Kansas City, MO
The Midland Theatre

October 1, 2023

[Mel Smith], [Tom Burke], [Corky Williams], [Mike Mahoney]

Review by Mel Smith

I had given up on Bob. The shows were sit down, shut up,
and don't make a commotion events. Not the Cold Irons 
Bound/Summer Days shows with Larry and Charlie. They were 
beautifully staged, and acoustic masterpieces which I found 
tedious. Tonight I got it. It was a total Bob piano recital.  
And the man can still play the ivories!  Using the piano in 
lieu of the harp like he did tonight, beautifully on Every 
Grain of Sand and Watching the River Flow. The Gotta Serve 
Somebody was a version of this song I had never heard before. 
Kansas City for an opener was a pleasant romp through that 
quick ditty and the Not Fade Away was a very pleasant 
surprise to what seems to be a very static set list. A lot 
of the songs I was hearing for the first time live, Enjoy 
the foray into new live sounds immensely. Looking forward 
to another dose tomorrow.

I am coming full circle with these shows at the Midland.  
Bought a ticket on the street minutes before showtime in 
the last row back when G.E. Smith was his guitar player 
for my first Bob show. Looks like tomorrow will be my last.

It has been a long time since I have left a review here.  
It was usually from some dingy Travelodge or Motel 6 in 
Springfield, Omaha, Tulsa, or Little Rock etc. Tonight I 
am home, 12 miles from the venue. Feeling blessed for all 
the music I have witnessed. A big thank you Sir. to 
Mr. Pagel for all you have done to help us all along the 

P.S.  If you ever have a chance to visit the Bob Dylan 
Center in Tulsa be sure to make it full day. I did and 
I need to go back for more. Woody Guthrie Center is on 
the other end of the block. Which I'm sure is a whole 
other day.

Mel Smith


Review by Tom Burke

Bob Dylan opened the Fall 2023 leg of his Rough and Rowdy 
Ways Tour with a spirited Fats Dominoesque version of 
Kansas City bringing the packed house at the Midland 
Theater to their feet roaring in appreciation.
Dylan was in great voice and good spirit throughout the 
1 hour and 45 minute show, thanking the enthusiastic 
audience on several occasions and even once giving a shout 
out to world famous Kansas City barbecue.
Dylan, dressed in black, as were all members of his band, 
stayed anchored to his piano at centerstage alternatively 
standing and sitting while playing with high energy and 
Playing nearly the entirety of Rough and Rowdy Ways, I 
thought he sang particularly strong and emotive versions 
of Key West (Philosopher Pirate) and Mother of Muses.
The setlist contained a sprinkling of Dylan classics 
including When I Paint My Masterpiece, I'll Be Your Baby 
Tonight, and To Be Alone With You.
The highlight of the evening was a totally unexpected 
and balls to the wall cover of Buddy Holly's Not Fade 
As has been the custom during the many legs of this tour, 
the show was brought to a close with the beautiful Every 
Grain of Sand.


Comments by Corky Williams

The tour date finally got here last night. After the initial 
surprise of seeing my home town listed as where it would all 
start (and, for two nights!) it got me making plans to travel 
& see a few shows if I could.

Back in 2021 & 22, after very little thought, it worked out 
for me to buy tickets for Cleveland & Columbus, then on to 
Bloomington, Indiana. Spent stupid money doing so, frankly. 
Bet many fans here have.

But I lucked into great seats, even getting a front row 
ticket for one & got 3rd & 5th row seats for the shows after 
that. Even bought two seats on the aisle, & had a spare 
ticket for the show at the Palace in Columbus back on 11/6/21. 

My extra seat got passed along by Bill Pagel, as a gift, to 
my new friend Laurette Maillet. She was glad for it & being 
able to dance in the aisle.

Funny how a simple kindness can come back as a blessing 
later on!

So after that first 'field trip' of the 3 shows, I got a 
taste for dashing out of town. Seeing what shows I could, 
by buying single seats. 

