Oakland, California

Paramount Theatre

October 29, 2014

[James Strohecker], [Nancy Cobb]

Review by James Strohecker

Top Line
* Solid, strong concert.
* Giants World's Series victory halfway through Workingman's Blues.
* Finishing with piano-based, "Stay With Me" was a statement.

Wednesday's show at the Paramount, the second of three nights in a row, 
was a solid, well-crafted Bob Dylan concert that left the audience asking 
for more.

The crowd was more subdued and quiet than the night before - perhaps 
because many were busy checking out the updated S.F. Giants vs. K.C. Royals 
World's Series game score on their smartphones. Nonetheless, the audience 
settled into their plush seats in the beautifully refurbished Paramount Theater, 
and were treated to the on-time 8 p.m. sharp start of a really good show.

As they have on this tour, the band began the evening with a Stu Kimball riff 
lead-in to Things Have Changed, and the group rocked with calm confidence 
into the song. Bob belted out the lyrics from center stage, looking dapper in a 
white suit and round white hat - a solid beginning to a focused show. Donnie 
backed the song's high notes with pedal steel and the band was in their 

Next, Bob went up and down the scale with his voice, pausing mid-song for a
luxurious harp solo in She Belongs To Me. The big bass arrangement and drums
and strums backing framed Bob's sultry voice as his poetic words echoed
around the old venue.

They gigged into Beyond Here Lies Nothin' and followed with a blues-driven 
Workingman's Blues. Unfortunately for Bob on this night, it was his own 
workingman's situation that was effected by the results of the MLB final game. 
Halfway through the song, people started jumping up with joy, arms stretched 
to the sky and yelling, because the S.F. Giants had recorded the final out and 
won this year's World's Series. Bob, onstage singing, was unaware (and 
unaffected) by the outbursts, which showed his focused drive - both for 
tonight's performance and the concert tour. His singsong with call-and 
response guitar backing really gave the song a smooth, clear dynamic.

The band quickly grooved into Waiting For You, with its poignant words, "I've 
stayed ahead of the game . . . " an unintentional reflection on the previous 
song's World's Series whoops, but nonetheless focused on the song's 
emotions. This song has a bit of a calliope tune to it, delivered by an up and 
down pitch with Donnie's pedal steel and Bob's piano chords.

From here, they drove into a toe-tapping version of Duquesne Whistle that 
featured Charlie with some ripping riffs on his Les Paul that were matched 
note-for-note by Bob on his grand piano. The group rolled into Pay In Blood, 
with Bob at center stage, singing then backing away from the mike - hand 
on hip with some shaky leg action in time with the beat. 

Quickly, Bob and the boys moved into Tangled Up In Blue - which started 
quietly then rolled into a big rockin-blues sound as Bob walked the stage with 
the mike in hand. They wrapped the song with Bob's rapturing harp solo. For 
the second night in a row, Bob changed the words in the last couple verses 
of Tangled, which made it intriguing - both for the strong music and new
lyrics. They caught a breath and moved fast into Love Sick, which showcased 
the pounding of the drum skins and the staccato lyrics with Charlie's ripping 
guitar solos and back-chording. Very nice.

The second set began with a rough and crooning, banjo-boogie of 
High Water (For Charley Patton), followed by Simple Twist Of Fate. For the 
latter, Bob's harp solos brought presence to the upbeat call-and-response 

The group jumped into the big bass and drumbeat of le hot, Early Roman 
Kings, then slowed it way down with the soulful, Forgetful Heart. Bob 
magnetized himself with this song and drew the audience in with his lyrics 
and thought. This was deep and rich and the song of the night. Forgetful 
Heart might remind listeners of the long, full, It's Not Dark Yet, song that 
the band performed a few years ago - similar tone, rich emotive words and 
sultry sound. Very nice. 

Up next Spirit On The Water brought the bounce back to the concert and 
let the boys showcase some plunky melodies and riffs which led to a strong 
Scarlet Town, followed by a down-to-poetry in motion, Soon After Midnight. 
Soon After Midnight featured a Charlie-driven mid-song early 60's-love 
song-type solo that was pretty cool. 

They closed with, Long And Wasted Years, where the musicians' tight playing
 helped Bob project the words and the collective meaning. Clearly. Concisely. 

In the encore, the band closed with, Stay With Me, with Bob on piano 
(vs. center stage the previous night). Short. Gospel. Intriguing.

A good, solid show. One that left people wanting more.


Review by Nancy Cobb


I had seen Bob's show in Hollywood 3 days prior, but the 2 performances
were like night and day even though they were the exact same set list! 
Dylan can do his songs in many styles and on this night with the
excitement of the World Series Game 7 (possibly a factor) the band turned
up the volume and the tempo and Bob was a furious presence on the baby
grand piano.  A word of advice to concertgoers who have not heard him live
in some homework so you are familiar with the melodies and
lyrics of his recent songs and expand your brain a little so you are not
disappointed if you don't hear his "hits"....OK?  Dylan can do songs about
topics that nobody else addresses such as the angry and tragic sides of
love, the loss of things you thought were still there, and the uncertainty
and dread about what is to come.  Please enjoy his encore "Stay with Me" -
it comes from the heart.


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