Detroit, Michigan

Fox Theatre

November 1, 2017

[Mary Aliyah], [Laurette Maillet], [Don Ely]

Review by Mary Aliyah

This was my first Dylan concert- been anticipating seeing Bob for about
almost 5 years now and I've finally got to see him. & boy was it a show!!
I'll start off by saying that I was running real late & did not get a
chance to see Mavis Staples open for him, unfortunately. I'm 16 & I was
surprised to see a handful of people my age getting excited for Bob too!
Been to plenty of concerts & will say that Dylan fans are interesting &
eccentric looking in their own little way! The ushers were absolute
HOUNDS. I don't mind the "no electronics/photos" rule since I don't use my
cellphone whatsoever whenever I go to concerts, but the way the security
was handling it was absolutely nuts at times. Before the show even started
there was a near fight with a few fans & about 4 ushers yelling at each
other. The fans did not get escorted out, but the security all walked away
& stopped bothering them, followed by the audience clapping & cheering.
Another instance during the show, a woman got escorted out of the 1st row
& she was really angry & putting up a bit of a fight. I saw ushers
downright grab cellphones out of people's hands without warning in a very
abrupt manner as well. 

With that mumbo-jumbo out of the way, the show. My mom was with me & we
got seats about 7 rows from the stage, center, which was absolutely
amazing since seeing Bob meant a lot for me, up close, even all the
better! Bob was pretty into it last night, flashing smiles here and there
& looking totally cool throughout. I was real giddy that I was actually
seeing THE MAN in front of me, crazy!! I can honestly say that I enjoyed
every song. I think it helped that the crowd was pretty into it as well,
regardless of what twists he did to his originals. I got vibes of all
sorts: bluesy-ness, country, jazz here and there, pure rock & roll, and of
course, poetry. Bob was improvising here and there on some songs,
particularly on Tangled Up in Blue, just great! I think his songs & the
standards flow and blend real well throughout. I, myself, found it real
interesting to see Dylan doing those pieces, the audience gave it good
reception as well. Bob was really getting down on the piano at times,
having fun with it & doing interesting fills. I read a review on this site
of someone saying he was playing more theatrical for Fats Domino before,
which I would think so. Some exciting added bits here and there were very
Fats like, or maybe it was just him having fun, doesn't really matter. I'm
glad to say that the funnest song of the night was Thunder On The
Mountain, the crowd was REALLY jammin' to it. It may have been in Early
Roman Kings that Bob mentioned Detroit in a line & the crowd roared, maybe
someone else can confirm that? I was really getting down, standing up &
dancing without a care in the world & noticed Bobs eyes lookin' right at
me while singing! Really!! His stage setting is more romantic in person &
quite fitting, I wouldn't want it any other way. Was looking at the set
lists he's been doing for this leg & was disappointed he wasn't doing Love
Sick but I'm so glad he added it in these last few shows!! I'm a fan of
both old & newer Dylan material (I'll classify newer as Time Out Of Mind &
onward) so I didn't mind the majority of new songs at all. Loved Pay In
Blood. The only thing I can say is that I do wish that on the posters they
would include the year somewhere, along with the shirts as I do understand
it is a so called "never-ending tour" & would be kind of silly to put
dates. All in all I really enjoyed myself and seeing Bobby D. for my first
time. Really loved hearing him play & sing the lyrics that really made me
love-him-so when I first started diving into him at 12. I find it crazy
that I actually saw him still, still flying from it. I think Bob puts on
fine shows. I would see him again & again... & again!

Would love to say thanks to my parents for taking me & seeing my favorite
songwriter/artist, finally! :)

