Reviews
Newark, New Jersey
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Prudential Hall

November 20, 2023

[Barry Gloffke], [Peter Smith], [Gregory Schwartz]

Review by Barry Gloffke


This is show 12 of 15 for me on this leg of the Rough and Rowdy Ways tour.
First time for me at the NJPAC arena in Newark, NJ. I was very impressed
by the easy parking, access to the arena and short lines for beverages. It
was also a beautiful theatre with nearly six floors of balcony/box seats.
Although the theatre is only 20 miles from my home in Queens, NYC, it took
2 hours to drive there.

Once inside I found that my third row seat was nicely located... I thought
it was an aisle seat, but there was no aisle on my side... the row ended
at a ledge at the side of the venue. Because of this arrangement, I was
able to drop my jacket, drinks and notes onto the ledge and use it as a
desk all night long. Nice!

The stage was hidden behind a curtain for the second time (Beacon Theatre,
NY was the first) I have seen on this tour, and when it rose at showtime
Bob and the Band were at the ready, instruments in hand. Unlike the Beacon
though there was no cover before WATCHING THE RIVER FLOW as the the Boys
went straight to work on the song and Bob sang the first line clear and
strong. I thought the first three songs tonight were good, but I felt the
show took off after a thundering FALSE PROPHET. He followed that with some
outstanding piano playing on WHEN I PAINT MY MASTERPIECE (Donnie was great
on this) which continued for the rest of the show as each song seemed to
find Bob in a better groove then the previous one. Bob nailed all the
songs. And for me tonight's versions of KEY WEST and MOTHER OF MUSES may
have been the best I have witnessed. The Band was ethereal on these new
masterpieces. As in Philly, Bob was once again getting up from his piano
to turn and talk to the Band members after songs, and they were all smiles
on stage. They seem to have grown into the tempo for these songs. I love
the way Bob has arranged these songs as if two shows were happening at the
same time. Most of the songs start quietly then build in intensity, but a
good number of them turn into barn burners of one sort or another. Some
have a country feel, some rockabilly, some lounge, some swing, but all
seem to rock hard at one point turning a temperate show into a rousing
one. During Band intros Bob was very chatty. He spoke about being happy to
be back in NJ ... the home of the Boss... Joe Pesci... Old Blues Eyes, and
a few others I missed. I'm pretty sure he said 'Maybe you're from here,
maybe I'm from here. Funny man. As mentioned, no cover tonight, just
another great version of the penultimate song, GOODBYE JIMMY REED, and a
beautiful harp solo on EVERY GRAIN OF SAND. Strong shows
night-after-night. As Bob says, 'how long can it last, how long can this
go on'?

Ran into a plethora of Bobcats in NJ tonight... Sue, Chelsea, Mangala,
Nona, Rich, Abe, Joe from Down Under, Marielle? from England,
Catharine/Simon from France... there were many, many others nameless here
forevermore.

As an addendum, I lingered in the arena for about 1/2 an hour and when I
finally exited I ran into a group of Bobcats and some were taking pictures
with Bob's drummer, Jerry Penetecost. I'm no fanboy, so I kept my distance
with some others... I was about 10-15' from him. But I'm also no
wallflower, so I figured I would take advantage of him being near me. As
my wife loves him, I chided Jerry, I called to him... 'Jerry', he looks my
way... 'My wife has fallen in love with you... now instead of yelling
"Bob, I love you!", she yells, "Jerry, I love you!"... it's embarrassing'.
To which Jerry, and the Bobcats all had a good laugh. I then told him that
he was driving the Band with his style of drumming to which he demurred in
taking credit. Nice ending to a great show. Tomorrow NJ act 2 with my
beautiful wife, Jacqueline. Don't you miss it!

