November 9, 2021
Review by Laurette Maillet
It had been two years since I've not seen Bob on stage.
My last show was Washington D.C. 2019. I have a vivid memory of that show.
Not the best ever for me.
But I , somehow by impulse, gave a sweet kiss to Barron (Bob's bodyguard)
who had always been kind to me. Just to say goodbye and thank you. I know
that for many Fans , they don't pay too much attention to the 'entourage',
or never heard about the name of Bob Dylan's bodyguard, and his devoted
career of 30 years.
Nothing I knew, then, about what would be a world disaster. And that
“Times would be changed forever”. And that that kiss would be a
Lot of water under the bridge, Lot of other stuff too;.
I feel these two years as ten years.
The virus pushed people inside their home and inside their mind, aging
before time. I aged!
“Shadow kingdom” was a nice surprise. I was a bit disappointed at
first about the 'retro' style but then I was hooked on it.
My idea was (if Bob was coming back on stage) he would pursue in that way
and maybe book the Beacon theater for a month and make it his residence!
But Bob is thinking his own way, so, he decided to do as before and go on
a 'normal' Tour. Though the name changed to 'Rough and rowdy ways' and is
booked until 2024. Should we call it the Farewell Tour? Nothing certain
with Bobby Dylan!
So it is. A Tour from Midwest to the East coast. Done many times before
and thousands miles trip.
I optimistically (and that's pretty rare from me) booked a flight to
Chicago on November 1st, hopping for the opening of the USA borders at
that date. Just time for me to reach Milwaukee on time for the first BD
show on the 2sd of November 2021. Mr Joe Biden didn't read my mind to
fullfill my dream. Borders opened on November 8th. So it is. I changed my
My first show would be Cincinnati. No surprise about the stage set or the
setlist. Largelly propagatting by Fans.
No comment on the setlist. It is what it is and somehow predictible
considering the title of the Tour!
What is less , for me, is the composition of the Band. Except for Tony
Garnier, fidel Maestro for 30 years or more, and Donnie Herron, the sweet
looking multiplayer multi instruments (even an accordion!), I don't know
the musiciens, as I knew Stu, George or Charlie! My prayers to George,
hoping for the best.
So, let's start a'new.
If some people asks : how far are you willing to go for a Bob Dylan
show....? here is my answer:
Leaving my home town on November 8th. Right after midnight to be on accord
with American regulation :) I catch a four hours ride bus to Paris CDG.
With some anxiety that have not left me for a whole month now I wait for
the checkin at United Airlines. Fully loaded with documentation, both
printed and on my mobile Xiaomi; my passport, my ESTA, my return ticket,
my Covid-19 double vaccination (I am usually anti-vaccination, never done
any in my adult life! “Sacrifice is the code of the road!”, my PCR
test (negatif TG!), my addresses and phone numbers in the states (multiply
friends), my first Greyhound ticket to Cincinnati. [I have no room for
food and drink :)]
I fully relax as soon as I take my '51J' seat on a Boing something :), I
have paid for extra, not willing by any way to let go that seat. I'm on a
“mission”. Mission given to me by all my dear Bob Dylan friends less
fortunate than me. All the Poo' souls who can't make it to the tour. A
sweet thought for my Japanese friends stuck in Japan! And the number 1 Bob
Dylan Fan in China! I swear I'll enjoy the shows for you...no matter what!
After watching four films on a small screen, including “Trouble no
more” [with sweet Klydie King R.I.P.]that they display on that Boing
something... We land in Chicago O'Hare , safe and sound! TG!
Chicago Airport is packed. Travelers from Europe or Americans returning
As I don't have checkin luggage I am fast out. Catching the Blue line
train to downtown Chicago. By now it's only 2PM. After 8 hours of
flight??? thank God the planet earth is round. Then my night Greyhound bus
to Cincinnati, final destination, (stoping at Indianapolis and Louisville)
with compulsery mask wearing. I didn't breath normally for hours!
So... as some good friends told me : “it could have been worse”!.
After all I'm just dead tired and starved! [try to get dissant food at the
Cincinnati , here I am. Nice weather, not so cold.
I run and roll (my suitcase) all the way to the Aronoff Theater. No BD
poster no where. But I know for sure Bob Dylan will play here tonight
'cause a GOOD Samarithan sent me a tix on my XIAOMI. Thanks the GS!
I catch a city bus to my first Couchsurfing Host, Erin. CS is the way to
Time for a shower, a potatoes salad, an American coffee :), off I walk
down the road to the Aronoff.
Light body and light spirit!
5 pm the BD bus and the musiciens bus are parked behind the entrance.
No one I know around. I do know 'Security Bob' retired and somehow I have
the feeling that Barron Tabura won't be here! He won't. I miss you a lot
lot loyal Samouraï :( . Be safe and happy!
I seat for one hour and discuss Bob Dylan with a nice gentleman , named
Watson. Then time to get in. Covid pass and ticket are all scanned from my
My seat is fine; floor, middle.(no one seated on my right?) I know
the stage set...I've watched some videos.
