Reviews
Oxford, England
New Theatre Oxford

November 4, 2022

[Joe Neanor], [Martin Gayford], [Laurette Maillet]

Review by Joe Neanor


This show was a very welcome late addition to the Bob's UK tour. It was
quickly sold out which might explain why there was minimal publicity at
the theatre, just one vinyl album size poster immediately outside the main
entrance was all I could see.  

The New Theatre Oxford has a capacity of under 1,800 making it the
smallest venue that I have seen a Dylan show in. So I was hoping for a 
good view of Bob but was disappointed.  From my seat high up in the 
gods Bob was a shadowy figure, hunched behind his centre-stage, front 
facing upright piano. Bob and his band were set up closer to the back 
than the front of the stage. The lighting came from the floor, catching 
the faces of the standing band members but leaving those like Bob, 
who were sitting to play, covering up their own lighting. The show 
was phone free . but it would have been hard to film!

Bob's vocals and his musicians were great, the sound crystal clear
throughout the show.   It was so nice to hear Bob throwing himself into
performing from Rough and Rowdy Ways, emphasising lines and words, to
bring more out of these songs.  The personnel may change but as ever, 
the band members had their fixed eyes on Bob and his playing at all times.   
You could almost feel their effort of concentration. 

Bob stayed at the piano throughout the show, standing up a few times to
acknowledge the audience.  A centre set stand-up microphone was never
used. The show went straight through without an encore, ending with a
joyful Every Grain of Sand.  

The show started at 8pm and ended at about 9.50pm

Bob evidently enjoyed his trip to the dreamy spires of Oxford, an
historical and renowned university town. Joking during band introductions 
that Bob Britt or Doug Lancio (can't remember which now)  "Had a PhD 
and would fit right in"  before adding "Nice place to live".

The audience was made up of predominantly veteran fans with a good
sprinkling of younger people.  One fan dressed as millennium Dylan, the
dude cowboy, considerately taking off his hat when he sat down.   
Someone waiting at the stage door said that a fan calling out to Bob to 
sign a vinyl album was rewarded with a wave as Bob departed in his limo. 

Joe Neanor

[TOP]

Comments by Martin Gayford


I just got back from Oxford, my 61st Bob concert. Another great show, a
step up even from the Palladium with some BRILLIANT performances,
especially My Own Version Of You and Key West, and he sang the hell out of
Black Rider. Those were really as good as Iíve ever seen him. A lovely
venue too. And it was fun spending the afternoon with some nice people by
the tour bus, rewarded with about a 2 second glimpse of Bob in his grey
hoodie. It was nice to see Mike there and Rosheen in the pub over the
road. I wish I could go tomorrow night as I have the feeling that might be
the last ever of my shows. I hope not.

[TOP]

Comments by Laurette Maillet


From Manchester to Oxford.
Nice trip on National Express.
The weather is fine arriving in Oxford so I walk the 40 minutes to my AirBandB.
Have to cross a 'Rubicon' few times, as Oxford is a rivers city.
My private room is tiny but hyper clean.
I spend some time watching N.C.I.S. on TV. :)
Then sleep sound.

Oxford November 4th.
Walk back to center town and find a food
street market. I immediately order a Chai tea at the Tibet food stand. 
And later some 'momos'.And dream of visiting Tibet.
Then meet with my friend Stefano for another cup of tea.
What to do next, to kill the time until show time?Well! A museum.
I step inside the Ashmolean museum and... I'm fully impressed!
Thousands years of history and Art.Woah!
They unfortunately close at 5pm.So back to the Oxford New theater.
Bobby's bus door is wrapped with a black curtain, positioned in the 
afternoon to stop fans for taking photos.
Well! My priority is to find a ticket and everyone said that
will be tough: small theater of less than 2000. 
Totally sold out in 20 minutes.But I know it doesn't mean much. 
Still count on a good Samaritan.
For two hours I follow the fans queuing on the streets. 
I don't stop smiling.Even say hi! To Bob Britt passing by!He smiles. 
Seems to be a kind person!
By 7.15pm a young Lady just hands me a ticket.Just like that 
The value is 111£ but she says she doesn't want money. A print?
Yes! She is thankful with one of my Dylan print. :)
The seat is row O but totally on the right, facing the stage.
Show starts slightly after 8pm.
Though security is more than laxiste.( No metal scan and no body scan.), 
it takes a while to fit folks inside. 
My seat might not be the best for the sound is...bad. 
The instruments seem to be in disharmony.
Except for a man on my right, I know for being a follower, the
public is pretty dead.
On "false prophet" instead of saying "I opened my
heart to the world ...and the world came inÖ"Bob says " and they 
sent me in.."???Weird!
In "I'll be your baby tonight" there is a line "Everything will 
be alright" and he adds "I hope".
Few words presenting Doug, Bob Britt and Donnie that I totally missed.
Two sloppy presentations center stage and a second salute, 
all the way in the back(even for me, behind the piano).
Not the best show ever.
The routine is not the best for a Dylan show.It's lacking of energy.
The new arrangements of "Serve somebody" and "Jimmy reed" 
are mellow mellow: (Oxford is a nice city though.
The theater was small, expecting a warm reaction from the
public that didn't truly come.
Thanks the young Lady who didn't make money her priority

[TOP]

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