Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Academy Of Music

November 23, 2014

[Peter Stone Brown], [Glenn Hertzler]

Review by Peter Stone Brown

I have this really good friend who knew that the thought Bob Dylan playing
a mile from my house and not being there would be a bit upsetting, so he
got me a ticket. Actually, he got me the ticket, front row center,
slightly to the right (looking at the stage) of Bob's microphone or as the
case may be on this tour microphones. And with the ticket came a backpack,
well it's not really a backpack, but it's a shoulder pack with a whole lot
of pockets and it might be really cool for carrying guitar cords and stuff
like that and also this laminate in the shape of a really big tortoise
shell guitar pick, so it's hanging on this bulletin board that has a bunch
of really ancient press passes, buttons from bands that no longer exist
and Buck Owens' autograph is on there somewhere.

Anyway having that front row seat had its advantages and disadvantages.
The stage is really high and the seats are really low, so while I could
see Bob at center stage just fine, I could only see the guys in the band
from the waist up and couldn't see Donnie at all, except when he played
banjo for about 30 seconds because the piano was in the way. At the same
time, I could hear the acoustic guitar and the piano without the sound

So tonight's show was again different than the first two. Bob's voice
especially at the beginning was slightly rougher than the second show and
not quite as animated.  The guy behind me decided to sing along with
"Things Have Changed," and then clap his hands to the beat.  He tried the
stuff a couple of times and thankfully gave up.  The woman next to him was
having a conversation with the person she was with, until I gave her my
best Michael Corleone stare, the one he gives Al Neri while he's embracing
Fredo at their mother's funeral.

Luckily that guy didn't sing along on "She Belongs To Me" because Dylan
was singing it great and Charlie Sexton who was particularly on tonight,
was adding nice fills complementing Bob's harp.

"Working Man's Blues #2" again was very strong with Bob putting out on the
last verse. On "Pay In Blood," there was added emphasis on the line (not
on the album): "But they'll hang you in the morning and they'll sing your

"Tangled Up In Blue" may have been the best version of the three Philly
nights. While the harp didn't reach the 1966 craziness of the first show,
being that close I could see he was actually treating the lyrics a lot
more gently than it may have sounded elsewhere in the hall. And with his
hat down close to his eyes, there were more than a few times during the
song that I couldn't help but think of the video version from Renaldo and

There were various other high points. "Forgetful Heart" was the strongest
of all three shows, and "Long And Wasted Years" was by far the best
version with Dylan acting out certain parts with broad arm gestures.

The thing about this tour is while the shows may have the same set list,
there were differences every night. There were certain things the band did
on Saturday night that didn't happen tonight. Watching the show, I wasn't
even thinking about the set list or what song came next. Sometimes the
little tuning and noodling thing the band does between each song would
remind me or cue me in. Tonight Dylan seemed to give extra care to the two
songs from Blood On the Tracks. But that doesn't mean "Scarlet Town" or
"Soon After Midnight" was any less beautiful. And speaking of that song,
while the melody and the arrangement are beautiful, the line Dylan really
emphasized tonight was "I'll drag his corpse through the mud."

The thing is these are some of the strongest shows Dylan's given in the
2,000s. And for those who want to hear the old songs or for him to shake
up the set list, well he did that for a really long time. The thing is
this show is like a play. It's theatrical without being overly theatrical.
And if you ever acted in a play, well you go out and you perform the show
and some nights you really hit it out of the park and the other nights it
cruises along. Music is the same way, you go out and play the same set
every night and after a few nights you're really sailing, and everything's
second nature. They may be playing the same songs, but there's little
variations that happen each night. Ultimately, the current tour is about
Bob Dylan giving consistently good and great performances every night, and
that is what it's about.


Review by Glenn Hertzler

Well just saw my 100th Bob Dylan show. Started with Bob And the Band at
the spectrum in Philadelphia in 1974. Before heading to the show with my
buddy Carter who has attended 4 shows with me I said to my wife this is
show 100 and maybe my last. As the set list stays set in stone I wondered
if I would still enjoy this show or just check it off as #100. Well as in
every Uncle Bob show I have seen , I came away waiting for the next. Bob
once again remastered some great songs like TUB and BITW but the other
more recent songs were reworked as well and all were excellent. Still
tough to make out a lot of the words even at The Academy of Music with
great acoustics. The band was spot on and did an excellent job last night
backing up the master. Highlights, working man blues,tangled up in blue,
love sick!!, simple twist of fate, blowing in the wind and an excellent
stay with me. So I will look forward to the next time Bob heads east,
maybe by then a new album and some new songs. 
Happy Thanksgiving to All

Glenn Hertzler 


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