Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Civic Center Music Hall
April 14, 2022
Review by Barry McCollom
I followed Bob Dylan for his final four shows last week across the South
into "Indian territory" from Beale Steet to the Trail of Tears down
through Route 66. I also saw him in Irving and at the Municipal Auditorium
in Shreveport where Bob said "We could still feel Elvis...the REAL Elvis
that is! Punctuated with a quick Bobby smile. First an observation on the
venues. Twice I sat in the middle orchestra section directly in front of
Bob at the piano about ten rows back and the sound mix was better for me.
Twice I sat in lower balcony seats again about ten rows back and the
slight angle looking down was enjoyable. Twice I used compact binoculars
and watching Dylan's facial expressions adds an element to the experience.
When Bob moved from behind the piano his steps were tentative. He seemed
like a little old man. His voice was VERY strong seeming to defy the
years. As the show goes on and he gets into the flow he invariably begins
to look like images that are built up in my memory from all the photos
over the years. In Irving his hair seemed very gray over the ears but at
other shows his hair looked kind of like that 1964 period. When backlit
from the side it looked like the Greatest Hits album cover. Bobby Dylan!
Forever young! While travelling through our "lost land" I was struck how
we are living through a national version of "The Lonesome Death of Hattie
Carroll." Modern America is filled with the William Zanzingers (Donald
Trump Jr. and others) who own the tobacco farm with 600 acres and react to
their deeds with the shrug of their shoulders. High office relations yada
yada and a great majority who "clean up from the table and take out the
garbage on a whole other level." All of our American cities have swaths of
poverty and neglect where the "pellets of poison are flooding their waters
and the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison." I am just
saying. About the songs. There is
a mental health club with a saying "that our stories disclose in a general
way what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now." Bob Dylan's
songs, especially the Rough and Rowdy Ways songs, do the same thing!
From I Contain Multitudes through I've Made Up My Mind into Mother of
Muses, Dylan is pretty much putting it all out there. He wraps it all up
with Every Grain of sand which could have been his coda forty years ago.
I watched Dylan's
bus pull away from OK City just before ten on Thursday. I drove home to
Dallas the next day exhausted and like the rider in Isis "I felt satisfied
as I rode on ahead." If they drove all night Bob probably got home around
five on Friday about the time I was laying down for a nap. Rest well my
friend from OUR journeys! You deserve it!
Review by Laurette Maillet
Oklahoma city April 14.
Though I have a Greyhound ticket Stephanie decides to drive me there
to Oklahoma city.
We arrive early to check the venue.
There is construction everywhere and the preparation of an Art exhibit.
So the area is a little bit chaotic.
I have booked a room in some sort of Ashram but it appears to be a
bad joke. So Stephanie and I book a room in a fancy hotel close to the
Corky will join us later and we all go for dinner, though I am not in a
mood for food. I am worried about my seat for that last show of the
tour. Corky walks back to the hotel to take a bath while Stephanie
and I walk to the venue. Corky is late and I start to panic as he was
not able to transfer the ticket he had bought for me.
He will arrive 40 minutes before show time when we realize the seat
is all the way on the top. The worst seat ever. And the clock is ticking.
Corky will buy two other tickets and this time 7th row all the way on
the left aisle. Stephanie will join me. I ask the usher if it's alright to
stand and dance and he says fine.
We will be dancing and clapping the entire show.
Bob is alright but frankly I believe he is tired and his energy is fading
Even "Serve somebody" is not as strong as it could be.
Nothing special for that last show of that Tour.
The public didn't realize it was a last show before a while.
I say thank you and goodbye to Chris and Jason.
And we retrieve to our hotel.
That Tour was fine for me. It went a lot better than I expected.
My reviews and my paintings were appreciated. And I had a lot of
friends helping me on the road.
So thank you to all the good people.
Thank you Bobby and the Band and the crew people.
See you sometime, somewhere.
Review by Steve Saunders
At the risk of contrarianism, I'll sum up the OK City, as well as my
experience at the Phoenix show in one word: Dull. Prior to PHX I'd
listened to RARW a few times, but not to the point of memorization as
usually happens, and found the album compelling, but not EXCITING like in
the "Time Out of Mind, Love and Theft, or Modern Times" vein. After PHX, I
put it on me for not doing my homework and really doing the discovery on
what I knew I was about to hear. So I went back and put in the time on
the lyrics, and flew in for the last show on this leg of the
NeverEndingTour. Long may it run! Still, it just didn't do it for me.
The lighting is mysterious and interesting, yes, but not functional.
