July 17, 2016
Review by Andy Trudo,
My fourth time seeing Bob at this particular venue. A wonderful venue to
see any concert. Nicely designed pavilion, great acoustics, loud speakers,
and a warm yet breezy New Hampshire night. Very tight security, but
friendly staff overall from my conversations. Parking was simple, and the
surrounding lakes set a scenic sight for the final night of the Summer
I had no prior experience with Mavis Staples, but from the performance she
gave on this night, I can see why she is so respected, admired, and
frankly, just beloved. For someone her age, she was so high in energy and
in spirits that I couldn't help feel like I was at a musical revival of
some sort. "Greetings from the Windy City" indeed. The crowd absolutely
loved her, and she responded in kind with her generous music and even more
generous heart. She's my new favorite opening act for Bob. I've seen many
good ones, but none so genuinely warm hearted. Mavis is a treasure, and
I'm delighted I got to see and hear her play. Her band is incredibly tight
and well structured, and she belted out each song with passion and gusto.
Great Job Mavis! You outshined Bob. (Don't tell him)
Bob was in good singing form tonight. Some songs he really nailed vocally.
The band was as rehearsed and tight-knit as I've ever heard them. The vibe
of the 03, 04, and 11 shows (at this venue) was not largely present
tonight. What we got (expectedly) was a weaving of many slow paced
standards with a few Bob classics, and a few really rocking numbers. My
first time seeing "The Set" live. Absolute standouts of the night were
"Duquesne Whistle" and "Early Roman Kings." The later rocked the place so
hard you could probably hear it from down the road. Muddy Waters would
have been proud. Bob's perfected his riff.
The cover songs were sung with balance and care. To my ears, they aren't
very exciting songs, although I love some of them just the same. I can
understand why Bob loves these songs so much. Sentimentality, delicate
arrangements, and mournful recitations of a bygone past. These are the
songs of my Grandparents generation, and I love them on their own terms.
Like I love Bob. I'm happy Bob's happy singing these songs. Although
honestly, he looked happier at the other three concerts he's performed
here. Tonight he seemed very subdued. Not bored, but not energized either.
A few song notes: "High Water" was a different groove than I've previously
heard. Even so far this tour. Sounded experimental, and I loved the back
and forth rhythm the band found. "Beyond Here Lies Nothing" featured great
piano playing from Bob, and "Why Try To Change Me Now" was sung with a
passionate mix of inflection and bark, as only Bob could. "How Deep is the
Ocean" is unquestionably the single most boring song I've ever heard Bob
sing live, so I can't say I cared for that number. "Stay With Me" is a
peculiar closer. It must have implied meaning. I don't think it's a strong
enough song to close a show with otherwise. Kind of ends things with a
whimper. He must want us to think about it. To me, ending a show with
Watchtower, Rolling Stone, or a rocking Love Sick just feels so right.
Ending things with "Stay With Me" feels weird. I'll stay with you Bob.
Just please mix it up song wise. You're turning into a Mayweather fight.
I miss Summer Days! Those summer nights are gone.
Overall, I'm happy I attended, and I'm happy I saw "The Set" for the first
(but probably last) time. I wish for more variety and more original
material, but it wasn't a bad show by any stretch. Outstanding job by
Mavis, and the Maestro brought what he brings in fine form. I hope the two
of them enjoyed their tour together. Thanks to Bob for making it happen.
Review by Kyle Valanne
My 6th Dylan concert was at the fabulous Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion; I
made the drive with my wife from Miramichi, Canada for the show and it was
worth every kilometre. I also saw Bob there five years ago with Leon
Russell opening. Last night, Mavis Staples set the tone and let the crowd
know that it was going to be a great night of music. A fantastic cover of
The Weight brought back memories of The Last Waltz and had the audience
dancing and singing. Bob sounded great. Things Have Changed was a great
opener and you could tell that he was going to deliver. The first nine
songs before the intermission were the strongest part of the show with the
second half lacking some of the same energy – She Belongs To Me, Duquesne
Whistle, Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ were all standouts. Bob and his
fantastic band hit a homerun with a beautiful Melancholy Mood. Loved the
blue and yellow stage lighting during this song; looked like a starry sky.
Tangled Up In Blue always delivers and last night was no different.
The second set started with High Water and I think it was my favorite
performance of the night; it had a dark vibe and I loved the arrangement.
Spirit On The Water and All Or Nothing At All were two other numbers I
enjoyed, but like I mentioned above, the material in the second set seemed
to be lacking the energy of the songs before the intermission. What wasn’t
lacking, however, was Bob’s commitment to the material, both his own songs
and the covers. He sang each song with care and wanted us to hear what he
had to say. This was true all evening long including the encore of Blowin’
In The Wind and Stay With Me. I would have preferred fewer of the Sinatra
standards and a few more bluesy rockers but I respect and appreciate the
show Bob gave us last night. His singing was strong. His band was tight.
