Reviews

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Met

November 30, 2021


[Nicholas Roseto] [Alexander Leik], [Laurette Maillet], [David Mendick], [Barry Gloffke], [Stephen Goldberg]

Review by Nicholas Roseto


‘What’s the matter with me.  I don’t have much to say’.   I have
been wanting to find some time to gather my thoughts about the nights of
Monday, November 29th and Tuesday, November 30th.  Two nights in a row we
didn’t get a chance to hear those particular lines due to either sound
issues or Bob Dylan not ready to deliver them when it was time.  

I actually have so much to say.  So much to think about.  So much to
process.  I had been listening to Rough and Rowdy Ways and enjoyed it. 
But it was more atmospheric when I listened at home.  After the shows, I
don’t want to listen to it.  I want to remember how I heard it those
nights.  Early in the tour I read some reviews.  I may go back and find
one that had me crying, tearing up.  It coincided with a video I had seen
of Dylan maneuvering from center stage’ish to back behind the piano and
how he appeared to need the mic stand and the piano to help him.  The
reviewer was describing how this is a goodbye, both the album and the
shows.  The visuals of that video went through my head.  

As the shows neared I waned myself off of reading most reviews.  I
didn’t watch any videos besides that first one and one of the early
introductions and chatter.

So I was glad to see a stronger Dylan than I expected but there were still
elements of needing the piano or sitting on the bench between songs.

Now to those two nights in Philly.  A town, as Dylan noted, ‘The
birthplace of freedom!  Oh yeah!’ which was so great to hear.  But that
freedom was founded through turbulent times.  Now going to these shows
were under the shadow of horrendous incidents taking place a few short
blocks away.  The day prior to the show, a Temple University student was
shot and killed in the street by his car as he returned back to school
after Thanksgiving break.  With that in mind, and similar other recent
incidents all in the neighborhood just north of The Met, it was with light
heart and trepidation making the trip.  In fact, Monday night driving
home, just a few blocks from venue, we drove right to a crime scene with
yellow tape and all the fixings.  Had to back down the street to find an
alternate route from a city filled with murder most foul. I wouldn’t
dare miss it (the show) but wish things would change for such a great
city.

Lucky for me, I was attending each of the shows with two of the main loves
in my life.  Night one with my longtime girlfriend.  Night two with my
daughter, who I have to worry about at that murder most foul university
mentioned above and just up the street.  

Both nights were great but yet different.  Monday was more relaxed, laid
back.  Tuesday was more exuberant.  Even The Met staff seeming to be more
wound up or high strung the 2nd night.  A much kinder, friendly and more
relaxed staff the first night.  All the Met staff that were attendants
getting people to seats and in the building were great both nights.  Just
there were more security guards the 2nd night with yucky vibes.  Both
nights had a Live Nation employee patrolling up and down the aisles
looking for cell phone use.  This person I think travels with the tour.  I
love no cell phones, but this guy was a huge distraction from such great
shows.  More distraction than a cell phone.  I even think the sensitivity
of the metal detectors were turned up on Tuesday.  I went through the same
one both nights wearing and carrying the same general items.  Tuesday
night my belt set off the detector while Monday did not.  During the band
introductions and chatter on the 2nd night, more staff and security
started taking positions on the floor.  It started during Goodbye Jimmy
Reed.  One staff member took up position in the middle of the aisle
blocking my daughter’s view.  For some reason, these unnecessary ramped
up maneuvers lasted the last two songs and band intros.

So Monday had a little bit later start in heading to show due to work
obligations.  So I packed some sandwiches and snacks to have after we
parked.  My best idea was a little bourbon in a water bottle we drank on
the walk to venue.   We went to check out the tour bus scene, which for me
is always part of the event of a Dylan show.  Unlike the last time at The
Met, where the staff shooed us away off a public street, tonight the
street had police closing one end and barricades and a guard at the other.
 Had a nice chat with one of the venue employees sitting at the fence to
the bus rubble parking lot.  It’s not just the streets of Rome filled
with rubble.  

Night two was with my daughter.  Skipped the bourbon with her.  Instead,
met her at school, got a bite to eat and then went parked closer to venue.
 Again, hung outside venue, checked out the bus the best we could.  There
were a lot more bootleg t-shirt vendors outside the venue.  The whole
scene seemed a little more bustling.  Said ‘Hi’ to Laurette who I saw
looking for a ticket.  She had no idea who I was but she has been part of
the story of this tour.  Saw many taking their last long drags on their
vape pens before heading into venue.  

