Hollywood, California

Dolby Theatre

October 24, 2014

[Marty Traynor]

Review by Marty Traynor

My reaction to this show, this 2014 staging of Dylan and band, is that it was
both more laid back and more powerful than the NET shows I have seen 
before.  I will try to explain.

Dylan commands the show from start to finish. The set list has been largely 
static recently, and I had wondered about that - some of the joy of going 
to dozens of shows over the past few years has been the expectation of 
variety, that in three or four shows you would hear lots of different songs.  
Fans attending multiple shows went seeking surprises.  But the surprise in 
fact is that this show revealed how Dylan has molded a set list that allows 
him to use his time-limited voice to maximum advantage while keeping 
enough of an improvisational feel that both the audience and his band must 
stay tuned in at all times.

The set list itself is heavy on newer material than on the greatest hits of the 
past.  It is a fan's set list.  Only Tangled Up in Blue, All Along the Watchtower 
and Blowin' in the Wind are songs a casual fan (or non-fan) is likely to know.  
Most of the songs are from the 21st century, were written to fit Dylan's 
voice, and were largely recorded live in studio, usually with members of this 
band.  At times, these songs came across so well they sounded like alternate 
studio takes. 

The Dolby Theater is a great place to see a concert.  The seats are 
comfortable and the sight lines are very good.  Best of all, the acoustics are 
great.  Over the past 22 years, many of the venues I have seen Dylan 
perform in were sports arenas, baseball parks, and big amphitheaters.  There 
is a certain energy in those settings, but even in the best of them the sound 
is muddy.  By contrast, the Dolby is like a recording studio that just happens 
to allow over 3,000 people to sit in.  In particular, that's important for this
show, featuring so much quiet intensity.  You could pick out every detail of 
the instrumental interplay, notably between Charlie Sexton's guitar lead and 
Donnie Herron's many instruments.  This was notable in the banjo- guitar 
work in Forgetful Heart and High Water as examples.

Other random notes:
* Dylan wore a nice light gray suit and hat, plus beautiful two-tone boots.  
His harmonica solos were, as always, transfixing.  He has an amazing stage 
presence as he traipses between center stage and the piano.

*	We sat in an upper mezzanine and that gave us a great view of the stage.  
In particular, George Recile was more visible to me than ever before, and he 
is clearly an amazing drummer.  Evidence was the way he flipped the sticks 
between standard heads to brushes and back on numbers like Duquesne 
Whistle and AATW.  His contribution to Early Roman Kings was another 

*	I do miss the energy of concerts where people stood up a bit more.  Start 
to finish, the only time I saw people stand was at the encore point and after 
the finale.  Maybe it is due to the set up of the venue, perhaps it's the set 
list, which is heavy on dark messages and is musically more moody swing than 
rock, and perhaps it is because the volume seems to be turned down so 
Dylan's voice can be heard more clearly.

*	there were a few songs that rushed to a conclusion, especially in the 
second half of the show.  The band would be playing, Dylan would stand and 
walk around, and tHen it seems he passed some secret sign that told them 
to end the song, and a couple seemed to end gracelessly.

*	Forgetful Heart is a highlight of the show.  Dylan always seems to 
enunciate the lyrics and the tune is sweet as played in concert

Overall, I'd like to see this set again.  That's what Sunday's show is for!


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