November 24, 2021
Review by Dave Moyer
A Review by Dave Moyer
My son and I headed to the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY, on
November 24, 2021, for what I believe to be my 49th show. It could have
been 50, but I have lost track, and, so, that being a special number, I want
to be certain when I make that claim that it is actually the case. I had last
attended a Bob show at the Credit 1 Arena in Chicago on October 30, 2019,
and have since moved to the Hudson Valley region of New York.
We settled the parking situation, finished our fare at McShane's, the local
Irish Pub, got in line to enter the theater, and then I experienced an
unexpected treat. I met Laurette of boblinks fame, and she agreed to have
her picture taken with me.
Cal and I had a beer at Garcia's, so named because the Grateful Dead has
regularly played The Capitol, and, then, we meandered to our seats. The
venue is truly special--beautiful, historic, and majestic, and the sound was
amazing. During Bob's band intro toward the end of the show, he referenced
The Marx Brothers having performed there, which, was, of course, perfect
coming from Bob.
At precisely 8:00 p.m. EST, a procession of musicians set to perform show
number 16 of the Rough and Rowdy Ways World Wide Tour 2021-24
emerged stage left, and then magic happened. Flood lights pushed through
what looked like an iron grated floor. The backing curtain was gold in color
initially, but mostly some combination of red, maroon, and purple after the
first couple of songs and for the remainder of the show.
For any skeptics who are saying things like, "Where's Charlie" (and I love
Charlie), or, "I want to hear Bob play some of his older songs," stop yourself
now, clear your head, and buy your ticket. This performance was among
the top tier of the many amazing Bob concerts I have been privileged to
attend. It exceeded my expectations.
In Shakespeare's times, they said that "we are going to hear a show." Now
, most people go to "see" something. If you go to "see" Bob on this tour, be
sure to listen carefully. Everything is quite intentional. He is singing and
enunciating beautifully and with intention.
Guitarists Bob Britt and newcomer Doug Lancio paired off center stage toward
the rear. Britt occasionally played some acoustic guitar, but, generally, they
appeared to share lead duties, and, with the exception of Bob occasionally
leaving the piano to croon, Doug's periodic migration toward multi-instrumentalist
Donnie Herron, presumably to ensure that they were in sync, was the only
movement of the chess pieces. This band was tight, by design, I believe, and
my assessment of the show as that this was exactly what Bob wanted. If I am
correct, they pulled it off perfectly. Tony Garnier's twirling and dancing with his
stand-up bass during "Goodbye Jimmy Reed," was the exception to the intense
concentration of the talented players.
Bob, on piano, was the focal point toward the front of the stage. The first line
or two of the opener "Watching the River Flow," was muddled, but they quickly
adjusted the sound, and Bob was in fine form from that point forward. When
he did emerge from behind the piano on perhaps half of the songs, it was only
for the first verse or so, and then he returned to the piano. However, when he
came out to "play," he was animated and intentional, punctuating and
accentuating the lyrics to suit him or the song as he saw fit. There was no harp.
Arguably the best example of Bob intentionally and demonstrably driving home a
point was during "False Prophet," which rocked hard, when he proclaimed, "I
opened my heart to the world and the world came in." He nailed it, and the
crowd loved it. Other times, from behind the piano, he simply pointed at the
audience when he wanted to make sure nobody lost track of what he was
attempting to communicate.
Tony was slightly stage right, and, in a relatively odd configuration, Charlie
Drayton, the ensemble's new drummer, with his turquoise set, was far right.
Donnie was far left, and this pairing was interesting to me. Charlie was so
skilled and subtle, that he appeared to be the multi-instrumentalist percussionist
muse to compliment Donnie from the opposite side of the "Rough and Rowdy
Stage Universe." Whatever, it worked. Charlie's traditional grip (God, I love it!),
sticks, mallets, and brushes, were the equivalent of Donnie's violin, accordion,
electric mandolin, pedal steel, and lap steel. The worlds merged as one in a
unique and somewhat indescribably way.
Bob and the boys performed the standard set list from the tour, but, I believe
that is a large part of the genius of the show. The sequencing of the songs,
in my opinion, was unparalleled, and best exemplified by "I've Made Up My Mind
to Give Myself to You" following "Gotta Serve Somebody." The mood, delivery,
and lyrical relation from one song to the next is beyond my capacity to describe.
Bob changed up the lyrics on his older songs, most prominently on "Gotta Serve
Somebody," which, to me, was the show stopper. They blew this one up from
start to finish, and it was damn good, period.
People are raving about "Key West," which is a song that I love, and it was
performed well. However, less mentioned is 'Mother of Muses.' That song is
one of my favorites from the new album, and, I believe that it was
well-received by the audience on this night.