Again both shows were great.  Monday seemed a little more relaxed, Tuesday
more exuberance from the crowd right from the start and, I think as a
result, a little bit more from Bob.  He did seem to have more energy for
the songs but more tired in between.  Monday he was behind the piano more
and had one arm and hand draped to the front center of piano.  Tuesday he
spent all of ‘I Contain Multitudes’ center’ish stage and part of
‘False Prophet’.  I was worried he over did it and he did seem to sit
in between songs gathering himself.  Maybe he did that Monday too and I
didn’t notice it.  But Tuesday he did come out a bit more.

So most of the night I would just hear these lines.  Like there they were.
 Kind of like flying by.  Places.  People.  Lots of people.  Events. 
Almost the way Dylan describes himself as the vessel just capturing these
creations that are in front of him.  Most were from the Rough and Rowdy
Ways songs.  Here he is storytelling in the tradition he always did.  What
he set out to do.  Passing history on so it carries on.  So it isn’t
lost.  And in that, he included himself.  Both nights I would hear these
lines or words or phrases pop in here and there, but each night it was
mostly different ones that were being picked up by me.  I would hear an
affirmative chuckle from someone near me, or to the side of me, as though
that line spoke to them, or they totally were in the same place with where
Bob was coming from.

It was after the 2nd show and having time to process a bit with a closer
look at some lyrics that the magnitude of it all starts hitting me.  Like
that review I read early in the tour and what we are being left with.  We
are so lucky.  I have seen Bob Dylan many times.  Yes, I miss set list
surprises.  Yes, I miss the guitar.  I miss the harmonica.  The guitar
repetitive two, three note solos that build, or the harmonica, expressing
the moment from Bob through the songs.  They added unique take of songs on
that particular night.  Now it’s the vocals.  The delivery.  And it’s
with such care.  It’s serious.  It’s handled with care.  The piano is
fine.  I feel the piano playing was more refined in 2019, maybe because of
the baby grand.  I like the tink, tink, tink, TINK, TINK, TINK and how the
band, mostly Doug or Donnie, will play off the piano, but this is about
the vocals here.  But then there was some nice piano like repetitive
stanzas to end songs or for some effect here and there.  Plus it certainly
sends signals to the band and tells them what to do.  

False Prophet was fired up both nights, especially the vocals.  How about
the acknowledgment that pierces off the stage and just tears away, ‘I
opened my heart to the world and the world came in!’  That stands out. 
HELLO MARY LOU!  HELLO MISS PEARL!  I love that.

Tuesday we could hear some chuckles from Dylan in between songs and after
or before a line or two here or there.  

Key West seemed to be an audience favorite both nights.  Monday night it
was the first song where I didn’t seem to be the only one standing up
applauding at the end of a song.  Tuesday night people stood up at the
beginning of the show and were pretty charged up in between most songs and
during a few.

In the 2nd row on the left side of stage (stage right if on stage) there
was beautiful lady with a young soul on Tuesday night who was up dancing a
lot, waving her handkerchief during ‘Early Roman Kings’ and you could
tell she lived her life accompanied by Bob Dylan.  This lady was what
it’s all about.  My daughter said someone in our section across the
aisle from this lady kicked her to get her to sit down.  In the row in
front of me and to the left was a man, again with a young soul, who
attends shows with his middle aged kids.  It sounded like from the
daughter that each take their turn, or rotation, in taking dad to see Bob
Dylan, almost as if a chore.  I would find myself looking at the lady in
the 2nd row and this man near me throughout the night wondering about how
Dylan’s music filled their life.  Or how their life unfolded with Bob
Dylan filling it with texture.  Their history.  Their soundtrack.  Their
life.  I want that movie of their life with the Dylan soundtrack taking us
through their years.  And here we have Bob saying here’s my
retrospective on all that and, believe or not, I thank you for sharing
this journey.

That brings me to I’ve Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You.  A song
for us?  Or with us?  Or we’re a part of.  The touring.  But somewhere
along the way him during pandemic times with him writing, working coming
to the realization and saying, ‘No, I got more to do before I’m
through’, and possibly with the fear that COVID put an end to it, so was
going to take it to the world the first chance he could.  Thank goodness
he did.  Then right at the end of, ‘My eyes like a shooting star’ he
does some definitive motion off his lapel and then points like don’t
miss this, ‘It looks at nothing here or there, looks at nothing near of
far’.  Kind of like Dark Eyes in a way.  Are we the ‘It’?  Then
‘Lots of people gone.’  For Dylan when writing, it’s probably more
about his acquaintances to John Prine.   Made me think of all those who
didn’t make it to see these shows.  One being, Philadelphia’s
Dylanologist, and singer songwriter, Peter Stone Brown, who shared his
eloquent thoughts on shows with us for years.  I believe for the 2019
Philadelphia Met show there was an empty seat for him in the audience as
it was shortly after he left us.  These two shows had more empty seats for
more people gone, more than we knew.

