As Bob Dylan comes to Clearwater, here are 6 observations from his show in Orlando
When you hack away the mythology, you get to Bob Dylan the working musician. Based on his performance Sunday at Orlando's Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and reports from other stops on the tour, here’s a practical guide to what to expect at Ruth Eckerd Hall for Wednesday’s sold-out show.
Showtime: Dylan and his band usually start on time, at 8 or a few minutes after. There’s no opening act.
The band: Bob will play grand piano and harmonica. He’ll rotate from center stage to piano and back. His drummer, George Recile, uses brushes or mallets much of the time so as not to overpower the boss’ voice. Rhythm guitar (Stu Kimball), lead guitar (Charlie Sexton), bass (Tony Garnier) and pedal steel guitar (Don Herron) round out the band. Watch for the maracas during Early Roman Kings. And there’s a silent player on stage: a bust of Beethoven.
Setlist: There’s a good chance Bob will sing nine songs, take an intermission, sing eight more, then do a two-song encore that includes Blowin' in the Wind. That’s 19 songs, most of which are from records released in the last decade. Dylan is not a nostalgia act; this is not an oldies show. Even the newer songs may have different arrangements and tempos from the recorded versions. The set list (it hasn’t changed during this tour) can be found at bobdylan.com.
The voice: It can be rough, and lyrics will at times be hard to pick up. But it is not without emotion, and Dylan retains the ability to blow you away with soft, poignantly sung songs like Forgetful Heart and Stay With Me.
Show length: A little over two hours, including the intermission.
Interaction: Other than saying “Thank you” and “We’ll be back” after Love Sick to announce the intermission, Dylan isn’t likely to make small talk. The music is the message. If you’re open to receive it, you’ll leave happy.
-- Mike Fasso, tbt*