Orlando, Florida

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
Walt Disney Theater

October 26, 2018

[James Hope], [KD], [Daniel Dorchak], [Michael Slagel]

Review by James Hope

What can I say?!  Last night, Uncle Bobby took us all to “Sugar Town”
and “shook the sugar down,” passionately delivering a performance that
proved that in his late 70’s, Dylan is still far from just phoning these
concerts in.  As a frame of reference, this was about my 12th Dylan
show—from large indoor arenas, to the outdoor ‘minor-league baseball
stadium’ tour with Willie Nelson, to this same smaller venue here in
Orlando the last few years.  In fact last year’s show was great, but we
did of course indulge Dylan as he artfully interpreted some Sinatra tunes;
this year’s Sinatra-free set list was even more satisfying, as Dylan
returned the favor by indulging his aging audience with a greater
sprinkling of older classics that even non-hardcore fans would appreciate.
The opener (“Things Have Changed”), came out of the gate rather
forcefully, given how Dylan’s hard-pounding piano that signaled he meant
business.  As with many of the show’s I’ve seen, however, I could tell
that the audio-mix would be adjusted to suit the theater better as the as
the night progressed, and it did— which probably makes this an
appropriate place to mention that Dylan’s voice was sure and strong
throughout the nearly two-hour show.  Moreover, the pacing was excellent,
with soft and smooth numbers being interspersed at just the right time. 
As for the short-list of ‘standouts and surprises,’ the show was
front-loaded with a version of “Highway 61” that went off like a
pipe-bomb, and a final encore performance of “Ballad of a Thin Man”
that made those two songs alone worth the entire price of admission.
“Scarlet Town” was rendered much more mesmerizing than the album
version when Dylan took center stage at the microphone and softly, yet
with confidence, imbued each line with thoughtful emotion. In fact all of
the gentler numbers were great, including “It Ain’t Me, Babe,”
“Simple Twist of Fate,” “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” and
especially “Soon After Midnight.”  The number with the most notable
changes, lyrically, was “Gotta Serve Somebody,” which was all over the
board (much to Bob’s delight), as he was pitching lines from here,
there, and everywhere... “you may be a lawyer, getting ready for a
trial— but you’ve gotta serve somebody.”  The only song of the night
which really didn’t work for me, despite anticipating a good rendition,
was “Cry a While.”  During the tour that followed the song’s
release, the band captured all of the amazing internal tempo changes that
make the song so unique, and help aggressively punctuate the lyrics.  Last
night, however, it was the only tune that really seemed to have become
muddled and lost its way.  But the biggest thrill of all was an
unbelievable version of “Like a Rolling Stone” that had Dylan playing
with the audience like a cat with a ball of yarn!  You will have to
experience it for yourself, but it was slowed-down in all the right
places, allowing one to savor its poignancy, but built itself back up
powerfully in all the right places to satisfy with exuberance.  All in
all, this incarnation of the legendary ‘Bob Dylan & his Band’ show
fully lives up to the famous concert poster which warns: “Don’t You
Dare Miss It!”  As for me, whether Dylan is on guitar, piano, or harp,
l’ll gladly plunk down some cash to listen to the only guy in music
history who— having “sucked the milk out of a thousand cows”— has
“already confessed, no need to confess again.”


Review by KD

After witnessing the spectacular show in Ft. Lauderdale my son and I were
eager to see if the show in Orlando would hold up in comparison.   Happy
to report that Dylan gave us another amazingly memorable show. Every
aspect of the show was great; the voice, the band, the expressions, the
phrasings, every subtle and nuanced emphasis on certain words.  This truly
is a high water tour for Dylan and the band.   While the entire show and
experience to me was truly awe inspiring and the highlights were many I
will point out Masterpiece, Scarlet Town, LARS, Don’t Think Twice, Soon
After Midnight, Love Sick, and Gotta Serve Somebody as sublime moments of

Do not miss this tour.