Mary Aliyah


Review by Laurette Maillet

From Grand rapids to Detroit. I am skipping the show in Bloomington.  I
will spend few days in Detroit. I arrive on time and walk few blocks at
night to Rich's condo, my couchsurfing host. He lives on the 17th floor of
a high building and from the window I can see the sign of the FOX theater
blinking in the dark. I have 2 days and 2 evenings to spend before the
show on the 1st. 30th of October. I walk few blocks to the Public Library,
early morning, to prepare my second leg of the Tour, until Philadelphia. 
I contact all my couchsurfing hosts and book my Greyhound tickets. I cross
the street to check on the Detroit Art Institut, but the doors are closed.
Walking back home I stop at the grocery store to buy food : pasta, tomato
sauce, cereals. That will do for few days.  Rich comes from work (he is a
lawer for some Unions) and we have a pleasant chat. My bed in the living
room is comfy and Rich hands me the keys of the condo. Plus they are some
books around that I wish to read ; MalcomX biograhpy,  A. P. Randolph
biography, Steinbeck, the painters Shiele and Bacon....a paradise for me.
31st October. Back to the library for printing my tickets and finaly I
make it to the D.A.I. for 9$. They have, in there, a large MURAL from
Diego Rivera, the Mexican painter and companion of Frida Kahlo. I spend 2
hours studying the mural plus more hours inside the different sections of
one of the largest museums in the States! (They told me). Back home for
supper and chat with Rich. As he is a defender of the Unionists, we have
no difficulty talking 'Socialism' and even intruding in 'communism' (a
durty word for a lot of Americans, brainwashed by the ColdWar and anti
communist propoganda. Listen to Bobby Dylan!). 1st of November. The day of
the show. My friend John Paul sent me an address of a large second hand
bookstore. After a strong cup of coffee I walk  there and,  of course, 
I buy myself a book ; "50 Artists you should know." 50 Painters.  Back
home I finish reading the life of Randolph, Afro - American activist
before Dr. Martin  Luther King. By 4.45 p.m. I walk 1 block to find the
backstage entrance of the venue, to see the Band and Bob entering the
venue for the soundcheck. I say hi to Big Bob who asks me if I am
following the whole Tour. "Until Boston" I answer. "They are shows in New
York" he says. We'll see! By 6 p.m. I walk again to the venue, this time
by the public entrance.  I promised Rich to find him a ticket as he is
hosting me for a long stay.  I start putting my sign out. It takes 10
minutes before a miracle happens : a man hands me, not only 1, but 2
tickets and rapidly moves away. I call Rich who join me and we are seated,
side by sise, on the floor section,  all the way in the back. The deco of
the Theater is of Oriental style but all fake : plasters and plastic!
Mavis is marvelously inspiring. Her songs mean a lot to Rich, of course,
though he is a lot younger than the "marches for freedom". Bob is dressed
as in Las Vegas; dark jacket. His mood on that Tour is : Black  and
White. The sound is perfect. The best so far. Except some trouble people
who arrive late and drunk and loud, the show is great. The highlight is
"Summer days" when Bobby's voice is at his top. "Desolation row " and a
particularly staccato "Tangled up in blue " make the fire in that
"snobbish" theater but not so "snobbish" public. Bob must have a good
rest, for his voice is clear.  "Once upon a time" is a regular now (to my
delight!).  "Love sick" is now replacing "Long and wasted years " (to my
delight, also). If only he could introduce "Shooting Star", I'd be in
Paradise.  Well! What a surprising stay I had in Detroit! It was the time
and the place  for "Union sundown". A song I recommended to Rich. Bobby
didn't feel like me. Good night Bobby! Safe trip to Akron!


Review by Don Ely

The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr spearheaded a
column of thousands of human beings as they strode in peace down Woodward
Avenue in downtown Detroit. They were marching with heads held high and
hearts afire in the name of Freedom. Freedom from want, Freedom from
oppression, Equal Rights and Freedom for People of Color, Freedom for the
marginalized and forgotten in society, Freedom for all men and women. They
marched for those unalienable rights promised to all men and women by the
founders of this great nation two centuries before. At the terminus of
their purposeful steps would lie Cobo Hall. Here Dr. King would deliver
with passion, pride, and determination a speech motivated to break the
shackles of inequality and oppression, to delineate the wrongs of modern
America, and to offer Hope that one day, and soon, all men and women
regardless of circumstance would live side by side together in harmonious
Freedom. Several times  during his oratory Dr. King invoked a phrase in
Biblical overtones that prefaced his conviction for the future of the
United States of America, and the World itself. He had used it before and
would use it again two months later in what would become one of the
greatest speeches in human history: " I have a dream... "

