December 3, 2019
Review by Barry Gloffke
After taking off from the Monday show, I was back at the Beacon
Theatre for my 8th show this tour and Bob’s 8th at the Beacon. My
girlfriend, Jacqueline, got a last minute ticket for the second time this
week and was my date again tonight (although as last show, we did
not sit together). It was an upbeat crowd. The show itself was a good
one. Not great, but still very good stuff.
I had a dilemma tonight. I was fortunate enough to have a front row
seat, but because I like to stand and watch/dance, I knew I would be
blocking people. Inevitably, I would be asked to sit. So I needed to
trade seats for an aisle seat, and lucky for me (and her) Mangala
(everyone knows Mangala) came down to take her 2nd row aisle seat.
I asked if she wanted to trade, and she said ARE YOU KIDDING,OF
COURSE!!!. So… I gave up a front row seat, with a perfect view of the
entire stage, the Band and Bob, just so I could dance. And it was
worth it for both of us. In any case, I ended up on the rail for the last
three songs, soaking up the scene. Great visuals.
As I said, the show was good… but from the outset Bob was off a bit.
Unless I am mistaken, Bob missed a stanza, then repeated one in the
opener of THINGS HAVE CHANGED. There was an instance later in the
set where he said ‘No’, when he meant to say ‘Show’, and then quickly
corrected himself. Most of these blemishes occurred in the first 1/3 of
the show. The second 2/3 of the show was strong. Standouts for the
night were CAN’T WAIT (funky man, funky), WHEN I PAINT MY
MASTERPIECE (very nice play between Bob and Donnie), MAKE YOU
FEEL MY LOVE (great, passionate delivery), LENNY BRUCE (Donnie’s
violin and Bob’s vocals sweep this song away), NOT DARK YET
(ominous and spooky), SOON AFTER MIDNIGHT (really nice lap steel
from Donnie.. and after the Band intros Bob mentions that Jack White
is in the audience. After the show Jack was making his way to the after
party, walking along the front row coming towards me… I say to him
‘Nice chapeau Jack’, he thanks me, and I pat him on the back as he
As usual for this tour, the real highlights were the set closer and
encores. This is when I moved up to the rail, far left (facing the stage),
for a rousing version of GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY. The crowd was up
and loving it. Bob nailed the piano parts and then came out for the
obligatory center stage stare down at the audience, before the Band
exits. The moments pass as we roar and wait for the encores. First was
BALLAD OF A THIN MAN. Exquisite. At one point in the rolling adventure,
Bob/Charlie/Britt were all doing the same lead while Tony/Matt kept
rhythm and Donnie did his lap steel magic. That was great!! Ending the
evening was another burning blues take on IT TAKES A LOT TO LAUGH,
IT TAKES A TRAIN TO CRY. Great work by Charlie and fabulous vocals by
I just love that I got to see another Bob Dylan show (my #59). With
my girlfriend and love of my life Jacqueline, no less (her #8 show). Very
fortunate to have both of them in my life.
It was great to see all of the Bobcats… and there were many tonight.
The Beacon Bar was stuffed with them. As usual Ed gets a callout…
good to see you and your entourage. Mangala… that was great and it
worked out for both of us. Katherine… see you next tour. All of the
others… I will see you Thursday. Don’t you miss it!
Review by Laurette Maillet
After Sean disappeared (Sean was a kid who was trying to get an
autograph from Bob Dylan for his sick Daddy. Sean had been waiting in
the rain, snow and cold for two entire afternoons and evenings. But in
vain. None of the Dylan people will talk for him to Bob. And Bob will stay
indifferent to his call!) am looking for a ticket with my paintings out. By
now I am all frozen(I stayed with Sean for two hours in the freezing cold
to encourage him. I offered him a cup of warm coffee and one of my
posters, so Bob Dylan could sign on it!) and if I can't get in I will not
stand outside to hear from the back door. By chance a young man has
n extra. He first tries to sell to the scalpers who start a fight. So he will
agree to give it to me for 20$ and one of my paintings. Cool.
Floor row U. Not too bad. The sound is great.
Bob changed his pants. Alleluia!
The songs are good.
The show is good.
The public is good.
But I can't get Sean out of my mind.
