Portland, Oregon

Keller Auditorium

October 21, 2014

[Ron Loftus], [Isaac Priestley], [Dave Harper]

Review by Ron Loftus

No one has stepped up to review the Portland concert so, even though I
have never posted a review previously, “I guess it must be Up To Me.” 
Though I am a member of the 4200 club—those of us who bought the first
Bob Dylan record back in 1962—I have not seen that many live
performances over the years. Maybe 10 or 12 going back to the early 1960s
and including the wonderful 1965 show with the Band at the Washington
Coliseum.  I have seen iterations of the current band with Larry Campbell
and Charlie Sexton together; that was pretty amazing.  But I have never
seen anything quite like the show Tuesday night at Keller Auditorium.  One
of my former notions that Bob shows usually feature one or two
transcendent moments did not really seem to apply to this show.  Each of
the 19 songs had its place and its role.  The overall feeling was one of
atmospherics.  The subdued, amber light lent a certain feel, a texture to
the whole evening. I was impressed with how the light show played upon the
curtain behind the stage to create amazing visual tableaux.

The band was tight, the sound excellent and Bob was in fine form.  Dressed
in his white suit and hat, the boys in the band sporting black pants and
red jackets, the whole appearance on the stage was striking.  After each
song, the stage darkened and Bob moved as appropriate from grand piano to
center stage. We were pretty far away, second balcony, but when he sang
and played harmonica, every note was clear and true.  Of course the new
songs were robustly done but I found that the impression left by “Pay in
Blood” lingered long into the next day.  And I was surprised at how much
I enjoyed the new arrangements for the older songs.  I am more inclined to
find that some of the older material feels as if it is being forced into
new arrangements, as though the singer is not that comfortable with the
material, but I had no such feelings about the versions of songs like
“She Belongs to Me,” “Tangled Up in Blue,” and “Simple Twist of
Fate.”  They flowed smoothly and naturally and were a real treat.  Bob
just seemed pretty damn comfortable with everything that he was doing.

The first set ended with a searing version of  “Love Sick,” and things
picked up again right where they left off with “High Water.” For
whatever reason, a song that has not necessarily been a particular
favorite of mine, “Scarlet Town,” was performed to perfection. It was
stunning.  I brought my son to the show; his first time ever to hear Dylan
live.  We now have a wonderful memory to cherish.  Thanks, Bob!


Review by Isaac Priestley

This guy would bring a grown man to tears a psychedelic hay ride. I might
have finally gone beyond the brink of consciousness. The laffy taffy or
whatever hypothecary candy was the metal smith smoking and clanking. It is
poetry stewed in an earthen oven cooked over fire pit and then served on a
Antonio Gaudi style platter. A stout curation of the current stuff on
display with a few big guns picked out from across the portfolio and
thrown in there like you’ve never seen them before!  Tony Ganier lazer
focused on the master and then in other songs he had to keep his back
turned so as to not taint his auditory focus with the visual appearance of
terrible Ahab himself.    

Isaac Priestley


Review by Dave Harper

Seven big, old fashioned looking stage lights, glowing soft over the set
and a giant, draped smoke or mirrors...Kaboom! The gong
strikes three times, a guitar rolls, out floats the man of a thousand
ghosts...tonight dressed like Mark Twain, all in white, obviously Bob
Dylan. Portland cheers!

Music list is same as Seattle. Of course nothing is ever the same. That's
part of the show. Just a matter of when it kicks in. By the fifth or sixth
song, after paying serious attention, little patience, even
happens. Singer and band totally connect, audience falls under. Nothing
smeared or rushed, just locked in tight. And it happened here tonight.

Best part, for me, is the new material but a couple war horses kicked it
up a notch. Not only a few new lines here and there but punched up
arrangements. Everybody seemed happy to hear the words of old.

Early Roman Kings nails the nation and is like an iron gate. Hard, cold,
made with a torch and you can see right through it. Perfectly set in that
industrial blues. This is true Dylan.

Scarlett Town is a big work and, maybe, my favorite of the night.  Reminds
me of C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce. People in a state of separation,
unredeemed, but content to stay that way. Long Wasted Years says it all
for us. Style reminds me of John Trudell (AKA Grafitti Man) who recorded
at Jackson Brownes Groove Studios, same place as Tempest. Blowing In The
Wind, an anthem, was given it's propers. Touched me.

I'm seventy four, a retired disc jockey, 42 years playing records, making
commercials, a Harley guy...Dylan is relevant to me because he represents
the higher values of our generation with class, dignity, a rightly wicked
humor, intelligence and style. Keeping his act together on the stages of
the world is remarkable to witness and hear. This is precious cargo. We
know it can't go on forever, or maybe it does. I've heard he's going to
bring in Jesse Norman to the stage, on a fork lift, for his last song, on
the final show, in New York. That'll be something.

Dave Harper
Portland, Oregon


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