Again, the minstrel, the folk tradition, the song and dance man, passing
on so much.  Honestly, could we even keep track.  Some completist probably
has.  Anne Frank.  The Rolling Stones.  Shakespeare with ‘to be or not
to be’.  Edgar Allen Poe.  Liberace.      City of God.  Rome.  St. John
the Apostle.  Salt Lake City to Birmingham.  Beethoven.  Chopin. 
Ginsberg, Corso and Kerouac.  Honestly it could go on and on.  That’s
not even 10% of who we were reminded of or places we’ve been during
these shows.  It’s like, ‘I’m worried.  Please don’t forget.’ 
Is that also ‘Goodbye Jimmy Reed’?

I have loved each band I have seen which for me starts with the JJ
Jackson, Bucky Baxter, Winston Watson, and of course, Tony.  I read in
some reviews it was hard to tell what Doug Lancio was doing as he is
easily hidden behind the piano.  He does some really nice sounds.  Like
Charlie Sexton layers but more specific or apparent, if that makes sense. 
And Bob Britt was great handling the heavy lifting.  He also had a heavy
metal looking V guitar for a few songs.  Charley Drayton is something
else.  I’m a drummer and have grown attached to each one from Winston to
David Kemper to George Recile and appreciated and looked forward to seeing
more of Matt Chamberlain after 2019.  Charley is just so right for this
sound.  He made me want to run out and get a bunch of drumming
accouchements I didn’t even know existed.  His drums looks so cool.  He
looks so cool.  His posture and movements in that silhouette almost make
him like a cartoon character.  A cool drummer cartoon character.  He plays
with space and beats.

The older, non-Rough and Rowdy Ways songs were all great to hear.  They
showcase the band playing together.  Each night, for me, different songs
stood out.  When I Paint My Masterpiece was really good the fist night but
the second night they all seemed to be in their own world during it a bit.
 Those earlier songs from his catalog stood out with different jams or
sequences or changes in each of them.

I was aware that the show most likely ended with Every Grain of Sand.  I
was so looking forward to it as it sounded like a special version.  Even
though I’ve heard it at shows in the past, something about these shows
ending with a tender version had me feeling like the dog barking version. 
That version reminds me so many things come and go in our lives.  Fill our
lives with everything for a little bit and then you’re forced to move on
to another phase.  I was looking forward to it and Monday’s version was
a bit of a letdown.  It just felt a little rushed.  Tuesday was more in
the place I liked and where I thought it would be based on some earlier
descriptions.  Just the security scuttle and their defcon mode took a bit
off of the full impact.

I could go on and on.  I have loved many shows.  I know which ones
standout to me.  Not sure I even think of these ones like a ranking.  It
was more like life, and life only, and everything in between, and
surrounding it, along with all we know about history and culture in 1 hour
and 40 minutes.  Then after we hear ‘Like every sparrow falling, like
every grain of sand’, the lights are up and we need to go back out there
and make sense of it all.  And that’s it.  We’re back on our own.  At
least we have the soundtrack of life to go along with us.

‘Home of the Philly, what’s it called?  The Philly cheesesteak?  Oh
yeah.  Let me tell ya, those are yummy.  (laughs)  You eat one of them,
you don’t have to eat the rest of the year.’  Bob Dylan - The Met,
Philadelphia, PA 11/30/2021

[TOP]

Review by Alexander Leik


There are no changes to the set list. This is the direction in which our
hero has been headed for some time now. A show, performance, theatre of
sorts. It’s no longer about “what song is next, can I surprise the
stalwarts?” But it has become “I’m playing to the multitudes that I
contain, F the stalwarts!” And it is brilliantly done. The 8 new songs
(out of 10 possible) that are the foundation of this show are delivered to
near perfection nightly. When is the last time our hero played 80% of a
new album for us on tour?! He made up his mind to…give himself to us!
There was something a bit different with Key West tonight from the last
time I heard it in Hershey 16Nov. But it’s something they are working
towards, a slight variation. They have until 2024 to figure it out .

