Reviews

Greensboro, North Carolina
Steven Tanger Center

April 1, 2022

[Laurette Maillet], [David W. Carpenter], [Jesse Jones], [Barry Gloffke],

Review by Laurette Maillet


From Charlotte to Greensboro. March 31st.
A day off. I take UBER to downtown Charlotte where I I'll catch a FLIXBUS.
It rains cats and dogs. Few people are waiting in the rain. One young man 
has a Bob Dylan bag and a poster.
We climb rapidly in the bus and start chatting.
He is Chinese from Beijing but study psychology at Washington University. 
He took a bus all the way and back to see Bob Dylan in Charlotte. His first 
BD show. I don't tell him about my bad impression of the show. He is 
thrilled and that's alright. He invites me to Beijing. Great! Another place 
to visit :)

Arriving in Greensboro. It rains cats and dogs. So I call UBER.That UBER 
guy is my friend :) :) I booked two nights in a Motel. A little bit 'funky'. 
The room smells tobacco. But the TV is functional :) I watch classic 
movies on the movie chanel. Buy a pizza in the next Caesar pizza place 
and sleep all night.

April 1st.
I get a breakfast (the only motel that didn't cancel the breakfast cause 
of Covid :)
Watch more movies ...
Take a walk downtown. I chat with Stefanie who is parked by the venue. 
By chance I find the "Civil rights museum" and step in. A couple steps in 
at the same time. They see my Bob Dylan bag and say they will also go 
to the show. Great! That museum is about the fights in the 60's for the 
Colored people rights. Greensboro, Selma, Montgomery, Washington... 
Bob Dylan is not mentioned but he was there. Wrote "The death of 
Emmett Till" and "Only a pawn in their game". 
I walk back to my room to get ready for the show.

When I put my sign out I see the same couple from the museum with 
two kids and a young man. They have an extra ticket. So we all get in 
the venue but 6.30pm.
We chat about....Bob Dylan :)

By 8.7pm the show is on.
They start a long instrumental intro for "watching the river flow". The 
mic is again too low. Bob is angry. He points at the sound man on his 
left. Speaks in between the songs and even "inside" the songs. Bob 
cursing and saying "fuck it"(?) He also says "Jesus man!" (In the middle 
of 'my own version of you')And "stop it" few times.
The show will be normal by "Crossing the Rubicon".
The audience is again positive and receptive, standing and being loud 
when Bob moves center stage. Three times.
Bob's voice is weak. He may have a cold. And again the two bottles 
on the piano are blocking the view of the patrons on the right. :(
"I've made up my mind to give myself to you" is fine. 
"Crossing the Rubicon" is fine
"Serve somebody" is weak.
I space out on "Mother of muses". This is also the time when patrons 
leave the venue. I turn on my left and the row is ... empty :(
Not the best show ever.
But a show.

Outside some fans are happy of a good show and some fans are...not 
happy. I'm confused. I don't understand why after 17 shows suddenly 
the sound is not correct and Bob is not happy. 
It should be a routine. 

Thank you my good Samaritans. 
Jack Fate and Kim.
David Bilodeau.
Next is Asheville.

[TOP]

Review by David W. Carpenter


When I first heard about this tour, I thought I would not go 
because I didn't feel like travelling, which I have often done to get to
shows in the past. I changed my mind when I found out he would be coming
to the Tanger Center in Greensboro, about one mile from my house. I walked
to the show!

My last show was the December, 2019, show in DC, which was 
excellent. I listened online to some (not a lot) of stuff from the tour
last fall, and it mostly sounded pretty good, but I have deliberately not
been following the progress of the shows in 2022, so that this would be
more of a surprise. I had few expectations.

The show got off to a rocky start. Watching the River Flow and You
Go Your Way were not strong, and there seemed to be some sound issues. I
was starting to feel uncomfortable, because I went to the show with a
friend of mine who is kind of new as a Bob Dylan fan. He was enthusiastic
about coming, but knowing how people who have not been following the story
are often disappointed by Dylan shows, even good ones, I had debated
whether or not to even ask him along. Anyway, after the first couple of
songs, I was worried he was not liking it. I was also irritated that two
bottles on the piano, neither of which was ever touched during the
performance, significantly blocked our view. Dylan was also in shadows the
entire show. This may be no news to most people who have been following
this tour online, and I knew enough to be unsurprised by this kind of
nonsense, but I was uncomfortable because of my friend, who probably had
not expected things like that. It is, frankly, irritating and
disrespectful of Dylan to play those kinds of games. But since a degree of
perversity seems to be baked into whatever it is that makes him tick, we
deal with it.

The placement of musicians on the stage was also peculiar, although
I assume it is a regular feature of this tour. The drummer and Tony were
off to the left, with Donnie off to the right, and Dylan in the middle,
flanked strangely closely by the two guitar players, who I did not
recognize. One of them in particular was often extremely close to Bob's
side, and often directly behind him. At one point early in the show, Bob
appeared to snap at him and he immediately and rapidly backed away
probably 15 feet, although he returned to Bob's side after only maybe 20
seconds. During another song, Bob said, "Jesus, man!" It appeared to be
directed to this guitar player, although I don't know for sure, and he
didn't run away that time. Obviously the guitarists are stationed where
they are because Bob has told them to be there, but the overall layout of
the stage does not give one a feeling of cozy jamming which they might get
by putting the players very close together. It feels intentionally
awkward, and it was irritating throughout the evening.

