New York, New York

Beacon Theatre

November 23, 2019

[Laurette Maillet], [Caitlin Hawke], [Roland Pabst], [Peter Smith], [Barry Gloffke], [Gregory Schwartz]

Review by Laurette Maillet

Mixed feelings.... I arrived in NY just on time for the soundcheck. 
Nothing extraordinary. Of course impossible to approach Bob.
He was sneaking in....incognito! I saw all the musicians though.  Also
kind of incognito except Charlie who seems to like a little bit of
notoriety. I run to check in in my Hostel in Brooklyn. It looks like a
"colorful" area. A lot of animation. But the hostel is clean and for now I
do have a private room. Back to the Beacon with the underground M and then
any of the red line, 1 2 or 3. Easy. I try my chance with my paintings to
exchange for a ticket. They attract the eyes of some Fans but not as much
as expected. The folks just want to get in to see Bob Dylan and His Band.
Nonetheless a kind gentleman just hands me a ticket. At first he doesn't
want my painting but then changed his mind and take the young Dylan I
painted yesterday. Cool! My seat is orchestra row w. A little on the back
of the theater but the Beacon is small so my view is good. The stage is
set far back. Bob will be away from the first row. They start fifteen
minutes late. Where I am the sound is not so good. Bob's voice is muffled.
All my friends Bobcats said the show was great. Well! Compare to
Philadelphia...the public was mellow. Though polite and knowing what was
going on. was probably my mood, not too high. No change in the
setlist. That might be 10 shows alike. "Pay in blood" was the
highlight(for me).  No echo on "Not dark yet". A good show but the
atmosphere today was not my cup of tea. I check the backstage door right
after the end. Some fans are piling up by the bus. I know Bob will not get
out this way. Too obvious and not secured enough. I see no car waiting for
him. No Barron. Some Bobcats came from all over the world but it is "
hello and bye" except my good friends from Australia. Each and every one
is dreaming his own dream or am I being "ostracized"? Or "paranoid" today.
Tomorrow is Sunday. We'll see what it brings. Good night from New York NY.


Review by Caitlin Hawke

Many Fall 2019 NET reviews leading up to tonight had me very excited. And
indeed, Beacon Night 1 found Bob Dylan in good form, great voice, and
relaxed in his never-ending home.  The Beacon fits this band like a glove.
And spending two weeks in town, over the TG holiday, is an annual rite I
anticipate with pleasure.

Lots of little changes. New faces. New togs. The boys in the band are all
dudded out in matching grey suits with sparkly flourishes. Uniformed. And
then Dylan is set off in a similar suit but white with black
accessories…glittering away. You get the sense he enjoys this crew. Late
in the show, he broke out  a full-throated intro of each member with a
special call to new drummer Chamberlain to “stand up so the people can
see you.”

Dylan spent most of the time he wasn’t at the keyboard deep in the
pocket of the musicians, always on an axis with Charlie and Donnie, making
eye contact here and there while Tony and Bob Britt bracketed him from
behind.  When he was at the keyboard, he was banging and tinkling away,
often standing for the honky tonk bits.  But he kept backing himself into
the bosom of the band, sometimes harp in hand. He played guitar twice and
wended his way into this back pocket then, too.

The ballads stood out. The still, stripped down ‘Lenny Bruce’ caught
the crowd’s attention, with Donnie’s violin ferrying the song along. 
(I have always wondered what happened in that 10 block taxi ride. I
imagine it to have been a bit manic with the comic jumping in and out of
the cab, in and out of traffic.)  On the topic of ballads, I couldn’t
help but think that presenting this arrangement of ‘Girl from the North
Country’ — and so beautifully sung — had something to do with the
Nashville disc drop. Not quite in his Nashville voice, but singing all the
same, quite beautifully.  The “Not Dark Yet” arrangement was also a

I hope to understand better what was going on tonight when I see him at
the end of this Beacon run.  The band wasn’t quite soaring, that state
of grace I have occasionally experienced. Tonight was shy of that.

That said, Dylan is consistently delivering at a level he’s rarely
sustained — particularly without featuring a gimmick. Sinatra Bob and
upsinging Bob are long gone, and his singing is fluid and just pretty in a
way it wasn’t before the crooner.

Last year’s Beacon show was such a complex, wonderful, all-body
experience, I find myself comparing. (And I note that the set lists are
not vastly different, but the narrative they spun out was.) November 2018
was a dark show that felt like a commentary on the state of the world.
Tonight’s show featured a lighter, yet more interior Dylan, more
romantic and well detached from the external world.  “It’s not dark
yet, but it’s getting there” was personal.

Let’s see how these next two weeks evolve.


Review by Roland Pabst

It was my 51st Dylan Concert. My first one was in Locarno, Switzerland.
That was the concert he mentions in his book Chronicles. That evening he
found again his voice and purpose of performing.  Every stage of his
career was great, but the way he performs on this Fall Tour is very
special. I can’t believe that Beacon 2019 is so much different than
Beacon 2018. It is amazing to see how Dylan and the band can rearrange the
songs and on this tour to perfection. I truly love the band. Dylan is the
leader on stage. His singing, piano playing and harp is probably the best.
He has so much energy and it It looks like he enjoys it. Superb to see him
on guitar and also introducing the band (again). My favorites? I had many.
Girl from the North Country, Not Dark Yet, Lenny Bruce, When I Paint My
Masterpiece are a few of them. As beautiful as the Beacon is I never had a
great sound experience. Maybe in Orchestra it is better but in Loge I had
difficulty to hear the lyrics. The slow and tender songs were fine.
Overall I am looking forward to my second concert on Friday.  

