Port Chester, New York
November 8, 2023
Review by Peter Smith
There’s an air of nostalgia driving into Port Chester from neighboring
Greenwich and Fairfield county CT. It’s a river town with an immigrant
core that has been slow to replace the red brick buildings of its
manufacturing past with the multi storied residential buildings that offer
more attractive rents than those in neighboring communities. That
nostalgia only got deeper entering into the Capitol Theater on Wednesday
night. The packed crowd at Garcia’s, the bar off the lobby of the theater,
stood three deep at the bar. A mirror ball hung from the ceiling and lit
their faces as they gazed at black and white photos of the Grateful Dead
from their many shows here. A large poster from a 1970 double bill of
Canned Heat and the Steve Miller Band hung on the stairs leading up to the
balcony. Dylan’s show tonight offered a nod to the past with a warmly
received version of the Dead’s Stella Blue, the lyrics for which Dylan
fumbled to find in the notebook atop the baby grand piano he played
throughout the show. That tribute followed Dylan’s tender rendition of the
1942 Harold Arlen Johnny Mercer classic, That Old Black Magic. Save for
those nods to the past, Dylan’s set list was decidedly current. After a
sound issue that cut his vocals during the first lines of Watching the
River Flow, the audio and Dylan’s vocals were crystal clear and mixed out
front with his spirited piano playing. He came out holding his white
fedora and placed it on the piainno until he placed it on his head and
stood up for a rousing performance of False Prophet, which got the crowd
roaring. Dylan then kept the hat off for the rest of the show. He was
careful to use his hand to tease out his coiffed hair two or three times
between songs, as if he was concerned about hat head. The band was solid,
although there was a lack of instrumental solos that would have
highlighted their talents. No Charlie Sexton to share the spotlight in
this group, just the solid anchor of Tony Garnier and drummer Jerry
Pentecost who were set close enough on stage to touch hands. An altogether
solid show, and worth every effort that Dylan and his fans made to come
together and make it happen. May it go on longer for us all.
Review by Barry Gloffke
--------- Second night, Port Chester, NY. This is show 4 of 14 for me on
this leg of the Rough and Rowdy Ways tour. On my own tonight.
This show was a notch below last nights' effort, but still a damned good
concert. Bob started out slow, as he sang the first lines of WATCHING THE
RIVER FLOW into thin air. When he finally put the mic close enough to his
mouth he was unintelligible. He took him about midway through MOST LIKELY
YOU GO YOUR WAY (AND I'LL GO MINE) to warm his voice. From there the show
took off and Bob started to grease the wheels.... although he did repeat
some lines and lost his way going to KEY WEST. The Band, with the new
sound of Jerry Pentecost, was brilliant once again. It was interesting
tonight to watch Donnie Herron work his mandolin to keep pace with Bob's
improvisation. FALSE PROPHET was thick with doom and gloom and BLACK RIDER
was moody, atmospheric and revered by the audience as we stood quietly and
absorbed it all. The crowd was in good spirits and there was one guy near
me who reacted to a lot of Bob's christian references. At one point he
yelled out 'SOLID ROCK' to which Bob clearly looked his way and gave a
look as if to say 'Hmmm, maybe, but not tonight'.
The cover slot tonight was given over to the Grateful Dead... and the
Deadheads loved it. Bob really likes doing these slow grooving covers and
they all seem to tell a story of past glories or the end of the line.
Tonight was another tender reading of Stella Blue. It was glorious.
It was a lot of work to be able to be on the rail, only 20 or so feet from
Bob, for both Port Chester shows, but well worth it. Once again many happy
Bobcats before and after the show. Nice to see Phil from Greenpoint,
Brooklyn, Beacon Bar Mike, Nona, Rich, Kevin and young Dylan and his dad.
On a side note: while waiting for Bob on the floor before the show, there
was a woman who had traveled from Barcelona, Spain to run the NYC
marathon. When she saw that Bob was playing in Port Chester, NY she
decided to buy a ticket. She had never seen Bob before tonight. She was
standing behind my left shoulder for the entire show and when GOODBYE
JIMMY REED ended I offered her my space on the rail. As you can imagine
she was very happy watching Bob sing EVERY GRAIN OF SAND from only 20'
Good two shows in Port Chester. Off to a weekend run Providence RI,
Waterbury CT, and Springfield MA. Don't you miss it!
Review by Scott Kareff
Night 2 at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY did not disappoint.
Stella Blue, a nod from Bob to the Grateful Dead pedigree of the storied
venue, was perhaps the gem of the night.
The current iteration of Bob Dylan and his Band did justice to the work,
and the set list was a reflection of the Covid years from Bob, with song
selection and arrangements fairly split down the middle between Rough and
Rowdy Ways early Covid new stuff and Shadow Kingdom late/end Covid old
Larry Campbell is missed; the 2 new guitar players do an admirable job of
it, but still. New drummer is good. And of course Tony Garnier on bass.
When Bob hit the stage, a little unsteady of gait, you were relieved when
he found the baby grand piano bench without incident, and settled into the
flow - he fussed with his hair (in real life, like in the lyrics) like all
the young dudes but had no blood feuds when he sang “I Contain
Watching the River Flow/Most Likely You’ll Go Way (and I’ll go mine)
Songs of detachment and goodbye - helluva way to start any show.
I Contain Multitudes/False Prophet
Ralph Waldo Emerson meets Dementia J Trump. Bob ascendant.
Several times during the incantations, and especially at one point midway
through the show, Bob waited an impossibly long time before reaching the
end of the line, and just like the phone in the bag, it put a premium on
being there in the then and there.
Gotta Serve Somebody
Couldn’t decipher the opening lines but heard Peter and Paul I think ;)
I’ve Made My Mind up to give myself to you
Back atcha Bob - love song to the fans ;)
Goodbye Jimmy Reed/Every Grain of Sand
Tribute meets prayer
Who’s got my miracle ticket to the Beacon next week?
Special thanks to my Dylan for the experience of our Dylan
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