There are simply too many highlights to do a play by play. The best way I can
end my thoughts on the show is that bringing the night to a close with "Every
Grain of Sand" is the essence of a "perfect finished plan." And, that is not
meant to be cryptic. If you were there, it makes perfect sense. And the
only way to have any idea of what transpired on this beautiful night, is to
have been there.
It was as close to perfect as anything could be.
Review by Laurette Maillet
A day for relaxing as I know I have a ticket for the show. Thanks to Bob Russell.
I take a trip to the Bronx Botanical garden. Gorgeous and fun with the display
of little trains and miniature constructions.
By 5 pm I am at the theater. Bob bus is parked there, right by the stage door.
It's GA so a small line already formed. I know the 10 first fans. But it is far away
from what it used to be. The fun is gone for me. The fun, the anxiety, the
expectation...gone. I know exactly what the show will be tonight, more or less,
counting on Bobby's mood.
I try to sale some copies of some of my paintings. It works fairly good. I make
some bucks and meet fans I've known before, readers of my reports on the
shows. I wait for Bob Russell and we step inside after showing passport,
COVID test, bag and ticket.
We're on the balcony pretty much as last night.
Show starts on time. Bob is wearing is red shirt and of course black outfit.
The fist song is weak again but the sound will improve rapidly.
Bob is in a better mood. He will be more center stage, particularly for the first
verses of different songs. "False Prophet" will make him bend on his knees. A
routine now. "Melancholy mood" between Tony and Bob, almost backing out
the stage area :). He will not be mad at the drummer as last night. My mistake
was to believe he was scolding Tony but maybe just asking Tony to tame
Charley on drums :).
I wish the two folks behind me could stop talking constantly and the girl could
stop screaming in my ears ' We love you Bob" as if he could hear!
People are so selfish they don't realize others seat next to them.
The crowd on the floor is not as wild as expected but except two or three
rock/blues songs, there is nothing to be wild on.
I personally like the old songs I'm familiar with. I still need time for Rough and
Rowdy ways. Bob is as good as he could be. The Band backing up with heart.
All together I had a great and easy day.
Leaving the venue I hear a comment. " He looks old! ". " He IS old!".
I still don't understand why Bob didn't play the Beacon a little bit longer
instead of playing in this weird theater. The Jerry Garcia bar!
I have to catch the train back to grand central and the 7 train to Queens.
By 1 am two girls decide to disturb my sleep in the dorm, chatting continuasly.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
But Me, I have a sad thought for the native Americans who fed the pioneers
turkey and corn and were thanks for their hospitality in a strange manner.
Have a nice holiday with family Bobby.
See you in Providence.
Review by Mike from NJ
It’s wonderful to see Bob back in NY metro,where he often ends up around
Thanksgiving. I was able to catch both shows thisweek at the Capitol
Theater in Port Chester, NY. It’s a smaller venue than thenearby Beacon
in NYC, with great sound and sight lines. You could see Bob isthrilled to
be back on the road, where he is most comfortable, this timeshowing off
his latest release, which is a magnificent set of songs.
The shows were nearly identical - from setlists to arrangements and both
ran an efficient 98 minutes. The band is is topform, with some new
personnel, and it looks like they’ve used the first threeweeks of the
tour to hone the fixed set list. The stage arrangement is verycool, with
the drums to the side and the two excellent guitarists behind Bob,who is
at an upright piano. He ventured out a few times to sing at a mic,
butsadly seemed a little unstable on his feet; but his voice was great.
The show was dominated by the Rough and RowdyWays songs which we were
beautifully done and very close to the albumversions. False Prophet,
Multitudes and Made Up My Mind wereparticularly good. The rest of the
show, in typical Bob fashion, was fantasticrearrangements of old songs,
indiscernible from the originals, especially hardrock versions of I’ll
Be Your Baby Tonight and Gotta Serve Somebody, whichalone were worth the
price of admission.
Hate to include the audience in a show review,but we had to ask adults my
age behind and it front of us to stop incessanttalking. There were also
people getting up from their seats multiple times. Itwas obvious they were
clueless about what Dylan shows are and it appears thatpeople can’t sit
in one place for even 90 minutes if you take their cell phonesaway.
Conversely, we had some young people sitting nearby both nights and
theywere respectful and really into the show. Not a proud night for
seniorcitizens, with the exception of Bob, who keeps reinventing and
Mike in NJ
Review by Barry Gloffke
Tonight was my fifth and penultimate show for the 2021 ROUGH AND ROWDY
WAYS tour. Our hero takes the stage promptly at 8:00pm for the second of
two nights at the understated Capitol Theatre in Port Chester,NY. A much
more upbeat audience tonight. Bob was in a good mood. No slow start
tonight, Bob is on point from the get-go. The Band was hot from the start.
