July 10, 2016
Review by Barry Gloffke
Traffic was awful getting out of NYC, so I arrived late, just in time to
hear the end of Mavis Staples opening set, but in plenty of time for a
beverage and some relaxing before our hero takes the stage. Once again
(as in Foxwoods Casino) I found myself having to overcome a deplorable
environment, in the bowels of a tourist trap, among a mindless casino
crowd, and a hushed, silent, sleeping herd of sitting people there to
watch Bob Dylan. Thankfully, the Borgata is not a blandly designed
theater with lackluster lighting, as is the case with the theater at
Foxwoods. But, man, what a pathetic crowd of stultified liberals sitting
on their exceptional fannies. Ugh. What a waste of precious seats.
— — — Sorry, I need to vent for a moment — — —
I’m sure it is not news to anyone that going to see a Dylan concert these
days is not the experience it used to be. These are sitting only events
now because the audience has aged so much. If you try to stand and dance
inevitably people will ask you to sit, or summon an usher to ask. They
will always quip… ‘we spent good money on these seats!’... I guess they
assume that I get into the show for free. The point they make seems to be
that THEIR money spent is more important than MY money spent. The reality
now (and it has been for a number of years) is that the audience is
mostly clueless as to what they are about to see and hear from Bob and
the Band. Maybe they expect a quiet reading of poetry from the man they
proclaim as the Voice of Their Generation. Not really sure what they
expect, but if they pay attention they are getting two things: 1. HIGH
ART with some deep insights into the Man, his life and the times we live
in... these songs are chosen for a purpose 2. A smoking hot band... one of
the best you will see My hope is that Bob goes back to doing a few general
admission shows on the next tour to weed out the fair weather fans. If
not, then to the fair weather fans… either bone up on the last 25 years
of Bob or, please stay home. These shows are not for you. — — — Again,
sorry to vent — — —
Bob and the Band came out thundering with great versions of THINGS
HAVE CHANGED, SHE BELONGS TO ME and BEYOND HERE LIES NOTHIN’. A nice
version of THE NIGHT WE CALLED IT A DAY got a good reaction from the
otherwise dormant crowd. Next was PAY IN BLOOD which was delivered with
great bile followed by MELANCHOLY MOOD... soooo nice… I love the
treatment the guys give this. The audience reaction was polite, but cold.
A very uneven (but still rousing) take on DUQUESNE WHISTLE followed.
Again, a polite but very subdued reaction. You could feel the
restlessness when the tempo slowed and Bob started into THAT OLD FEELING.
Bob was hitting some notes and missing others, but the audience was only
cueing in on the bad. The Band rebounded with a great take on TANGLED UP
IN BLUE, taking it up a notch before intermission. Of course the crowd
approved of an old Dylan song they slightly recognized.
At intermission a woman in the middle section was leading (or trying to
lead) the audience on a sing-along to LIKE A ROLLING STONE. Poor souls,
still lost in the 1960s. It’s as if most of Bobs fans stop listening to
him in 1977… pathetic. Also at intermission, I sought some empty space to
the side of the venue and found Rows 1, 2 and 3 empty on the right side
of the stage. THANK YOU ROCK GODS! This led for a more entertaining
second half for me, but the audience was not changing tactics.
Bob and the Band responded to the first half audience reaction with a
very muted second set. HIGH WATER (FOR CHARLEY PATTON) started the second
set and was one several high points as was EARLY ROMAN KINGS and LONG AND
WASTED YEARS. Following HIGH WATER the crowd was again restless for old
Bob songs and was tepid in response to WHY TRY TO CHANGE ME NOW. A great
EARLY ROMAN KINGS was followed by a very nice take on I COULD HAVE TOLD
YOU. Next was SPIRIT ON THE WATER, and even though Bob hashed up parts of
it on the piano, the Band bought it home beautifully with some fine
reaction from the Bobcats to Bobs' queries about ‘over the hill’ and
‘past my prime’. Bob also hashed up parts of SCARLET TOWN… he seemed to
lose his timing and thus the Band lost its timing several times on this
tune. A fine ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL, a searing LONG AND WASTED YEARS and a
wistful AUTUMN LEAVES left me very happy at the conclusion of the set.
But, as the last chords closed on AUTUMN LEAVES, and I jotted down some
notes the audience reaction was embarrassing. It’s as if they did not
realize what had just happened, that the song was over, that the set was
over, that they had just seen a pretty damned good show and that the Band
was leaving the stage. They were barely able to summon the ability to
stand loudly and applaud for an encore. Unreal!!
