St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine Amphitheatre

October 19, 2018

[Eric Diamond], [Laurette Maillet]

Review by Eric Diamond

The Never Ending Tour reached the lovely outdoor amphitheatre in St
Augustine Florida

on a balmy Friday evening. The band is decked out in silver sparkle suits
with black shirts; Bob resplendent in all-white suit, white boots, bolo tie with 
white ivory pendant. The opening recorded classical music peaks and blends
into Things Have Changed. Stu Kimball, the customary acoustic guitar player,
is not present. Bob has moved out of the Frank Sinatra era, but retains the
precise phrasing and directness, and a crooner attitude.

Every one of the twenty songs has been re-arranged, both from the original
recordings, and other recent re-arrangements. About seven have updated
lyrics as well.

For connoisseurs of tight bands, this band is as tight as one gets. There
are precious few solos beyond Bob’s exquisite harmonica on Simple Twist
of Fate. The band plays through the song forms with subtle rhythmic shifts
en masse, like a school of fish shifting direction. Charlie Sexton
expresses his mastery via chord forms and stripped down licks. The more
delicate tunes are revved up to a swampy second-line mid-tempo gumbo, and
the pumping rockers are leavened to a jump blues or jitterbug patina. Like
A Rolling Stone features a hushed and whispered vocal section in the second 
half of each verse, easing back on the throttle then cruising forward with gusto.

Michaelangelo was asked how he could sculpt something so magnificent as
the Pieta. He reputedly answered: ”Easy…I chipped away all the stone
that was not the Pieta”.

Bob Dylan chips away all the extraneous pieces of the rock concert art
form, leaving the solid, mountainous core, melding workmanship,
craftsmanship, with intense mastery and masculine warrior-statesmen

The songs are tied together with drone and rhythm interludes, to make one
long song, spanning the epochs of Dylan’s largesse. Listen to Dylan
doing Roy Orbison do Bob Dylan, and Ray Charles, Elvis, Frankie, Bing
Crosby and all the crooners, The Ventures, Muddy Waters, and at times like
Neil Young playing “Don’t Worry Baby” (Beach Boys). Bob trusts the
songs, the polished gemstone of his nightly format, and his
realer-than-any-legend realness. Americana, blenderized and Dylanized.

Does he comment upon, or respond to, our troubled world? The concert lands
upon Gotta Serve Somebody (new lyric: “you may be a lawyer on the
Supreme Court”); Blowin’ in the Wind; and Ballad of a Thin Man; less acerbic, 
more world weary, but unrelenting regarding the ineffable interplay of good and 
evil through history.

People travel to spend a moment in the presence of their guru; I am
restored by being in the presence of artistic greatness. A Dylan concert
is the apotheosis of the concert form. He is seventy-seven years of age,
and so has gifted us with his gift for fifty seven years. I close with
gratitude and wonder, calmed, enriched, re-humanized, after another
supreme two hours at the feet of the song Master.


Review by Laurette Maillet

St Augustine 19th of October. October 18. From Mobile to St Augustine I
booked MEGABUS: A low cost bus transportation.  First ride from Mobile to
Atlanta . 5 hours stop over then second ride Atlanta to Jacksonville. 
The global price is a third of Greyhounds direct to St Augustine...saving
some bucks. The first ride is a night trip. So I am leaving Mobile soon
after the show in Mobile. Atlanta is a nice town but I will just spend
some time at the nearest Cafe, filling up on cafeine and sugar (nice
muffin). After 5 hours... Of we go again.  As we are half hour ride to
Jacksonville the driver pulls over on the side of the freeway and
announces a bus disfunction.  After one hour and a half and me half
asleep we change bus. My good friend Jamie will pick me up in Jacksonville,
drive me to St Augustine and will offer me hospitality.   The evening
is short and we all go to bed early. October 19. Jamie and I are all
excited. We will be at the show together like 2 years ago when Bobby
played Jacksonville. This one is St Augustine open air where I was already
few years ago....2012? Seems an eternity. We fuzz about how we'll get
dressed and worry about the weather. We get rain ponchos and nail polish
and discuss which tops we'll be wearing....women stuff! To kill some time
we watch "trouble no more". That brings me back in 1981 when I did the
entire Tour:Europe, Canada and the USA. That was a good Tour with so many
great times, including uncounters with Bobby.   At the Avignon show I
was right in front thanks to Big Jim. I miss Jimmy (Bobby's bodyguard)
every time I am on the road. Bless is soul in Paradise! But things have
changed! I wonder what the preacher is doing in that document. Is this
some kind of caricature?  5.30pm. We move from the house. We pick up
Debbie who broke her leg, is in a wheelchair and needs assistance. In fact
I will be her assistant,  seating next to her the entire show. This is
not a bad seat, in between the  canopy and the lawn. There is plenty of
space to dance but I will not hurt Debbie who can't  even stand up.  I
will wiggle on my seat and turn around few times to ask the bystanders
to....shut up and listen to Bobby's songs! Who wants to hear the dramas of
other people's lives at a Bob Dylan show? Bobby's suit is ALL white; pants
and jacket.  He looks so Dandy and so Fine. I am expecting the songs one
after the other (as I know the setlist by heart)  with an open mind.  I
focus on the little details ; a soft drums beat from George, a riff from
Charlie, a mandolin jig from Donnie....the eratic piano strikes from Bob.
I realise his harp solos are better now. Highly emotional!  The public
reacts with enthusiasm. ..might be the open air , might be the electricy
up in the sky! This is the best public on that Tour.  Not so many folks
are leaving. They enjoy ... A Bobby's fest. Bobby's bus pulls out rapidly
5 minutes after his bow. Still all in white he jumps in his bus.... Bob
Dylan style! That was great!  Debbie and I join Jamie at the car. We drop
a happy Debbie home. We crash in bed....nail polish and make up still
on... Good night folks! Night, night Bobby!


Click Here
to return to the
Main Page

page by Bill Pagel

Tour Guide
Tour Guides
Bob Links
Set Lists
by Date
Set Lists
by Location