Reviews

Cleveland, Ohio

Auditorium Theatre

November 5, 2021


[Timothy Burns], [Billy Cardina]

Review by Timothy Burns


I will not be as complete as the reviewers in the previous two concerts,
but here are my thoughts, in no particular order:

Stage Setup:

Very sparse...gone was the lighting from the last two times I saw Bob in
Akron Ohio. The under the floor lighting as good, Bob and the band were
better lit than the overly dark former time, especially in 2017. You will
get to see Bob quite well, which was appreciated.

The Band:

I will not comment too much on them, I am not an expert in their
'tightness' as some may talk about. I did pick up on what I thought were a
few hiccups, but again, I am not sure and it did not matter.

The General Feel:

If you saw Shadow Kingdom, at 4 or 5 points, the sound and feel was quite
like that obviously with the choices of the non-Rough and Rowdy Ways songs
and the approach to the songs. I was completely fine with that, it was
great.

The Set List:

I will not list everything out, like others may, but a few thoughts:

I knew generally what was coming from seeing the set lists from the first
two shows, and I was glad that Bob featured so many songs from the new
album. I do not recall the last time he ever did that many songs 'touring
the new album' since maybe the first time I ever saw him, ironically 32
years prior in the same venue in 1989 with the Oh Mercy songs.

What I did not expect was that I completely enjoyed the new songs more
than almost any of the other songs. Even though When I Paint My
Masterpiece was quite amazing. More on the last song a bit later :) If you
read this before going to the show, make sure you do your homework on the
new album. It is both great, complex and will make watching him do them
live that much more wonderful, and it was wonderful.

On Bob Himself:

Dressed in all black, he would go back and forth at times singing with a
separate microphone in hand, then setting it down on the upright piano
(with a slight clunk which was awesome)

Twice before the end he said "Thank You!" and once he said "It's dark in
here!" which I laughed at. As we know, hearing him say anything is
awesome.

My main takeaway was two-fold. Firstly, the band and the arrangements,
while similar at times to Shadow Kingdom, it allowed Bob himself to be the
most central at every moment for every song, except perhaps for Gotta
Serve Somebody. This I felt was really important and great. I do not ever
recall where I left at the end with the feeling that this concert was 100%
about Bob and not somewhat about how great the band was. I am not doing
former bands any disservice, it is just a feeling about the approach. At
no time did you ever have to take your eyes off Bob, which I did not do.

The second main takeaway was perhaps the best. I did not come in with
expectations of "How good are his vocals going to be?" Although I did
wonder if he would sound similar to Shadow Kingdom in which he sounded
absolutely amazing. Partway through song #1 (watching the river flow) I
detected (or I think I did) a noticeable  change in the audio mix where
they brought Bob's voice up and just be above everything else. The rest of
the concert had his voice amazingly loud and so clear. Well done to the
sound techs.

After they did that, at least 5 times during the show (probably more), I
was shaking my head side to side thinking: "It is not possible for him to
sound this good..." I am not enough of a Bob apologist to say that 100% of
the time at former shows, but this one was different. Every single song,
his voice was crisp and clear. Every song. As others have said, he did
have papers in front of him, but whether on the Rough and Rowdy songs he
was referring to it, I could not detect. If it helped, so be it, it was
worth it.

Again, I cannot believe how good he sounded. If you have seen him maybe
from 2010 until now, you are going to be pleasantly surprised. His voice
was the star of the show. "I've Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You" he
sounded not only perfect, but even better than the album. I hope to find a
recording at some point to detect where I recall yelling in pleasure at
points :)

At the End:

After the introductions, he went back to the piano after huddling with
Tony and the band a bit. Then basically my jaw hit the floor, when he
started with "In the time of my confession..." Wow, Every Grain of Sand! I
could not believe it. It is my favorite song of Bob's by far and I feel
blessed to have it end the show.

What did seem odd, was 1) no encore 2) ending with Every Grain of Sand. I
would trade no encore songs (No Love Sick, No It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It
Takes A Train To Cry)

Although this was somewhat odd, and I assume it was planned, I can't help
but perhaps think that he detected that after Every Grain of Sand, not
everyone was standing and clapping.  How they could not, I cannot imagine.
During the show, the crowd was fairly subdued too. I understand that if
you did not listen to the new album, you did not know those songs, but he
sounded SO GOOD all night. That coupled with the fact that you just saw
the greatest rock singer songwriter ever, maybe you could stand up at the
end?  Curious to see how future shows might end.

More things to probably say, but I was very very pleasantly surprised with
all the new material and  thought Bob was amazing. If you even THINK of
not seeing him, please think twice. Go get the new album...dig into it and
go see Bob.

Timothy Burns

[TOP]

Comments by Billy Cardina


Awesome show! Great sound and �Every Grain of Sand� a first for this
tour was amazing. Crowd was subdued and this was Bob�s first Ohio Show
since he played beautiful Akron in November 2019. Old songs integrated
well with Rough and a Rowdy Ways. LOVED Key West
God Bless Bob!

Billy Cardina

[TOP]

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