Why oh why this kid couldn't get an autograph for his sick Daddy?
I see Dylan with another mask.
The public came to see the Legend but they don't know the Man.
The songs are rushed. One after another.
My Good Samaritan asks me which is my favorite when Bob start My
Masterpiece. I say "this one".
My heart is not there.
For a one Show Fan, this is certainly a great show. With emotions. Real
The public is up for Serve somebody.
And you, Mr Dylan, who do you serve?
I leave before the end. I want to see who will say
"good night Bobby!" Tonight.
Absolutely no one. Not even me. I stay away to watch Barron rushing
his Boss inside the car even before the public is out.
Security Bob is happy. No autograph, no photo to deal with.
What a solitude and loneliness!
This was the strangest day I ever lived on the road for Bob Dylan. And I
have been through a lot.
It's not getting any more .... Human.
Review by Nancy Cobb
Just when you think you can't get any more, you do. This is the 5th and
last show of Bob's 2019 fall tour that I will see. With the exception of
Beyond Here Lies Nothin' played in Santa Barbara, all the songs and their
order have remained the same. This is a paltry number compared with
what other Dylan fans I know have racked up this year, but the fans I
have talked to agree that each night just gets better and better. How
can this be that Bob and the band just keep giving more? It has
something to do with the American Songbook years where Bob played
those timeless love songs, and now he is turning his own ones into love
songs maybe not in a romantic way, but love of a father, love for his
audience, love for his Creator, and love of life. Things have Changed in
that he is not taking things so personal, It Ain't Me, Babe now sounds
more affectionate than bitter, like he is giving advice to a child about
facing disappointments in life. Highway 61 is his own blazing road trip
through America. Each show has new solos and improvisations by not
only Bob, but all the members of the band. Simple Twist is not as sad
as it used to be for me. His lyric changes bring back the ups as well as
the downs. Can't Wait has turned into a modern Sing, Sing, Sing with
Matt's drumming...so exciting and not pitiful the way it originally was.
Pay in Blood has an incredible solo by Bob II, his new guitarist. Dylan's
original love songs for his art (Paint), childhood (Girl), and dreams (Feel)
have become more universal, and I believe they now show a love and
deeper appreciation for his true fans who have been with him over all
the struggles and tribulations of the past half century. When he first
started singing his tribute song to Lenny Bruce, some people thought
it was weird and didn't get it. Even at the beginning of this fall tour,
they were asking Why now?, and speculating that it would only last a
little while. But now Lenny gets better and better and the fans love it
more and more. I also think Not Dark Yet is a tribute to another Lenny,
Leonard Cohen. He is trying to respond to You Want it Darker, his
soulful recognition of his mortality, in a way that says, kind of, you're
right, but for now, my bell still rings. Well, that is enough. See you
somewhere next year, Bob.
Review by David Namerow
So my good buddy Steve and I made our annual pilgrimage to see Mr.
Dylan at the Beacon last night. Our journey really began on
October 26, 1963, when we both saw him at Carnegie. I recall my Dad
buying tickets for about 15 of us campers from Bronx House Emanuel
Camp. I also recall that although the tickets were very cheap years ago,
I never did get paid back by many of my camp buddies. Fast forward to
many concerts everywhere -- from Rolling Thunder in Boston, to the
Bobfest at MSG, to many other concerts at MSG, Not to mention seeing
the 1974 tour of Bob and the Band at the gym in Bloomington, Indiana,
oncerts at those small ballparks, Drew University, William Paterson College,
The Chance up in Poughkeepsie!. Probably about 50 concerts in all,
but I stopped counting years ago.
The crowd last night seemed a bit younger than most of the aging
Bobcat crowds of the past few years. Maybe just NYC demographics.