The Philly crowd is always one of the best. They were on point tonight.
Standing and dancing and Jimmy Reed received the attn he deserves. It has
me a bit concerned about DC…

…but then I think about the band…Donnie, oh Donnie making Bob songs
sound like Hank Williams songs. Bob and Doug making me say to myself
“Charlie and Larry who?” Charlie making me still yell “Charlie!!”
during band intros (he’s the best drummer Bob has had since Levon), and
Tony…well Bob said it all at the Beacon…”This guy has been great for
a long time!” …Amen!

The show will continue, I hope our international friends are able to
indulge in early 2022. I’ll sign off after The Anthem in DC. Very
curious to hear what our hero has to say about “the swamp”  . And
the cheesesteaks … well you don’t have to eat for the rest of the
year, no doubt! Yummy indeed!

[TOP]

Review by Laurette Maillet


We spend time cleaning the kitchen cabinets with Olivia. 
I went printing more of my paintings for a better chance to get a ticket.
Then ready to catch my train to the city and walk to the MET.

I am early and chat with the security people. They ask me what I was selling. 
Just answered I exchange my paintings with a ticket and they were
impressed. Cool.

I say hello to some Fans. A lot seem to know me. Cool.

Then a woman asks if I need a ticket. Yes.
For 20 minutes there is a little confusion . She doesn't find the ticket on her 
phone and can't do the transfer. A nice security guy tries to help and as he 
likes my paintings I offer him one if he can get that ticket for me. We all 
end up at the box office for a paper ticket. Cool.

In I am. The seat is on the floor, back but a good view on the piano.
No one in front of me. Some seats are empty even on the floor.

Bob is right on time. Dressed the same as last night but with the red shirt.
The few first words of "watching the river flow" are lost in the air. But the 
sound will improve for the best. I see the Fan with the cow boy hat from 
New York on the right side of me, in the aisle, standing up, in front. He will 
be up all night. And dancing.

The ambiance is festive. The public reacts to the songs. 

Bob will even say "thank you" after " I'll be your Baby tonight " and mention 
the Liberty Bell. He stood all the way through " I contain multitudes " and 
part of " False prophet ". Rocking on " Good bye Jimmy Reed ". 
And grooving on " Melancholy mood" that I particularly appreciate tonight.

Some fans are dancing on " You've gotta serve somebody " and the entire 
right section of the floor is dancing on " Good bye Jimmy Reed ".
I have the feeling Bob is looking in that direction and he is impressed.

Joking about the Philadelphia cheese-steak (Something like 'if you eat one , 
you don't have to eat for the rest of the year!') before introducing the Band.

Great show. Close to the second one at the Beacon.

Thanks to all my good friends helping me on my journey.

Thank you Bobby. Good night. Good rest. See you In Washington DC.

[TOP]

Review by David Mendick


Dylan says “yummy” for the first time on stage ! Nobody was enjoying
this show more than Dylan himself. From beginning to the very end he was
in as good a mood as I’ve ever seen. It’s strange cos I felt this was
going to be a disappointing audience - it was a little slow to fill and
seemed somewhat quiet until the lights went down. And then - oh boy - the
place was brilliant all night long and Dylan fed off the superb
atmosphere. For instance Serve Somebody has been ok for most of the tour
but tonight was a highlight. As for Dylan stuck behind the piano and all
the talk of he can’t walk and can barely move - well he’s heard the
talk. I Contain Multitudes he’s center stage with his arms outstretched
telling all the world “here I am” And he kept coming back for more. I
wouldn’t dare say “like Rocky” - there, I just did. The old songs
were great and all the new ones better. Key West quite beautiful Give
Myself to You totally gorgeous. This was a remarkable show by the greatest
singer songwriter ever. And now at age 80 the greatest performer ever. How
can DC top this. It can’t but still I can’t wait for tomorrow to meet
up yet again with my Bobcat friends Howie and Eric and Nomi. Feel blessed
to be experiencing Bob Dylan. 

David Mendick

[TOP]

Review by Barry Gloffke


The Met Opera House in Philadelphia… refurbished several years ago,
which Bob re-christened as the inaugural act. I was fortunate enough to
attend this, the penultimate performance of our hero’s brief but
brilliant 2021 ROUGH AND ROWDY WAYS tour. My last show for the tour. It
was a crowd pleaser. Bob looked good, sounded good, seemed happy and the
audience responded in kind. We cheered, yelled, danced and sometimes stood
awestruck at the sheer sincerity in Bob’s singing/playing. The Band was
muscular and tight tonight when necessary, light and airy when needed.

