Montgomery, Alabama
Montgomery Performing Arts Center

March 21, 2022

[Laurette Maillet], [Bob Russell], [Peter Hayward]

Review by Laurette Maillet

From New Orleans to Montgomery. March 21st.

It was to be an easy plan ; I had a Greyhound bus arriving 3.30pm, a city bus 
going straight to my AirBandB, same bus going downtown to the 
Montgomery PAC. but....
The Greyhound bus leaved New Orleans with two hours delay. As usual 
absolutely no information. Do I have to change bus in Mobile or not?  So I 
start beinge anxious. The bus is packed with passengers going all directions: 
down to Florida or up North. My neighbor goes to Idaho. He will be arriving 
tomorrow in the afternoon sleeping on the bus :( . With no money for 
food or drink. So at the dinner stop I offer him a cup of coffee and a 
sandwich. People have been helping me on the road... it's my turn to play 
the good Samaritan :)

I communicate with my friend Bob Russell who agrees to have my bag in 
his hotel room before the show so I don't have to go back and forth to 
my AirBandB. Good. And he offers me his extra ticket. Great.

I arrive past 6pm and go straight to drop my bag at Bob Russell's then 
we walk to the venue: the Montgomery PAC. It doesn't look nothing
like the Majestic or the Saenger. Just a plain theater. In an empty 
neighborhood. Close to the Hank Williams museum.

Our seats are on the floor but the second section after an alley where 
the handicapped people stand. Right in front the piano but far, behind 
the sound board. 

The show starts at 8pm. The theater is not full, some seats are empty 
here and there, and some patrons will be leaving before the end. Too 
bad because the sound tonight is perfect and Bob is doing great, over 
there, behind the piano. He will move center stage maybe three times 
but no more. The public is not reactive. I might be the only one 
wiggling on my seat :) The few first rows are lighted. Bob can see the 
front Fans.

A sound adjustment is necessary after "Watching the river flow" and 
then Bobby's voice is crystal clear.
"False prophet" is powerful. So is "Black rider".
A fantastic "Crossing the Rubicon".
Bob seems to be in a hurry shuffling his paper lyrics frenetically. Says 
"thank you" after "False prophet" and nothing more until the
introduction of the Band.
Bob Russell asks me to focus on "Mother of muses"and... I do. 
Alright! my conclusion? A mix of "Chimes of freedom"and "Ring them 
bells". But with an homage to the heroes of war and not Peace, 
except Martin Luther King. Can hear the bells ringing when Charley 
Dayton uses some pearls nakelace on his drums :)
" Mother of Muses, wherever you are
I've already outlived my life by far "
Calling for Mother of Death?
I might like it after all :)
My favorite will always be "Chimes of freedom".

Maybe on the second half of the show Bob loses his energy (?)  
though The Band is rocking on "Serve somebody".
I'm wondering what Bob had been doing in New Orleans. 
Partying all night ?? :) :) Following the Parades? :)
I enjoyed myself having Bob Russell to share with. And we share 
until... 1 am.

Finally I will "dump" Greyhound for my next trip and accept a car 
ride. I can't wait to be in Nashville, a city I really like. I'm happy 
that my good friend from Paris, Simon, arrived safely in the 
States. Tomorrow birthday.

If I had a request I would ask Bobby to play...
"Shooting Star".
 "Chimes of freedom" would be a must.
One can dream ! :)


Review by Bob Russell

“Well you can tell ev’rybody
Down in ol’ Frisco
Tell ’em all
Montgomery says hello”
Bob Dylan - Tiny Montgomery (1967)

First, I will tell you, I am now extending my tour journey by two shows
beyond Nashville, adding Savannah and Charleston to the itinerary, before
making a run up the coast back to Connecticut. I am having a great time
and cannot bear to see it end! I feel a bit like General Sherman rampaging
through the US South, just without all the burning and pillaging. 

Same setlist tonight, another excellent concert! This was Dylan concert
135 for me…

