Asheville, North Carolina

Thomas Wolfe Auditorium

November 2, 2018

[Marty Traynor]

Review by Marty Traynor

The Dylan show we attended in Asheville, NC on Friday got me thinking about 
how much I wished Paul Williams were still around to comment on what's 
going on with Dylan. All I can say is, Dylan is in a very different place than he 
was in the shows I attended in the past couple of years. Paul Williams could 
have put this in perspective better than I am able.

The set list mixed songs across the decades. You can check it out - 20 
numbers covering much of Dylan's career. Unlike the past couple of years, 
there were no Sinatra covers. But surf rock lives! There are Beach Boys riffs 
in at least two of his current arrangements: "Honest with Me" channels 
"Dance, Dance, Dance" and "Thunder in the Mountain" now rocks with a riff 
from "Shut Down, Part 2". And it includes a drum solo straight out of 
"Wipe Out". 

The band is great even without Stu Kimball. They are Dylan's instrument as 
much as ever, a reflection of his wishes. My one regret is not being able to 
attend multiple shows on this tour leg. They have "band ESP" without a doubt. 
With one less guitar in the mix Dylan's piano is up more in the mix - he's playing 
the piano well - and his harp playing is genius. The one acknowledgement of 
the band I recall is the moment when Sexton took a great solo on "Love Sick" 
and Dylan, singing in center stage,  swept his hand toward him - for about a 
half second. 

Dylan's voice seemed much stronger than in the past couple of years and his 
drawn out, illuminating phrasing has  returned with a vengeance. In the new 
"Like a Rolling Stone" he slows down and draws out the ending of each chorus, 
elongating words in ways he has not ventured recently. His harp playing is also 
back, sounding terrific across several songs.

After the show, walking out, in conversation with fans who have not attended 
shows over most of the NET, I heard a mix of opinions, from " I loved it" to "I 
just don't get it". I am pretty sure I do get it. The greatest show on earth is 
alive and well. Don't miss it.


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