How Does It Feel? Pretty Good
Here's my Dylan analogy: Dylan is like the Pope. (This worked better when John Paul II was still alive, so stick with me.) He may be way up there in years and he's all hunched over whenever you see him. He mumbles incoherently to the point where it's near impossible to understand a word he's saying. He's always wearing a silly hat. He gets cheered for doing the most simple thing, like simply blowing in and out on a harmonica. But you know what? If you're a believer, you're just not going to pass up an opportunity to see him in person, to be in the presence of a legend and hope for at least a brief glimpse of greatness.
Tonight's set didn't have any truly revelatory moments but as far as 21st century Dylan shows go, this was a winner. I was all set to make a "Weezy Meet Wheezy" joke, but Bob's voice was in fine form. No croaking tonight, just the playful rephrasing that's become the norm over the past decade. Usually it takes me up to two minutes to recognize "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again." Tonight I identified it within 30 seconds.
As is often the case lately the songs from Dylan's recent trilogy of albums sounded best, no doubt because they were written with his current abilities in mind. "Rollin' and Tumblin'," "Spirit on the Water" and especially "Highwater (For Charley Patton)" were excellent showcases of Dylan's new-retro Americana, made all the better by Stu Kimball's stinging guitar leads.
"Highway 61" was its usual fun romp and "Ballad of a Thin Man" (aka Weingarten's fave song) remains a lyrical powerhouse even if Dylan's own reinterpretation made it impossible to sing along. (No doubt to Dylan's delight.) He sacrificed some set time to help get things back on schedule but still gave us an encore of "Like a Rolling Stone." Dylan, "Like a Rolling Stone," at twilight on a gorgeous night? Not much can top that.
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