The encores of BLOWIN' IN THE WIND and LOVE SICK were fabulous. Both
seemed to stretch a bit and reach for some higher momentum. Great stuff.
The crowd got a better deal than it deserved... a professional, but
uneven show of superior material with some good, some bad and some ugly.
Bob and the Band were certainly not feeding off of any energy from the
crowd because their was none.
The last show I will see for this tour will be at The Mann Center in
Philadelphia, and, as was the case in Forest Hills (great show) I hope
for a more knowledgable, sophisticated and upbeat crowd. Thanks Bob.
Review by Laurette Maillet
I reach AC in early morning after a night travelling Greyhound.
I found rapidly the Youth Hostel, clean and friendly.
After a quick shower I take a walk to the boardwalk.
AC could have been a beautiful Beach Resort where families could have been
able to spend some quiet and healthy vacations, swimming and enjoying the
fine gray sand. "But power and greed and corruptible seed Seem to be all
that there is". The boardwalk is flanked on one side by the Atlantic Ocean
(still free of access) on the other side by casinos, restaurants, junk
stores... "In Scarlet Town, the end is near The Seven Wonders of the World
are here The evil and the good, livin' side by side All human forms seem
glorified" I hate those casinos cities, and I don't think much of casino
people ; fat ugly folks spending their small pensions in the slot machines
in an incessant noisy surrounding. Do they truly believe they will become
millionaires? And for what purpose? Gamble even more? Nonetheless Bob
already played Casinos and one more tonight. The little Jitney bus takes
me to the Borgata for 2.25$. I dread that show, specifically here at the
Borgata where a chapter of the 'adventure of Mr.R. and Miss.M.' took place
few years ago. What ever people say the blows don't go away. They are just
back somewhere in our memory and the scares are reopening with the visual
reality. But tonight I will meet with Jack Fate and his wife and we have a
pleasant conversation and a soft drink before the show. I have to be
oblivious of the noise and lights and focus on my ticket. This is not a
Picnic adventure, there is no lawn chairs, blankets and coolers but I know
the public is not necessarily the most attentive neither. The audience is
an average of 50 or 60 years of age (luckily the casino people are not the
young crowd, they hopefully have something better to do with their life).
Tonight we have the nostalgic kind of Fans. They came to remember the
"good old days". They may be familiar with the Sinatra songs but they will
certainly expect "The times they are a-changing" or "Mr. Tambourine man".
Do they know that Bob Dylan doesn't play the guitar anymore? I get myself
a comp ticket (many extra tickets are hanging up in the air). My row, up
there on the balcony, is ... empty. Though the venue is small (few
thousands) it is far for being full, not even the floor. The person next
to me (with a free comp ticket) doesn't even know who will be on stage
tonight(?). The 2 on my left will leave after a couple of songs. It sucks!
It's Mavis birthday tonight, 77 years old. Some folks will sing "Happy
birthday to you". Mavis is happy(I believe she's always happy anyway). She
will perform a couple of songs I didn't hear before. She doesn't have a
static set list, but few songs will be 'classic' like the final "I'll take
you there". I rush to the restroom before the line forms and move back to
a better seat, all by myself, so I can do my Karaoke trip. I wish the
public could disappear all together. The sound is good, the kind of
metallic sound I heard some places before. The piano and the banjo will be
on high pitch notes.Donnie Heron is doing an excellent job. Bob's voice is
clear and loud. Every song is executed professionally. The first part of
the show is excellent with no mistake on "Duquesne whistle". Jake Fate
texts me there is an empty seat next to him on the 5th row. I move there
for the second part of the show. I have a better view of the stage,
particularly of Stu and George. Tony is far in the back, almost in the
complete darkness. The 3 girls in front of me are chatting incessantly.
One will make a point of honor to agitate her arm at the end of each song!
Even on "That Old Feeling". I am tired of those American brat kids!
Goddamn stupid and full of themselves. Well! Bob is true to himself. Here
or there he doesn't seem to care anymore.Does he know he has a public?
Does he know he is in Atlantic City? After a long while on the road the
notion of place and time is blurred. Thanks to Jake and Kimberley I had a
good time at the Atlantic City show. The Jitney bus takes me back to my
Hostel and I chat with a young man who also had a good time at the show.
Here and there in the public some people could still appreciate Bob Dylan
for who he is ; a great Artist.
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