Kettering, Ohio

Fraze Pavilion

June 28, 2016

[Greg Wallace], [Laurette Maillet], [Don Ely]

Review by Greg Wallace

The Fraze is the friendliest venue I've ever been to and it was a lovely
evening so I walked up without a ticket and bought one on the way in for a
small discount to the door price.  The interweb only had 2 expensive
reserved seats available (sold out!) and I wasn't going to pay $90 to hear
roughly the same set I witnessed about a year ago.  So I was on the lawn
with the hoi polloi but I also knew the Fraze had a grandstand at the back
so I could sit without bringing a blanket or chair.   

The ageless Mavis sang the hits (her own and some 60's rock tunes) during
her warmup set and name checked a local eatery and her late Pops.  One of
her backing musicians was a pretty fine Roebuck mimic, too.   She finished
before sunset.  After an intro I don't think I'd heard before, Dylan
launched into a spirited Things Have Changed.  A day off does everybody
good.  It seemed like a mixed crowd of Dylan fanatics and museum visitors,
one of whom sat near me and asked what he was playing and then dutifully
wrote down the song titles.  This seemed peculiar to me.   Perhaps it was
for a continuing education class.  Or Homeland Security.   

I can't imagine what the museum crew made of the show which featured two
or three "hits."  All the recent Dylan originals in the set were performed
relatively well, although I thought the elocution was lacking a bit on the
Tempest tunes.   Ole Bob is now including several pop standards in his set
and an Irving Berlin tune was debuted.  Bob's "How Deep is the Ocean?"
wasn't Dinah Washington but it only took a few bars to catch on and I
hadn't recalled him singing it before.  Thus far the standards Dylan is
singing are songs that Sinatra sang at some point, and the only dubious
performance was "The Night We Called it a Day."  That's a song that others
have also failed to put across, probably best left to Sinatra.  My note
taking friend asked if Rod Stewart had ever sung it and I had to profess
ignorance.  Quite a few attendees left late in the performance, probably
in bafflement, although I didn't ask any of them.  The sound was very good
with pedal steel well to the fore.  Knowing what to expect going in I
enjoyed the performance.  The artist is definitely putting out.


Review by Laurette Maillet

From Nashville I had booked a trip to Pittsburgh,  back home.
Destiny often plays some trick;
The trip has 3 layovers of 1 hour each. Thanks for going Greyhound and
wasting a lot of time. First stop is Louisville.  Right on time. Except
that the time in Louisville is not the time in Nashville.  It is one hour
ahead. Thanks for going Greyhound and having a bad assistance. I miss my
bus. "The next bus is in 7 hours" says the Information Lady , who seems
tired to be alive. Or just tired to work? She probably believes she works
too much for not enough money and puts all the blame on me. " you missed
your bus, it's your fault" she growls, as all the Greyhound employees.
They growl or they shout. It must be that all the Greyhound patrons are
deaf! "Thank you" say I, with a big smile. 7 hours to kill downtown
Louisville. Not the most beautiful city ever. I find an Internet
connection and rethink my plan ; after all I could make it to Kettering
and Toledo. I buy 2 bus tickets on line and print them at the nearby
library. Kettering is the suburbs of Dayton. Downtown Dayton is dead and
not inspiring but thanks to the municipality they have great public
transportation. I reach easily the Faze Pavillion in Kettering .  To my
surprise I know the place, I've been here before and of course for a Bob
Dylan show. History repeats itself and I take a nap on the grass in a
prosperous neighbour.  Nothing like downtown Dayton. Around 3.30 p.m. I
wake up to see that the black buses are already parked in front of me. A
short sound check from the Band , followed by a short sound check from
Mavis. I didn't hear Bobby's voice as usual but Mavis is present. Time to
snooze again. At 6 p.m. the crowd piles up in front of the gates, loaded
with lawn chairs and blankets. I will call that Tour the "Picnic Tour". I
get a lawn ticket and take my place on a wet grass. After all the blankets
are useful. Mavis speaks more and more, and sing less and less. She's
funny! The Boys are all in black, so is Bob, not even the white straps on
his pants. White hat though. It is hard to distinguish the members of the
Band from far after sun down! The sound is again metalic; the piano has a
high spitch sound. A little bit too loud? Or is it my tired spirit today?
I have seen some folks seated outside the venue. At least they were able
to hear for free. The setlist starts the same. But the 4th is " The night
we call it a day". I heard it before and it's not my favourite. During the
introduction of "Melancholy mood" the white hat disappeared. Where is Bob?
He trotts to the mike right on time for the first lyrics "melancoly mood
forever haunts me ...".  At least he didn't change this beautiful one. A
little mistake on "Duquesne whistle". He has difficulty memorising this
one? And then....the Band put together a tune I never heard. Oh!oh! I wake
up from my torpor, pay attention to the lyrics. I  can hear " And if I
ever lost you, how much would I cry? How deep is the ocean? How high is
the sky? The words are clearly articulated but definitively not a song for
Bob. He's struggling in the high notes. Good try though, courageous! Then
back to the normal set. My mind drifts away. I have no place to stay after
the show, the temperature is dramatically dropping and I fear a cold night
out under the sky and the starts. The show might have been as good as
Nashville but for me it is not the best. The public is quiet. Except few
girls dancing here and there, the ambiance is cold as the weather. "Love
sick" wakes up the left over of the audiance: a lot packed up the chairs
and the blankets already. I move slowly away. After all I have no where to
go. I am glad I was here to witness that little surprise. Thank you Bobby!
Good night and safe travel!


