Bob Dylan graced the historic Beacon Theater with his legendary voice and larger than life persona this last weekend while on his Never Ending Tour. The sold out show featured a set list of nineteen songs that focused primarily on Dylan’s music since the late 1990s, however, Mr. Dylan also generously gifted us with several earlier iconic songs that even the semi-Dylan fan would recognize. Being a long time and loyal Zimmerman fan myself, I was immensely thankful for every song he played.
Dylan did not address the audience during the concert, leaving his songs and even his band members without and introduction. The band’s skillful and imaginative members includes guitar players Stu Kimball and Charlie Sexton, bass player Tony Garnier, banjo, fiddle, and guitar player Donnie Herron, and drummer George Receli.
The stage was dimly lit for most of the show, making Dylan and his band retain a certain amount of mystique. As if they needed it. Known throughout the world not only for his music but also for his trend setting fashion, Dylan did not disappoint. Leaving behind the baker boy caps and denim look of his early years, the black period of 1965, and the feathered fedoras of the 80s, Dylan donned his most recent look, a long white coat, matching shirt and trousers, and a distinguishable flat round hat.
What is it about Bob Dylan’s music that makes him so legendary? Sure, his lyrics and phrasing are almost unmatched but is it what makes him unforgettable. What about his undeniable cool factor or that soulful hamonica? For me, it comes down to his voice. That raspy one of a kind voice. Mr. Dylan, now in his 70s still retains this unique asset when he chooses. His mastery of both the piano and the harmonica have also remained sharp, which he brilliantly executed during his performance.
The set started with the Oscar winning song “Things Have Changed,” followed by the 1960s “She Belongs To Me”. The crowd got moving during “Workingman’s Blues #2” in which the band members individual talent got to shine. I will always remember Dylan’s performance of two of my favorite songs, “Tangled Up In Blue,” and “Love Sick”. Dylan performed “Love Sick” so passionately that my heart actually ached. Of course a show would not have been a Bob Dylan show without the classic “Blowin’ In The Wind’” in which Dylan rocked the piano during his encore. As a surprising last song, Dylan gently sang the night away with Frank Sinantra’s “Stay With Me,” written by Carolyn Leigh and Jerome Moross, leaving the audience yearning for more.