Tokyo Garden Theater
April 16, 2023
Review by Masaki Minonishi
Fifth Tokyo show, and my last of the Japan tour. To put it short, It was
the best of the five shows I attended.
Tonight Bob’s vocals sounded stronger than yesterday and he controlled
it perfectly from the wild growl on “False Prophet” to the tender
singing on “I Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You”. Also the band
sounded almost like a different one from the first show I saw last week.
Now they seemed confident on backing up Bob, and they added such richness
and dynamics and color to the music, especially on the “Rough and Rowdy
The crowd tonight was enthusiastic too, as they started clapping even
before the show began. And once the show began there were cheering at all
the right timings and also lots of standing ovations in between songs.
Of course there were cons, as he tried “Brokedown Palace” and messed
up again, but even that was part of the fun, and seeing Bob and the band
switch into “Goodbye Jimmy Reed” seamlessly was thrilling.
As a result of all that, it was one hell of a live experience for me.
No jokes during the band introduction after “I’ll Be Your Baby
Tonight” tonight, and as always Tony gets the biggest applause.
All of the songs were highlights tonight, but among them the standouts for
False Prophet - Tonight this blues was nasty as ever. Bob growled the
lyrics at the end of every verse, and he was also hitting the piano so
When I Paint My Masterpiece - Bob and the band both seemed to be really
enjoying playing this song and Bob stretched out the lyrics. A “thank
you” from Bob followed.
Black Rider - The set of “Black Rider” and “My Own Version of You”
was always the highlight of the first half of the show for me, and tonight
was no exception. I loved the new melody of this song from the first time
I heard it, and tonight Doug Lancio added some beautiful guitar which made
it even better.
My Own Version Of You - This song is always shocking to hear live,
especially the last part where he spit out the lyrics furiously with
minimal music. It’s almost like the hell’s breaking lose with his
voice. An absolute climax of the first part of the show.
I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight - Tonight he seems to be really enjoying
playing the piano on this song.
Crossing the Rubicon - The way he sings this song is so classic Dylan,
like those days of “Highway 61” or “Blonde on Blonde” it’s like
he transcended time. And that piano!!
Key West - This song really grew on me during this tour, and tonight was
the best of the five shows I attended. Bob sang line after line with
dignity and music played by the band was so rich. I didn’t realize till
tonight but the guitar solo by Dag Lancio in the middle was great too,
playing just the right notes and not playing too much. Boy I want to go to
Key West and hear this song on the pirate radio station endlessly.
Gotta Serve Somebody - Always a crowd pleaser and tonight was no
I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You - The audience reacted with a
applause to the intro of this song, and as if responding to that good
reaction of the audience, Bob started singing midway through the intro.
Tonight he sang this one beautifully stretching out the lyrics looooong
which made my heart melt. Doug Lancio played a great guitar solo too.
That Old Black Magic - Everyone was thinking he was going to play a
Grateful Dead related song on this spot. But a jaunty intro began and to
our surprise it was “That Old Black Magic”. But it wasn’t
disappointing at all, since the song seemed refreshed and new again by
taking a couple shows off. Bob and the band played it perfectly.
Brokedown Palace ~ Goodbye Jimmy Reed - Everyone thought “Goodbye Jimmy
Reed” was going to start. But Bob Britt changed to acoustic guitar and
the band started playing something different, something not blues. The
audience was dead silent not to miss what’s going to happen, and when
Bob started singing a few started cheering. It was “Brokedown Palace”
again!! This time the band sounded well rehearsed, and Bob seemed
confident with his singing and the first verse was welcomed with a roar.
But then something started to go wrong as Bob started mumbling and looked
down on the lyric sheet on his piano, which made his mouth far from the
microphone and it became hard to hear his singing. It went on like that
for a while and then he hit some chords like Bang Bang, and the band went
into “Goodbye Jimmy Reed”. So tonight “Goodbye Jimmy Reed” was
played half acoustic and wasn’t so heavy, but Bob’s singing was wild
and got me moving in the chair more and more with every verse.
Every Grain of Sand - Just like last night, the last song of the show
started solo with just Bob and his piano. He sang every line in the way
only he could sing, and they all sank deep into my heart. He finished the
song with a long and beautiful harmonica which I hoped would never end,
since I knew when the harmonica is over, my part of the tour will be over
too. But like all good things do, it came to an end and all I could do was
scream “Thank you Bobby” repeatedly to the master who stood up and
came in front to accept our applaud.
So my part of the Japan tour is over. I want to thank all the friends I
met at the shows for the wonderful time we had. I’m going to miss you
all, and hope to see you all down the road again soon. And for all those
who took time to read my poor writing, thank you for reading.
Hope Nagoya was and the Europe tour starting in June is a blast!
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