Regarding the music, I was glad that he included every song from
Rough and Rowdy Ways except for Murder Most Foul. Almost all of them
sounded excellent. For me, only Key West sounded less satisfying than the
album version. I thought the high points were Mother of Muses and Black
Rider, but everything was sung well. Of the two gospel songs, Every Grain
of Sand worked, Gotta Serve Somebody not so much. What felt like twin
songs about women, I'll Be Your Baby Tonight and To Be Alone With You,
both seemed surprisingly plausible given that the man is in his 80s. ("I
ain't dead yet/ My bell still rings.") When I Paint My Masterpiece was
fine, but not nearly as good as the last time I heard him play it.
Melancholy Mood was lovely.

In spite of the excellence of the RARW material, and the good job he
did handling it, I enjoyed the show less than any Dylan show I have seen
since 2004. The presentation issues were a significant part of that.
Perhaps the fact that I was farther from the stage than I usually am
played a role. Perhaps it was the fact that I was thinking of my good
friend Tim, with whom I saw most of the Dylan shows I have seen in recent
years and who died too soon last year. Maybe it is just that seeing Bob
with somebody who knows and cares a good deal less about the man than I do
never really seems to go too well. (I wonder if others have had that
experience. I am just recognizing the pattern now.) Ain't no tellin'. In
any event, something about the vibe was off. It was a very good show that
left me feeling a bit let down.

[TOP]

Review by Jesse Jones


I am 70 years old, I have been a Dylan fan since I was 12, and I have been
attending Dylan concerts since 1974.  I have a profound appreciation for
his art, and the fact that he works so hard at the age of 80 to continue
to create and to perform moves me deeply. I found the concert in
Greensboro unsettling.  I compared my review of the last Dylan show I
attended, the November 30, 2019 show at the Beacon Theatre in New York
City.  I loved that show.  A few weeks after that, the pandemic changed
the world forever.  During the pandemic Dylan gave us the Shadow Kingdom
and Rough and Rowdy Ways.  We cannot ask for more. I had a sense at this
show that Dylan was holding his musicians back.  That Dylan can perform 49
shows in 163 days as he is now doing truly is amazing.  But when the music
rocks he cannot rock with it.  He stands stiffly behind an ugly upright
piano, appearing disembodied.  The guys in the band almost seem afraid to
move with the music for fear of making the crowd see that Dylan cannot.
Rough and Rowdy Ways is a triumph.  Did some suits tell him to include
some of the old songs when he toured?  I love the old songs, but they
seemed not to fit well.  I wondered how Dylan at 80 can sing I'll Be Your
Baby Tonight unironically.  Serve Somebody rocked but if I ignored the
sound, it looked like they were playing a funeral dirge. I am grateful I
got to see Dylan perform him again.  I am grateful for the sixty-plus
years he has written, recorded, and performed such great music.

Jesse Jones

[TOP]

Review by Barry Gloffke


Show number 2 out of 3 on our mini North Carolina Bob
Dylan tour has Jacqueline and I taking to the road for a 1˝ hour drive to
Greensboro. The Steven Tanger Center is another nondescript venue, just
like the Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte…with a little more character.
Late arriving audience leads to a late start for tonight’s show but the
audience is upbeat and energetic, unlike Charlotte…which in retrospect
was only a mediocre show. But tonight's show is the reason we keep coming
back again and again for more Dylan shows…searching for a gem. From
WATCHING THE RIVER FLOW to EVERY GRAIN OF SAND this was one helluva great
concert. Bob's voice was in fine form, strong, clear and powerful. The
band was tight and there were several great instrumentals interludes…
plus a fantastic harp solo by Bob. Mr. Dylan spoke or barked at the band
several times this evening… I’m not sure whether he was agitated or
whether he was trying to bring the best out of the band and the songs.
Whichever, from our perspective he was riding high, holding court and
commanding the night brigade. We had great seats 8th row right side…that
can always make a difference between a good show and a great show. I know
we all have different takes on the shows but for me the highlights tonight
were just about each and every song… even the revamped KEY WEST. Alas,
the bootleg will be the real telling of just what type of show it was. For
us… just a fabulous show… for myself (#69) and my girlfriend (#16).
Two concerts down, one to go…Asheville you're up next… as they say
"don't you miss it!"

Saw tye-dye Bob from Charlotte who concurred that it was a great show. And
chatted after the show with Bob's watchman, Roger.

Lastly, I have been picking out one quiet moment before GOTTA SERVE
SOMEBODY on the last several tours to yell out "Rock and Roll,
Bob!!"...and tonight you could easily hear Bob turn to Donnie and say
"Hey, there's that guy". What a night… a great show and an
acknowledgement from Bob… that is now my new claim to fame.

[TOP]

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