They are beginning to jell as the tour progresses. Charley is a really
good drummer. The Band has a bit of a thinner sound than the 2019 Band
with Doug Lancio replacing Charlie Sexton… closer to that wild mercury
sound Bob once wanted to achieve. These guys rock when necessary, but
their real job… and it’s no easy task… is to get at the essence of
the new ROUGH AND ROWDY WAYS material. A large majority of the songs need
to be played with nuance and subtlety. It is fascinating to watch them
learn on the fly as to how to achieve that goal.
My quick rundown of the show:
WATCHING THE RIVER FLOW — Superb opener tonight. Greases the wheels for
a good ride. The audience is pumped up. MOST LIKELY YOU GO YOUR WAY AND
I’LL GO MINE — Nice honky-tonk. A great one-two punch to start the
evening. The fans feel the vibe. I CONTAIN MULTITUDES — Brilliant
delivery. Bob has us eating out of his hand. FALSE PROPHET — Blows the
roof off the place!! Bob crouches low, center stage, as we howl in
approval. Barnstorming! Highlight #1. WHEN I PAINT MY MASTERPIECE —
Jaunty, lilting and a lot of fun tonight. Good piano playing. BLACK RIDER
— Highlight #2. Ominous, baritone, bass, deep fills, spooky. The crowd
ate it up. I’LL BE YOUR BABY TONIGHT — Bob leaned into this tonight.
Banged the piano wildly. Emphasized that he was ‘gonna last all
night’. MY OWN VERSION OF YOU — Once again this song built in
intensity as Bob lectures us on the depravities of mankind. TO BE ALONE
WITH YOU — Another song Bob leans into. His delivery was commanding.
EARLY ROMAN KINGS — ‘They destroyed your city, they’ll destroy you
as well’. We need to make sure that those lecherous and treacherous
bastards don’t destroy us, Bob. KEY WEST (PHILOSOPHER PIRATE) —
Highlight #3. Poignant. Wistful. Sung with passion. Played with love.
Quiet as a mouse in the Theatre. GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY — The crowd bursts
alive with energy. The GA crowd roars at each stanza’s conclusion,
egging Bob and the Band for more! They tear it up! … ‘You may be in
the White House, carrrrrving up the meat, Maybe looking for a handout, up
on eeeeasy street’. I’VE MADE UP MY MIND TO GIVE MYSELF TO YOU — The
house quiets down again to hear Bob deliver a heartfelt plea to us. Simply
wonderful. MELANCHOLY MOOD — What can I say? I’ll say what I keep
saying. Nice, short and sweet. Bit I’d replace this with CROSSING THE
RUBICON in a heartbeat. MOTHER OF MUSES — Bob and the Band have slowed
this song down to a standstill in the last few shows. It washes slowly
over you as Bob waxes about inspiration and perseverance. GOODBYE JIMMY
REED — Our last rocker for the night. Once again we roar our approval as
the Band thrashes about and Bob tells us Jimmie’s tragic story. Foot
stomping goodness. EVERY GRAIN OF SAND — Another beautiful rendition by
Bob. Exquisite. Perfect accompaniment by the Band and a wonderful ending
to a wonderful show. Strong performance.
As they say , ‘Don’t you miss it’!
Great to see some Bobcats again. Said hi to Greenpoint Phil on the early
entrance line (two nights in a row, dude?). Had a nice conversation with
Laurette. My girlfriend and I had a brief talk with Mangala. Stood in line
with Downtown Ben and his brother who was in town for Germany for the week
(sorry, I forgot his name). Had some good conversations with some people
on the floor. Hope to see some of you for the second Philadelphia show.
On a side note, right before the show one of the security guards came up
to me and told me that… ‘I showed a lot of patience at the Beacon
Theatre on Friday night by not retaliating to fan who shoved me’. It
turns out that he works at both venues, the Beacon and The Capitol
Theatre, and that he had witnessed the event on Friday night. Small world.
Thanks once again Bob.
See you on Tuesday at the Met in Philadelphia,
Review by Henry Miller
With the release of *Rough and Rowdy Ways,* and Bob’s somewhat
surprising turn of performing almost the entire album live on tour in
pandemic-rested clear voice (‘It’s an ill wind that blows *no*
good...’), I recently found myself more excited to see Bob than I have
in years. I was fortunate to somewhat belatedly locate a 3rd row seat for
the 11/21 (Sunday night) show at the Beacon that didn’t break the bank.
