Kelowna, British Columbia

Prospera Place

July 24, 2017

[Jim Howard], [Anders Tidström]

Review by Jim Howard

I recently taught a Bob Dylan course to a group of local retirees, and Bob
conveniently scheduled a concert in our small city a month later. A number
of the class members decided to attend the concert, so I felt some
trepidation that they might be disappointed. I am pleased to report this
was not the case with my group reporting that their expectations were met
or exceeded. Bob himself cooperated by giving a very good performance. 
His voice was strong and his enunciation was clear. Somewhat to my
surprise, the near-capacity Kelowna audience responded warmly to his set,
even the “Sinatra songs.” I did not detect any mass departures during
the course of the show, and many clustered around the stage during the
encore, rather than fleeing to the parking lot. This was my first
experience of Bob performing the “Sinatra” material live, and I was
impressed by how well he sang the likes of “Stormy Weather,” “Why
Try to Change Me Now,” “Autumn Leaves” etc. (I last saw Bob in
Seattle just before he began including these oldies into his set.) Bob
followed the now fixed set list to the letter.  One observation I made was
that the 20-song show seemed shorter than previous Dylan concerts I have
attended. I guess this is because of the brevity of the “Sinatra”
classics and the truncated versions of his own longer songs like
“Tangled Up in Blue” and “Desolation Row.” My only regret is that
he did not abbreviate a couple of his songs from “Tempest” in
particular “Pay in Blood” and “Early Roman Kings” which I found a
bit tedious after a while. Highlights for me were “Don’t Think
Twice” which stayed relatively close to the original and was clearly
enunciated, a forceful “Highway 61,” “Duquesne Whistle” which
gathered steam and evolved into a rollicking boogie, and “Summer Days”
which similarly gained momentum as it progressed. I was impressed with
Bob’s intent piano playing that stood out clearly in the mix. I also
really enjoyed several of the “Sinatra” tunes especially “Why Try to
Change Me Now,” “Stormy Weather,” and “Autumn Leaves,” although
his awkward manipulation of the microphone during these numbers was more
amusing than sexy! We noticed that Bob no longer stands in front of the
band when he leaves his piano to croon; instead he embeds himself among
his fellow performers. Bob’s band as usual was disciplined and effective
easily adapting to the various musical styles Dylan likes to explore. At
least one of my class members thought she saw a bit of a smile on Bob’s
face during the usual post-encore line-up of the performers. This wasn’t
confirmed by the others though Bob did make several (what I call
Pope-style) hand gestures towards the audience. I think he was pleased
with his reception in Kelowna!

Jim Howard
Peachland, BC


Review by Anders Tidström

When driving the highway from Seattle northeast there was smoke in the air
halfway, in a Canadian Rocky Mountain valley. Right now heavy wildfires
mostly north of our track to Kelowna are a serious threat. Plenty of
obstacles had already been in our way but solved one by one. My wife and
I, when in Seattle,  couldn´t resist taking part of a Dylan concert
within a reachable distance. We happily got our tickets for Dylan´s last
shot on the summer tour, the one in Victoria, when it was announced
cancelled just hours later.  Had to rearrange  flights, book new hotel,
fix new concert tickets and rent a car. Wow - it worked - and we just had
a slight smell of the hostile forest fires on the most breathtaking
Canadian highways close to the sky. The 350 miles to Kelowna is a passage
through mother Nature at her very best and sure a remarkable entrance to a
Bob concert. Then finally, the local hockey arena in Kelowna showed up as
… fit for sports. Actually Dylan started this year´s tour in Stockholm
(Sweden) Waterfront venue, which is the absolute opposite - a  miracle of
perfect concert sound and also intimate  with about 3 000 seats. But the
atmosphere - the Kelowna audience of 6 000 compensated with enthusiasm and
warm response - made the hockey barn turn into a temporary music cathedral
after all. An excellent concert all through the 20 songs though Dylan did
neither grasp the guitar nor the harmonica. He mostly parked behind the
piano, singing and hammering as knocking on heaven´s door. Sometimes he
did unexpected things, like a light version of a young Jerry Lee Lewis.
That worked and playing integrated and harmonious with the band. Highway
61 came out in the most beautiful way and yes, we could see Johnny Winter
nodding from a cloud up there, high above. Tangled up in Blue was the
usual crowd pleaser (but it was never a highlight of mine). The mix
between old evergreen covers and Dylan´s own classics was just perfect.
Funny and touching that Desolution Row and Stormy Weather occasionally
meet in Kelowna. As you know there are hardly but good Dylan performances.
Probably close to my 25th live Dylan concert but the very first in North
America. 1966 I saw Dylan first time in concert, in Stockholm. I was still
a teenager and Bob an old man of 24. Things have changed. No smoke in the
air when heading straight south next day. Passing through miles and miles
of the British Columbian wineries and then touching some zones of poor
Indian land close to Columbia river in the state of Washington. Not even a
chief to share peace pipe smoking with and we didn´t respond to the
sudden neon smoke signals announcing a remote casino in the bush. Now
after 6 000 miles sky riding back home we´re still amazed by the Pacific
beauty and the cool and smokeless Dylan in the midst of terrifying

Anders Tidström


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