While the Beacon looks great after the renovations from a few years
ago, I still find the sound somewhat muddled. Last year hearing Bob
at the Palace in Waterbury was a real treat, as their sound was clean
and pristine. Last night's show was efficient and tidy -- to me, some
of the new arrangements are weaker than the originals. The band
sounded good, but I found not enough soling to really take advantage
of the strengths there- certainly Charlie Sexton has done more soloing
in the past, as well as Donnie Herron. AS for Britt and Matt Chamberlain,
they both fit in nicely, although there were only a few moments where
I could appreciate Britt, Bob's voice seemed to get stronger throughout
the night. I d agree that the Sinatra period has helped him with his
phrasing and singing. Highlights? It Ain't me Babe was fine, as was
Simple Twist(although I had trouble making out the new lyrics),
Masterpiece probably had the most reworking of the night -- a stripped
down, slow minimalist version that was truly poignant. Trying to Get to
Heaven and Make you feel my love are a nice pairing.. Much have already
been written about the inclusion of Lenny Bruce -- reviving issues of
censorship, anti-semitism, who knows. But it clearly leads to a committed,
heartfelt performance by Bob.. Of course Girl from the North Country was
absolutely wonderful -- and a great ad for the show that will premier on
Broadway soon. We saw the last performance down at the Public. It is
a moving portrait of down and out Minnesotans that fits Bob's songs like
a glove. Even for the non Dylan fan, it is good. For Bobcats, it is
absolutely unmissable. For me, the true highlight of the night was Not
Dark Yet -- featuring ominous lighting and a foreboding vocal performance
that truly captures the erosion of laws, life and the world as we have
known it. A metaphor for our current political climate? Certainly seemed
so. Both Thunder on the Mountain and Soon After Midnight were ok, but
really seemed to fade after Not Dark Yet. Of note, Bob intro-ed the
Band nicely and then, uncharacteristically, gave a shout out to Jack White
who was in the audience a few rows from us. Bob said something about
a great performer and song writer! Serve sSomebody was great -- but I
honestly couldn't make out any of the lyrics. As noted by others, we had
to wait almost 5 minutes for encores --- Bob on guitar for Ballad of the
Thin Man. Good, but a few year ago, a more pointed performance with
Bob center stage, no instrument. They finished with an absolutely
fabulous It takes a Lot to Laugh... with great vocal power and a dynamic
bluesy feel. The Band then in formation -- and even a group bow!
Of interest : The stage set had some statues like the Tempest album
cover, 2 mannequins of a man and woman in the back of the stage. I did
not see the Academy Award Oscar, that he had been having onstage
since winning it for Things have Changed. Oh, and the classical music
opening the show as the band tuned up? It was Stravinsky's The Rite
of Spring, which really did cause a riot at the premier in 1913! Perhaps
Bob wants us to recall the importance of music and the power it has had
and continues to have. While I don't think this set list was as powerful as
llast years (with Rolling Stone, Don't Think Twice, Love Sick, Watchtower
and Blowin the Wind), it clearly was a thoughtful grouping of songs from
different periods and genres. At 78, to be that energetic, creative and
still relevant, Bob continues to be an ageless wonder. He is a paradigm
for all of us to keep moving forward as we age. Bob is still on the road,
"headin' for another joint". We are blessed to continue to follow him.
Review by Scott Kareff
Bob continued his 2019 Beacon Residency with an inspired
performance tonight in front of a sold out theatre that included
Jack White in attendance.
Dylan was in top form, as he has been reported to be on this tour.
Newcomers Matt Chamberlain on drums and Bob Britt on guitar were
welcome additions to the mix. The band wore gold suits with black
shirts and old friends Tony Garnier on his trademark stand-up base and
Charlie Sexton looking like a western matinee idol (or at least what
passes one from the first row of the lower balcony) never looked
better. Returning band member Donnie Herron did a fine job on lap
steel and violin. Filing out the ensemble of course was Bob, standing
out in his light colored suit, gold embroidered black shirt, black pants
with rockstar standard racing stripe and white patent leather shoes.
My vantage point was high but perfect, right side of the stage, Bob
facing me when he sat down at the piano. Speaking of which, if the
band was a mix of old friends and new, among the old friends that Bob
brought back to the stage tonight were his guitar, his piano (looked
like the vintage 1960's one he used in the Columbia record studios to
record his greatest songs just a few blocks from the Beacon, as a
matter of fact) and his harmonica, which he played, in that order, to
the crowd's (and especially my) delight.
I read a review of the Ithaca, NY show earlier this fall in the Cornell
Daily Sun (which I recommend, very well done), discussing how many
who attend Bob shows these days complain that they can't enjoy the
experience because the new arrangements and garbled vocals make it
impossible to follow along, or even recognize what song he is playing.