My take on the event:
WATCHING THE RIVER FLOW — Off we go for a wild rock ‘n roll ride down
the falls. The crowd roars its approval.

MOST LIKELY YOU GO YOUR WAY AND I’LL GO MINE — Knocks it out
effortlessly… bouncy and jaunty.

I CONTAIN MULTITUDES — Simply wonderful. Strong, straight forward
singing by Bob.

FALSE PROPHET — Show stopper again.  Nasty bit of rock ‘n blues. The
crowd is delirious… a bit of a call and response from us.

WHEN I PAINT MY MASTERPIECE — A country treatment… bouncy and buoyant.

BLACK RIDER — Bob leaned into this. Brilliant baritone delivery.

I’LL BE YOUR BABY TONIGHT — Sung with confidence and lyrical
adornments.

MY OWN VERSION OF YOU — Builds to a sinister conclusion. The Band nailed
it.

EARLY ROMAN KINGS — This song also built up nicely to a sinister
conclusion.

TO BE ALONE WITH YOU — Such a wonderful plea to us.

KEY WEST (PHILOSOPHER PIRATE) — Tonight Bob gave this a slightly
different treatment… sped it up a bit by combining two lines quickly
into one line. Nice change of pace from the other shows. Tonight the song
had a bit more urgency and less of the dreamy quality it had previously.

GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY — Good version. Although I was wish Bob would not
use a staccato type of singing which he started halfway through the song.
He also changed the second stanza back to the 2019 version leaving out the
new lyrics… ‘You may be in the White House, carving up the meat, or
looking for a handout, up on easy street’.

I’VE MADE UP MY MIND TO GIVE MYSELF TO YOU — Sung with heartfelt
sincerity. I think he may have flubbed a line though… had to repeat it
later in the song. Nonetheless a beautiful reading by Bob.

MELANCHOLY MOOD — Short and sweet. Looks like I have to wait until the
next tour to hear CROSSING THE RUBICON.

MOTHER OF MUSES — Gorgeous.

GOODBYE JIMMY REED — A Rompin’ stompin’ blast!

EVERY GRAIN OF SAND — Beautifully sung. If this was the last I ever hear
of Bob live in concert, than I will die a happy man. Just magical.

Nice to see Harrisburg Jeff before the show outside the venue. Nice to
talk to Manhattan Joyce and Kenny inside the venue after the show… Joyce
said it was the best of the shows she’s seen on this tour. A nice way to
round out the evening was to see Canadian Sue and California Mangala
outside the venue after the show. Enjoy the last show, and get home safe
ladies. God willing, I’ll see you next tour.

PS. I saw  and spoke with Roger, who I thought worked security at both the
Beacon and Capitol Theatres, but it turns out he is actually Bob’s new
security guard, replacing Barron. Roger was one of the security guys who
saw me get shoved by a fan at the Beacon on the first night… he then
spoke to myself and my girlfriend at the Capitol Theatre about the
incident… so when I saw him at the Met tonight, I was stunned. I thought
to myself, how can he possibly work in all three places!?!? Turns out he
doesn’t… he’s Bob’s new man. Well , like Bob says… ‘it takes
me a while to figure things out’.

Thanks Bob for a string of excellent shows and a lifetime of memories and
lessons. Hope to see all you Bobcats on the next tour!

[TOP]

Review by Stephen Goldberg


Last night was our third for this tour after Hershey and one night st the
Beacon. Surprisingly, many unsold seats in the Loge. I guess Philly
isn’t his town. I mean the side sections except for the first few rows
were completely empty. Dylan stood at the mic center stage for the entire
I Contain Multitudes. I have to admit I prefer it when he doesn’t play
piano. To me his piano playing muddies the mix ( not counting the
clunkers). False Prophet as usual was a standout as was My Own Version If
You. The crowd really responded to Serve Somebody. Bob flubbed part of Key
West and you could see him turning the pages on his piano. Key West seems
to be getting faster and harder each time he plays it. Some funny lines
about Philly during band introductions (is Dick Clark still here?). Like
Hershey the guitars were a bit too loud, drowning out Charlie on the
rockers. But not loud enough to drown out the inconsiderate woman behind
us who talked her way through most of the concert. Really, what could you
possibly have to say that couldn’t wait for the song to end?

[TOP]

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