Reviews

Portland, Oregon
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

May 31, 2022

[Daniel Mackay], [Laurette Maillet]. [David Harper], [Ron Loftus]

Review by Daniel Mackay


I just got "home" (where I am resting my head) from the concert and have
not had a chance to read this thread yet, so I will offer my comments but
I will not be able to engage with what anyone else may have said.

I saw the show a couple nights ago in Kennewick. I did not write anything
about it because, frankly, I found it a bit plodding. "Key West" and "I've
Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You" were good in Kennewick, and Dylan
was staying locked in singing, but most of the arrangements were inferior
to the album versions, especially "False Prophet" and "Goodbye Jimmy
Reed."

Tonight in Portland was totally different. Dylan was the musical force
driving this band with his piano playing...that is where his attention was
focused. I am sure others have mentioned that the concert began with Dylan
playing an electric guitar solo on "Watching the River Flow." His back was
to the audience and the spotlights were not turned on yet, so Dylan and
the other five players were silhouetted in black. It actually looked
great. And the solo was very good. I had to look to make sure that Bob
Britt and Doug Lancio were not playing it. Frankly, I was surprised at how
good his soloing was.

He also picked up the guitar and soloed during "False Prophet," which was
a piece of work. Let me tell you, "False Prophet" was a high wire act the
whole way through. Dylan was on the precipice of not remembering the lines
to some verses many times. Usually he got it just before it he would have
missed the chance. Sometimes he did not remember. He got up and played
another terrific bluesy solo with his back turned to the audience. Then he
walked to the piano and sat down and sang and played more guitar while
sitting at the piano bench...only a tuft of hair visible from the top of
the upright. I loved this version of the song...but it was, as I said, a
high wire act with it always on the edge of going off the rails. It also
seemed to last forever. This was a hallmark of a few of the songs
tonight...I didn't have my phone (my only timepiece) so I don't know how
long they went, but they seemed long. I was riveted.

Because Dylan's attention was on the piano, most of his vocals consisted
of him reciting the lyrics. When he tried to *sing*, he sounded great.
This took place on "False Prophet" in places, in "Gotta Serve Somebody,"
in "Black Rider," in "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" (one of the best versions
I have heard from recent years), and "I've Made Up My Mind to Give Myself
to You." But, honestly, it was intermittent whether or not he would really
tryto sing. Most of the time he was reciting the lyrics. When he sang "I
go where only the lonely can go" in "False Prophet," his voice was
perfect...he went high. It is the best line that I have heard him sing in
years. Just that line transported me.

In "Black Rider," toward the end, for a couple verses Britt, Lancio, and
Herron stopped playing so that it was just Dylan playing piano and singing
with Garner playing bass and Drayton playing drums. It was terrific and
really allowed Dylan's voice to shine. He did not do this in Kennewick.

I have already mentioned what an exceptional version of "I'll Be Your Baby
Tonight" Dylan performed. It is just fantastic from beginning to end, with
great singing from Dylan. Toward the end of the song, Dylan stopped
playing the piano and started clapping out a rhythm into the microphone.
This went on for long enough that the audience tried to clap along, but
the rhythm he was clapping was not completely straightforward and the
audience participation petered out because the group could not follow. It
felt simultaneously like Dylan was "in the spirit" and clapping along
spontaneously and, also, perhaps sending a message to the drummer, Charley
Drayton, about the rhythm of the song. Although, to my ears, Drayton's
rhythm was fine and working well with this version of the song. I had
never seen Dylan clap into the microphone before during one of the shows I
attended.

Unlike in Kennewick, "Gotta Serve Somebody" began with Dylan singing the
first half dozen verses with minimum accompaniment...almost acapella. He
sounded great. The song sounded soulful in a way I had not heard in years.
Then, the band kicked in and it was just terrific. So much better than in
Kennewick or any of the versions I have heard from 2019 and 2021 or
earlier this year.

