Newark, New Jersey
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
November 21, 2023
Review by Barry Gloffke
Night two at the NJPAC. We're greeted with rough and rowdy weather as a
rain/windstorm hits the Northeast. Heavy traffic to the venue. The fans
are all scrambling to get into the venue and out of the raw, nasty rain.
My wife is with me tonight (hi Jacqueline!) and we make our way in, grab
some beverages and head to our seating area. We are lucky enough to grab
front row aisle seats far left of where Bob sits at the piano. The curtain
was dropped to cover the stage again tonight. At 8:00pm the curtain rose
and there they were in all their splendor. A short prelude to a bouncy
WATCHING THE RIVER FLOW. Good start as Bob sounds commanding once again.
Bob has his white hat tonight, as he did last night. The concert flowed
like water down a hill. Before I knew it we were CROSSING THE RUBICON (I
don't think it's coincidence that this song is the halfway point of the
concert) and then we were waving GOODBYE JIMMY REED! The show concluded
all too quickly with a fine EVERY GRAIN OF SAND which concluded with a
resounding harmonica solo. No cover tonight. Just another fabulous show.
The Band was once again perfect in all their incarnations.
And Bob was once again very chatty during Band intros... 'these songs are
not easy to play...' and then mentioned the Garden State, the Boss (said
he hopes he gets better), Pesci, et. al.
Nice to see some wet Bobcats last night, Nona, Marielle (back to England
she goes), Rich, Abe and his tipsy wife, Ian, Catharine and Simon (back to
France they go) and a few other jokermen.
My wife attended her last show for this tour and afterwards she asked me
which show of the four that we saw together I thought was the best. It was
hard for me to answer because they were all so good. I'll have to go back
to my notes and buy some bootlegs to compare down the road. Until then,
it's off to Baltimore this weekend for the 2-show finale of my 15-show run
this month. The last possible chances to see Bob on this tour are
dwindling. Don't you miss it!
Review by Matthew Jacobson
This was my twenty-first Dylan concert on November 21st at the Performing
Arts Center in Newark NJ. It was raining and windy.
I had been to this venue before in 2005, also to see Dylan, but had
forgotten how beautiful of it was. At first I was skeptical about the
whole phone in the Yondr pouch thing, but I actually enjoyed it. It made
me feel as if I were back in the 90�s. No texting or social media or
checking an apps. People being forced to be with each other and focus on
the show. How ancient of a concept.
The Newark PAC doesn�t take up a lot of space but was very high, with 4
levels. My seat was near the top, but wherever you sat you had a view of
center stage. That was where Dylan was seated for most of the night, on
the piano. The stage didn�t have a backdrop behind it and was bare. You
could see speakers and equipment. I had never experienced this bare
background before, I didn�t like it much. Dylan played his standard
setlist as of late, no surprises. But to my amazement, all of the songs
had been rearranged. Even the new Rough & Rowdy Ways ones. Almost every
song took me a bit to figure out what it was. Cross the Rubicon had a slow
intro as well as Gotta Serve Somebody, which was less of a rocker than in
the past. Key West was more up-tempo than on the album. Black Rider
seemed lost while Mother of Muses was livelier than on the album. Every
grain of sand ended with a long harmonica solo.
But the 6th man was completely missing in this show. There was no audience
movement. The crowd of about 3500 sat in their seats and clapped between
songs, but did Not Dance or shout or scream or show any enthusiasm. One
would of felt totally out of place to cheer to loud, dance or light up a
joint. Hopefully, this was just specific to this venue and not every night
of the tour? Also the show was a little short at an hour and forty
minutes. Not sure why Bob doesn�t have an opener. All in All a good, fun
Review by David Mendick
How can you explain to a Dylan novice what this is all about. At 82 he�s
truly better than ever. This amazing album has become a Dylan classic. He
sounds better than ever in this superb venue. The old songs reworked.
Whimsical and wonderful. Dylan�s slow solo openings teasing the audience.
But it�s Rough and Rowdy. It�s all about the new arrangements of these
still new songs. Rubicon. Mother of Muses. Jimmy Reed. All unbelievable.
Key West was always the song that Dylan seemed to struggle with but not
anymore. It�s the show stopper. Long and beautiful and captivating. You
could hear a pin drop. Dylan�s left arm draped across the baby grand. The
band an intimate semicircle focused on the man. Oy. Hi to a few long lost
friends I ran into. Naomi and Howie x. Sorry Eric didn�t win the lottery
so couldn�t make it. Bob. We�ll see you in Baltimore and then say goodbye
I think forever. Feel blessed.
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