For over six decades Bob Dylan live shows have been somewhat of an acquired taste. In some cases sweet, and often times bitter. This past Friday's version of, “The Never Ending Tour” at BB&T Arena on the campus of Northern Kentucky University, should be considered one that was so sweet.
Backed by a stellar five-piece band, and two tuxedo wearing mannequins, Dylan charged through nineteen songs from all parts of those six decades. The well documented changes in his voice, timber and the original arrangements, take a moment to process, but the message is clear.
Dylan songs target your sense of love and faith and how that fits into your everyday life. In the case of “When I Paint my Masterpiece” finding that love, or with the current wedding favorite, Adele covered, “Make you Feel my Love”...keeping that love, or testing your faith with the always relevant “You Gotta Serve Somebody.” Dylan and the crowd were in good spirits this Friday. He moved well between piano and the front of the stage, staying close to longtime bassist Tony Garnier, and the too cool as ever guitarist Charlie Sexton, to showcase his subtle and soulful harmonica.
We tend to forget what a great player Dylan is. His piano playing was a highlight, from the sly wit of “It ain't me, Babe” to the rollicking bar room chug of “Thunder on the Mountain,” it propelled the music forward, he seemed to be having a really good time doing so, at once standing to pound away on the keys or maybe, just maybe, taking a side eye look at the crowd with a slight smile.
I do wish I had the “Just for Men” hair color concession on Friday, there was a lot of gray in the audience, but the crowd was charged and reverent when needed. Even Dylan looked like he was doing a bit of a jig at moments center stage.
Bob Dylan and His Band delivered a show this Friday that made diehards happy, and new fans wanting more.