Cleveland, Ohio

State Theatre

November 12, 2014

[Bill Royaloak], [Daniel Chester], [Brian B.], [Tom Zubal], [R. Whelan]

Review by Bill Royaloak

Best show ever! Great venue and lots of fun in the audience (SD trying to
crash stage w/jewel boxed crystal for Bob and the original "WOO" guy from
one too many) what a blast! 

Walked into the State Theater complex around 3pm (from Detroit) for will
call ticket and guy next to me was asking where theater was. Turned out to
be Tony on his way to his gig. Didn't recognize him w/o the hat. Played
great bass all night. I asked him if he was going to see Bob Dylan then
laughed and didn't bug him when I realized he was "Bob Dylan Band elite"
How cool! (Behind the scenes moment).

This is the series I wish I could see every show for, the band sounds
fantastic, Bob is just jamming on that piano, especially the "Tempest"
stuff and he sounds spectacular. If they come to your town go to every
show available. This is definitely worth hearing more than once. The
smaller venues really make Dylan and the whole band really shine. You can
hear them play and really hear Bob sing his songs. Feel spoiled by this

Bill Royaloak


Review by Daniel Chester

Things: one is so excited for the show and he and they were engaged and
yet pretty ho-hum…it did coalesce mid-way (happened on a few songs) but,
still, it may be time to give it a rest

She Belongs: interesting version/arrangement and dug the mallets and the
singing was pretty good…at the same time felt a little overly messed with
as the lyrics get submerged and there’s no way anyone should submerge
lines like ‘but you will wind up peeking through her keyhole down upon
your knees’…do love tapping into ‘Bringing it all Back Home’ 

Beyond Here: really well delivered and a cool rhythm and especially dug
the the interplay of piano and guitar

Workingman: some very nice sounds in this one though never really
happened…guitar found/created this really sweet and tender melody line…for
the first time since having heard this the lyrics and music/arrangement
somehow did not match up (a lullaby-type thing with the word

Waiting: except for the stand-up with the bow and the drummer using
brushes quite average

Duquesne: wowwowyow…turned it into a 22nd century jazz thang…the
piano/guitar (hollow-body) unified at alot of points…the stand-up bass
almost leading the charge (why not use stand-up every song?)

Pay in Blood: harmless little trifle that lacked the intensity that might
propel this thing beyond average

Tangled: so many different versions through the years and this was quite
cool as it reminded one of a Steven Stills Manassas gem…messed with lyrics
to good effect

Love Sick: sung well, still, was bereft of the menace that might take this
tune where it needs to be (though the weariness angle isn’t bad)…other
possible first set closers out there? you bet

Highwater: nice picking song and let us celebrate the banjo (and stand-up
and brushes) but still not near strong enough energy or sound-wise to open
the second set…where’s the menace? this song should almost panic you

Simple Twist: crème de la gems this evening…pedal steel just fantastic in
creating mood/soundscape…delivery of lyrics fit (especially from center
stage)…altered some lyrics…magical (thank you, Maestro!)

Early Roman: even the stand-up couldn’t save this pedestrian number…this
should have a strong/spare John Lee Hooker stomp to it that takes you back
to the very birth, nay, the very conception of the blues

Forgetful: splendid…from the atmosphere to the viola to the conga/mallets
to the stand-up with bow to the singing to harp…price-of-admission type

Spirit: all tradition aside, this might be the best song of his that is
currently in the set-list…sung well…the guitars and pedal and piano
harmonious…something indefinably cool about this treasure…people that
think you’re over-the-hill struggle to comprehend art or artists

Scarlet: very nicely done and yet not quite as mystical as a couple
previous versions…great lyrics sung well…the stand-up and brushes getting
it done…completed a really strong, little three tune run

Soon After I Wished for a Different Tune: just not feeling this

Long And Wasted Slot on the Set-List: the instrumentation and delivery
we’re OK on this average tune…understand and admire a legend playing his
new material and yet maybe 213 better choices for this moment in the show

Blowin’: good delivery (violin) and pleasant to hear though just a little
North of interesting

Stay With Me: best thing to happen to Neverending since he eliminated the
acoustic set in the middle of the show…been saying for years to let the
last song be an opportunity to leave people with something significant in
feeling or mood (as opposed to tired anthemic-type things like ‘Rainy Day’
or ‘Thin Man’ or ‘Watchtower’)…the choice is inspired…missed a few notes
and all that did was take the poignancy up several notches…outside of the
maybe the gospel songs just the thing to send people out with (oh, here,
take this prayer with you)…humming it afterwards and next morning (it
stays with you)…bravo!

Summary: stellar theatre venue…largely engaged audience (do wish it would
get up and move on a few songs)…band unified…singing was quite good and
yet there were moments where it was clear and moments when it tough to
decypher the lyrics (was it him, the mix, the listener?)…the
staging/backdrops/lighting were strong though the darkness factor was a
little too pervasive…drummer stood out tonight for very creative use of
the tools of his craft (mallets!)…thought the end of first set and
beginning of second could have been stronger…length of every song was
absolutely perfect…think there was one guitar solo (that ain’t no rock
show)…again, getting the beauty of an older artist having and playing new
material and yet (last time) a few less of these tunes would work better
(especially with his gem-bag)…call it quality, best tunes were ‘Stay’ and
‘Simple’ and ‘Duquesne’ with honrable mention for ‘Forgetful’…thanks,

Daniel Chester


Review by Brian B.

