Brooklyn, New York
November 15, 2023
Review by Adam Selzer
Peter Stone Brown used to say there are nights when he’s Bob Dylan, and
nights when he’s BOB DYLAN. This was one of those nights. Tuesday’s show
was excellent, but tonight the crowd was more energized, breaking into
outright cheers after certain lines and verses, and Dylan seemed to feed
off that energy and bring it back. One of those shows where between songs
you pump your arms in the air, turn to your friends a few rows away and
exchange “Oh my God”s. When lines like that you never noticed before, like
“Train wheels running through the back of my memory,” suddenly destroy
The show began strong; Bob back in his white hat and wearing a black and
white striped shirt (that was probably not the zebra shirt, though I know
I’m not the only one who thought it might have been). The first two songs
didn’t seem like warm-ups. Even in “Watching the River Flow,” he seemed
intent on telling the story inside of the song, something that I almost
ever think about that song. He continued to be adventurous and engaged
during “Multitudes,” making Charlie Chaplin faces between lines, and then
it was “False Prophet” that pumped the show into another level. During the
instrumental breaks he absolutely -attacked- the piano, rocking his head
and body in time to the music as though he were head-banging. I’ve seldom
seen him look as though he was just as lost in the music as any of us.
I’d spent another morning visiting morgues and monasteries, down in the
archives of a churchyard, which really put me in the mood for “My Own
Version of You.” It’s always a highlight, but tonight it had a verse we
were all talking about afterwards: After a quieter-than-usual opening
verse, he leaned in on “Take the SCARRRRface Pacino, the GOOOODfather
Brando, Mix em UPPPPP in a tank….” In a rhythm he sustained for the whole
verse. Perhaps doing it the whole song would have been overkill; after
that one thrilling verse he did the rest like a monologue, more Vincent
Price than ever. Even in his face; he had a grin like Vincent Price
offering you poison wine and knowing that you’re going to drink it, even
though you know it’s poison. And this was the same face that had looked
like Chaplin a few songs ago. Multitudes indeed.
“Rubicon” had particularly smooth, sinister vocals. The rest had me at
such a fever pitch that I almost forgot to wonder if he’d do a surprise
song after “Old Black Magic,” forgot to be disappointed when he didn’t.
Much as I like them, this standard setlist is the show he wants to show
off. And for the first time in several nights, the harmonica to close out
“Every Grain of Sand” (which was another highlight - as close as I’ve
heard to the album version tonight). The effect of him bringing out the
harp right at the end of the show can hardly be overstated; a chef’s kiss
at the end of a powerhouse of a show.
The crowd stood more than usual; normally I’m on the “let people sit,
we’re old” side of that endless debate, but when you sit in the first few
rows of the Kings Theater you’re just watching Bob’s hat peaking over the
piano, so more people stood for most of the show than usual. Down the row
was a dancing woman who looked and dressed like she just came from playing
Columbia in Rocky Horror someplace. Characters everywhere.
One more shout to all the good people who’ve traveled with me; spent the
hours before with Laura, Dean, Rebecca, Robin, and others; our table at
Sycamore had people from Chicago, California, London and Germany. Saw
Anne-Margaret, Craig, Pagel, and others around the venue. Laura
(Definitely Dylan) was a few rows directly behind me, freaking out just as
hard as I was. The show was so overwhelming that there were group hugs
afterwards. What a night. What a trip. What a city. It’s all happening.
Can’t wait to see everyone tonight at the Beacon!
Review by Barry Gloffke
Back again to see Bob in the gorgeous Kings Theatre for night 2
in Brooklyn, NY. I traveled alone tonight and arrived early enough
to get parking spot #1 in front on the venue for the second night in a
row. I went into the venue early to scout out my seating area and to get
feel for the vibe tonight. Saw Phil from Greenpoint, Brooklyn while
roaming around. I decided once again not to go to my seat but to stay by
the vestibule my wife and I were in last night. This paid off handsomely
because I was able to take a 6th row aisle seat that went vacant for most
of the show. A very late arriving fan showed up for the seat, believe it
or not, for the 12th song!... GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY. By then I was rooted
next to the the seat in the aisle where I stood/danced for the whole show.
