Austin, TX

April 5, 2024

[Sergi Fabregat], [Susan Phillips]

Review by Sergi Fabregat

I was also much closer than expected (the venue, for being 2.500ish
capacity, is such an intimate one on the GA section!) and was 
amazing to see Bob in his shiny hitchcockian green shirt doing SO 
MUCH with his face. I remember him dancing quite madman-like in 
several uptempo songs, like a very expressive 'Masterpiece' and 
the arguably most inventive 'Jimmy Reed' so far!

Several audibly self-commenting moments and even he almost started 
cracking a big laugh in one moment (can't remember exactly when, 
sure recordings will translate that). I answered him a couple of 
questions, the escaping the law one and a "it's not!" when he said 
his cup was running ovvvver. Incredible emotional investment from 
Bob throughout the show, right now I'm a bit torn apart when 
choosing between New Orleans and Austin #1.

There was, as beakerfullofdeath says, what I would consider as a 
scary moment. In the middle of 'Baby Tonight', before the last 
verse came in, something REALLY pissed off Bob. I watched him 
throwing the harmonica on the piano and starting to look to the 
band at his right, so Tony, Doug or Jerry. A couple of quick 
looks, then Bob stopped doing anything at all, he just sat there 
for some seconds and then he drank from his cup while looking at 
where I was standing (not saying at me, just at my zone) for a 
good few seconds, and it gave me shivers. He seemed a bit uneasy, 
at one point I wasn't sure if he was pissed or feeling unwell, 
but something happened. Apart from worrying, I feared that what 
to that point was up there with the very best shows I've been to, 
the most rewarding ones, could go down the gutter. Fortunately, 
he turned back the years in a very one plus one, old testament 
'Version of You', and from there he just overturned all tables.

Here's my twitter recollection of a night for the ages, please 
forgive my initial Springsteenian mistake, my most wishful 
thinking ever:
Bruce Springsteen's 'Across the borderline' that Bob Dylan has 
just sung tonight in Austin might well be the BEST vocals I've 
ever witnessed. Period.
Caruso stuff, each word a crystalized emotion, coming out like a 
beam of pure light, transfigurated.
Can't thank you enough, Bob.

First, thanks to all you've pointed that it's not a Bruce 
original but a Ry Cooder, John Hiatt and Jim Dickinson one.
Got carried away by many years of Springsteen devotion and dreams 
of youth when youth was a thing, so sorry for that bit of fake 
news spread.

That said, the cover was astonishing, I can't imagine Bob's voice 
conveying and expressing more than what he did while singing THAT 
He was raising his whole head to catch the breath he needed to 
reach high notes and volumes I honestly wouldn't have thought he 
could reach.

We all know about Bob's powers of expression and their limitless 
essences but to these ears what he did last night in 'Across the 
Borderline' is historical in terms of pure quality, as if the 
beauty and poetics of the song only could come across through 
singing, yup, like Caruso.

I'm focusing so much on the cover because I can't stop thinking 
at how Big-Bang-like it was, but the whole show was a gem. 
Surprisingly great venue, AMAZING crowd and Bob again mastering 
the first half and then experimenting the rough and righty ways 
on the second part.

Something pissed off Bob A LOT during 'Baby Tonight', so much he 
literally tossed the harp on the piano, stopped working and drank 
from his cup while looking at our area (left stage). Me and others 
encouraged him in case that could help and then he seemed to 
recover the mood.

I think it was during an extremely commited 'Rubicon' that he 
again looked at our zone and it was so nice to see people 
realizing it and waving and fist pumping at him. It's crazy to 
think that he's just a man, but it is what it is! The mood was 
completely back from then onwards.

In 'Key West' it was hypnotic so see Bob conducting the band to 
slow a bit and try some kind of staccato bits at the end, which 
brought such great vocals.
A semi-reggae 'Serve Somebody', a bit à la 'Watchtower' 2018, got 
such a crazy and fine reaction, live life at its best.

'Made Up My Mind' felt such a contrast to 'Across the Borderline', 
as it was fragile, loudly heartfelt. The line "lot of people gone" 
got a proper ovation and cheering, truly twas a rumbling in the 
'Jimmy Reed' was again *new*, to me it sounded like a small jazz 

It moved me SO much when T. Garnier, nodding, eyes closed, at the 
sway of 'Grain of Sand', nodded stronger while big smiling, when 
Bob tingled some piano keys, like "YES MAN, I'M SAYING IT TOO".
I'm following Bob close, just as close as can be, but the guy is 
someone on the run.
I forgot to mention that in 'Big River' he slowed the song during 
his vocals to an almost a capella approach to cut off any attempts 
and sing-alongs (booooo Bob!) and yet when the band kicked in 
during the instrumental breaks it was the funniest and greatest 

Also, I'd like to highlight how the band, specially Tony, were 
looking at Bob during 'Every Grain of Sand'. These guys play with 
him in quite a daily basis, endure him in many ways, yet the 
admiration their eyes showed while looking at Bob was truly moving. 
Tony was nodding all the time and his smile during those brief more 
audible piano notes that Bob played in one moment meant so much, 
don't want to read too much into it but to me it was pure love for 
the music and that old man. The blending of the arrangement and the 
vocals in 'Grain of Sand' in Austin could well be one of the most 
beautiful things of the entire R&RW tour, and pay attention at 
recordings to the harp solo and how Bob kept enlarging one specific 
note many times, it was soul piercing and at the end all the crowd 
could not stand anymore being silent and the explosion of love 
happened right there, right then. On a night like this.


Review by Susan Phillips

4 harmonica gorgeous songs in themselves!!! (not just a few bars at 
the end of a song). Bob Dylan was stronger and happier and engaged 
with the audience at the Friday Austin City Limits concert wrapping 
up his Rough and Rowdy World Wide Tour! Bob performed Ry Cooder's 
Across the Borderline which seemed to catch the band by surprise.
Everyone around me was dancing to the music and cheering him on it 
was beyond applause. He played at least 17 songs and we all kept 
cheering after he left the stage. Look forward to seeing some of 
the upcoming summer concerts with Austin's Willie etc.


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