Review by Daniel Dorchak

I'm searching for phrases to sing this concert the praises it
deserves. Fort Lauderdale was a spectacular show in every sense of the
word. It is hard to think of a show that could compete with the splendor
of Bob's performance at the Au Rene, then came the night in Orlando.
Things Have Changed was a very early highlight, powerful phrasing that set
the tone for the night. Highway 61 rocked the house and a Simple Twist
brought the house down. Cry a While had the lady next to me on her feet
and clapping. She told me before the show that she was not even a fan.
Masterpiece is stunning. Bob's harp pierced the air. Bob has turned
Scarlet Town into a show stopper. Love Sick was tantalizingly good. Don't
Think Twice is as good as it has ever been, slow but sweet. He messes up a
couple of the lyrics in Thunder on the Mountain, but George made up for it
with a rocking drum solo. Tony is egging him on. Soon After Midnight
rounded out the show and Serve Somebody is reinvented. Blowin' in the Wind
was sung with tremendous care. Mr. Jones makes his appearance and exits as
Bob does through the curtains. These two shows were very good. Bob has
shown that he is busy being born, creating new lyrics to some and new
phrasing to almost every song. His voice is clear and fluid. The sound is
loud. The band had fun, they we're all laughing-even Bob.


Review by Michael Slagel

What a show! This was my 5th Dylan show. It was a beautiful night. i was
about 20 rows back center. The show started about 10 minutes late.
Dylan's usually quite punctual. Which leads me to start projecting about
Dylans state of mind, lol. Is he ok? is he in a bad mood? what kind of
show will i see this time? I think that i worry about every little nuance
too much? Last time Bob played here, he walked out to a standing O. I was
surprised not to see it again this time. Regardless Bob appeared to be in
good spirits! I love this band, they are so freekin tight. I don't mind
the fact that Stu is gone. I like less instruments, sometimes. Sometimes
less is more? Charlie is adept enough to cover and fill the musical space
left by Stu. Bob was hat-less tonight. From 20 rows back, with my
eyesight, when he was backlit, his hair reminded me of the greatest hits
album cover. Gray suit with piping down the pant leg. I found Bob to be
quite animated tonight! it took a little while for the sound guys to get
the vocals right. I am not sure that they ever did get it 'just right' .
It sounded like the vocals were peaking the sound board, hence
distorting. especially with the more raucous tunes. I can't wait to hear
a recording. Regardless, it's still Bob. His piano was clearly
discernible. His harp was in great form. From 'Things have changed' to
'Thin Man' it was really magical. on, It ain't me, he backed off the mic
a little and it was perfect. Every word was clear as a bell. It seems as
if he's really dialed in. It had hints of the original arrangement, but
then not, lol. Hwy 61 is always one of my favorites. It just rocked. I
love what the band does musically here. There's a little pause just
before the last lines of each verse. The music just swirls off of the
stage and forms a tornadic, sonic attack. I've never heard When i paint
prior to tonight. It was a special treat. There's something about a pedal
steel that is just haunting. Donnie does such a nice job! Scarlettown was
another treat. Donnie on banjo adds a unique flavor. Feel my love was
caring and compassionate. His harp as always complimented it so well. The
new arrangement of Rolling Stone is pretty cool. Really cool, actually.
The verses were very low so that the vocals were out front. He really
stretched out meal. deal and conceal, etc. The audience was hooting and
cheering upon hearing this. I've always liked Roman Kings. Don't think
twice was touching. Love sick found Bob on center stage again. He was
sort of walking around, carrying his mic stand whilst singing. Again, he
seemed quite animated. Thunder built up to crescendo with the band
trading licks with George. Then Soon after midnight. I really like that
song as well. It always reminds me of 'Blue Moon, especially Charlies
lead part. Bob kind of gave off a tender rendition. Got to serve was
another first for me. What a great tune! The set was over save for an
obligatory encore. Blowing in the wind followed by Ballad. Ballad was
awesome, I could hear every word. It's really hard to describe his
phrasing. There are so many facets to this guy. I still get it. Going to
see Dylan, to me, is more than just musical. It's historical. I think of
what it must of been like to go see Samuel Clemens or Will Rogers speak.
Then you have the genius of his writing or as the Nobel people say, his
poetry. Which leads me back to his music. I feel really lucky. Can't wait
for #6!

Michael Slagel


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