Bob is late! Oh oh !15 minutes :)
All dressed in Black; musiciens and Bob. Bobby wears regularly now a black
pants with whites stripes on the side (adjusted with a blak/white belt). A
black shirt (with or without embroidery) a white or black jacket with
embroidery. His shoes are no longer the cowboy many years boots but flat
black or white 'boat' shoes?
The stage is almost barren except for the musical intruments. No more
Oscar, statues, mannequins, mirrors, artifacts... The lights come strictly
from...the floor. It looks like translucid plastic sheets or (shit). I
hate it. It seems slithery and I wouldn't like to be there. Too much
afraid to fall in the abyss of the angry flames :). and Bob himself
doesn't feel stable on that floor. Looking carefully where he puts his
feet. At some point, tonight, he stambled on Tony's stand bass!
Hey people! Do something smart. We don't want our Icon, Hero, Messiah,
Legend...to fall flat on his face :)
Bobby looks like a ghost. No kidding!
Charley Drayton on Light-Green batteries (a lot) on the left (facing the
stage) Tony Garnier on stand bass or 'flat' bass,Bob Britt on guitare,
Doug Lancio … second guitare (at times totally disappearing behind Bob
and his piano) and the ever eternall and young Donnie Herron: steal
guitars, mandoline, violin, accordion!..
No light on the curtains behind. My friend Chris also disappeared :(
Two mikes center stage, (only one in use), a mike by the piano. Piano?
Well it's a half piano! Turned facing the curtains, so the audience will
see only the back (ugly look. I would glue a painting or something. Paint
Graffiti?). Bobby is hidding his lyrics shits from the public. When he
gets exited they kind of flow away! Saw them Bobby :)
I know the setlist by now. The two first shows were a rehearsal. Now the
setlist seems stable. Go check on Boblinks.com
8 songs from “Rough and rowdy ways”. No surprise considering the title
of that tour (ending in 2024???). First time, for what I know, that he
will start right away with 8 songs from the last/new album recorded.
Exception of 'Slow train coming' and the 'Gospel' tour 79/80 ?
To be honest (and I am always a little bit too much!) I didn't like what I
heard on Youtube previously, the entire Milwaukee show. I was not familiar
enough with RARW. I had to follow the lyrics in front of me on my
computer. And to tell you the truth I will never memorise Key West, Murder
most foul, or Mother of muses, or False Prophets...I'll be glad to READ
them, maybe with Bobby claiming those poems on back ground. For me, they
are poems, not songs. Because English is not my mother language? Or the
American culture is not part of my memory and soul?
How the general European public will react to Key West (on stage?).
So you realize...Key West is not my favorite from that setlist. Neither
“Mother of Muses”. I compare with 'Ring them bells'. But RTB beeing a
lot more 'compacte' and 'finished'. Again...just my opinion and feeling!
No judgement or critic. I don't want to argue with no one. Love it if you
want. I won't (not for now).
Except my little remark on those two, I enjoy the entire show. Apparently
much better than the first ones. The boys get together. I saw the two
guitarists exchanging words and Donnie as serious as a Pope (of Rock). The
rock songs are rocking hard. My highlight would be “You've gotta serve
Though I still miss George Receli on drums (the best in my opinion)
Charley Drayton is doing some nuanced plays with sticks or brushes; hard
As for Bob? Only the piano was his instrument. No guitar, no harmonica :(
No mistakes on the lyrics, as much as I could tell? Except on 'I'll be
your Baby tonight' where the few first words were not heard. The mike was
off? Bob moved immediately to the piano mike.
He is seated and disappears entirely (except for some fluffy hairs on the
top of his head) when he decides to play some solo piano breaks. Happens
He will start the first verse of many songs on the central mike. Holding
the mike freely in his hand. Bending his knees in a funny dancing style
but , for the exception of “Melancholy mood” [short] he will end all
the songs at the piano. Sometimes playing, sometimes not a note.
No interaction with the public. Maybe closer to the first raw for “I'll
be your Baby tonight” ???:)
But other songs, far away. The haze difused from below will blur any
tentative of photo.
Before he introduced the Band he murmured some words I didn't catch. About
people being in or from Cincinnati.He said thanks. And I answered
“thanks to YOU” :).
He rapidly disappeared after “Every grain of sand”. Escaping the final
crowd photos from the past when he and his Band used to bow. Smart!
As the general public expect another encore quietly seated :)
The public? I would say “aged”, exception of some youngsters. I would
say “polite” (the mask is not helping to sing along or shout!). Not
necessarily responding to the new songs but not too much “ignorant”.
The young man next to me knew the RARW songs and was following the setlist
on his phone.
Standing at the entrance of the Band and Bob but not over applauding at
The audience is rapidly evacuated.
Capacity close to 3000. I'm not sure if it was sold out. I didn't check
So , my dear Friends I will now catch a breakfast before heading to the
Greyhound station where my bus will take me to Knoxville.
Howdy, on the road again! :)
Review by E.B.
The Bob Dylan Concert poster proclaims “Rough and Rowdy Ways” but for
the standing ovations our crowd at the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati were
not rowdy and although we leaped to our feet with joy in our enthusiastic
ovations we mostly were cheering and applauding wildly from our seats and
yelling passionately from behind our masks (as one does these days.)
