic
places in America, featuring a quintessential American artist.

Peter Hayward is a Minneapolis based Singer/Songwriter and


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