Review by Don Ely

As much as I'd like to see Bob move on from his focus on these standards
he's been performing of late, when seated at twenty yards out I'm reminded
of just how beautiful these shows are. Tuesday night at Fraze Pavilion in
suburban Dayton was one such show. A cool summer evening, an audience who
appreciates the artist they have paid to see, and a genuine twist in the
setlist, all were elements that contributed to another memorable pageant
of song and dance. Kettering, Ohio was an easy fifteen minute drive from
my hotel, and the rather intimate outdoor venue could be found adjacent to
an office park that provided free parking for the night's event. An
exuberant staff added to the friendly vibe. A staffer stationed outside as
we waited to get in told us we were gonna love the place, and he was
right! Dylan fans abounded, and I was seated next to some guys from
Columbus who had also been to the gig in Indy on Saturday. This seemed to
be an entire crowd of partisans; while walking about Fraze during
intermission and throughout the night I overheard more positive Dylan
conversations than maybe ever before. A few of the folks had attended
their first Bob show in 1986, and there was one older fellow attending
with his son who had seen Bob in the sixties. I always like to hear about
those experiences. Mavis Staples, buoyant as usual, played another
sparkling 45 minute warm-up, and it was a treat to finally see and hear
her fine band at optimum volume and vision. Apparently they had arrived in
town on the off-day, as she gave a shout-out to two gals in the audience
who operated a particularly good restaurant Mavis and co had visited. One
change in her set from Highland Park and Indianapolis: The Band's heavy
classic " The Weight " was performed with aplomb, well-suited to inclusion
among songs of struggle and perseverance.

I've listened to Shadows In The Night again over the past couple days ( a
week after the show ) after a layoff of several months or more. It quelled
the raging beast within on the way home after a few trying days at work
over the Fourth of July weekend. As is often the case with Bob's own
compositions, I feel these songs have improved while being honed on the
road, and these gems from the era of our parents and grandparents are now
performed in superior versions to the record. I haven't listened as much
to Fallen Angels yet, but I'm betting " Melancholy Mood " and " All Or
Nothing At All " fall into that category as well. They, and " The Night We
Called It A Day " ( I love that title! ), now number among my favorites.
For me it's not nostalgia, they just bring me to a calm and even place,
being performed beautifully by that wonderful band and sung by Bob Dylan's
beautiful voice. Yes, beautiful. Bob has found a way to polish the gravel
'n' grit and produce tones a songbird would be proud to warble. And his
own songs have always had that effect on me, too, particularly in live
performance; it's the CORE reason I attend so many shows. They just hit me
square in the chest. This set wasn't lacking fire, however. " High Water (
for Charley Patton ) " features explosive execution from the entire band,
and it's Stu Kimball supplying the hot licks on his guitar. Nice to see
Stu being given his opportunity again after spending so much time on the
sidelines. Charlie Sexton burned brightly as usual, on " Early Roman Kings
" and others, and applied Jazz Age stylings to the standards. Love that
cord he plugs into his guitar; old school! Donnie Herron is the glue that
binds these stardust memories together; Shadows and Angels would not exist
were it not for him. And as always there's the best rhythm section in the
land, Tony Garnier and George Recile. George is playing more
authoritatively once more after being asked to dial it back the last
couple tours. I hope to meet these guys one day.

In the eighth slot we lucky few were given something to ponder, what must
surely have been the world premiere of " How Deep Is The Ocean? ". An
outtake, or just another standard Bob and band worked up? Hopefully not
from volume three! Not being overly familiar with this material ( they're
not the period blues, jazz, or r 'n' b that I'm used to ) I didn't
recognize the song. I only knew it as something different from the
previous two shows. Lovely is all I can say. Toward set's end " Scarlet
Town " and " Long And Wasted Years " throw a one-two prizefighter punch,
separated while the referee counts during " All Or Nothing At All " and
the audience gets up only to get knocked down again. The emotional TKO
occurs when Donnie leads into " Autumn Leaves", in my opinion the best of
these numbers and perfect way to close a great night. As for this
enthusiast, a fiddle-driven " Blowin' In The Wind" would send me off into
the starry expanse with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.

Don Ely
Rochester, MI


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