Random notes: 
• The Montgomery Performing Arts Center is not as impressive as some of
the theaters I’ve seen in the last ten days, but was a perfect place to
see and hear Bob Dylan. The acoustics were magnificent, and we even
congratulated Jason, the soundboard man for his good job. The crowd was
rather dead, however, and a bit disappointing. Sight lines were great from
the beginning of what they call a Mezzanine, more like a grassy knoll.
Again I was sitting with Laurette. • Montgomery itself is a city of
contradictions, with the awful specter of the state capital, site of the
inauguration of the first Confederate President Jefferson Davis, but also
the memories of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King. There are nice
buildings and interesting sights, but also high poverty. I did enjoy the
two visits I’ve had here. Get the Dreamland BBQ! • I had to go to a
shopping mall for the first time in three years to refresh my attire. They
were STILL playing Toto’s “Africa!” • Some band observations:
People, when Donnie plays standing, but not fiddling, that is an electric
mandolin he is playing. I have seen it misdescribed as a guitar. As far as
guitarist Bob Britt, has there EVER been another Gibson Flying V guitar on
Bob Dylan’s stage. • More song closeups: o   My Own Version of
You. As strange and wonderful a song as is in Bob’s current repertoire,
this song begins with lyrics begging for laughter, much as is heard in the
1965 Hollywood Bowl version of Desolation Row (I know at least one of you
was there!) But soon it becomes darker: “See the raw hide lash rip the
skin from their backs.”  An odd song, but a powerful one. o 9) Crossing
the Rubicon. Added by Dylan after not being played last fall. Very welcome
and strong. It has a dark and ominous overtones. Remember, when Caesar
crossed the Rubicon, the notable thing was not that he was returning from
victory, it was that he was going into a risky, dangerous situation, a
point of no return. Dylan sings like he is that man. o 10) To Be Alone
With You. A joyful rocker again. Ah, to be alone with you!

Leaving today for the Guitar Town, Nashville, and the historic Ryman
Auditorium. More Notes from the Underground from there!


Review by Peter Hayward

I was actually in Montgomery this past summer, passing through on another
road trip. Aside from some specific enclaves, there are a lot of people
that aren’t doing too well in well in the city as a whole. Downtown
along the river is nice and well kept, but it’s fairly small and if you
drive down the road just a little ways the historical segregation becomes
clear quickly.

As I entered the theater, I saw a crowd that looked similar to Shreveport,
but seemed a lot more enthused.

When I passed through the metal detectors, one of the venues security
guards was expressing shock over Dylan’s strict policies.

Finding my seat, I saw another local venue security staff whose job was to
monitor that side of the stage, and he was talking to my section of the
audience. He was probably late thirties, heavy built, and chatting up the
people with a great deal of excitement. He seemed to be retelling the
schtick that he was given, “don’t expect any pictures or autographs or
meet-n-greets. He’s gonna start right at eight, and has a show tomorrow
so he’s getting right on his bus and getting out of here.”

I think it actually helped get my section excited, as most people seemed
to be older folks who hadn’t kept up with Dylan in years and his warm
southern charm conveyed a good amount of understanding to what people
often think are colder aspects of a Dylan show.

He seemed to be very interested and impressed with Dylan’s touring
regimen, which was the same for a lot of people I heard in the crowd.
Before taking my seat, a guy behind me, who had looked up the setlist and
familiarized himself with it, said “whatever he does, it’s worth it
just to breath the same air as Dylan, if you can afford the ticket.”

The people to my right, a guy in his 40’s and an older guy in his 50’s
or 60’s, were also in New Orleans for the Dylan show and had come up
together to see this show too! We chatted for a minute, and they were very
engaged the whole concert.

Dylan started and, while it’s the same show he’s played since his
first show this spring, found moments of newness and really delivered a
consistent show to the enticed crowd.

The two openers were strong, and seem to have gotten stronger as the tour
has continued.

Continuing his new tradition, Dylan gave us some new lines during Most
Likely You Go Your Way:

“You say you’re leaving, always grieving, you know how much you say
This ain’t over, think it over, you know how to get it anyway”

I love Dylan’s piano solo’s on the end of some of the softer songs. He
gave us an especially rhythmic ending to I Contain Multitudes, leading the
band with his piano to close the number. The song is also perfectly
placed. Soft, yet still has a tempo. It’s new material, but Dylan sings
it so clear that it really draws in the audience. And how on point is the
chorus line?

Dylan played some exquisite, melodically inspired, harmonica on When I
Paint My Masterpiece. I haven’t seen him blow on the harp like has on
this tour in years. He also seemed to be adding most of the musical
“interludes” between songs, which is generally just the band noodling
in the new key to fills space and serve as a transition. Dylan’s piano
really helped blend the songs together.

Given that it was an older crowd, most people seemed to be excited and
having a good time.

Southern courtesy was a blessing tonight. While it was a mostly older
white crowd, similar to Shreveport, the audience in Montgomery was much
more respectful of the performance. There was hardly any chatter on Black
Rider, which has been a constant with the talkative crowds. Dylan seemed
to really capture the crowd with that song, which it should. His vocal
delivery was stunning, clear, and painfully honest.

Dylan sang “I don’t want to fight” and then, as if exhausted of all
hope, “at least not today.”