[TOP]

Review by Peter Smith


If it�s November, there must be new Dylan. This year we�ve got Mixing Up
the Medicine, the Dylan Center catalog book, another Bootleg Series music
release: Budokon 1978, and Dylan back on tour through the east coast.
Driving with my YouTube Music app on the release date for the Budokon box
I asked Google to �play the new Dylan album.� To my surprise, it responded
by playing �Murder Most Foul� which further captured the mood of Dylan in
November for those of us of a certain age (Twas a dark day in Dallas,
November �63, A day that will live on in infamy). Night one in Newark
featured the same core 17 song setlist as night two in Port Chester, but
the show was captivating with distinctions. NJPAC nearly doubled the
seating capacity of the Cap; it�s less intimate but more grand. Dylan was
seated at his baby grand with the band in place as the massive red velvet
curtain rose just after 8pm. His white hat remained on his head
throughout, except for a few brief lifts he gave it to cool off near the
show�s end. He was active, standing at the piano during the up tempo
numbers and stepping back to talk with Tony or Jerry to give direction
between songs. There was a nod to the crowd (good to be back in the great
state of New Jersey) and its natives (the Boss, Queen Ltifah and Joe
Pesci). Band highlights continue to be the relative flash of Jerry
Pentecost in his white rim, super fly style eye glasses and his nimble
drum stick acrobatics. He creates the illusion the sticks will fall from
his hands only to be caught and beat down the rollicking beat of a blues
shuffle in False Prophet, all done effortlessly. It�s a subtle but
spectacular show within the show. The undistinguished apparel and
workmanlike accompaniment of his bandmates just serves to highlight
Jerry�s understated flash. But make no mistake, Dylan remains the center
of attention. From the right side front of the orchestra Dylan is fixed at
the point of a triangle with Tony and Jerry anchoring his pounding rhythms
on the piano from behind. False Prophet remains the moment where things
cut loose and the audience is drawn in completely. Dylan starts the
evening loose and locked in with WTRF but he�s totally flowing with the
band and having fun with his vocal phrasing in False Prophet. The show
ended with what seemed an extra few bars of a Dylan harmonica solo on
Every Grain of Sand which got the drew louder and louder applause from the
audience the longer it continued. On the drive home I�m back listening to
Youtube Music and finally have the complete Budokon show playing. What
resonates are the goofy jokes Dylan makes between songs to the Japanese
audience (introducing the back up singers as his ex-wife and next wife)
and the large band version of Is Your Love in Vain. That song offers to me
what seems to be a rationale for his continuation of the NET (I�ve been to
the mountain and I�ve been in the wind, I�ve been in and out of happiness,
I have dined with kings, I�ve been offered wings, and I�ve never been to
impressed). Another memorable show to be thankful for this holiday season.

[TOP]

Review by Gregory Schwartz


�Bob Dylan is the father of my country�
Bruce Springsteen quote.

Second go round of the Rough & Rowdy Ways Tour 2021-2024.

Being no two performances are ever completely familiar
here are a few of the similarities and differences.

As It Is

�I Contain Multitudes�
Last time experienced was performed center stage
More in a focused spoken narration.
This shows version was John Lennon like in vocal phrasing and arrangement.

�When I Paint my Masterpiece�
started off as a spoken narration more akin to a story arc
Once the band kicked in it seemed to turn into two songs in one.

�I�ll Be Your Baby Tonight�
Surf Garage Rock
Maybe a nod to Nuggets�
being Lenny Kaye, Pattie Smith and Tony Shanahan are in attendance.

�Key West� (Philosopher Pirate)
French opera, Edith Piaf vacations in Florida.

�Gotta Serve Somebody�
First time this show both guitars go electric.

�Goodbye Jimmy Reed�
Far from country swing, this version resembled the inner workings of the
Rolling Stones.

There�s no center stage microphone, no Delta or Chicago Blues.
In mid song when lyrics would question mortality
or answer to the humanity of judgement day.
Bob would stand up being seen as spirit acknowledgement, heart resolution.
Living in the pursuance luminance, of love and mercy, a psalms call and
response.
As the show winds down, spotlights from the side of stage cast
the program into an amber glow, like street lights from the sixteenth
century.
While mechanics hanging lights are hung next to stage equipment
In a reflection of modern times.

Bob projects a fearlessness, as masterful as Miles Davis.
As soulful as Jerry Garcia.

Bob plays a baby grand piano the entire show.
Bob plays harmonica once.

After the last song.
High stepping to center stage
Wel
�It�s nice to be back in the great state of New Jersey�
Home of The Boss, Joe Pesci, Queen Latifah, Frankie Valli
and of course Ol�Blue Eyes�

[TOP]

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