Roland Pabst


Review by Peter Smith

On my way to tonight’s show, I could not help but think how fortunate we
are to have Dylan still with us, and still so strong. Bandmates from his
salad days are long gone (Richard Manuel at age 42 in 1986, Rick Danko,
55, in 1999, Levon Helm, 71 in 2012). And he’s no snob about sharing his
talents in the hinterlands. In the last month, we’ve enjoyed
enthusiastic reports of shows in Normal, IL and South Bend, IN. The rock
and roll roots of his musical tree are stronger than ever. His live show
still inspires an audience to dance or move in their seats. And his vocals
really have improved in recent years, undoubtedly a by product of his
three album, several tour, experiment with the American songbook.

That said, there was a feeling of a holiday homecoming in the air tonight
as Dylan made yet another Thanksgiving return to the Beacon. The theater,
like other vintage venues Dylan has selected in recent years, is gleaming
gold restored gem with great sight lines and acoustics. It’s in a
residential neighborhood with holiday lights near the marquee. You know
that Dylan himself must be happy to have arrived here after his 8 week
trek across the country. At his age, it can’t be easy travelling so much
in such a short time. It has to be a labor of love.

Dylan’s sound crew had it dialed in on the first show of this 10 night
run. They’ve clearly got the recipe written down for a great mix here. 
Loved the return of the orchestral introduction as the lights dimmed and
was happy to hear Dylan introduce his fine band. They in their matching
grey suits, Dylan in his white jacket, black pants with white stripe and
white boots. Hair looking just right, still a little bounce without a hat.
I had been trying to figure out why he has been playing an upright piano
instead of the grand piano of tours past. The answer came to me as I
watched him work. The upright is roots rock, more Little Richard, less
Elton John. It works. Plus Dylan moves from it. He stands at the piano,
moves to the center stage microphone to sing, play guitar and harp.

The delivery was impassioned, impeccably professional and efficient.
Seamless. Bootleg series volume #100 in the year 2035. Highlight for me
were Simple Twist of Fate with new lyric about something “weird”, When
I Paint My Masterpiece with new lyric about falling “ill” on that
plane ride so bumpy and a new arrangement of Trying to get to Heaven. 
Lenny Bruce and Gotta Serve Somebody also are given new life and work
well. Not the same for Can’t Wait, IMHO.

Bob at the Beacon. It’s a modern American Thanksgiving tradition we
should all be thankful for. And at 78, Bob and we should know it is not to
be taken for granted.


Review by Barry Gloffke

Bob Dylan in New York City. Saturday night. Excitement in the air. First of 
ten shows for Bob in NYC (I will see nine).

After a great show at The Met in Philly, Bob and the Boys open up to a
very low key, packed house at the Beacon Theatre. Unfortunately this show
will not live up to the Philly show. It will be a good show, but not a
spectacular one.

The usual chaos of a late arriving crowd means that the show starts about
15 minutes later than normal.

Bob center stage on guitar for THINGS HAVE CHANGED... a solid opener,
voice sounds great. IT AIN'T ME, BABE started out clunky, but featured
nice piano/violin interplay between Bob and Donnie. I may be wrong, but I
swear Bob skipped the last lines of HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED... 'We'll just
put some bleachers out in the sun, And have it on Highway 61'. Nonetheless
it rocked. SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE has new lyrics added to the new lyrics
from the previous tour. I am still trying to get figure this one out.
Tonight's version had some really good harp and instrumental work. CAN'T
WAIT is one of my highlights. Funky stop and starts. A beautiful take on
WHEN I PAINT MY MASTERPIECE... better piano work than the Philadelphia
show. Great harmonica. Strong voice and nice piano on HONEST WITH ME.
TRYIN' TO GET TO HEAVEN was nice, but not as strong as Philadelphia. MAKE
YOU FEEL MY LOVE was sweet. PAY IN BLOOD was strong and powerful. LENNY
BRUCE was beautiful. Really nice. The top highlight of the night for me
was an awesome blues version of EARLY ROMAN KINGS. Blistering guitar work.
GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY was sad, tender, short and beautiful. NOT DARK
YET was another highlight. Great echo effect and a powerful delivery. Yet
another highlight was the thunderous thunder of THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN.
Rock n' fuckin' roll!! Nice piano on SOON AFTER MIDNIGHT. Great version of

I good show, a lame crowd. No dancing, no fun.
As always, nice to see Ed before the show. Nice to see Kathleen after the
show. And nice to rub elbows with Mr. Garnier after the show at the Beacon

See you Tuesday for the next show.

Barry Gloffke


Review by Gregory Schwartz

Bob Dylan and his Band are rocking this tour.
No acoustic guitars are played.
The bands pre first song and encore improvisation count in,
could be Miles Davis Fillmore 70 like.
The performance is healthy, precise and full of transcendent strength.
Poignant social reflection in the story arc of the set list
there were two F-Trump’s from the audience call out.
Bob leaves through the load out area
advancing his exit time
from three seconds to a second and a half
perfectly timing his ride on out.
Miming between the raindrops, a sidewalk leap.


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