Dylan gave a laugh as he sang, “some enchanted evening, I’ll sing you
a song,” which seemed to be in response to my fist pumping to that line
- I love his take on Some Enchanted Evening from Shadows In The Night.

Black Rider received it’s deserved attention and applause in Montgomery.

Ever since they made the mistake in Shreveport and consequently nailed it
in New Orleans, Dylan has really gotten into the break-down in I’ll Be
Your Baby. Tonight he sang, “we gonna let it, you won’t regret it”
then a big “aaaaaah” before he sang, “kick your shoes off, ahaa,
have no fear.” It sounded like he was having a hoot.

I always pump my fists when Dylan sings, “I’m saying to hell with all
things that used to be,”  in My Own Version Of You and tonight I could
see and hear him enjoy that reaction. It’s the same idea as his rewrites
in Rubicon: the early days are gone - here’s what’s happening now.

He said into the mic, “ah, thank you,” after the song finished, as
people were clearly into it.

The same can be said for Crossing The Rubicon tonight as for Black Rider;
the respectful crowd gave Dylan the space he needed to absolutely enchant
these songs.

The band did not get nearly as heavy on the verses they had in the
previous nights. The electric guitar was not nearly as loud. They didn’t
need it. There was no crowd to fight.

Dynamically, Rubicon was able to start as the stripped down, spacious
blues that this arrangement creates, and then slowly, organically, build
with Dylan’s delivery until it explodes on the final verse.

After Dylan sang the line, “whose come with me this far,” on the last,
climactic verse Donnie let out a long sliding swell that really lifted up
the line, propelling it into the bleakness of, “the killing frost is on
the ground.”

When I first heard the title Crossing The Rubicon way back in 2020 when
Rough and Rowdy ways was first announced, I actually imagined a dark,
ethereal bluesy ballad akin to his 2019 arrangement of Not Dark yet. I
didn’t listen to any tapes before seeing my first show this spring, so I
was pleasantly surprised to hear that he had morphed it into the same
musical vein that I heard in my head.

Donnie Herron’s fiddle on To Be Alone With You was particularly melodic
and beautiful. Maybe, given the Hank Williams history of the area, Dylan
gave him the note to really play out rather than follow his lead for that
one. Either way, it was some fine fiddling.

After Gotta Serve Somebody, the older guy to my right stood up with me
during applause and gave me a fist bump because of how much it brought the
house down. I had been really rocking out in my seat - the seat to my
right was empty, so I was able to move over to give us some extra room -
so he knew saw how much I was feeling it and was feeling it too!

Dylan brought it down with that one tonight. He normally does. It’s a
hot arrangement. Dylan especially seemed to get into the, “you might be
hallucinating,” verse, but really hit all of them right on the nose. His
piano solo’s on this one were also particularly great. It sounded like
he was going for some complex and long runs, which he pulled off

On I Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You, Dylan really brought out the
word “real” on, “a love so real,” with the band stopping for a
beat after he sang, “a love so true.” The same thing happened on, “a
lot of people gone, a lot of people I knew,” which really brought out
the intimacy and sentimentality of those moments. Pauses like that happen
naturally in the song at the end of the bridge sections (i.e. “lay down
beside you when everyone’s gone”) but I love when they add it in the
verses and it seems to happen on different verses each night.

Mother Of Muses didn’t quite get the cheer on the Martin Luther King
line as it did at other places. It could be that this audience was more
quiet and tame, or it could be the references to the Union generals or the
unfortunate and continued history of segregation in that area of the
south. Nevertheless, the crowd really gave Dylan the room to fully perform
the song.

I felt ever so lucky that the seat to my left, on the end of the row, was
empty and that there was an aisle right behind my far left third row seat
because that meant I wasn’t in anyones way and could get up and dance
during Goodbye Jimmy Reed.

Dylan said, “thank you, thanks everybody,” with real sincerity. There
was no local shout out, but it didn’t seem like it needed it here.

I swear Dylan sang half this show to me. Sure, it might have just been my
mind playing tricks on  me; however, I was rocking out in my seat, amongst
a mostly still crowd, and reacting to his new material which most people
at the show did not know, so it’s probably not far from the truth. I
don’t specifically try to draw attention to myself, but I like to groove
out to live music (especially if I have the space) and as a musician
myself I know that performers often look for audience participation and

Like I said in the San Antone review, the house lights are up and it’s
very easy to see the entire audience from his place on the stage. Some
songs Dylan is in shadows, sometimes he’s lit. The audience is very
visible the whole show, and Dylan has his eyes on you so you better watch

Onward to my final stop, Music City.

Peter Hayward is a Minneapolis based Singer/Songwriter and


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