It's too damn dark! The sound was ridiculously poor for the first song
and a half, and those are not throw-away songs or warmups. They are
classics that deserve better, as does the crowd. Bob will be Bob, as we
know and love, so the distance and ambivalence toward his audience he
portrays is accepted and, in a way, even admired. He's always been about
his art; not his fans, so I get that part of him and I've defended him to
critics for over 45 years now. But the angle of the piano is ridiculous,
I'm sorry. The songs are vey lyrical and deep, but not in a catchy way
with choruses to go back to and reset the experience of the next verse.
In short, they are great but do not constitute a great concert...even with
his voice so strong and committed, the experience becomes droning and
mentally draining (to me, obviously). The band is, of course, fantastic
as always, but does seem hamstrung by the subdued vibe they're going for,
and is only allowed to unleash their formidable talents a few times during
the ninety minute set. I love Bob. I've loved him since '76 when Blood
on the Tracks came through my speakers and immediately sent me into
research mode so I could catch up with what'd he'd already done and
setting expectations for what the future would hold. Positively Fourth
Street became the theme song for this high school outcast. I respected
his courage to move away from the fawning "folk purists" to pursue his
rock and roll dreams; accepting the boos and Judas cries with defiant
courage. Then when people caught up to him, he does the Christian
conversion and my while my college buddies were vowing "never again", I
was loving the lyrics and the music, strengthening my Faith through,
again, Bob's courage. I felt for him through the MTV craze that didn't
suit him well, except for his masterpiece video of Jokerman, which was
over the heads of the "I Want My MTV" teenagers (no disrespect to Dire
Straights. I liked it). In any case, I'm hoping this will not be the last
leg of the NET. I'm going to pass when he comes to San Diego, but I'll
keep reading the posts and enjoying the writings of the heartfelt people
who share my love for this great artist. Just one fans opinion here.
Love and respect to all, especially Bob himself and his band. Peace.
Review by Jake Studebaker
I had managed to catch Dylan in Irving, TX about a month prior (which I
may or may not write a review for that show as well), so I had a fairly
good idea of what to expect from the show in Oklahoma City set-wise. As
for attitude, the Irving show was rather subdued and I got the feeling Bob
was bored the whole set. I swear he was mostly scowling at the crowd
whenever he stepped out from behind the piano.
It was the same setlist as the other shows on this leg of the tour, but
Bob seemed to be in a good mood for the first half. The venue, a civic
hall, was a great choice for the more lounge-band-type show Dylan's
bringing on this cycle (my beaux mentioned this is the same venue where
they saw "Phantom of The Opera" when they were 15), and the crowd present
were an amusing mix. I saw people dressed as flower children mingling
among men dressed in t-shirts and John Deere caps as men in three-piece
suits with their wives in flowy dresses and full makeup fumbled with their
ticket to find their seat.
The show started promptly at 8 as the lights went black and the PA swelled
with classical music. Dylan seemed to hit the stage with caution during
"Watching The River Flow" and really picked up the energy on "Most Likely
You Go Your Way." I noticed after "Most Likely," Bob looked over to the
rest of the band and I swear the mic picked him up saying "Bobby D is *ON*
tonight!" That or I mistook an audience member within earshot for saying
that while trying in vain to read Bob's lips.
Unfortunately, the ladies in front of me started chatting incessantly for
the rest of the show and often raised their hands to point at the stage,
which I found distracting as hell. I hate to sound a bit fussy, but that
made it difficult to focus on the show for me. From what I *WAS* able to
focus on, it was a really great show.
"Serve Somebody" was once again the show highlight and got a large chunk
of the crowd dancing in their seats, as few dared to stand and dance since
the balconies were high off the ground and the stairs were steep as a
slope. I also noticed in the boxes on both sides of the venue, two folks
that appeared to be in their twenties were dancing throughout the show and
oddly added a lot to the aesthetic. I swear they slow-danced from a
distance during "I've Made up My Mind."
Bob seemed to be enjoying himself on this night. I only recall him coming
out from behind the piano once during the entire show, but my Beaux (who's
father is a professional pianist) observed that Bob was simply having too
much fun playing to stop. The rest of the band were on fire tonight, with
everything seeming to click perfectly. Bob would start improvising on the
piano and Bob Britt would start following along with Dylan while Charlie
Drayton kept the rhythm with reserved drum hits (which I was in genuine
awe of just how much control he had over his hits).
It seems like Bob slowed down towards the end of the set, most likely
because this was the last show for this leg of the tour and it's a long
drive back to Malibu. Still, Bob and the band kept the crowd in high
spirits. The final few songs (when the women in front of me thankfully got
up to get more beer) slowed the show to a graceful ending with "Goodbye
Jimmie Reed" followed by a band introduction and "Every Grain of Sand." No
special banter tonight from Bob with the crowd or the band, but I had an
otherwise great show. While the crowd cheered for an encore they'd never
get, I used it as a way to sneak off into the parking lot and beat the
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