And what a show it was! I put it a notch above last night, and I think it
may have been the best I've seen in the 8 shows that I attended so far
this tour. Not sure how Bob does it time and again. Tonight Bob came our
fairly quickly after the Band took the stage... only the shortest of
intros before Bob popped out. Right to the piano and off we go... a bit
ragged on the piano initially... but then he belts out the first lyric
"What's the matter with me?, I don't have much to say" and the rest is
like shooting fish in a barrel. Bob's vocals are loud, clear and powerful.
Tonight I felt the songs were more spare, they seemed to move quicker,
though not rushed, and Bob sounded more in command than he has in previous
shows, if that is even possible. I ran into a friend, Jeff, before and
then after the show... he said he felt the show ended early... 9:45pm.
Maybe that's a reflection of the songs' quick pace tonight. The show was
brilliant from end-to-end with standout performances of FALSE PROPHET,
BLACK RIDER, MY OWN VERSION OF YOU and MASTERPIECE to mention just a few.
The audience was energized and I was happy to see a good portion of the
crowd standing for a good portion of the show. I feel that Bob feeds off
that kind of exuberance. We did not get a cover tonight, and there's
speculation among the Bobcats that we may not get anymore this tour. I'm
not in that camp. I feel Bob still has a few covers in his quiver. Only
time will tell. But we did get a spectacular harp solo by the legend
himself. A great coda to the two day Brooklyn bash. Was happy to see, as
mentioned Phil and Jeff. Also very nice to see Ed again tonight with Bill
Pagel and then their buddy Mitch and Sally. Sally was waiting for an Uber
which was late showing up, so I stayed in front of the venue until she was
able to get a taxi. Also, I was given a nice original piece of postcard
art from a woman named Sally who said she had seen me at the Rochester, NY
show.... thanks Sally. Hope you can all make another show. Spoke to a lot
of other very happy Bobcats after the show. Next up the Beacon Theatre in
Manhattan... the borough which gets the name New York City, although it is
only one of 5 boroughs that make up NYC. So when Bob sings "I'm going back
to New York City, I do believe I've had enough"... he's really referring
to Manhattan. PS. Don't you miss it!
Review by Tom Palaima
The Kings Theatre shows on the 14th and 15th took many of us to the realm
of the Lords of Flatbush for the first time. Kings Theatre has the gilded
age majesty of the Beacon Theatre and greater grandeur. Many of us were
hoping that Bob would go Chicago and add a few songs, as he did with
“Born In Chicago” and “Killing Floor Blues” in the Second City, to
the standard Rough and Rowdy Ways set list appropriate to the city that
I suggested to my friends Debbie and Peter and my son Emmett and his
friend Ramon “Up on the Roof,” which I had heard a street singer sing
to recorded music in the Staten Island Ferry terminal, or “Under the
Boardwalk,” or even, to pair with “Old Black Magic,” “Autumn in
New York.” Alas, it was not to be.
The sound mix on the 15th was perfect, having worked out problems with
vocals on the 14th. Bob was relaxed and really dramatically enunciating
the words. Long dramatic pauses, e.g., between “when you go your way”
……….. and ”I’ll go mine,” we’re marvelously effective.
Band was not at all disjointed as they seemed to be a bit on the 14th.
Highlights for me were
“My Version of You.” It was infused with the spirits of Boris Karloff
and Vincent Price, who were off haunting other venues on the 14th.
“Key West” was ethereal and delicate. Remember if you have listened to
too much TV Talkin’ or mobile phone garbage, you can find your mind in
“False Prophet” had an amped up jeremiad in it.
“Every Grain of Sand” had a deep spiritual feeling to it. And Bob on
harp at the end was a nice nightcap to send us out into the crisp autumn
Jerry Pentecost on drums was a revelation. Using brushes on softer songs
let Bob’s keyboards take prime percussion spotlight. Made the band seem
as if they could play the Village Vanguard someday and raised in my mind
memories of Charlie Watts playing jazz standards with his nontet,
No need for guitar heroism. So great to hear two guitarists who know less
is more. And also wonderful to hear Tony Garnier now 35 years along in
never ending touring. Donnie Herron of course fits Bob’s concepts and
improvs like a glove.
Thank you, Bob Dylan, and thank you his loyal and much loved troubadorial
Comments by Ed Grazda
Another great show, ending with harp at end of Every Grain of Sand.
Only marred by the jerks in the front row standing and blocking the
view of the 3 thousand people behind them. rude people should stay home.
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