October 23, 2023
Review by John Rafeedie
We took a walk before the show, hoping to find a quick meal. We past
a security guard, who seemed to be focused on the lone, unmarked
bus very near the side entrance of the theater. I nodded. Smiling , he
replied “Good Evening , sir.” I took it to mean “you, my friend, are
going to have a kick ass good time.” It hit me. Bob leaves nothing to
chance. Even the security guy is locked in and waiting to deliver his
The Warner Theater is 100 year old. The 2500 seat facility is a classic.
In the lobby was a Dracula poster (featuring Bela Lugosi). That was
icing on the cake. The crowd was friendly, energetic and polite.
At 8 sharp, it was time to witness greatness and we all knew it. Bob’s
white cowboy hat had me feeling that the bad guys did not stand a
chance tonight. Out of the gate, the sound was great. Bob’s voice
was strong and clear. His band was perfectly in synch from the first
note. Our cowboy hero leave nothing to chance.
You know the setlist. You know he lets the band rumble and soar
then gently lands them like an expert falconer. What a group of
musicians he has assembled. Through masterful phrasing and 60
years of performance genius Bob gives us an emotional ride - love,
hate, hope, death. He’s not phoning anything in, no matter his age.
Old songs are made new. Recent songs are delivered in even better
ways. It’s Bob gift to us. It’s a cowboy magic show.
As an old friend used to say “ Don’t miss it, if you can!’
Review by Sergi Fabregat
Show #1 in Akon was hit with jet lag, show #2 in Erie was succeeded by one beer
too much and quite a bad hangover as of now, but so happy about it, there was
no way I wasn't celebrating a bit a show that progressed in a way that ended up
being an outpour of love and beauty from Bob and the guys, they were all so
great (I loved Doug's things with the acoustic and also Jerry's playing more
than what I could catch in Akron).
But above all, it seemed Bob the one who raised the bar the most from 'I've
Made Up My Mind' up to the end. My feeling was not as much as he was on fire
as if he was projecting the songs outwards but as if he was so engaged within
the profound meanings of the songs and how he could play with rhymes and
rhythms that he was truly his main spectator. For me, something during 'I've
Made Up My Mind' changed the show from a great show with some really highlights
as 'My Own Version' or an amazing take on 'Masterpiece' with Bob enlarging the
lyrics, soaring on them and just being so melodic to a show that peeked into
really deep emotions and the core meanings of words.
The rendition of 'That Old Black Magic', specially by the end, was so epic,
Bob was so into it, that he started raising quite a lot the volume of his
voice but not in a show-off way but as if he was trying to emphasize to the
maximum that old black magic called "love", as if he was trying to reach the
depths of the real and true love he was singing about in the previous song.
If anyone gets tired of this standard, I'd say you check out the Erie
recording (fingers crossed) and it can change your mind.
I left a couple of unfinished businesses in Japan because of not attending
the Nagoya shows: I missed 'Only a River' and a not brokedown 'Brokedown
Palace'. Fortunately, the most important one was ammended in Rome in maybe the
most memorable moment ever for me in a Bob show, but while I was praying for
'Erie Canal', again Bob did the unexpected and he went for 'Brokedown Palace',
which I recognized from the get go. Some of us went pretty nuts, and as I was
located at the 5th row at the left, I could see Bob so perfectly, specially
when he was seating. As 'Stella Blue', is such a beautiful song with so much
sorrow in it, and it felt funny as I only had heard the couple of aborted
attemps in Japan, not a full rendition of the song, so I didn't know if it
was going well or not until the end. Bob repeated twice the last verse:
Fare thee well, fare thee well
I love you more than words can tell
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul
The second time, he again raised his voice A LOT, specially in the line "I
love you more than words can tell". For me, catching that line that I had not
previously heard, so close to Bob, was such a beautiful, wholesome moment in
a show full of them, surreal to think that a circle that was left open in
Japan kind of closed in Erie, PA. I'm pretty sure nobody else in the audience
felt exactly what I felt with 'Brokedown Palace', but I'm sure equally that
all of us had our souls rocked by the song in ways that words can't tell.
After that, it came an SPECTACULAR take on the 'new' 'Jimmy Reed' that, Bob
wearing the hat, made me think bout those 2002 'Summer Days' that broke down
the roof, it truly did, and I felt so happy to be there, so one with the
music and art and specially those amazing things I was feeling. Again, Bob
surfed the words, like he was flowing with the winds formed by the rhythms
and his own feelings in the moment.
And then, of course, it was this moment during 'Every Grain of Sand' in which,
during the piano bridge, Bob looked at Tony with the biggest grin I've ever
seen in him, and Tony grinned back, and for a brief moment everything turned
out right, and I felt a kind of happiness that, honestly, these words can't
Review by Mark Kraynak
Report from the second row at the Warner Theater in Erie. Bob was in fine
voice and really was impressive. Tony played a guitar on the first couple
of songs - doing the bass parts before switching over to regular and stand
up bass. You go your way was especially good. He also did the Dead's
Brokedown Palace very nicely. He skips their beginning and just jumps
into it. Goodbye Jimmy Reed was also rearranged since the last time I saw
him as a more bluesy groove. Bob also played some harmonica on the end of
Every Grain of Sand and got a nice ovation. The band played very well - if
somewhat sparsely. A great show by any standards.
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