I was able to see shows at Irving & Sugarland, & even took 
in a few museums where time allowed. Seeing art works with 
an actual artist is something I've only been lucky enough to 
do a few times in the past. It's quite groovy to hear folks 
with both art experience & education in the role of a docent. 

Anyway, I had mentioned doing the favor of a free ticket, 
for Laurette?

She later contacted me with an offer of a single seat for 
Meridian, a kind gift on an incredibly limited budget!

That led to another run of shows, as I saw Mobile on 4/8/22, 
the 800 seat show in Mississippi on 4/9/22, & to my mind 
the best to date there at the Orpheum in Memphis on 4/10.

Perhaps you can tell that I've been saving these reviews up 
for far too long now. Seems like my travel log for the past 
2 years has now broken out on the Bob Links review page.....

Friends the KC show was pretty darn good, ok? But like so 
many times in the past, I'm going to see a few more shows. 
It's hard to leave the traveling circus when it goes back 
out of town. I see that clearly now.

I've got tix for all 3 of the Chicago dates, & the St Louis 
show is just too close to skip. Just a 4 hour trip.

The surprise of additional songs, the joy of sing Bob open 
playing Kansas City, here IN the named town was a real gas. 
I would have placed a bet that he'd never do that, frankly.

But he sure did. Glad I saw it 

One more thing: having been initially seated in the wrong 
seats by the ushers had placed my friend & I next to a 
lifelong Dylan fan, who was also a former record store 

Hope he reads this, & apologies for not recalling your 
name brother, it was a pleasure to meet you sir! I'll be 
looking for you again tonight.

Anyway, he mentioned being pals with Bill Pagel. Said 
he's been to his home the other night even.....

That's how it is in the Bob Dylan community, at least how 
I see it.

Kind folks all. 

Get out & see this tour. Take a few days off. See several 
dates if you can, it's great to get a sample size!

Much love from a long time fan.

Corky Williams, from here in KC


Review by Mike Mahoney

The biggest surprise of Bob Dylan’s first show of his fall 
tour was his first song. Dylan treated the Kansas City crowd 
with the standard 'Kansas City’. It’s a song he has only 
played one other time, in suburban Kansas City, back in 1986 
while touring with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Following that, Dylan returned to the basic set list he had 
used through much of the Spring tour in Europe.
The set featured many of the cuts on Rough and Rowdy Ways.
In the past,  Dylan has sometimes toured, technically in 
support of new music, but barely played a thing of the 
most recent release. That was not the case in Kansas City 
show number one. There is a second Kansas City show on Oct. 2.
Hilights for me include: a talkative Dylan.
He thanked the crowd for their applause frequently, even 
pausing to praise Kansas City’s famous BBQ.
The R&RW standouts for me included ‘My Own Version of You’, 
a strong and very bluesy
‘Crossing the Rubicon’ and a very good version of Key West 
(Philosopher Pirate).
Dylan also pleased the crowd with several re-worked versions 
of older material. Those included a version of ‘When I Paint 
My Masterpiece’ that had an exceptional tension to it.
He played a raucous ‘I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight’ that had much 
the the crowd on its feet for most of the song.
He also included ‘To Be Alone with You’ and a driving “Gotta 
Serve Somebody’.
Another strong number was his cover of Buddy Holly’s classic 
‘Not Fade Away’l
The finale was the now-standard set closer ‘Goodbye Jimmy Reed’.
‘Every Grain of Sand’ remains the the encore. It’s a beautiful 
song that seemed a little bumpy on the first night.
Dylan spent the entire performance  either standing or sitting 
behind a baby grand piano at center stage.
He seemed to be in good sprits. 
Bob was dressed in black. So was the band.
And from about 50rows back on the floor, the band seemed a 
little backlit as they stood in in front of a blood red 
curtain. It was, however, a nice look.
This was a solid show.

Mike Mahoney.  


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