Osaka Festival Hall
April 7, 2023
Review by Masaki Minonishi
After the cancellation of the 2020 Japan tour, things really have changed.
There was the global pandemic and everything including live music stopped.
And during that time we got "Rough and Rowdy Ways" and we got
"Shadow Kingdom" instead of live Bob Dylan shows. And after Bob's
back on the road, the so called "Never ending tour" officially became
"Rough And Rowdy Ways world wide tour" and the show itself changed
since the band changed and the set list changed drastically too. And after
three long years of waiting we finally get to experience the Rough And
Rowdy Ways version of Bob Dylan in Japan. Tonight is the second night of
the Japan tour, and my first show since 2019. Although Bob has played here
in the past, this is the first time I came to tonight's venue, the
Festival Hall in Osaka. It was a beautiful theater with nice red seats
that match the back drop of the stage. As soon as the show started it
was clear that Bob's in a great form, with his vocals clear and strong.
He stayed behind the baby grand piano which was set at the center of the
stage, and occasionally stood up while he played. He thanked the audience
like three times, and came out to the center of the stage and looked at
the audience after "Crossing The Rubicon", so it seamed he was in a
good mood too. He also joked (I thought it was a joke, or was it not?)
when introducing Doug Lancio that "You have heard Doug on lots of
records. He played with the Boss, he played with the Rocket man, and he
played with Macca" or something like that. The set list was the same as
last fall, but there were some changes in the arrangements, maybe partly
because of the replacement of the drummer. And maybe because of that, I
had a impression like Bob's still figuring out the right way to sing
with those arrangements, and searching for the right rhythm for the songs
while he's playing the piano. It was a fine show but I had a feeling it
will get way better as the tour evolves.
My personal highlights of tonight were,
Black Rider - Definitely the highlight of the show for me tonight. This
one became like a very dark ballad, creepier than the original version but
beautiful at the same time.
My Own Version Of You - This one was also creepy, and during the latter
part of the song Bob spat out the words fiercely as if he wants to tear
the song apart in pieces.
Crossing The Rubicon - This one was great too. Not as great as some
recordings I heard from last fall, which I felt had some jazz kind of
feelings, but it was great all the same. Bob seemed to be satisfied too,
since he came out to the center of the stage after the song as if to check
the reaction of the audience.
I've Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You - This one was mellow and
beautiful. He stretched the words as he sang. And he sang the line "I
traveled the long road of despair, I met no other traveler there" like
he meant it, I mean REALLY meant it.
And I mustn't forget that meeting all the fans from the world after the
show was a highlight too.
Review By D. and Mademoiselle Lili with Nellie as a little helper
Another Superb show. We had better seats, and yes, it is a Baby Grand
You can always judge a show by how many THANK YOU's you get - Tonight we
got 3 Thank you's and 1 "Thank You Art lovers".
No musical introduction to "River flow" straight into the lyrics with
The new "Multitudes" is amazing and we received the first Thank you after
The introduction to "Master Piece" was stunning, with Bob playing with
timing and phrasing. You can tell he was having fun. In fact he seems
really at ease and energized, standing all night with brief seating
moments between songs when he would "fluff" with his hair.
On the first night, "own version" was a bit disjointed toward the end as
they tried out a new arrangement, but tonight was so much better and Bob
seems to enjoy it more. We are sure that tomorrow will be perfect. In the
same song, he left us hanging for what seemed like an eternity before
telling us... "you know exactly what I mean". As the song was about to
end, he nodded to Tony, sat down and let them finish the song beautifully.
He moved center stage after "Rubicon". For those who care, it was a black
suit, white unbuttoned shirt, white stripes on the side of his pants.
Again the white hat came out only at the end of the show.
Lots of laughing with Donnie after "to be alone with you".
Another thank you after "Key west", he then enthusiastically introduced
the band earlier than usual, comenting on Doug Lancio playing on Hit
records by the Boss and Rocket man (and few others that we can't recall).
Straight after, he sat down and started singing "Serve somebody" acapella.
Another great evening, can't wait till the next show which starts at 5pm,
maybe "Coronation Street" is on TV ?
Dēto shimasen ka
Review By Sonny Boy McFitzson
Everybody I talked to said
Osaka 2 was the best among the 3 show.
His Band sounded more tight and sharp and sobering tonight than
Osaka 1. I understand the reason.
Many people (not all) gave warm clappings after verse 1 of each song
as if to say “We're happy just to hear it”.
And what is more, His prohibition of mobiles worked right.
People got back how to enjoy the show as it should be;
being amused by music Muses created.
Mobiles in the crowd seem antics to it.
Bob was changing small things.
Osaka shows might have been rehearsals.
You Go Your Way:
Bob started singing in rubato without the intro riffs.
"Sometimes it gets so hard to please" took place in verse 1.
Verse 2 was totally renewed but I failed to grab the words.
Pentecost did just soft fill-ins on the snare
just like the ones in 2022.
The last "That old/ black magic/ called love!"
was as perfect as the record version.
It was the most beautiful moment during the show.
I heard Bob looked pooped out on Jimy Reed and Every Grain
but I didn't notice it.
No harmonica tonight.
#DylanOsaka is my own hashtag on twitter.
Sonny Boy McFitzson
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