I sympathize with that. It can be exasperating. And it happens to
everyone; happened to me tonight on one of my favorite songs,
Gotta Serve Somebody. But usually you can recognize a lyric to get
to a through line and let the band take you the rest of the way.
But you really have to be familiar with the underlying material to have
a good chance of receiving or recognizing this band and its leader for
the artistry and quality of its output. But for those who can fight
through the curveballs, and the place was chock full of those people
tonight, the payoff was meeting the performers in the moment during
many different moments in this concert. Concert Nirvana.
And those moments didn't always come in the places you expected
(Make You Feel My Love being a prime example of that; excellent
rendition tonight of a song that is not among my favs). Among the
crowd I was in with, I was fortunate to meet a guy who brought the
prior set list (which has been static this tour more so than usual). A
quick scan of that before Bob & co hit the stage did wonders in
decoding the arrangements and performances that followed. In fact,
I highly recommend printing out and bringing with you a representative
rrecent set list (thank you BobLinks!), just like if you were attending a
Broadway show, you would want to read the synopsis of the plot in the
playbill right before the play so you know what to expect. It makes the
decoding much easier. In fact, memo to Bob's Team, you should print
out and hand out a folded piece of paper with the band members,
instruments and other credits you wish to make and the Set list as an
add-in for future performances - like a mini play-bill. That would be
classy and helpful to your audience. Actually, if Bob did this, it would
probably become standard in a few years as advertising pays for the
production and distribution of the playbill. But I digress.
The other thing my new acquaintance mentioned was the thrill of
hearing Bob sing new lyrics to the old songs. Trying to decipher those
words and recognizing them when they happen create more of those
moments. And there were several of those tonight as well. Of course,
I only made out a few, cant remember them now, and couldn't
decipher many. Exasperating. But there is always the recordings to
As for the performance, to those who philosophize disgrace, and
criticize all fear, take the rag away from your face, now aint the time
for your tears, because Bob was on his game from the get go tonight.
Starting out on guitar (I thought I would NEVER see that again),
shuffling over to the piano, and on to the harmonica. He did it all. He
even introduced Jack White in the crowd towards the end of the show,
asked him to stand up (thanks for the set list info BobLinks!), and said
something else (I think). He certainly asked Jack White to stand up.
That counts as speaking to the crowd. So it was a historic night at the
Speaking of the Beacon, if you ever find yourself in the first few rows of
the lower right balcony and see the exit sign down the steps to the
right, do not take it or you will find yourself out on the fire escape at
least one story off the ground. But even with that misstep, I was able
to stay the entire show (ended at 9:50 or so) and catch the express at
72nd to Penn Station for a 10:11 LIRR train. Not too shabby.
Convenient and friendly venue, that's for sure. I digress again, but it
was a magical show.
Things Have Changed - (Bob center stage on guitar) - he strapped on
the old electric guitar and played some good lines - "I used to care, but
things have changed" - is a less self conscious Bob more willing to give
of his talents?
It Aint Me Babe - (Bob on piano) - OK, this is going to be great - hey,
isnt that the piano he wrote all his best songs on? Its not the same
one, is it?
Hiway 61 Revisited - one of my favs - this arrangement had a guitar
line after the chorus that reverberated another guitar line that this
Charlie Sexton-Tony garnier band has perfected during the last 10-20
years; like a guitar sound from the masked & anonymous era band or
the High Water era band.
Simple Twist of Fate - there were new lyrics in this song - will have to
find them somehow - very satisfying version
Cant Wait - 1997 blues song after the heart attack album - resurrected
throughout the show
When I paint my Masterpiece (Bob on piano then at center stage on
harmonica) - need I say more? Song wasn't as recognizable as it could
have been but piano and harmonica in one song? fuggedaboutit.
Honest With Me/Trying to get to Heaven/Make You Feel My Love/Pay
in Blood/Early Roman Kings - standard late era NET songs (Trying to get
to Heaven from 1997), good versions, middle concert but engaging
Lenny Bruce - wonderful version - I wonder what makes Bob bring a
song like this out of mothballs now. Who will shine the light in high
places today, and what will they be driven to? Or does he just miss
his friend. The brother that HE/YOU never had?
