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Non-Prog Concert Reviews

Bob Dylan

Live in Portland, Oregon, October, 2012

Review by Larry Toering

Nothing can be finer than tripping out to see Bob Dylan in concert, especially at last minute’s notice on what seemed to be the rainiest night of 2012 in Portland. The Dylan stage set, I must mention, is a rather emarkably understated one with dimmed yellow lights in village lanterns set at different levels in succession from right to left. It had a real “Godfather,” or even a 30s saloon vibe to it that really drove home the pure feel of the whole event. Some of the highlights included Dylan himself really coming on strong in both the piano and harp departments. His piano playing in particular was sublime indeed, with a real classy delivery with which I was impressed. I had never seen him perform anywhere near that much on a grand piano, so I was very delighted with how that applied to this performance. As for the harp playing, that was also a second to none showing, if I ever saw one from him. These two elements are worth the price of admission to those concerned about ticket prices, but the entire show itself went onto be a value beyond the average these days. The sound was in a bit of a pickle in more than one noticeable spot during the set, but the mix never  meandered one bit, so (whatever it was), it did not take away from the sound itself. Tracks from his new album Tempest were mixed with a decent selection of the classics, and he did versions of some of them in ways I'd never heard them played. That was particularly true of “Tangled Up In Blue.” Here it was played with a completely different (but well received) arrangement. That was just the most unexpected of the surprising approaches to the set. I came away feeling that if it were the last time I saw him, I'd be more than satisfied with it. I have to say it was that good and that refreshing compared to the last time I caught Dylan, which was just over a decade ago. This iconic musical master somehow still has what it takes to put on a fabulous show in the largest venues on the planet.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at
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