Dylan reminded me of Thelonius Monk tonight. He would get up from the
piano, wander around, maybe pick up the guitar (which was laying upon an
amp in the back between Bob Britt and Doug Lancio), maybe wander to the
center mic, maybe go over and talk to Tony Garnier, then wander back to
the piano. Maybe stand, maybe sit. And then he would plunk away an
interesting melody or counter melody, or hit some chords, and all the
other musicians were locked on him and would key off of him. This was a
man who does not care at all what others are thinking and does not give a
fig for convention and his following the impulses of the moment.
Musically, he knows what he is doing.

He did struggle with remembering the beginnings to verses tonight, far
more than in Kennewick and more than I have heard from recordings from
earlier in the year or from 2021. But, the show was so fresh and the music
was so unexpected and the arrangements so interesting, that I didn't care
at all.

It was obvious that Dylan was fully in the moment and he was determined to
break convention and drag everyone along with him. It felt like anything
could happen at any time.

Concerning "BobTalk," Dylan introduced Lancio as "on the Fender" when
introducing each of the band members. He said "Well, thank you everybody"
after a number of songs, a few more times than in Kennewick. Once he said,
"You all are a nice audience" or something close to that.

Honestly, I was very much surprised at this show. I didn't know it would
be so different from what I experienced in Kennewick and it certainly has
me excited for the others shows that I will be seeing on this tour.

Daniel Mackay
https://kepw.org/hard-rain-slow-trains/

[TOP]

Review by Laurette Maillet


Portland May 30th.
Kennewick to Portland was an easy ride.
The landscape was gorgeous. We followed the Columbus river most of the time.
Slithering through the gorge.
My couchsurfing host is living in the suburb on Alberta street. I'm impressed by 
the "hippy" style surrounding. The house is three storeys hight and shared by 
6 young people.
First thing we did was to take a walk on Alberta street. First thing I did was to 
take photos of the murals

May 31st.
We go to "just Bob" for a cup of coffee.
The rest of the morning is quiet. I found books to read.
We drive to Portland , downtown, by 2pm. We want a parking place by the 
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Nothing is happening , yet
Another cup of coffee and four hours later...the Bobby bus pulls in. Time to 
get a ticket. It's sold out show. But I learned that a miracle can happen any 
time, any way.
Stephanie gets a free ticket rapidly. I sell a print for 20$ and a gentleman sells 
me a paper ticket for ...20$.
I get in, sneaking in my phone
I am on the balcony. My good Samaritan had another spare ticket he didn't sell.
So the seat on my left is empty. The seat on my right will be also, most of 
the show.

I'm sure the show started on time.
Bob , in the dark, goes straight to the back of the stage, between Bob Britt 
and Doug Lancio. He picks up an electric guitar and straps it around his neck 
and....starts playing. Woah!
The sound is clear and loud. I'm not sure if the two other guitars are playing 
along?
Turning his back to the public and in total darkness the intro of "watching 
the river flow" will go on forever before finally Bob drops the guitar and 
moves to the piano. The Fans who realize how special this is start clapping. 
I do.
The first few lyrics are inaudible but the mic will be adjusted quickly.
There is a round of applause and Bob says "thank you" before rapidly 
starting "Most likely".
"I contain multitudes" is at the piano and not center stage as for the two 
shows in Spokane and Kennewick.
"False prophet" starts at the piano and towards the end Bob trotts to his 
guitar, straps it around his neck and begins a fantastic solo, turning his back 
to the public. woah!
He doesn't drop the guitar but carries it with him to the piano, still plugged
and starts "When I paint my Masterpiece" half guitar, half piano for a while.
It's surrealistic , as if it's another Bob Dylan , another show!†
Few times he signals Bob Britt to slow down or play soft on his guitar so 
Bob could solo on the piano and almost sings a capella.†
"Black rider" is center stage with Bob holding the entire mic pol is his right 
hand and balancing it as if he is in his twenties
"I'll be your Baby tonight" is also surprising when Bob stops playing the
piano and claps his hands in rythme. I start clapping and few folks also.†
"My own version of you" is great but nothing will surpass†
"Crossing the Rubicon" almost a cappella and so powerful! My highlight 
for this really special show in Portland.
"Serve somebody" starts totally a cappella for three verses then the 
Band joins and Bob repeats the first verse
- "you may be an ambassador to England or France .."
No Rock and roll at all but more bluesy style.
Good for a change
" I've made up my mind to give myself to you" at the piano and not 
center stage. But†
"Melancholy mood" will be center. The least powerful of that night.
"Mother of muses" still...flat
"Jimmy Reed" was a total new arrangement. Again more bluesy than 
Rocky! And a cappella for most of the song. Bob signaling 
Bob Britt...to take it easy
For the presentation Bob jokes again about Doug Lancio's guitar. 
A stratocaster or not???
"Every grain of sand" sounds...normal after all the surprises!
What a show!

