Bob Dylan

Show Review: Bob Dylan at the Anthem 12/2

Show Reviews

Bob Dylan gave a fantastic, brilliant performance at the Anthem in DC on Thursday night. 

His songwriting now has completely evolved into little vignettes.  Maybe you’d argue it was always that way at least to a degree, and that may be true, but it’s complete now.  

This was a fully captivating experience.  There weren’t “hit songs” to dance to.  Instead there were deeply thoughtful probings into your own mind with Dylan implanting imagery there with a sky high degree of hypnotic mesmerization.  

While he was singing, it was more of a spoken word performance of thought and sound than a rock show.  Once might envision a unique shadowy puppet show or film noir short playing overhead with every song.

Dylan inhabits the song, each one entirely, all the way, and brings you with him to sit beside him there.  There’s no talking among the audience members — they’re all riveted and silent. 

Songs take on pointed meaning among their layers.  For example it’s hard not to feel that when he’s singing “I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You,” that he’s directly referencing us — the fans, to whom he is giving himself. 

“Masterpiece” was shimmering.  “I Contain Multitudes” is now a captivating staple. 

“Key West” has been evolving throughout the tour by all accounts and has slivers of themes dancing on the beach like others of his best work catalogue.  I heard one fan suggest that it echoes “Visions of Johanna.” 

“Gotta Serve Somebody” has now completely vindicated Dylan’s gospel era.

The band was top notch.  Dylan on piano was quick and light. His vocals were crystal clear.  Be banished forever, any armchair critics who missed the show, inclined to remember some different experience from decades past — this was distinct, articulate, professional and pure genius.

By the way — this was my first time at the Anthem and I discovered a little bit of heaven in the lovely theatre — cushioned seats!  

Read our review of Rough and Rowdy Ways, here: Music Review: ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’ Delivers Classic Bob Dylan

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Watching the River Flow
Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine
I Contain Multitudes
False Prophet
When I Paint My Masterpiece
Black Rider
I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
My Own Version of You
Early Roman Kings
To Be Alone With You
Key West (Philosopher Pirate)
Gotta Serve Somebody
I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You
Melancholy Mood
Mother of Muses
Goodbye Jimmy Reed
Every Grain of Sand

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