November 1, 2017: We sit in plush comfort within the Fox Theater where 54
years earlier just outside these doors the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther
King, Jr had walked past alongside throngs of humanity fighting the Good
Fight. Tragically it seems we have learned precious little as events of
the present echo those of the not-so-distant past with the thunder of
falling skyscrapers. Those silly phrases " what goes around comes around "
and " doomed to repeat history " come to mind in living technicolor.
Events have come full circle in my lifetime. Never EVER did I think I'd
see racial injustice to the degree it is now ( again ), the attempted
crushing of voting rights, the crass manipulation of our courts,
capricious killings by authorities who should be better trained, the
critical rise of Hatred in this nation founded by immigrants. Hatred is a
Powerful Deceiver and has been in our psyche since Cain and Abel. I now
question whether modern America has the Will to rise above the Centrifuge
of Shit. Mavis Staples delivers a bluesy, fiery set that evokes her
involvement and personal stake in the Civil Rights Movement of 1955-68.
That era commenced with Brown vs Board of Education and the mindless
slaughter of Emmett Till and ended abruptly with the mindless slaughter of
Dr. King on April 4. The centerpiece of her set was " Freedom Highway ",
the Staples Singers anthem about the struggle in general and the 1965
march from Selma to Montgomery specifically. I had the honor of driving
that stretch while visiting Alabama in 2003. Along the way there is a
memorial to Viola Liuzzo, a white woman from suburban Detroit murdered by
the Klan while giving a ride to two black marchers. Mavis referenced Dr.
King and the Great March on Detroit during her set. Other songs performed
by Mavis and her wonderful band are " Build A Bridge " from her new album
which has not even seen a street date as of this show, but which is
available in the lobby, and " You Are Not Alone ", which helps to quell
the chaotic noise. The latter comes from the album of the same title,
produced by Jeff Tweedy who wrote the song. " Slippery People ", from
Talking Heads' Speaking In Tongues, is a butt-wigglin', finger-snappin'
bit of funk, a dancing in your seat kind of number. Mavis as always coaxes
her audience into participating on the chorus of " I'll Take You There " .
Overall less playful and more purposeful this evening, Mavis Staples
brings the goods and lays 'em at our doorstep every time. Sometimes older
performers exhibit diminished skills and utilize second-tier musicians,
but nothing could be further from truth as goes Mavis. Highly recommended,
and I'm anticipating seeing her headline a full set rather than merely 45

Bob Dylan left his own mark on the Civil Rights Era. I haven't been to
Mississippi in twelve years, but next time I go I want to find that field
outside Greenwood where he played at a Civil Rights rally on July 6, 1963.
That day he played " Only A Pawn In Their Game ". He doesn't play those
songs of struggle anymore, and really the only reference to those times
currently in the set is " Blowin' In The Wind ". We can't expect Bob to
lead us in providing roasting commentary on current events any more ( or
can we? ), but 76-year-old Bob Dylan continues to light the way in
songwriting and execution of some damn fine music, even if it's not his
own. With engaging new arrangements of many of his best-known and
best-loved songs, the set flows well from beginning to conclusion. We were
positioned four rows behind the soundboard and so received the truest
estimation of sound quality. A few numbers into the proceedings the
engineer moved a few levers and layers were peeled back to reveal even
more clarity. He would only enact a couple minor tweaks the remainder of
the evening. " It Ain't Me, Babe " bears one of the most successful
alterations, but they just need to re-work the ending a little so that it
coasts to a stop more naturally rather than jarringly. " Highway 61
Revisited " is the Rock Warhorse. The standards take on nuance by being
played in a seasoned Movie Palace, and happily Bob still employs those
vintage canister spotlights in his lighting scheme to bring warmth and
richness to the stage. " Pay In Blood " was premiered right here at the
Fox on 11/13/12. After seeing the evolved " Early Roman Kings " a second
time, I understand it now. It's not the Deep Chicago-via-Delta workout it
had been, but it's not supposed to be, and remains very satisfying. I
realize Bob doesn't duet very often,and when he does they're often awkward
but almost always charming. It would be nice, though, during this tour, if
he and Mavis could be on stage together. The length of their friendship,
their ages and backgrounds and the more than century of performance
history would make them ooze compatibility! Even if that never happens,
Bob is executing some of the finest work of his live music career with the
tremendous assistance of his brothers-in-instruments. In a previous
century Bob Dylan was a dissenting Voice in a Vacuum of Logic. Now that
we've arrived at that Black Hole of Rational Thought yet again, it's up to
you and  to me to extinguish the Torches of Hate!

The transcript of Dr. King's 1963 speech in Detroit can be found at

Don Ely
Rochester, MI


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