Ithaca, New York

Cornell University
Barton Hall

April 14, 2013

[Susan Phillips], [Mo Ritz]

Review by Susan Phillips

The Cornell University Concert Hall looked so amazingly like the Duluth,
Minnesota Armory, that we are still trying to totally restore, and had 
all the problems that we worry about like sunlight streaming in the
windows at 7:30 PM, and standing room only - no seats except for a few
bleachers around the perimeter.  So, I was thrilled when it turned out to
be the best concert EVER. Bob was mesmerizing.  I think it was the
audience.  I asked 3 bright, stunning young girls in the front row in
front of the stage if they had ever been to a Dylan concert before.  They
said that they had never been to any concert before.  Alas, virgins to be
sacrificed to the Master.  They were dancing, hooting at the complexity of
the lyrics, and cheering on his harmonica playing.  Their excitement was
contagious.  I took a second take at the young man next to me with tousled
dark curly hair, sunglasses, angular face and slender body - he was the
spitting image of Bob in his 20's. He had just been accepted to nearby
Ithaca College and talking to him it was obvious Dylan was a huge
influence.  Dylan must have also picked up on the energy, but it seemed to
cause him to be more sharply focused.  I have seen him not totally
engaged, but not last night.  Ross Smith, a Dylan diehard fan who was
following him to all the concerts on this tour, said to me afterward, the
emotional heart of last night was the song, "What Good Am I."  He had a
lot of eye contact with the audience for most of the concert which usually
does not happen, but on this song he gazed at the piano keys and looked
far far away from all of us.  You could hear a pin drop.  When I have gone
to two concerts that are remotely similar, I will stop going.  But
thankfully, it is not going to happen - what fun!


Review by Mo Ritz

He had everything he wanted
‘til it all turned out to be a job…”
-n. young

Bob Dylan and his cowboy band rolled into Ithaca, NY on April 14th for
their 8th concert of the spring 2013 tour.

Ithaca, NY is a small soulful city located at the tip of Cayuga Lake,
spread over the flat valley and surrounding hillsides.  It’s a peaceful
town, where in 2008 peace activist, Trevor Dougherty, led 6000 or so
residents in creating the unofficial largest Peace Sign.  A constant in
the folk music scene where North Americas’ longest running folk concert: 
BOUND FOR GLORY is broadcast over the airwaves of WVBR 93.5 FM.

The show tonight was held at Barton Hall (gymnasium) on the Ivy League
campus of Cornell University.  A sold out show of mixed generations.

Upon arriving at Barton Hall this baby boomer found her mind conjuring up
the sounds of the Cornell Big Red Pep band pumping out the theme of Love
Story.  “Love means never having to say you’re sorry, Ollie.”   Says Doc:
“What’s up with that, it’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard?”  To which
I imagine one of my favorite Liverpudlians chiming in: “love means having
to say you’re sorry every 5 minutes!”  Now that sounds like a lot of
serving to me.

I’m certain there were no cell phones present distracting the Big Red Pep
band at that fictitious hockey game but, despite the young lady’s (Bob
Dylan Touring Co. spokesperson) respectful request tonight, to holster
cell phones during the show; cell phones amongst the attendees seemed to
be as essential as the air they breathe.

We came to the show with no expectations to hear any particular song(s),
however, we  were truly happy to  have an opportunity to see the talented
and legendary Mr. Dylan unleash the sounds in his head at least 14 or 15
times. We were not let down.

This evening Bob and the cowboys kicked it off with: Stu Kimball moseying
on to the stage strumming out a reworked introduction to Things Have
Changed (2000) a rather appropriate introduction to 21st century Dylan.  A
good sized crowd was ready to rock to the beat of Recile’s drums, Tony
Garnier the “boss” of the bass, Donny Heron on pedal steel with Bob the
maestro center stage armed with harmonica at the mic.  But wait; was that
a foreign sound to our ears?  Duke, duke, duke of Robillard, now that’s a
sweet guitar sound.  Professor Douglas Brinkley once asked Bob Dylan:  “as
a bandleader had he ever played a set with the perfect guitarist?”
(Rolling Stone 2009)  Well, I’m not sure if there is ever a “perfect”
anything or anyone for that matter, but tonight the Bob Dylan Touring Co.
was truly filling the Barton Hall with a soulful rhythm and blues and it
sounded just right.  Bob remained center stage for Love Sick…oh I’m sick
of love declaration (1997) followed by a tale of Highwater for Charlie

For those that were disappointed last fall with Dylan not offering more of
his deep dark Tempest catalog tonight found you with some satisfaction as
21 st century roadwarrior:  “I’ve been everywhere man” bob delivered four:
Soon After Midnight, Early Roman Kings, Pay In Blood and Scarlet Town.  In
which someone turned to me and stated:  Bob writes some pretty mean songs.
But he writes pretty heartfelt songs too as was displayed in his
masterpiece love story, Tangled Up In Blues ballad.  Tonight spot on.
 Somewhere near smack dab in the middle of this evening’s set Bob declared
his conscience exploded once when the back of the fish truck read:
“everything’s been paid which was owed” as 1966 echoed off the walls of
Barton hall, Visions of Johanna was a crowd pleaser.   Then we were back
in the 21st century with Spirit On The Water (2006), Beyond Here Lies
Nothin’ (2009),  Thunder On The Mountain (2006) and a romping Blind Willie
McTell (2006), well maybe no one sings them like Willie but Bob sure can
sing the blues (back then and right now too!)  With the new addition of
Duke Robillard, on guitar,  Bob Dylan and his cowboy band have harnessed a
new groove that sparkles and shines these tunes.

The highlight, the shining star, the head turner, jaw dropper, stop you in
your tracks as you move to the back, good golly Miss Molly, (I mean Bobby
D.) tonight in Barton Hall was:  “What Good I Am I “(1989)!  For a few
minutes there he was the poet laureate of rock ‘n roll.  The voice of the
promise of the ‘60s counterculture.  The guy who forced folk into bed with
rock.   Who donned makeup in the ‘70s and disappeared into a haze of
substance abuse.  Who emerged to find Jesus.  Who was written off as a
has-been by the end of the ‘80s, and who suddenly shifted gears releasing
some of the strongest music of his career beginning in the 90s.  Ladies
and Gentleman- Columbia  recording artist…Oh scratch all that.  It’s only
Bob Dylan and his cowboy band just doin’ their job…and tonight they did
their job well!

Ah, this is why we came to peaceful Ithaca where the Big Red Pep Band once
pumped out the theme to a fictitious love story so we could serve up some
appreciation to this top notch group of musicians and one of our favorite
song and dance men, Bob Dylan.  Although there maybe mirrors and certainly
a smokey haze drifting up through the rafters of Barton Hall, the band
kicked open the exit doors with a blazin’ All Along The Watch Tower
(1967).   The crowd giddied up with cell phones held high recording the
present so they can post it to YouTube  and enjoy the past in the future.

Happy Trails,
Mo Ritz


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