And no reahersal as I'm sure Bob arrives at the venue at 6pm, way 
after the Band had been tasting the sound!
The lyrics might have been partly forgotten , partly rewritten but 
the focus was on the music tonight. Bob had no intention to read 
the... partitions
Improvisation is the word for tonight show.
At some point Bob Britt was confused , focusing hard on Bob's fingering 
at the piano.
What a day! And what a night!

I'm out selling my prints and Bobcats comment on the show with 
enthusiasm.
That show worth all the pain we had figuring out a ticket or a room ....
Thank you Bobby to always be a surprise!
You certainly contain ... multitudes.†
We are going to Seattle with high expectations.

[TOP]

Review by David Harper


Been a follower since '62, haven't missed a show, paid attention to every
album and every song.Retired DJ '56-97. Still a fan but not too
comfortable talking about this artist with others, especially "fans".So
here's a quick review of tonights show: The Arlene Schnitzer is a
comfortable old time up scale venue and this was a comfortable Bob Dylan
show.Nothing actually rough or rowdy to shake or rattle anybody. The vibe
was friendly, down to earth.Had just enough surprise and delight tossed in
the mix to keep the ho hum crew awake.A thrill to see the silhouette
shadow strap on the electric right off.Mostly it was at the piano where
it's always something new going on. A few WTF's and several Oh wow's.The
show really kicks in about the 4th song usually and tonight this was False
Prophet. †Everything rose then on.Sometimes you'll hear a sparse and open
arrangement for the lyrics to linger and shine where they used to whiz
by.My favorite versions of these songs are on the album but in all this
repetition no need to get dull or static and Bob never is.The crowd is
really focused. And these songs are fabulous works however ordinarily
conveyed in familiar language and sounds. Nothing like it anywhere.Someone
commented on how relaxed this Dylan was on stage these days. True. Could
be because he's an accomplished painter, check the exhibitions, and
painters, like contemplatives, or nuclear physicists, loading plutonium,
do their best, and most powerful work, nice and easy. Probably learned
from Mr. Frank.Me and my wife sure like the phone stash bag, and all the
chatter that goes with it, closed up, in the bag, making a much improved
concert scene.Dylan is still amazing. Vibrant. Meaningful.Carrying that
torch for all of us clear to the end. 

David Harper
Tigard, Oregon

[TOP]

Review by Ron Loftus


Last nightís Portland show was impeccable.  Great venue, clear strong
vocals, tight arrangements and, of course, great band.  I went by myself
and was seated next to a wonderful young man from Denmark, a
singer-songwriter himself, a keen Bob Dylan fan, but had never had the
opportunity to see him perform live before.  He was moved and almost
overwhelmed by the moment.  It was hard not to get caught up in the 
moment with him. And for good reason! I canít imagine the show being 
any
better.

The setlist was stable, of course; the only new wrinkle was that while the
band was warming up by playing the intro to Watching the River Flow, Bob
ambled back to the rear of the stage, but still at the center, and
strapped on an electric guitar! Yeo, first time in how long?  He played
very solidly along with the Intro. After returning to his place at the
upright piano and launching the vocals, he drifted back to the guitar,
strapped it on again and played an impressive solo!! It was so unexpected!
 The crowd appreciated it and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the entire show.
Understandably!  It was excellent from top to bottom.  I had heard a
little bit of the new arrangement for Key West and was skeptical but in
live performance, it was outstanding!  The vocals were strong and clear
throughout the night making it one of the best shows I have ever seen!

Ron Loftus 
Salem, Oregon

[TOP]

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