Bob refuses to simply put on a greatest hits show and that’s why his real
fans love him. To use Bob’s own words “He not busy being born is busy
dying” and even after all these years, he continues to explore music, both
his own and others, and last night I was able to once again spend some
time listening in.
Thank you Mr. Dylan.
Comments by Jean Coughlin
The Fifty “Loos”
To be truthful about the venue setup it was a bit over the top.
The large flat piece of land behind some old warehouses and near an industrial
ocean inlet, Is on the outskirts of Portland. The parking and access was
adequate, entrance meant standing in long lines of concert goers toting bags
and chairs for picnic style viewing on the grounds. The ushers reported that
this was the first time they had done the VIP seating arrangement. This
concert I had taken G/A tickets and had arrived a full 2 hours before the show
was to begin and was still confronted by the long line stretching a few hundred
or more yards across the parking and around the mill building.
After waiting in lines for the 1 hour before getting through security we found a
spot in an area behind and next to the sound booth. They had roped off a huge
swarth of lawn in front of the venue and placed roomy rows of folding chairs and
a large buffer around it for the higher paying VIP seat holders. Pretty much the
whole venue was off limits in front of the concert stage except to these
precious few seat holders. A large section of seats in several rows were still
available or at least un sat in. Right behind the VIP section there was a walking
corridor and the big sound setup dead center as well.
All the folks who had not been allowed to go the front of the line like the VIPs,
and had waited in the dusty parking lot lines and been eaten by the “Mingies”
were allowed once having made it in to the venue to place their chairs in a
section marked beside and beyond the sound booth.
There were huge beer counters serving good micro-brew and taking cash only.
Two ATM’s charged extra large fees for dispensing cash to all the debit card
holders. I spotted the standing room only signs swinging on the rope placed to
keep the regular concert goers out of the VIP garden. I asked 3 redshirted
ushers if it was a place we could stand and watch the concert. Refuge had
been found with a dynamite view of the stage. I spent the next 3 hours
there holding ground and being found.
It wasn’t until after the concert was over that I came in contact with the real
phenomenon. The corral of portable toilets, 50 of them. I counted them while
I waited for Michael who had the courage to visit one of them. My fear of these
plastic pee huts is quite palpable. Fortunately as a clostraphobe indeed, I have
been blessed thus far with a strong constitution of bladder.
The sound of the clacking heavy plastic doors as they opened and closed and
more people went in and got out was like a syncopated rhyme.
I am reminded of a movie with Bjork set in Iceland. Had I been standing there
much longer I might have turned it into some kind of rap shuffle Bob Dylan style.
The sight of the 50 “Loo” circled like wagons and the shier number of them
placed to properly serve the micro beer drinking masses made me realize,
“Things have Changed”. These concert events casual as they may feel with the
lawn blankets and the sunset views by the highway, cannot be mistaken for
anything less than “big business”. Still. since it was on such a home turf for me,
I found a comfort level that felt really enjoyable. The pressures of getting in and
out of the event here were phased out by familiarity.
We managed a Saturday dump run that morning and left the house around 2:30.
Planned on heading to the Portland Museum of Art to see the female modernist
exhibit that was in town, with famous works by Georgia O’keefe and a few of
her contemporaries. I had seen the paintings once before at the Metropolitan in
NY almost 30 years ago. Standing in front of them in downtown Portland Me
was such a renewed pleasure. Now in my 50’s, as a painter of watercolors, I
looked more carefully at them with their incredible clean brushstrokes, their
boldness and clarity and deliberate color pallet. What seems in print in a book or
on a poster as design, is transformative in it’s true form as a painting with real
paint and texture and brushwork that is so superbly executed and has stood
well the test of time.
Later when Bob performed he seemed to reach that pinnacle as well. He was
charged with fire on his piano keys and bolstered our spirit with his loud and
clear voice and smoking performance. He reached for it a few times on the
harmonica and gave his soul up for rent on the night. Buying us all just a little
time with him as our landlord.
“God bless us everyone…”
Comments by Giuseppe Curzi
Well , here is Bob and his excellent band playing for us once again during
this very comfortable summer Sunday night !!! What can we say ?? Life is
not a stage and we are not actors on it . Life is Watching Bob on a stage
and being entertained ...Some of us look back on Bob in his prime , but
hey , things have changed and now we have the Crooner Dylan . For me , I
guess , it's all good and may he live long ...Thank you Bob , for
persevering ...You have you reasons for playing the Crooner songs . Who
are we to judge ?? Keep on Truckin' and if you come back , we will come to
see you . Grazie multo ...
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