Yes, it is still Pandemic O’Clock in the Queen City (and the home of the
old King Records as Bob so well noted in his brief remarks later in the
evening) but, sadly, our regional website says: “Since January of last
year (2020) at least 1 in 7 people who live in Cincinnati Metro area have
been infected and at least 1 in 564 people have died.” The concert
poster artwork depicts a well dressed skeletal figure wielding a syringe
(and a gift box!) and I of course purchased the poster, but perhaps it
will go, Dorian Gray style, in the closet for the time being.
Some of my seat mates in the orchestra section were at their very first
(FIRST!) Bob Dylan concert and were wondering aloud about what to expect.
I tried to mention, encouragingly, that we might be likely to hear NEW
music from the NEW album…. They seemed perplexed to find out that there
was anything much new from Bob, and instant cell phone googling ensued….
Something new, you say…. Yes!
Bob performed standing up behind his upright piano to the right of the
stage surrounded by his band, some new faces and some familiar ones, too.
The stage was unadorned (gone were the mannequins, Mole Richardson Klieg
lights and props from 2019) but the scene was spookily well lit on a stage
draped in dark curtains.
Sometimes Bob retreated to the safety of the piano after coming center
stage to sing every now and again - doing some impressively deep sideways
knee bends and dance moves and proving his bell still rings - but what
stood out for me this night was his impressive vocal performance, strong
and commanding and telling tales warningly, emphatically and enigmatically
but oh so compellingly - we were all hanging on every word - when he told
us “[he] made up his mind to give [himself] to [us]” we believed in
every word! (But we were not all that sure about going to Key West.)
“Every Grain of Sand” (a personal favorite and a touchstone for me,
because Bob sang it for me at my Very First Bob Dylan concert in the year
2006) rounded out the night and was a tremendous joy and gift and
delivered with beauty and grace and bestowed upon a very grateful
welcoming crowd, who were not rough nor rowdy but embracing our
benediction from Bob with reciprocal love.
(As the old poster used to proclaim: “In Show and Concert…. Don’t
You Dare Miss it!”) *****
Review by Tom Burke
Bob Dylan brought his "Rough and Rowdy Ways'' tour to Cincinnati on
The promotional poster proclaims, "things aren't what they were", but
thankfully, somethings never change, as Dylan and his band provided a
great night of music and entertainment.
The band wore black, as did Dylan, though his outfit was embellished with
subtle white embroidery. The stage was framed with black side and back
curtains with the band set up in a compact arrangement with Dylan
slightly stage right at the piano.
The setting and effect may have been austere, but the music was more
often true to the tour's rough and rowdy ways moniker.
The show kicked off with a rollicking, high energy, Watching the River
Flow, which was followed by a driving jaunty Most Likely You Go Your Way
(and I'll Go Mine) both songs featuring Bob at the piano playing with
great spirit and vigor.
Several of the songs from Rough and Rowdy Ways, including, I Contain
Multitudes, False Prophet, Black Rider, Key West, I've Made up My Mind
to Give Myself to You, and Goodbye Jimmy Reed were delivered with
Dylan starting at center stage using a hand held mic and mid song returning
to the piano for the finish. All of those selections, though sounding great
on the record, performed live were imbued with much greater depth,
effect and resonance, thanks to Dylan's facial expressions, body language,
and unparalleled vocal stylings.
In a show of numerous singing highlights, the following stood out: Dylan's
insistent, emphatic, near snarling vocals in False Prophet; his wistful mood
and delivery of Key West; and his absolutely all in, heartfelt version of, I've
Got My Mind Made Up to Give Myself to You.
Highlights from the band included: all of Tony Garnier's work on the stand
up base, Donnie Herron's accompaniment on violin, lap steel, and most
particularly his beautiful accordion playing on Key West; and, Doug Lancio
and Bob Britt's dual lead guitar work on the hard driving version of Gotta
Prior to the closing song, Dylan, who seemed to be in good spirits,
introduced the band members, and then engaged in some patter with the
audience noting that Roy Rogers and Marty Balin were from Cincinnati, and
wondering whimsically, "whether they ever knew each other."
The show closed with Dylan performing the beautiful , Every Grain of Sand.
Review by Joe Hollon
The 11/9/21 show at the Arnoff Center in Cincinnati was a duplicate
setlist from a couple days earlier in Columbus, as I expected. Everything
about the performance was pretty much the same but with no harmonica. I
keep hearing and reading people commenting on how good Bob's voice sounds
and it really is true. Not just fanboy gushing. "False Prophet" has
rocketed up my list of all-time favorite songs and was a highlight of both
Ohio shows. Funny moment on one of the first couple songs, Bob stepped on
the mic cord and unplugged it! He quickly pivoted and returned to the
piano so he could be heard for the rest of the song while someone rushed
on stage to fix the mic. Something I didn't notice at all in Columbus,
but was on display here: the ongoing battle between fans and security.
Lots of people taking pics and videos and lots of security/ushers shining
annoying lights into the crowd. Distracting and frustrating all around.
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