Yokohama, Japan


April 28, 2016


Review by Robert

The 2016 Japan tour ended with a fantastic night from Bob and the band.
My last Dylan concert was 15 years ago, and even after hearing the recent 
albums and reading the gushing reviews, it was still a shock just how good 
his voice was sounding.  The Sinatra album really seems to have been a 
catalyst for a more melodic and wistful phase of Bob's career, and that 
mood certainly carried throughout the night. 

Bob's body language throughout the night was that of a happy man, or at 
least one having fun. Standing center stage with one hand on his hip, he 
would jab his hands out at the band when things got cooking. At the 
piano, he couldn't sit still, and was always on his feet by the end of the 
number, guiding his band through the final measures. His signature move 
now though, is almost slapstick, a broad-legged backwards waddle towards 
the bassist whenever he finished a verse or number. With the broad-brimmed 
hat, this gives the impression of a disconcerted gunslinger. But the fantastic 
delivery and casual dance moves immediately create a great intimacy - Bob 
the legend, perhaps, but Bob completely at ease with himself, with the 
band, and with a fantastic setlist.  

Speaking of the setlist, it was the same as the previous Japan dates - heavily 
skewed towards recent material, and clearly to the delight of the audience 
and the band. To each his own, but the two early 60s numbers (She 
Belongs to Me / Blowin' in the Wind) were unremarkable against the 
background of the new material, perhaps because there are decades of 
great performances of both that come to mind, and it's a tall order to top 

Highlights of the night?  Bob's obvious relish at delivering certain lines - in 
High Water (For Charley Patton), a world-weary and emphatic "It's baaad 
out there!" - in Love Sick, "I hear the clock tick!" - and every single line of 
The Night We Called it a Day and Autumn Leaves, with the mournful and 
plaintive pedal steel providing the perfect context for lyrics it's now hard 
to imagine anyone else delivering, as Bob's voice has become the 
distillation of a lifetime of experience and restlessness. 

While the ballads give Bob the chance to wow the crowd with his smoky 
voice, an up-tempo Things Have Changed, Duquesne Whistle and High 
Water all showcased how tight and virtuosic the band has grown. Things 
were cooking, and listening to the (fantastic!) album versions the morning 
after is a sobering letdown after the energy and vitality of the live 
performances of these. And again, Bob seems to be on top of the 
world-jabbing his hands out for crucial downbeats, bobbing up and down
in time (or occasionally double-time) with the beat, and standing up at the 
piano. Admittedly, the piano was a bit tough to pick out in the mix, but the 
harmonica solos came through loud and clear, and got the crowd cheering.

A great night, and a pleasure to see Bob and the band enjoying themselves 
and sounding fantastic. I've listened to my share of bootlegs and have seen 
him in concert a handful of times, but something really special is happening 
now. Great music, great delivery, but also intimate and just plain fun. Best 
live show I've seen from Dylan. Lots of dates coming up - get tickets and 
bring some friends - you won't regret it!


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