Girl From the North Country (Bob on Piano) - um yes, thank you.
Not Dark yet (but its Getting There) - more 1997 - interspersed -
recorded 22 years ago.
Thunder on the Mountain - suffered from unintelligibility - unlike Alicia
Gotta Serve Somebody - speaking of unintelligible, I could not get a
lyric until at least half way through this one; arrangement was
unrecognizable; the cacophony was an assault on the senses and
maybe the shear inability to process added to my nervous system
overload but this song was very intensely delivered and received
Ballad of a Thin Man (Bob at Center stage on guitar) - Incredible - You
know something's happening but you don't know what it is, do you
jones? if I squint real hard, its like 1965 (I wasn't here then).
It takes a Train to Cry - (Bob on piano) perfect ending, very
recognizable version - Don't the sun look good going down over the
Then the lights went on, I went down the stairs and I was on the
Until next time on the NET, and word to my DC Friends about the
finale of this leg there next week (that means you des): Don't You
Dare Miss It!
Review by Mike Skliar
So for the second time this season I find myself at the Beacon to see
Bob. Last week I had been at 'show 2 of 10' (November 24, 2019)
and wrote a fairly long review about it as well. I'll try not to repeat
what I said in that review. At that show I was in the balcony while
at this show on Dec. 3 I was in the loge- so right away, I was closer,
with better sound. All in all, while much like the earlier show, it was
probably an even stronger show.
As others have remarked, of course, the setlists these days don't
change. I'm getting the feeling that Bob has something very
specific in mind with this group of songs and arrangements. One
of the things that come to mind is the sometimes-very-retro
arrangements that 'check off the boxes' of so many of his influences.
Soon after midnight has old-fashioned 1950's triplets, the rearranged "
Thunder on the mountain" has a (again 1950's style) rockabilly
arrangement, "Early Roman Kings" checks off Chicago blues, folk
ballads are there in 'Girl from the north country' and 'Simple twist',
spookiness in "Not dark yet", the country twang in 'Masterpiece'
and 'Takes a lot to laugh…', etc.
Many, including myself, probably wish that a few songs ('Honest with
me' and 'Thunder on the mountain') would be retired at least for a
while, but, as mentioned above, they all might be part of some
master plan we all don't quite see clearly yet. I'd also quibble with a
few arrangement choices, most notably 'Serve Somebody" where
Bob has spent the time re-writing almost the entire song, yet most
folks (certainly me, both nights I went) can't make out most of the
lyric he's singing with the band blasting major-key rock rhythm
behind him. The song needs either that slinky sparse arrangement
it had back on the record, or perhaps a stop-time thing where the
band gets out of the way while Bob declaims the new lyric.
Yet the above, truthfully, are minor quibbles in the long run- it was
(and apparently continues to be) a fantastic show with so many
great highlights. A few more words about those highlights- "Not
dark yet" continues to be the centerpiece of this show for me- a
tremendous arrangement and performance. At this show they
used a little less of the 'echo' on the vocals compared to what I
heard last week, but the band percolated and stretched out a bit
more. "Lenny Bruce" tonight had a little bit in the beginning where
he started delivering the original line rather then the re-written one,
but he quickly switched gears and righted the ship. In this era of
insane leaders (or at least one in particular) crying 'fake news', its
great that Bob is doing "Lenny Bruce" regularly, too. "Masterpiece"
and "Girl from the North Country" also continue to develop. Another
highlight is an engrossing and strutting 'Early Roman Kings'- its
something to see Bob up there, declaiming about 'sluggers and
muggers' and its quite the vehicle for him to channel that
apocalyptic blues preacher thing.
One other extra-special highlight - wrapping it all up in the second
encore, Bob delivered what might be the most soulful and intense
version I've heard live (and maybe on record since, what,
Bangladesh?) of "It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry".
He's giving it that full-throated croon (which you hear a bit in
"Masterpiece' and 'Girl from the North Country" too these days)
and it was just outrageous, like the man himself, who shuffled off
stage after taking a formal bow with the band (I don't think they
did that the earlier show of this run I saw?) Gone again, heading
for another joint…
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