Bob Dylan wrote in ChroniclesVol. 1 that in the early 1990’s, he hit the
rest button on his career. In orderto accomplish the task, relentless
touring would be the key component. Theearly 90’s recordings mirrored
those first recorded in the early 1960s; theywere minimalist featuring
vocals, acoustic guitar and occasional harmonica. Thetours that followed
throughout the 1990s relied heavily on previous work.However, the songs
featured on 1997’s “Time Out of Mind” would stand just astall as the
work that captivated listeners in the decades preceding. Themartial
produced on the recordings that followed “Love and Theft,”
“ModernTimes,” and “Together through Life” shared the same
characteristics.  If “Good as I Been to You” and “World
GoneWrong” mirrored “Bob Dylan” and “The Freewheelin’ Bob
Dylan,” theaforementioned recordings would do the same with the pinnacle
work of his“electric” recordings of the 1960s. In a sense, Dylan has
had two parallelcareers in different eras of time. Last night’s concert
in Clevelandexemplified the direction of the second era of Dylan’s
career. If the resetbutton was hit in the early 1990s, the artist’s
career has now reached thehighest level of performance twenty some years
later as evidenced by a set listcarefully planned and delivered to his
audience. The current tour draws heavilyfrom the collection of work
recorded on the “Tempest” album. The 1960s and 70swere revisited only
four times throughout the evening. Those songs included bothnew
arrangements and lyrics at times. The selections from that era fit well
with the more recent material, akin to an artist’s display ofwork at an
exhibit. The exhibit for the current tour tells the story of one’slife
experience, finding love, losing love, reflections on the world, and
talesof self-discovery. The highest of highs and depths of despair were
intertwinedthroughout the lyrical content of last night’s performance.
Dylan’s gift forthe craft of song was at the forefront of the
performance and highlighted in themusical styles of the American landscape
- variations of Blues, Jazz, and Rock.The musicians assembled to accompany
Dylan have mastered the art of painting with the subtle brushstrokes
needed to accentuate each song. The band spares little timebetween numbers
and each selection immediately pulls the audience into adifferent story
narrated by Dylan. Sparse lighting mixed with a collage ofcolors at times,
illuminate but never contrast with the context of theperformance. 24 years
into his latest career incarnation, Bob Dylan has arrivedat the top of his
artistic medium.


Review by Tom Zubal

Days after graduating from 11th grade, my friends and I caught our first Dylan 
show on June 21, 1988 at Blossom Music Center. The band, at the time, 
included G. E. Smith, and was beloved by the fans of the day. My first GREAT 
Dylan show was July 17, 1991. A truly mind expanding experience by a 
balls-to-the-wall band led by the great John Jackson. Since that show, I've 
always been "chasing the Bob dragon," trying to recapture that amazing 
experience. I've come close in the 30+ shows I've seen over the years, but 
since 1998, not so much. As I age, I realize that I was expecting Bob to be
the Bob of 1991, and those expectations are foolish.
I went down to the Palace Theatre looking for a ticket on the street and 
quickly found one. The show began promptly at 8 with a beautiful acoustic 
guitar solo (chordal) that morphed into "Things Have Changed." This was a 
great opener and fine way for Bob to set the tone of the night, which was 
certainly NOT a "greatest hits" show. I will not do a song by song review, but 
simply give my perspective on what it is that Bob is up to these days.

The stage lighting and backdrops gave me the impression of being in a 
cabaret in the 1920s. The subtle changes of the backdrops enhanced each 
song as did the large vintage looking Hollywood style lights. Today's Bob 
show is more about a controlled conveyance of an aesthetic as opposed to 
a rock concert. Carefully planned arrangements with subtle lighting changes 
give the feel of seeing "a show" (but not cheesy or Vegas-like) as opposed 
to simply a musical event. 

Getting to the music, much of the new music has rather complex 
arrangements and surprising chord changes. A nice juxtaposition from the 
simple three chord simplicity of a song like "She Belongs to Me." Likewise, 
Bob's piano playing was surprisingly well articulated and creative. Even though 
I've been a fan for 27 years, I never knew what a great live pianist he's 
become! (or perhaps always was?). 

The theatre was darn near full and I saw many familiar faces. The soundman 
did a FINE job of mixing the six-piece band. The music never got in the way 
of Bob's voice. Speaking of the voice…..while he certainly does not have the 
higher registers available these days, he more than makes up for this by 
singing not only perfectly on key, but his phrasing is like that of the finest jazz 
musician. He is always twisting and turning in exciting new directions while 
never hindering the overall impact of each song. 

One quick song note: Tonight's version of TUIB was fantastic and included 
many great lyrical substitutions that I found highly enjoyable. 

In conclusion, I would not call what Bob is doing these days "rock n roll," but
it doesn't really matter - he already did all that. Bob and band are providing a 
show rich in quality music, visual presentation, heart and soul. 

Tom Zubal


Review by R. Whelan

Went to show with 6 folks.  2 pretty hardcore fans and really 4
newbies.The show started a bit rough; his voice did not appear to be fully
warmed up at first.  By the third song he was great and there were moments
of pure genius.I am not a huge fan of several songs on the current
playlist but even some that are not my favorite (e.g. spirit on the water,
early roman kings) were performed very well.Tangled, twist of fate,
lovesick and long and wasted years were great.  I must say that Forgetful
heart was simply beautiful.  Stay with me also sounded great and somewhat
sad.  We will not have him around forever and each time feels like it
might be the last.I have heard many of the tour songs from youtube etc but
nothing prepares you for the full sound of his voice and the precision of
his band.Go while you still can. 


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