Not long afterward I was offered GA tickets for the two Port Chester shows
and so began my biggest Bob outing in a decade. Am I glad I went to all of
As so much is new, including getting out in public and going to concerts
after a dreary year and a half of Covid-19 precautions, it was good to run
into some of the old motley crew of regulars from past tours- thinned out
a bit but still stalwarts as always. I’d mention their names but
they’re very shy people so you’ll either know who I mean or you
won’t. I would trust any of them with a hundred dollar bill- to spend it
as quickly as possible, that is. (I need to emphasize that this is a joke
lest they refuse me a loan in the future.) Special mention to Chuck from
Upstate for convincing me to stay for the Wednesday night show despite
some schedule conflicts, and Ali from New Haven whose generosity I hope to
repay (but he’s always one step ahead).
Of course, just as fun was making some new acquaintances- both young and
old- many from foreign lands who were able to get here just in time thanks
to the lifting of travel bans. (Alas, it may prove short-lived by current
reports.) Special mention here to Riley from CT, Virgil and Rachel from
Toronto, and Gustav from Norway. After the Port Chester show on Tuesday
night some newfound GA line friends celebrated Virgil’s 35th birthday
with his fiancee Rachel which turned into a shindig as memorable as
Bob’s concert in many ways, including moonlight duets on Bobsongs (or
was it street lamps?- no matter). Someone should write a book someday
about all the friendships fostered by attending Bob’s shows. (Rather
fortuitously I am able to include both Jules Aerts and Bucky Baxter on my
list, may they rest in peace.)
But back to the curly-haired guy in the middle... actually Bob is too
august now to be called an ordinary ‘guy,’ so we’ll say, ‘But back
to the curly-haired stately gentleman in the middle’. While a few of the
early reviews and clips seemed to indicate Bob was unsteady on his feet
thankfully this appears to have abated to a fair degree as the tour has
progressed. What is remarkable at this late date is not that Bob is
showing something of his years- with dignity mind-you- but that he has
renewed his inspiration, his voice, his approach and his band- and, not
least of all, his setlist. (With respect to his years Bob’s cheeks are
now in something of an endearing chunk...)
The setlist is fairly settled now and doesn’t require much comment other
than to say that to the best of my recollection- disregarding a few
one-off shows such as the Toad’s Place marathon- this is the freshest
setlist he’s sported since he played multiple songs from what would be
*Saved* on the gospel tour in 1979 (my first tour) before that album had
even been recorded.
Regarding the band, noticing the absence of Charlie Sexton is unavoidable.
As Charlie has come and gone more than once one can’t rule out his
return, but he has left a hard act to follow and the wise choice was made,
therefore, not to even try. The playing by the two newer guitar players,
Bob Britt and Doug Lancio, is noticeably, if tastefully, subdued. As if in
sympathy Don Herron himself is playing things down also, only taking the
occasional solo here and there. Charlie Drayton is a very refined drummer
into the mix- some suggest too laid-back but more on that in a minute.
This all actually suits the *R & RW’s* material just fine as that album
features ensemble playing predominantly.
Over the years Bob has more than once stated in interviews that what
matters are the songs themselves and not pyrotechnics so he is
demonstrating this position effectively currently. It is worth mentioning
the positive influence that Bob had on Charlie Sexton’s playing over the
years by getting him away from pyrotechnics and into a more smoldering and
scintillating manner of playing- a more mature style. It’s like I always
say, just because you can play fast and loud does not mean that you have
to. (I can think of several recent acts who would benefit from this
realization- JB and BS being two of them, if you care to figure who I
Anyway, of the three Bob shows I attended just before Thanksgiving the
Beacon on Sunday, 11/21 was great, the Port Chester show on Tuesday, 11/23
was good, but the Port Chester Capitol Theater show on Wednesday, 11/24
was, in a word, masterful and something to behold. What was really special
about the 21st and the 24th, in particular, was who even keeled the shows
were- consistently excellent through-out- in fact the most consistently
interesting and enjoyable shows of all my 240 (though of course it is
apples and oranges with respect to repertoire, band members, period, etc.)
Regarding some expressed friction between Bob and the rhythm section (most
likely Charlie Drayton) at Tuesday night’s Port Chester show it appears
Bob was looking for a more prominent beat from the drums (‘What kind of
beat is that?,’ he asked). I would comment for the sake of fairness that
Bob’s piano playing Tuesday night was somewhat pedestrian and not up to
par which is why I rate that show as the least effective of the three.
Bob’s piano playing was much better on Wednesday night- instead of the
vaguely childlike doodling of Tuesday night (was the piano slightly out of
tune and was that irritating him?) we got the effect I believe he is
looking for on Wednesday night which is a serial staccato pointillism with
an avant garde edge to it. On Wednesday it was also clear that Charlie
Drayton got the message as everyone played with control* and fire *to the
point that I found myself welling up on several occasions to realize that
Bob is still a force to be reckoned with. The gods were watching Wednesday
night and maybe just a little bit envious (which could lead to
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